Don’t go to the store on an empty stomach

Just as one can be too easily tempted by junk food when hungry, it’s best to seek a (soul) mate when you feel confident, are happy with yourself, and aren’t under external or time pressures.

There’s a good reason I say this, despite the wrinkled brows and sputtering I detect — I’ve heard from dating singles that there are a lot of “damaged” people out there.  Andy commented that, “the first two dates are usually nice and fun–they’re on their best behavior.  But the third date is when you find out what’s really wrong with them, and sometimes it’s scary.”

At a time when you’re lacking confidence, are unhappy, or are under pressure, you lose sight of who you are and what type of person is right for you.  You run the gamut of being easily influenced, feeling frustrated and angry, giving up easily, and/or feeling desperate to find somebody, anybody!

Without meaning to, you broadcast the wrong message about yourself, attracting the wrong people and scaring off others.  The least harm you could do yourself by actively looking and dating at a vulnerable time is to lose precious time, money, and emotional energy, and possibly turn a few people off.  At worst, you could go along with or choose someone (or people) who is harmful to you, potentially suffering long-term consequences.

Watch out for these red-flag motivations in yourself and others you meet:

  • Having a relationship end or break down, and feeling lost/panic/fear of being alone/fear of being without financial resources
  • Subtle external pressure, real or perceived, of feeling left behind as friends couple up/get married/buy homes/have children
  • Overt external pressure from family (or friends) that “it’s time” to settle down
  • Internal expectations such as a timetable for when certain life events should be attained/accomplished
  • Feeling unhappy with self or circumstances in life, and believing that having a (new) mate or child will miraculously provide happiness
  • Believing that snaring someone with extraordinary assets (such as looks, wealth, fame, power, status, and/or talent) will miraculously provide happiness
I know that some of these reasons are precisely what motives some to couple up, and there are instances of these unions ending up being content or happy.  However, I know of more couples (both short- and long-term) that united for these reasons where one or both consistently show their dissatisfaction with the other, are intensely unhappy, or are happier now that they are no longer together.
As a contrast, all of the happy couples I know, my husband and I included, met each other during a time of strength, when each person was:

  1. Engaged in experiencing the here and now
  2. Optimistic about and eager to face the future, even if tinged with uncertainty or nervousness
  3. Felt confident that he/she had the energy and openness to share experiences with and give trust to another person
    Knowing this, I champion taking the harder road of dealing with one’s own red-flag motivations, be it with self-analysis, talk therapy, consulting medical/psychological/psychiatric professional, time to heal, or a combination of the above, before hitting the online and in-person dating scene.

    Feed yourself a healthy meal before going to the store.

    What do you think?

     / 2 Comments  / in Dating

    2 Comments

    1. mrisher May 11, 2011 3:24 pm - Reply

      I love going to the store on an empty stomach; I come home with so many interesting variants of Doritos!

      (Agree with your real point, though; I think that AA says you're not supposed to start any new relationships while you're still "broken")

    2. Mike Sweeney May 13, 2011 9:54 pm - Reply

      Your third paragraph resonated with me more with respect to searching for a job rather than searching for a mate. But one can be very rational about one kind of search and very emotionally driven by another.

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