“IT’S OKAY to take a break.”
That’s the first thing I’d say to anyone who is, like I was, trapped within the anxiety of feeling like they have to continuously hammer away at the demands of their dating life.
I have argued in other articles in favor of the merits of hard, continuous work, and consistently meeting the demands associated with that work, in order to meet a goal. I argued that when those demands, in their entirety, are continuously met that the results sought will be continuously achieved and exceeded provided chance doesn’t deal you misfortune.
However, I feel that dating is the exception to the rule.
I have written many times that dating is an emotional process. That the more you learn to accept yourself, let go of your neediness, manage your emotions and confront your anxiety; the more your dating will burst into life. In my own, and many other lives, this has proven to be true. What has also been proven to be true is that the more consistently you engage with those elements that bring your dating life into bloom, the greater your results and the quicker your development. On top of this, with the same speed that your results are brought into being – when the demands cease to be met, the results can just as swiftly be taken away.
Therefore, it would make sense that if your goal is to improve your dating life, then you should devote as much time and energy to it as possible.
But this is not the case.
Dating is an emotional process, and because it is an emotional process, the desire to engage with it frequently in order to gain results as fast as possible isn’t actually as beneficial as you would initially think.
When we pursue an emotionally charged goal, it pays to keep a close eye on the emotion that underpins it.
If you feel that you need to keep hammering your dating life in order to not slip back into the person you were, the lack of results you used to get, or a general fear of ‘not being able to do it again’, then your desire to pursue an improved dating life comes not from a place of self-acceptance and desire, but instead from a place a self-hatred and fear.
In which case, your entire pursuit is self-destructive in the first place. You have tripped over the first hurdle, and what you are doing is not growing, but applying a band-aid as often as you can.
JUMPING OFF THE ROLLERCOASTER
There are three reasons that the pursuit of dating usually loses steam:
- The confidence is not there.
- The time is not there.
- The desire is not there.
In the case of 1, then the issue is to do with the psychology of the individual themselves, and the emotional reality from which they operate. In this case, a break would be necessary in order for them to explore the issues that are preventing them from taking consistent action. Pursuing dating when you haven’t developed a study psychological foundation from which to develop can often lead you to be unable to take action, or unable to properly process rejection and failure, which is only more damaging than if you’d done nothing in the first place.
In the instance of 2, this is perfectly acceptable, and any emotional healthy man would accept this, and live his life accordingly. In my own life, my dating life had to reduce significantly because I moved home to take care of a loved one. When I did go out, my results were less frequent, my confidence less on point, and I was generally not as comfortable. And I accepted this, as there were simply more important things in my life. Maybe it’s work, maybe it’s traveling, maybe it’s someone in need. Dating won’t always be (and shouldn’t be) the most important part of your life.
In the case of 3, the desire not being there is usually a result of an issue within your life, or simply a case of the validation being met. Many guys chase girls relentlessly until they finally get laid, and then lose all motivation for a while only to return later. This is usually to do with their biological motivations. And guess what, that’s fine. You don’t always have to be having sex. All that matters is that when you genuinely want to, you can. The flip side to this is losing motivation because of lack of confidence, as addressed above, or because of poor health, or a lifestyle that is too stressful.
In each of these cases, a break to reassess and find your feet makes perfect sense.
But once you’ve taken a break, and are keen to get back into the swing of things, how do you either go from zero to something or rediscover something you used to find so simple?
THE VOLUME PROBLEM
When your results suck, the easiest way to repair this is to start investing time into going out, and hitting on girls. The more girls you hit on, the better your dating life will be. This principle, whilst should never be taken as a reason to not take a break, is precisely the principle that will recover you quickest from a break.
There is no faster method.
But it’s never that simple.
When you haven’t been actively going out and hitting on girls, it very quickly becomes a lot harder to go out and hit on girls. Like a muscle that hasn’t seen exercise in a while, your ability to back yourself and approach women becomes weaker, but unlike muscles, this decrease is usually quite severe and quite quick to take effect.
Fortunately, it comes back ever quicker.
WORSHIP THE BASELINE
Yeah! Feel motivated!
When I was an eighteen-year-old kid starting university, my first nights out were fraught with anxiety. In fact, to describe them as anything less than terror-stricken experiences would be under selling how difficult I found them. I never used to enjoy social situations at the best of times, especially not with women (with whom I had zero experience), and as a result, I did everything I could to avoid, distract, overcompensate or run from the reality of talking to girls. My baseline ability was that I simply could not talk to them, or initiate any kind of sexual interaction.
It wasn’t something I could do.
We all have baselines of ability, the lowest point of which we are capable. We usually operate above this, but when out of practice, we will return to our baseline level of ability. This is true of anything; sports, video games, coding, writing, game, anything.
What is also true is that this baseline is not permanent, and never gets worse. As our experience and practice increases, and our operating level and results increase, so too, behind the scenes, does our baseline.
In our dating lives, men are criminal offenders when it comes to results orientated mindsets, and in pursuing their peak operating level. That one time they were really ‘on it.’
Most pursue this with alcohol.
I believe this is the wrong way to look at it.
When we focus on the peaks of our operating levels, we are chasing something that is often the result of countless external factors, that, through random chance, cumulated into conditions where we were psychologically operating extremely well. Not only is this chasing something that is out of our hands, it is building a dependency on something that is out of our hands. Which is a fools game.
In contrast, our baselines exist as what our minimum potential is. The lowest we can possibly achieve. If our highest operating level is that we can approach a hot girl directly, our baseline might be making indirect idle chit-chat at the bar. This is the level, that no matter how long our break is, that our minimum level of potential will be, and when engaged with, begins to bring our peak operating levels into life.
Because as you’ll find, you only operate at your minimum for a very short period of time.
After years of slowly building my confidence and self-worth, I am no longer the frightened teenager I used to be. My baseline has changed. Not to anything special, like I can walk up to women and charm the pants off them. No, simply because where I used to be incapable of doing anything, now, my absolute minimum is that I can approach anyone. No matter how out of practice I am, that’s always there for me to fall back on.
I’m not Casanova, but I am capable.
And that’s all I focus on. Not what I want to be, or want to be capable of, but what I am capable of.
Now, this might be helpful advice to someone who’s looking to regain skills they already had, but for someone just starting out, who feels, like I felt, that he can’t do anything, can’t approach anyone, this would seem like useless advice.
But this is not the case. In fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. If your baseline is nothing, find the smallest possible level above it, and aim to do that. Hell, it could be asking someone the time, or holding eye contact with a girl. Anything. Take the approach that because you currently have no higher level of potential, you may as well focus on shifting your absolute minimum of ability.
Because step by step, that’s how you go from nothing, to capable. Permanently.
And trust me, no matter how crappy you feel, when your baseline is that, you know you’re okay.