I always enjoy reading Virgina Clark’s love advice on YourTango. She posted a piece this week called 3 Lies You’re Telling Yourself That Keep You Single wherein she lists three broad, negative messages women repeat to themselves, then offers alternate mantras that will lead to a fulfilling relationship. These general ideas Clark shared got me thinking about the specific self-defeating messages I repeat (unintentionally) when I think about the dating scene as I know it and my feelings about finding love.
I compiled this list of the dating and relationship myths I’ve bought into that I’d like to let go of. How many of these resonate with you?
Men in NYC Aren’t Interested in Lasting Love 1 of 10
I chose this as the first specific negative message I unintentionally repeat to myself because I think this is the one I think the most often, and I'm actually concerned that it's true. That being said, even if it is true for *some* guys in this town, it's certainly not true for every one. There are plenty of men in New York City (and everywhere) who would like to find real love and make a commitment to someone. Staying positive and open and trying to face down these negative thoughts that creep up is the first step to finding your way to a great person.
All the Good Guys Are Taken 2 of 10
God, how classically pathetic is this one? We've all heard this idea repeated a million times, by ourselves and by our friends. It's just not true. Stop focusing on the guys who aren't available and look for guys who *are* available. (Though understanding the qualities you like in guys who are taken is helpful!)
If I Like You, You’re a Jerk 3 of 10
Anybody who has been through a string of bad relationships can relate to this one. You're used to being attracted to guys you can repeat dysfunctional patterns with, so it's become hard for you to trust that you can pick a quality person to date. I think, though, if you're reading this, you're probably serious about creating healthy relationships, and the only way you can do that is by trusting that it's safe to meet new people and that you know how to tell if someone you've met should stay in your life or get the boot!
No One Wants to Date a Woman with a Child 4 of 10
This is patently not true, and I know that from my own life experience. Not only did my mom re-marry after divorcing my biological father, I myself have dated guys since getting divorced who made no issue about the fact that I have a daughter. Three years ago, when I interviewed love expert Helen Fisher, she told me that my obvious fertility would be a bonus to a lot of prospective gentlemen callers! And yet I keep thinking I'm not going to be able to find someone because being a single mom is a turn-off. But here's the thing: a guy who thinks being a single mom is a turn-off is not the right guy for me! So again, don't focus on your fears, because they're only reinforcing your propensity to draw negative relationships into your life. Focus on the idea of the potential mate who you know will love you ... and your son/daughter/cat/dog/Star Wars collection.
Only Certain Guys Like My Body Type 5 of 10
My ladies who check off "curvy" or "more to love" on their dating profiles know what I'm talkin' about. As a woman of girth, I sometimes feel like I can't win either way. If a guy likes me, it's because he has a fat fetish. If he doesn't like me, he thinks I'm gross. It's hard to feel like your body isn't your calling card as a woman, because we know how visual men are. But I want to be loved as a whole person, not just for my bangin' booty. I don't really have the answer to this one, except to say that I guess I just have to love myself as a whole person and take it from there.
You Can’t Trust Divorced Guys 6 of 10
A man is not a villain just because he's divorced. Plenty of nice guys get divorced for a host of reasons, and it's not fair to judge divorced men differently than divorced women. As my friend Mandy Stadtmiller put it in a blog post about dating on xoJane: "OK, he's been divorced twice so feel free to pile on that this spells only one thing: damaged goods, and I should go running. But I completely disagree. I'm divorced, and I would never hold one let alone two divorces against someone. Life is so about growing and learning along the way, and to me, it absolutely depends on the circumstances."
Single Parents Are Too Busy to Date 7 of 10
There's a single dad who likes me, and we were supposed to go out ages ago, but we had a hard time working out a time we could meet. I got frustrated and said "I think we're too busy," but I really was just afraid to try to make it work. It can be hard to find time to date as a single parent, but it's worth making time, especially if you hope to get married (either for the first time or another time).
You Can’t Meet Someone Online 8 of 10
You can meet someone online, but a lot of your success with online dating depends on which sites you're on and how you use them. I'm registered on a few sites, but I really only use the free one and - you know - you get what you pay for. Even on the free site, though, there are cool guys who I might be compatible with. Online dating success requires focusing on the positive encounters you have and not getting discouraged by the negative ones. Also, don't take it too seriously. It's just messages. The best advice we've all heard at least once about online dating is: get offline as soon as possible! Keep it easy breezy.
You Can’t Meet Someone In Person 9 of 10
When I first got divorced, every time I went out with friends I'd frantically scan the bar. "Is he here? I know tonight's the night. I'm going to meet someone." I never met anyone that way, obviously. Meeting people in real life feels old school and somewhat impossible these days, but it still happens. Just relax and be yourself, and if you strike up a conversation with somebody, see what happens, but don't invest a lot of emotion in the encounter. Dating is all about "keeping it moving," as my friend Michelle likes to say.
I’m Not Ready for a Great Love 10 of 10
This is similar to one of the lies Virginia Clark says we tell ourselves, which is "I don't deserve a great love." I think I deserve a great love, but I sometimes catch myself feeling like I have to wait for it, and that I probably have to kiss a few more frogs before I meet a Prince. That's just a myth I've told myself based on various childhood experiences (they drive all our romantic choices, until we can work out the baggage they've left us with and move on), and I recognize that I don't need to believe it, precisely because I've done so much work on myself in the past few years. So, bring it on Aphrodite! Let's do it - let's fall in love.
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