Dear Dating Decoded,
I am actively dating and really doing my utmost to find my bashert. It seems however, that everyone has something that just isn’t right. Even when I like someone overall, I notice a flaw, or something lacking in their character that really bothers me. Then, I fixate on that small thing until it becomes bigger and bigger and all I can think about. I am frustrated because I am really doing my best to date and to be open to opportunities, but they all have a thing or two that convinces me that they are not right for me. Why do I keep getting set up with people like this? Do you think I should mention something to those who set me up?
We recently ordered two big chairs for our living room. They arrived in oversized boxes packed with styrofoam and tape for days. Even after removing the chairs, the boxes stood upright, imposing and rigid. We knew we had to dismantle them in some way, but felt daunted by the task. Every panel would need to be removed, every foam peanut collected, and the mess alone felt overwhelming. We debated simply reframing them as “art pieces” to avoid the work of recycling the cardboard. (Yes, I am available for interior design advice as well.) Resigned, we slowly moved to tackle this monumental job. We took a step toward the boxes, and sighed deeply; we took another step, and audibly sighed again.
Suddenly, our youngest kids ran into the room and noticed the boxes. “A castle,” they cheered. Perspective, it seems, matters.
Thank you for your letter. I applaud your commitment to dating and your willingness to try. You are open to many of the dating opportunities that come your way, but often feel stuck when you notice a “flaw” or something that you find lacking. Once that happens you are unable to move forward and are even considering reaching out to those who set you up to remind them of your expectations.
And It Will…
We are all perfectly imperfect. When we start cataloging human beings for societal imperfections, we will always most definitely find something wrong. Whether too tall, too short, too skinny, too fat, too intellectual, too shallow, too materialistic, too simplistic – it’s a never-ending list of “just not rights.” While we are looking for a spouse that is “perfect for us,” we are not looking for a spouse who is “perfect.”
Try to reframe your thinking when you are quick to notice a flaw, by concentrating instead on the positive qualities that are even more apparent. Allow yourself to focus on the chemistry you might share with your date. This will encourage you to notice the good, rather than a detail that might matter less to you as you get to know your date better. This does not mean that we ignore red flags or a total lack of attraction and compatibility. But when there is initial interest and a clear connection, we lean in with the intent to find the good, to focus on the positive, and to build on the beautiful qualities we clearly see. A different perspective you might find, can be invaluable in seeing your date for what they might be. Look for the castle and you might find it.