Trusting Your Date
Trusting Your Date
Dating new people is always going to be an exercise in trust. Whatever the reason why you’re dating you’re going to have to at some point trust the person you’re seeing. You’re going to have to let them in one way or another whether that is into your home, your heart, or even just into your DMs. At some point you’ll probably have a conversation with them, and they will offer up their perspective on life. You will get an insight into the world they live in, and it will be a different perspective than the one that you have. You already trust them enough to let them in, and you shouldn’t stop there.
[Alt. Text Description: A man and a woman walk along a cobblestone path with leaves on the ground. They are talking, holding hands, and drinking coffee]
[Image from Pexels.com]
One of the most quoted sentiments about dating, and bad dates comes from Canadian Margaret Atwood. She writes that on a blind date “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” This is a perspective difference because of the lived experiences that women have as women. While some men might be aware of the way that women live at risk for violence from men, women are way more likely to have this perspective because they live as women and have probably experienced some kind of violence like sexual harassment, catcalling, or sexual assault. This kind of perspective and knowledge you get from being a certain kind of person is called situated experience or knowledge.
How does this affect your dates?
It means a few things:
- Sometimes you’re just supposed to sit back and listen.
Since dating is such a vulnerable experience, it’s even more important than it is to listen to your date’s experiences, especially if those experiences come from their lived experience as a marginalized person. If your date is a woman and you are a man, don’t tell her that her experience with sexual harassament is generalizing because #NotAllMen. If your date is a Black person, maybe don’t respond to their experiences of police profiling or brutality at BLM protests with #AllLivesMatter rhetoric. First, it’s probably not gonna get you a second date. Second, it’s silencing, and silencing people who are talking from their experience of marginalization is harmful. We should never go into a date wanting to harm someone, and sitting back and listening is always an easy alternative to interjecting.
- Trust is a foundation
If you can’t trust your date when it comes to their experiences, how are you going to trust them when it comes to anything else? Whether or not their experience rings true to what you know, taking the first step to trusting what they tell you is going to be make-or-break to the future of your relationship. After all, if you can’t trust them about things that have nothing to do with you personally, how are you going to trust them when it comes to the big, personal relationship issues like fidelity, future goals, and boundaries? Making a decision to trust or not to trust your potential partner happens very early on and this can be one of the big ways it comes up. Maybe what they are saying seems totally crazy to you, but even still, this gives you the opportunity to decide “no thanks, this person isn’t for me.” You don’t have to announce that straight-up, just say no the next time they ask you out, or don’t bother to ask them out again. Either way, now you know.
- Trust goes both ways
When you trust your date, especially when your date is speaking from an experience of marginalization, you are showing yourself to be an open and trustworthy person. This makes them more likely to share all the important stuff in the future, and to also see you as a person that can be trusted. This means that when you share things, you are also more likely to be believed. When we are believed, this allows us to open up and be more vulnerable with one another. This vulnerability leads to intimacy and healing that is not possible if we keep everything all bottled up.
- You might learn something
Even if the date doesn’t end up working out, trusting your date costs you basically nothing and you might learn something along the way. Learning more about the experiences and perspectives of others makes us more competent, emotionally intelligent people. Even if that knowledge doesn’t lead to a lifetime love affair, learning and growing can help you be better prepared for your next date, and more willing and able to consider perspectives outside of your own. Practicing your listening skills and trusting others when they are speaking about their own experiences is always useful even if you’re not practicing with the right person… yet.
Here at Mate Machine, we are committed to helping you find your perfect mate.
MateMachine is a Vancouver-based Technology start-up that has invented a unique secret crush search engine that can be used for connecting with the ones that we already know and have hidden feelings for. This happens through a unique and innovative search engine and is usable by anyone.
This work was supported by Mitacs through the Mitacs Business Strategy Internship.