There are two reasons why you loathe dating: You’ve been out of the game too long, or you’ve been in it too long.
When you’ve been out of the game, you’re wary and wily and nervous as hell, because you think there are new rules, and you don’t know them.
If you’ve been IN the game too long, you think you’ve seen it all, and you haven’t had any luck (maybe because you’re relying on luck?), and either everyone else sucks, or you do.
Talk about a lose-lose situation. Because you can’t win: Either you’re not good enough, or no one’s good enough for you. And if you want to believe one of those things, or maybe even both, then you will be stuck, forever and ever, in that tidy little prison you’ve created for yourself.
Fact: The world is teeming with people. Single people. And many more become single every day.
Fact: Most of them are not psychopathic crazies who will stalk and kill you.
Fact: You are lovable, deserving of love, and yet you also do things that keep other people from getting close to you.
(On the run and want to listen instead? Your wish is granted:)
Tough Girl: A Case Study
I know a woman I’ll call Agnes who is tough, sassy, and sexy. She has no problem finding men who are interested in her, and yet she’s never really had a boyfriend. She’s been “seeing” this one guy we’ll call Mike for a few months. Though you wouldn’t know it, because NO ONE in her life has met him. She doesn’t invite him out in a group, but stops by “later”—and until very recently, had never stayed the night. They’re basically stuck in booty call city. And she is the mayor.
She asked me recently about a situation in which he was vague with his texts and she thought he was being “weird.”
“He’s being weird? YOU are being weird!”
I couldn’t help myself. But it was true! And she knew it. She had been treating him like a hookup and then wondering why he wasn’t exhibiting relationship behavior.
Um, because he didn’t know they were in a relationship, maybe? She hasn’t given him an inkling that she cares for him, wants people to know him, wants to, I don’t know, be seen in public with him? I told her, “You have trained him to not expect much from you. So why should he give you anything?”
So instead of doing the guy pile-on, I came down pretty hard on her. Because while she may come off tough and sexy, I see right through that because I’ve worn that tough-girl facade before. (Read: How feminism f’d up my dating life.)
And, by the way, I wasn’t giving her a hard time because what she’s doing is “wrong” or that she should want or be something different. I came down on her because her actions aren’t getting her what she wants.
You want more from him? I said. Start treating him differently. You can’t treat him like a whore and wonder why he’s not acting like a boyfriend.
My point is this: It’s easy to think guys are the problem. But guys are pretty simple. The reality is that what you do, for a myriad of reasons, has often more to do with what you’re trying to protect than what you want. Often, because you’re afraid of what you want. Or more to the point, you’re afraid of being rejected, of being hurt, and all the things we spend our lives trying to avoid.
The catch-22 here is that the more you try to protect yourself, the less able you are to have what you want. Because loving requires risk.
(WARNING: SHAMELESS SELF PROMO)
So, yes, I created a workshop (“Stop Hating Start Dating”) precisely to address this and other issues that plague the modern dater. And it has nothing to do with apps or texts—those are part of dating, but they’re the puppet show that we use to enact our fears and expectations. You must address those first.
So if you want to reframe and reinvigorate your dating life, and own it in a new and empowered way, check it out.
It’s seriously low-risk—you risk $1. If after 3 days you’re sick to death of me and want your money back, so be it. We can still be friends.
(And by the way, it’s not just for ladies. It’s gender neutral in theory and application. But let’s face it, chances are, here as everywhere else on the planet besides the financial district, there are three ladies to every one dude.)