You find meeting potential partners relatively easy, but after the first date, they lose interest. You’re not sure what’s going wrong, but this kind of dating pattern can be corrosive for self-confidence. And therein lies the trouble, says dating psychologist and coach Madeleine Mason, because it may well be linked to nerves.
In a dating situation, even the most self-assured of us can feel nervous. If a date doesn’t go well, it leads to more nerves and more awkwardness the next time round.
Using CBT techniques can be a powerful antidote to fighting nerves. ‘First, identify what the thought is that is triggering the nerves,’ suggests Mason. ‘It might be “I’m worried he won’t like me.” Ask yourself why. You may need to keep asking yourself why though until you get down to the core thought – the belief that, for you, underlies everything. It may be something quite painful to confront, such as “no-one has ever really loved me.”’
This core thought, explains Mason, ‘is a saboteur, and it generates anxiety because our emotions are linked to our thoughts and beliefs. In therapy, you would then challenge the saboteur. You might ask “Is it true you have been rejected on every single date?” and usually the answer is no.’
Try to think of alternative thoughts, such as ‘He might be nervous too’ or ‘Even if I don’t see her again, I can still have a good evening.’
Above all, says Mason, accept your feelings and try not to fight them – that will only make it worse.
Read Dating – who pays? by Madeleine Mason on LifeLabs