Everyone who has spent any time in the unpredictable world of dating has experienced an occasional misfire—a promising new relationship that suddenly fizzles without an obvious explanation. It happens. Romantic chemistry is fickle stuff at the best of times.
But if you’ve begun to notice a trend developing, and disappointments like these are beginning to happen more often, it could be that you are not as easy to be around as you think. Maybe there is an explanation, to be found in your own less-than-attractive personality traits so familiar they’re difficult to recognize in yourself.
See if any of these phrases describe how others might see you:
- Too talkative. Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Having a conversation with him is like trying to take a sip out of a fire hose.” Don’t let that be you. The purpose of dating is to get to know each other. If you do all the talking, you’ll miss an opportunity to learn more about the person you’re with. What’s more, you will wear your partner out if he or she never gets a chance to be heard.
- Too opinionated. There is nothing wrong with being fired up about pet peeves and issues you care about. It shows that you have depth and passion. But if every date devolves into a polemic rant, you run the risk of draining your date’s batteries pretty fast. Potential romantic partners like to feel there is room in your mind for other points of view, not just your own.
- Too hard to please. Some people make difficult daters because there are so few foods they’ll eat, so few movies they are willing to see, so few activities they like. If that describes you, try saying yes to something completely new and outside your comfort zone. You might accidentally have a good time—and show your partner one too.
- Too rushed. If you send the signal that you’re ready to set down roots when the other person is still checking out the landscape, you’ll sap the energy from the relationship. Romance works best—and lasts longest—if you think of it as a leisurely stroll, not a furious sprint to some fictional finish line.
- Too wounded. Nobody wants to start a new relationship by helping you clear away emotional baggage from the last one (or last half dozen). Be sure to do that heavy lifting on your own, prior to dating again.
- Too clingy. Does this sound familiar? “Why didn’t you call last night? When can I see you next? You’re busy Saturday? Doing what?” In the early stages of a new relationship, there is fine line between ardor and annoyance. It is important to stay on the right side of it. Paradoxically, the lighter your grip, the longer your partner is likely to stick around.
- Too demanding. If you begin a date by looking grumpily at your watch and pointing out that it’s 6:15, when the plan was to meet at 6:00, you probably need to lighten up. If there was a mix-up and your theater tickets weren’t waiting at the will-call window after all, resist the temptation to blame your partner. Ditto backseat driving, comments on her fashion choices, or judgments about his taste in music. Nobody’s perfect, it’s true; but no one likes to be reminded of the fact at every turn either.
It should be clear by now that the key word here is “too.” Too much of any characteristic can be a drain on a new relationship. But if you saw yourself reflected in these examples—and who wouldn’t see at least some resemblance—don’t despair! These conditions are all easily curable.
Be aware of your potentially draining traits. Be committed to keeping them in check. And soon you will be someone others see as “just right.”