Date My Dad Topics are Single Parent Dating and Relationship Advice for Men. David Wygant shares the myths that keep you single
I can’t tell you how many clients have come to me and said, “David, you’re my last resort. I’ve done the right things. I’ve been a good person. Yet, nothing ever happens to me. I never get asked out. I’m alone and I’m tired of being alone. Aren’t I entitled to a little happiness?” My response to them is a resounding, “No.”
People aren’t entitled to happiness. People have to work for happiness just as they have to work for a successful career, and in the very same way they have to work and save for a house, a car, a stereo, retirement, or even to maintain friendships.
When you believe you’re entitled to something, you won’t go after it. You passively wait around hoping whatever you feel entitled to will be handed to you on a silver platter. When no one serves it up to you, you become angry, upset, and frustrated. “Damn it,” you proclaim. “I’m a good person. I do the right things. I’m entitled to this.” You become reactive, instead of proactive.
In our daydreams, we’d all like the most important and most difficult to achieve things in our lives to be handed to us. Many of us sit around, look out the window and dream of being famous, admired, rich, and super successful. Yet, in reality, that just doesn’t happen to most of us. However, even if it did just happen to us overnight, would we really be able to appreciate it the same way as if we’d strived and worked hard for it? Most likely not. Therefore, it’s in the process of striving for something that we find the greatest rewards. We grow by working for something, not just getting something.
You may desire dates and to fall in love, but you’re not entitled. You must put effort into finding a mate just like you must work for anything else in life. You’ll have to be proactive instead of reactive. You’ll have to take chances, move around, explore, open up, go against your natural human instinct to wait for a prince- or princess-charming.
Now, some of you may say, “David, I’ve never felt entitled to love. I’ve done everything I can to find someone. I’ve dated hundreds of people, done blind dates, Internet dating, and speed dating. I walk up to people on the street and introduce myself. I’ve had one relationship after another. Yet, nothing substantial has ever come out of any of it. I’m getting older. I don’t feel entitled, I just feel tired and worn down.” My response to these people — Keep Going!
In the professional world, some people don’t become successful at a career until later in life. If they had stopped pushing for success after some negative experiences, they may never have had the profound impact that they eventually did. For instance, Abraham Lincoln lost more than five elections before he was elected president of the United States and Henry Miller didn’t sell his first book until he was in his forties and even then he was broke until late in his life. Keep Going!
Success happens at different times
Success happens to each of us at different times in our lives and the same is true when it comes to love. So, don’t compare yourself to your friends or the average person your age. You may be forty and still single, while all of your friends are married with kids. However, they may be in unhappy marriages, headed for divorce, or even cheating on their significant others. They may sit around and daydream of the days when they were free to experience the world and actually be jealous of you-despite telling you otherwise. Consistently be aware of negative thoughts and try to look at the big picture.
Start to look at your life as one long journey where there is no timeline as to when significant events must happen to you. Erase the idea that you must go to school in your teens and early twenties, get married in your mid-twenties, have kids in your later twenties and early thirties, build wealth in your forties and fifties, retire in your sixties, and start dying in your seventies. Leave this conventional thinking to the sheep in our society. You may not find the great love of your life until you’re sixty — and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The pop culture myth
We’re bombarded with pop culture. It’s next to impossible to go through a single moment of your everyday life without encountering a book, a magazine, television, advertising, music, billboards, movies-and they all send a message about how love is supposed to happen.
D. H. Lawrence once said, “…the real trouble about women is that they must always go on trying to adapt themselves to men’s theories of women.” If Lawrence were alive today, he may reword that bit of wisdom to read, “…the real trouble with society is that it must always go on trying to adapt itself to the theories of those few people controlling the media.”
The most dangerous theory that the media tries to sell you is that love is fate. Movies like “Serendipity” and “Sleepless in Seattle” play on our hopes that our love is predetermined and written in the stars. Ask yourself how many times you’ve seen the storylines in those two particular movies happen in real life! Rarely, if ever, right?
Love is not fate or predetermined
Recognize that love is not fate or predetermined. In fact, there isn’t just one person in this world that would be a great match for you, there’s many. There are over five billion people in the world. Is it realistic to think the preordained one for you just happens to be living in your hometown and that you’re meant to meet them between the ages of twenty and twenty-five? No.
Sometimes as an audience, we forget that we’re watching escapism. We forget that we’re not in a movie and tend to believe that our lives should be like one. Recognize that if you think this way, you’re setting yourself up for a disaster.
