The topic of love and dating is often met with groans and complaints about the awful prospects and how it’s so impossible. Especially when it comes to large urban areas like LA and NYC. Often when we struggle with something, our natural inclination is to believe “this is just the way it is” or “it’s out of my control.” As comforting as that notion may seem, it’s actually untrue. There are some people who struggle with love and dating and some people who don’t. And no, being successful in love is not all about your looks, bank account or how “nice” you are. And it certainly doesn’t have to do with the fallacies too many women took to heart after watching Sex and the City. (Entertaining show, but do not follow their lead unless you want to make your dating life harder.)
Being successful in love has to do with two key ingredients: genuine emotional intelligence and genuine self-worth. (Emphasis on genuine.) So, what do I mean by “genuine” emotional intelligence and self-worth? I mean your actions and reactions are based on these two inherent factors that you truly possess, not based on a facade, also known as “playing games.” In other words, these characteristics have to come from a place of authenticity. Now that I’ve laid the ground work, let’s get into the big mistakes many people make.
Mistake #1: Loving People the Way You Want to Be Loved
This mistake is so common. We think because we want and expect certain things that it’s what other people want, too. This is a recipe for disaster. Everyone has their own idea of what love is. Men and women do often love very differently. You may think the other person wants to be showered with affection, texted every hour and spoiled with gifts because that’s the way YOU want to be loved, but that could be a total turn off and come off as overwhelming. Before you bust out the full blown stage 5 clinger, get to know someone first. Learn about how they like to be loved and allow them to get to know you, too. Respect who they are as a person emotionally. Some people will express (or not express) their emotions differently. Allow them to be who they are without making their emotions and reactions all about you. In other words, not everything that a person does or feels is a reaction to you or something you did. Give people time and space to sort through their emotions instead of jumping to conclusions. And while we’re on the topic…
Mistake #2: Being a Stage 5 Clinger
We all have our own insecurities, but clinging on to someone like your life depends on it, especially after they’ve shown you that’s not what they want, will only lead to heartache. Why would you want to be with someone who’s not into you? You should never have to convince someone to be with you. A Stage 5 clinger comes in different forms. It could be being an incessant texter, never leaving someone’s side, or it could be a person who continues to come back over and over even after the other person has repeatedly mistreated or ignored them. Which brings us to…
Mistake #3: Allowing Someone to Disrespect You
If you set the tone early on that you are someone who not only deserves, but requires respect, your stock goes up. You are valuable, so don’t allow someone to treat you like a backup plan. “Never make someone your priority when you are their option.” On that note…
Mistake #4: Leading with Sex
Ladies, if there is any part of this article that you should heed, it’s this. No matter what the fantasy world of Sex and the City culture leads you to believe, this is seldom the way to love OR empowerment thanks to a little hormone called oxytocin. I’m going to get a little scientific for a moment, so bear with me. Here’s the thing, there is nothing wrong with sex. It can be a beautiful thing between consenting adults. We’re all entitled to do what we want with our bodies. Biology, however, is a little less liberal. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before you take up every offer on Tinder. Sex, whether you like it or not, bonds you to another person and can really mess with your judgment and emotions.
Due to the hormone oxytocin, women specifically can bond very quickly once they have sex with someone. Ever wonder why a guy you weren’t really that into all of a sudden becomes your dream man after sex? And now you’re checking your phone incessantly, wondering when he’s going to call, if he’s going to call, etc.? Yea, you can thank oxytocin for that. Oxytocin can turn a so-so guy into Prince Charming, so tread lightly when it comes to sex. Not only will it give you time to really get to know someone, but you can also be certain YOU actually like them before a silly hormone tricks you to think otherwise. At the very least, should you decide to have sex casually, be aware of this sneaky hormone that may make someone seem much more attractive than they actually are! Cher’s quote said it best: “The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing – and then marry him.” And the 50% divorce rate definitely backs up that statement!
Mistake #5: Not Adding Value
First and foremost, let me emphasize that every individual has value and deserves dignity. However, in order for us to be in relationships, which in actuality is a big life decision that takes a significant amount of energy, we have to add value to each other’s lives. In other words, a healthy relationship is one where both partners add value. If you don’t add value to someone’s life they will see themselves as better off alone or with someone else. All couples have disagreements, but if the value outweighs the deficit, both partners can remain happily in a relationship. However, if they associate you with drama and negative feelings, you can bet they’re either going to cheat or disappear. People want to be with people who make them feel good. While a hot, emotionally charged relationship may feel passionate at first, over time it will just be exhausting. Healthy, long term relationships are built on a solid foundation of friendship and respect -not passionate quarreling and makeup sex. Look for a best friend, not just a good sex partner.