Looking at your relationship past, does it seem like a series of bad, unhealthy relationships – one after the other? Been there! Here is my take on why you are constantly repeating the same dating mistakes, and how to reclaim your dating life now.
1. You Don’t Have a Healthy Relationship with Yourself
Raise your hand if you’ve heard the old adage about “Two Haves Making a Whole.” If you find any truth in the saying at all, read on. There is a haunting myth floating around the dating world that suggests we are constantly searching for our “Other Half.” However, this couldn’t be more wrong.
It is my belief (and experience) that the worst thing to do is look outside yourself to find worth, attention, esteem and validation. No one wants to be with half a person.
The best relationships are when two whole people find themselves at the same place, at least emotionally, and build a new life together. It is a very challenging task to require somebody else to do your own inner work. Not only is your life your responsibility, you will likely not attract the type of suitor you are looking for when you are not able to love yourself first.
As cliché as it may seem, Like attracts Like. If you are happy, fulfilled with goals and exude a captivating and authentic energy, you end up dating men that match you. Conversely, if you are desperate, have low self-worth, or radiate a negative attitude
, you end up attracting men that will continue to bring that out.
Misery loves company, right?
It is empowering to have an honest conversation with yourself and truly ask if you are in the right headspace to be in a relationship. A man will not save you from your problems, nor will they fix them. In fact, it will either time stamp your relationship, or you will end up dating a miserable grump that only brings you down further.
2. Your Standards Haven’t Changed
When dating changes from flirting in middle school hallways to casually asking Tim from Accounting where to get a great cocktail; (hint hint) our standards also need to change. The cute, yet emotionally unavailable guy that was an exciting challenge in college is quite honestly a waste of time as a successful adult. No longer is it wise to pursue somebody who isn’t able to give you the relationship you are seeking.
Having solid standards tells men how you value yourself; and what you will and will not tolerate. So many of us have been in unhealthy relationships based on having zero standards – if you don’t set a bar to be raised, why would he? Being “nice” is not a standard; nor is having a cool car or calling you back right away. It is more of an emotional guideline that you must set in order to keep the quality of men you date high.
Setting stagnant standards doesn’t work. Setting evolving standards, however, says says that you care about yourself, your heart, and that you are not in the market to spend time with a man who does not. If you don’t think you deserve a respectful, witty, sexy man with a great job, intelligence and passion for you, see Step 1. I’ll meet you back down here for number three once we’re on the same page with how awesome (and worthy) you are.
3. You Don’t Know What You Want
I hear so many women complain about how they are frustrated with the lack of quality men “out there”. Then I ask them what they are looking for.
If you are projecting a party-girl image, or your last few dates involved tequila shots and a raging hangover the next morning, chances are the guys you are attracting also have that lifestyle and may not be ideally suited for grandiose conversations about destination weddings.
If we have scattered energy that suggests we are only in the market for a fling, then that is exactly what we will attract. Sometimes we end up in unhealthy relationships because our expectations do not match our partners. If you don’t want a teenage relationship filled with drama and confusion, don’t date like a teenager.
This includes appropriate age ranges, sleaze-free date nights, and having a focus. If you want a long-term relationship, spend time with friends who are happily married, and suggest a group dinner with everyone bringing a single friend. If you simply want company on a Saturday night, head to a local hot spot; grab a beer and a seat at the bar.
There is absolutely zero shame in either; committed or casual, but you need to decide. The universe isn’t going to hand you your dreams on a platter if you don’t know what those dreams are.
4. You Panic, and Settle
So many of us see this proverbial timeline in our social groups; everyone is getting married, having children, but your Saturday nights involve a bottle of wine and Netflix. It can be daunting when you feel as if you are the only single person left. (Which is not true; there are Victoria’s Secret models that are unattached.) One of the worst things to do is to hit the panic button and attach yourself to the next guy who crosses your path.
When people try and force something because they are lonely, it always turns ugly. What happens after that is textbook: you feel as though your time has run out, you cling to somebody who truly isn’t right for you just because he is there, resentment and inner aggravation arises, and the relationship eventually crumbles and you end up farther from being with your person, because you have wasted your time hanging on to a sinking ship.
It is important to remember that we are not meant to do the same things at the same time; we all have different life paths! Newsflash: this concept that if we are not settled by a certain age is beyond backward. One of the worst things to do is to force something that doesn’t serve you, just to say you are taken. Date yourself! I would so much rather be happily free with a solid sense of self, than miserable with a ring.
Relationships are tough; why make them any harder than they have to be by prolonging self-sabotaging patterns? It is important to understand that until you look inside and take ownership of your choices and habits, nothing will shift. Until you do the work to form a relationship with yourself, own a real set of standards, figure out exactly what you’re looking for, and then trust the process, you will end up repeating the same mistakes until we learn our lesson.
Ready to reclaim your love life? Try Lavalife today and browse matches based on who you are and what you’re looking for.