Savvy Minds: Ask Dr. V ~ “I Miss Being With Someone”
I’ve been back in the dating scene for coming up on a year now and I think I’m going to go crazy. I belong to one of the more “serious” dating sites – where they try to pair you with someone who’d be a good relationship and not just a hook up, and it just feels like a job interview to me now, because I know whoever I go out with probably has a few other people they’ll be seeing that week that I’m in competition with. It’s frustrating because all this stuff runs in my mind but I really want to be positive and meet someone new. To boot, I’ve been having dreams of my ex where we’re back together and happy. I don’t want to go back to my old relationship, but I find myself wishing the dreams were true, just because I miss being with someone. What do you think?
Wow, talk about a loaded question. Sounds like you’ve got a lot wrapped up in what at first look seems to be a single issue. I understand and empathize with your dissatisfaction and frustration in your love life. However, I think you have the power to emotionally transcend your current predicament. And the best part about that is you can do it all on your own, you don’t need a “special someone” to do so.
The biggest item for me is that in your letter you say “I miss being with someone.” I don’t mean to come off as harsh, but this leads me to think that you’re really just looking for someone to be a placeholder in your life so that you can have a relationship. You didn’t mention how long you were with your ex, but if it was a longer relationship, you may need more time than you first expected to get over it. And by “get over it,” I mean to really experience and process all the emotional fallout that resulted from the break up. You mentioned you’re still having dreams of your ex, who you also say you don’t with to return to. While that’s all well and good, your heart, or even your subconscious, may have other ideas. And if that’s the case, then you really don’t need to be putting yourself out in the dating scene to begin with.
If that is indeed what’s going on, then I think it could also be the main cause of your frustration, as your motivation affects your method, as it were. As I said, if you’re not really interested in beginning a new relationship, but essentially finding someone to be a spare tire for that which has recently failed, I think the people you date will pick up on this, whether they are aware of it or not. And ultimately, it’s not really fair to either you or your potential new partners, as even if a new relationship did begin, it would be doing so on a faulty foundation. You would be attempting to continue your last relationship, perhaps with the hopes of “fixing” whatever went wrong before, and whoever you might be with would unknowingly be standing in for your ex. This could very easily lead to more miscommunication, misunderstanding and at worst, dysfunction. The rotten part about all that stuff is the more of it you pile on top of itself, the harder it is to disentangle from. If you’re still encountering this relationship regularly in your dreams, then I think you still have some sorting out of things to do with yourself. Give yourself and whoever you’re going to meet in the future (trust me, there will be other lovers) the chance you deserve by truly resolving your last relationship before beginning a new one. Sometimes this is accomplished by simply ceasing to make the effort to find someone. Fill the empty spot in your life with other positive action, so that when you are ready to get back in the game, as it were, you can do so unencumbered and whole.
That being said, when you are ready to jump back in the pool, as it were, you might want to consider what you can do differently, to avoid the same results. I don’t only mean how and who you date, but more to the point, why. Have a dialogue with yourself and try to answer questions like “Why am I really attracted to this person? What am I hoping will come from being with this person? Why do I think this guy will make me happy?” Perhaps most important of all “How is this person similar to my ex?” This I think is the real $64,000 question (or adjust for inflation and make it $64 mil). Because quite often the issues that plague us in our romantic lives often manifest in who we choose to be with, or to be overly cynical about it, who we choose to try and work those issues out on. So by “How is this guy similar to my ex?” I don’t mean does he have a similar physical appearance, sense of style or what have you, but more along the lines of “He’s a heavy drinker and I want to fix that” or “He’s very domineering and even though I hate being bossed around there’s something about being subjugated that makes me feel safe.” And I hope I don’t need to tell you that there are much better ways to find a feeling of inner peace and safety than being bossed around all day.
I think the best suggestion I can give you is simply: Enjoy yourself. If dating feels like a job, stop. Go out and have fun with friends, or better yet, on your own. Do what makes you happy because you want to do it, not because you have an ulterior motive stemming from a desire for a certain result. Sometimes the only way to get things to happen for you is not to force them. To be Zen about it, just be. Good things have a habit of showing up when we’re not looking for them.
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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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