Posted By: Niki Payne Date: 05-13-2018 Comments: 0
There are multiple schools of thought when it comes to how to approach dating, but there are three main ones that I believe are worth acknowledging:
“Duty dating” is a term coined by communication and relationship expert Dr. Pat Allen to describe a type of dating that involves dating people you normally wouldn’t date to practice your dating skills. She distinguishes it as something separate from “real dating,” which is dating based on mutual attraction. The idea behind the concept is to give each person at least three dates to grow on your before decided to move on or continue escalating to “courtship” dating, which is what Pat Allen refers to dating with a mutual intention to progress to a committed relationship. This is a great approach for helping you practice dating without any attachments so that when you meet someone you really like, you’ve already developed the skill of non-attachment.
“Circular dating” is a term coined by relationship expert Rori Raye to describe a type of dating that involves dating multiple at the same time so as not to lay all your eggs in one basket before and not getting your hopes up prematurely until you’ve defined the relationship. The whole idea behind this approach is to shift your focus away from “finding the one” and move toward honoring your needs and wants in a relationship. This is a great approach for helping you get clear on who is worth your time versus someone who isn’t. If the person you really like isn’t making an effort to date you, but someone else is putting in the time and the effort, then who are you going to take more seriously for a relationship – the person who shows up when it counts or the person who doesn’t show up at all?
“Laser dating” is a term I first heard about by a relationship expert named Lauren Frances. Laser dating is the exact opposite of duty dating and involves only dating people who fit the criteria of what you’re looking for in a relationship. It’s about knowing what you want and not deterring from it for any reason, at least as I understand it. There’s not a whole lot out there on the Internet that talks about this type of dating. I actually read about it briefly in an email newsletter or heard it on a free teleclass, and the term stuck with me ever since. This is a great approach for helping you not waste your time on the wrong people.
So how do these three methods of dating add up in the grand scheme of love? Well, each of these dating approaches represent the natural progression of dating in a way.
If you’re newly single for the first time in years, or have zero experience with dating, then “duty dating” is the perfect way to get your feet wet and practice interacting with the opposite sex. From there, you start picking out your favorites and you naturally progress to “circular dating” until one person steps up to define the relationship. And by the time that relationship starts falling apart before it really began, you’ve become so jaded by dating the same type of people over and over again that “laser dating” becomes your only option. The only problem with this approach is that you may find yourself going on way fewer dates and realize you’re a little out of practice as a result. So you resolve to start “duty dating” and the cycle of dating continues.
The only way to break this cycle is to keep an open mind when dating, understanding your own dating patterns and have compassion – not just for yourself, but for the people you date who may not be what you’re looking for in a life partner. And if you’re not finding what you’re looking for, maybe it’s time to change what you’re looking for by getting real with yourself about what you want, and why you want it. And remember, have compassion for yourself as you learn to break the patterns of your old dating habits in favor of new ones.