What does it mean to embrace a man with an open heart?
For most of us, this means dropping our masks and being a little vulnerable. Maybe revealing the parts of our lives that aren’t perfect and polished—the stuff no one ever posts on Facebook. There is also an implied reciprocity: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. And an expectation that we’ll accept each other’s’ flaws gracefully and without judgment.
Having an open heart towards others is relatively straightforward in relationships where trust and emotional intimacy already exist—among parents and children, husbands and wives, or the closest of friends, for example. But how do we apply this ideal in a setting like dating, where the participants are basically strangers, perhaps with competing agendas and motives? A bigger question might be:
Should we automatically approach potential romantic partners in an open-hearted way?
The short answer is Yes—as long as you keep in mind that healthy love includes a healthy respect for yourself and your own needs. If you are a single woman who aspires to live and love in an authentic way, these 3 tips will help you fold into your approach a healthy dose of self-esteem:
- You can have an open heart and still maintain healthy boundaries. Emotionally mature men expect that there are areas of your life that are off-limits until trust and connection have been established. (In fact, these very men will feel unsure about you if you seem wishy-washy about what is or is not ok within the relationship.) Being “open” does not require you to reveal personal details or deeply hurtful or damaging episodes from your past. When you reveal yourself slowly, over several dates, you send the message that you put a high value on intimacy; you don’t share your story with just anyone.
- Putting safety first doesn’t make you defensive—just smart. Online dating and singles events are a wonderfully powerful way to increase your odds of meeting Mr. Right because they put you in touch with men outside your usual social circles. But mixing it up also increases some risks. Always exercise common sense. You can be open to who he is but still feel comfortable saying no to any suggestion that doesn’t feel right.
- Highlighting your femininity will automatically create an open environment for the men you date. I’ve written previously on the power of a woman’s authentic femininity and “how to harness your unique feminine essence to attract emotionally evolved men into your life.” By emphasizing your own difference—really owning the things that make you special—you free others to embrace their differences as well. This is a subtle way to let your date know that you’re not going to judge him for “acting like a guy” (i.e., being himself) or expect him to be a mind-reading empathy ninja like your female friends (which just sets him up to fail). Being feminine is a great way to connect with people in a vulnerable way, but still demonstrate self-respect and a healthy appreciation for personal boundaries.
Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Need advice about your own dating situation? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.
ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.