You’ve heard it before right?
- You’re too picky
- You’re too independent
- Your expectations are too high
That’s not really it though, you’re just not willing to settle!
I mean, the men you date are lovely people… attractive, smart, funny… you’ve even gotten serious with a few who seemed like they had real potential!
But you’ve always ended up in the same place:
- Disappointed it’s not what you want
- Frustrated you keep doing this
- Anxious and worried you’ll end up alone
This is the cycle of dating down, and it’s tough, isn’t it?
Meeting someone and getting your hopes up… giving it your best shot, only to end up frustrated, sad, and alone again…
Giving up on dating and relationships for a while… Getting tired of being lonely, pushing through your cynicism to try again, and then meeting someone with potential…
Promising yourself it’ll be different this time, because now you’ve really learned from your mistakes…
Getting your hopes up again, only to end up disappointed again…
But my friend, this is what happens when you are ‘dating down’. This is what happens (and will continue to happen) when you get involved with someone ‘less than’ you.
- Professionally unsettled
- Financially insecure
- Emotionally immature
- Personally ungrounded
- Contextually unconscious
Sure, it’s good in the beginning; he’s fun to be around and makes you laugh. He makes you feel special and desirable…
So what if he comes with a little bit of baggage… it’s not that big a deal. It doesn’t really affect you at this point, and if things do get serious, you know how to deal with it in a heartbeat.
Besides, it’s nice to feel a little intrigued by someone right? Like, “what makes this guy tick?”
Plus, there are moments where you can see a real possibility here!
But that’s essentially the problem, right? You see the potential in him… but can he actually be that guy? And if he can, how long will it take and what will the mental and emotional cost of waiting be on you?
This is the epitome of dating down.
The truth is, you want a PARTNER not a PROJECT.
You want to be with your true match – someone you deeply trust and respect – not just someone who has “potential.”
But you know that; you’ve been through this shitty cycle before, right?
Trying to convince yourself that you’re ok, that you’re satisfied with what he brings to the table, avoiding your deep inner knowing that it’s not enough, he’s not enough…
Because if you admit that, if (yet again) he’s not the one, then you have to face the fear that you’ll never meet your guy and you’ll end up alone.
It’s tiring, isn’t it? This defeating and depressing cycle…
So let me be straight-up – the problem actually IS you.
I know, not what you wanted to hear, but – a hard truth is better than a comfortable lie – so stay with me for a moment.
You’re a smart woman.
You know how to get shit done, so let’s deal with this…
I’m sure you can see – like it or not – you are the common denominator in your love life.
And that means, until you deal with whatever’s going on that causes you to engage in this cycle, you’ll never have the partner – the soulmate – you truly desire. So, what gives?
You strike up relationships with men where you can focus on them; giving your time, advise, encouragement, and sensitivity.
But the truth is, when you’re dating down you’re never getting what YOU need… it’s not reciprocated… because he’s not capable of it.
The bottom line is: the type of man you’re currently drawn to is someone you can kinda control; someone who needs you…
That might be uncomfortable to acknowledge – but am I wrong?
So, the question then becomes:
Why? Why is that your pattern?
You say you want a ‘soulmate relationship’ but you keep trying to build relationships with men who aren’t your equal – why is that?
Because somewhere in there, in the dark shadow side, you believe that the man you actually want to be with either doesn’t exist or, if he does, wouldn’t want you.
I know! I know! It’s hard to hear.
The reality is, these types of relationships may make you feel “safe” but they’ll never turn into “the one”. Eventually one of two things will happen, either:
- He’ll get frustrated with (what becomes) your constant micro-managing OR
- You’ll start to resent him for not being who or what you need him to be
Regardless of how it ends, it will. Because the inner knowing part of you won’t settle for “less-than”, will it? Because the inner knowing part of you wants to surrender into a partnership and allow yourself to be truly partnered… but the idea of that is terrifying… to fully trust a man to be there for you… so instead you just keep dating potential and being resentful that he’s not the one.
It’s time to ask: are you dating down?
This pattern is called “dating down” and it allows you to feel in control and therefore emotionally safe in relationships.
It’s what people sometimes refer to as “trust issues” or “commitment issues” but the truth is, the pattern only plays out one way… No matter how much you try to coerce yourself into believing it’s a real and worthwhile relationship, the endgame of this pattern is heartbreak.
Not to mention the impact this drama has on other areas of your life!
Plus, every time you go through this cycle, it sets you back further and further. Each time you go around this metaphorical mulberry bush, you accrue more proof and evidence for this belief (mindset) you’re stuck in.
The pattern is predictable:
- You’ll keep waiting for him to finally show up as the ‘man’ he says he wants to be
- You’ll get resentful that he just keeps NOT doing that
- He’ll get angry that he can never do enough to make you happy…
But the truth is, you’ll never fully trust him to be the man – the partner – you truly desire.
The drama of this cycle will wear you both down and no amount of those “glimpses of possibility” will change things for you.
Because the problem isn’t with him.
The problem lies with you.
You, my friend, have “trust issues”… so what are you going to do about it?
This pattern of dating down is really painful. Learning how to break it might be one of the greatest gifts you give yourself!
PS – as a side note… any reference I’ve made throughout this post about any man being “less-than” isn’t suggesting that in reality they are… what I’m saying is that your “trust issues” or defence mechanisms keep you stuck in a perspective that make you feel like it’s true.
These men may not be a match for you personally, but they’re not “less-than” you, any more than you’re “less-than” someone else.
We’re all human beings doing our damn best to get through life with as few bruises as possible. Sometimes that means we show up as a smaller version of ourselves… that’s totally different than actually being “less-than”.