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Keeping a Dating Diary: Write From the Heart
by Colleen M. Flanagan


Jana began writing in a dating journal to express the passion that overwhelmed her after meeting Rick via her online ad. The 31-year old self-professed "incurable romantic" realized that her diary, unlike her family and friends, never grew weary of hearing about the emotional roller coaster ride of her new relationship.

When Rick and Jana broke up after five months, she paged through the notebook to find a clue as to what happened. "As I reread my daily entries, I saw how those pesky 'lust goggles' blinded me to reality. Our long-term goals and values were incompatible. Rick told me he was newly divorced, he didn't want love or commitment, only fun. I wanted to settle down. I thought I could get him to change his mind. Boy, was I wrong! I'd written down all the warning signs but saw them as challenges."

Each day after the breakup, Jana dumped her negative thoughts on paper and recorded her emotional healing progress. "When I could drive by our favorite restaurant and not feel upset, I knew I was ready to try again." She composed a list of prospective dates' "must have" traits as well as characteristics that she would never tolerate. She then posted a new online ad. "I added lots of details about who I am and what I want. I'm serious about meeting Mr. Right and I'm not wasting my time with incompatible guys, no matter how hot they look!"

Relationships, good or bad, are our teachers. What better way to learn about yourself than by recording your thoughts on everyday life? Singles who are serious about starting a long term relationship may find that journaling is the key to staying on track in their quest.

From World Leaders to Online Daters

Many world leaders and all American presidents kept a diary, but few had such an array of journaling media options. You can log your thoughts via PC software packages, audio and video recordings or the presidential favorite: old-fashioned paper and pen. Each has pros and cons. If you keep a paper journal you can include dating keepsakes such as greeting cards, cartoons, dried flowers or ticket stubs and you can take it anywhere. Writing to a password-protected document on your PC may be preferred if you share your computer with family or roommates. Audio and video tapes work well for people who hate to write. Try them all to decide which works best for you. Diaries in any form can be destroyed if you become famous and hounded by the paparazzi, or married with kids.

Writing about Mr. or Ms. Right

Many singles spend more time defining their requirements for a new vehicle or house than a new mate. If you don’t understand your needs before you embark upon the search for a long term relationship, you may end up in painful arguments with a lover with radically opposite values.

Don't know what you want? Consider what makes you get on your soapbox and preach. What are your pet peeves, your preferences on political parties, religion, finances, childrearing, abortion rights, relationship styles, sex, family visits, pets, war or international trade? What subjects caused disagreements in your dating history? As Jana discovered, journaling the character traits, goals and values you require in a mate will help you write an effective online ad.

When you meet someone new and feel unsure about your compatibility, you can match your date’s features to those on your list. Seeing the facts in black and white should help you realize that the person does have long term relationship potential or that you're only fooling yourself.

The Thrill of Victory, the Agony of the First Date

Dating — it's a job and an adventure that, in the twenty-first century, often starts with a reply to an online ad. After the thrill (or horror) of the initial meeting, dump your first impressions into your journal. Say or do something embarrassing? Ashamed to admit your date turned out to be more of a dud than a stud? Vent the feelings that you're not ready to share with friends or family to your non-judgmental notebook. Review your dating strategy from time to time to analyze what worked and what did not.

If you're sure you want a second date, noting key information about your new acquaintance such as birthdays, family history, food and color preferences, children's or pets' names can show that special someone that you really care by "remembering" when the time is right.

Lessons Learned

Patrick began journaling in college, when his freshman English professor insisted the entire class put their thoughts and emotions to paper each day. At first, Patrick hated the exercise but found the release at the end of the day beneficial. "I recorded my frustrations about grades, girls and dorm life, then noticed I slept better every night. I kept up the writing after I graduated. When I met Liz online, then in person two weeks later, the chemistry exploded. She was gorgeous-real eye candy!"

Weeks later, Patrick no longer found her biting sarcasm, constant lateness and high maintenance very appealing. After several failed attempts to resolve their issues, they parted ways. He didn't find anyone to date for months and felt tempted to call Liz and ask her to take him back. “Luckily, I read my notebook from the time we dated. She seemed to enjoy playing hard to get and making my life miserable. Good riddance! She actually called me a year later and wanted to hook up. Somewhat tempted, I reread my journal then called her to say thanks, but no thanks. My English prof saved me a ton of hassle by getting me into the journaling habit."

Beginning the Write Ritual

Journal addict, motivational speaker and best-selling author Anthony Robbins states, "A life worth living is a life worth recording." Before Robbins met his wife, Becky, he composed a five page list of exactly what he did and did not want in a mate, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, physically and intellectually. He explains the power of clarity and attraction in the relationship segment of his 30-Day Personal Power Series, “I believe if you get absolutely clear, you can attract what you want.”

While you're reading this online, how about opening your computer’s word processing program and starting your dating diary now? Topics might be a description of your ideal mate, a famous personality you'd love to date and the reasons why, a lost love and what might have happened if the relationship had ended differently.

Celebrate your participation in life and the dating scene by writing a few sentences each day about your experiences. Write from the heart and honor your path to meeting your perfect new mate!

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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