Too often people don't realize that the dates they connect with are a reflection of who they are.
There is no goal more enticing for a woman then the promise that if you follow this path you will find the right man to share your life with. Match.com offers one opportunity for this venture, while E Harmony provides even greater reassurance that they have the man for you. Many prefer these ways to depending on friends or single places to narrow the search. However, after many disappointments and frustrating experiences with so called bad dates, there is a growing suspicion that seeking the “ONE TRUE LOVE” will never happen. And even those who initially marry their special someone, after a period of time they often find that he takes on a whole different appearance. The sweet, solid looking guy now wants to possess you and demands that you meet his absurd expectations. The knowledgeable man now discounts your voice in favor of his all- knowing superiority.
Many women find this result surprising in the face of their belief and clear commitment to achieve this goal. How can I be so open and yet end up with such despair. Some even give up on Mr. Right and settle for Mr. Okay, so they can at least say they are married. Perhaps this is why many women are leaving their marriages than ever before, as they feel further support that there just aren’t that many good men. In fact, many of the self- help books on dating relationships frequently comment on men being inadequate, such as in Men Who Hate Women and The Women Who Love Them or Men Who Can’t Commit. As an aside, if a woman is looking for the books that focus on female gaps they are out of luck since they haven’t been written yet.
The Great Myth
While many women may object to what I am going to say, the men out there aren’t failures or rejects, they are just men. I hold the same view for the women who are making the judgments. The problem lies in becoming aware that men or women can only get involved with someone who reflects their own level of development and maturity. The idea that you can meet someone who has less capacity or more capacity for love then you do is one of the biggest myths in the dating world. Any guy that someone gets involved with and has energy for is mirror of us. If we truly had a greater capacity for a man you meet you would not have more than loving disinterest for the guy in question. No critiquing or put downs, just disinterest.
Do you mean that I am accountable for my choices?
That is exactly what I mean. I recognize that in our culture and especially in dating people don’t want to see themselves as responsible for the mates they pick. Well, the alternative is to think that all these run ins’ are accidents and we are just walking around unconscious. The first step in changing your dating experiences is to take 100% accountability for your own dating track record. If you see a string of alcoholic men in your history then it is time that you admit that you like saving emotional cripples no matter how distasteful that may sound to you. The same is true if we see a pattern of married men or a litany of three month relationships.
Dating is a mirror
Whatever is showing up in our dating pattern is a mirror of who we are. We can only get involved with someone who is at the same level of development as we are. No more, no less. We often fail to see this because many of us do great posturing, and love to present ourselves as more than we are. Some will even play themselves as less, if that suits their comfortable style. So when we strip away all the images that we hide behind, we see the naked truth that we are facing our reflection in our partners. It is frequently humbling to admit being that honest, but is essential in making any real change.
All relationships are successful
Once we are able to stop pretending that we are more than we are, we will be able to see that each relationship, no matter what it is, is prefect for what it was meant to be and what you ready for. A three month relationship is a successful three month relationship. We only call it a failure, because we compare it to what it is not. The same is true for being involved with married men, high drama relationships, or being involved with drug or alcohol abusers. The first is successful at offering us intensity with total safety. The second offers constant stimulation with no boredom whatsoever. The last one is successful at making someone feel needed with no worry that their own gaps will be exposed. In accepting and integrating this concept we will learn to see our dating relationships in a much clearer light, give up any victimization feelings, and learn to transcend all of good and bad rhetoric that is rampant in dating.
Are our lovers lost or are we lost?
Many of the dating books have the word FIND in the title. This supports the premise that the lovers we desire are lost and we just have to figure out a way to find them. Many of us buy into this myth and go on a never ending search for their lovers. This perception allows us to maintain the belief that the problem is outside of us, so we can say things like “All the men in this city are superficial losers.” This frees us from looking in our mirrors.
I take the position that our lovers are not lost, but we are. This requires much more accountability which is why many people avoid this at all costs. In my view the lovers we desire are watching and waiting for us to be ready to meet them. And they will wait as long as it takes us to be ready.
What I am presenting here asks us to make a significant shift in our conditioned thinking about dating and meeting someone. If it seems like too much to absorb, there are certainly many people we can encounter, who will support any of the more familiar views on dating. But for those of us who are tired of the old dating attitudes and want to break free and experience something new, with new results, then I strongly urge to practice this philosophy for six months.
Bruce Derman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who wrote We Could’ve Had A Great Date If It Weren’t For You
This article was originally published at The Relationship Doctor Bruce Derman. Reprinted with permission from the author.