When I chat with singles about today’s dating scene, I usually hear a lot of complaints and frustrations. Women tell me about a lack of “good men” and negative experiences that include everything from false profiles to ghosting. Men tell me about their confusion and inability to read women or understand what women really want. It sounds almost hopeless.

When I dig a little deeper, I hear about another potential obstacle to the development of long-term relationships. There’s a lack of patience in the process. There seems to be a desire to find instant security through finding the “perfect” partner, the elusive Soul Mate.

It’s as though women expect to find the quick romance they see in movies, where you know in the first few scenes who’s the perfect partner.

On the other hand, many men are looking for a woman who’ll make them feel successful. She’ll be arm candy so that they can feel proud in front of their buddies. But, at the same time, many men feel intimidated by attractive and successful women.

It seems both man and women want to “know” on the first or second date, quick verification to feel certain they’ve found their Ideal Mate. They want to avoid the risk and vulnerability that’s inherent in the get-acquainted process. They don’t seem to have patience with exploring friendship to see if it might develop into a deeper connection. And yet, becoming friends is one of the stages of finding The One.

Brene’ Brown might say, the fear of being authentic, or allowing yourself to be truly seen for who you are, is the biggest obstacle to romance in the dating world today.

There is a tendency to produce a “perfect” profile, which will ideally attract every potential partner. Instead of celebrating unique individuality, online profiles tend to look remarkably similar.

To overcome fear, some singles attempt to reassure themselves about the “rightness” of their partner by using sexual chemistry as the barometer. It’s as thought people fall in lust with either a profile picture or a story they’ve created in their minds, about who this stranger “really” is. They don’t take time to know the person before jumping into instant intimacy. It’s no wonder they’re disappointed when they discover that the “stranger” is not a match to their fantasy.

It may seem old-fashioned, but sometimes, only through the slow process of getting acquainted, we recognize a great potential partner, in the friend we have made. Studies have shown a natural progression in successful mating behavior: getting acquainted becoming friends, and gradually, over months, opening to intimacy.

But, what can you do, if all the potential partners seem to expect instant intimacy? This is the time to be authentic, speak up, and say what you really want. Say it verbally and on your profile. It’s also an excellent time to be curious and get to how each other. Be open about your desire for true friendship first. Now that’s True Romance!

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