Dating is like wearing a blindfold on an ice skating rink. Stumbling around like you’re in a drunken stupor with a blood alcohol level of 0.10. Fun stuff right there. However, some choose to opt-out of dating. Some choose to opt-in and do so while building walls to protect themselves from hurt, harm, and danger. Similar to wearing a suit of armor with a breastplate made of iron.

We are gluttons for love. Most of us are. But the one thing that we don’t do enough takes time to self-assess.

What is the Dating Wall?

The dating wall is subconsciously built up before and during the dating phase.  When we have experienced the negative dating cycle we build up a resistance or defensive wall that protects us, but stunts the process of dating.

So How Do We Knock Down These Walls?

It takes a lot of internal work to get to the point where we can go into the dating phase and flow with the process, not fight it or make it [the process] work harder than it has to.

Forgive yourself

Man who wants to date, praying for forgiveness of self in a park
Photo Credit Naassom Azevedo

We have to learn how to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made in our past. We’re human and sometimes we can forget that. We are not robots programmed with one directive. We were not built that way. One could say that we’ve been built to make mistakes because they make us stronger and wiser than our successes.

Forgive them

Think about your dating past and remember where the pain comes from. Who it comes from. You have to forgive them! Carrying that pain around is like cancer that eats at your spirit and prevents you from functioning at full capability. Meaning, you’re entering a new dating cycle at less than your ideal self.

Take your time

Red-Orange clock with yellow bells, a book and a red and yellow cup, laying on top of a navy blanket
Photo Credit: Sanah Suvarna

One thing I’ve noticed about our culture (American) is everything is about [time]. You’ve got to graduate college by this time. You should be married by age 35 or there’s something wrong with you.  You should have your [insert profanity] together by this age. Well, I’m here to tell you, “[insert profanity]time.” Be patient with yourself. You need to heal. So take as long as you need to get your mind, heart, and spirit on one accord. That way your ideal self-will shine through for the right person who has also done the same work as you.

Find your weakness

This is the hardest part. This is when you have to look in the mirror and find your weaknesses and faults. You have to decide where you went wrong and what you did to break down your past relationships (or dating cycles). The very fact that we have walls built up to protect ourselves is a major turn off to someone who is truly ready.  A person shouldn’t have to break down your walls first or prove themselves to you

Find your strength

Once you’ve determined where you’re weak, you can now focus on building your strength up to get back out into the dating world. Understand, that the hardest part will be keeping that dating wall down and continuing to flow. Remember, all the work you did before will help you to stick to your guns and let love happen organically without inhibition.

Dating requires exploration of self first. Then, exploration of others. Both take action. You can’t sit around and simply be patient. This approach requires protectiveness.

Find your Mate

Start at your own pace but don’t move if you don’t feel ready.

Do not use, “I’m not ready,” as a crutch. .

Dating Woman with flag that says keep exploring
Photo Caption: Justin Luebke

You want a relationship and the only way to make that happen is to get out there. However, this is a process that you must feel your way through. Remember you took some time off, so dating today may feel unfamiliar to you.  People who rush in and aren’t ready, usually end up making bad decisions. Continue to build up your strength by going on a few dates. Be honest with who you’re dating from the beginning. Let them know where you are mentally and that you’re getting back out into the dating world after a hiatus. Demand patience from them. If they are genuine, they will understand and not pressure you.

And if they aren’t patient and understanding…Hit the road and cut the corner. You don’t need that in your life.

Continue this process until you are ready to choose the one.