I hear from women all the time, especially widows, about how afraid they are to start dating again. They say dating has changed and more than likely they fear the unknown.
What I also hear, as I’ve shared quite a bit lately, is how so many women distrust men. There are so many issues that need to be addressed here that it’s hard to do in an 800 word blog post.
Dating shouldn’t be hard!
So stop making it that way! If you habitually have problems, can’t find a great guy, or are struggling to even find a date, the problem is not with the opposite sex. The problem is with you.
I know that sounds harsh, but the fact is that you’re the common denominator in all your dates and all your relationships. I talk to plenty of men and women that have very few problems dating.
Don’t misunderstand, they have their share of dates gone wrong. While those dates may not be fun at the time, they have a great, if not hilarious story to tell afterward.
If you habitually have problems dating, it may be time for you to stop dating, at least for a while until you can figure out what you’re doing wrong.
So, what’s the problem?
The more I work with people, the more I recognize that the biggest problems stem from not being crystal clear about what your ideal relationship looks like.
Most people, men and women alike, start out dating blindly. Whether you’re recently divorced or widowed and ready to start dating again, the problem is the same.
You start dating, have a couple of nice dates, see some very good qualities in that person and the next thing you know, you’re a couple.
“Well Rick, what’s wrong with that?” you ask. Here’s what’s wrong. You’ve settled for less than extraordinary and you don’t even know it! Why? Because you don’t really know exactly what you’re looking for.
It isn’t until the infatuation and raging hormones wear off that you start to recognize what’s missing or you start to see the deal breakers that have been there the whole time that you were ignoring.
How do you fix it?
There’s a two-step process to avoid the problems of wasting time in the wrong relationships. First, start dating casually. Dating casually means that you can date anyone once, maybe even twice but that’s it. You should do this for several months.
As you’re dating casually, start to develop your Must Have list. This is the list of non-negotiable characteristics that you absolutely want in your next relationship.
This is also the time to refine your Deal Breaker list. You’ll see character traits that you’ll say no to as soon as they pop up.
At the end of several months of casual dating you should have a pretty good picture of exactly what you want and don’t want in your next relationship. Now it’s time to start dating seriously.
If, by chance you found a really great person in the first few months, go back and date them again. Get to know them on a deeper level to see if they actually have everything you’re looking for in your extraordinary relationship.
The truly important part in all this is to get crystal clear about what you want in a mate. I mean so clear that you can describe your relationship in great detail even before you’ve met.
Without this clarity, you’ll continue to fall into relationships that ultimately fail because you’re not focused on exactly what you want.
Make sure you have an active dating life!
If you’re serious about finding your soul mate you need to be having at least one date with someone new each week. Two or three first dates would be even better.
People fall into the belief that they should only have to date a couple of people to find the right one. That is fantasy. Remember, you’re looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. It’s just not logical to think the you’ll find the needle after removing just a couple of twigs of hay.
You need to date…a lot! Most of you don’t want to hear this, but this is a numbers game! Each time you go out with someone new, you’re one person closer to finding your soul mate.
Don’t get sucked into the fantasy that your next date is going to be the one. Mentally set yourself up for success by realizing that your next date is probably just another one and done.
If you have one date a month or less, don’t be frustrated or discouraged that you haven’t found your soul mate. You’re not putting in the effort.
I don’t even want to hear that you’re not getting asked out, there are no good men (or women) left, or you’re to shy to ask someone out. If you’re not making the effort to get out, meet people of the opposite sex and have at least enough conversation with them to share phone numbers, you’re not trying. Plain and simple.
Don’t make dating any harder than it needs to be. Be proactive. Stop wasting time in mediocre and toxic relationships because you’re too lazy to invest the time and effort you need to in order to find your soul mate. Take the time necessary to discover what you really wanted in a mate. Get off the dating crazy train and start dating with intention and purpose.
If you need help with developing your Must Have and Deal Breaker lists, recognizing red flags of bad relationships, or improving your ability to talk to people, order a copy of my book, Dating Backward: A practical guide to dating and finding your soul mate.
I hope you’ll use this information to help you step out of your comfort zone and to be more proactive in your dating life.
Join me next week for “Over 40 and dating!”