Dear(est Understanding) Jess.
What does a girl have to do to meet men these days?! Or at least, the right men. I am starting to loooooose hope. All of it.
The belief I once had in love, and all its power, has been replaced by bitterness after an endless string of one-night stands and stupid affairs. I can blame it on daddy issues, weight issues, blah blah blah – but really, I’m just stuck. I need and want to start the next phase of my life, yet…
I am 27, I want babies (damn it!), I’ve started my own business and it’s going well, I have great friends and a fun social life, and I even have an amazing shoe collection All of it is good. But, my oh my…I’m lonely, and I’m over going through everything alone. I don’t know what to do or where to turn. Men seem to want me for sex, of course, but I don’t want just sex – I want to be taken care of, in the same way that I often take care of everyone else around me.
Losing Hope in Lonelyville
Did you know that Lonelyville is actually the real name of a small beach community in Long Island? How crazy is that? Moment of appreciation that we don’t live there. Things could be worse. Anyway.
I totally understand how you’re feeling, and rest assured, you are far from the first woman who has expressed these exact frustrations to me. I don’t think I hit one huge city or small town in my WTF?! tour travels where I didn’t hear this story at least once. And god knows there’s been no shortage of women in the media sharing similar sentiments lately.
But here’s the thing: no pity party is going to help you, or all these other women in your boat. Instead, in order to find these great guys and embark on that great next phase of your life, you are going to need to shift your entire romantic perspective. I’m talking 100% overhaul here. Because as it stands, your current mindset is basically a guarantee that you will not be meeting a great guy or starting a great new phase of your life anytime soon.
So, overhaul we must. But don’t freak out – we’ll make it fun!
Here’s what I want you to do: I want you to set a time limit. In this case, I’d recommend three months. You’re going to use this time to take the pressure off, stop looking for the father of your future babies, and re-set your entire love life to a pace that I know will work out better than whatever it is you’re doing right now.
During those three months, I want you to Do You. (And don’t worry, Doing You will still involve talking to cute boys. What fun would there be otherwise??)
What does Doing You entail?
First of all, stop thinking about dating. And actually, stop dating altogether. Also, if you’ve been doing online dating and hating it, then hide your profile and take a break.
NO DATING FOR THREE MONTHS. GOT IT?
(Remember: it’s only three months! And you’re only 27! If I’m wrong, then you’ll barely lose any time on the road to coupled-up baby-making bliss. So just give me the benefit of the doubt for these next few months.)
Now, start asking yourself what you’d feel like doing – today, this weekend, next month – if you had ABSOLUTELY no desire to meet a guy during that time. If that’s too hard to imagine, then ask yourself what you’d feel like doing if a magical fortune teller told you that you’d be meeting the perfect man three months and one day from now.
And now, start making plans to do all of that stuff.
Ideally, some of those plans will end up being social. Men might even show up to some of these things! And that’s a good thing – you don’t have to run away from men, just because you’re Doing You. Feel free to join a choir, if you like music. Or take a class, if you like cooking. Or start coaching or playing on a team, if you like a sport. Whatever! People are nice – be around them. Just don’t make any of these plans based on where you think men will be. Instead, make them based solely on what YOU want to do.
While you’re at it, give yourself a break on the guy-heavy socializing. If it’s Saturday night and you don’t feel like hitting the bar or club, then don’t. Watch Downton Abbey instead. Do yoga. Read. Sleep. Knit a scarf. Your call! Whatever you’re in the mood to do. And if you start feeling anxious about all that time you’re “losing” on your love life, remind yourself that you’ll be worrying about the soulmate thing again in only three months. And I’ll let you in on a secret: this hiatus is all for the good of your love life, because it’s giving you a chance to rediscover your calm, lovely, attractive sanity, and re-center yourself in the short term so that you can find the right guy, attract him, and connect with him in the long-term.
Of course, you’ll continue meeting guys throughout this time, and that’s cool. The great thing about the post-dating world is that you can be engaging in your love life just by living your actual life. You can Do You, and even take a hiatus from “dating,” and still be inching ever closer to that epic love. But only if you stop thinking about it so freaking much.
