For the longest time I kept falling for the wrong guys. They all had one thing in common — they were emotionally unavailable. I craved a relationship but yet I couldn’t get honest with myself. So I played games like the “I’ll wait to respond so I don’t look too desperate” or the “I don’t want a relationship but I secretly do”.
For nearly 6 months I had a series of short dating relationships from 1-night-stands to month long flings that fizzled. I got the guys who just wanted sexual relationships, the married men, the cheaters, the heartbroken divorced men and the polyagamous men. If I slept with a guy on the first date I got super attached and couldn’t just do sex. I always craved more attention and more time together. A friends-with-benefits relationship just wasn’t sustainable for me long-term. I couldn’t get why I kept attracting the wrong man.
When you keep landing dud dates you start to feel like you are at a dead end with your love life or in my mom’s words feel like “you’ll never find anyone”.
Sleeping with guys too quickly, being vague about what I wanted, acting emotionally distant were all the things I didn’t want but yet I was creating and attracting. It was a “safe zone” for me. I didn’t want to get hurt again or end up in an unhealthy relationship again. I didn’t trust my better judgment to find the right guy and so I stuck to my familiar bad dating habits. Getting vulnerable and honest was too scary for me. I deeply wanted a safe healthy committed relationship but the broken part of me never believed I’d find the right guy.
After telling the polyamorous guy I was dating I was done I started doing research on how to date. It sounded silly, like really, I’m learning how to date? But I realized I didn’t know how to date to win. I knew how to date to create short-term fake relationships.
For me it was a big deal to learn how to date and while it felt embarrassing I actually felt more empowered and educated.
No one really teaches you how to date — at least I didn’t get schooled on how to date to create healthy, long-term relationships. I was hoping I’d find the one with the same unhealthy behaviors. Look, you can’t find the right guy doing the same old toxic behaviors.
The emotionally unavailable guy isn’t suddenly going to become available just for you. The married man isn’t going to leave his wife. The polygamous guy isn’t going to suddenly commit to only you. The fantasy of the changing that guy to fit what you need is unrealistic and an exhausting task at hand.
Attraction is one thing but engaging in dating relationships that are short and fleeting when you are looking for the one is counterproductive. Dating is designed to show you what you want and what you don’t want. You learn what your boundaries are, what you keep repeating and what you want to change.
One of the things I learned after I changed up my dating game is to not get attached to any one guy immediately but rather keep it open. It’s a lot of work to keep your options open but it helps you to see the forest for the trees. You get to experience dating all kinds of men and filter out the good from the bad. By doing this I learned what a quality date looks like versus a cheap date where the guy expects you to pay for your own meal. I also quickly realized the guy who is really into you will keep showing up consistently.
The thing is if you want to attract the right guy you have to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. If what you are doing is not working for you and you are getting no results or the opposite of what you want then it’s time to do some self-inquiry.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What do you want?
- What do you want your dates to look like?
- How do you want to feel in your “dream” relationship?
- What does commitment mean to you?
- What is not working in your dating approach and what can you change?
Loneliness and a desire for a long-term relationship can influence our judgment and lower our standards where we compromise what we want. Own what you want and don’t settle out of loneliness or fear that you will never meet your person.