Dating can feel like a game where everyone involved is playing a character based on who they think they should be rather than who they really are. People who are dating often spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to figure out what the other person wants, rather than focusing on what they want themselves. It takes confidence to ask for what you want and courage to figure out what this is in the first place. If you can do that, the dating process will be more satisfying and successful.
The first step required if you are to make a change in how you approach dating is to look at your beliefs about yourself as a potential partner to someone else. Here are some common beliefs that people express:
- Everybody worth dating is already taken
- I am getting too old
- I am not attractive enough
- The people I find attractive are not interested in me
- When I do find someone I like, it does not last
- I am still stuck on the one that got away
Do any of these beliefs sound familiar? If so, how do these get in your way?
In exploring your beliefs you will reveal the baggage that you carry into each new dating experience, and discover how this might be getting in the way of the authentic expression of who you are. Therapy can be a tremendous aid in helping you expose the beliefs, and chip away at the walls that surround you.
Once you have examined the baggage, it is time to turn your attention to who you are without those thoughts. Who are you and what do you stand for? What makes you unique and what do you bring to the table? By exploring these questions in an open and honest way you become better equipped to convey that to others. There is nothing more refreshing and sexy than meeting someone who deeply knows themselves and is willing to share that.
The next important element is to deeply explore your expectations, hopes and dreams for a mate. If you become clear on what you want and what is most important to you, your ability to create a message that conveys this is strengthened. It is equally important to know what does not work for you in relationship and how you can be clear about this as well.
You have many avenues to pursue dating including dating websites, matchmakers, activities, arranged lunches or dinners and many others. There is a one billion dollar industry that has grown around people seeking relationships, and much of this income is generated from online dating sites. 80% of the estimated 54 million single people in U.S. have tried online dating, and there is a specialized dating site for almost any category you can think about.
Developing a profile on a dating site can be challenging as you struggle to convey who you are in order to attract the perfect match. Once completed you have to surrender your profile to the matching equations with a sense of hope, expectation and excitement about the possibilities. However these feelings can quickly give way as you may experience an empty inbox, get no response from those you reach out to, or people stop responding after an initial contact. On the opposite end of the spectrum you may be inundated with options and matches that seem to be either missing or ignoring what you communicated you were looking for. Online dating is a tricky game where your heart is on the line, and approaching this with the right strategy and mindset, while caring for your heart, takes skill and patience.
Dating in our modern world can be difficult and frustrating, regardless of how you meet people, but it does not have to be this way. By knowing who you are and being clear about what you want, you will have the confidence to swiftly and gently weed out those who are not a match and attract those who are. Along the way you will also learn to love the one that matters the most – you.
Questions for Thought
Below are a few questions that are intended to help you consider your personal situation more closely. A well-matched, expert therapist can provide the help and the answers you need.
- Are you disappointed with your dating track record?
- Are you spending more time than you would like on dating sites?
- Are you looking for a long term relationship?
- Is every person you meet for a data a flake?
- Are you starting to give up hope of meeting someone?
- Have you been hurt too many times?
- Do you worry that all the good ones are taken?
- Are you feeling depressed?