Have you ever wondered if guys realize you ARE a real human being?
The way they act sometimes, especially on dating apps, it’s like they think they’re interacting with a chatbot.
They say these really rude things, as if they don’t actually “get” that there’s someone with actual human feelings on the other end reading their words.
There’s not a whole lot of humanity going on.
Part of the reason is technology, and the other part is a consumer mindset.
We’re so used to going online now and buying groceries or clothes that “buying” a date doesn’t seem all that different.
You look at the pictures, you compare the descriptions, and you click on the one you choose and let him know he’s been selected.
There’s only one problem, right?
Human beings aren’t products.
And dating is not “shopping for a person.”
But our consumer mindset is so strong that it’s hard to break free from that mentality.
Especially when dating apps make people look so much like products, right down to the marketing.
Consumerism is Making Us Commitment-Averse
That consumer mentality may be one reason that Americans switch relationships so often.
We don’t NEED to commit to anyone.
So unless we find the absolute PERFECT person, we won’t commit. We’ll keep clicking away and test-driving different relationships until we find the perfect one.
I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon, and so the question becomes how WE are going to navigate this new dating world.
Are we going to buy into the system that tells us that people are products, and if we want the best we’ve got to BE the best?
Or are we going to stop a moment and ask ourselves what we’re even doing here?
What Are You Trying to Buy?
Most of us play the dating game for one reason:
Love is everything. It’s how we want to live our lives.
But then we get confused by everyone telling us “how to get a guy” when it’s not so much “a guy” we want but the experiencing of loving another for a lifetime.
Dating experts can tell you how to hook someone. They can tell you how make a man feel obsessed. But notice that they don’t promise you love.
They CAN’T promise you love.
Because not all men are lovers, in the spiritual sense of the word.
They want the good feelings, but they don’t want to extend themselves to support and nurture the growth of another human being.
They just want to see what they can get. How much bang they can buy for their buck.
That consumer mentality is a huge red flag, and unfortunately the way we date feeds it.
If you’re offering him something in hopes of getting “love” in return, then you are putting yourself squarely in marketplace thinking.
There’s a way out, but it requires of us humility.
A Student Mentality
I think the reason we’re here on this planet is to learn about love.
We are here as students of love.
We’re given this life as an opportunity to explore love for self, love for others, love for the divine, love for life itself.
And human relationships are one of the great playing fields of love.
It’s in our relationships with others that we learn all the essential components of love, like respect, commitment, responsibility, honesty, care, and so forth.
When you see yourself as a student of love, you’re not goal-oriented but rather process-oriented.
You’re not looking for the “perfect person.”
You’re looking for opportunities to practice love, including friendships, partnerships, all kinds of relationships. Anything that helps you expand yourself.
Of course you want that glorious lasting love relationship, because marriage is still the greatest challenge of the heart.
But to get to the point where you stand a chance at making a lifelong relationship work, you need practice.
Practice with boundaries, practice with speaking your truth, practice with mutuality, all that good stuff.
AND for that, you need a practice partner.
That’s what dating is for.
Dating gives you the chance to practice with all kinds of partners.
You get to practice being authentic, saying no, receiving, respecting, negotiating, letting go.
Some partners are better than others.
With some partners, you can feel yourself stretching and growing and learning and coming to understand love in a whole new way.
With other partners, you have fun practicing, but you don’t really get anywhere. You’re stuck doing the same thing over and over again. Your love doesn’t grow.
Your goal is to find a really good partner to really push what you’re both capable of.
What does it take to love another human being? How can you practice that love in everything you do? Can you feel it expanding you? Is he in this with you as an equal partner? Does love excite him as much as it excites you?
Sometimes, your practice with one partner will run its course. You’ll have reached the limits of what you can learn together, and you’ll go find someone else.
That doesn’t mean what you experienced together wasn’t love. It just means that your love reached its limits and you need to go elsewhere if you’re going to grow.
Find a Practice Buddy
So how do you find these love practice partners?
You show up as you are, and you get curious about who other people are, and your heart is open to exploring a connection.
You’re not buying anything.
You’re not selling anything.
You’re just showing up with tenderness, humanity, and curiosity.
Even if online dating apps try to force you into a consumer mentality, judging these guys’ merits based on their match percentages and their photos, recognize how superficial that stuff is.
You’re not picking the perfect option from the menu of potential partners online.
You’re not looking for your future husband.
You’re looking for good guys who are able and willing to do the work of love with you.
And you can only find out if a guy could be a good partner by meeting with him in person and seeing what he’s about.
Love practice partners may be harder to find, but they’re out there.
Watch how he treats you. Watch how he treats others. Listen between the lines for the values he lives by.
A guy who practices love will be genuinely interested in getting to know you. He won’t be jumping to any conclusions about who you are or whether you’d be good together. He’ll be okay if you say no.
Bring Love Back
For me, this is how we solve the crazy mess that’s modern dating.
We’ve got to bring love back into it.
We’ve got to stop trying to “get” our dream partner and instead focus on our own personal growth and self-expansion.
None of us are perfect at loving. We all have triggers and wounds and blocks. Many of us still abandon ourselves the instant we fall in love with someone else.
We’ve got a lot to learn.
So find out what you need to do to love better.
Where are you still operating from limiting beliefs? Where are you slamming doors? What kinds of love do you already have in your life that you’re not valuing? What are you doing to nourish your love for everyone from your companion animals to your reflection in the mirror?
I’ll end with a little secret…
Women who love well are like the smell of grass on a sunny day.
They’re like a long cold drink of ice water in the heat.
They’re like a hug that wraps you up and keeps you safe and accepts all of you and never lets you go.
The world is thirsting for our love.
All too often we think about love in terms of getting some for us. We don’t realize that the love we express and embody is a powerful force for hope and goodness in the world.
I hope you discover the many opportunities around you right now in your life to practice living love. The more you love, the more love shows up. That’s a promise.