Usually, the women have one trait that’s holding them back, ranging from the type of guy they pick to being overly critical when they’re with a man, without understanding how their behavior sinks their love boat every time.
If you’re making the same mistake with your dates and want to break your pattern, let’s zero in on the repetitive, fatal dating flaw that’s ruining your love life.
If one of these four common dating flaws sounds familiar, try my fast fix and chart a course of correction before it’s too late:
Dating Flaw #1: Post-date eagerness that comes across as desperate
Jamie, a 34-year-old writer, acted overly needy after dates by sending email and text messages. Her fingers got trigger-happy and she’d send her date a three-page email detailing their relationship potential. In her words, “I wasn’t really desperate. I guess I just acted that way.” –
Fast Fix: There’s a big difference between a sunny follow-up message after a first date and a three-page novel to the poor lug at his office the morning after. When you feel the breathless urge to write such a treatise, pouring out your heart and soul, be smart, take a deep breath and keep all post-date e-communications short and simple until you know him better. Remember that text-messaging is, in some ways, even worse than emailing. It’s too speedy and accessible for your own good. There’s a good chance you’ll wind up annoying the guy and/or revealing too much. Jamie learned to filter her messages before clicking “send,” and when that fails, I yank her DSL line out of the wall.
Dating Flaw #2: Being too tough on your dates
Missy, 39, blonde and beautiful, always criticized her dates and then regretted it once they left, as they invariably would. It didn’t matter how nice the guys were or how much she initially liked them. Within hours, she’d pick apart their looks, interactions, interests and career choices. But her cycle of regret started only after they dropped her off and sped away.
Fast Fix: Missy had to learn the hard way that you don’t always get second chances in romance. Dating is not a dress rehearsal, especially as we get older and make faster decisions about whether a potential Mr. or Ms. Right is right for us. I helped Missy learn how to quickly recognize and stall her critical impulses. Being aware of them was the first step. The second was applying a seven-second delay to her dating conversations, just like TV networks often do during live broadcasts to circumvent verbal blunders. Her critical nature is now the monster contained in the box, the issue she knows she must watch.
Dating Flaw #3: Romantically idealizing men
Amy, a 35-year-old banker, can cook a soufflé, balance a financial portfolio and run four miles in 28 minutes. For several years, she also picked losers who were just not that into her. She saw warning signs. She ignored them. She was a romantic Pollyanna, always assuming that the guy just had to be decent. Wrong.
Fast Fix: Do you like bad boys, despite how horribly they treat you? Are you, like Amy, ignoring red flags? Break the pattern by stripping away the veil that keeps you from seeing the truth about your date. As Maya Angelou once said, “When someone tells you who he is, believe him.” The same holds true for someone’s actions. Does he call and/or show up when he says he will? Does he spend time focused on you and what you care about? Paying attention to guys’ actions has helped Amy learn how to quickly spot a self-absorbed loser and flee immediately. Amy developed a handy list of basic standards that all men must uphold in order to earn her respect and attention. These help her stay objective. What’s on your list?
Dating Flaw #4: Obsessing on one guy too much, too soon
Newly divorced Gabriela, 38, sometimes feels a little like Hamlet, wondering aloud: “To date or not to date?” When it comes to men, alluring Gabriela leaps from indifference to obsession within seconds. But when her new obsession is either a disappointing dud or doesn’t treat her well, she gets depressed just as quickly.
Fast Fix: Stop feeling as tormented as Shakespeare’s Danish prince by getting out there, meeting more men, and increasing your odds of finding Mr. Right. I advise single women to have a herd. Simply put, a herd consists of several, simultaneous dating prospects. One-man women like Gabriela are inclined to put all eggs in one man’s basket, so to speak. But when you’re dating and single, with no committed relationship on the immediate horizon, think of your herd as your emotional insurance policy. A herd helps keep you calm as you emotionally toggle between different guys, but the real benefit is that you don’t place all hopes on one man. Even if there’s a man you want to see yourself with badly, having a herd takes the pressure off. Without excess pressure, you and your guys have a chance to be yourselves. Isn’t that the ideal way to find out if you have enough shared feelings, interests and values to form a stronger relationship?
Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for Match.com since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Send your dating questions and comments to him at Hidden Email Address –