Hi Dr. Darcy, 

I need your help because I realize I don’t know how to pick partners. No matter how careful I am to look for red flags, it never ends well. They’re always unavailable no matter how I meet them or what they say in the beginning. Is there something I can do to change my dating outcomes??? 

 

Yes. And in your defense, we humans SUCK at picking partners.

We use criteria we would NEVER rely on for making other life decisions…

It just feels right.
He finishes my sentences.
It’s like I’ve known him my whole life.
My gut tells me he’s the one.

Imagine telling your friends about a job interview you just had that goes like this: 

There was something about the woman who interviewed me —I just KNOW it’s right. No, I didn’t ask for a job description or the salary. I don’t want to seem too pushy. It seems too early.

 Or let’s say you’re the person hiring. Imagine saying: 

The candidate I interviewed today was so hot! The conversation flowed so naturally — it was like he knew what I was going to ask before the words left my mouth. I literally didn’t even think to ask for his resume.

That “feeling” we have when we feel pulled towards a partner — it’s a sense of familiarity. Our nervous system is smelling something on them that reminds us of home. 

And regardless of what our home was like — because it’s the place we learned to love —  it’s telling us that the person is safe.

Chemistry is code for instinct. And instinct isn’t a reliable source for making life decisions.    

Here’s what you need to do differently…

Ask questions early on — before you catch feelings. Because once your feelings are involved, you’ll spin stories that’ll tell you that your criteria is too rigid. Or that’ll justify why your partner is the exception to your rule.

I’ve got 3 VERY unsexy questions you need to ask by date three: 

  1. When was your last relationship?
  2. What was your part in why it ended?  
  3. What work have you done on yourself since then to ensure that you won’t make that mistake in your next relationship?

Now I’ll break it down by answers that pass the test and those that don’t:    

When was your last relationship?

RUN: 

    • “I never had one.” 

WHY: 

    • Do you want to be the guinea pig? The test run they’ll make their first relationship mistakes on?

STAY: 

    • “We broke up [at least] six months ago.”

WHY: 

    • Six months or more gives the person enough time to mourn the relationship without you being a guaranteed rebound. 

What was your part in why it ended?

RUN: 

    • “I trusted her.”
    • “I picked the wrong person.”

WHY

    • “I trusted her.”
      • Because if that’s their takeaway, you’re going to pay the price for their betrayal, and it’s probably going to manifest in jealousy (BTW, if jealousy is a problem in your relationships, I created a course on how to overcome it. You can check it out here, if you need it). 
    • “I picked the wrong person.”
      • This is bullshit. And it absolves them of all responsibility for their role in the relationship. I can get behind things like, “I ignored warning signs,” or “I missed red flags.” Because at least in those scenarios, the person may have learned something about themselves, like, I need to stop dating potential or I didn’t realize I can’t tolerate someone who has trust issues. But there’s got to be more than “I picked the wrong person” or it means they’ve learned nothing about themselves.  

STAY

    • “I was too accommodating.”
    • “I didn’t communicate my needs until it was too late.”
    • “It wasn’t the right time for me to be in a relationship.”

WHY

Because in these instances, the person recognizes that they did something to cause the cracks in the relationship. If everything is someone else’s fault, you’ve got no power to change things in the future. 

What work have you done on yourself since then to ensure that you won’t make that mistake in your next relationship?

RUN

    • I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’m not going to do it again. 

WHY

    • About 1 percent of the population can think their way through change. Almost all of my clients know exactly what their problems are when we start working together. Knowing something and changing it are different animals. 

STAY

    • I took a relationship course.
    • I went into therapy. 
    • I went on a retreat to get to know myself better.

WHY

    • Because they actually did something to ensure they don’t repeat the same mistake on you.
    • They invested time and money into finding a solution — which humans only tend to do when they really want something in their life to change.  

Basically, you want to ask the right questions early on so you don’t waste 3 months, 6 months, a year — or years — just to discover YOU made an error in your choosing.

 

Writer’s Demographics
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Straight