I was having a conversation with my parents the other day, and I took pride in knowing that I was a tom-boy that had problems following directions. I began to think about all my personality traits further and the habits I’ve formed when it comes to dating.
Around the age of ten, I had three boys who liked me at the same time. I don’t recall being frazzled, but I had a plan. I had them take a written exam and do a physical match to win my love. Early on, I must have been taught something about monogamy. After some written exam in my parents back-yard, and a few physical tests I was to choose a winner.
And the winner is….
One boy had gotten the most questions about me correct and surpassed the other boys in the physical tests. However, I still found a reason to deem one of the other boys the winner, whom I had known from the beginning that I “wanted.” So after all the practical tests I had initiated, I chose to over-ride my own rules and choose a different boy.
The in the seventh grade, I dated about seven boys in my class. All of whom I initiated some interaction; some mostly lasting about a week, some as short as a day. I had been in an exclusive relationship in the sixth grade, to the most popular boy in school, but he was a mere stamp in my dating passport.
Now today, I am long out of high school and heading toward a PhD to teach people how to have successful relationships. Ironic. One of the mentors I have prides herself in teaching on marriages because she has a great sustaining marriage. I appreciate that, and I also hope that people appreciate the journey through love to marriage takes trials and time. I am on that journey with some of you. Many mentors I know have failed, much like myself, and it is what enables us to teach others about relationships, love and sex.
Last summer I began to recognize these dating patterns (yes they begin very early) and it has taken time and practice to get out of them. I began with a simple task: I would not approach a man.
Every man I had ever dated was a result of my pursuing, so I figured the easiest way not to date the same “type” was to not formally choose myself. The last two people I dated were a result of this task. They both pursued me, and although they ended, I learned very valuable lessons about dating patterns and how to address them with people I mentor. If you are in the same boat and you get into the same relationships often, there are certain ways to avoid that. Here are a few suggestions:
- Change up where you are meeting people
- Make a list of the top five things you absolutely have to have in a partner and don’t stray from that
- Take a break and be alone serial monogamist can have a hard time understanding what they want
- Be Selfish! Make sure you are mentally healthy enough to handle another person’s successes and failures along with your own. Evaluate why you want to be in a relationship in the first place. (Being lonely isn’t very valid). When we are too worried about disappointing or hurting someone else, everyone suffers from us not being selfish.
- Date around. If you can handle being in the dating game, go fish. You can still date without being in a monogamous relationship, I even openly suggest it for people with bad dating habits. This is a good way for you to track and adjust your bad dating habits.
The Cynical Therapist came to be when two therapists became friends. SoulMates or Kindered Spirit Animals… Call us what you will…. We are two bad*** chics Licensed to teach you how to grow into your full potential and add some humor along the way.
Laurie Wilson and Elle Anzalone are both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Huntington Beach, CA.