stop trying to be perfect while dating. it's exhausting you.
Updated: Apr 21
There is a plethora of bad dating advice out there. There is advice which can make anyone fall in love with you. There is advice on what to say to guys to keep them coming back. There is even advice on how to make a love potion. This kind of advice implies dating is a game where you have to be strategic, do certain things, and not do certain things. Then you'll get the perfect end result. The advice-giver is saying you need to play a role to keep the interest peaked and make anyone fall in love with you. But when do you stop playing these rules? When can you let your guard down? What happens if you mess up? When can you stop being perfect and always in control?
First off, you can't make anyone fall in love with you. You aren't a sorcerer or a witch. There is no spell or love potion, although many have tried to make that concoction. These theories imply you are only successful when you have absolute control and follow clear rules. You must follow these steps to ensure the other will love you. You have to say the right thing to get her to text you back and to keep her texting you. However, in reality, you can't control others and you can't be in control all the time.
Dating and relationships are not movie scenes. They are not always going to plan. If you are basing your dating life on you being perfect then your human imperfections will trip you up. You are going to mess up, say the wrong thing, and have spinach stuck in your teeth while out to dinner with the cute guy. Even if you are head over heels for someone they will eventually see that imperfect side of you. The question is are you comfortable with showing that side? If this is a yes, amazing! If this is a no, even deep down, then your dating is based on a state of fear.
If you are afraid to be foolproof, then what happens when things go wrong? What happens when that perfect text message doesn't work to bring them back? People don't respond in the same way to the same thing. People also have bad days and get sick. Those one-liners fail to account for the off-days when people just can't respond.
The quest for perfection also means that you are not going to be vulnerable with a potential mate. People who strive for perfectionism are not comfortable showing the quirks or when they need help. It also keeps others at a distance because they only see you as doing great. You cannot lean on and get help from dates if you are being perfect all the time. You are keeping people at a distance. If you identify with wanting to be perfect then you probably know life can be lonely and isolating. Dates cannot be strong for you if you are always strong.
If you identify with perfectionism then it also likely means you are expecting others to be without flaws. You are expecting the same too high expectations: that you aren't ok with yourself unless you are flawless. So if the other person shows a fault you might have a problem with it as they are not upholding your standard. Now, this can be tough to hear, so please take your time with it. Not everyone is in a space where they can swallow they are the problem of their unhappiness and failure to find a mate.
So how do you start to be ok with examining your flaws? You notice when you mess up and others are okay with it. One exercise you can do to start moving past this struggle is to journal every day the times when you messed up and were ok. You can talk about when you showed up late to a date and the date accepted you anyway. You can write about the time when you called a date the wrong name and they forgave you. One way I speed up this process is to look at times in your past when things ended up okay in the end. That will show you that you can be safe even when you mess up because you've had mistakes in your past and you are alive now. Your life didn't end because of that.
A daily journaling practice for two weeks will help highlight that it's ok to have flaws and mess up. That the world does not need or expect you to never mess up. You may also find dates are accepting of you when you let your guard down. It will allow you to connect to your potential mates in a deep and more fulfilling way. You can relax and laugh at yourself when things go wrong, and things certainly go wrong. You can feel more intimate with others. Starting with this exercise is a wonderful way to keep you moving forward to a healthier space. You got this!
Photo credit: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash