DR. GILDA CARLE (PH.D.)
If you’re feeling desperate and lonely, you might fall for the wrong person.
Courtesy of Match.com’s Happen Magazine
OK, you dread those bummer dates. Who doesn’t? But after your last heartache, you’re loopy and lonely, and you mindlessly forfeit naked feelings for the lure of being loved. Silly romantic saps, the lot of us! Face it: from time to time we all allow the wish to be adored to upstage the truth about an interaction. Then, when reality hits, we’re even more bummed out!
Fret not! Now you can have your epiphany before your meltdown! Review this list of 4 date traits to avoid, and glide through the journey of meeting and greeting without fallout. Wish I had compiled this list sooner, if just for myself!
#1 Date Trait to Avoid: Cheap-&-Chintzy
While “Studly” was courting me, he seduced my heart by cooing that if we ever lived together, upon my arrival home from a tough day, he would draw me a bath. “Ahhh,” I thought. “What a delicious guy!” As he and I progressed, we often visited his country home on weekends with his kids. The first time we were all together, I noticed his reluctance to turn on the hot water when we entered his freezing house. It was the dead of winter and we needed hot water if only to wash our hands. Despite my pleading, Studly insisted we wait until tomorrow. I wondered where this apparent chintzy trait would go. My answer came the next morning.
Stud’s little daughter had been playing in mud from the time she awoke. Now my man had no choice but to heat some bath water to clean her up. I was jubilant. By this time, I craved a nice hot soak. While the little girl used the tub, I patiently waited my turn. As Studly toweled her dry, he called out to let me know the bathroom was becoming vacant. I excitedly entered the steamy cubicle only to find that the child’s dirty bath water remained, already making a scummy ring. As he was leaving, LoverBoy directed me to get into the grimy tub. “YUK!,” I gagged. But he defended, “The water is fine to use. She’s only a little girl.” I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried! “Ahh,” I conceded, “so Stud’s courting promise was really to draw me a “used” bath.” Boyfriend was souffléd that day! Gilda-Gram: “Cheap with money, cheap with love.” I had no intention of settling for this dude’s cheap love!
#2 Date Trait to Avoid: Poor-Me Victim
When Kristin met Robbie, she was delighted to meet his two sons, 20 and 21, who lived with him in his expensive apartment. Both boys were bright, strapping young men, and the older one was a computer genius. But neither of them worked or attended school. Instead, they ate like vacuum cleaners, partied till dawn, slept all day, and enjoyed recreational drugs. Robbie enabled their lifestyle by passively accepting it. When Kristin asked why, he explained that the boys had a tough childhood with a drunken mother who abandoned them, and he wanted to provide better. Kristin said that this lifestyle was hardly “better”!
As the couple became closer, her beau complained daily of financial and emotional stress. Some days, he cried, fearing his inability to meet his rent. He even asked her to loan him money. But he never asked anything of his sons. Then Robbie revealed he had never lived alone. Kristin concluded this grown “victim” was terrified of being on his own, and he was more dependent on his freeloaders than they were on him! She also concluded she wanted a whole man. Sayonara, victim! Gilda-Gram: “The test of a worthy mate is his/her ability to be happy alone.” When someone loves himself, he can live with himself . . . and love another.
#3 Date Trait to Avoid: Married . . . or Otherwise Involved
Oh, the rationalizations people use when they meet someone already taken! “He’s not happy,” “She’s almost out of the house,” “They’re separated, although not yet legally,” and on and on. Truth is, someone still involved with someone else on any level is EMOTIONALLY. CONNECTED. ELSEWHERE.
Margie didn’t heed my words, and she ended up as the “bridge relationship” for her new lover. After she licked Boyfriend’s wounds from his allegedly nasty fiancé, he found his wings, and off he flew—right back into his ex’s arms! Margie was devastated. Someone who is Married . . . or Otherwise Involved IS involved with someone, BUT IT’S NOT YOU. Still wanna hang out at the occupied address? If so, you’re the one who will get moved out. Gilda-Gram: “Beware the date who projects, ‘Desperate looking for temporary lodging.’” Someone in transition is capable only of transitioning.
#4 Date Trait to Avoid: Loll-Around Lazy
Before he and Kara were married, Bill didn’t know which career he wanted, so he tended bar. His massage therapist wife also noticed he had problems getting along with many people. But she married him anyway, believing he would change if SHE were successful. Who was she kidding??
Kara’s business was taking off. But Bartender Bill bounced from one pub to another, always blaming others for being fired. Finally, he stopped looking for any work altogether, and chose to play golf all day instead. Kara kept building her business, and made excuses for Hubby’s laziness—until she finally had enough. After their divorce, she had to pay him so much alimony, she ended up declaring bankruptcy. Girlfriend subsequently moved to another lazy loser she supported, and another, and another. I asked if these loll-around lazies made her feel like their power savior. She cried, and admitted her insecurities. That was the breakthrough she needed to bump up her self-esteem! Gilda-Gram: “Giving without receiving is a power trip to nowhere.” Healthy love always starts HERE!
If you’ve been ignoring troublesome date traits, step outside your crayon box and select colors you never chose before. Exploring a new pallet will reflect the limitations that have strapped you. If you heed the warnings of heartache BEFORE plunging into purgatory, you’ll be able to avoid seeking my relationship advice later!
GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship educator, and management consultant. She is Match.com’s “Ask Dr. Gilda” advice columnist published on MSN.com. She is also known as the Country Music Doctor, with her “Country Cures.” She is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing. She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit her website and get Instant Advice!