Dear Melanie … Your Personal Dating Questions Answered
By Melanie Schilling, Psychologist and Dating Coach
“Hi Melanie, I’ve been doing this online dating thing for ages but I seem to have no luck. While I have had communication with ladies, it never seems to go anywhere. What am I doing wrong?” – Frustrated Fred
This is a really common question and I hear this from my clients all the time. It can be so frustrating and sometimes disheartening when you pour all your energy into your online dating pursuit, to no avail. Often, you are left with questions like, “What’s wrong with me?”, “Why don’t people want to date me?”, and of course, “What am I doing wrong?”
If this cycle goes on for long enough it can lead to a drop in your confidence and self-esteem. The sting in this story is that in order to be successful in your dating life, a robust level of self-esteem is absolutely essential – so the cycle continues.
When your resilience and self-worth are low, you are likely to attract the wrong people and deter the right ones.
To answer the question “What am I doing wrong?” let’s take a look at two case studies.
Case Study #1 – Self Sabotage
Gina was a 38 year old divorced woman with two small kids. Her husband’s infidelity led to a bitter separation with loads of financial, legal and psychological scars. Not surprisingly, Gina was left with a tainted view of men, love and relationships. Her experience had led her to develop a set of beliefs, thoughts and feelings about men that was less than favorable. Her internal monologue plagued her each time she attempted to date or get to know a new man, she would taunt herself with phrases like “He’s going to hurt you … don’t trust him … he’s a sleaze…” This led to a series of unconscious behaviours that pushed men away; without really being aware of it, Gina would shun compliments, communicate with sarcasm and skepticism, cancel dates with little notice and avoid opportunities for intimacy. You can imagine the messages this sent her dates.
Although Gina openly stated that she was ready to meet a new man (at the conscious level) she was unconsciously sabotaging any chance of a successful date.
Case Study #2 – The Scattergun Approach
As an energetic, entrepreneurial 28 year old guy, Jack was keen to get out there and meet women. Lots of women, the more the better. Having been single since the break-up with his first love five years ago, Jack believed he was ready to meet the next woman of his dreams. He approached his online dating campaign the way he approached his business: with passion, enthusiasm and speed. He joined every dating site he could find, went to speed dating events, asked his friends to set him up on blind dates and boldly asked out unsuspecting women at the supermarket and gym. Jack never paused to consider what he wanted, what he had to offer or what his ultimate relationship goal was. He had no idea what he was looking for in a partner, had never considered his own personal values or lifestyle preferences and seemed to bounce from one unsuccessful date to the next.
Jack was playing the hit-and-miss numbers game of dating with no strategy.
In my dating coaching work, I find that most clients who complain “What am I doing wrong?” tend to fall into either category: the self-sabotagers or the scattergun daters. Do either of these case studies ring a bell for you?
By taking some time out to reflect on your dating mindset and strategy, you will create a more positive platform for your dating experience. Many of my clients find it helpful to keep a journal to record their thoughts, feelings, beliefs and activities in their dating lives.
In your journal, you might ponder questions like:
– Am I really ready to move into the next relationship?
– What are the things I tell myself about dating and relationships?
– Are my beliefs rational and helpful?
– Do I have the end game in mind? What would my ideal relationship look like?
– What are my highest values?
– What are my dating deal breakers?
– Where and how might I meet someone with shared values?
To help you move into a more positive headspace, I offer a free eBook called ‘5 Steps To A Positive Dating Experience’ and you can get your copy here: www.melanieschilling.com
Got a dating or relationship question for Mel? Let us know in the comments below.
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