The Dating Game

Posted on 18th January 2015 | Category: CBT

A recent psychological study took a good look at the reasons behind a current dating trend. Many people these days claim they date people they should not. This study claims that one of the biggest reasons for this is that those in the dating game often accept dates and go even further simply because they do not want to hurt someone’s feelings.

One thing that is always striking about many of these psychological studies is the quality of the sample. Here we can see that the findings of this study are based on the behaviours of psychology students. Even though we have seen a rise in the number of mature students in recent decades, there is a definite age-centric skew to the data, as most of the test subjects will tend to be younger people. This may well mean that the study is not reflective of the general population.

We certainly learn more as we get older. Many cured alcoholics claim that they simply stopped drinking as they became more aware of the problems they were causing themselves by their habitual behaviour. Do we also learn that certain kinds of people are not actually good for us through a similar experience? When we are first looking for love, the showy, attention seeking person who always has to be at the front of the queue may be the most attractive, but as we move through life we also realise that this same person can be a bundle of insecurities and ego.

So why do we accept dates with people we know we don’t like deep down? Most of us are conditioned by our parent to behave in a socially acceptable manner. Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated is a maxim that many of us adhere to in modern life.

Having such a principle is admirable and desirable and generally works on most occasions until it comes to looking for someone as a life partner. Sometimes our actions can become incongruent with our aspirations, and because we do not wish to hurt someone’s feelings we may accept a date from them or even go as far as sleeping with them or having a short term relationship.

This can even lead to some pretty strange behaviours. There are people out there who will go as far as to being rude and obnoxious in a relationship simply because they do not have the ability to break up with someone and make them suffer hurt feelings. It is almost as if these people are prepared to inflict a low level of emotional pain onto their temporary partner to avoid a large, single short burst of pain that is quickly over, allowing both parties to move on with their lives.

Cognitive behavioural therapy can help you change these behaviours. It can help us make the right choices that are more reasoned and less impulsively emotional about getting our needs met and securing a more desirable future. When clients learn how to recognise the unwritten rules we sometimes unconsciously follow and become more discerning, it is becomes easier for them to make choices that are in line with their aspirations rather than default reasoning.

If you are currently having trouble with a string of bad relationships and you feel that you are constantly falling for the wrong kind of person and putting unrealistic expectations on your relationships then I can help. Please contact me to set up a free consultation appointment where we can discuss the best way for you to proceed.