“Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love… but don’t put your life on hold waiting for love.”
~ Mandy Hale
You know how it is, you work really hard at something, and it doesn’t seem to be working.
You’ve done everything from changing your profile to reading every book you can find on dating to making sure all your friends know you’re looking for someone new.
And you’re still not getting results. In fact, you feel overwhelmed and wiped out and have no energy around meeting people or dating or even flirting with the waiter. What’s a girl to do?
1. Take a time out.
Take your profile down for a while. Tell people to stop setting you up with their best friends. Stop looking. Take some time to just be you without looking so hard. Sometimes a clean break is exactly what is needed. You can come back at any time and start again fresh.
2. Set up something fun to do that doesn’t involved anyone but your girlfriends.
Go on a weekend retreat together, have a night out that doesn’t include anyone else or the prospect of finding someone to date. Just have a good time. Repeat.
3. Set up a complaint session with someone who can commiserate.
You know there are people in your circle who feel your pain. Spend some quality time with them just complaining. Make sure you don’t do this every day, but get it all out and get some perspective.
4. Treat everything as an experiment.
Just try things out and see how they work for you without an expectation of what you will get out of it. It will take some of the pressure off you.
5. Don’t try so hard.
You want to do everything you can to find the right guy, but sometimes it’s just too much. Take a step back and figure out what you can stop doing. It’s better to be authentically you, anyway.
Good things take time. It will all come together when the time is right for you.
Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC – www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.com
You have to think of dating as a numbers game.
The more men you meet and go out with, the closer you will get to the guy that is truly someone special. If you think of it that way, you will not get disillusioned or frustrated that “all the good men are taken.”
It also gives you the hope and incentive to keep dating because the next guy you meet could be “the one.”
So, after 10 dates with 10 different guys, you start feeling that it’s never going to happen for you, just know that the 11th guy may be just the guy you were looking for.
Here are some tips to help you stay hopeful while dating:
1. Realize that any guy you meet can be a potential life partner.
So, be open-minded, flexible and don’t pass judgment until you know him a little better.
2. Step out of your comfort zone
Pick guys who you ordinarily wouldn’t date, maybe someone heavier, shorter, less educated or even of a different faith, because you never know, he may possess other qualities which override these differences.
3. Approach dating with a fun attitude.
Be happy, pleasant, enjoy yourself and if nothing else, you had a nice evening out.
4. First impressions are not always right.
Some guys are nervous and will act like jerks on a first date. Give your date a few tries before deciding he’s not right for you, because he just may have first-date jitters – and actually be a nice guy.
5. You have nothing to lose but your time when you date.
So if you meet a new guy for a drink, think of it as two hours out of your day with someone you may or may not be interested in. If you were interested in him, then it was time well spent. If you weren’t, then you lost some precious time, but you won’t know this unless you try.
Here’s the bottom line…dating is your only way of finding Mr. Right. So, go out with a good attitude and consider each date as a potential candidate for a long-term relationship. After all, maybe #20 is going to be “The One for You.”
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Despite the current media that challenges monogamy as an idealized and unnatural state of affairs, many partner-seekers are still reluctant to give up the search for long-lasting love.
They get it that fairy-tale endings are improbable, but they aren’t ready to stop hoping that, somehow, it can still happen to them.
After much effort and too many disappointments, many do become disillusioned and wonder whether they are just being naïve to believe that the right person will eventually show up.
With each new relationship ending, they re-evaluate whether they should keep looking for that rainbow or just accept that life is not meant to be lived that way. Maybe it’s just better to recalibrate how they can find happiness in an ever-changing emotional landscape.
But, despite the situation, many of my patients are unwilling to accept it. They know that the life-lessons inherent in their dilemma are to live each day the best they can and to give up attachment to outcome. But romantic dreams die hard.
Though realizing that their only option may be to spend the rest of their lives in concurrent and fleeting, or serial monogamous relationships, they wonder why their hearts still long for that increasingly elusive goal.
Perhaps there is just something in the human spirit that will never let go of searching for the magical fusion of two people with one heart and soul that endures the test of time.
Whichever of those paths you are currently choosing, there are some important guidelines that will help you maintain your self-respect, self-worth, and desirability.
The first is to make a sacred commitment to not allow cynicism, pessimism, or bitterness to pervade your psyche.
