Dating, Spring, + New Beginnings.

yellow flowers

First of all, I know I owe you guys a dating post. It’s a long one to write, and the inclusivity post took over my week a bit, and in the scheme of priorities, that was a lot more important. Also real talk: I’ve been so busy with the blog and podcast that I’ve barely been sleeping, let alone thinking about guys or going out on dates. But it’s coming. In the meantime, guess what!? CLARA is back! If you are new here, Clara is our sometimes dating contributor. She wrote a series os dating related posts for us this Fall.. talking about setting boundaries, meeting people in person, and even answering a bunch of your dating related questions.

Hey gals! First off, I must thank so many of you who reached out expressing gratitude and interest in the previous column. I’m super excited to be bringing it back to the Stripe and most of all, so happy it’s resonating!

When Grace and I were sorting out the schedule for the second round of guest posting, I had no intention of it kicking off right around the start of spring — but I’m so glad it did. I was recently deeply struck by one of Mari Andrew’s posts (aren’t we all…) that had me feeling all the feels around the arrival of spring and dating. She writes:

The tacit wistfulness of spring’s beginning:

The focus on the new without knowing quite where to place the old.

That last part hit my heart, hard. Romantically speaking, my 2019 has been off to a rough start. And while I’ve implemented all my self-care tools (hello daily yoga, meditation, and a few more cookies than usual…), to rest and rejuvenate, I’m still struggling a bit with not “knowing quite where to place the old.”

Breakups aside, this happens all the time in dating, too. The desire and resilience to keep going, moved forward, not get mired in the bullshit that is the digital age….but then also, the bullshit. It adds up! People, despite their best intentions, can be careless and cruel, and as much as we can separate ourselves from the situation it still hurts.

When it comes to dating, how do we process something fully (even if it was just a few dates) without letting it weigh us down perpetually? How to we find that sweet spot between moving on but not forcing our heads and hearts to get there? (Note: for my coupled folks, the same applies to pretty much any emotionally challenging situation in life :)).

Somewhat selfishly, I’ve been doing some research. Over the past few months I’ve been using myself as a test subject of sorts to find that sweet spot. Here’s what I’ve learned:

one //

The arrival of spring, the moon doing something that should make us all feel this massive sense of renewal— even though I actually drink all the kool-aid for those things and love it, when the spring equinox hit last week my body said “Your spring starts in April.” It was like this tiny, quiet knowing that popped up and gave me permission to not force any sense of new beginnings based on forces outside of me. But, BUT, also gave me insight into when I would be ready. And not so ironically, the way I’m feeling mentally and emotionally, plus the timing of some work projects, really had April 1st nailed as a fresh start for me.

Now, it is the first of the month, first of the second quarter (if you came from a sales/marketing world), so it does feel like another natural start of spring, but the thing that matters most is I went through the process of naming it for myself. Yep, me. If you find yourself feeling apprehensive about the start of spring, I grant you full on permission to name.your.date. Maybe it’s after tax season…Easter…maybe it’s MAY. You choose.

two //

Did you notice how my body told me something? Yep, my body. The older I get, the more she becomes my bestie. The more she pushes through as my internal guide. Ironically, I haven’t been treating her aaaaallll that well when it comes to food.  But what I have been doing is moving her everyday in a way that feels right. Not forcing myself to lift or hit a spin class if it doesn’t resonate. Instead, lots of walks and yoga, and hell of a lot of breathing. What’s been coming up physically for me is a need to rinse — rinse myself of the experiences  and emotions of the past few months, not as a way to override them, but rather make space for something new. New energy, new connections, new endeavors. If you were to view exercise as a way to prompt renewal, what would your body tell you?

three //

At the same time, I’ve been moving a lot more slowly. Not specifically in exercise actually (those have been some rigorous powerflows), but in my day to day. My coach advised me last year to practice “moving at the pace of nature.” So if we think about the pace at which a flower blooms, seasons change, places or people from our past shift in meaning or purpose…how can we slow it all down? If that’s all sounding a little woo woo, don’t worry, because how I implement it is actually very straightforward. I focus on walking more slowly around my home. Not constantly have music, a podcast, an audio book or something pumping through my ears and instead, taking in content at a slower pace. Shifting the narrative around a work project — acknowledging the amazing progress versus immediately thinking “Why isn’t this moving faster????”

The beauty of the above three steps, in dating and beyond, is you are your own compass. You decide what the right approach is. And the issue itself doesn’t matter — could be a massive breakup, a really awkward first date or a decision to take a break from a particular app. It’s more about strengthening that internal muscle to lead your love life from a place of peace, inner knowing and  self trust.

Whenever your spring starts, may it be filled with an incredible renewal.

I hope all of this was helpful! I work with women all over the world, so if you’re interested in dating and relationships support, feel free to explore a complimentary session with me or shoot me a message on Instagram. Dating can be hard, but not as hard as you think.

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Comments

  1. Hey Clara, great post! Spring is a time of new beginnings for sure! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Marta says 3.29.19

    Very helpful post indeed. I didn’t know I needed to read this but I’m happy I did, made me think about a few things.

  3. cy says 3.29.19

    I have a question as I have been out of the dating loop for a bit. I met a guy in Yoga class today, who asked me for coffee, but didn’t buy mine. I’m definitely old fashioned, I really like a gentleman, I know they are rare in America anyway. I thought at least, he asked, so shouldn’t he pay?
    Thanks for this post Grace and Clara, good timing!

