In the dating world, some people are simply out to have fun, and if that’s the case, a lot of fun can be had with a ton of inappropriate characters out there. I’m definitely not one to pass judgment– believe me, I completely understand why you would date someone you have zero chance of falling in love with– because it is safe. For those who don’t get this, let me try to explain– after you have suffered a tremendous loss, the last thing on Earth you want is to open yourself up to further heartache. When you feel this way, the logical conclusion you can reach is: what could be safer than being with someone you aren’t really attached to?
Here are 2 main reasons why that logic is faulty:
(1) When you have two people that are just out to have fun, then this is all fine & dandy. The problem of course is that often one becomes attached, while the other does not. Then essentially what you have is a dysfunctional see-saw, and it can become quite unstable fast. Why? Well, remember when we were kids at the playground? In order for the see-saw to work, you both had to put effort into it and take turns. When one person went too fast, it got scary. If someone just got up and quit, the whole game ended. And, if one person just left without warning, well the other would come crashing down and literally hit rock bottom. Sadly, you sometimes have to hit rock bottom before you realize the dysfunctional see-saw you’ve been replicating over and over again in the dating game.
(2) Although some of you are consciously choosing to date just for fun (and that is your prerogative), some of you may be subconsciously sabotaging any chance at finding a real long-term partner, and if you are in the latter category, it’s paying attention to your past patterns that will be most helpful to you in getting to the root of this problem: and answering the key question: Why are you dating down– someone less attractive, less smart, less caring, or emotionally unavailable? We’ve all done it, so don’t give yourself too much grief, but at some point for your own sanity you may want to dig deep inside to find the answer– I promise it is worth taking the time and doing some soul searching if you eventually want to break your pattern and find something longer lasting with a high caliber person.
Years ago, I blogged about “Why Smart Women Date Inappropriate Men,” but this problem actually is not just a female issue. I can’t tell you how many men have shared their stories with me about all the gold-digging bimbos they come across, and I just start to laugh when I put the burden back on them and ask them: where are you fishing? If you don’t like the fish you are catching people– go find a new pond! (If that sounds familiar, it is true that is the title of another past blog).
Honestly, as much as I prefer letting people find their aha moment, some of these issues that people keep asking me about make me want to bang my head against the wall because the answer is so obvious, at least from my perspective. I get that after you lose someone either in death or a divorce, you may never want to open yourself up to that much pain ever again. Unfortunately, it’s taken me a long time to realize this, but you can’t experience love without exposing yourself to tremendous risk of loss. It is all part of the package.
You need courage to truly love, and until you find that courage you will continue to look for love in all the wrong places.
Hopefully, together we can inspire each other to find that courage one day!
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.