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All of that changed when I befriended Kara Loewentheil, a Certified Master Life Coach and dating guru.
Kara specializes in coaching feminist women and gender non-conforming individuals who believe in equality, but still have trouble acting in ways that match those beliefs.
Her goal is to help people change the way they feel about what they’re feeling, and to recognize that the stories they tell themselves “I work with people who know they ‘should’ feel confident, but secretly worry that the reason they don’t have a partner is that there is something wrong with them,” she tells me.
“I think romantic relationships are the perfect nexus of everything that holds us back in life: social conditioning, patriarchy, family patterns, our desires for human connection, our fears of rejection, and our stories about ourselves and our potential.”After taking a step back from my feelings, I realized that my dating-related anxieties — the stress of keeping someone interested, but seeming fun enough, all while maintaining enough distance to be alluring, for example — put my emotions in the hands of my date.
But after that first rush of initial messages — which are mostly garbage, anyway — you go back to living the single life as if you never signed up for OKCupid (and Tinder) at all. Logically, you know you have to go on dates if you’re ever going to meet someone you want to be in a relationship with. If you don’t cancel, you’ll spend the few hours leading up to it being so nervous, you can barely focus on anything else. You probably over-text, want to hang out too much, and start talking about the future too seriously, therefore scaring your potential love interest away.
But the fact remains that you despise going on dates, especially first dates, so if an excuse to cancel one exists, you’ve used it. Then when you’re actually on the date, you’re just counting the seconds until you can go home and forget it happened at all. So you’ve gotten the first and second dates out of the way and everything seems good. You’re way too tempted to date people you’ve already dated.
Unfortunately, that means you’re just dating your own leftovers, and that’s not as foolproof as you’d like to think. Once you’ve put in a decent amount of work to get a relationship going, you really don’t want to throw it all away because of a couple so-called “red flags.” So what if he still talks to his ex and gets his mom to do his laundry? The truth is, you’ll put up with just about anything to avoid going back to square one. A lot of us will casually date, not really looking for anything specific just because it’s something to do.
With constant worrying and judgement, you’re not preventing anything.
“You’re actually just creating anxiety and sadness for yourself,” she says.
But if you’re making the effort to meet a guy for drinks, you’re going to have expectations.
If you didn’t want to find something serious, you wouldn’t bother dating at all. The main reason you hate dating is because going on dates that lead nowhere seems like a huge waste of time.