How does whatever history you’ve developed from past dates facilitate new possibilities for intimacy on this date? We’ve all learned to be concerned with impression management. If you’ve been trained your whole life to pretend, how do you drop the performance, and bring your real self to a date? Put the two together, and you’re on the road to closeness. When you attune to someone, you do your best to get what their experience is like, regardless of how much they tell you about it. But much of what you attend to when you attune is non-verbal.
That doesn’t mean you have to be careful, just that you have to care. If you’re not into someone, that just means you know a couple places the journey won’t go. The road to long-term partnership will remain gated and locked. What you don’t yet know is where else it’s possible for you to go.
Imagining yourself from their perspective informs your moment-to-moment choices about what to share, to ask, to offer. They lose themselves in the minutia of their date’s responses. Putting all your attention on the other person keeps you hidden. What does it really mean that you’re “not into” them? There are parts of the map you’ve never investigated. If you were dating for partnership, the goal would be to find a partner.
Attunement without realness is just self-sacrificing. Intimacy does not need to be a privilege granted only those in our innermost circle. Dating someone you’re not into would be a waste of time.
You can get better and better at creating all different kinds of intimacy, with all different kinds of people. They look far less appealing than they did in their photos. Rejecting your date might be the best course of action. Intimacy, it turns out, does not require sex, or long-term partnership. Chances are high that you’ve had deeply significant, meaningful, fulfilling human interactions that were neither romantic nor sexual. Other times, you were moved or inspired, learned something new, felt deeply connected, helped someone. Some unique form of intimacy is possible between you and this other human being. If you reject the other person, you’ll never find out.
Each Deep Date is another chance to practice becoming more and more yourself. Within seconds, you know you’re not into them, and you never will be. You have to go through the motions with someone you already know you’re going nowhere with. Sometimes rejecting them seems like the only option.
It just means you need to put up a couple No Trespassing signs. For instance, sex might be out of bounds, but physical affection still well within your boundaries.