COMMON DATING MISTAKES
Note: in all of this, the “he” could be a “she.” Make appropriate sustitutions.
1. “I'll know him when I see him” Not being clear on what you are looking for in a partner leaves you open to 4 TRAPS:
·caving into the pressure of the dating situation because you haven't prepared yourself to recognize and hold out for someone who is right for you. This often takes the form of leading with sex which raises the stakes for everything after. Sex too soon can even cause you to break off with someone who might in fact be right for you because one or both you get scared.
·intertia: making a decision to continue seeing someone just because you have been seeing them (drifting along till a crisis hits).
·over-valuing specific characteristics that may not really be the ones that are most important to your happiness and the long-term success of the relationship—for example, he’s a hunk
·compromising and overlooking incompatibilities, irritants and problems – “we’ll work it out”
2. The flip of 1.: “I don't know why I'm dumping him, but something's not right” This is usually preceded by a period of not talking about what is not right. Many people have a natural inclination is to avoid confrontation, but doing so makes the eventual confrontation worse and something that might have been worked out becomes an irreconcilable difference.
3. Every man you date is THE ONE! If we Date to Mate, people who might be perfectly good friends or acquaintances are overlooked because we are focused on the Ultimate. This is desperation. And to be on the receiving end of it feels overwhelming and off-putting. Nobody is going to be comfortable dating someone on the hunt to bag them for life. “I don't know your name yet, but will you marry me?” Not only is this a turn off for the other person, but it denies you the chance to determine whether YOU really want to be with this person. Logically, how can every man you meet be THE ONE? There are more people out there not right for you than right for you. You owe it to yourself to be sure before you put someone on such a pedestal. And what about THE ONE part? Why just one person who is right for you. This is a variant of "the one and only," 'the soul mate" idea. There are many people out there compatible with you in various ways and your relationship with each one of them would be different. If there weren't numerous compatible partners for each one of us, no one would ever be able to find a new partner when a relationship breaks up—but most do. There is no single ONE out there for you. There are many. And every one of those compatible partners will take time to get to know so that you are both sure you are compatible.
So do yourself a favour and let go of the desperation. If you rush things, you may end up with someone you don't want, someone who will be trouble to get out of your life and cost you time away from dating more eligible/suitable/compatible partners.
4. “He's my type!” He may be, but what else is he? Are you going to find out? Do you know what you are looking for? Or are you bedazzled by the package alone.
5. Not realizing the dating is only an early stage of relationship building. A steady date, does not mean you are in a relationship or that you are "a couple." Dating is for sorting and screening potential partners and later for finding out more about them once the basics seem OK. Dating is fun and can be romantic. But it is not about how you might make life decisions together or about cooperating as a couple beyond leisure time. After dating for a while, you and your partner may decide to be exclusive which may mean not dating anyone else and might extend to sexual exclusivity. But deciding to be exclusive with one another is not the same as commitment. You may be exclusive but you are still pre-committed. Commitment has many additional markers beyond exclusivity. Many a misunderstanding has arisen over when there is a relationship, a couple unit, exclusivity and commitment because we do not keep these ideas separate in our thinking, and we may not discuss them with our partner.
6. Seeing only what you project onto your date, not who he is. Are you so busy looking for what you want to find that you don’t see who he is? Expectations can control perception. But later his behaviour may be so disparate from your expectations that you wake up to reality. Why not wake up now?
7. Dating to recreate the comfort of old patterns from previous relationships, even if they were unhealthy and unhappy. The best relationship for you may not the old shoe. The old shoe was chewed by the dog and has a hole in it. Think better, not familiar.
8. Thinking of your intimate connections as casual. Intimate is scary, right? So we keep the scary factor down by devaluing what we are doing. It’s not the “big night,” it’s just “hanging out.” By minimizing the importance to ourselves of our new connections in order to protect ourselves from the pain of a rejection or failure, we shield ourselves from being real to our date and ourselves. In a way, we don’t treat our date with respect, worse –if you think about it -- we treat the other as an object, a disposable object. If the arrangement is mutual, a hook-up only, both parties are treating each other as less than whole persons. If you want more, you have to risk more emotionally.
9. Thinking that there are no consequences for you when you are the "dumper." We often hear, "...dumping someone is just part of the game. It's his/her problem to deal with it." There are consequences to dumping someone --for both of you. The relationship being ended was created by both of you; both of you deserve a role in finishing it. The "dumper" has a role to play in ending the relationship in a civil way that gives the "dumpee" some closure. A text message is not suffiecient, nor is suddenly going cold or hiding. When the dumper treats the other with duplicity or disrespect, the ability to be authentic with other future dates is undermined. Eventually this leads to cynicism and manipulativeness.