When There’s Nothing To Learn


Last week, I resumed coaching with my client Lian in Switzerland. We’d worked together for a few months, when she needed to take a breather to feel ready to date. Happens all the time. Detoxing is good.

Anyway, Lian came prepared on Wednesday a with three different stories of men who had disappointed her since our last coaching session. One man wanted a no-strings-attached relationship. One man was a close friend and a potential long-distance boyfriend, but he refused to make an effort to see her regularly. The last man offered some sparks, but was bad at follow-through, and never stepped up to become a boyfriend.

“Why does this keep happening to me?” Lian wanted to know. “How come I keep on meeting guys who aren’t ready for relationships?”

As a dating coach, author, and semi-professional know-it-all, I pride myself on being able to come up with answers to the toughest relationship questions. I love helping clients peer into their blind spots and come up with solutions to the very issues that have plagued them for decades. So believe me, I wanted nothing more than to tell Lian that, somehow, she was at the root of her own problems. Such revelations can be really powerful, because if you’re the common denominator in your problems, you have the ability to turn things around. If your problems have nothing to do with you, there’s really nothing to learn.

And that’s what I told Lian. It’s just the bad luck of the draw. She met three guys who weren’t willing to be the kind of boyfriend that she craved. That doesn’t mean she’s done something wrong, and it certainly doesn’t mean she should lose any sleep over them. You win some, you lose some. And freeing yourself up when you’ve done absolutely nothing wrong is essential when it comes to persevering during rough dating stretches.

I love to talk about how I had three of the worst dates of my life in November 2006. One was a set up, one was a pick up, one was an online date. All had some form of social autism where they said things that were astoundingly horrifying. I couldn’t have seen it coming – it was just an unfortunate coincidence. I could have turned it into a blanket statement about how terrible dating is, or how awful women are, or how strange Los Angeles can be when it comes to relationships. In fact, they were just three dates gone awry. Nothing more. Nothing less. I let go of my anger quickly and went back to the drawing board.

I met my wife two months later.

So today, I want you to let go of things that you haven’t done wrong and give yourself a break.

Sometimes, there’s nothing to learn.

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  1. 21


    Australia? I thought it was man-haven down there!

  2. 22

    Thanks Evan! I really need to hear that! I was in a relationship with a man for a little over a year. It was both healthy and wonderful. He even told me that I was the best girlfriend he’d ever had. During our courtship, we spoke of getting married at some point in the future. However, when I checked back in with him after a year, he said he wasn’t sure.   My gut feeling told me to walk and I did. Turned out, he’d never   really gotten over his ex and is now trying to get back together with her. You see, she dumped him three years earlier after dating him for 8 months. During the time they were together, she criticized him for being too short, too weak, etc. After she dumped him, he continued to chase after her and try to win her love. In turn, she would give him mixed signals to keep him hanging on. In spite of how she treated him, he still love her deeply and feels an intensity for her that – although I treated him a lot better than she did, I wasn’t able to match how she made him feel (his words).   

    Understandably, I feel bad about how things turned out, but I know that I did nothing wrong and can chalk it up to the luck of the draw – you win some and you lose some.

  3. 23
    Jonathan Marcus

    Agree. Sometimes you shouldn’t over think this. Law of averages.

  4. 24

    Three guys? She has barely scratched the surface. Toughen up, get over it, keep dating. And come back to us when you have been on 100 dates and you don’t take each one personally and you take them all in stride!!!

    I have had: guys who don’t want to buy coffee, a litigator that argued with everything I said even when I tried to agree, wierdos that call every 5 minutes and leave the same message, guys who lie about their age, guys who want to make out deeply while their profile is up and they say they take it off but they don’t, a guy who doesn’t talk or listen, a wierdo who wants to email 15 times then show up for coffee an hour early and sit on sheepskin, ones who don’t like my son’s school, a professor who wanted to sit on a picnic in cactus and said I was too picky because I did not. A gorgeous guy who had a great time but then couldn’t fit me or anyone into his schedule. A hippy who wanted to have sex on the first date – he took his profile off thinking THAT would get him the ticket.  

    BUT the good thing – after 7 months and probably 100 dates – there is a super de duper one who is even better in person and calling!

  5. 25

    The best thing to do is to find a friend who is also dating online – so you can compare stories! Then you realize you are not the only one who is having difficulties. And really, if you throw away your expectations and stay in the moment you have fun meeting all kinds of people. You just can’t expect that you will find the one right away – you have to keep dating until one is the one.  

    and really? All of the duds are fine – they are their own person and will find someone who will like them.

  6. 26

    It really pisses me off that sexual needs of men are okay while sexual needs of women are not discussed. Why when guys initiate sex its okay but when a woman does it, it screws her chances of having a relationship. And nobody talks about this horrendous unfairness…

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