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10 Things You Can Learn From Dating Mr. or Ms. Wrong

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It’s hard to spend time, energy and money on dating… only to find that you haven’t met a keeper. But, life (and dating) is a process, so it may as well be a journey of discovery and learning. By meeting lots of people you can learn what you like, don’t like, need, and most want in a mate. You may even discover some new things about yourself as well. I go into this process in more detail in my book, ‘Dating from the Inside Out,’ but below are 10 reasons why dating ‘Mr. or Ms. Wrong’ may not be a total waste of time:

1. Gain Dating Experience

Anything in life requires practice. People will tell you to go on a lot of job interviews so you’re ready when that perfect job opportunity hits. It’s the same with dating.

2. Get Clarity

Dating the wrong people can help you get clear about what you DO want long-term. We often learn what we want through contrast. You can take what you don’t like in your date and flip it. For example, you might say, “I don’t like that he doesn’t listen to me.” This realization can bring clarity to the desire to attract a good listener as your husband.

3. Learn About Yourself (And Others)

We learn from everyone we meet. If you dislike someone, it can teach you about an area where you’re intolerant. Also, even if a date is not a romantic prospect, you can learn something else from them about their career, interests or gain exposure to another new experience.

4. Explore Beyond ‘Your Type’

We often choose the same experiences on our own. Once you are married you’ll hopefully be with that person forever. So why not ‘get out of the box’ and experience what someone very different is like? It might help you grow.

5. Put Dating Energy in Motion

Often, when you want to attract a mate, it’s good to circulate interest. This can draw that energy to you and make you feel more confident and abundant. Dating is a numbers game, so often the more people you meet, the better your chances.

6. Let Go of Expectations & Have Fun

The ability to be present and joyful is attractive. Allow the date to unfold and make space for both people to be themselves. When you’re not interested in a date romantically, it’s easy to practice enjoying them in the moment. This is a great energy to bring to all your future dates!

7. Truly Accept a Mate ‘As Is’

When a date is not long-term material it’s easy to degrade them as ‘less-than.’ To have a really great relationship, you need to accept your partner as is. You need to take the good with the challenging. So it’s good practice to ‘be with’ dates that are not your ideal. You can practice appreciating them for who they are without trying to change them.

8. Learn to ‘Say No’ Gracefully

Part of getting to ‘yes’ in anything is learning to say ‘no.’ Too many daters hang out for years in relationships that don’t fulfill them. That is not what I’m suggesting here. One or two dates with ‘Ms. Wrong’ can be instructive, but two years doesn’t make sense. Take a stand about when to leave a relationship if you don’t see a future and want a commitment. When you practice saying no in a kind way, you will generally leave your date feeling okay. Saying no is part of dating (and life), so you need to practice this skill.

9. Get Comfortable Hearing No

Anything you want in life often involves some rejection. In dating, you can practice remaining confident and continuing to love yourself, even when the outcome isn’t what you’d wanted. Often your date doesn’t even really know you, so their ‘no’ has more to do with them. Take it in stride and move forward.

10. Discover New Places, Stories & Adventures

There’s something to appreciate in most experiences. Look for the great meal, your date’s talents, and appreciate that they took the time to meet you. One day, when you’re married, you’ll remember all those dating stories.

Hopefully these tips will help if you’ve had a string of dates with Mr. or Ms. Wrong. In the end, it only takes one date to find a wonderful life-mate, but it may take lots of dates with Mr. or Ms. Wrong first to ensure you’re ready for that person.

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and the author of “Dating from the Inside Out” and “When Mars Women Date.” She has a private practice in Manhattan and does dating coaching by phone. Learn more at Dr.PauletteSherman.com and WhenMarsWomenDate.com.
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