Do I Need a Dating Coach or Therapist?
When Everything’s Clicking
You like their profile pic. They like you back. 👍 They send a flirtatious message. You respond. 😊 There’s good banter. You feel hopeful. 😄 They suggest a meet-up, at one of SoMa’s coolest new bars you’ve been looking forward to trying. 👌 🍸 Everything’s clicking. 💑
What comes next is anyone’s guess. Dating in San Francisco (or the Bay Area...or anywhere nowadays) is a brave new world of marginally controlled chaos and it is so easy to get hurt. Chemistry could fall flat, you could get ghosted, they could ACTUALLY text you, yet say they’re going to keep looking: any number of flakey or foul things could happen.
So what DO you DO when that hopeful, excited feeling turns on you like an unexpectedly aggressive chihuahua and becomes that same old ache of Dating, Disappointment, and Disillusionment?
Lick your wounds?
Salve your bruises?
Swear off dating, commit to self-care and personal growth?
Decide to be more assertive, delete those apps and start dating in the REAL world on YOUR terms?
None of these are bad options. Anything it's pretty reasonable at THIS point. These approaches might pan out. You wisely resist the voices that say dating is futile and the fears that you could be alone for the rest of your life. You choose one or all of them because there isn’t really another good option.
But do you slow down long enough to ask yourself why this keeps happening? Why this keeps happening to ME?
Doing the Same Thing, Expecting a Different Result
You keep telling yourself that you just need to be patient. That when you meet the right person, dating will be easy. But, you can see there is a pattern here. On some level, lately it feels like each new dating experience or progression towards a relationship is a slightly different reflect of the same old story. And you know what, you are SICK OF THAT STORY.
So how do you get unstuck? How do you start to attract and maintain a new way of doing relationships? I think lots of us get stuck in some “upside-down” of relationship worlds where we can’t get unstuck without help from someone on the other side. We have a hard time seeing clearly and getting free of ghosts from our past and fantasies of our future, that may not exist in the real world.
You need someone who knows the terrain, the dimensional doorways, and who has the right kind of tools and experience to guide you out of the upside-down and into a place where you can untangle the things that have caught you.
Therapists and Dating Coaches do similar things, but usually work a bit differently. Many Dating Coaches have great, tangible, practical advice, and some may even help you start to explore some of the deeper emotional experiences you’re struggling with. But a Therapist is specifically trained in working with the upside-down…we usually call it the unconscious or subconscious. I’m a licensed relationship therapist who focuses on Dating and Relating issues.
As a Dating and Relationship Therapist I help singles find their way out of the upside-down of their relationship world by discovering the things that have blocked you from finding the love you want.
Updating your profile might help on some level, building a stronger sense of yourself and confidence wouldn’t hurt—we could all probably use some of that at times.
But really, if you’ve been struggling in this stuck place of disappointment and disillusionment and sometimes get a case of the “F*** Its”, then I think there are some closets that might need cleaning out so that you can have room for the new kind of love you keep saying you’re ready for!
One of the most apropos quotes I know and refer to often is from the mystical poet Rumi:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the obstacles within yourself that you have [unwittingly] built against it.”
So, if you’ve been stuck and struggling with repeated disappointments, sometimes feel like saying “F*** It,” and want help getting out of the upside-down, a Relationship Therapist may just be the right next step for you and move you closer to living in a loving relationship instead of longing for one.
In my next blog Episode in this series on “Why Am I Single?” I will share 3 very common ways singles get themselves stuck being single without even realizing it!
Here’s a sneak peek of Episode 2 of this Why Am I Single series as some food for thought:
1. Fantasy: Longing for your ideal. Does longing for that ideal someone, somehow get in your way?
2. Resisting and Persisting Fears. Do you hold fears inside that actually push away what you want?
3. Saying X, Doing Y. Are there parts of you that might feel (subconsciously) hesitant?
I look forward to exploring these ideas with you more in this series. For now, please stop by my homepage www.barthatler.com and feel free to leave a comment, ask a question, or set up a free dating therapy consultation with me.
~Bart Hatler is a San Francisco based Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist practicing Couples Counseling + Dating Therapy. He holds masters degrees in both Counseling Psychology and Spiritual Psychology and has over 20 years of education, training and experience in the field of psychology. Bart has a special interest in Relationship Therapy and works with couples and singles to help them CREATE the love they want. He maintains a private practice in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco and lives in the Mission.