Ask Dr. V, Dating Dramas

Venus Nicolino holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Her column addresses Love, Life and Relationships. This week: dating dramas.

Hello Dr. V,

I have several questions maybe you can help me understand “why me.” It seems only married women are attracted to me. This has been going on for many years. How can I avoid this unfortunate situation? My other question; whenever I meet someone, they always come in pairs? I end up sitting back chatting with both women; is this okay?

Is this how we find our true partner? I believe in being honest, but sometimes it’s quite difficult! I like to just be upfront and let them know.

But on the other hand, why would anyone invest any time in me knowing that there’s a good chance that I may choose the other person? This goes for me as well. Why would I invest my valuable time in someone if they were dating someone else? I have to be honest and tell you this dating thing is quite a challenge. I think I would much rather be single … lol


“Why Me”

Dear “Why Me,”

I can see why you would perceive your current romantic circumstances as difficult and frustrating. But I also think you may not be giving yourself enough credit for how much power you have over the situation, and ultimately your ability to change it.

I’m a believer in the idea that to a certain degree, each of us creates the reality in which we exist. The great underground science fiction writer Robert Anton Wilson once suggested that in everybody’s mind there are two entities, the “Thinker” and the “Prover.”

He went on to say “What the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves,” meaning that deep down, all of us have beliefs and ideas about the way things are in the world, and all around us we find evidence to prove them true. Consider the subject of climate change. It’s most often the scientists in the employ of those that stand to lose something from environmental regulation that claim global warming is a hoax, while really all you have to do is look at the weather report, or even just out the window, to see that our world is changing in a major way.

In your case, it could mean that since you believe only married women are attracted to you, then this is what you perceive. You might even be subconsciously creating situations to support this theory. You asked me directly what you could do to avoid this happening. The simplest solution I can see is to modify your social activities so that you’re not only hanging around with married (which is really another word for “unavailable”) women. I’m not suggesting you write off your married friends, but make the effort to also socialize with people who can truly offer you what you are looking for from a romantic partner. Your married friends might even have some referrals!

The same holds true for the scenario you mentioned in which you are seeing two people at once, trying to make a decision. I’m not sure if you literally mean sitting at a table with two other women and trying to decide whom you’d like to see again, or just non-exclusive dating. As long as you are upfront and honest about it I see no problem with the latter. However, if you are actually sitting down to dinner or what have you with two women at once and essentially trying to choose with both of them present, you are creating an awkward situation where you could appear insensitive. In fact, you seem to be creating a state of affairs where the only outcome can be that nobody ends up together.

You joked that you’d rather be single, but I wonder, maybe you would? There’s nothing wrong with that. Our society puts undue pressure on men and women not only to get married and have kids, but also just to be in a relationship, and if you’re not with someone, or at least actively looking, there must be something wrong with you. This is of course completely untrue. However, maybe the pressure placed on you by friends, family or even yourself, is clouding your own inner dialogue. If possible, I suggest maybe taking a pause on dating and looking for someone. Take the time to really look inside and listen to yourself. What is it you want right now, at this time in your life? Do you truly want to commit to someone now, or are you more comfortable just being on your own? There is no shame and nothing wrong with being happily single.

Which brings me to your other question that seemed to be asking whether you were going about meeting people the right way. I don’t really think there is a right or wrong way to get out there and meet potential partners. I can tell you that the harder you look and the more you try to “make” something happen, the more difficult your search may be.

This isn’t to say don’t get out there and actively meet people in whatever way you are comfortable with, but maybe adjust your outlook to have more of a Zen approach. In Taoism much is made of the concept of “to do without doing.” In yoga classes it’s sometimes called “effortless effort.” What it means in this case is perhaps you should channel your energy into social activities that aren’t necessarily directly related to dating and relationships, but that which could open you up to meeting other people with whom you share some common interests. (Like a cycling or book club, for example).

Here’s the hard part though: release any expectations you may have for these activities outside of the simple enjoyment of the activity itself. This way, if and when you do find someone interesting, it would give you an organic starting point with each other, some common ground aside from both being single and “looking to meet.” And think how much pressure off you that will be! No more feelings of having to “choose,” or feelings of frustration dealing with unavailable people.

We are emotionally complex creatures. Situations such as yours are when we often benefit most by slowing down and taking the time to be deliberate, rather than reactive in our thoughts and actions. When we turn our focus inwards and listen to the innate wisdom of our own hearts is when the decision that will serve the greatest good often reveals itself to us.

With Empathy,

Dr. V

Note: All information in the Ask Dr. V column is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, please feel free to email Dr. V, or consult your doctor.

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