Where are the good men? Where are the good women?
These might be some questions that you’ve asked your friends lately. The modern prospects of dating can leave single Catholics feeling burnt out, frustrated, or hopeless that all the “good ones” are taken.
I know I have felt that way in my own saga of online dating as a Catholic.
Mistakes are often the best teacher for learning and becoming a more mature version of yourself. I know that is true in my own life.
One of my dear friends is a life coach. After her own painful break-up she took time and money to invest in herself by finding a dating coach. This friend was learning a lot, both about herself, relationships, and how to be a better dater. As she learned and grew, I got a front seat into her insights and tools.
I soundly became very aware of myself and how I presented and acted on dates and in relationships. Surprisingly for the first time, I began to see and realize the varied ways women (including myself in there!) can unintentionally scare off good men. Here are a few:
Remember, this is a date, not an interrogation! Intense interview questions reduce your date to a potential interviewee at best; that does not bode well for the potential of future dates.
I made this mistake on a third date once. I cringe looking back at it now.
Dating is about getting to know someone, while discerning things like compatibility. More difficult conversations ( like past relationships, porn use, etc.) will come later when a deeper intimacy has already been created. Do not force it. Treat your date how you would want to be treated.
Being clingy and insecure
Several of my male friends have shared with me their thought that clingy or insecure women are always a bright, red flag signaling you to run in the opposite direction. Sometimes women might not even be aware how they are coming across to men. I am including myself in this and have made a few mistakes in this department. When we know better, we can act better.
One of the practices I began to use in dating was something I call “leaning back.” If after a first date I had a wonderful time, I would send a kind text to a man thanking him for the fun time sharing how our time made me feel. Then, I leaned back. I focused on living my own life, and did not keep reaching out. Women sometimes lean forward with too much anxious or nervous energy. Early on in a relationship that can scare off a good man.
Focus on yourself, your own life. Let your energy, radiance, and confidence draw someone in to get to know you more. Don’t be clingy, it can do more harm than we may realize sometimes.
Living the cliché
No one wants to be known or referred to as “the crazy ex-girlfriend.” I don’t know about you, but it seems to me modern women have earned this reputation for being more volatile. Don’t play games, take responsibility and own your feelings and emotions, and treat a man the way you want him to treat you.
Be respectful. Don’t play these childish games in dating like ghosting him or becoming too attached to an outcome. Spend some time just getting to know the man across the table (or screen). He’s worth the effort, and so are you.
Trying to move things along
Forcing a relationship or trying to “help” things move along is an easy way to create a relational train wreck.
Allow things between you and said gentleman to develop naturally, organically.
Spend the time and effort to really get to know the other person, without becoming overly attached to an outcome or if you met “the one.” Take the pressure off yourself and especially the other person! Enjoy each other’s company.
The best relationships I have heard of or witnessed were the ones that developed at their own pace without some euphoric rush after just one or two dates. Don’t be in a hurry to rush your relationship to the next stage. Let things play out and develop in time.
Being attached to an outcome
For women, the usual outcome tends to be a serious, exclusive relationship hopefully leading to marriage someday.
That girlfriend who taught me so much from her dating coach? This was one of the most important things I learned from her. Do not become attached to an outcome!
Live in the present moment of where things stand with a man. Do not get ahead of yourself, you know what I mean. “Trying on” his last name or imagining the color of your bridesmaid dresses is a sure way to see you’re getting too attached to the outcome early on.
Enjoy where your budding relationship is, without creating this pressure to force it along or get overly attached too soon. Of course it is easier said than done, but to do this well is not impossible. More often than not, I have had to learn the hard way. But it is a lesson worth learning.
What else would you add to this list from your own experience?
As a woman, have you had any experiences that taught you these lessons in dating?