There is one woman in her mid 30’s that I know, who has been actively dating for quite a few years now. She has been meeting and going out with many guys of “high caliber” – i.e. professional, attractive, well rounded, well traveled, and who otherwise have a lot to offer, at least on the paper. Being very social, she meets as many guys online as she does in real life – through friends, many parties and networking events that she attends. Yet, she hasn’t seriously dated any of them and certainly hasn’t gotten anywhere near being in a relationship. Every time she meets a new guy, she immediately tries to figure out what’s wrong with him. It could be anything from his height or size to his supposedly bad genetics due to the guy’s parents being overweight or otherwise unhealthy. Even if there isn’t anything wrong, she is quick to point out some ridiculous imperfection in them, while constantly looking for a new target to date, even if the likes a particular guy that she went out with on a couple of dates.. As her frustration with this process has been mounting, the hope of meeting “the one” has pretty much vanished. I know for a fact that she is not the only one who finds herself in this situation. There are plenty of other women (and men), who have become victims of having too many options and not being able to stop and seriously consider any of them.
If you are in that place in life, and you are looking to meet someone special, I encourage you to snap out of this dating mill by realizing and keeping in mind a two critical realities:
1. No one is perfect. This includes you.
This sounds obvious, but this doesn’t make it any less important and relevant to this problem. I assure you that I can find a flaw in any person, if I have enough time to look. And I am sure that you can do the same. I know that I am not perfect; and neither are you. I guarantee you that every single couple you have ever met or heard of, who lived a long, happy life together was not perfect, and there were things they didn’t like about each other and had to struggle through. You cannot and should not expect perfection in your partner. The key question that you should ask yourself is this: how big of a deal a particular flaw is to you, and whether you can accept it along with all the great things you like about a person. Some flaws or differences are truly truly cannot be overcome, while others are really worth working through, as that might bring you closer to each other, and make you feel stronger about each other. Only you can determine which flaws are real deal breakers for you, and which issues aren’t.
2. No one will help you get off the mill, till you decide to jump off of it.
If you don’t get off the (online) dating mill, no one will help you get off of it, and you will continue going on pointless dates, while always thinking about who is next. Consider doing this instead – if you meet someone you really like, stop talking to other people and just focus on that person for a few weeks or a few months. It’s ok to put all your eggs in one basket for some period of time. It’s perfectly fine to stop texting other people and deactivate your dating apps, even if just temporarily. That’s the only way to develop some kind of intimacy and attachment.
Of course, this would only work if both people decide to focus on each other, but the reality is that you can only make sure that you are doing the right thing for yourself. There is always a risk that the other person will remain on the dating mill, but there is not much you can or should do about it except hope that you will be on the same page. In some cases, it might be worth bringing this up after you have gone out a few times, if it appears like you really like each other. And if you are concerned about coming across as too needy, you could have the following low-pressure type conversation: “Hey, I don’t know about you, but I like you and I would like for us to focus on each other rather than do whatever… How do you feel about that?”
Contrary to what many people believe, dating is not necessarily a numbers game. Meeting more people doesn’t necessarily increase your chances of finding the “one. A better approach might just be taking the time to focus on someone who looks like he or she might be the one, in order to put an end to your serial dating.