So often people tell me how much they hate dating, especially because of how frustrating and painful it can be. Trust me, I understand, as I was “there” for many years. Can you relate to any of these discouraged daters?

Suzy, a client who’s been dating for more than 15 years, recently said, “I hate having the first date conversation over and over again. Why can’t we just get to the comfortable part?”

Alexa, divorced for more than 10 years, told me, “I keep meeting and being introduced to the wrong people. But in the beginning I don’t know that! And then I stay too long, until I discover they’re not emotionally available. Then I muster up some optimism and get back into dating, but I don’t want to get hurt again.”

Jason, a widower, relayed to me, “I generally don’t like dating. I’m shy, and unless I’m dating someone I have a connection with right away, it’s uncomfortable for me to have a conversation.”

As human beings, we avoid pain and seek pleasure—many times at all costs—so it’s totally understandable to avoid something that hasn’t yielded results or has been confusing.

And we’re definitely not taught in school how to find healthy love, right? For many of us, unfortunately, it’s not modeled by our parents, either — and even if it is, we’re not shown how to replicate it and we definitely don’t want to get it wrong.

So many simply put on a good face and push themselves, knowing that dating is one of the most common and accepted ways of meeting people. But under the surface, there’s fear and a lack of clear understanding and confidence about what I was doing.

I know. I dated for years, all the while stuck in a frustrating pattern of attracting the wrong people. The bottom line? I was not an empowered dater.

Could I blame the dating sites, the area where I lived or my age?

No, it wasn’t any of that.

It was ME! I was the common denominator of all the up-and-down, roller-coaster relationships and dissatisfying dating I’d experienced. And it wasn’t until I woke up and became an empowered dater that everything changed.

Are YOU an empowered dater? Here are 7 sure-fire ways to know you’re NOT:

  1. You complain about online dating.
    Know this, my friend. It’s highly likely the person you’re going to marry is on a dating site, right now. While all of the sites definitely have their limitations, the bottom line is this: swipe sites and regular sites are all repositories of eligible, well-intentioned, yes, even wonderfully qualified people! As an empowered dater, your responsibility is to sort through the profiles using your keenest intuition and sense of discernment, and ultimately understand how to get to “who the person is” — how to mine for gold. Everything worth having in life requires a proper mindset and skills. So it is with online dating.
  2. You think, “Maybe it’s not in the cards for me in this lifetime.”
    That’s a very limited belief, dear reader… And while you may not have met the right person yet, or you’ve found yourself in what seems like a lifelong pattern of attracting the wrong people, you can choose to change your reality and immediately begin to meet matching people. You see, if on some level, you feel you’re not worthy of healthy, abiding love, guess what kind of people show up? That’s right! People who support that limited, fearful belief, even if you’re hiding it! Empowered daters know they attract what they send out. Empowered daters take personal responsibility for the matches that come their way, and understand the principle, “In order to find the one, you need to be the one”.
  3. You think you need to move from where you’ve been living to attract “better quality” people.
    Singles in New York City, LA, Chicago and Miami complain about how awful the scene is where they live and how hard it is to find people there. I know many people who’ve told me they say, “Oh, you don’t understand! People here are so [fill in the blank with your complaint].” But you know? There’s an insightful expression I’m sure you’ve heard: “Wherever you go, there you are.” The problem is not where you live… no, it’s your mindset. If you’re not empowered, your perfect match could be right in front of you and you wouldn’t recognize him/her no matter what! So trust me, moving won’t make a difference. Empowered daters, on the other hand, are open to finding healthy love wherever they are. And when they do, their hometown that had previously been so “awful” (when he/she was not empowered) becomes a haven for wonderful matches — even in places like Saskatchewan, Canada.
  4. You stop dating (for months or even years) after a disappointment.
    Here’s the scenario: You go on a date and the person doesn’t want what you want or says they’ll call and doesn’t or you’re just not attracted to them. What happens? You get disappointed or discouraged and you just stop dating… for months or even years! Question: If you have a bad meal, do you stop eating? Of course not. Empowered daters don’t allow a bad match or disappointment to get them down. Instead, they’re resilient, and date consistently and proactively with a plan and a clear vision of the kind of person they want to meet and marry.
  5. You take really bad advice.
    People care about you. They want to help you and see you happily married to your ideal spouse. But they can sometimes offer up terrible advice along the way! They suggest maybe you’re being too picky, you “must compromise” on certain things, you can’t have it all, or “Hey,even if you’re not attracted to them, give it more time!” (even when you know in your gut he/she is not the one). Empowered daters don’t’ suffer, struggle or agonize over advice that doesn’t resonate with them. And they don’t “settle for less.” Instead they are true to themselves, recognizing some advice is well-intentioned, but it’s coming from the advice-givers own frame of reference, which isn’t theirs! Instead, empowered daters follow their own path.
  6. You think it would have been easier or better 10 years ago.
    So many people say, “It would be so much easier to find the one for me if I were ten years younger.” Guess what? Almost everyone from 30-70 years old says that to me! The past just always seems more like “the good old days,” but the real gift is now, the present moment. Empowered daters know none of us can turn back the clock, and regret and suffering about the bygone past is a waste of time of energy. They choose to love and embrace their journey as divine lessons learned, and know that every experience is part of life’s true wholeness unfolding itself to them. That, my dear reader, is very attractive.
  7. You don’t believe it’s possible.
    If you don’t believe something is possible, guess what you’re manifesting in your life? Yup, just that! You can actually be repelling the love you want. If you think something is possible, you’re naturally going to attract it, or at least more positive experiences relating to it, to yourself. And yes, I know you want to believe. And intellectually, you may believe… but emotionally, nah! So there’s a tug of war between “holding onto optimism” and the practical evidence (or the voice in your head) that says, “It hasn’t happened yet, so why will it now?” Empowered daters are balanced — their intellects and their hearts are integrated and they choose to believe. That makes them radiant magnets for true love.

Obviously, if you’ve been or now are an un-empowered dater, you’ve been able to relate to or identify yourself in at least some of these 7 “signs” above. But hopefully, you’ll also have picked up some inspiration to look at dating and yourself in new ways, so that you “choose differently” and therefore get a different—that is, better—result!

I chose to believe in myself and my worthiness of being blessed with true love, and I proactively took the steps to transform myself into a healthy, empowered dater. I challenged my limited thinking and got myself to a place where I knew in my soul there was a man for me who could love me the way I wanted to be loved.

And it’s true… the proof IS in the pudding! Do you know what becoming an empowered dater did for me? I married a man with whom everything flowed. By not settling for less, I met someone whose vision and values lined up with mine — we saw in each other a whole life and a fulfilling package.

And 12 years later, I’m grateful I overcame my inner obstacles and became an empowered dater. It’s time for YOU, now! It’s YOUR turn! Empower thyself!