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How to find a partner in Silicon Valley?
Are you working at a tech company in the bay area? Are you finding it difficult to find a date for yourself? Are you tired of swiping on major dating apps? Are you tired of going on unsuccessful first dates? Are you tired of having meaningless conversations that go nowhere? Or are you scared of dating altogether? Don't worry; I will help you find a long-lasting relationship in the bay area.
Can we pause here for a moment? Take a deep breath. Are you considering making a project plan with deadlines and deliverables to find a partner in a two-week sprint? Have you decided to spend the first 37% of that time rejecting people? Are you interested in some dating advice to win the maximum number of right swipes and increase the conversion rate? Are you expecting some stunning pickup line to start a conversation with a potential date? I am sorry, I will not give you any dating advice.! But if this clickbait-y title made you curious, you probably expect one of these things when trying to date!
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You want to find a partner in the Bay Area.
You need a strategy and an easy process for finding a partner.
You probably are tired of dating or are not motivated to start dating!
You probably ignored this area of your life, and now you need to figure out where and how to start!
You already have a partner, and you are curious. ROFL!
But let me start by saying there is no easy or faster way to do it. But you can approach dating like a product you build if you know what you need in a relationship. A project plan won't hurt you, and in fact, it might give you better results. We invest tremendous time and effort and make proactive plans for every other area of your life. So for one of the most important decisions of your life, why can't we have a plan? Some people would say love cannot be planned. It just happens! But I can't entirely agree with that idea. Long-term relationships are similar to a product you build with deliverables and milestones. You must be deliberate about choosing your partner. Don't be clueless, don't accept anything that comes your way, and don't wait for the right person to come "just like that." And indeed, only settle for someone right for you!
Before developing strategies for starting dating, let's understand the different stages of a relationship. Dr. Susan Campbell defined the five stages of a relationship as
Romance/Honeymoon stage - We fall in love with our partner. We focus on the similarities rather than seeing the partner's flaws.
Power Struggle - The differences become dominant. You might focus on changing your partner. Sometimes, punish them for not being what you think they once were. Most breakups happen during this stage in a relationship.
Stability - The couple accepts their differences, acknowledges the struggles of a relationship, and agrees with each other for who they are and the relationship. In simple terms, the highs of the honeymoon stage and the struggles of power struggle will settle down, and the relationship will become stable.
Commitment - You and your partner have chosen to be with each other. Couples make big decisions like getting married, having a child, and buying a house together at this stage.
Bliss - You and your partner have become a team, and now you can bring great things to the relationship and the world. The "unconditional love" can be experienced at this stage.
Ideally, the couple would go through these stages in the order mentioned. But it is possible to move back and forth throughout the stages and relapse into the power struggle stage at any point in life. The time you spend at different stages can vary from months to years.
Now you understand that relationships are more complicated than just falling in love. It requires conscious and constant effort.
Most "rom-com" movie plots are like this! Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and they live happily ever after! But life does not end there, and you must navigate through all these stages for a fulfilling relationship.
The reality is this.
Honeymoon: The boy had a crush on a girl. He would go to great lengths to catch a glimpse of her. He mustered up the courage to talk to her, and they hit it off immediately. They went on long walks, held hands, and stole kisses under the moonlight. Soon, they became inseparable, spending all their time together.
Power Struggle: As they got to know each other better, they realized they had some fundamental differences. They started getting on each other's nerves and arguing all the time.
Stability: One day, they both got tired of fighting and decided to have a conversation. They listened to each other's concerns and realized they didn't have to agree on everything to be happy together. They chose to accept each other for who they were. Their relationship became stable but also somewhat dull. They realized that they needed to bring the fun back into their relationship. So they started planning adventurous dates to bring the joy back.
Commitment: Eventually, they got married and had a child together.
Bliss: They were deeply in love, but their relationship was imperfect. They still had their ups and downs, but they knew they could overcome any obstacle as long as they had each other.
So, the moral of the story is that real-life romance is not all sunshine and rainbows. It's messy, it's complicated, and sometimes it's downright ridiculous. But if you're willing to navigate through all the stages, you might just find your happily ever after. So if I haven't scared you enough, let's continue talking about step 1: The Romance stage.
The early part of the romance stage is when you meet a person and decide whether to invest time and effort to get to know the person. The "falling in love" part comes in the next stage. Thais Gibson calls this first part of the relationship the "Dating stage." Some relationships will not pass the dating phase to reach the honeymoon phase. This blog is about the strategies we can make before and during the dating stage, which will be the foundation of the relationship. These strategies are going to help you navigate the further stages also.
Now we understand how a relationship progresses. Even though relationships are a universal phenomenon, each individual's needs and expectations might differ. Some people want long-term relationships; some are looking for casual relationships. Some want to build a family, and some prefer only companionship. Some people have cultural expectations and pressure. Some people like to find the right one early in their life. Some like having a relationship later in life. And some choose to stay single. Also, dating in your twenties looks very different from your thirties, forties, and fifties. Building a universal plan might be tricky. But it is not impossible. The rest of the article explains a framework that helps you develop your unique plan for YOU! So let me put on my PM hat and present the 7-step process for finding love!
1. Question your limiting beliefs!
Let's dig into BTEA (Beliefs, Thoughts, Emotions, Actions) regarding dating. Your beliefs drive your thoughts. Thoughts trigger emotions. And your actions or coping mechanisms are taken based on those emotions.
