5 Tips to Get You Out of a Slump
When you get into a dating slump, it can be hard to pull yourself out, let alone recognize the tendencies that keep your there. As one gets settled into singlehood, there are many counter-productive habits that develop without you even knowing, and that can wreak havoc on a love live. So before you’re ‘dug too deep’, read our advice on how to deal with the five common traps that singles get themselves caught in.
1. You give up getting out there
Cozying up on the couch with takeout and a movie... it sounds like a perfectly enjoyable evening in. Unfortunately, it cuts down your chances of meeting someone special to, uh, ZERO! When you’re stuck in a dating recession, it’s natural to feel unenthusiastic about having to get social. Nonetheless, it’s important to create opportunities for yourself to meet eligible singles or make new friends (who will know eligible singles) if you ever want to climb out of the slump.
So start by situating yourself where people are at. Maybe the last thing you want to do after a long day is to go out somewhere ‘trendy’ (translation: full of people but noisy, expensive and obnoxious). If that’s the case, pick activities that suit your personality and match your mood: join a gym, read your books at a coffee shop, go out for meals, sign up for a class, etc. The point is you’ll meet likeminded individuals when you position yourself (in public) doing those things yourself.
Dragging yourself out to places must be done with persistence and consistency. Although it hardly guarantees that you’ll by chance meet that special someone, connecting with people and places is the best way to stay out of the lonely slump that keeps you indoors with the curtains drawn.
2. You’re always shopping and never settling
Owing to an overwhelming abundance of consumer products, our generation has become privileged with the ability to easily satisfy all its needs and desires. We’ve been spoiled or, to be more precise, glutted by the longing to be dazzled by the ‘new and improved’; could it be that this attitude has spilled over into our love lives? Have we limited our ability to recognize passing impulses and fleeting sexual desires for what they really are?
There’s nothing wrong with hunting for a worthy match, but if you’re interested in developing a deeper connection with someone, don’t get sidetracked by the pursuit itself. Falling into the trap of being fickle is easier than you think, especially when your motivation in writing someone off is to avoid missing something better. Unless you commit some time into getting to know a potential match, you’ll pass over great opportunities that are prime territory to explore.
3. Over attachment
Let’s turn our attention to the exact opposite of the last dating pitfall. Falling in love with someone can feel blissful and euphoric, but when you find yourself planning the honeymoon by the third date, you’re in danger of a major letdown. In dating, rushing the natural ‘getting to know you’ phase and pinning your hopes and dreams on a person (in any fashion) sets you up for disappointment when they don’t meet your expectations. You also distort your ability to judge your date’s true character, minimizing their flaws and ignoring what you know are ‘deal breakers’. Furthermore, if it doesn’t work out, you experience an exaggerated sense of loss.
It is important to be realistic about the payoff of love when you meet someone new: don’t assume that it’s meant to be, that it’s supposed to be fiery, that your feelings should emerge immediately. If you love to be in love, or you get a thrill just at the thought of love, then relish in its delights by reading romance novels, watching sappy movies, and writing gushy poetry. If you’re still shepherding reasons to support your indulgent habit of unrealistic ‘lovey-doveyiness’, then at the very least avoid projecting your fantasies onto persons whom you barely know.
4. Your Fears and Expectations Interfere With Your Relationships
The fear of being too vulnerable, the thought of not wanting to start over, or the apprehension of being rejected have one thing in common; they’re all in your head. Everyone has heard of social anxiety but ‘intimacy anxiety’ is just as pervasive. If you let your worries, control issues or fear encroach on your behavior with a potential mate, you limit the opportunity for them to get to know you - and you to get to know them.
It is not possible to experience chemistry, spontaneity and fun on a date when you’re too busy analyzing whether what you said was stupid or what they said meant what. Not only that, it’s very noticeable. When you’re sitting at home alone wondering why no one seems to be able to understand and love the real you, it’s because your reluctance has gotten in the way. Fortunately, these phobias are all things that you have the power to manage.
5. You keep yourself stuck in old habits
Sometimes in dating, you have to try things that don’t always come naturally to you. We’re not talking about doing things that are distressing, but rather, embracing a way of being that feels unfamiliar, and likely pushes you out of your comfort zone; maybe it’s learning to openly communicate your needs or practicing new boundaries. Whatever it is, broadening your dating horizons isn’t just about being matter-of-fact about changing things you do, but also about how you do things.
Here’s an example. Let’s say your tendency has always been to sleep with someone very early into the relationship; however, you generally experience disappointment with the lack of intimacy that comes with hastened physical contact, leading you to close yourself off from getting to know the person. Even though it’s a pattern you’ve come to feel familiar with, challenge it, set a minimum “get to know you” period before getting sexual.
Regardless of the outcome, confronting old habits allows you to shed what’s unnecessary and challenges different sides of your personality; you might learn a thing or two about what works for you and what doesn’t. Who knows, maybe you’ll fall for someone that the old you would have thought implausible.