There are multiple schools of thought when it comes to how to approach dating, but there are three of them that really stand out in my mind in my years covering the dating industry. Three common dating approaches I’ve observed are duty dating, circular dating and laser dating.
Duty dating is a term coined by Dr. Pat Allen, who is like the fairy godmother of relationships, to describe the distinction between dating for chemistry versus dating for compatibility. Regular dating is the way most people date, which based on chemistry and attraction. Duty dating is the way more people should date, which is based on practicing your dating and relational skills. The former is a superficial way to date whereas the latter provides an opportunity for natural chemistry to develop through compatibility. Basically, you’re dating someone you normally wouldn’t date, much less be attracted to, and you’re giving them at least three dates to grow on you before you decide if you want to move on, keep dating or just be friends.
Circular dating is a term coined by relationship expert Rori Raye. This term refers to the process of dating multiple people at the same time in order to maintain personal power in a relationship and boost self-esteem as a natural byproduct. The whole idea behind the concept is taking your focus away from finding “The One” so you can focus on being “The One” instead. The general idea here is to avoid laying all your eggs in one basket and getting your hopes up prematurely until you’ve at least had a mutual discussion on how you each define the relationship. This approach makes logical sense. If the person you really like isn’t making an effort to date you, but someone else you kind of like is putting in the time and the effort, then who are you going to take more seriously for a relationship? The person who shows up when it counts or the person who doesn’t show up at all? Those who give attention get attention!
Laser dating is a term I first heard by a relationship expert named Lauren Frances, aka The Flirt Fairy. Laser dating is the exact opposite of duty dating, which some may find to be quite exhausting, and involves only dating people who fit specific criteria you are looking for in a relationship partner. It’s about knowing what you want and not deterring from it for any reason, even if it means going on far less dates. The general idea is to focus on quality dates as opposed to a quantity of dates. I have yet to find any blog posts that talks about this approach to dating. I actually heard about in a brief teleseminar and the term stuck with me ever since.
The seemingly endless cycle of dating
So how do these three dating approaches add up in the grand scheme of love? Well, each of these approaches represent a sort of natural progression, or seemingly endless cycle, of dating. If you’re newly single for the first time in years, or have zero experience with dating, then “duty dating” is the perfect way to get your feet wet and practice interacting with potential suitors so that by the time you meet someone you actually like, you won’t screw it up. From there, you start picking out your favorites and you naturally progress to circular dating until one person steps up to DTR – (that’s define the relationship, in Millennial-speak, in case you were wondering). By the time that relationship starts falling apart before it ever properly began, you’ve become so jaded that laser dating becomes your only option… only, you’re going on way fewer dates and you’re a little out of practice and so you resolve to start the whole cycle of dating all over again by revisiting duty dating.
How do you generally approach dating? Have you ever found yourself in a similar cycle of dating? Leave a comment and share your thoughts so we can all learn and grow from each other.