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.Once you and your date understand each other’s limits, you can fully enjoy the territory that remains open to you.The shift from rejecting to redirecting means any date, with anyone, within any boundaries, has the potential to become a profound experience. Establish where you, and your date, have put up No Trespassing signs.
What new forms of support can you offer each other? Instead of progressing toward interdependency, commitment, and marriage, you are progressing toward mutual understanding, greater risk-taking, and more complete contact. If you want intimacy, you need the second approach. We’ve been taught to act cool, to look composed when we feel like a mess, to perform in order to be liked, to partition out the parts of ourselves we show from those we hide. You open your arms and move toward someone for a hug.That means you’re not making a good impression for later. If you’re worried that showing your real self will scare the other person away, go ahead and scare them away. Dating for partnership and Deep Dating follow different trajectories. Luckily, it’s easy to get from small talk to real talk. You’ve only ever played such games because you didn’t know what else to do. Instead of playing games, talk about what’s making you want to.If you’re doing normal dating, to find a partner, you’ll probably start to date with increasing frequency. All you need to do is talk about your experience, in the moment, of what it’s like to be with the other person. Expose the game you were about to play, and reveal your motivation for playing it.If you can have everything you wish for already, right now, on the date that you’re on, the future becomes less of a fixation. The problem with this approach is that you get to be close to the object of your desire, but they never get to be close to you. You give them your beauty, your weirdness, your insecurity, even your pain. Moment by moment, you keep paying attention and responding appropriately. If you’re not attuned, you risk just expressing yourself all over the other person.You’ll alienate them instead of bringing you closer together.
If your boundary is clear, affection won’t be interpreted as a step on the path to sex. So can hugging, cuddling, massaging, dancing, playing, wrestling, acro-yoga, fluffing each other’s auras, brushing each other’s hair, and crying on each other’s shoulders.