If it's not working, why do you keep doing it?

You are an intelligent and successful adult who has made good progress towards your educational and professional goals--and because you have your act together, you have a nice, stable life. However, there is one area in which all your efforts seem to fail miserably--finding and sustaining happy love.

You have tried online dating, speed dating, and various singles groups and outings, but with no success. You have met people this way, had a few first dates, maybe some second ones, but the people you are meeting are either not right for you, you just aren't into them, or you feel hopeful only to have them pull back or disappear after you have corresponded and/or met a few times.

You wonder if it has to do with having sex too quickly, making yourself too available and/or looking desperate, or that there just aren't enough compatible people out there who are unattached and interested in something more than casual sex. You are tired of trying, frustrated, and don't want to attend any more bridal showers, or bachelor parties for yet another friend who somehow met that right person. Should you just stop trying and see if that old adage is true that you "always meet someone where you are not really looking."

The answer does involve letting go, not trying so hard, and yes, allowing fate the chance to put you in the right place at the right time. Put simply, you want to do less in order to do more, but mostly, you want to go about it all differently.

If you regularly participate in singles events that end up a consistent disappointment, stop doing them. If you go to endless parties, happy hours and nights out to clubs in search of the one, but end up with only a hang-over or blue mood the next day, change your behavior. By this, I don't mean never saying yes to an invitation to join friends out for the evening or to a happy hour with friends after work. What I do mean is to be selective, do fewer of these, and go with no expectations except to enjoy the people, music, conversation that you know will be part of the experience. Then you can take that extra time and effort you have saved and do something different, really different. But what you say?

Have you carried around a desire, interest or passion that you have never pursued, dropped or just not had the time or other resources for? There's no time like the present to explore it. No matter where you live, there are opportunities for experiences all around you that it's likely you have never even thought about. You say you live in the city and therefore, outdoor activities are limited or nonexistent. This is often not true. Many cities are a short drive from lakes and rivers where sailing, windsurfing, and scuba classes are available, mountains where great skiing can be had in colder months, and hiking trails and groups who form to walk them can be found. Into something else? Classes for martial arts, cooking, language, music and other interests are often available through public as well as private providers. It is unlikely that you would come up empty handed unless you live in a place where the population is about 400, and the next town is a hundred miles away. Even then, going somewhere for the weekend where you can pursue your passion is always an option.

The important take away here is that you need to open your mind and be willing to take a risk and do something different in order to get a different result. It should never be forced or because you believe you "should." Whatever you decide, it needs to come from your heart and be something you would enjoy and that would bring satisfaction to your life regardless of whether you met Mr. /MS. Right while pursuing it. This is the part that involves fate and timing.

We still have some of this wonderful season left. Begin by clearing some deadwood out of your schedule, go online and explore resources, make a plan, write it down and follow through. Then let yourself go and just immerse yourself in the new experience. If you want more ideas/inspiration, I have two other articles that you find helpful. You can find them on:

Want to read other articles on this subject?

"What we can learn from The Bachelor"
List of more "Help With Dating" articles

"Can you Tinder your way to love?"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.

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