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Understanding Dating

Tips and insights from Dating Coach Iren


The rules of the dating game have changed for everyone. And that’s no news. Throughout the years I have conducted regular dating workshops and seminars as well as one on one consultations to help singles better understand dating, and this experience, in turn, has given me a lot of insight into the most important clues to attracting a great mate.

If you're single, in your fifties, and coming out of a relationship that lasted many years, you may wonder if this is the same world it was when you were dating in your twenties. If you’re in your thirties or forties and have been dating on and off for a while, you must have noticed how difficult this game has become in the last few years. And if you're in your twenties perhaps you date by new rules, but are you aware of the old roles?

Ahaa, big question! The new power that modern society has yielded to women, and the equal opportunities that have been opened to them, have helped a lot of women make tremendous progress in their professional life. But many women are bewildered by the numerous possibilities they now face to exercise their emerging confidence, independence and assertiveness. In their social life, and especially in their relationships with men, many women feel confused and unsatisfied.

Men - traditionally the pursuers - are perplexed, too. In today’s world courtship is disgraced and women are often the pursuers. Men in the new dating game feel more like the hunted than the hunters, and at the mercy of a new genre of super-women they don’t know how to deal with. Today’s men don’t understand what is expected of them, and therefore they are finding the ritual of dating confusing and to some degree threatening. Many believe that they have become more mature about relationships than some women are.

What we have been witnessing in the last few decades, which is only now becoming evident, can be best defined as an increasing confusion in gender role preferences. In the 90’s and 2000’s, I talked about confusion in gender role perception. But in the last decade as confusion has deepened due to the ever-growing uncertainty about dating roles and rules, single people are not even sure what their own preferences are anymore. In dating, a lot of women show drive and initiative (traditionally identified as male behaviour), and a lot of men have become passive (a previously considered women's behaviour in dating). These relatively new practices have not made people happier; they just added frustration.

The confusion is also expressed in our language. The term dating in this context used to describe a stage in a relationship when two people were getting to know each other and trying to figure out if, beyond attraction, they could also be suitable for each other. They mostly dated exclusively, with the goal to tie the knot down the road, if they felt positive about the relationship. In the days where marriage and family were the desired outcome of dating, the process of dating was clear to both genders, and each gender knew what to expect, and how to behave in order to achieve their goals.

Today, the word "dating" itself is ambiguous. You can date someone “seriously” and you can “just date” … If you date “seriously” you are usually (but not always) seeing someone (not necessarily exclusively) with the goal of finding out whether they could make a good mate eventually. If you “just date”, you could be seeing several people simultaneously, or you are dating for fun, but do not wish to be in a committed relationship. People perceive dating in even more ways than the above. In a study I conducted in the early 2000 I offered 6 definitions for dating to choose from, and although most people were divided between two or three options, each of the six options appealed to a certain number of people. Well, if people perceive dating so differently, how can they possibly expect a successful outcome?!

Modern life has brought an overwhelming array of choices in every field of our life and left many people unable to take action because determining what constitutes a right choice has become a tremendous challenge. In dating this means people will keep looking even though they don’t often really know what they’re looking for! Case in point: The Internet seems to offer an endless number of potential mates, so most people keep looking, thinking there are always more opportunities to meet someone (better)… Instead of focusing on finding, they focus on searching; instead of dating one person exclusively until they know if it works or not, they continuously go out on simultaneous short lived dates, unable to determine which one person could be the right one, because there is always a replacement.

There are two main reasons why today’s single people can’t find their mates:

A. They are not sure if they want to remain single or not, or they want to enjoy both worlds; so, they oscillate between the two options intermittently.

B. If they do have an idea of what they want, they have no clue how to get it, because:

a. They have not identified their gender role preferences

b. They don’t understand the dating process and therefore cannot use it properly to get what they want.

As a dating coach, I work with clients to first help them define their dating role preferences, and establish their relationship goals. I help them understand the big picture. I then guide them on how to find what they want within the context of their goals and preferences.

The changes in gender roles, that we have been witnessing in the last few decades, are unlikely to officially revert to traditional patterns again because the world is moving forward. Today's life offers a huge variety that has resulted in confusion, and we need to learn how to choose cleverly. This is why it is now more important than ever to understand who you really want to be, both, as an individual, and as part of a relationship; and which role you you are inclined to play in order to find your right mate. Adjustments will definitely be needed, as well as the re-nurturing skills we might have lost. Like in the animal kingdom, only those who adapt will survive. Our advantage as human beings is that we could survive really well, if understand the changes our society has gone through, and if we take steps to rectify a situation, using resources that are available to us.

All Rights Reserved ®

Irene Yarkoni is the owner of The Single Option, a company catering for singles since 1995. In 2000 Irene has introduced in Canada Spin Dating and in 2002 Spin Dating Marathons. Since 2001 Irene has been coaching singles on how to find a mate.

Her contact info is: Tel. (613) 596-6533, Email: Web site:


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