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through it, I had some very profound realizations about myself, love and dating. I decided to get into a relationship with him anyway.And, not only was I super happy, it also proved to be one of the most drama-free, stress-free dating experiences I've had in years.This doesn't mean not to be clear on what you want from a relationship or partner, no way. This is a realization I've been fighting against accepting for years.It just means managing the age-old paradox of staying true to what you want big-picture for your life while still being present in each moment and not attached to the outcome. I have spent way too much time making excuse after excuse for men I've dated, thinking that if I were just better or more awesome, or if I waited long enough, he would become "ready" for the same things that I am ready for... But finally, through dating this younger guy, it sunk in -- it's actually not about me!My energy wasn't spent worrying about whether it was going to go anywhere and when/if it was going to end. As much as I hate to admit it, when I've gone into dating someone in the past who I thought had the potential to be something serious, I've started putting pressure on it. We become so caught up in the of what that relationship could be rather than getting the chance to see if that person or that relationship is something we even want. If you're not worried about it ending or where it's going, then you're not worried about doing anything that might mess things up, so you're just completely yourself, like I was with him.When there's no pressure on it, you can simply spend your time enjoying each other, getting to know each other and allowing it to unfold naturally. I didn't follow any "rules;" I said exactly what I felt like saying (in fact, I was incredibly honest and straightforward), and did exactly what I felt like doing.
and, again, that honestly has NOTHING to do with you. It doesn't matter how intense and magical the connection between the two of you is -- and you could be the most amazing, sexiest, coolest, smartest, funniest woman alive (and he may tell you that, and honestly mean it, but still not be able to show up for you the way you want) -- you can't do anything to change another person's emotional, mental or physical availability.
I realized that I chose to get involved because I knew I'd be OK when he and I did decide it was time to move on, because I've always been OK in the past.
Granted, some endings are more painful than others, but as I've gotten older and been involved in more relationships, I have learned that the ending is for a good reason, and that my life absolutely goes on -- usually with me having learned something about myself and taking with me new memories and experiences.
Because the truth is, you can't build an authentic relationship if you're not authentically yourself.
I have learned from these things that the only way -- I now believe -- to build a genuine relationship is to be in the moment and to be fully ourselves, without the constant fear about where it's going to go or if it's going to end.
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The share of 18- to 24-year-olds who use online dating has roughly tripled from 10% in 2013 to 27% today.