    • Clara Artschwager says 3.30.19

      Hi CY! Great, great question. Money and paying is *such* a complicated topic these days. Without knowing too much about the scenario, here are a couple things I’d recommend: 1) Reframe your narrative about being “old fashioned”! There’s no shame in that! It’s simply how you like to be courted. When we’re just getting to know someone, offering to pay shows generosity, care and kindness. The amount doesn’t matter —it’s all about the gesture. 2) Because he didn’t pay in this scenario, I’m wondering if he viewed it more as a platonic coffee? I gather you’re not entirely sure either….sooo 3) Give it another go, i.e. another date, and don’t even make a move to take out your wallet. If he still doesn’t offer to pay, you don’t have to write him off, you just have to gingerly communicate how you want to be courted, something like “This feels a little awkward to say! But early on in dating, I appreciated being treated. It’s not about someone spending a lot of money on me, it reflects generosity, something I’m really looking for in someone I’m dating and ultimately a partner.” Feel free to wordsmith that how you see fit! Also keep in mind that nowadays, men are a bit confused about the whole paying thing. Some are concerned it comes across as domineering, old-fashioned in a bad way – they often aren’t sure! I say all of this simply to show how communication in dating is super complicated and this types of occurrences are TOTALLY normal. Good luck!

      • cy says 3.30.19

        Thank you. Yes, Grace I think you are right. It was just a impromptu after class and not a formal date. He has been very sweet and communicative about wanting to see me again and picking a place, etc.
        I think he was nervous and yes probably wasn’t sure. I do think the person who asks , intends to pay, but again it wasn’t a regular date.

      • cy says 3.30.19

        Clara, you are so sweet, this is very helpful. He obviously wants to see me again and has been in communication since our impromptu coffee “date”. I love how you are encouraging being clear about how one wants to be courted. Everyone is different. I’m big on courtesy and manners, they seem to be disappearing . I work at a huge hotel with travelers from all over the world and sadly, Americans are some of the most impatient , rude people. It’s cultural for sure. My job has made me Ulta polite and also I was raised that way. For me its more about being gracious to your fellow humans, but yes also shows kindness and generosity. My personal experience is that if people are cheap it usually shows in all areas of their lives and that is a deal breaker for me.
        I do think men are confused now. I know some women can be very offended by “gentlemanly “ behavior. This was really helpful and i will let myneeds be known. Yay!

        • Clara Artschwager says 4.10.19

          Yes! This all makes sense and is soooo helpful. Your upbringing/experience is what I refer to as your “dating lens,” it’s the reference by which you’re taking in romantic experiences (i.e. men you’re attracted to, the actual dates, the interactions following the dates, etc.). There is no “right” dating lens, the only thing that matter is knowing yours. And you do! Now it’s just a matter of communicating your needs –i.e. how you want to courted– and you’re leading with clarity and thoughtful communication. Easier said than done, but you’re doing beautifully :). xx

      • cy says 3.30.19

        I’m pretty certain it isn’t platonic, he’s very anxious to get together again soon 🙂

        • grace at the stripe says 3.30.19

          Cy you are going to have to keep us posted! I am excited to hear how your next get together goes. I have a feeling he probably felt confused!

          • cy says 4.1.19

            We are trying to coordinate a next date. I’ll let you know!

    • grace at the stripe says 3.30.19

      Hi Cy!
      I’ll be curious about Clara’s take but I don’t know… was it a casual coffee right after class, or was it a separate date? I personally never assume the guy should pay but we are all different, I just think that maybe if it was a coffee after class he might have felt strange paying for you.

  4. Lisa Autumn says 3.30.19

    YAY Happy spring lovely!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  5. Sandra says 3.30.19

    What a beautiful time such as this for me. I love this article. I am starting all new this season of NEW BEGINNINGS. On my journey in new friendships, and, dating. This is definitely my 2019 year in Spring of many new beginnings. Thank you for this article. It really gave me a new perspective of just that: New Beginnings.

  6. Steph says 3.30.19

    Your timing is spot on. I’ve set April 1st as sort of a spring/new challenges/fresh start date after crushing some heavy personal goals this winter. Love your emphasis on listening to your body and being aware of what that looks like in each season. Practicing this has really brought more mindfulness and connection for me.

    xx Steph

  7. Liza in Ann Arbor says 3.30.19

    I love this. And I need it. My relationship of 19 years broke up suddenly in february when my boyfriend told me he had become a Muslim (behind my back) and was entering an arranged marriage with a rich surgeon two states away! And now he’s married to a stranger he literally met two weeks prior. Talk about drama. I could not make this up if I tried in my wildest dreams. It’s been VERY HARD to accept but the arrival of spring is helping ever so slowly. And now, back to the dating pool I go after two decades out. Online dating didn’t even exist last time I was single.

    • grace at the stripe says 3.31.19

      Oh Liza, I am so sorry that happened to you!!!! That is absolutely awful. Sending a big hug from Brooklyn.

    • Clara Artschwager says 4.10.19

      Liza – my heart goes out to. I am so incredibly sorry for this challenge you’re facing. I’m a deep, deep believer that everyone (absolutely everyone) is our teacher, and comes into our life for a reason. Be ever so kind with yourself post breakup and give yourself ALL the space you need before getting back into dating. So much love to you. xx

  8. Natmari’s Corner says 4.1.19

    Such a great post! I agree as I got older my body tells me things. Also, I’m working on moving slower and I look to every 1st of the month as a new beginning. And it is amazing when the 1st of the month starts on a Monday.

    • Couldn’t agree more!

    • Clara Artschwager says 4.8.19

      Nothing makes me happier than to hear when someone is learning to trust their body and give themselves the much needed permission to sloooow down :). xx