Dear Dr. Frankie, Am I ready to start dating again?
Dr. Frankie Bashan
Dear Dr. Frankie
I'm single now and it's been less than a month since my last girlfriend and I broke up. I am just coming back into my Self and feeling happy again: I'm cleaning house, working out, finishing personal projects, redecorating, and enjoying my friends. I am already starting to get those urges to look around and flirt. I know myself and it would be so easy to jump back into something new. I am already getting offers and new crushes are very entertaining and fun for me. But here is the thing. I want to stay single long enough to make some progress on those personal goals, feel more empowered and confident, and take care of business. I don't want to feel that I need another person to be happy. I also would like to be more careful the next time around. I don't want to jump in or settle.
Looking into my dating history I have responded quickly to people who make the first move. I am a sucker for a girl who goes after what she wants especially if its me. I think I need to learn how to select and pursue someone rather than just consider what comes my way. It may be a strange question for a matchmaker but how do I stay single? Then, how do I carefully select and pursue someone after I'm in a good place to start dating again?
Dear Addicted to Love,
What a great question for a matchmaker! I think you are certainly on the right path to enlightenment! Never underrate the power of introspection and mindfulness. From what you say it sounds like your dance card is full, you just have to refine your search for the right partner.
I would start by setting a date, perhaps six months from now, where you do not allow yourself to date anyone seriously. Flirting and casual dating is fine and highly encouraged, however I would discourage you from seeing someone monogamously until the six-month mark has passed. Use this time to self-reflect on your negative dating patterns. Humans invariably repeat patterns that reinforce our view of the world, and recreate relationships from childhood. If you think you need help identifying or changing these patterns then consider seeking a relationship coach or individual therapist.
Next, make a list of qualities you seek in a partner: intelligence, emotional availability, communication skills, sense of humor, etc... Then rank them in order of importance until you have found the top three most important characteristics. When you begin casually dating keep these three deal-breakers in mind and let their presence or absence guide you. If you are dating someone who has all three then perhaps you have potential for a healthy, long-term relationship. If you are seeing someone who doesn’t possess your top three most important qualities, do not allow yourself to move into serious relationship territory.
By limiting your dating pool to the girl that showers you with the most attention, you are missing out on the full experience. It is comfortable to like someone who likes you first. But you won’t necessarily be attracting women of equal caliber. For your personal growth, and for a better chance of meeting someone who can challenge you in an exciting way, you need to take a more active role.
Put a new twist on the delightful game of cat and mouse and try out the role of cat. By pursuing I don’t mean you have to do the actual legwork of “courting” her, but initiate a conversation, let her know she caught your eye. If you are interested in learning about specific body-language indicators of attraction, refer to my February 2011 article “Are they into me? Behaviors that indicate attraction” at littlegaybook.com for some helpful tips. You might be surprised at how exciting and empowering the experience is when you are an equal participant. Although it will be a little uncomfortable to change your well-established dating patterns, you have an exciting journey ahead! Best of luck to you!
Dear Dr. Frankie,
How do I reject someone kindly?
I think it’s very important to acknowledge the courage that it takes to approach someone. People should be praised, in a non-condescending way, for being real and bold and vulnerable to rejection. Let her know you are flattered but unfortunately you do not feel the same chemistry. As difficult as it might be, it is important for you to be direct and not send her mixed signals. Don’t try to do her any favors by waffling in an effort not to disappoint her. If she had the courage to put herself out on a limb, then show her the same courage and respect by being straightforward about your lack of romantic feelings. Be kind and thoughtful, but clear.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I hate spending time with my partner’s parents! They’re cold, demanding people who have poor social skills and don’t even treat my partner (their only daughter!) with much respect. My partner knows I don’t like hanging out with her parents and although she is accepting of it, I know it makes her sad. It would mean so much to her to have a large, happy, family. I force myself to spend time with them but do you think it’s a sacrifice I need to make? It’s beyond a personality-conflict, they just aren’t nice people and it pains me to subject myself and my partner to them.
Wow, what an unfortunate situation. Being honest about your feelings, especially since they appear to be founded on behavior patterns rather than just personality differences, is important. Take care not to make it a focal point however. Your partner already is aware that you dislike her parents and don’t care to spend time with them. You said your partner would love for the situation to be different, so try and be honest about your feelings when they are solicited, but avoid beating a dead horse.
My suggestion is to take one for the team occasionally. I’m sure it means a great deal to your partner for you to spend time with her parents. Consider spending an occasional holiday together, preferably one where other family members that you actually like will be present to diffuse the tension and minimize the amount of direct contact with her parents.
I strongly discourage you from trying to prevent your partner from spending time with her parents. Their relationship existed before yours did and the child-parent bond should not be underestimated. Your partner can’t help the family she was born into, and it’s not your place to try to keep her away from her family of origin. She could end up resenting your influence. Down the road, trying to drive a wedge between them could cause problems between the two of you.
Single? Looking for your soul mate? Dr. Frankie invites you to share her Love Seat. Post your questions to lesbian matchmaker Dr. Frankie Bashan below or email her directly at littlegaybook.com and check back on here at Curvemag.com for her answers. If you choose to email her directly please be sure to indicate “Curve” in the subject line.
To learn more about Dr. Frankie's matchmaking and dating/relationship coaching services please visit her website at littlegaybook.com.