So you’re single. At least if you’re reading this, there is a good chance you are. Do you view being single positively or negatively? What stories do you tell yourself about why you are currently single, and about what your life may be like when you have a partner in it?
Through my work as a relationship coach, many of my clients tell me they need a partner to do things with, share experiences, support them, or take care of them. But there is a problem when you tell yourself you need a partner for these reasons. It suggests there is something lacking in your life, limiting you from experiencing a full life without someone else.
Sure, there is a comfort in sharing experiences with another person, but when you decide this can only be found through someone else there is a problem.
I believe you are only ready to create a healthy intimate relationship when you can wholeheartedly say you want rather than need (i.e., a partner).
If you are reading this thinking, of course I don’t need a partner but the attitude you hold about being in a relationship is that it is far superior to being single, then perhaps this attitude is blocking you from attracting the kind of mate you seek.
I regard modern dating as romantic consumerism with an over-reliance on online dating.
Online dating has changed the way people date, mate and separate, yet our human need to connect, be accepted, desired and treated with compassion and love has not. Humans are born to belong and connect, yet swiping culture offers a selection of ways to opt out of real connection and settle for pseudo-connection.
If you genuinely want to meet a partner or make an authentic connection with people, and rely solely on online dating to do that, you will end up dissatisfied and frustrated. Most of my clients who are dating online in Dublin at the moment describe how challenging it is to connect with people virtually, never mind in person, and begin to think there is something wrong with them.
It doesn’t stop there. After one unsuccessful match there often comes the catastrophic thinking that, ‘I will be alone forever’. Modern dating requires so much resilience and adaptability to deal with all the uncertainty characteristic of a game with no rules.
What might be improved upon is a person’s quality of thinking. Any kind of limited thinking regarding your ability to meet someone is flawed in the same way as it is wrong to believe a relationship can offer you a refuge from the life you are living.
Research conducted by Roy Baumeister suggests that entertaining the very idea of social exclusion can actually impair your IQ and ability to think straight. This information helps us understand the suffering you can feel by merely thinking about a future without a partner in it.
The thought alone can lead to further impaired thinking and we must protect against that. One way to do so is to find ways to be socially connected exclusive of online dating, to protect your wellbeing, and be in a better position to attract a suitable partner.
Here are five ways to stay socially connected and in the process make it easier to find someone:
- What lights you up? Do more of the things you love such as attending the theatre, gigs, or outdoor activities.
- Unsure what lights you up? Spend time to find out what does. Reach out to people you know who may already be involved in interesting activities.
- Take the plunge and connect with friends of friends if they live in your area. You already have things in common, and most people are happy to extend their circle.
- Look after your well-being. Find a grounding activity such as meditation, yoga, Tai Chi.
- Talk and engage with people at any opportunity, from the person serving you to whoever is sitting beside you in the coffee shop. Become a pro at connecting with people in every day situations.
Remember, if you experience anxiety or depression, developing relationships and socialising in traditional ways can be that little bit more challenging, and may affect your ability to interact and connect with others. Access www.aware.ie or www.socialanxietyireland.com to empower you to develop more confidence in social settings, and build healthy relationships.
Annie Lavin, Ireland’s dating and relationship coach, is based in Dublin and works with clients all over the world. She empowers people to achieve relationship success by transforming their relationship with themselves. Annie is passionate about supporting people to create and maintain healthy, meaningful relationships amid the chaos of the modern dating world www.relationshipcoach.ie.