I was sitting across from an attractive lady enjoying a cup of coffee when she admitted she had been dating 3 or 4 times a week for quite sometime. She was using one of the many dating apps that are available, and let me know she had even gone on multiple dates in one day. I asked her how she was able to keep track of all the different men she met, and she began to describe her system.
This successful, attractive, and intelligent lady began to explain with the pride of a CPA doing my taxes as to how she used a spreadsheet to rank the men she dated. She enthusiastically shared her journey of the male species! She set up the spreadsheet with columns for their name, phone number, profession, projected income, level of attractiveness, and other characteristics. Thus, if they contacted her again she would know whether or not she would accept another date. And some even had the word ‘BLOCKED” in bold red letters.
We now live in a world where dating has become a contact sport! And worse yet, for some it has become an addiction. And you may say, “Well Tony I don’t date very often,” but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the addiction. An alcoholic can go months without a drink, but when they take a sip they know they won’t stop until the bottle is empty! So, what happens when you do go out with someone and there is a strong connection? Do you jump all in for a few months, but once the dopamine rush wears off or they fall off the pedestal you stop, drop, and roll on? Let me explain the pedestal.
What I see happening is people quickly going all in on a relationship once they meet someone who checks their boxes. And by people I also mean me! The boxes by the way are often more about success and attractiveness than the heart and soul. And when they check the boxes we’ll have a tendency to put them so high upon a pedestal that there is only one thing that can happen. They will fall off.
Let me make sure this is clear, because it is the key to dating. From the moment we swipe right we start putting that person in “fantasy land.” And then if we meet and there is an attraction and connection…we tend to place them on a pedestal. We may begin to tell friends and family about the one we met. And why not? We have been looking for Mr. or Ms. Right for sometime, and we think we found them! It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it is something to be careful of as we date.
After a few weeks or months the infatuation begins to dissipate and we believe something must be wrong! Once the hormones settle, and we are no longer Superman or Wonder Woman to each other…many often move on to the next relationship. At that point it is like the alcoholic pouring another drink over ice! We are back into our addiction and looking for the next rush. And like a vicious cycle we find another person to check our boxes, and then when we hit that transitional period of a relationship we move on once again. Do you know what I mean by transitional period?
I have been at fault many times of enjoying the “high on love” feeling! It’s a beautiful time in a relationship, but then when it starts to diminish (the transitional period) we think it means it’s time to move on. Prior to the buffet of single folks on dating apps we were not so quick to move on, because it was difficult to meet new people. Now, it has become too easy. And we aren’t sticking around once we realize that our new love interest is not checking every single box. What is sad about our tendency to run away at that moment is the fact that we are just truly getting to know each other. Instead of attempting to care for one another with our imperfections we rush off once again to look for perfection. And we often mask that with the phrase, “I refuse to settle.” If we would simply work through the transitional period we may find everything we have been looking for or realize we don’t need every box checked.
There are some men and women in their 40s, 50s, and beyond that have been single for several years. And they have usually been engaged once or twice, but never made it to the vows. I know this will be offensive to some, but I think the reason for that is because they have subconsciously convinced their self that they can find perfection. And after all, they aren’t “going to settle” for anyone who doesn’t check every box. And it isn’t because they are arrogant or bad people. It is because they likely have an incredible life, and their greatest fear is messing it up by choosing the wrong partner. It is understandable, but can also lead to a lonely life.
There are some who prefer to live alone. It is your life and you should live it in a way that brings you peace and joy. Some of us are like the only child who starts school and realizes they will have to learn to share in order to make friends, but honestly they would rather play alone. The same thing can happen to those whom every intimate relationship has lead to a feeling of deception, abandonment, or abuse. And thus they develop a high level of independence, which is the greatest defense mechanism to avoiding the pain that can come from allowing others into your life. As a society we use the word “independent” as a badge of honor, but for some it is simply an invisible wall to keep out intimacy, which they believe always ends with pain. It gives them an incredible sense of control, helps avoid pain, but also leads to doing life alone.
In summary, I just made some very broad statements, and I realize that not everyone needs a significant other. I fully understand that some of my beliefs don’t apply to every scenario or person, but my goal is to simply share my thoughts in hopes it helps some of you. We all carry our own unique “baggage” into the relationship. My heart aches for the dating community of which I am a member. I pray that we stop hurting one another, because it seems to be the norm rather than the exception. I own and regret the pain that I have caused, because I was selfish and not willing to be honest with myself and others. As you continue dating please remember you are dealing with hearts and souls. Many of which have already experienced too much pain.
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