Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Dating Life and Relationships

canstockphoto8499324-2If you’re single and don’t want to be and you find yourself repeating the same dating cycles over and over, you may be sabotaging your love life. It’s easy — and comfortable — to embrace patterns and behaviors, wearing them like a cozy blanket around our shoulders in the cold, cold world of dating. But, it’s often those very patterns and behaviors that keep us from finding a fulfilling and happy relationship. Below are ten ways you might be sabotaging your dating life.

1. You confuse a digital connection for in-person chemistry. (Having great text or email rapport isn’t the same as feeling a spark when you talk face-to-face.)

2. You keep making these first date mistakes.

3. You have a type and you never date outside of it.

4. You have a dating blog or column. If you’ve been writing about your dating life for an audience, you’ve probably learned that bad dates and relationship drama = entertainment. For some, chasing the entertaining storylines becomes more intoxicating (and, frankly, easier) than chasing a potential match.

5. You don’t believe it when someone tells you he or she wants something different than what you want (a casual relationship versus something serious). You think you’re special enough to change his mind.

6. You surround yourself with people who have negative views on relationships, dating, and the gender you are attracted to (i.e., they regularly say stuff like, “All men suck!”). People have a tendency to reinforce messages they regularly receive from people they like and trust (so surround yourself with people whose messages about relationships are positive!).

7. You believe you can change someone to be exactly what you’re looking for. (Pro tip: you can’t).

8. You don’t MOA as soon as deal-breakers present themselves, instead wasting time in relationships that will go nowhere while someone who could have been your perfect match gets snagged by someone else.

9. You are so eager to be in a serious, committed relationship that you rush The talk and scare away someone who might have been ready for a commitment in a month or two but not now.

10. You believe that having a relationship will make you feel better about parts of your life (or yourself) that you are unhappy with. The things that stress you out or make you feel bad aren’t going to disappear when you get a boyfriend, and the pressure on someone else to fix what you can’t or don’t want to deal with alone will only serve to attract those who prey on vulnerability (not exactly a recipe for a happy and healthy relationship).

28 comments… add one
  • kmtthat

    kmentothat March 1, 2016, 1:44 pm

    Ok ok….#7 and #8. I hear you!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    ktfran March 1, 2016, 2:08 pm

    Great list! On the flip side of number nine…
    .
    You’re so scared of scaring someone off too soon that you act a little too casual for a little too long about the relationship, even if you really, really like someone. God knows I’ve made that mistake in the past.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Steph March 2, 2016, 2:25 pm

      I do this ALL the time. I tell myself in my head “it’s only been 4 months, don’t act serious you don’t want to scare him off” … and I don’t mean serious in a let’s get married tomorrow way, but if things bother me, I try to play it cool instead of speaking up and saying he did something to upset me.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        ktfran March 2, 2016, 4:01 pm

        I’ve tried to change my pattern with the person I’m dating now and it’s working! Trying to play it cool and not showing or discussing how you feel messes with your psyche. The guy prior to this, the Kid who I’ve mentioned before… I’m convinced it didn’t work out because I basically never told him how I felt. Although I’m glad it didn’t.
        .
        Also, after rereading my response, I realized I used “too” a lot. I know other words. I swear.

        Link
      • avatar

        Steph March 3, 2016, 8:04 am

        Yes! I’m currently trying to break my cycle as well. In all areas of my life. Not with my family and closest friends, because I’m pretty open with them, I know they aren’t going to leave me if I tell them they upset me. But with other people in general and expressing how I’m feeling, and it seems to be helping. I don’t feel as weighted down!

        I’m not currently dating anyone at the moment, and it’s very refreshing, but I’m hoping to be able to be able to change the cycle with that as well when I meet someone!

        Link
  • avatar

    Funicello March 1, 2016, 3:57 pm

    I wish Wendy would address ways that internalized sexism impact women’s ability to foster self love and an ability to find men who don’t devalue us or condescend to us. Srsly

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy March 1, 2016, 4:14 pm

      What is “internalized sexism”?

      Reply Link
      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 1, 2016, 4:17 pm

        Nevermind, I Googled it. Instead of focusing on ways that women are victims, I like to address ways that women can empower themselves and make better interpersonal choices. I think most of my columns reflect that. Srsly.

        Link
      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 1, 2016, 5:47 pm

        I think Wendy does plenty to discuss internalized sexism in a less phd thesis kind of way. After all, we talked at length recently about the female partner being the “keeper of the schedule” and we also talk about fairy tale/magical thinking, as well as just today talking about women sacrificing their career for their partner.

        All of these things are related. Overall though, a person who writes in to an advice column doesn’t want a women’s studies lecture on internalized sexism. They want advice.

        Link
      • avatar

        Funicello March 3, 2016, 1:34 pm

        You can discuss internalized sexism without sounding erudite. Also Spacy I’m saying what I would like to see so doesn’t that count as someone who reads an advice column. My point is that Wendy’s column caters to cis straight white women and that is perfectly cool I have great love for this site but instead of hearing me out I get dismissed. If I was a regular commentor I feel like I would have gotten more respect. But that’s cool it reminds me why I typically don’t comment. I think alot of your columns address self empowerment but how about own this may be a cool udea to better your writing. It’s not about talking about how we are victimized it’s about talking about real shit we’ve survived and need to process.

