Posted by fxckfeelings on December 29, 2015Share This Post
When you lose interest in the person you’re dating, it always feels like a failure, like you’ve actually misplaced your interest and if you could just find it under the couch or in your coat pocket, everything would be better. You feel like a disappointment because you’re rejecting someone who trusted you and now cares more than you do, even though such feelings are largely beyond your control. You then wonder whether you’ll ever be able to find and form a stable relationship, but examining your feelings often does little but make them more volatile. Instead, return to basics and consider what you want from a close relationship, other than magic and romance, and refrain from intimacy until you’re confident that you have found what you want. You can’t recover your lost interest, but if you can find your lost confidence, you’ll have few false starts and a better chance of finding something that lasts.
Along the road I’ve spotted a behavior that seems to ruin all my romantic relationships right before they start. Many times in my life (I’m in my 30s), I’ve met girls I found funny, high spirited, sharing my values and attractive. And I just liked spending time with them. But each time the relationship comes to the edge of being a proper date, or right after we actually date, I start being really cold. I make lists about all the details I don’t like in her, I start to think that she’s not so pretty, and I don’t like to receive her affection because I feel I can’t give her the same and don’t want to anymore. I think about the future and can’t see anything for us. I used to think it was because a few times in my life I came across some girls I was mad about at first sight, and that those other girls couldn’t compete with these feeling. But it seems there is a real pattern with me, and I start to think my mind is fooling me. I understand that I should not think too much about this and go for it, but it stops me from being happy. My goal is to break the pattern and make a relationship last.
Ultimately, dating is either a hobby or a mission; you’re either just in it to have fun and meet people, or you’re using it as a tool to meet the one person you want to build a life with. When people aren’t aware of the difference, they often aren’t aware of why things always seem to go wrong.
If you’re dating with the objective of creating a real partnership, then you can’t let yourself get too distracted by the emotional rush of an exciting new companionship.
When that excitement wears off, you might find yourself partnered with someone who doesn’t share your life goals, is allergic to responsibility, doesn’t believe in voting, etc.
So dating because you find someone “funny, high-spirited, . . . and attractive” should probably give you pause and cause you to backtrack before you get into trouble. These are qualities that are fling-worthy, but they’re not commitment criteria.
Of course, you may by shying away from getting serious because you’re afraid to settle down and, if that’s the problem, you should decide whether a committed relationship is what you really want, or whether you really do just want to date for dating’s sake.
The important thing is not to do it because settling down is expected, but because it fits your values and what you want out of life. If you want a partner, but you’re still too scared to move forward, find a shrink or coach to help you sort out what works for you while forcing yourself to keep trying. Don’t force yourself to “go for it” with someone, however, until first deciding what you want an intimate relationship for.
Then, if partnership is what you want, in addition to good interpersonal chemistry, check carefully for reliability, impulse control, and mutual acceptance. Draw up a job description for a partnership position, making sure it includes every lesson you’ve learned from past breakups and heartaches. Assure yourself that you won’t force a relationship forward until you truly believe it would be a good match.
If you’ve taken time to vet applicants properly and had the good luck to find someone with the right qualities, you may find that your anxiety is less crippling than it has been in the past. And if you take the time to vet yourself for what you’re really ready for, then you may find that you need to reset your expectations for yourself and your love life.
Hopefully, you’ll find a relationship that will give you confidence in your ability to give and receive love, or find a new way to approach relationships in general. Either way, once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll have a much better chance of finding a partner or purpose you can stick with.
“I don’t seem able to turn an attractive friend into a close relationship, but I’ve put more emphasis on chemistry than substance. I will be more objective about the qualities I require in a partner and hope that this will help me find a relationship I don’t need to run away from.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname