Whether you’re dating in order to ultimately find the perfect life partner, marriage partner, or simply to find the right boyfriend or girlfriend, healthy and effective dating requires a number of skills including judgment, finesse, wisdom, self-esteem, pacing, emotional resilience, self-knowledge, a minimum degree of emotional and psychological health and stability, and a healthy “mind-set”. All of the above are all the more true as we become older — whether we’re in our 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s or older, perhaps are divorced or single parents, are perhaps widowed, or have endured a series of “bad” or unhealthy relationships. If we have endured challenging or unhealthy relationships, one of the most important prerequisites is to first identify and change the negative patterns that have resulted in our landing in such relationships, often repeatedly.
Using the venue of bars or clubs to meet potential mates was very popular in the past and still exists but is generally less popular than was the case. In its place, “personals” websites have become plentiful and largely usurped what used to be the “meat market” of the bar scene. Unfortunately, there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches to finding a partner. In addition, there are many other avenues to meet potential partners.
While the dating “personals” websites allows us to search with great specificity, it has, unfortunately, transformed into a new type of “meat market”, a human “auto mall” of sorts where many arrive with a laundry-list of attributes, characteristics, and highly specific parameters to meet the “perfect” man or woman. One of the worst and most prevalent yet often unconscious hazards of these sites is the perception of an almost unlimited “market” of would-be contenders. As a relationship coach, marriage counselor, and psychotherapist, I’ve witnessed all too many individuals “dump” partner after partner prematurely at the first sign of conflict or challenge, rather than realizing that all relationships require some level of compromise and emotional “work”, in order to find a more “perfect” mate.
In fact, a larger and larger pool of daters has emerged who have, unwittingly, actually become addicted to the dating sites themselves and to the fantasy of the perfect mate, coming home excitedly to check their new personals e-mails, and not realizing that, unaware, they’ve substituted a world of fantasy to their original goal of a three-dimensional human being with whom to share life with. Furthermore, because of the ability to set specific parameters with respect to such things as income level, height, weight, age, and other demographics, many suitable potential mates are never even encountered where there might have been tremendous connection, attraction, and potential for a loving relationship were they to have met in person. Many others dismiss individuals strictly on the basis of photos which so often are misleading in one direction or the other. Of course, lastly, the personals sites — and even subsequent e-mails, instant messages, texts, and phone calls often don’t afford one the ability to determine if there exists that so-important visceral sense of connection — a subtle combination of “enough” physical attraction, chemistry, and emotional/interpersonal connection that one can usually only really “get” through face-to-face in-person contact.
Unless you’ve married your high school sweetheart and are living happily-ever-after, for so many, finding a partner is not so easy. And it’s so very hard to be objective about the way we go about this incredibly important task, without the help, input, support and accountability of a trained and experienced coach and psychotherapist.
Here’s what I will provide you as your coach.
As your Dating Coach, I’ll help you to:
- Identify and change historical negative patterns in your dating/relationship history in terms of the types of men or women you’ve attracted into your life; and avoid the past pitfalls you’ve “fallen into”
- Create a “game plan” as to the most effective avenues to meeting the “right” men or women and work with you, step-by-step, in pursuing those path(s), including exploring non-traditional paths other than “singles” events, personals sites, and bars, etc.
- Deal with shyness, assertiveness, and self-esteem/self-image issues, including effective ways to deal with rejection and maximize your resilience
- If a personals ad is one of the avenues we’ve agreed upon, assist you with hands-on help in creating a most persuasive, attractive, and effective profile and an ideal photo
- Identify “red flags” as quickly as possible with respect to “bad matches” for you
- Learn how to gently but firmly set boundaries so as to discontinue contact with individuals in whom you’re not interested, allowing you to “move on” and not waste time
- Pace yourself appropriately in your dating from your initial emails, phone calls or personal contact and extending into your first, second, third dates and beyond.
- This includes helping you with the pacing regarding:
- being mindful of appropriate and inappropriate topics of conversation over time
- frequency of phone calls, emails, and dates
- physical and intimate contact in your relationship
- introducing your partner to your friends and/or relatives
- Deal with interpersonal challenges and/or “problems” or difficulties as they arise
- As with all of my coaching, create an agreed-upon system of accountability, so that your progress and movement forward is clear and identifiable
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