You’ve met a new woman – maybe at Starbucks or at a party. She’s smart, very pretty and best of all, she seems to like you. You’ve taken that first step and asked her out for pizza. Now you’re sitting across from her and thinking about moving further into this. Of course, you’re attracted to her, and sex seems like a great idea to you, but even more, you’re thinking that she’s fun to be with and you’d like to spend more time together.
What are you really seeing, what do you need to do to actually help you decide if she’s right for you, if she is someone you really want to develop a relationship with?
First thing, step back. Forget about wallowing around in the good feelings you’re having right now. They may be all fantasy. You may be looking at her through a wall of insecurities and wish-fulfillment. I suggest taking some time to examine where you’re coming from. Try answering these 7 questions about yourself. You need to be very honest or it won’t do you any good.
Have you broken up with someone recently?
Have you been alone for a long period of time? (3 months or more)
When your last relationship ended, were there accusations and hurt feelings?
Did you feel that you weren’t good enough for the last woman in your life?
Are you going through difficult times at your job?
Do you feel under appreciated at work and with your friends/family?
When you look in the mirror, are you comfortable with what you see?
If you feel unhappy with yourself in any of these ways you will be coming to the potentially new relationship from a weakened and broken place. That will make you much more likely to bring very high and unrealistic expectations to the new woman. You will be placing heavy responsibilities on her to make you feel better. You will also be overly anxious to have it turn out well, thereby often overlooking problems or things you don’t like so they don’t ruin it at the start.
Maybe she’s a bit of a workaholic and you like to just hang out a lot. But, you may try and ignore this so you don’t have to chuck out the new hopefully perfect person who’s going to save you.
Maybe she loves going to the beach for all her vacations – lives in the sun and water and hates museums and movies. You can be found most Tuesdays at free museum day and enjoy at least 2 movies a week. You tell yourself that differences are good in a relationship and each of you having your own life is healthy and you’ll have more to talk about together. You say that being different will allow for continued excitement about each other.
All of this can be true, but if there aren’t enough things you share you won’t ever spend any time together and that’s what builds a connection in the long term.
Rather than look outward to a new person to fix yourself, try starting to look inward. Spend some alone time reviewing what really went wrong with your last relationship. Be willing to take some responsibility – there are always two people involved in a relationship and the responsibility for failure takes two. If you’ve been alone for some time after your last breakup, examine why. Are you afraid you’ll get hurt if you try and connect with someone? Would you rather be alone (and possibly lonely) than take a risk at finding someone new?
If that’s the case, what is it about this woman that has made you willing to take a chance? If you didn’t feel good enough for the last woman, do you feel good enough for this one? Why or why not? If work is a problem right now, have you thought about ways of making it better? Have you talked to your boss or supervisor to see if you can improve the situation?
If you feel under appreciated try checking out whether you appreciate yourself. What are your best qualities? Make a list of the last 5 really good things you’ve done, in your personal life or at work. If you can’t think of anything, it’s time to start doing something for others that you can feel proud of. Volunteer somewhere, read to kids, spend some time helping at an elder care home or hospital. Go walk shelter dogs once a week. This will let you start building up activities that you can feel good about and that will translate into self-appreciation.
If you look in your mirror each morning and go through a litany of negative comments, like “I’m overweight” or “my teeth are ugly” or “my skin looks terrible,” you need to take a pro-active approach and start to fix these problems. You can make changes in a small way, a little at a time and still see results. Talk to your dentist to see about improving your teeth. Find a diet program that feels workable for you. Start some exercising every day – even if it’s just going for a walk for 30 minutes. Go to a dermatologist and discuss what will improve your skin.
Then start looking in the mirror every day and telling yourself positive things out loud.
“I’m using a whitener on my teeth and they look a little better already.”
“I’m eating fresh fruit for dessert every night now instead of doughnuts and I’ve already lost half a pound.”
“This new face cream has already made my skin look better.”
Remind yourself that change takes time and improvements happen slowly, but they do happen. Sticking with it makes all the difference.
Back to your new woman sitting across from you eating pizza. It’s great to feel attracted to someone and excited by them. Those feelings are wonderful and we all want to have them. But by focusing on yourself, you will bring the best of you to any new relationship you start and you will be helping yourself to feel good, not counting on someone else to hopefully do it for you. Good feelings, self-respect and genuine self-appreciation come from inside. Only you can make those feelings develop. When you like yourself you will inspire others to like you too.
eThere are many experts who have lots of helpful suggestions and approaches to building self-confidence and self-appreciation. Check out Deepak Chopra, John Gray and Tony Robbins to name just a few. You can also often find inspiration in music or literature. Look for things you like and can relate to that are positive. Find things that make you laugh…it’s always effective medicine for picking up your spirits and it’s good for your whole body too. Whether it’s Mark Twain, Jon Stewart or Jimmy Fallon, funny is healthy.
By being honest with yourself about what went wrong before you may be able to avoid doing those same things this time. Others are drawn to us when we like ourselves and that also allows you to come into something new with open eyes and more realism because you already feel O.K. and can therefore survive whether this works out or not.
Lastly, when you sit across from a new woman you don’t want to ask, “can she make me happy?” cause no one else ever makes us happy in the long term, only we can do that for ourselves. Ask instead, “how do I feel about this woman? Do I think she could be what I want in a relationship?” That way, if it works out, it will be because you have honestly looked at her and liked what you saw, and if it doesn’t, at least you’ll have had some good pizza!