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In partnership dating, earlier dates lay the groundwork for commitment, and you hold back the good stuff, or the hard stuff, until later. Talking to someone you’ve known a while isn’t any simpler. If telling the truth is all you’re doing, you risk burying your date in an avalanche of realness.In Deep Dating, each time you meet is a new experiment in intimacy. It’s you actually being you that makes you likable. As a result, there’s a stream of constant activity just below your calm facade. If getting real is about showing your date who you are, attunement is about seeing who they are. Check off enough items and you’ve got a shot at a fulfilling relationship. When you get close enough to someone, everything changes. If you want to fulfill the quest, you’ll need to change the rules. They have the same feeling about you, that you’ve got something just for them. It will be your only opportunity to find out what you’re meant to discover together.You want a companion, a partner, someone to build a future with. The thin shell of your mundane existence cracks, and something magical trickles in. You might even need to start off acting as you would if you were already close, as if you’re already partners. How will you spend the few precious hours you have? Concerns like these are always buzzing around beneath the surface.The “only date” rule is the spiritual foundation of Deep Dating. The more you can thwart the normal process of building expectations about the future, the more present you can be. Instead of grasping to reach a goal, you’re surrendering to the process. We are ashamed of our struggles, our limitations, and our imperfections, and we fear that if people knew what we were really like on the inside, they wouldn’t want us. We think we have to stop being our real selves to get people to like us. Do they light up, contract slightly, take a deep breath, turn slightly to the side?
That’s the basic pattern of how most of us move from dating to partnership. You can Deep Date someone over time, but when you treat each date as a self-contained experience, as if your entire relationship is happening here and now in this one date, you move through a different progression. Any time you reveal your motivations, you’re choosing realness over performance. Realness, however, is only half of the intimacy equation.
If you’re paying attention, you’ll modulate your self-expression to match their energy.
That doesn’t mean you have to be careful, just that you have to care. If you’re not into someone, that just means you know a couple places the journey won’t go. The road to long-term partnership will remain gated and locked. What you don’t yet know is where else it’s possible for you to go.
You can get better and better at creating all different kinds of intimacy, with all different kinds of people. They look far less appealing than they did in their photos. Rejecting your date might be the best course of action. Intimacy, it turns out, does not require sex, or long-term partnership. Chances are high that you’ve had deeply significant, meaningful, fulfilling human interactions that were neither romantic nor sexual. Other times, you were moved or inspired, learned something new, felt deeply connected, helped someone. Some unique form of intimacy is possible between you and this other human being. If you reject the other person, you’ll never find out.
Each Deep Date is another chance to practice becoming more and more yourself. Within seconds, you know you’re not into them, and you never will be. You have to go through the motions with someone you already know you’re going nowhere with. Sometimes rejecting them seems like the only option.