Hollywood and social media paint a pretty picture of how dates and relationships start that many of us romanticize and fall for – and we might not even consciously realize this!
We start to get unrealistic expectations of how first dates or new romances should go – we want the “instant fireworks,” immediate passion, and fairytale type of love. These ideals shape our mindset on dating, primarily fueled by harmful ideas perpetuated by toxic websites and influencers. So it’s extra hard for Austin singles who’ve been through a lot of heartbreak and are feeling anxious. The truth is – it takes a match to start a flame, and you shouldn’t give up just because you didn’t feel an immediate love connection.
Everyone talks about “the spark,” but we’re talking about a match – a match doesn’t just light by itself; it takes effort to create a spark which then turns into a flame. In other words, we can’t simply expect magic to create unique connections in our dating life. Instead, we have to make a conscious effort. Also, sparks can be deceptive and aren’t necessarily indicative of a quality match – Some people are good at making many people feel a spark. Maybe they’re beautiful. Perhaps they’re best-in-class flirts. Sometimes the presence of a spark is more an indication of how charming someone is—or how narcissistic—and less a sign of a shared connection.
For Austin singles who have been through marriage and divorce, in and out of many long-term relationships, or feel like they’ve gone on endless dates, making a checklist and preparing topics can feel like an essential safety net to avoid wasting time. But our hyperfocus on being productive can cause us to miss the fundamental factors that make a person unique, compelling, or even a surprisingly good match. Just because someone doesn’t check all of our boxes doesn’t mean they don’t have something to offer that we’ve never thought of before. So, if you have a pleasant enough first date, try not to write someone off based on external factors – they may surprise you later, and sometimes the best relationships happen when you give someone a chance.
Speaking of attraction – research has demonstrated that your interest in others can grow over time. The “mere exposure effect” is a psychological phenomenon that states the more exposed you are to something you feel neutral about, the more likely you are to have positive feelings about it. Attraction can and does grow over time, so just because you don’t feel an initial magnetic attraction with someone now doesn’t mean you won’t get it in the future. Have you ever gone out with someone you thought was incredibly attractive but found later that they had a terrible personality and outlook? The reverse can be true of someone you’re not initially attracted to. Maybe you’re not instantly smitten with their looks, but their great sense of humor makes them extra attractive to you later.
Also, when you’re attracted to someone, you’re more likely to overlook red flags and signs that you’re incompatible with them. For example, you might give them a pass due to their looks. Instead, ask yourself – would you still even like them if they weren’t attractive? This question is telling. Due to nerves, you may also have difficulty being your authentic self in the beginning. As busy single people anxious to find love, sometimes we write people off if they act nervous – instead, try giving them a chance to build that flame with you.
In conclusion, when you’re not feeling an initial spark with someone, this can release some of that pressure and free you up to be your authentic self. As a result, a strong foundation can form between you and your date, ultimately leading to a strong relationship in the future.
BIO; Julia McCurley is a Professional Matchmaker , Relationship Coach and CEO of Something More, Austin's premier Matchmaking service She has been creating happy couples in Austin since 2009 and has helped hundreds of singles on their journey to finding love. . Her blogs have been published on the Huffington Post Good Men Project, She Knnws, Emlovz, and The Dating Truth. She also just published her first book, Game Set Match: A Professional Matchmaker's Advice on How to Win At the Game Of Love.