(See my article on Psychology Today, “Bitterness – Love’s Poison”). Not only are those attitudes not sexy, but they are two-edged swords that predict doom for both partners.
At best, they will attract similar beings and you will feed each other’s attachment to misery. At worst, they will doom you to push quality people away who are maybe struggling to maintain their own positive attitudes in the light of similar frustrations.
The second guideline is to keep from stereotyping or generalizing.
The human mind does clump together information naturally to be able to better predict and control illusive outcomes. But in the case of dating, a pre-defeated or pre-expectation that things never work out finds its way early into a relationship and gives a strong message that you are expecting failure even before it happens.
Thirdly, live each moment of every new relationship as your best person.
That means leaving anyone you’re with feeling better about him or her, whether or not you ever see them again. It never hurts to leave a little sunshine behind you whatever you are going to do in the future.
I’ve seen many situations where a person someone may not be interested in becomes a liaison to the person that turns out to be the “one.” Don’t “ghost,” evade, or pretend to be someone you’re not.
You can be welcoming of a person’s “persona” without choosing them to be part of your life. Genuine curiosity, interest, support, and value can be given without commitment to the future.
Here is the fourth guideline. Everyone is attracted to someone who is already in love.
For whatever reason, people who feel secure, desired, and taken, emit an aura of confidence and joy. Those twin beams are infectious and welcoming. If you don’t have someone current to love, think of whom you were in relationships from the past when you had those feelings, even if they didn’t last.
Yes, they happened in some sense because of the relationship but they couldn’t have happened at all unless you had receptors for happiness. Those capabilities are still inside of you.
Lastly, become the person who would be wanted by the kind of person you want to be with. I realize that there are limitations to those desires.
Physical appearance, stage of life, options, and life’s challenges can get in the way of the perfect solution, but marketability is still a two-way street. Though we may be attracted to someone who completes us in some way, we still need to find a partner who sees life similarly in the places that are sacred to us.
People often ask me if change is truly possible.
If I didn’t believe that it was, I would have long ago stopped trying to help people go beyond what they thought were their limitations. Every day of my life, I see miraculous transformations that keep me in the game. I may, from time to time, readjust my expectations, but never to give up what magical beauty I know is possible when the right people find each other.
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
Dating takes time and effort. If you want to find the right partner, you may have to kiss a few frogs before you find the right fit.
Keep the sense of rejection that you feel in context. Sometimes rejection can be a blessing in disguise.
If you are smart and confident and the men who are rejecting you are narcissistic; they might be rejecting you because you are too smart and will be too difficult to manipulate and control. Was that last date that didn’t work out really that big a catch?
Ask yourself if he was too good to be true. Remember that what you see isn’t always what you get. It takes time to get to know someone and we all put our best foot forward on the first date.
Think of dating as practice.
Up your game and learn from each experience. Don’t beat yourself up. Reflect on some of the things you are working on to build your confidence and maintain healthy boundaries.
Did you see any red flags on the last date? What was your impression of your last date and is he really worth obsessing over if he didn’t call you back? Stay positive because that will reflect on how you approach your future dates.
Be mindful of your expectations and don’t invest so much that you are attached to the outcome of the date.
Stay in the moment and enjoy yourself on your date. Be yourself and stay relaxed as your date progresses. If things don’t work out, it is not necessarily a negative reflection on you.
Remember to appreciate these experiences and learn from them.
Enjoy the time you spend dating. You will appreciate your partner that much more when you meet the right one. Rejection is a part of life. It is not what happens to us that defines us but what we do with what happens to us that defines us.
Failure is only failure if you see it that way.
Men face rejection 100 times more often than we do and they still keep trying. When you are dating, you are looking for a partner who can see you and appreciate the person that you are. If your date cannot see your true value, then is he worth continuing to date? Remember that your worth is defined by so much more than outcome of this date.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
I don’t think I have ever heard anyone, friend or client, say after a relationship break-up, “Oh boy! I get to start dating again!”
Dating is pretty universally hated. We date because it is worse to face the prospect of living our lives alone, and so far nobody has come up with another way to meet and get to know a prospective partner.
I try to tell my clients that when a date doesn’t work out, it’s usually not personal.
I say this in the sense that it’s not your role in life to please everybody. Nobody can do that. It stands to reason that there are going to be dates that don’t work either for you or the man.
