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Lesbian Dating: EQ and Self-Regulation

13 Jul Posted by in • Dr. Glenda Corwin | Comments Off on Lesbian Dating: EQ and Self-Regulation
Lesbian Dating: EQ and Self-Regulation

“Self-regulation” often has a negative connotation. We think it means acting nice and controlled, keeping ourselves under wraps, not letting our real feelings show. How do we get to know the real person? And how does this relate to emotionally intelligent dating?

Emotional self-regulation means the ability to recognize and manage emotions appropriately. Dating definitely brings up emotions! Some good, some bad, all of them important to manage, because if you don’t, you can wind up doing things that you may later regret.

For example, you meet someone for the first time in person, after chatting online for awhile. You’re anxious and excited, with these questions rolling around in your head. What if one or both of us doesn’t feel any click, or attraction? Or, what if she’s the One I’ve been waiting for? Then you meet her, and things get awkward. You feel instantly disappointed, but she is acting like she’s excited and wants to see more of you. Both of you will have some emotions to manage.

Some regrettable actions could ensue. You may walk out after 5 minutes, saying “I’m not attracted to you, so why waste time.” Yes, you are expressing your feelings, but rather rudely. Would you like it if she did this to you? Do you know how to have conversations with someone you don’t want to date? You can just be curious about her, maybe even share some experiences being in the dating world. She’s another woman, like you, who deserves your respect because you’re both trying something difficult. Being abrupt to “save some time” just isn’t good karma.

On the other hand, positive emotions also need a little managing. Let’s say you immediately like this woman, and start fantasizing about your future life together. These feelings of joy and excitement are great–until they lead you into another kind of regrettable action. You may go home and sleep with her, and the rush of oxytocin convinces you that she is The One. You communicate this to her, and she reciprocates and you are now officially in a committed relationship with someone you just met a few hours ago. You may regret this later, when you learn more about what she’s like when she’s not on a date.

Even more regrettably, one of you may decide that your emotions are so strong that you must act on them, regardless of what the other wants. If she’s not that into you, you could keep calling or texting 24/7 to persuade her that she really does want you. Then, if that doesn’t work you may become furious, and try to sneak up on her to harass her, or vandalize her car, or post nasty things about her on social media. None of these actions will get the desired results.

Stepping into the world of dating guarantees some strong feelings will come up, and sadly, most of them will be negative. So it’s a good idea to decide ahead of time how you want to handle them. Walking out, angry outbursts, stalking, harassing, drinking, drugging, shutting down completely –all these are ways of coping with bad feelings like hurt or disappointment or irritation. These ways are not appealing to women who prefer to be treated with some respect and courtesy. Those women would prefer a simple, “I don’t feel a strong connection with you, but thanks for getting together and best wishes going forward.”

I think we’ve gone a little too far on the side of “I must express my real feelings.” Yes, it’s important to express your real feelings to someone you love, or like a lot, or want to feel closer to. But if you don’t, why do it? It doesn’t benefit you, or them. What does benefit everyone is to pay attention to your emotional responses to someone, and see where that guides you. If it’s toward the door, leave courteously. If it’s toward her, ask her for a second date. And say thanks to your own emotional intelligence!

Glenda Corwin, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and author of Sexual Intimacy for Women: A Guide for Same-Sex Couples. In addition to sessions in her private practice, she offers consultation and online programs for couples. For more information, please visit her website at www.DrGlendaCorwin.com

 

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