I’ve noticed a trend. During the early stages of dating – which are really intended to be a discovery process – many women lose sight of the wondrous gift they are, a gift that is meant to be unwrapped with great care, anticipation and genuine interest. Instead, these women become disproportionately influenced by their potential partner’s preferences and points of view, they rearrange their calendars to accommodate his schedule and, they unknowingly put him up on that proverbial pedestal. You know what they say about all things that go up…
Next time you are listening to a female friend go on about the new man in her life, pay close attention to whose needs are coming first – his or hers. Women often find it difficult to be who they are and to get what they need during the dating process for fear of losing the man.
In my work as a matchmaker, wing woman and dating coach, I try to inspire a fundamental shift in the way my female clients relate to the men they encounter…one that goes from an external focus (him) to an internal focus (her). As scary as it seems for them to put this into practice, it usually produces win-win outcomes…it’s what men want (they want us to be us) and, as women, addressing our needs is an integral part of loving ourselves.
Here are some reasons why women may initially (and unintentionally) focus more on a man’s needs versus their own:
Some implications of being too focused on a man, or not focused enough on themselves, are:
How a shift in their focus could make women more successful in dating and relationships:
Here are some tips on how to get going in making this shift for yourself:
Stacie’s Tip # 1: Get clear on how amazing you are
Make a list of all of the wonderful contributions you make in a relationship. If you need help getting started, talk to your friends and family. I’m sure they’ll be happy to remind you why they love you. Work on your confidence and review these attributes before, during and after each date, if you have to.
Stacie’s Tip # 2: Set relationship goals
Be clear in your own mind about whom and what you’re looking for before you set out to find it. It’s like that famous saying: “If you don’t know where you’re going how will you know when you get there?” Write it down if you have to. Declare it to your friends. Hold yourself accountable. Revisit your goals often.
Stacie’s Tip # 3: Change your internal dialogue
Replace words like “his”, “him” and “he” with “my”, “me” and “I”. For example, instead of wondering after the first date whether he’s going to call you, think through whether you want him to call you. And if the answer is “yes”…why?
Stacie’s Tip # 4: Keep busy
Do not rearrange your calendar. If it’s empty, fill it up. You want to have enough flexibility in your schedule to date, however, you don’t want to give off the impression that your calendar is always wide open waiting to be filled by hopeful suitors. You are busy. You have a life. Your time is valuable and you are selective about who you spend it with. Remember that! If, however, that’s not the case…perhaps this is where your “work” should begin.
Stacie’s Tip # 5: Don’t play games
If you want to call him, call him. If you’re busy when he calls, don’t apologize. Staying true to yourself at all times guarantees that you’re putting your most authentic self forward. When you don’t play games and are true to yourself you maintain control and can help steer outcomes more effectively.
Stacie’s Tip # 6: Stop having relationships and start dating!
Date multiple people at the same time. There is nothing wrong with it and, in fact, it’s healthy. When we date one man at a time premature expectations can develop, pressure may intensify unnecessarily and before we know it the “relationship” has gone sour. That’s because we stopped dating the poor guy (i.e. we stopped trying to get to know him better) and dumped all of our fairytale hopes and dreams in his lap. We were having a relationship that didn’t exist, or that hadn’t fully formed yet. We do this unknowingly and subconsciously and men are wired to sniff it out (also subconsciously, usually). They experience it as neediness or find us demanding, and run the other way. Try and change your perspective. Get out there and fill up your dance card!