7 Reasons Your Dating Life Is Stuck In A Rut

Psychic Deborah Graham has had premonitions since she was a little kid and has been advising people on their love lives for over 20 years. In her new book, Get Your Head Out of Your App: A Psychic's Guide to Attracting and Keeping True Love, she imparts the wisdom that her time as a love psychic has taught her, focusing on some of the biggest mistakes singles make in their quest for love. Apparently, there's a lot we've been doing wrong, and between her psychic intuition and her experience counseling people on their relationships, Graham has a unique perspective to offer people whose dating lives seem to be stuck in a rut.

Graham, who is also the star of TLC's "Psychic Matchmaker," tells Bustle that she can tune into people's energetic fields to find out what their romantic histories look like, where their paths are leading, and what they need to do to remove obstacles in their way. Sometimes, she'll even look at a photo and tell a client if the person in it is compatible with them. Her readings are highly specific. When she spoke to me, for example, she said I would meet my soulmate in three years. She believes there's one "twin flame soulmate" for everyone, and until you meet that person, you have "fillers" — relationships that come along to teach you about yourself and prepare you for that final, spiritually destined partnership.

Even if you don't believe in psychics or soulmates, the book contains some practical advice that anyone, spiritual or not, can use during different stages of the dating process, from the search for a date to the decision to commit. Here are some of the biggest mistakes Graham thinks you might be making — and her advice on breaking these patterns.

1. Relying On Dating Apps

You don't have to delete your online dating profile, Graham says, but you can't let it stop you from seeking people out in real life. When you see someone in person, you can connect with them on an energetic level that can't happen through a screen. "In person-to-person encounters, you're always attracting and being attracted to the energy that will nourish your spirit," her book reads. "There's a reason that guy turned your head while you were walking down aisle seven. ... Your energy was attracted to his energy." You won't notice that person if your head is buried in an app.

2. Going In With Expectations

"If you project the image of 'I hate the dating scene. Everybody sucks,' then you're the one creating the bad energy," Graham writes. It's really easy to get jaded when you've been on a bunch of dates that didn't go anywhere, but the trick is to view your dates simply as an opportunities to have fun and learn. On the flip side, it's also easy to build someone up in your mind when they seem really great on an app, but this can set you up to be disappointed by them. Graham has seen this disappointment lead clients to think dates had gone poorly when they'd actually gone well. Between the letdown that comes from high expectations and the jadedness that comes from low ones, setting expectations is a surefire way to make dating unenjoyable.

3. Dismissing Someone After One Date

There's no way to know if you're compatible with someone after just one date or even two, Graham writes. People get nervous on first dates and don't always give off the best initial impressions. Plus, the person you connect with on a soul level doesn't always match the image you have of your perfect match, so it might take a while for you to realize you've met that person. You also might not be feeling it with someone during a first or second date simply because you're not yet comfortable enough to open yourself up. So, Graham recommends going on three dates before making a decision about whether or not you want to continue seeing someone. She also recommends seeing someone at least once a week for the first three dates so you don't lose momentum.

4. Burning Bridges

Even if you don't believe you're compatible with someone, you never know what you two might be able to offer each other. You could even introduce each other to your future partners. Graham had one client who went out with a woman who was giving away a puppy. Even though they didn't end up dating, he had a friend who needed a puppy — and happened to hit it off with her. "You never know what may happen when you open yourself up," she writes. At the end of a date that you don't see going anywhere, Graham recommends saying, "Thank you for meeting me. It was nice to meet you. You seem like a really great person, I'm just not feeling a connection. I hope you find a person you connect well with, and if I meet someone I think would work for you, I'll keep your name and number in mind."

5. Communicating Primarily Electronically

When the primary way you talk to someone is through texting, you're not really getting to know them, Graham writes. "When you're texting or emailing, you have the ability to edit yourself and slowly craft the person you think the other person wants to be with. But when you're on the phone or in person, you're not able to edit. You're able to feel the energy of the other person, whether he or she is happy, sad, or angry." And sometimes, a phone call can make the difference between a relationship moving forward and stagnating. One client of hers didn't hear back from a date over text but set up a second date with him after she initiated a phone conversation.

6. Sleeping Together Early On

As part of her "rule of three," which also includes seeing someone three times within the first three weeks of dating, Graham recommends waiting three months before sleeping with someone. That may seem like a long, long time but she believes getting physical too early on can make you feel attached prematurely, which can make it more difficult to get out of a relationship that's not working or prevent you from forming an emotional foundation when something actually could last. Research confirms her theory: A survey by Match recently found that people who wait longer to have sex are happier, and a study in the Journal of Family Psychology found that couples that have sex within the first month of dating are less satisfied with their relationships. But, there's also research advocating you do it sooner. While Graham isn't opposed to one-night stands, she recommends taking the relationship slowly if you're looking for something long-term to see if you two have what it takes to form a bond without the aid of a physical relationship.

7. Neglecting Your Own Personal Development

Graham's philosophy is based on the overriding principle that you will not meet your soulmate until you're ready. And you will not be ready until you've learned to "love the one you're with" — yourself. How can you find the perfect match for yourself if you don't even know who you are? If you don't understand yourself, your soul mate won't even register as someone you're compatible with. You have to know what you need before you can find it. And if you haven't sorted through your own baggage, Graham writes, you will keep attracting people who haven't dealt with theirs either. As she puts it, "This is not just about your connection with the other person; it's about your connection with yourself. If you're not connected with your own darn self, you will be sitting on a rock for 90 years by yourself and never get to be with Mr. or Ms. Right."

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