What are some of the biggest factors that inhibit a prosperous dating experience? At the top of your list you may be thinking: lack of compatibility, differing personalities/interests, lack of connection etc. Would it surprise you to know that our own dating expectations are one of the biggest contributors to feeling stuck? Oftentimes, our own assumptions about “ideal relationships” or “ideal partners” get in the way of analyzing relationships clearly and logically. Our standards or presumptions are predicated on false beliefs, leading to a self-sabotaging tendency to abandon (or hesitate on) good relationships prematurely.
In the book How Not To Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love, relationship expert, Logan Ury, encourages active daters to determine and understand their dating expectations before entering a new relationship. She calls these “The Three Dating Tendencies'' breaking down destructive relationship beliefs into three main categories. According to Ury, each group propagates unrealistic expectations of relationships. The first, being the relationship itself. The second, holding unreasonable ideas about potential partners. And the third, our blind spots around our own self-perception. Let’s explore each of these.
The Maximizer: According to Ury, the Maximizer is the type of dater who is always on the search for the perfect partner. They believe that there is a singular person who is meant to come into their life and meet all their needs. These types of daters will often date many people without settling, need to see all their options, and are rarely satisfied. They are more likely to hyper-focus on trivial characteristics and jump ship if a person does not meet all of their dating criteria. Much of this tendency is driven by the fear that they could be making the wrong decision when choosing a life-long partner.
The Romanticizer: Take the same principles of the Maximizer, but apply it to relationships in general. Romanticizers are looking for the Hallmark relationship that we see in the movies. They often times get caught up in their daydreams and fantasies, creating the perfect relationship in their head. Undoubtedly, we know that the perfect relationship does not exist. For Romanticizers, this fact usually leads to disillusionment and disappointment when things begin to go wrong in their dating life. Instead of sticking around to figure things out, Maximizers are much more likely to assume that there is a better relationship somewhere waiting for them. They believe that if it were the right relationship, it would just come easy and naturally.
The Hesitater: We have all had the friend that claims “I am just not ready to date”. While there sometimes can be validity to this self-proclamation, many people who fall under this category will stay stuck in this belief as a way to keep themselves safe from hurt and disappointment. They believe that there is always another “step” to be taken before they feel prepared to enter a relationship with someone. They may make excuses as a means to avoid vulnerability, or find other distracting activities and hobbies that they can throw their energy into. What this category fails to realize, is that their delayed attempts at taking a chance with dating remain the biggest block to them finding love.
Ury, Logan. How To Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2022.