Making the switch from superficial to meaningful dating


We’re excited to introduce Sexologist and Relationship Expert Dr Nikki Goldstein to eharmony Advice where she will be sharing expert tips on all things love, dating and sex. In her first blog post, Dr Nikki encourages us to examine our ‘dating types’ and understand the difference between superficial and meaningful connections.

Some people see dating like a wish list to Santa. “I would like a man who is tall, dark, handsome, with piercing blue eyes, abs I could grate cheese on and a package I wouldn’t mind having delivered”. (Let’s face it, we have all said something along these lines before). We are encouraged from an early age to look at these external factors which generally help us develop a so called ‘type’. But where do these attributes come from? Movies, magazines and fairytales?

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One might like to think that as we get older we mature and grow out of a ‘type’ and move to focusing on real connections. But with the rise of swipe-dating where superficial external aspects are all we are judging someone on, no wonder so many daters are being left unsatisfied (in and out of the bedroom). Stereotypical good looks might feed the ego and at first be nice to look at the morning after, but what happens when there is no connection and an awkward silence over dinner because you have nothing in common? How good looking does someone have to be for awkward silence to be ok? Is it then worth the bragging rights to your friends even if boredom kicks in? We all want to feel attracted to someone but on what level? Superficial attraction is usually short-lived but a deeper level of attraction and a connection is what will make a relationship last and sparks fly.

This list of desired traits we hold as our ‘ideal type’ has often never been challenged, except when we fall for the person our parents wouldn’t approve of, but then sometimes that’s probably your type for that very reason. They have been there so long that they become ingrained in our subconscious. If those traits are things that have crept in with no validity and turned into automatic thoughts, can you be truly satisfied if you choose someone based on these?

So if you decide you want to, how do you challenge this wish list? First, write a list of all the physical attributes that you desire in a partner (abs and all). Next to that list have two columns; one where you write why you desire that attribute in a person and another where you write where you got the idea of that attribute from.

In a separate column, write down a list of non-physical attributes that make up your desired date. These could be things such as a particular job, a sense of humour or even a religion. Even though these are not physical attributes, some of these can still be considered superficial, especially if we are talking about a particular job or earning capability. Hopefully when this is all written out in front of you, it will begin to make sense and start the process of challenging yourself on why you have chosen certain characteristics as your ‘type’. What are the reasons you have developed these desired attributes and do you think these reasons are good enough for them to stay?

If you want to take things one step further, you could form a list of desired attributes in a person that have to do with feelings rather than anything external and superficial. How do you want someone to make you feel and what types of traits do you want to see in their personality? This will help create connections based on more than just superficiality and writing them down will bring your focus to them.

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It’s important to be attracted to someone and to desire them, but it’s also important to reassess how you are attracted to them so you create meaningful connections rather than short-lived superficial ones.

Have you made the switch from superficial to meaningful dating? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.

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