You are dating to get this information so you don’t spend your life with the wrong partner. It’s a mistake to turn over your self-definition to random men with whom you might find yourself. Unsuccessful dating is just as much about him as it is about you. It’s usually just a bad match.
You need to approach any date as an opportunity to get to know someone and to evaluate that person’s potential to be a positive part of your life.
Too many women approach dating from a one-down position, wondering if they will meet some man’s expectations. This position only engenders anxiety and fear of rejection. This woman is abdicating her own worth and power to a man hoping that he will validate her.
Why would she assume that living up to this man’s expectations is even desirable? He might not be a respectable or worthy person. It is the wrong viewpoint. How he feels about you isn’t the question. It’s how you feel about him that matters.
What’s really important to look for when you date is whether the man meets your criteria.
Criteria are based on a good understanding of who you are and what you want in your life. Everyone needs criteria. How else will you know whether or not to invest more time and effort into a relationship?
Once you stop worrying about pleasing him, and begin to focus on whether or not he pleases you, your anxiety will go way down.
You could still kiss some frogs, but it’s you who will be saying, “Yuck”. You still have to get out there and meet men, but you can stop worrying about how they feel about you and put the focus on how you feel about them, which is where it really belongs.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
If dating feels like a chore, then don’t do it; sounds so easy doesn’t it?
However, the uncomfortable choice is to continue something that is not comfortable or be alone which is also not comfortable for most people. The way today’s society dates is exhausting and demeaning. If you change the way you are dating, would that feel better? Would exploring why you want a mate lead to self-healing?
Most people use online dating services.
They have become an integral part of the dating world. However, they are demeaning, dangerous and illusionary. Demeaning because we are men and women are forced to sell themselves to strangers who immediately judge we are good enough based on a picture and a few sentences. These strangers never hear the sound of your voice or feel your presence, which is truly the essence of who you are.
In addition, non-local dating is never a good thing.
There can be years of conversations and trips yet, unless you live in the same town as a person, the real person cannot be seen. It is too easy to keep putting the proverbial best foot forward. We need to live in the same town to see them day in and day out to really get a feel for the red flags. So if you are online dating, maybe stop; it is draining.
Then how do we meet people? The old fashioned way.
Develop a life, work on clearing emotional baggage that acts as a barrier to new people coming into your life. Have faith that if your paths are meant to cross, they will. You don’t need to look!
The truth is that when you quit looking, they come. When we quit looking, live life and have faith that paths will cross it is less exhausting, we are happier and overall healthier.
Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com
Meg Worden, my friend and health coach, says, “Right now, in this moment, all my needs are abundantly met.”
She says this when I fret about the future, about money, about weight……anything that stresses me out. Take a moment to read those words aloud:
Right now, in this moment, all my needs are abundantly met.
Take some deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Look around you and notice the creature comforts you see.
- Are you in a safe place?
- Have you eaten in the last few hours?
- Do you have pretty colors in your closet?
- Is your body healthy?
- Do your eyes and ears bring you information?
Just notice those things.
Now, you’re in the moment. From the grounding of this present moment, you can more clearly see what you have. Make a list of your blessings (e.g., a comfy couch, a few trusted friends, a job, a talent for metal arts, a sister who lends me her kids…..).
From the grounding of this present moment, you send energetic signals into the world around you.
You signal calm, thankful, centered presence. And this kind of energy attracts other calm, thankful, centered people. And one of those people is very likely the person you are meant to be with.
Yes, dating stresses us out. It just does. We feel our self-worth and biological potentials dangling in complete vulnerability over a fire pit of unknown variables and other people’s opinions and attractions and a world of mysterious sexual forces over which we have zero control.
In reality, most of the fire pit of dating has nothing to do with you.
In fact, I notice the more mature a person is, the more seeming difficulty they have in finding a suitable mate. My wisest, most courageous, and most intriguing friends tell me they HATE the world of dating. These people tend to wait longer to connect with the person who ultimately brings them the most passion.
Take a moment to absorb that.
Because you may be a deeper-than-average thinker, more discerning, more principled, artsier, healthier – you may spend more time waiting for that right person. And that’s okay.
Know this: You are attractive and worthwhile.
You deserve love. Wait. List the things you have right now. Know that you are loved, right now. Breathe. It’s going to be okay.
Dr. Deborah Cox – www.deborahlcox.com
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