Ask Austin

Do You Make This Dating Mistake?

Hey Austin – I’m divorced and have been back in the dating world for a few years now. I’ve met some good men but they don’t stick around long enough to develop a ‘real’ relationship. “Ghosting” is my new normal. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I am decent looking, fit, educated and have a great sense of humor. I just can’t seem to find a man that will commit to me for more than a few months. HELP!  – Hannah

Hey Hannah,

Thanks for the note. Unfortunately, your tale is an all-too-common one. Many guys are notorious for doing a one-eighty and hauling ass in the opposite direction early in the game. This is ESPECIALLY true when the woman starts talking commitment.

Here’s what you need to know:

A woman on the prowl to lock a man down gives off a vibe a guy can sense a thousand miles away. So if men are consistently pulling a Harry Houdini disappearing act, that tells me everything I need to know. If I had to guess, I’d say you’re wearing your heart on your sleeve with an air of low-grade desperation that drives these dudes to make a break for the hills faster than you can say ‘wedding cake.’

Hannah, I understand you want the safety and security a good relationship can bring. We all do. It gives us a sense of peace and satisfaction when we have someone we can call our own. But when we allow our insecurities or fears about the future to influence the way we behave in our relationships, it’s a recipe for disaster. As an example, I can’t tell you how many women try to plan a future with men they’ve known only a few weeks or months. Ladies, if you want to drive men away, this is the way to do it. Do yourselves a favor and breathe for a moment. Slow your roll and just enjoy being together. There’s no need for a commitment at this stage in the game. No need to determine if this guy is ‘THE ONE’. When you take this approach, you force the relationship forward unnaturally, not to mention risk driving the guy away. I don’t want to sound like a new age mystic, but if a relationship is going to work the way it should, it will naturally evolve to the point where the two of you look at each other and just know there is no one else.

Here’s an example from my life:

One of my best relationships ever was with a woman named Lauren. When Lauren and I first met, we were both seeing other people. But over the course of the first several months, we found that we enjoyed each other’s company so much that it didn’t make sense to continue the other relationships.

So they naturally fell by the wayside.

During that time, Lauren never pushed me to define the nature of “us” or asked me for a commitment. She was secure enough in herself that she didn’t feel the need to pressure me, label us, or define our ‘status.’ It didn’t matter to her. She just enjoyed the time we spent together. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to just be with a woman who was comfortable in her own skin. She didn’t need me to validate her or make her feel whole and that was incredibly appealing for a confident man like myself. As a result, I found myself drawn to her all that much more. So over the course of our first six months together, I stopped “playing the field” to focus on her exclusively. It wound up being one of the most amazing and fulfilling relationships of my entire life. When Lauren and I talked about this much later, she told me she got what she wanted without even trying.

There’s a lesson there for all of us.

Hannah, I know how challenging dating after a breakup can be. But one of the great things about being single again is the chance to give ourselves a fresh start. A do-over. Granted, some women choose to be single while others have the decision made for them, but either way it can be a golden opportunity to do things right the second time around and make it all about YOU for once. After all, you’re older, wiser and in a position to know what you DON’T want. How cool is that? Many people don’t get this opportunity. Instead, they remain trapped inside lifeless, abusive or passionless relationships for the sake of money, children or just pure convenience.

That’s no way to live.

The famous author, Jack London, once wrote ‘The proper function of man is to live, not just to exist.’ So as I see it, Hannah, this is your chance to really start living again. On YOUR terms. It’s time to fall in love with yourself all over again and realize that YOU – not the man – are the prize in the game of love. As I always say, it is NOT your job to make a man love you… It’s your job to love yourself so much a man CAN’T HELP but love you. Once you realize this simple truth, your whole life will change. People (men AND women!) will gravitate towards you in ways you can’t begin to imagine.

Trust me on this one.

Hannah, the best relationships in life are the ones that just naturally happen. The ones that aren’t forced. So enjoy the journey and don’t worry so much about the destination. I’ll bet when you look back on your life, the people with whom you had the best connection and chemistry are the people who naturally gravitated towards you and you to them. With no pressure or expectations.

Your relationships with men should be no different.

All the best to you,