Self Sabotage

06 Dec

I get it, dating is as daunting as is entering a relationship. Apps, dating websites and busy flaky people not responding. It’s so easy to get into a spiral of self sabotage when looking for love.

Shot of a man looking worried while his wife sleeps in the background

Many times I hear complaints about how the dating landscape has changed and everyone is at fault; there are no decent people left, the dating apps are rubbish, plus we are overloaded with work and other commitments and have no time to date. However, while it may feel like the above is the case, in reality there are many decent singles out there, the apps are not the issue and if you make finding a partner a priority, there is always time to date. How can we stop self sabotage?

I get it, dating is as daunting as is entering a relationship. There is a lot of pressure to get it right and all sorts of reasons to be fearful. Will you loose your independence? What will have you to compromise on? Can you rely on the relationship to work? What if it’s not really love? What if your friends and family don’t approve? What if you grow apart? Do you even deserve love?

It is questions like this (and more), however subconscious, which influence how we act and react in dating. It’s easy to blame the environment for the difficulties we experience in dating, but what if you are the one to ‘blame’?

Enter self sabotage.

Often we don’t realise our own fears and how they play out in relationships. It’s only with sufficient introspection that we can begin to understand what is going on.

Usually the things we tell ourselves are not really the case, but rather a deeper (often) unconscious issue.

For example it’s easier to think we have no time to meet someone, rather than face the fear of succeeding at dating and whatever that may entail. It’s easier to say that dating apps are rubbish, rather than face the difficulty we have in relating with others, or find fault in every potential date, instead of addressing our lack of self worth.

Self sabotage varies and depends on your particular situation and life experiences. They serve a purpose – albeit not a great one, but they started out as good ideas. By the nature of the original benefit, they can be difficult to spot.

Look out for repeated patterns, such as, I seem to end in the friend zone, people I date always end up being so clingy, my dates never progress beyond a certain length.

For example, I had a client once who never progressed beyond the first date. Feedback from dates were, ‘you seem really nice, but I didn’t feel any connection’. Beyond that, no tangible reason. As our coaching progressed, it turned out that my client hated rejecting people. So, to avoid getting into the situation where they had to say ‘no thanks’, my client felt it was better to hold back on their enthusiasm, such that the date didn’t make advances. The result of course was that the date never felt any ‘vibe’ from my client and concluded that there was no point in a second date. The solution was simple, create a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ text. This allowed my client to be themselves on the date and viola, they progressed to the second date.

Look out for things you keep telling yourself, such as: you don’t have time or that you just haven’t met the right person yet. It’s OK and it’s human to behave in ways that aren’t in our conscience interest.

Coaching or counselling is probably the best way to uncover your blind spots and identify your methods of self sabotage. If you feel like this is something you’d like to work with me on, do get in touch.

by Madeleine Mason Roantree

Psychologist

Madeleine has over 15 years of experience in psychology, where she is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Applied Positive Psychology. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Counselling Psychology, and is member of the British Psychological Society, the International Positive Psychology Association & Dating Industry Professionals Network.More by this author

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