So, go ahead – meet guys while you’re Doing You! But STOP wondering, every time you meet a guy, if he is The One. Stop wanting or expecting anything from him. You’re on a break from all that, remember? Instead, just meet these guys and, if you’re at all intrigued by them, add them to your dah. Proactively explore your connections with them, in as much as it adds a little touch of fun – and not stress – to your day-to-day. But for these three months, STOP THERE.
Even if you start to really like one of these guys, remember – you are not allowed to try and “figure out” or define exactly what you are “doing” with that guy until your hiatus is over. No trying to make him your boyfriend before then. Right now, your only job is to focus on yourself, so that you can better connect with guys (and maybe even these same guys you’re meeting now) later. If you feel a spark or connection with a guy, in the midst of all that focusing you’re doing on yourself, then great – cultivate it! Feel free to have some fun with any guy stuff that might come up. Maybe that means friendly flirting…maybe that means hooking up…maybe that means watching a basketball game in sweats…whatever feels purely fun and appropriate FOR YOU. But no definitions, no expectations, and no pressures. Not until the three-month mark is over.
Why am I being such a bitch and setting you off in the very opposite direction of your goal? What’s my thinking behind this plan?
1) We need to re-set the circumstances of where you’re trying to find love.
You know the spiel – we are now living in a post-dating world, where people are connecting in more natural ways and settings than ever before. Therefore, we need to start getting you into those natural settings, and with the right attitude and vibe.
Who knows – you might even be meeting the right guys, right now! But I have a feeling that you’re trying to “date” them, and that working within those traditional settings is keeping you from connecting with them in the most effective way. However, if you Do You for a few months, you’ll be getting into settings that you enjoy and that make you feel natural and comfortable. And then…
2) We need to re-set the ways that you’re connecting with guys.
Ever wonder why your guy friends seem so great, but the guys you’re “dating” or “hooking up with” always end up being jerks? Well, I promise; if you’re meeting guys in these more natural, ambiguous, friend-like settings, then you’ll end up meeting the best versions of themselves.
There’s a misconception out there that men’s best selves will be displayed when they’re trying to woo you in date-like settings. But, nope! All too often, that best behavior is either a selfish act that fades once a guy gets what he wants, or an overwrought performance that can leave the nicest, sweetest guy seeming unattractively awkward and nervous. But get to know guys in natural, non-date-like settings instead, and you’ll find that there many more “good guys” out there than you thought.
3) We need to re-set the pressure you’re feeling – and probably the Crazy Girl that it’s turning you into.
Let’s call a spade a spade – you’re desperate! And guess what? Guys can smell it on you (even when you’re not directly showing them by texting 50 times a day or asking how much longer you’re going to have to wait until they impregnate you). Your desperation is not helping your cause, so we need you to take a break from it.
And more importantly, that’s just not a way to be waking up every day, is it? You need to see what it feels like to take the pressure off of yourself, and stop oozing desperation in the process.
Now, say it with me: “I will not be meeting my husband during the next three months. And during that time, I will not look at every guy I meet as a husband prospect.” Don’t you feel lighter already? I wouldn’t be surprised if the guys you’re meeting start sensing that lightness, too.
If you hate this plan, then fine – three months and a day from now, get back on that husband search! But I have a feeling that once you’re enjoying your life, rejecting the pressure, and connecting with men in a more natural, comfortable way, you’re not going to want to.
WTF?! BOTTOM LINE: You will not find the right guy for you with this bitter, desperate mindset. You need to press the re-set button on your romantic perspective. So starting right now, put yourself on a three-month hiatus from looking for your baby-making soulmate. Focus on you, don’t make plans based on the odds that you’ll meet your soulmate in a given setting, and think of every new guy you meet as a potential guy in your dah (but for now, nothing more). In only three months, you’ll emerge calmer, happier, and more likely to attract the right men. And your dah will probably have gotten a huge boost in the meantime.
Jess is the co-creator of Dating & Hookup, alongside her childhood best friend Becky Lynch, and is the author of the book - yep! - Dating & Hookup. She never tires of hearing your post-dating stories. She wants you to enjoy your love life, and is full of advice on how to do so.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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