When I met Shana, an attractive woman in her 30s, she was dating a new guy every few months. She was feeling desperate and frustrated that everywhere she looked her friends were pairing up, but for some reason it just wasn’t clicking for her. When Shana went to parties, she’d either not feel a connection with anyone, or she’d see a cute guy but talk herself out of flirting with him. She’d go to synagogue kiddushes and have plenty of pleasant conversations with people who were nice and well-meaning – yet somehow she just couldn’t seem able to strike up a conversation with the cute guys that she really wanted to meet, or get people to follow up on dating suggestions.
When I talk to people about considering relationship coaching when things aren’t moving for them, they often look at me like I have three heads. I’ve received comments ranging from “You have GOT to be kidding me, normal people go for relationship coaching?” Or, “I would have to feel desperate to do that.”
Sadly, I run into many of those same people years later and they’re often at the point of feeling desperate and beyond hope. Sometimes they do get married but feel they’ve made a mistake or that they were ill-equipped to withstand the challenges of a successful long term relationship.
It makes little sense why we wait to feel desperate, or like we’ve hit rock bottom, before figuring out how to get something we really want. If we want to be thin most of us try and eat healthy and exercise. We go to the dentist to prevent cavities rather than wait ‘til our teeth are ready to fall out. We meditate and do yoga to reduce anxiety and stress, we take lessons to learn how to drive, rather than wait until we get into an accident (fortunately the law doesn’t allow for that). And for those of us with strong career aspirations we work with a business coach to get our careers moving in the right direction.
If we were to wait for our teeth to rot, our careers to fall apart or our heart to pack up before taking action to improve our lives we would most likely be so far down in the dumps at that point that it would take too much effort to then make a change.
Many of the married couples I’ve worked with have said to me they wish they’d taken the time to understand themselves better before even starting to date, because it may have either influenced their choice differently, or they would have entered the relationship with a different set of expectations and they may have behaved in such a way that would have vastly improved the healthfulness and success of the marriage going in.
It’s heartwarming to know that there’s so much research now about what ingredients make a successful relationship, and that we have the power to make good relationship choices right from the very start. It no longer makes sense to wait until a marriage gets shipwrecked before learning how to make it strong and steady.
When I worked with Shana, we identified that hopefulness was not her strong suit and she allowed me to help her uncover some of the reasons why she didn’t feel entitled to talk to the guys she was attracted to. By pushing through her fears and overcoming old baggage that was weighing her down with negative thoughts she was able to shift her approach and finally meet someone she really liked in real life.
5 Tips to inspire you to take a proactive stance to dating, so you don’t feel desperate
Focus on the features you love about yourself and accentuate them.
Clarify the things you love about your relationships with others
Be brutally honest with yourself…then change the things you don’t like, or that aren’t working for you.
Acknowledge the parts of your life you do feel happy about and celebrate them.
Know that you don’t need to do a complete overhaul, but rather just fix the specific areas where you may be getting stuck.