Don’t buy into the myths that Hollywood sells to you for entertainment and allow it to affect your reality. Don’t let what you watch on the big or small screen convince you to passively wait for love to fall into your lap. Chances are, it won’t. You have to get out there, be proactive, and start meeting new people everyday so you increase your chances of finding someone that you relate to. If you meet the right person, love will develop over time. Your only fate is the fate you create for yourself by being proactive.
The societal myth
Have you ever complained to someone you know about your dating life and they try to console you by saying, “Oh, honey. Don’t worry. It’ll happen. The right person will come along when you least expect it. That’s how I met my spouse.”
For the majority of us, the right person will come along when we least expect it, but not before we’ve worked to find them. Some people are lucky — they marry their high school or college sweethearts and live happily ever after. The majority of us aren’t that lucky. Yet, there’s nothing wrong with having to work a little bit harder or wait a little bit longer to find the right one. As I said before, when they do come along, it will make you appreciate them even more.
Personally, when someone I knew in a relationship use to say to me, “it will come along when you least expect it,” I got annoyed. People mean well when saying it, but it’s also condescending and doesn’t make you feel any better about your current state of loneliness. Perhaps this can make you feel better; the majority of people, your family, friends, and co-workers know nothing more about love or finding it than you do. Again, many people get lucky at a young age, many people have worked harder at finding love than they lead you to believe, and many people may not be as complicated and sophisticated as you-they may have settled for the first person that came along that was attentive to their needs.
When it comes to the societal myth, my advice is simple. If certain friends, family, and co-workers of yours don’t understand the concept of proactive dating, then don’t talk to them about your dating life. It will only serve to frustrate you. When you need a boost either reread this article (or get a copy of my book) book or call upon people that relate to your current situation. It’ll make you feel better to know that you have people to lean on who have the objectives.
The tradition myth
Many women believe that men are always supposed to make the first move and that it’s a man’s responsibility to do the courting. Books like “The Rules” teach women how to play men with regard to this tradition. It’s trickery and it’s unhealthy. Women must stop buying into this deceptive nonsense on how to draw men to them by playing games.
It’s the year 2011. Women run large corporations, governments, are successful doctors and lawyers, and are highly paid movie stars. If women have become assertive in their careers, why do they fear the same sense of empowerment when it comes to men? Most of the time I believe they’re simply afraid they’ll scare men off or be perceived as “loose.” The fact is, if you scare a man for starting a conversation with him and asking to get together some time, he’s the wrong man for you anyway. You don’t have to live your life playing to the backward thinking of men who aren’t evolved.
Men, if a woman approaches you, be flattered and thank your lucky stars that for once in your life you didn’t have to make the first move. Women, go after what you want. Get out there and get in the ballgame. Don’t spend your life passively waiting for men to approach you. If you see someone you want, go after them.
The introvert myth
Introverted people develop shyness from an early age — it’s every bit as much of their personality to keep to themselves as it is for an extrovert to be the life of the party. Introverts are non-aggressive in most areas of their lives, not just when it comes to dating.
Unfortunately, most introverts, because of their shyness, become wallflowers. In the world of dating, this translates into their taking what they can get. Rarely, if ever, would an introvert see someone they were interested in and approach that person. Instead, they stand around like magnets, hoping that someone will be attracted to them and make the first move. They’re condemned to a self-imposed prison where they wait around and simply hope that they get a great cellmate.
Being introverted is a crutch that timid people rely on to stay within their safety zones. “I can’t approach people. I’m too shy,” they say. It’s a myth that introverts can’t be more proactive in their quest to find dates or love.
To introverts, the very thought of approaching a new person is anxiety provoking. What introverts don’t realize is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because you’ve had problems meeting people in the past doesn’t mean you won’t have new opportunities. One of the reasons you may feel so much anxiety is that no one ever taught you how to approach people in a creative, non-aggressive way.
Just by learning how to nonchalantly start a conversation with another person of the opposite sex, you will feel more comfortable. Shyness is no longer an excuse to passively wait around!
Don’t buy into the myths that say that love will fall into your lap, that there’s only one person out there for you, that men should always make the first move, or that you’re too shy to meet anyone. Instead, rid your mind of them, and if they start to creep back, keep pushing them down. Why be a passive waiter and condemn yourself to a life of missed opportunities? You do the selecting. Love will happen when you least expect it, but don’t expect love to just happen. Give it a push.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”