        Link
      • Portia

        Portia March 3, 2016, 1:52 pm

        I mean, you were dismissed because of the way you presented that idea.
        .
        If you want to discuss internalized sexism, head over to the forums and start a thoughtful discussion! Heck, join in on the discussion of who pays on a date, that’s internalized sexism at its peak. Throwing in a tangential mic drop is not the way to start a conversation or affect change.

        Link
      • Cleopatra_30

        Cleopatra_30 March 3, 2016, 10:19 pm

        Both Wendy and SpaceySteph pointed out that the topic of internalized sexism have been discussed, although not directly, but indirectly through other advice columns and forum posts. Those posts, and MANY others in the past, have referred to this idea. No one was dismissing you. They simply stated where these ideas and conversations are happening. Feel free to join in on them. And the comments were plenty respectful, what else do you want?

        Link
      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 1, 2016, 7:09 pm

        Sort of related: just now, Jackson informed me that tomorrow is Dr. Seuss’ birthday. “Well, happy birthday to him,” I said. “No, Mommy,” he replied. “Dr. Seuss is a woman and I know that because she’s a *doctor.*”

        I almost didn’t want to correct him.

        Link
      • othy

        othy March 2, 2016, 4:13 pm

        I love it!
        .
        Fun story about Dr. Seuss. I have a friend who is related to Dr. Seuss (a cousin a couple of times removed). As a kid, her dad liked to tell her this fact when they would read his stories together. So, as a Kindergartner, she decided to tell everyone in her class that she was related to the Cat and the Hat. Her teacher thought she was just kidding around. But she legitimately thought the Cat in the Hat was her distant cousin.

        Link
  • avatar

    scattol March 1, 2016, 4:18 pm

    Does #4 sound familiar to anyone?

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Kate March 1, 2016, 5:03 pm

      Wendy doesn’t write about her own dating life though. If that’s what you’re referring to. But it should sound familiar to a lot of people because there are a bazillion women writing about their dating misadventures and shooting themselves in the foot in the process.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover March 1, 2016, 5:08 pm

        I think they were referring to the Dater X thread going on in the forums.

        Link
      • avatar

        Kate March 1, 2016, 5:12 pm

        Oh yeah probably. That said, Dater X is anonymous (at least until somebody with a grudge publicly outs her like happened to the last one). There are so many women who have these blogs under their own names, and are sabotaging themselves that way. You’re either attracting guys who want to be written about (if your blog is well enough known), or you’re putting yourself at risk of having some guy you just met who googles you find ALL your dirty laundry and crazy at once, going back years, when he should be getting to know you in a normal organic way that’s a process.

        Link
      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 1, 2016, 6:16 pm

        I think it was actually a pretty pointed reference to me (but maybe that’s just me being egocentric). I’m not replying directly because I think it’s a dumb point. I’ve been blogging for 12 years and, pre marriage, I never chronicled my dating life, and since meeting my now-husband, I have always been careful and respectful about the details I share of our relationship.

        Link
      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 1, 2016, 6:18 pm

        I also get the OK from Drew first before posting anything remotely personal; I doubt that is typical of most people who are truly blogging about their dating lives.

        Link
      • avatar

        Kate March 1, 2016, 6:23 pm

        Right, it’s a dumb point because A) you mostly give advice, 2) even if you write about your home life, you’re not sabotaging yourself.

        Link
      • Lianne

        Lianne March 1, 2016, 7:39 pm

        Seems like some people may be internalizing some of these points and trying to deflect back to Wendy.

        Link
      • avatar

        Kate March 1, 2016, 7:54 pm

        Tee hee

        Link
      • avatar

        Funicello March 3, 2016, 1:46 pm

        It really hurts my feelings to see how NONE of you made space for my feelings or opinion. At least Wendy wasn’t catty or straight up dismissive. I tried to hang myself for the 3rd time over the weekend and I didn’t. You might cattily ask how that is related. Well honestly I thought this online community wasbkind and it gave mr strength honestly. But actually yall can be really mean. Ima MOA from this site because it is obvious yall feel justified and good ripping into ppl who aren’t in yr inner circle of ppl who comment often.

        Link
      • avatar

        jlyfsh March 3, 2016, 1:53 pm

        I hope that you are getting the help that you need. Depression and suicidal thoughts are serious and not dismissed by the community from what I have seen. I’m not sure your comment reflected how you were feeling though. If you had commented something about a personal issue you were having or started a forum, I’m sure the response you would have received would have been far different.

        Link
      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 4, 2016, 9:09 am

        Please get help: 1 (800) 273-8255
        National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

        Link
      • avatar

        DesiDad March 4, 2016, 10:34 am

        Funicello, if you were also posting as “scattol” there was no way for us to know that.

        Link
  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 2, 2016, 9:04 am

    You try to be the person you think they want rather than yourself. You act interested in whatever they like to make them like you without realizing you can’t keep up the charade for the rest of your life.

    Reply Link

Leave a Comment