Working with single parents, I hear a lot about dating.
It’s one of the top sore spots for many people, especially single parents.
It doesn’t have to be.
I’ve learned from my own experience and from colleagues who specialize in relationships and dating that there are many ways in which we often sabotage ourselves. Here are five of the top ways you could be making your dating life miserable.
𝟏. 𝐇𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 “𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞”, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧 𝐮𝐠𝐥𝐲 𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐭’𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭.
It’s called “the one” for a reason: True compatibility is rare. Not so rare that you can’t find someone, but rare enough that it will usually take many attempts before you find them.
People who enjoy dating appreciate the connections they make along the way to finding the one if that’s what they’re seeking.
Most of the time a connection won’t last past the first few dates.
Even when it does turn into something, it usually won’t last more than a few months. And keep in mind, most people have at least a few relationships that end before finding their soulmate.
This doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you or with them. It simply means that it isn’t the right match.
In fact, getting into the habit of seeing it this way can help us eliminate our own toxic tendencies that prevent us from attracting quality people.
When something doesn’t work out it can be tempting to make the other person “wrong”. They’re too this, not enough that, a narcissist, bipolar, you name it. Sometimes a situation really is unhealthy, but other times it’s simply not the right fit.
You have every right not to want someone for any reason under the sun, but the exact thing that turns you off could make them the perfect match for someone else. If you want to be the type of person who attracts a healthy relationship, unless it’s something egregious, appreciate the unique person in front of you, even if they’re not the right match.
On the other hand, don’t blame yourself either.
Statistically, most people won’t work out. It’s not because you’re not good enough, or not worthy of love, or too old, or unattractive, or anything else your monkey mind can come up with.
If there’s a pattern of the same situation happening over and over again, do your inner work and seek help if it’s available to you. We all have inner work to do. Thankfully, we don’t have to reach enlightenment to find love.
When something doesn’t work out, recognize that it happens, and be thankful that you are now freed up to find someone who IS right for you.
𝟐. 𝐇𝐢𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬.
If you have kids, or you’re poly, or you only have sex in marriage, you know those are deal breakers for some people. Whatever yours are, make them clear from the beginning, even in your dating profile. Then people who don’t want that will swipe the other way, and you’ll never have to deal with their rejection. Even better, you’ll attract people who actually WANT that thing.
So many people don’t want to date a mom. Yet, I’ve only been rejected for that reason a couple of times. I always have a picture of Eric in my profile, even if it’s me hugging him and his face isn’t visible. Early on I casually mention him when we start chatting. The guys I end up chatting with extensively or meeting in person don’t care that I have a kid. Several have told me that seeing me as a mom made them like me MORE because they want someone like that as the mother of their own kids.
𝟑. 𝐃𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧.
The people who have fun dating also get ghosted, told off, stood up, and treated like crap. The difference is that they quickly end the interaction and move on, letting that experience roll off their backs.
There are assholes, deadbeats, and gold diggers out there. You will run into them. Don’t be surprised. Don’t take it personally.
More commonly, it’s just not the right match.
When something doesn’t work out, those who enjoy dating handle it differently internally. If it’s early on and the person loses interest, they shrug it off. It might sting, but they move on.
When it doesn’t work out after months or years, they handle any pain they feel in a healthy way. They appreciate the wonderful experiences they had with the person while it lasted. They look back on their time together fondly, not as a waste of time or a failure.
So many people have a wonderful relationship with cherished memories, and then define it by its ending.
Overall, those who enjoy dating define their dating life by the good times they have, don’t take rejection personally and get out of bad situations quickly.
𝟒. 𝐊𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐠𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐮𝐩 𝐬𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐭 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧.
If you don’t want to get hurt again, don’t date. Ever again.
Forming a deep connection with someone involves vulnerability, and vulnerability involves the risk of pain.
Even if you meet your soulmate, you will occasionally hurt each other. And chances are one of you will die before the other.
Even the best relationships involve some pain.
If you keep your walls up, you will create surface-level, unfulfilling relationships. Doesn’t that hurt?
You will also repel most people who want a deep connection. Again, that’s its own form of pain.
Keeping your guard up doesn’t prevent you from getting hurt. It just changes the nature of the hurt.
Being vulnerable doesn’t mean letting people in right away. It means proceeding in good faith, without suspicion.
It’s healthy to wait to pursue a relationship until you’ve had the opportunity to get to know someone at a deep level.
Yes, “deep level” is subjective and will mean different things to different people. But while it’s unhealthy to jump into a relationship with any halfway decent human who is willing to commit to you, it’s also unhealthy to refuse to be vulnerable at all.
Waiting to get into a relationship doesn’t have to come from fear or suspicion. It can simply come from needing to know who it is you’re agreeing to be in a relationship with, which takes time.
When you do meet someone who seems right, go for it. Progress at whatever speed feels authentic to you. Definitely don’t dive in out of desperation, but don’t hold back out of fear either.
I find it helpful to consider what level of intimacy feels right to me based on how well I know someone.
I might feel a strong connection and know a lot about them based on our conversations, but have I seen their place? Do I know how they live? Have I seen the way they interact with family, friends, and strangers? Have I experienced them in low moments of disappointment, fear, or grief? Do I understand how they make decisions? What risks do they take?
Or, have I seen all the evidence I need that they are a good fit, but am tempted to hold off only because I don’t trust my judgment, or because “you never know”?
We all have to find the balance that’s right for us. Don’t assume that painful experiences are evidence that you were naive and should keep your guard up more next time. Learn whatever lessons you can, but acknowledge that sometimes even with the greatest care it still happens. You’re not supposed to know in advance, you’re only supposed to react accordingly once you do find out someone’s true colors.
𝟓. 𝐓𝐫𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 “𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤” 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐦𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐟 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠.
You’re not shallow if you aren’t feeling it with someone. Even if they’re an amazing person, if you’re not interested, let it go.
If you want a relationship, the goal isn’t to find a good person. The goal is the find the right person for you – true compatibility.
If you think someone could be a good match but there are red flags, hold off on getting into anything serious until you know whether the situation is healthy.
Definitely don’t try to make it work because you feel a strong connection and think they’ll change. Yes, some people change. Let that happen FIRST before you consider dating them. Yes, people who are changing need support. Support them as the acquaintance they are. Keep healthy boundaries.
Overall, a healthy relationship feels great. Yes, you get on each other’s nerves sometimes. Yes, there are rough patches. But those should be rare. If you have to “make things work” from early on, chances are it’s unhealthy.
When I first started dating I was horribly guilty of #5. In adulthood, I got better, but still made mistakes along the way. To this day, I have to remind myself not to settle when I meet someone who is ALMOST the right match, a wonderful person who is mostly compatible but not quite the right fit.
Which of these do you struggle with?
𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘸, 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯. 𝘋𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘺 – 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘫𝘰𝘪𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘸 𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘮𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺.
𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘮𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘥, 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 4 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘵𝘴 𝘭𝘦𝘧𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘮𝘺 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮 𝘢𝘵 𝘢 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵. 𝘐𝘵 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱𝘴 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘵 𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘰𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘻𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘣𝘰𝘥𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥, 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦. 𝘋𝘔 “Stopped by Nothing” 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘺. ✅
Here’s one of my high-profile programs, feel free to check it out and then DM me about it!