As a dating and relationships coach, I deal every day with mistakes that get made in these areas.
By Mark Rosenfeld
Some dating mistakes aren’t a big deal. There’s a lot of things you can do “wrong” that won’t end up costing you in the grand scheme.
Then there’s mistakes that aren’t so harmless.
Over my time coaching dating, these are the 7 biggest mistakes I see women make that lead to the most pain, worst choices in partners, and least overall fulfillment.
Thinking you’ll find love without meeting lots of men
If you want a great job, you spend thousands of hours at school and college, working to earn it.
If you want to master a sport, you spend thousands of hours practicing.
And if you want a great relationship with a quality guy, you…
Sit around hoping?
There’s a fantasy across society that ‘love and relationships’ is the one area of life where you can achieve amazing results, without putting in any effort – and it just isn’t true.
Yes, we’ve all met someone who found her match and a happy marriage by pure chance.
But these stories are the exception, not the rule.
If you want to leave the most important aspect of your life to chance, you can do what most women do. Make little effort to meet men and hope you’ll be one of the lucky ones.
The problem? You risk becoming a statistic. One of many who realises too late that’s a failing strategy.
Mr. Right won’t be the first or the 5th guy you run into. Odds are Mr. Right will be number #52, a friend of the guy you met at the yacht club, who you only knew because you met his brother at dancing, because another guy you met invited you. You get what I mean.
Don’t buy into the Disney fantasy that ‘the one’ will stumble into your living room and sweep you off your feet with no effort from you. Your chances of meeting Mr. Right increase directly proportional to the number of men you’re meeting.
Thinking he’s exclusive when he’s hasn’t said so
There’s probably no mistake that will hurt you as quickly as assuming exclusivity.
Hormones run wild in the first weeks and months with a new love, and they can lead all of us feeling as though things are further ahead than what they are.
Men take time to sell themselves on the idea of a relationship. Exclusivity is something they merge into, rather than swerve at. Just like you, men want to make sure they commit to the right person, and they take time to do it.
And that’s great. It means you can do the same. Take your time and think about whether he’s boyfriend material for you, while you date other men to make sure. Men are serial multi-daters, and it’s a grave mistake to assume anything otherwise, until he’s said so.
Thinking “Modern Dating” is to blame for the fact you’re single
There’s no faster way to disempower yourself and play victim than by blaming your results on your circumstances. This applies to every area of life, and dating is no exception.
Even if it was true, saying so just inhibits you from doing anything about it.
Dating has changed. There’s more accessibility. There’s too much texting. Jumping ship from a relationship is now easier than fixing the boat. The dynamics have changed, too. Women are owning their sexualities. Cheating is easier than ever. Standards are no longer instilled by circumstances the way they were in our grandparents’ generation.
Despite all this, there’s people everywhere ‘beating’ modern dating and finding wonderful relationships regardless of these circumstances.
You have a choice. You can either blame the circumstances, the way an overweight man blames his weight on his sedentary job, or, you can adapt and do some exercise. Rather than becoming a victim, you can find and train your dating muscles in an ever changing world.
Instead of blaming ‘modern dating’ for your singlendom, look at the chinks modern dating has highlighted in your armor, and focus on working on those.
Thinking you’ll know he’s ‘the one’ in the first few months
Assuming exclusivity might get you hurt, but this one can ruin your life.
“Love at first sight.”
“Trust the feeling.”
“You’ll just know.”
Women around the world, every second of every day, are winding up with men who aren’t right for them, because they put too much faith in ‘that feeling’. Where love at first sight proved to be all fireworks and no fire. All craving and no compatibility.
That ‘feeling’ is an evolved cocktail of dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. Together, they literally turn dull down your amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex, so you won’t be able to perceive a man’s flaws. Why? This circuit evolved, so new lovers would conceive a child and pass on their genes, staying together for at least as long as the mother was most vulnerable. Picking a compatible partner was not on evolution’s priority list.
