Take the Negative Self-Talk Out of Dating

Posted November 5, 2012 by Monica O'Connell in Life After Five

I’ve been loving Marcy Farrey’s Saturday posts about single life (which you should totally check out) because conversations about dating are common in my office. The conversations are usually about self and feeling vulnerable. Since you’re taking big risks in dating, you can’t help but also examine the strengths and weaknesses that you bring into your romantic relationships.

I want to spend some time combating the negative messages women tell themselves about dating with some radical, self-loving, positive messages. Oftentimes, those negative messages are fear-based and are a result of past failed relationships. But if you change your thinking, you can take the extra time to decide if the person you’re dating is lucky enough to spend more time with you.

Q: What’s wrong with me that I keep dating people who (fill in the blank of qualities you dislike)?

A: Okay, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re lovely. It might be helpful to look at that pattern more closely, and start dating people who are more aligned with what you prefer. We often get what we don’t want when we jump in too fast. We’re excited about the potential of dating this person, and so we stopped paying attention or started to ignore the little red flags that needed some attention.

Q: What am I doing wrong? They won’t call.

A: Why aren’t you calling them? There’s mixed reviews about how women “should” do things in relationships. And I think “shoulds” are stupid.  If you liked the date with the person, why wouldn’t you share that information with them? Is it risky? Yeah. Should you do it half a minute after you say goodbye? Well, probably not. Instead, take some time to reflect about the date. What did you like? What went well? And in the next few days, put on your brave girl pants and call.

Q: What if I’m too (fill in the blank)?

A: This question often comes up as: What if I’m too assertive, too funny, too smart, too upfront, too forward, too direct? This makes me cringe. You have friends who LOVE that you’re funny, assertive, up front, direct, and forward.  You can find a date who does as well. The people you’re dating are going to find out at some point that you’re the amazing person you are, and that includes your assertiveness. It might make your first dates shorter if you’re dating people who aren’t interested in that quality, but it will make you have better 2nd, 3rd, and 19th dates if you show up authentically.

Here’s to you replacing the question that asks, “What am I doing wrong?” to the question of “What if I’m doing everything right and I just haven’t found the right person YET?”

Happy dating, Career Girls!

About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”