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 youre 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 theyre angry about, or wanting to avoid or control thats 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 Tamaras job is watching women overcome obstacles. Ive 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 doesnt matter what the actual issue is when it comes to dating because its really not about the issue. Its about who youre 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 dont know what I want, I just know that I dont want to be embarrassed. Play with visualizing how youd 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 youre 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 doesnt 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 youll start feeling that way.
Be prepared for unexpected leaks
Theres no question that youll wear a pad for protection, and bring extras if you need it. But sometimes there is a question about how youll feel about yourself and the dating experience when leaks happen. Commit to not judging yourself. After a leak, simply say to yourself, Isnt 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, Ill 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.
Its 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, Ill 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.
Theres a gift in every date you go on. Sometimes its 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 dont want in a partner. Look for that gift, and find it. When youre looking, youll relax and be at easeand wont be worrying about LBL.
Dont rush intimacy.
Intimacy can wait until youve dated long enough to feel comfortable, safe, and ready. If youre 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 youre sharing the information, but youre feeling shame and embarrassment, your partner will pick up on that. Your attitude is key to creating comfort and ease. Say something like, Its just one of those things Im dealing with. You are amazing and Im having a wonderful time with you. Men can deal with anything when youre treating yourself well and feel good about yourself. Choose to have a really wonderful time regardless of LBL.
Even if youre not quite ready to date, take another look through Tamaras 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?
Whats your best tip for dating while dealing with LBL?