1. Why Is Online Dating Not Working For Me?
Please watch this video before reading the text and doing the exercises.
Links to studies referred to in the video:
Text message examples
Here are some text messages you can use to end things after one or 2 dates. They are light and appropriate, without being hurtful. You can adapt these to suit your style, or use as is.
Suggested text message after first coffee meet:
Hey! Thanks so much for a lovely time, I really enjoyed your company. Good luck with finding what you’re looking for! (YOUR NAME)
After 1st or 2nd date and you’ve decided they are not what you’re looking for:
Hey (HIS NAME), after some reflection I realised I am just not feeling it... and I don't want to waste your time. Thanks for the great times and all the best! xx
1. Your previous dating experiences
Look back at your last couple of dating experiences. can you spot any similarities in:
- The type of man
- What happened during the course of your time with him
- How the experience started or ended
It is best to write these down in a journal, so you can start to connect the dots.
2. Adverse Childhood Experiences
Below is a list of the common Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) that have been identified. Do any of these apply to you?
Adverse Childhood Experiences
|In The Family|
|Description||Possible belief formed||How it could show up in your love life|
|Being regularly verbally put down or humiliated||Nothing I say is important; I’m worthless; I’m unlovable; its safest to keep quiet; my opinion doesn’t count||Attract verbally, emotionally or physically abusive men; relationships lack intimacy|
|Emotional or physical neglect||I don’t matter; I’m worthless;; the world is unsafe; you can’t trust anyone; nobody’s got my back||Attract men who dominate you; emotionally disconnected relationships; lack of intimacy; men who treat you badly|
|Physical or sexual abuse||I’m worthless; my opinion doesn’t count; keep secrets or else; it’s not safe to open my heart||Disconnected relationships; struggle to get into and keep relationships; emotionally absent men; abusive men; problems in sex life; can’t be truly intimate|
|Having a depressed parent (or parent with another mental illness)||Life is hard; life is tough; I’m not important||Difficult love life; always second-best; attract men with emotional issues; emotionally disconnected from your partner|
|A parent being chronically ill for a significant period||I’m not important; I don’t get attention||Attract emotionally unavailable men; men who treat you like second-best|
|Having a parent who was addicted to alcohol or other substances||I’m not important; there’s a secret we have to keep; I am ashamed||Attract emotionally absent men; men with addictions; cheaters or they hide things; problems with emotional intimacy|
|Witnessing your mother/father/a sibling being abused||Life is out of control; violence works; I’m helpless; life is unfair; it’s my fault||Men who abuse you; you abuse men; men who prey on you; feel victimized in relationships|
|Losing a parent to separation/divorce||I am all alone; nobody’s got my back; people I love leave me||Men break your heart; men leave you; relationships don’t last|
|Losing a parent to death as a child or young teenager||I am all alone; nobody’s got my back; people I love leave me||Emotionally immature; don’t trust, so attract untrustworthy men; relationships don’t last; feeling alone in relationships|
|Disliked by a sibling, or favoritism by parents towards another child||I am the runt of the litter; I am not important; there’s something wrong with me||Something or someone is more important to your partner, than you; you get treated badly in relationships|
|A forced, unwanted separation from family (e.g. boarding school)||Life is scary; I am on my own; I don’t matter||Attract long-distance relationships; emotionally unavailable women; abrupt endings|
|A strained or cold relationship with either or both parents||I’m unlovable; I don’t get what I need||Attract cold men; emotional needs don’t get met; never feel truly loved|
|Bullied by a classmate or teacher||The world is unsafe; I am helpless; there’s something wrong with me; I am unlovable; I am different from everyone else||Men who bully you; abusive relationships in general; feelings of unworthiness; men who don’t love you|
|Personal extended medical trauma during childhood or teenage years||There’s something wrong with me; I’m different||Don’t follow the pattern of marriage & kids; men who treat you badly; men who disrespect you|
|Violence in your community that you witnessed||The world is unsafe; I can’t trust anyone; nobody’s got my back||‘unsafe’ relationships; untrustworthy men|
|Growing up feeling noticeably different from your peers or siblings in any way||I am different; I don’t get the ‘normal’ life||Don’t follow the traditional pattern of marriage & kids|
|Other regular events or incidences in your childhood that caused you to feel anxiety, discomfort or fear on an ongoing basis||The world is unsafe; nobody’s got my back; life is dangerous; look after yourself; you can’t trust anyone||Attract men who don’t support you; trust issues in relationships; high level of personal anxiety|
(You can read more about the origin of the ACES studies over here: Adverse Childhood Experiences)
This is the main list, though ACES are being added all the time. You may also have experienced other beliefs and outcomes different to those listed. These are some of the more common examples. And of course if you experienced more than one, the effects are amplified.
3. Connect The Dots
1. Have a look at the possible beliefs your ACES could have given you. Do they apply to you? Did you take on any other self-limiting, perhaps subconscious beliefs?
2. Have they shown up in your love life, either in the way I’ve described, or in any other ways?
3. How have these impacted your self-esteem?
4. Do you love and respect yourself?
It is very powerful to keep a journal and to write your insights down!