So, your beliefs are in the driving seat of your love life. It is crucial to differentiate your "beliefs" and "limiting beliefs." So what are limiting beliefs? Limiting beliefs are beliefs about yourself or others that stop you from pursuing your goals.
In dating, we can categorize limiting beliefs into three categories.
About potential partners (Usually your beliefs about the opposite gender, if you are looking for a heterosexual relationship)
List down all the limiting beliefs you have and try to question them. You will soon find that they are just thoughts. Most of them are not true! Sometimes, you might find that it is true, but let me tell you something, any belief that blocks you from achieving your goals is limiting belief, even if your subconscious mind is not aligned with that.
Once you get hold of your limiting beliefs, think about the thoughts stemming from those beliefs. The third step would be identifying the emotions you are feeling on a psychological and physiological level when replaying those thoughts in your mind. The final step would be identifying your actions to protect yourself and your limiting beliefs.
Reprogram your limiting beliefs, question the negative thoughts, and regulate your emotions. Stop taking those actions that are blocking you from reaching your goal.
2. Know your non-negotiables, standards, and preferences.
Before installing the dating app on your phone, you must know your non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are traits, values, and qualities you seek in a partner and a relationship and are unwilling to compromise. Standards are things you look forward to in a romantic partner. But you are willing to compromise some of them if other things look good. Preferences are your "nice to have" list.
This list would be unique for each individual. A non-negotiable trait would be a standard for someone and vice versa. E.g., Drinking would be non-negotiable for someone with a history of addiction in their family. But for another person, it can be a standard. Having an introverted nature can be a preference for someone, but for others, it can be a standard or even a non-negotiable.
The list is split into three categories to understand the areas that can be compromised and not sacrificed. If you have a longer non-negotiable list, it will be an excellent place to pause and do an audit. Ask yourself, Are you a little perfectionist or not? Because in real-life, people only meet some of those criteria. It would be good to do another audit and see whether some of them can be moved to standards and preferences list. If you don't have anything on your non-negotiable list, that's also not good. That means you don't know what you are expecting in a relationship. Imagine developing software without standards and hoping it would magically work when you run the code.
If you have never thought about this list and cannot come up with one right now, don't worry. Thinking about it is the beginning. If you already have a huge inventory and are stressed about finding someone to meet all these criteria, don't worry! You can always add or remove items from the list once you start the process. The idea is to be intentional and aware of what you expect in a relationship!
3. Enjoy the process. Not the outcome
Enjoy the dating process. Stay calm about the outcome. Being detached from the result will help you to stop worrying about each interaction. You will be able to evaluate the date more objectively. There will be good, bad, awkward, and funny dates. Sometimes you might not find the "love of your life," but you make some good friends. When you stop putting pressure on yourself and the dates, you can be authentic and enjoy the date. A wrong date is a good opportunity for you to look back at the list of traits and make changes accordingly. Dating is an agile process.
4. Communicate your needs
Communicating your needs is the key to any successful relationship. It starts with understanding your needs and ensuring the other person knows them. It would be nice and romantic if they could mind-read and do everything for you. But the reality is mind reading is a dangerous tool. It will lead to miscommunication, lack of fulfillment, and cracks in any relationship. There should be a two-way communication system in place. It would be best to understand the other person's needs too. Some people might need to improve at communicating their needs. In that case, you can be an example and encourage them too.
5. Know your boundaries
Knowing your boundaries and setting appropriate boundaries is essential to avoid resentment in the future. Boundaries are broadly classified into physical, emotional, time, intellectual, material, and sexual boundaries. You should be comfortable saying no to anything violating your boundary. At the same time, you should also respect your date's boundaries. The definition of boundaries might be different for different people. So you need to communicate your boundaries with clarity. If you have a firm boundary and someone violates it, that's a red flag. If your date violates your boundary, which was not communicated, it's essential to address it once it has happened. If they are repeatedly violating the boundary and not trying to change, it should be a good call for you to stop investing in them.
6. Evaluate, negotiate, and decide!
The dating stage of a relationship is only a vetting stage. There is no commitment; you must evaluate the relationship before moving to the next step. You can leave room for negotiation if something is not looking great. You decide to move forward or end the relationship based on your evaluation. You can have a list of "metrics" or questions to evaluate the progress. That can look like asking yourself, Am I spending enough quality time in this interaction? Is this interaction meeting my personality needs? Overall the exchange should be pleasant and promise growth in the future!
7. Love yourself!
Let me repeat the cliched quote. "The best relationship is the relationship with yourself." You should unconditionally love yourself. If that is missing, then every other relationship will fall apart.
If you have read till here, thank you! I hope you are feeling better and hopeful about dating! The most important part of dating is to know yourself and communicate. If you tackle these two, it is as simple as writing the "Hello World" program!!
Dating is simple if you are intentional about it. It's similar to building software!
You have an objective - what are you looking forward in a relationship?
You create a project plan - Create a plan based on your non-negotiables, standards, and preferences.
You start implementing the project - go for dates and have fun!
You test the code and fix bugs - evaluate, negotiate, and decide.
Remember, it is an agile process, so be ready to learn, evaluate and make changes accordingly.
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