As a dating coach who has coached thousands of singles over seven years, my clients have told me that there are two big problems in dating. Maybe you've experienced the same thing:
1) You don’t want the people who want you.
2) The people you want don’t want you in return.
Now, take a look at those two problems; which one do you think you can change?
Most of us take the futile route of trying to change the second one – “How do I MAKE him like me?” “I’m exactly what he’s looking for!” “He doesn’t know what’s good for him.” But, as you've probably already figured out, you can’t change anyone else’s thinking.
What you can change is YOU.
To be fair, it’s possible to “make” someone like you by becoming a more desirable catch – there’s no doubt that a man who earns more money, gains more confidence, and gets more experience will have a more positive dating life. But he’s not actually CHANGING women. He’s only changing himself.
Increasing your dating options can be a risky proposition, at best. Men can’t always make more money. Women can’t always lose weight. And as easy as it is to talk about gaining confidence and experience, most folks would rather sit on the sidelines and complain that the people you want don’t want you in return.
This is a waste of time.
In fact, the easiest remedy for an ailing love life is to want the people who want you.
It is anathema to suggest this, of course. Any conversation about opening up to more potential prospects leads us down the slippery slope to settling. And as the furor surrounding Lori Gottlieb’s brilliant book, "Marry Him", proved, nothing angers women more than the suggestion that they may be somewhat responsible for being single.
But, to be crystal clear, it’s not just women.
There are tons of 38-year-old male Ivy-League educated lawyers who just can’t find a single woman good enough for them. These guys, who are, like me, probably 7's in looks and 9's in intelligence, just can’t help but to go for women who are 9's in looks, but 5's in emotional intelligence/compatibility.
One of the things that I’ve often thought is that none of these men would marry someone like my wife, even though my wife is – objectively – just about the coolest woman on the planet. They’d have the same objections I did: a little too old, not a Harvard grad, blahblahblah.
The reason I’m bringing this up is that I made a CHOICE to find an amazing partner and create an amazing life – and all I had to do was give up that IMAGE that I’d had of dating a woman who was Just. Like. Me.
If you’re single, and never find anybody “good enough,” chances are that you do the exact same thing.
Today, I’m calling you out.
Because if you’ve been dating this way for 5, 10 or 20 years, there’s something that you’re not seeing.
And that something is this:
If a 42-year-old man says that he’s ONLY attracted to 9's and 10's who are in their late 20's, that’s fabulous. But if NONE of the 9's and 10's he covets are interested in him in return, it only makes sense that this man needs to recalibrate his dating options. 6's and 7's are readily interested in him, but he doesn’t find them attractive enough. Without knowing this man, I think it would be clear that he’s overestimating himself. If he can get only 6s and 7's in looks, he’s probably a 6 or a 7 in looks himself. Therefore, if he ever wants to get married, it would probably make sense to start appreciating the 6s and 7's and choose the one that he’s most attracted to, who shares the same values and can be his best friend for life.
I’d think it would be hard to argue with that logic.
So should it be any more controversial if we flip the genders around?
If the 38-year-old woman MBA who owns her own condo, runs marathons, and can complete the Sunday New York Times crossword only likes 9's and 10's… but those same men always a) prefer younger women or b) ultimately break her heart because they’re egotistical, selfish narcissists who only want younger women and aren’t ready to settle down… should she keep holding out for them? Wouldn’t it make much more sense to marry one of the devoted 7's who think she’s the bee’s knees?
Because that would be settling.
And settling is bad.
Therefore, all of these amazing men and women remain single indefinitely. Because They. Will. Not. Settle.
They would rather tilt at windmills, trying to acquire a partner who DOESN’T want them, instead of realizing that the BEST partner for them is the one who WANTS them and VALUES them and thinks THEY are a catch.
And the culprit in all this? Our unrealistic expectations – of how we see ourselves – and of what we expect of our partners.
If you price a candy bar at $100 and there are no buyers, you need to lower the price of the candy bar.
If you think you “deserve” a certain kind of partner – not just someone who is rich, hot, and brilliant, but a rich, hot, brilliant partner who STICKS AROUND – and yet you’ve NEVER gotten him, you need to start considering another kind of partner.
The key is in letting go of the image you’ve been holding onto. Because real relationships aren’t about credentials; they’re about connection. And I truly believe there are thousands of people you can potentially be happy with… if only you didn’t have such a rigid idea of what it looked like.
By thinking you’re “better” than everyone who wants you, you’re eliminating the greatest source of love around – the person who wants you!
And you may be surprised to find that you can be EXTREMELY happy with someone who doesn’t meet your preconceived image of your ideal mate.
I certainly have been.