In a previous blog I discussed divorce and “divorce brain.” Shifting gears a bit I would like to bring up a topic that haunts so many singletons, “crazy dating brain”.
Let’s take the example of “Alice” (obviously not her real name). Alice is in her late thirties, she has been divorced for many years and does not have children. Alice lives a happy life, she has a great career and excels in this area. She has good friends and a nice place in a hip area of a major metropolitan city. Alice, like many adults, has turned to online dating to meet eligible men. She is attractive and smart; she does not have any problem getting a first, second, and even third date. Over the last 5 years or so Alice has had a myriad of short relationships and a lot of dates. She is getting older and she really wants to be in a committed relationship. Alice is frustrated and cannot understand why she can be so successful in so many areas of her life and so unsuccessful in the one she feels she really wants, a loving, committed, healthy relationship. Sound familiar? If you can’t identify with Alice’s situation, I bet you know someone who can.
To move forward, Alice had to look at and change some of her own behaviors that got in the way of dating. Sometimes these behaviors kept her dating men that she really should have cut loose.
It is time to check your own crazy if:
- You start planning your life together after dates one through ten.
- You and you alone are the only one talking about the future.
- You spend more time trying to interpret their texts messages than actually conversing with them or spending time with them.
- You are looking past things you really do not like just because you want a relationship.
- He/she is not treating you the way they should. But you hope it will get better.
- He/she only reaches out to you late at night, and you engage.
- You have only communicated via email, text, or phone and you consider this an actual relationship.
- You change all of your plans just because they suddenly have time to hang out.
- You are the one making most if not all of the effort.
It is great to get excited about a new person or potential new relationship. However, when one date or a month of dating ends and you are just crushed or angry. It is time to take a look at your patterns and perhaps make some changes. Here are some things that maybe helpful:
- Keep your fist date simple, one drink, one cup of coffee, one hour that is it. Besides, if you do not like them, that is one long dinner to get through.
- Have something really fun and exciting planned for later that day, night or the next day. (With yourself or anyone but said date). It is a chemical thing! When you like someone and your brain starts firing off all those chemicals that make you feel fabulous, and they do, you need to recognize it. Having something equally fabulous to do will help ground you.
- Keep your thoughts in check. Try to curtail planning your future with this person, you just met! Admit it, we have all done it.
- Know that if they want to see you again, they will reach out. Period. There will not be any guessing, you will know.
- If they do not treat you the way you deserve to be treated, it will not get any better. Move on.
- And well, if you do get caught up in a whirlwind. If you do let yourself get way ahead of the relationship, and then it ends. Remember to compare how many days or weeks you have spent with this person versus how many years have you lived without them? You will be ok, just move forward.
- Let the past stay there. Remember to clear your mind and embrace your current moment. Forget about what has happened, do not bother with what could happen, and enjoy the present. If your mind is occupied and full of thoughts about all of the relationships that did not work out how will there ever be room for the one that might?
Sarah Stewart, MSW, CPC