Name: DC Dater | | Location: Washington , DC |Question: What do you suggest for people who aren’t having any luck dating in their 30’s? I’ve heard many people say you have to “attract” the right type of people but how exactly do you do that? How do you find the balance between being open minded and not settling for less than what you want and feel you deserve? |Age: 34
What you need to do, before anything else, is accept some very basic dating realities.
1. People can and often do change their mind inexplicably and without warning or reason. – Nowhere is this more common than online dating. You can have an amazing first date. Like, fireworks and chemistry and the whole shebang. They could go out with someone the next night or a few nights later and feel more comfortable or attracted to that person and you never hear from them again. Face it. If social media has affected dating in any way, it’s that it has made us fickle.
2.Often times our perceptions are not reality – You think you had a great date. You think there’s chemistry. You think you have a lot in common. When you go to that place in your head, you are more likely to convince yourself that the person you are out with feels the exact same way. More often than not, whatever they’re feeling isn’t authentic or genuine or remotely close to what you are feeling. You have one good date? Great. Go out on another. With someone else. Occupy yourself. Manage how often you reflect on the events of the date. Most importantly, don’t gab about it to your friends or online.
3. There is no such thing as having sex too soon. There’s only having sex too soon with the wrong person. And everybody has done that. A lot. - Both sex and dating are a crapshoot. You have no idea how things will play out the next day. The only thing you can control is who you choose to sleep with and how you react and handle things afterwards. So focus on that.
4. Sex is not some sort of Holy Grail. – It’s not. Do not blow sex, when you have sex or sexual compatibility out of proportion until it’s absolutely necessary. Don’t want to have sex? Don’t put yourself in a position (hah!) where it’s an obvious option. Also don’t assume that a lack of sexual compatibility the first few times means you won’t be compatible. If you’re someone who insists upon a lover being more or equally experienced as you and you lose interest quickly, I’m betting it’s not the sex that’s the real issue. Most people can learn. It’s sex. It’s not rocket science. You put that thing in there, you flip around a bit, put an ankle there and a tongue there. If the attraction is there, you can make it work. If the attraction was only meh to begin with, then why are you sleeping with them?
5. Everybody Lies – Seriously, I don’t even understand how this is a debate. People will lie to get what they want. Or they will lie to spare your feelings or to avoid an awkward conversation. If you flip out every time someone says one thing to you on a date and then sends you that Dear John/Jane email the next day, then stop dating because you’re going to have an aneurysm.
6. The manner in which someone chooses to communicate is not necessarily indicative of how interested they are – Learn it. Live it. Love it. Texting is the new phone call.Stop with the squawking about wanting someone you barely know to call you “so you can hear how they respond.” You’re not important enough after one or two dates for someone to stray from how they normally behave. Just because they don’t call doesn’t mean they don’t like you.
7. A first date is merely a test drive – Don’t expect people to pull out all the stops. You can hope for manners and courtesy. But don’t expect someone to plan some grand evening after pouring through your profile to learn the types of food you like or activities you enjoy. It’s the first date.
8. Curiosity kills the cat - Whenever I hear someone say that they went out with someone “because they were curious” that usually means “I knew they were wrong for me, but they were hot.” And those scenarios work out to that person’s advantage. There’s nothing wrong with going out with someone because they are really, really good looking. Just say that and admit to yourself that is your motivating factor. At least then you might have a pleasant evening. What you won’t be is disappointed because they didn’t call you again.
9. There are leagues - Stop it. Yes, there are. We’re normally drawn to what is familiar to us or to someone we feel bolsters or matches the image we perceive we have. Some of us are never going to get the hot bartender or person with model good looks. Nothing is impossible, and you should never NOT try. Just understand that the odds are probably against you.
10. You are not as much of a catch as you think you are – It’s good to have healthy self-esteem and to like yourself. But when I hear people talk about bad dates and their friends go “His/Her loss!” and “You can do better!” most of the time I shake my head and say to myself, “No it’s not and no you can’t.” People who constantly say things like this are compensating for something. They’re not really talking to the other person. They’re talking to themselves. If you need that kind of reassurance then that’s probably because you know, on some level, that there’s something about you that is keeping people away. Rather than spend your time in fantasyland with the other Sex & The City galpals, figure out what that is.
11. The smart people “settle” - I’m telling you right now that if people tell you you’re too picky, you probably are. I’d LOVE to do the rah rah cheer that many women do for each other nowadays. But I refuse.. Sick of it. Sick of hearing about how everyone would rather be alone than with the wrong person. It’s a bullshit excuse that women say to each other and themselves to make themselves feel better. We all settle. We all stray from that laminated list of preferences and standards we write for ourselves, a list that gets longer and longer as we get older. All that stuff, all those must haves? They’re just excuses to stay single.
As far attracting the right “type ” of person, the issue isn’t so much who we attract but to whom we are attracted.
Depending on your environment and history, you may end up pre-disposed to be attracted a specific type of person. Like, say, you had a disapproving father. Often times we re-enact the relationships we had with our parents or with people we dated when we were younger in an attempt to rectify where we went “wrong.”
If you’re finding that you keep dating different variations of the same person over and over again, and those relationships didn’t turn out well (not because they ended but because they were unhealthy in some way) then you need to pinpoint the characteristics about those people that they had in common or that drew you to them in the first place. Listen, you can’t help who you’re attracted to. But you can certainly learn to control your impulses. It sucks but you’ll be better off. What’s needed is discipline. That’s a hard thing to build but it’s crucial if you want to stay away from people who aren’t good for you. You’re going to weaken from time to time. That’s okay. Just don’t make a habit of it.
Once you figure out what things to avoid, you’ve won half the battle. Now you focus on the things that really matter. The clearer the picture you have of what’s important, the more likely it will be that you start being attracted to different people.It’s all about getting out of your own way.
Finally, to answer your last question, you don’t “deserve” anybody or anything. That kind of thinking right there will blow any chances you may have of finding the right person for you. That’s entitlement, and it never works in our favor. You can want, you can hope, but you should never expect. Because even if you get that dream person, I guarantee you that relationship will end up not being what you thought it would be.
There is no middle of the road here. There’s just open minded. Which isn’t to say you should go out with anybody who asks. It’s okay to want them to be together and attractive and that you want to be attracted to them. Once you get in to that mind frame of thinking that you might be settling, you’re kind of doomed. Because that’s not how you should be thinking. You should be thinking, “Why not? I’ve had a pleasant conversation with them. They seem nice. I’m not running away screaming. What the hell?”