I hadn’t thought of myself as a dating therapist until I realized I talk to people about dating in therapy all the time. Dating therapy is, fundamentally, good therapy–helping people create their lives.
Ask someone about dating—especially in New York—and the response is likely to quite plain: “Dating sucks!”
As my dating therapy patients have gone through the process of dating and working on their dating in therapy, a few themes have been a consistent part of the complaints:
- All the good men/ women are taken
- I’m too old to date
- I end up attracting people I don’t like
- Online dating sucks, but it’s the only way I can find to meet people.
- Men/ women expect to have sex way too soon for me.
- Once I find out someone’s really into me I don’t like them anymore.
- I meet people I like but I just don’t know how to ask them out.
- The good one (the ONE) got away.
I definitely agree that dating can be hard. It can also be a lot of fun. Chances are, if you’re struggling with it, you just might not believe me. I won’t argue with you about that. What I will say is this:
With the help of dating therapy, dating doesn’t have to be so painful
I often say that dating is one of a small handful of activities where we tend to throw all of our creativity out the window and we become incredibly conservative.
How about bringing some creativity to your dating therapy?
That has to do with a lot of things, including our ideas about gender, sexuality and sex. It’s also unfortunately the case that many people have been through pretty terrifying or degrading experiences that have left them with an impaired image of who they are, their desirability to others, or how they feel about their bodies. It’s inevitable that this stuff will come up when taking on dating.
Stop dating so privately
I think another reason people get into trouble with dating (and stop being creative) is that they tend to do dating much too privately. Perhaps you’re embarrassed that you’re dating, or of who you’re dating. Perhaps you’re ashamed of struggling with dating.
Whatever the reason, it’s keeping you stuck.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Working with a therapist is a great way to change this, and can be the start of building your dating team. Group therapy is another terrific option, and it offers a bigger, broader team. What’s particularly great about that, once you’re successful, is that you’ve then got a ready-made relationship team.
Dating isn’t the same thing as creating your life.
Often people date instead of or as the means to building their lives. Or they have a lot going on in their lives, and hold dating as a separate part. We can transform your approach to the ways you already use, and integrate dating into building your life. Or perhaps dating isn’t working because there are ways you need to grow in order to become more available to getting close to someone, and to doing the work of building a relationship.