The dating advice book landscape is a well saturated one. Many overpromise and under deliver, often suggesting cloying tactics and 'rules' that don't make sense in today's murky singles scene. Which is why Kelly Seal's Date Expectations is such a breath of fresh air.
As its title suggests, Date Expectations is about how what we expect from dates and prospective partners affects how our relationships unfold. What makes this book especially useful for singles who are thirtysomething is it's written with an understanding of how dating changes as you get older--with the candor and insight of someone who is well acquainted with the ups and downs of it.
Seal writes candidly about what she went through on the road to finding her mate. She also shares very relatable stories of various singles, offering practical strategies in an accessible, engaging tone that makes it easy to see the wisdom of her advice. Quizzes and multiple choice scenarios peppered throughout the book support Seal's primary theme: letting go of rigid expectations and past disappointments is essential to moving forward in your love life. Seal delivers on the book's promise of providing a road map for doing just that and making a fresh start.
She took time to answer a few questions for Examiner.com about breathing some new energy into your love life.
What's the best way to check your emotional baggage at the door, particularly if you’re dealing with dating fatigue?
KS: All of us get down from time to time, especially if we have been dating for a while. That's okay. I think a time-out is good to collect your thoughts, do things you love, and get back to a more positive and open place emotionally, especially if you have been through a recent break-up, or you've had a string of bad dates. It's all about energy and connection when it comes to dating...that is what attraction is based on. If you are too tired to get excited about anyone you're meeting, you need to recharge. Find a new hobby, explore a new place, do something that gets you excited again. Then go back to dating.
Why is letting go of control and fairytale expectations important to do that and how did that impact your own search for love?
KS: I held onto the idea of my ideal guy for a long time. I thought he would be a reward for my patience in enduring all those years of dating! But I realized I was making myself miserable in the process, and having no fun with dating - so I didn't leave room for anything magical to happen. When I let go, it was almost a relief. Finally I didn't feel the pressure to meet "the one." And that's when the type of men I was meeting changed. It seemed that the moment I shifted my perspective - even just a little - my whole world changed.
In the book, you write about examining whether your career and love life are compatible. What is your advice for accomplishing this?
KS: This is a tough one, especially for those of us who are ambitious and want to pursue our ambitions no matter what. There is always a give and take when it comes to balancing personal and professional goals. The question you have to ask yourself is: do I really need to be at work late every night, or am I avoiding my personal life to some degree? If you put all of your focus on work now, and leave your love life for later when it's more "convenient," or when you have time, then you will miss great opportunities. Timing in life is never what we expect, so we have to be ready to embrace opportunities in both business and love. Mark your dates in the calendar and don't cancel. Take at least one day every weekend off. Everyone deserves a life outside of work, but you also have to claim it.
How can embracing where you are in your life right now affect your ability to attract the right relationship?
KS: If we are living in the past, we live in regret or guilt or anger - negative emotions that bring us down. If we live in the future, then we are anxious and hoping -- we are never content because we are wanting. But if we take things one step at a time, look around and see everything around us right now that we do have - it makes a huge difference in our perspective.
Take the time to list all the things you are grateful for right now. Again, it shifts your perspective, which in turn helps you see others differently. Our eyes are open to more opportunities - maybe the guy you see on the subway every day but never gave a second thought is actually an amazing, interesting, thoughtful guy. You just hadn't seen it before, because you weren't paying attention. When you're embracing who you are right now, you attract the kind of people who resonate with you, which means you're more likely to attract the right relationship, too.