The hardest part of this is that it’s romanticized by rare examples of women who broke the rule – who had ‘the feeling’ – and were proven right. Years later, they’re happily married and telling you, “When it’s him, you’ll just know.”
Unfortunately, this well-meaning advice takes away the practical sense of getting to know a man and finding out if you and he are compatible. It takes healthy reservation out of the equation. For each success story, 10 other women had ‘the feeling’ and got badly burned – but stay silent about their lesson.
Let ‘the feeling’ be a sign to find him attractive. To explore your connection. To investigate further, and nothing more. The right guy will prove himself over months and years. If it’s him, there’s no rush.
Trusting ‘the feeling’ is the equivalent to sitting down at a poker table and pushing all your chips in blind. Occasionally, you’ll flip up Aces, but mostly, you’ll lose your stack.
Thinking men initiate interactions
“Guy’s never approach me.”
“I wouldn’t want to date a guy who doesn’t have the confidence to come over and talk to me.”
If you hear yourself saying things like this – you’ve fallen for dating mistake #5. You think men initiate interactions. Like a football player sitting on the bench, you feel as though you have no control as to whether you get involved in the game.
You’re not entirely wrong. Men who know you already will initiate. A drunk guy might. A pickup artist probably will.
But if you think it’s men who initiate interactions and the fact you don’t get approached is therefore on them, you’re underestimating how much men fear rejection.
Ever wonder why men hit on you more in pubs than say – at the supermarket?
It’s not because men don’t notice you at the shops. They very much do.
It’s because, without alcohol, most men would scale a cliff to fight a lion at the top before they tackled their fear of rejection at the shops on you.
Women (you) initiate interactions by giving men green lights. He has to feel like his chances of success are high, or he will not take the risk. You give him the signals, then when he walks over, he gets to feel like it was all him.
Thinking you’ll never have to chase a man
Not being desperate in dating is good. Valuing yourself is great. Knowing how much you’ll provide to a man’s life is fantastic.
But making the next leap to “My value as a woman means I’ll never have to chase a man” is taking a big step too far.
Why is his value less than yours?
If he’s a quality man, isn’t he also worthy of being chased by a good woman?
You won’t become his puppy dog by chasing, and he won’t lose respect for you. These things only happen when a woman chases a man without reciprocation.
Good dating and great relationships happen when both partners are chaser and chasee. A subtle ebb and flow of energy back and forth as each partner remembers the worth of the other.
Just like you, a quality, self-respecting man will not hit his head against a wall for long. If you put up walls where you adamantly refuse to chase, he will have the self-respect to stop chasing you, too.
You will either attract men, who are in it for the chase alone (and will leave thereafter), or men whose self-respect is so low that they’re willing to chase someone who won’t chase them back.
A quality woman will chase a man, but she expects reciprocation. Same as a quality man.
Thinking ‘being challenging’ has anything to do with sex
Ever held off from having sex, then had it, only to have the guy leave, anyway?
The reason this happens isn’t because you slept with him too soon. It’s because he no longer felt challenged by you, once you slept with him.
It’s a great thing to challenge a man. It’s fundamental for attraction – in both directions. But if that challenge ends the moment you sleep with him, you’ve bought into myth of mistake #7.
That ‘being challenging’ is about when you have sex.
A quality woman is not won over just because she bedded a man.
The real challenge for a man is about what it takes to win you over. How quickly are you sold on the idea of him as your man?
In other words…
How high are your standards?
How much work has he had to put in before you give up your most valuable possessions… Your single life… and your heart?
This is why a quality woman is challenging – irrelevant of when she sleeps with him.
Have sex with him on your terms – whenever you feel is comfortable for you. But instead of worrying about whether you’ve challenged him enough by the time lapsed, worry about answering the more pertinent, important question.
What has he done – specifically for you – to qualify himself as a potential boyfriend?
Avoid these 7 traps women fall into, and you’ll be on your way to securing the quality relationship most women can’t.