These days, it’s easier than ever to meet a prospective romantic partner, but in many ways, this makes it harder than ever to form an authentic connection.

You can swipe on, match with, and message dozens of people in a day, and this wealth of choice makes it seem like there is always someone “better” out there. It doesn’t help that everyone is projecting out a perfect version of their lives on social media, which gives many single people the impression that everyone else is in fulfilling, ideal relationships.

This has led to an overall attitude of detachment, disconnection, and guardedness in the modern dating world. While this may make an authentic connection more difficult to achieve, it certainly isn’t impossible. With the right approach, you can find a meaningful relationship.

Build Intimacy Through Deep Conversations

The foundation of any solid relationship is friendship. This doesn’t mean that you have to start off as “just friends”; rather, you should focus on getting to know who the person you date really is. Go beyond those standard dating questions and approach each conversation with curiosity about this person. Through deep conversations, you grow closer, and this is how you begin to build intimacy and a real connection.

Be Vulnerable

It’s not enough to just learn everything you can about a partner; you also have to let them know the real you. This can’t happen if you have all your walls up. Prioritize taking the emotional risk and putting yourself out there if you want to forge a truly meaningful relationship.

By beginning to connect emotionally from the very start of a relationship, you build trust. How someone responds to your attempts to connect will let you know whether or not you truly want to be with them. If you find it difficult to be vulnerable with them, this is a good sign that it may be time to move on.

Express Admiration

Have you ever felt strong feelings for someone, but kept them to yourself because you wanted to “play it cool”? Maybe they said something that made you feel grateful for them, but instead of saying something to them, you went and texted your friend about it instead.

What would happen if you turned towards them and let them know how much what they said meant to you? Chances are, you would form a deeper connection. Admiration and respect is what makes a relationship great. Don’t share these moments of fondness with just your friends or keep them to yourself, tell the person who most needs to hear them — the person you’re dating.

Don’t Avoid Conflict

Many couples make the mistake of avoiding conflict. They believe that disagreeing will “ruin things,” but what they are actually doing is keeping their partner at a distance. There are plenty of reasons why you might avoid a difficult conversation — you might fear hurting their feelings or losing them.

Keep in mind that being honest will never push the right person away as long as you are speaking from an understanding that they may not agree with you, and that’s okay. You aren’t going to be on the same page with anyone about everything, and you shouldn’t try to be. But if you make a conscious effort to create a safe space in the relationship for conflict from the very beginning, communication will only be easier as time goes on.

Dating can be difficult to navigate these days, but there is someone out there with whom you can form a sincere connection. If you’re having trouble with your romantic life, you may benefit from speaking with a therapist. Contact us for cognitive behavioral therapy in Palatine.