One of the biggest complaints I hear about dating as a love coach is the amount of games involved when seeing someone. I understand the complaint and I used to have a similar one even though I was out there playing all sorts of game too. Now, I recognizes games are useless and not needed. What is sorely need in place of games is radical vulnerability and boundaries. What’s the difference? Glad you asked!
Games are withholding communication or action to achieve a desired outcome. Games in dating are actually manipulation. Men and women are equally at fault for this. In fact, I would say most women do not realize how manipulative they can be and wouldn’t own it. Anytime you’re with holding communication or taking action or withholding action to create a desired outcome it’s manipulation. I’ll give a personal example. A long, long time ago, I was at a guy’s house. We were in a huge fight and I wanted him to realize he was wrong, I was right and beg for my forgiveness. I amped up my dramatics and then proceeded to storm out of his house, door slamming behind me and all. I waited in the hall for him to run after me and beg for forgiveness and nothing happened. My manipulation didn’t work! But, it was manipulation that I was using.
Radical vulnerability and boundaries are much different. Although they will at times have a similar outcome. Using the above example, using radical vulnerability, I would have been completely honest about what I was needing/wanting from the guy. I then would have listened to him tell me he couldn’t/didn’t want to give me those things. I would have then calmly left his apartment, not looked back and begun the work on healing. Similar outcome in both scenarios- I left. But, much different energies behind them. Radical vulnerability— and I’m calling it radical because it’s a radical statement when humans are vulnerable— is about sharing your truth with your partner or potential partner without any expectation in their response. If you’re sharing a “truth” to make the person feel something, that is manipulation and not vulnerability.
Combining boundaries with vulnerability is when powerful shifts begin to happen and you realize you’ve stepped into your worth. Boundaries are incredibly important to dating and living in general. Boundaries are how we show other humans how to treat us and how we show the Universe how much we are in our worth. Boundaries are best explained using examples so I’ll use them to explain. Again, these examples might look like “games” on the surface but the energetics behind them is 100% different. When I was figuring out my boundaries in online dating, Lacy, helped me put one in place in regards to a first meet up with a dude. She said if they don’t confirm with you 24 hours before, you don’t go. This was nerve racking for me because my previous low self worth meant that I was fearful if I said no, I would be missing out on a great love. Or the guy would think I was “high maintenance” or a bitch. First, a great love does not keep you guessing! Let me repeat…
Great love will always be easy to navigate and let you know what’s what. And if a dude thinks you’re high maintenance or a bitch for having boundaries? GOODBYE! No one has time for that. Anyway, I was nervous. However, I felt ready to apply this boundary because I was ready to step into my worth. I had a first meet up with a guy and he had thrown out we would meet up on a Sunday. Saturday I didn’t hear from all day so, I made up my mind, I wasn’t going to meet up with him and I made other plans. Period. He texted me 3 hours before the meet up to see if I was still in. This is pure laziness and again, I didn’t (and don’t) have time for it. I texted back that because I hadn’t heard back the day before I had assumed we weren’t meeting up and had made other plans. He responded, “oh okay, no problem”. I never heard from him again and I saved myself from a situation that was going nowhere. My boundary (and my vulnerability of sharing why I wouldn’t meet up with him) told me, this other human and the Universe that I value my time and I won’t hang out with someone who doesn’t. Boundaries show your deep love and respect of yourself. This allows you to offer those things to others and call in people who feel the same about themselves and thus can treat you with the same reverence.
The first step to beginning to shift from using manipulation or “games” is to recognize where you’ve used manipulation. Take your last three dating experiences and journal any instances you withheld communication or action to create a response, feeling or action in your partner. Be honest! It’s tough when we start to look at ourselves honestly but, it’s what creates the most growth. After you find the examples, journal out how you could have used radical vulnerability and boundaries instead. Important note— do not beat yourself up about using manipulation. We do the best we can with what we know. We are not taught boundaries or radical vulnerability. You’re learning now and that’s what counts! Pat yourself on the back for creating change inside yourself and learn from your past. The really beautiful thing is the more you practice radical vulnerability and boundaries, the less you will attract people who use manipulation. Like attracts like. And that’s when dating get’s fun!
Next step, create boundaries for yourself. Stick to them! Sticking to them does require that you feel worthy of having said boundaries. If you feel a lot coming up around creating them break out your journal. Why do you feel triggered by creating this boundary? What is your fear? Is it true? Our triggers are always an opportunity for growth. I think of mine as little white flags my subconscious waves at me to show me where additional healing is needed. Oh! And Lacy is actually doing a whole month on triggers! Check it out here.
Alright, let’s all vow to be more vulnerable, open and create strong boundaries for ourselves. Right? Right!
If you’re feeling stuck around vulnerability or creating boundaries, I look forward to connecting over a session.