If you’re convinced you’re destined to lose at the game of love, prepare to change your perspective. According to Alan Cohen, author of such books as Radical Contentment
and Don’t Get Lucky, Get Smart
, you hold all the power to turn things around. He insists that recognizing — and, more importantly, breaking — your “unlucky” dating patterns will transform your love life from depressing to delightful in no time.
Ready to have that happen? We thought so. Below, find some of the dating patterns Cohen lists as particularly unlucky… so, learn to identify and avoid them in your own quest for The One!
Unlucky dating pattern #1: Mistaking “hope at first sight” for “love at first sight”
Many romances are built on hopes, dreams, and fantasies rather than reality. “Hopes and dreams are extremely important, but they must also be balanced with reality checks,” Cohen advises. When you meet someone new — especially online — it can be tempting to fantasize about how he or she is the person who will finally fulfill all your hopes and dreams about love. “Many people fall in love instantly through cyberspace,” he notes. “While some of these relationships blossom into lifelong connections, you need get to know each other as real people first.”
How to break it:
How can you determine if your love is real? “Take time to get to know your potential partner before buying the house together or choosing names for your children,” says Cohen. “If your love falls apart at the first upset, or you get into ongoing fighting or drama, it’s not really love. If you get to know each other and — for better and worse — you still value each other and choose to be together, you have a very good thing going.”
Unlucky dating pattern #2: Dating when you’re feeling desperate
Dating decisions that stem from feelings of loneliness or hopelessness almost never pan out well, says Cohen. “One of my coaching clients was an attractive, intelligent, successful professional who could have had her pick of men — and she did,” he explains. “As she approached the age of 40, she began to feel desperate to find a life partner and have children. Then she began to make desperate choices and hook up with men who were either feeling equally desperate or played on her feelings of insecurity. Needless to say, none of these relationships worked.”
How to break it:
If this behavior sounds familiar, Cohen advises trying your best to relax and trust yourself and your dating process — and perhaps even take a break from the dating game altogether. “Sometimes it’s helpful to stop dating for a while, step back, find yourself and fall in love with who you are. Then, when the time is right, you can venture out into the dating world again and your results will be altogether more successful,” he asserts. Ideally, such a break will allow you to connect with others “not because you need them, but because you want to.” As a result of this crucial shift, Cohen says you’ll be drawn to a healthy partner with whom you can develop a great relationship.
Unlucky dating pattern #3: Seeking only one perfect match for yourself
If you tend to dismiss partners once you find something “wrong” with them, you may have a history of letting pickiness overshadow genuine romantic possibilities. “Creating a great relationship is less about finding the right person and more about letting someone be
the right person,” Cohen explains. “Every potential partner has great qualities, along with traits that you find unattractive. The more you focus on what you love — or could
love — the more you bring those positive qualities forth. The more you zero in on the person’s deficits, the more you bring those forth. Create a fabulous partner by magnifying what is
rather than criticizing what isn’t
How to break it:
If you are trying to discern between being “too picky” or simply “selective,” Cohen suggests asking yourself if the trait in your partner that you are questioning is a minor or major flaw. Are your partner’s other qualities attractive enough that, on balance, you can overlook it? Or is this trait something that could undermine everything else? Cohen says it’s also helpful to look at your
patterns over time. “If you have tended to be picky, picky, picky
in the past, it may time to be open, open, open
now,” he says. At the same time, if you have had relationships tank because you were not selective enough, it’s time to exercise some discernment.
Unlucky dating pattern #4: Getting stuck with the wrong person — repeatedly
According to Cohen, every relationship partner — whether he or she shows up for a day or a lifetime — is a perfect mirror for what is going on inside of you. “If you keep meeting people who use and abuse you, there must be a part of you that doesn’t feel like you deserve a partner who honors you,” he explains. While such relationships may be painful, if they force you to recognize that you do deserve someone better, they can actually help heal what was hurting you in the past. “Then, when you make a relationship choice based on self-respect, it will be stronger, sweeter, and more enduring,” says Cohen.
How to break it:
If you keep getting stuck on the wrong partner, realize that there is something stuck inside of you that you must shift in a positive direction before seeking a new partner. “This does not have to be a painful or cumbersome task at all; on the contrary, it can be fun and liberating,” Cohen says. And it doesn’t matter whether you choose to work with a coach, therapist or use self-help books to guide your transformation. What’s important is taking the first step, advises Cohen: “This process will place you back in the driver’s seat of your love life and attract people who can deliver what you want and deserve.”
When DC-based journalist Chelsea Kaplan isn’t helping you solve your relationship problems, she’s making jewelry. Check it out at www.chelseabellejewelry.com
Article courtesy of Match.com