As a dating coach, I serve many roles. Friend. Confidante. Big brother. Teacher. Taskmaster. Cheerleader. Roll those all into one and you have me – a guy who spends 4 hours a day on the phone as a sponge for the frustrations, pain and negativity felt by my clients. It's no different than being a psychologist perhaps, but one of my clients, who IS a psychologist, thinks I've got the tougher job.
Because while a psychologist can keep on asking questions: "How does that make you feel?", "What do YOU think that means?", my clients turn to me for ANSWERS. They want results. They're not concerned with conquering their inner demons as much as getting clarity on when love will come their way.
Today, I spoke with a special client. She's got everything going for her – bright, successful, interesting, relationship-oriented. How she's unique is that she's 33 (which is young for my clients) and she's undeniably cute (which isn't rare, but makes it far easier for her to attract men). Working with her has been a pure joy for me, as I am witness to her spectacular growth on a week-by-week basis. We've been talking for 11 weeks now, and I am astounded at how far she's come. Yet tonight, all she could tell me was how sad she was. Three bad dates in the past week. No promising leads on the horizon. Negative thoughts creeping into her head. Why bother with dating at all? How do you keep on going when you're successful at everything else in life, yet every romantic partner you touch turns to crap?
We spent an hour talking about this today, and I was thrilled to say that my client felt a thousand times better after the call than she did when we started the call. I pointed out to her that, because she's a catch, 90% of the guys she meets are going to fall short of her standards. Which means, logically, that she might have to go on 9 mediocre dates until she finds one guy she's excited about. If she didn't have such high standards, she might be satisfied by the cute, boring guys she just passed up. But since she does have high standards, only 10% of men will be eligible. That's nothing at which to get angry. It just means that due to her smaller dating pool, it will take her more time to find a suitable mate than it takes other women with lower standards.
If we extrapolate further, of the 10% of the guys she's open to, half of them will not be into her, and half of them will be into her. That's dating for you. So now we've established that 1 out of 20 guys is boyfriend-eligible.
Suddenly, as frustrating as it seems, my client has a paradigm – a framework of what to expect out of dating. Her real problem isn't that there are no good men in the universe; it's that her expectations are unrealistic. She lives and dies with each new guy from Match.com. Last week she had 7 guys in her inbox and was high as a kite. This week, she's cycled through them and is down in the dumps. Yet, we know that this is how online dating works. Men come, men go. Most will be disappointing. Some will get your hopes up. A few will show consistency and want to be exclusive with you.
So if you're going to date online and think that you're going to find true love in your first 30 day trial, think again. Unless you've gone out with 19 guys, you haven't even gotten warmed up yet! Besides: how many times in your life have you been in love? Two? Three? Then maybe you should stop freaking out that it didn't happen after the first 10 online dates. The rarity of love is what makes it special. The possibility of love is what keeps us going. And coming to the conclusion after a bunch of frustrating dates that you should give up entirely is simply false.
My darkest month of dating was November, 2006. I met my wife in January, 2007. You never, ever, ever know what's in store for you.
Your dream partner may be going through a divorce right now. He may have just signed onto eHarmony for the first time. He may be focused on his work and will be ready to date by early next year. You have no idea. Which is why I've got no time for "Why Bother?" syndrome. You bother because the only way to find love is to go on dates with strangers. Stop doing that and it's pretty hard to find love. For my client, her big takeaway was that she needs to stop measuring results the way she measures results at school or work. Ultimately, she wants a husband and family, but that's a process that she just started undertaking 11 weeks ago. Yet since we began working together, she has rebranded herself online, gotten a tremendous amount of attention, figured out how to play it cool with men, how to let them choose her, how to assess the difference between wants and needs, how to flirt successfully, how to weed out the players from the keepers, how to be a great first date, how to bounce back from rejection, and how to persevere when the going gets tough.
So she can focus on how some guy with great potential flaked out on her at the last minute, or she can focus on how well-prepared she is going to be to let love into her life. Which do YOU think is a healthier way of looking at things? Success can be measured in a million ways. You can get a 4.0 at a school but get a crappy education. Or you can get a 3.0 and challenge yourself and stretch and grow. What's success to you? All I know is that even though my client was on the verge of tears when we spoke today, she is on a path to success. And I'd bet my bottom dollar that she finds an amazing man who appreciates all of her gifts sooner rather than later.
That's why she bothers.