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Dear Paulette,

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I’ve been single and dating for the last 10 years and never know what to say when my date starts talking about all the other dates he’s been on.  Is it because he’s not interested? Nervous? I don’t get it.

I want to sign up for JDate again, but need help. For some reason I come off as a shy doormat, and it’s totally not me.

Help!

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Dear Totally Not Me,

Dating for ten years is a long time. I’m glad to hear you’re ready to get back on JDate and you just need some guidance about how to be your true self.

First of all, when your dates speak about the other dates that they’ve had, it can mean a number of things:

  • Sometimes it could mean they are not interested.
  • They also may not have a good filter or great social skills.
  • There’s anxiety on both ends in dating so your date may be nervous and bumbling too. He may not know what else to talk about. You can guide the conversation to another topic.
  • They also might feel that the topic’s pertinent, since you’re both dating online! I’ve had single clients who feel that it’s fun to exchange stories of strange dates they’ve had, or to share that they’ve been on JDate for two months as a conversation starter with someone new.

So, depending on their tone and the context, sharing something about one’s dating experiences may not be unusual. Don’t assume that this means he doesn’t like you.  If he speaks for 30 minutes describing past dates in detail, be assertive and say, ‘Why don’t we focus on getting to know each other now?’  Then, if he asks you out later, you’ll know he likes you. Try not to take things personally on dates because most people will act out of who they are, and remember, they don’t even really know you yet.

In terms of feeling like a shy doormat, it would be good to get to a place where you’re friendly, out-going and feeling confident. Ask yourself what needs to shift for you to feel more forthcoming and in control on your dates.  Is it your self-talk, self-esteem or shyness that needs work?  It might help to see a dating coach or a therapist.  It may also be helpful to buy my first book, Dating from the Inside Out, which will give you some insight into your dating psychology, how it affects your relationships and who you’re being as a date.

As for the other, ‘help’ part, here are 7 tips to help you be your true self on your first JDates:

  1. Do some positive self-talk regularly so you’ll feel confident on your dates and you’ll know why they’d be so lucky to have you.
  2. Have fun on dates! Don’t overanalyze things in the first month or so.  Take the pressure off and just think of it as a chance to meet someone new and try a new bar or restaurant.
  3. Practice talking and sharing who you are until you feel comfortable with it. Remember only your opinion about yourself matters.
  4. The right match will like you as you are and will give you a few chances (barring any red flags). So don’t play games, just be yourself.
  5. Date multiple people until you know someone well enough to become exclusive. This will help you stay objective, busy and you’ll be less needy and attached to outcomes.
  6. Do something to relax before your dates if you get anxious. Try a guided meditation, a self-esteem affirmation tape or visualize your date going really well.
  7. Practice being assertive if you feel like a doormat.  This means politely saying no or suggesting alternatives on dates.  It means guiding your experience as much as he does.  You can practice sharing your true opinion about things.

I hope this helps!

My Best in Love,

Paulette

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and writer. She wrote the upcoming, “The Book of Sacred Baths,” being published by Llewellyn and is the author of “Dating from the Inside Out” and “When Mars Women Date.” She has a private practice in Manhattan and does date coaching by phone. Learn more at DrPauletteSherman.com.

2 Comments

  1. Pamela Nightingale--

    Well, I am sure before your date you have communicated. If he had mentioned other women, do not go out with him. If you are out with him and he does mention other women, you then know he is not a gentleman and has low self esteem. Never forget you are a lady.
    Hopefully, you are in a restaurant. Ask him to please to motion for your server. When the service person arrives add on to your order the most expensive items on the menu. At least two. Keep listening. Unless he is mentally challenged, he is now wondering what is occuring. Smile as if everything is perfect. After the dishes arrive, nibble on them and then tell him you are feeling ill and would like to go home now.
    He will be forced to pay the bill and take you home. If he ever calls again, tell him your date card is full.
    You have maintained you are a lady and he will wonder what happened.
    Pam

  2. And how about the opposite problem? If he spends his getting-to-know you time telling you what was wrong with his past relationships, or his other JDates, that could be a worse sign than his telling you what was or is so great about them. I was dating a guy for a while who was just finalizing his divorce when we first met. Very early on, he told me in detail about his wife/ex-wife and their relationship and also talked in a general way about other women he’d met on JDate. It really began to turn me off—not because he was positive about them but because he was so negative, often in a way that showed a poor opinion of women generally, while making an apparent exception of me. Which I did not find flattering, but rather insulting, since I am not just me but also a woman. Finally, much of what he said not only was unlikable, it also felt untrustworthy. Maybe not lies, but certainly not the whole truth.

    Guys, listen up here: A woman, especially one who has been a dating or mating adult for more than a few years, really does know that there are two sides to every he vs. she story. You won’t score points by telling her how unreasonable, mean, greedy, psycho, jealous, unforgiving, etc. your ex was. She knows she doesn’t know you that well yet and she has never even met your ex, so your pity party dish isn’t going down without a grain of kosher salt. And even if she believes you, the way you tell your story, especially if you’re telling it “mad,” could be giving big don’t-go-there clues about the way you think of and deal with all women. If your last partner really did hurt you so much that you need to keep unloading, even on a new woman, wait to date until you don’t need to.

    And of course, good for the goose is good for the gander: just as a woman may judge a man by the way he judges other women, a man may judge a woman by how she judges other men! True in general, even outside dating: what you say about others tells just as much (or more) about you. A good reason for everyone starting a possible relationship to focus on the new person at least for the first few weeks, and keep quiet about the past ones.

    OK, end of rant. And best wishes for great relationships to come, for all!

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