Am I sabotaging my dating life?

Here are four signs you might be sabotaging your dating life—and what to do about it if you are.

Am I sabotaging my dating life?

“Who needs dating apps? I’m better off alone.” In the age of online dating, you wouldn’t be the first person to say that. And while you may think you’re better off calling it quits on romance, it’s more likely that you’re in the process of sabotaging your dating life. 

The truth is, all of us self-sabotage from time to time. This is especially true when it comes to dating. Whether it’s conscious or subconscious, you may be preventing yourself from finding love out of a fear of getting hurt, your reluctance to trust, or your suspicion that no partner will ever be “right” for you. 

Despite these thoughts, maybe you’d still like to find a relationship. If that’s the case, how can you move past the “I’m done with dating” mentality? 

Here are four signs you might be sabotaging your dating life—and what to do about it if you are. 

Sign 1 - You’ve completely called it quits 

Are you on a permanent hiatus from dating? If you are, then the answer to “Am I sabotaging my dating life?” is almost certainly YES. 

While it might feel good to call it quits and take a break from dating—and there’s nothing wrong with that, either—a lot of people use this excuse to hide from people they might actually enjoy spending time with. 

In your case, the answer comes down to the beliefs you hold underneath your “I’m not dating” mindset. If you’re choosing not to date because you’re excited about other things in your life, such as your physical health, career, family or friends, then maybe there’s nothing to worry about.

But is that really the case, or are you not dating because you think it’s too scary, too hard or too exhausting right now? 

If it’s the latter, it may be time to move back into the dating world. Yes, all of us want to throw up our hands and say “dating sucks” once in a while, but if you use it as a shield against the potential of love, you’re not going to get very far. 

Sign 2 - You’re making haphazard guesses  

A guy at the bar looks attractive, so you talk to him. And maybe he’s a little different than you… but he’s cute, right? Ten months later, he’s crashing on your couch, spending his days watching WWE re-runs and complaining about your dog. 

If you’re not taking the time to sit down and think about what you want in a partner, chances are pretty good you’re going to find one who is not right. Instead of taking a guess at who “seems” like a fit, try making a list of the qualities you’d like in a person.

Get specific about it. What do they look, talk, sound like? What are they passionate about? What are their core values? What’s their sense of humor like? Write all these qualities down in your journal. When we know what we want, then we know it when we see it.

Sign 3 - You believe you have bad dating habits

Do your friends call you a serial dater? Or “never satisfied?” Maybe they say you’re not picky enough. Whatever the case, if there’s a narrative going on about your dating habits, it’s time to take those criticisms… and throw them in the trash.

When people tell us about our own habits, they’re sometimes right… and they’re also often wrong. Just because someone says you are a certain way, it doesn’t mean you are.  

Believing narratives that your friends and family tell you will, in fact, make you more likely to reinforce those narratives. If you’re accustomed to being called a serial dater, then you’ll probably accept that belief and continue to date around without ever getting serious.

The same goes for anything else. Don’t let someone else’s beliefs stop you from being the kind of person you’re actually meant to be. 

Sign 4 - You’re not taking opportunities  

It can be scary to approach a stranger at a bar, gym, park, coffee shop, you name it. That’s why most of us tend to date online these days. But what if your person is right in front of you… and you don’t even notice them?

When it comes to opportunities—like noticing when someone is obviously flirting with you—it’s important to seize them when you can. 

How do you do this? Once again, it comes back to altering your beliefs about flirting and dating. Flirting doesn’t have to be this huge, scary introduction to a yearslong relationship that fundamentally changes your life. Instead, it can be harmless fun. 

The next time you see someone you think is interesting, send a compliment their way. It takes about two seconds to say “I like your shoes,” and about two more to ask where someone bought them. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, you’ll have probably made someone’s day!

Q: Am I sabotaging my dating life? A: Only if you keep choosing to

The only person who can actually sabotage your dating life is you. That notion can be both scary and reassuring. It’s scary because it puts the responsibility on you to work on yourself… but it’s reassuring because you have the power to change things. 

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