Dating can be so fun, but also very nerve-wracking for women. You may find yourself worrying, “Does my hair look okay? Did I pick the right outfit? What will I talk about to keep the conversation flowing? The last thing you should have to worry about is leaking a little when you laugh at his jokes.
To get some practical advice on dating, I reached out to my good friend Tamara Green, LCSW, a Loving Relationship Expert with 25 years of experience counseling individuals and couples.
“Dating is supposed to be a heck of a lot of fun,” Tamara said. “But so much of the time we have concern, fear, and dread at the idea of dating.”
If you’re reluctant to date because of LBL, Tamara suggests investigating the mind-body-spirit aspects of your concerns. “I ask women about their self-judgments. I ask what they might be holding onto, what they’re angry about, or wanting to avoid or control that’s blocking them from having what they want,” she said. She takes a gentle approach to peeking into those areas where we women hold onto hurts and fears.
One of the most rewarding parts of Tamara’s job is watching women overcome obstacles. “I’ve worked with women who have disabilities, menopausal concerns, and issues like LBL. Despite their troubles, they found men who fell head-over-heels in love with them. It happened once they started loving themselves,” Tamara said, “It doesn’t matter what the actual issue is when it comes to dating because it’s really not about the issue. It’s about who you’re being on that date. You set the bar by how you treat yourself.”
Imagine being free of nagging concerns like, “Am I going to get through this date without running to the bathroom 10 times?” or “Am I going to leak when I laugh at his bad jokes?” To make dating an exciting adventure, Tamara shared the following tips.
Before the date, visualize everything going well.
Many women say, “I don’t know what I want, I just know that I don’t want to be embarrassed.” Play with visualizing how you’d like the date to go. Picture yourself having fun regardless of LBL. Let yourself get completely absorbed in imagining how good it will feel to be on a date. If you’re afraid that light bladder leakage will ruin things, it probably will. Instead, envision how you want to feel, even after an LBL moment. Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between a visualization of a date and an actual date, so train yourself to see dating as a wonderful thing. Visualize yourself feeling sexy and you’ll start feeling that way.
Be prepared for unexpected leaks
There’s no question that you’ll wear a pad for protection, and bring extras if you need it. But sometimes there is a question about how you’ll feel about yourself and the dating experience when leaks happen. Commit to not judging yourself. After a leak, simply say to yourself, “Isn’t that interesting!” Observe yourself, and align your thoughts with what you really want to experience. If you need to freshen up, plan to do it smiling. Simply smile at your date and say, “I’ll be right back.” Then, slip away and freshen up. During vulnerable moments have a mantra prepared for yourself like this one - “Even though I feel physically uncomfortable, I love and approve of myself anyway.”
Have fun flirting.
It’s great fun to flirt. Touch your hair. Play with your jewelry. Say his name often. Make eye contact, look away, and then, look back. And if you have a little leakage, and need to go to the bathroom? No problem! Use the opportunity to flirt a bit more. Men are visual. Before you leave the table, pull out a pen and write on a cocktail napkin, “I’ll be right back.” Then, slip out of your chair with a smile, take care of things and come back. In the bathroom, look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am willing to release any negative judgments about this,” and “I am having a great time.” Give yourself some love and go back to the lucky guy waiting for you.
Find the gift in your date.
There’s a gift in every date you go on. Sometimes it’s easy to find - you see qualities and character traits to enjoy and admire. Other times, the gift in your date is getting a clear picture about what qualities you don’t want in a partner. Look for that gift, and find it. When you’re looking, you’ll relax and be at ease…and won’t be worrying about LBL.
Don’t rush intimacy.
Intimacy can wait until you’ve dated long enough to feel comfortable, safe, and ready. If you’re concerned about LBL during sex, be upfront about it. Honesty is a wonderful thing. Though keep in mind, your true feelings about leaking will be reflected back in your partner. If you’re sharing the information, but you’re feeling shame and embarrassment, your partner will pick up on that. Your attitude is key to creating comfort and ease. Say something like, “It’s just one of those things I’m dealing with. You are amazing and I’m having a wonderful time with you.” Men can deal with anything when you’re treating yourself well and feel good about yourself. Choose to have a really wonderful time — regardless of LBL.
Even if you’re not quite ready to date, take another look through Tamara’s five tips and imagine yourself putting each one into action. Rehearsing in your imagination is a small shift toward opening up new experiences in your life.
What about you?
What’s your best tip for dating while dealing with LBL?