By Pamela Margoshes
Special to The Washington Post
When it comes to dating and finding lasting love, says Basha Kaplan, a Naples, Fla., Psychologist and relationships expert, you find the right person by figuring out what your soul truly needs before you commit to someone. Dating can turn from dreadful to nearly delectable when you see it as a path to self-discovery. In fact, dating is daunting for so many men and women, says Kaplan, because they have been taught to do it superficially, solely from their “personalities”- what people project to the world – rather than their deeper needs. Kaplan calls it “mask dating and mating.”
“Date many people at the same time if you like. Just don’t gameplay.” Look for mateable, not just dateable. Dateable people,” says Kaplan, “are often fun and very skilled at seduction — but not at maintaining relationships. They may shower you with flowers, candy and attention and then never call back or offer emotional support when you have rough times.”
Don’t reveal everything about yourself in one gulp. Quality dating takes time. Test the emotional waters first. “When you meet someone new, reveal a “low-vulnerable,” Kaplan says, “like, ‘I hate Mondays.’ If the response is encouraging, proceed to a more ‘high–vulnerable’: ‘I feel depressed every Monday.’ “Reveal yourself at your own pace. The ability to share vulnerables is key to what Kaplan calls “emotional safety” with someone —creating the kind of “we” that frees up both of your individualities. Develop a romantic friend — not the greatest lover.
Know your non-negotiables, Kaplan says, what you will not do without in a relationship. Giving up personal preferences to “please” is the fastest way to sink a relationship. Be yourself. Don’t act in a relationship. Learn how to be alone – and to enjoy it. If you are genuine and real in life, good things will come to you. You’ll attract the kind of person you want. You just might meet your soul mate — in the process of meeting yourself.