The 8 habits that can make dating very tricky
I constantly get emails and comments from readers who want to know why their dates or relationships tend to be short-lived and don’t work out for them.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, dating is fun, but if you do not have your wits about you, engage in unhealthy habits or do not have healthy boundaries, it can result in you falling into a tangled web of hurt, lies and pain.
In this post, I talk about 8 key habits that you may not know you have and may have been the very things standing in the way of your dating success.
You are a daydreamer
Are you someone who starts planning for the future, what wedding dress you will pick out, how many kids you both will have and what will their names be… on the very first date?
If you are the type of person that does this, it is going to be tough to keep a straight head on when dating.
Online dating will be even trickier as you literally know nuts about the person and anyone can just misrepresent themselves and lie and you’d be head over heels.
Daydreaming also leads you to gloss over things that the person is doing or saying in the present and lead you to make assumptions about his character and what you guys have in common.
Stay grounded. Stay in the present.
Words convince you more than actions do
If he tells you, that he is the most trustworthy, the nicest man in the world…! He wants to sweep you off your feet and take you to the moon and pluck out the stars from the sky for you… You’d believe him though his actions show that he is a total tool, an unreliable, compulsive liar who’s talking to several women at once.
That’s dangerous. As anyone can rock up to you and tell you whatever or write whatever he wants to in his online dating profile, and you’ll take him at his word.
We need to watch if the actions match up with the words or if they are just empty promises. If actions and words don’t match up, something is usually not right and you gotta check out what is really going on with him.
Assuming you have a lot in common (When you don’t)
We seem to be very preoccupied with common interests when we go on dates…Painting, classical music, walking backwards. It probably has got something to do with our self-validation and the need to feel a sense of belonging.
I know it’s all very exciting, to finally meet someone who is as passionate about the Flamenco as you are, but that absolutely does not mean that the person is gonna be a great romantic partner for you.
We grossly over-estimate common interests and place far too much emphasis on things that add very little value to a relationship.
It means very little when the both of you like unwinding to Friends and watching musicals but you prefer monogamy and he’s aye-okay stringing 10 women along at once.
You focus on the superficial
I know some people who get hung up on “types” or will select partners based on these attributes: physical attractiveness, height, status, wealth, good education, size of the house he’s living in, car he is driving and completely fail to see that this person does not share their values and you will never be happy together.
It’s very easy to fall for someone who is your “type” on paper, get absolutely sucked in and completely ignore big red flags in relationship.
You don’t ask questions
I’m really surprised at how some people just don’t ask their new partners questions. Do you just prefer not to know or you just aren’t interested enough to ask?
If you are afraid of asking questions because you fear what you might find out, well, at least you are finding it out NOW instead of 5 years down the road when you are about to walk down the aisle.
Trust me on this, you don’t want to be in a situation where you are already emotionally invested and/or physically intimate and then finding out he has a wife somewhere or that he has some qualities that are deal-breakers for you.
When that happens you’ll usually end up ignoring what you’ve found or wanting to get out and finding it difficult to.
Ask questions, don’t be super attached to the outcomes and cross-check it with his actions and other related conversation topics.
You ignore red flags and justify their actions
He belittles you, is abusive, gets crazy angry over small stuff, prevents you from meeting your friends etc and you might have felt funny inside, but you completely ignore it or worse, justify that he does this things out of “love” or “care” for you.
When you start feeling funny about your partner’s behaviour or words, trust your gut. It’s telling you something. If it’s telling you this relationship isn’t it and to run for the hills, believe it. Usually, we know deep down that something is off about the relationship or partner, but consciously, we will push that all down and deny it is happening for various reasons and fears.
I had this experience once of getting myself too emotionally invested in someone, then finding out things about him that was pretty appalling for me at that time. Instead of leaving, I justified it constantly (and even criticised myself for being so narrow-minded) despite alarm bells ringing all over the place. The constant fighting of my inner voice/gut and justifications eventually manifested in insomnia and panic disorder symptoms.
Don’t excuse someone’s shitty behaviour. You deserve better.
You have no boundaries
Dating can be a minefield sometimes. When you constantly put yourself out there to meet new people, you are exposing yourself to different values, perspectives, thought patterns and personalities.
Some people will be right for you, most won’t be. It can be a vulnerable experience and can leave you feeling quite exposed.
But, this is absolutely the right time to exercise your self-respect and exert your boundaries. When something or someone feels off, don’t be afraid to assert your boundaries.
When you don’t have boundaries, you tend to accept crappy behaviour and maybe even think that it’s a sign of love or their interest in you. You might feel uncomfortable with certain things but don’t feel the need to voice them out, thus creating expectations that you are alright with it.
Trust your instincts and your judgment and do not get too emotionally invested in someone until you see something to invest in. When someone is displaying red-flag behaviour, acknowledge it and draw the line immediately.
You overanalyse every single fricken thing
And stress yourself out and engage in self-blame.
Dating is supposed to be fun. But if you are constantly sitting there obsessing over things like “31 mins have already passed and he hasn’t replied my text – what exactly is he doing??”, “why would he not want to watch that movie with me?”. Oooh “it must be my fault”…!
You start reading way too much into things and somehow find ways to confirm the negative perceptions you already have of yourself.
I love me some introspection and reflection, but overdoing it tends to lead you nowhere and you end up trapped in action.
Overthinking in my experience also points to an underlying lack of communication in your relationship. There’s something about your dynamic that makes you feel uncomfortable raising certain issues and not communicating openly.
So you sit at home and play Sherlock and think and think and think. It also points to feelings of mistrust – with him and with yourself. You don’t trust what he says and you don’t trust your judgment of it either. So you recount it over and over again from various angles
If you are the sort that tends to overthink things like that, then it’s time to explore why – do you not trust people? More importantly, do you not trust your own judgment? The topics that you ruminate on – why do you do that? Is there something deep down you are trying to address?
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With 10 years of experience as a Researcher (MSc) in Psychology, Neuroscience, Mental Health, Consumer and Organisational Behaviour; I help action-oriented, time-strapped people and solopreneurs crush their inner critics, navigate toxic workplaces and relationships and build their self-esteem so that you can have the freedom, happiness and confidence you desire. I spend the rest of my time daydreaming and downing cups of tea/coffee – my life’s vice.