Ten ways relationship workshops prepared me for dating
Relationship workshops as support for dating.
In the previous blog post, I listed six types of relationships that can support us while on the dating path. My first recommendation is to attend relationship workshops. Here’s why:
Do you want a partner, but need to brush up on your dating skills?
Dating is a skill that can be learned. But where is it taught? Experiential personal growth workshops that teach communication and relationship skills are also the best training and support for dating. Relationship skills are exactly what you need for successful dating.
Do you want a partner, but wonder how to meet quality people?
What better place to look for new friends and potential partners than with a group of people seeking to improve their relationship skills? The community of people who have taken similar workshops will become your friends, future dates and future partners.
My journey: longing for a partner
I started longing for a long-term partner in my 40s, but I had no clue how to go about it. None of my many romantic relationships had ever lasted more than two years. I knew I needed to do something different if I was ever going to find and sustain a longer partnership.
A workshop that taught what I needed to know!
That’s when I heard of an organization that offered weekend workshops about how to have better relationships with ourselves and others. Just what I needed!
My first workshop: a group of loving people
I attended my first workshop with excitement and trepidation. Right away, we got to gaze into the eyes of each of the 50 women and men there, as the facilitators spoke words that helped us see and appreciate each person. I had found a group of loving people who could teach me how to love. Over 10 years, I took the series of workshops they offered and assisted at them.
What do they teach in personal growth workshops?
Personal growth workshops offer a variety of ways to enhance our relationship with ourselves. When they focus on relationships, they teach skills for loving ourselves and others. The workshops I attended consisted of a sequence of gentle exercises, where we learned how to share honestly about our lives and feelings, hear and support each person’s truth, look for the best in others and appreciate them, understand that we can choose differently in every moment, communicate what we want and don’t want from others, talk and communicate about sex, and value non-sexual nurturing touch (see upcoming blog post on non-sexual touch).
Did I find a partner there?
I did not immediately find my perfect partner, but I got better at loving and being close. My first relationship with a guy I met at a workshop ended after the usual two years, but it was a more loving and honest relationship than I’d ever had. My next relationship lasted seven years, and it gave me the experience of being loved and working through conflicts in a relationship. I also gained a whole community of loving friends.
Ten ways that the personal growth/relationship skills prepared me for dating
When I was ready to search for a long-term partner in my late 50s, I realized that the skills I’d learned in relationship workshops had prepared me perfectly for dating:
- I loved and appreciated myself.
- I knew how to look for and appreciate the goodness in others.
- I had a circle of loving and open friends, both women and men, who loved me and supported me on my dating journey.
- I knew how to honestly share my feelings, both positive and difficult ones.
- I knew how to listen with curiosity and compassion to another’s feelings and truth.
- I felt confident in my ability to say “yes” or “no,” in any interaction.
- I knew that at every moment I could make a different choice.
- I knew how to gently tell someone that being with them was not right for me.
- I felt positive about being sexual, accepting of my own sexual feelings and expression, and knew how to ask for what I wanted.
- I knew that I didn’t need to fit inside a particular type of relationship model, but could find the one that was right for me.
Read about it!
You can read scenes from my first workshop and see how I used these skills in dating to find my long-term partner in my memoir, Fifty First Dates After Fifty, available here.
Listen to it!
You can listen to me discuss my dating project and the dating skills I learned in the Human Awareness Institute workshops in their podcast here.
Find a workshop!
Personal growth workshops are available online and in person throughout the US and world. Two organizations with workshops that I attended and recommend are listed on the Dating Resources page of my website.
What excites you about attending a personal growth workshop?
What would you hope to gain from a workshop on relationships?
(I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!)