When we go out on a first date, we’re all hoping to experience that instant spark.
When we go out on a first date, we’re all hoping to experience that instant spark, the kind that makes our hearts pound, takes our breath away, and causes us to feel as giddy as teenagers. Everyone knows that this is the way all great romances start, right? Wrong. While physical attraction is an essential part of a romantic relationship, we tend to place way too much importance on it, overlooking another equally or even more important ingredient: emotional attraction.
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In my upcoming book, “Naked Dating,” I explore the importance of making an emotional connection from the very first date. An emotional connection is the glue that holds a relationship together. Without it, physical attraction fades and most relationships eventually fall apart.
So, what exactly is an emotional connection? Let’s break it down. Emotions are feelings like anger, sorrow, jealousy, insecurity, joy, or love. A connection is a bond or a link, in this case between two people. An emotional connection is when two people share their innermost feelings to create a bond with one another. When the emotional connection is positive, we feel safe opening our hearts and sharing vulnerable parts ourselves with our date. This is what I call getting emotionally naked. Knowing how to open up at this level is what makes a date unforgettable. As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The biggest mistake we make in dating is that we fail to be real and emotionally honest from the start. I know it sounds risky to open up and share at this level with another person, especially a stranger and especially on a first date, but this is exactly what I am suggesting that you do. Over the past ten years, I have listened to clients complain that the people they are meeting are not emotionally available. After coaching with me, these same clients see that they are also emotionally unavailable. They realize that, as they’ve gotten older and experienced more failures and disappointments in their relationships, their hearts have become more closed and it has become harder and harder for them to connect.
It is extremely important that you don’t just show up on your dates and wing it, hoping for an emotional connection to just happen. Opening your heart and getting real doesn’t come naturally or easily to most people. Besides, how can your soul mate recognize you if you’re hiding behind masks and facades, afraid to show your true self? In order to feel comfortable letting down your walls, you are going to need to practice. This means going out on dates and learning, little by little, how to take off your emotional clothes with a stranger. If you do this, you will already know how to get emotionally naked and leave an impression that will make your soul mate stick around for a lifetime.
Stay tuned! In my next blog post, I will give you some simple ways to start stripping away your emotional armor so you can begin to make a lasting impact on your dates.
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Lisa Shield, MA, CPCC
Transformational Dating and Relationship Coach