How To Change Your Perspective On Dating

by Lindsay Tigar

When you’re faced with a big project at work and you’re slaving away until deadline, it’s not always the coffee that helps you race to the finish — it’s your ability to focus, prioritize, and really, believe that you can make it happen. While many single people who are looking for relationships can tell you that you can’t work hard enough to make the perfect relationship appear out of thin air (several have tried) — many therapists and coaches agree that changing your dating perspective can change…

...well everything about your dating life. The reason that we might focus on finding an ideal partner and often times, get discouraged when another string of dates don’t turn into anything of value or length, is because we’re zooming in on what we don’t have. And maybe more importantly, measuring it against someone else’s idea of what a relationship means. Life coach and author, Sarah E. Stewart, MSW, CPC says that this negative approach to being single can actually turn away potential partners. “If someone has a negative attitude people can sense it from a mile away and most people do not want to be around it,” she tells Bustle. “It is important to be positive even if you are on your one hundredth bad date.”

So how do you change your perspective when you don’t feel like it? Here are some ideas:

1. Changing Your Story Changes Your Outcome

“When I was dating a lot, I always knew one of two things, it was going to be a good date or a great funny story to tell my friends later,” Stewart says. “I sat at a bar while my date told me how profound the lyrics to the song "Honky Tonk Woman" are. He then sang the entire song. I was smiling the whole time because I knew I was watching a great dinner party story unfold before my eyes.” This example is important because it illustrates how shifting your own narrative can be powerful in keeping your mindset positive. Instead of saying: “I went on this awful date with a guy who definitely isn’t someone I’ll see again — another Friday night wasted!” you say, “Well, I met an interesting person who I’m not compatible with, but now have a funny story to tell the girls over wine night.” The language you use to describe your dating life can turn your dates into good ones, bad ones or funny ones.

2. Getting Rid of the Past Literally Makes Room For the Future

You know better than to sleep with your ex (even if you slipped up a few times) — but author Rebecca West says a key to getting into the right headspace to find love is physically getting rid of anything from the past, too. “Get new sheets for your bed, update your underwear and lingerie wardrobe, and give the walls of your bedroom a fresh coat of paint,” she tells Bustle. “Collect mementos from the old relationships and either toss them, or put them in a box in the garage. It’s OK to keep the memories, but they shouldn’t be haunting the space that is supposed to be about your future.”

Then the real fun begins — reinventing your space. West says after you rid of the old, make room for the new: “Make sure there is room for someone to get into the bed on both sides of the bed, and set up two generous nightstands and lamps. Clear out some space in your closet and dresser so that your clothes have room to breathe and there is potential space for another persons belongings,” she says. “None of this means another person has to move in any time soon, but you are sending a message to the universe that you are ready. Plus you have the added bonus of feeling lighter and freer because you got rid of stuff in your dresser and closet that wasn’t really serving you.

3. Writing Down Your Negative Thoughts Helps Break Patterns

Pick a day when you’re going on a date and from the start of the day, write down all of the thoughts you have toward being single, finding love or dating. Seriously everything. From picking out what to wear to how you feel before and after the date, record it all. And then, examine it.

Love coach Renee Suzanne helps people identify their patterns and gives some insight on how to break them. “Your thoughts create your life, but they can be changed,” Suzanne tells Bustle. “If you’re not having luck with your dating life, start by noticing your thoughts about dating. Then question or not whether or not they are actually true. You can change your thoughts and your life if you work at it.” (And to answer your question, statistically speaking, it’s unlikely that you’ll die alone and never, ever fall in love in your entire life, if you’re wondering.)

4. Finding Something To Believe In Takes The Pressure Off Of You

A big part of where you put your mental energy is where you stay. If you’re constantly listing the bad dates or talking about how nothing goes right, chances are, that’ll continue. But if you find something you believe in that you can put positive power behind, you might just change the rest of your life, Suzanne says. Though you might not be a spiritual person, finding a way to be quiet and believe in something bigger than yourself can help you. “You can practice a religion, read spiritual materials, practice yoga, meditation, or spend time in nature,” she says. “Even spending time with animals or volunteer work will help you to feel connected. Find something that works for you.”

5. Taking A Break Can Change Your Outlook

If you’re really feeling frustrated about dating, step aside and let other things in your life fill up the time that you used to use dating and thinking about dating. “A negative perspective will defeat you before you start. It’s like pouring poison on your dreams. If you want to have a fulfilling life, you must begin with cultivating a positive outlook,” Suzanne says. “People who are positive and optimistic are more fun to be with. If you don’t have a positive outlook, you can develop one. It’s worth the time and effort it takes. Having a positive perspective will improve your chances of having the happy dating life you want.”

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