I have many male clients who are active in the dating scene. Most have never been married, but they are open to finding a potential life partner. Most resort to the technological ease of online dating and many struggle with similar issues of actually finding a connection. Although our modern-day dating scene has many benefits, instead of feeling empowered to be ourselves we tend to play by everyone else’s implicit rules, (which often leads to insecurities, unrealistic expectations and/or unfulfilling connections).
As a modern relationship specialist, I see the extreme pressures of being in the dating realm of society. More specifically, I see the personal implications and distress in can cause, especially with men. According to the (endless) pressures of our society, men have been told they have gigantic shoes to fill in order to find love. I often hear my male clients say that they believe the man should pay for dates; that men shouldn’t be emotional, men should be successful, men should be tall and strong, men should have a great sense of humor, men shouldn’t be too needy… etc, etc. This can be very discouraging and confusing for a man who is attempting to be authentic while meeting potential partners, especially if he feels he doesn’t meet the expected requirements.
There is a certain level of “playing the game” that comes naturally when establishing a connection with someone new, but when does that game become your relationship? Often our assumptions of modern gender roles tend to take over when we are dating and who we really are often gets neglected and unseen. So how do you avoid establishing a relationship based on false perceptions? BE YOU. Be proud of you, discover what you have to offer a partner and believe it’s enough for someone who will value you.
As easy as this may seem, it is important to set your intention(s) of dating and if it happens to be “finding a true companion,” then playing the game should not consume you. After a few dates you feel a lack of connection, it’s also important to then ask yourself, “Am I being authentic or am I just playing the role of a man I think they want me to be?” Is your behavior aligned with your intention?
Rejection can feel devastating and we often avoid it all costs. However, when you are dating, it’s important to look objectively and realize that not every match is necessarily a good one for you and it isn’t personal. When you can feel comfortable being yourself, acknowledging “faults” or squashing unrealistic expectations on the first few dates with someone, it is in my professional opinion that this may be an investment worth exploring and contributing to.
I find that even people who have been in relationships for years have a difficult time with being vulnerable and showing up 100% authentic with partner and this can use conflict and resentment down the road. To avoid this from happening in your future, start the foundation of your relationship on authenticity and stop allowing the pressures of society to dictate your self-worth and power.
Alysha Trujillo, Modern Love Counseling, modernlovecounseling.com