By: Devlyn Steele
Mike was completely stressed when he walked into my office last week. Taking a long drink of water, he slumped onto my black leather couch and sighed.
"Coach," he said. "I need to get out of my relationship."
Mike is 38 years old and a successful screenwriter. Mike was also perpetually single with a long history of failed relationships. His situation is typical: he wasn't necessary afraid of something long-term, he just could never find "the One". Mike could never stay in a romantic situation for long before moving to something new.
Today's session was no different. Once again he found himself feeling stuck with someone he didn't want to be with. He told me his story.
"I met Lexy about a year ago. I was at a bar and there she was. She looked awesome and had a great smile. I was attracted and I just had to get to know her."
For Mike it always started with physical attraction. He continued, "We really hit it off. The next thing you know, we are heavily involved. Things were great at least...the first six months were a blast...really fun. I think I gained ten pounds though. My buddy calls it the Love Diet. You stop going to the gym, order in, and stay in bed day and night."
Mike's enthusiasm began to fade as he said, "After the first six months things slowly started to change. We started to get to know each other outside of the bedroom. The more we talked, the more I realized that I had nothing in common with her. And to be honest...this is sort of rough to admit...I wasn't interested in a thing she had to say."
"Our relationship became tense at worst and polite at best. Little things started to bug me. The way she chewed her food drove me insane. The way she laughed...it was this high-pitched squeal that I think only dogs could hear...it made me nuts."
He sighed. "I'm getting on her nerves too. Last week Lexy nearly shoved me out of bed because she said I was snoring too loud."
Mike straightened up and locked eyes with me. "We need to break up and it's been a long time coming anyhow. I'm okay with that. But what I really need to figure out is: what the heck is going on in my relationships? It's always the same. Is it me? Am I meeting the right women? I'm 38 and I still haven't figured it out."
Dating often starts as a chance meeting where physical attraction leads us to relationships we "end up in" rather than a choice we stop and think about. We get caught up in the excitement of meeting someone new. We give in to the rush!
But eventually the "chemical reaction" of attraction begins to sputter. The excitement fades and we often find ourselves with a person we don't know that well. In Mike's case, he realized he was with someone he couldn't stand to be around.
This leads us to online dating. There are aspects of character and personality that will create a bond beyond the initial stage of attraction, and online dating allows us to go beyond the chance meeting, beyond the physical attraction. We can search out potential matches that we might never meet in our everyday lives. With the click of a mouse we have access to a wealth of information: interests, hobbies, passions, lifestyle, beliefs, and more.
Online dating allows us to approach dating from an entirely different angle. Instead of getting to know someone from the outside-in, we can establish a relationship from the inside-out.
Does this "more informed" method your romantic life lead to a more compatible and satisfying relationship? Unfortunately the answer is "No!"
Just like physical attraction alone isn't enough to carry a long-term relationship, having things in common alone won't satisfy you. You still need physical attraction. You may find tons of people online who will seem perfect. Then you meet face-to-face and you know in a split-second that this person is not for you. You never really know what will happen until you meet.
But imagine if you are attracted! The reason you decided to meet in the first place was because you have things in common and your personalities meshed. You've already laid the foundation to take your dating beyond the physical.
What online dating really offers is opportunity to find and communicate with lots of people with whom we share common interests and qualities. It's not the holy grail of dating, but it's an excellent way to increase your chances of finding something long-term.
You may still have to go on many dates to find your match, but that is why the Internet is so exciting! There are always new people to find, and always the opportunity for that next date.
Mike is currently online dating and loving it! I encourage you to give it a try for yourself.
© Devlyn Steele