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Dating

Why can’t I meet a decent guy?

Ready for some tough love? We’re asking the six hard questions which may be just what you need to turn your dating life around.

Why am I still single?

If you’re a guy looking for a commitment, it’s a question that gets harder and harder to answer with time. You’re meeting guys. You’re going on actual dates, outside the house, with clothes and everything. But, just like buying property in the city, it seems like meeting a decent guy to settle down with is moving further and further out of reach.

OK gents. Time for a little tough love. For all the single guys out there, here are some hard questions — and hard answers — on why your dating life might be more of a sinking ship than smooth sailing.

1. Do you confuse good sex with something more?

We’ve all done this. And we get it — good sex is good, and it can be hard to make smart decisions (or any decisions) when you’re low on sleep and high on all the dicking.

But the majority of your life happens outside the bedroom. Spending all night blowing your mind/load with him is great, but you’ll get a better idea of how compatible you are during the daytime. Do you have things in common? Can you talk to him? Are you interested in knowing more about him, on top of where he likes to be tickled and what his jock smells like?

If the answer is ‘no’, then you’ve found a fantastic fuckbuddy, but probably not anything more. This is the best consolation prize you will ever get for anything in life, so try not to be too disappointed.

2. Do you keep yourself on the market?

Yes, we are about to discuss deleting your apps.

It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll go exclusive with every new guy you meet. But there will usually come a time when it’s not OK anymore for you to be rimming your downstairs neighbour or staying up late on Scruff ‘keeping in touch with mates overseas’. It doesn’t matter what you call it, even if you’re not seeing anyone else, staying active on dating apps is effectively keeping your options open, which is the opposite of commitment.

When is the right time to burn your carefully crafted online presence, you ask? When you’ve talked about it with your guy. If it’s not clear, state your position and ask him — it soon will be.

3. Do you get into situations where one of you has all the power?

In every dating scenario, there’s the possibility that one guy is going to be more invested than the other. He’s the one who stays in touch, makes the plans and does the chasing. While the other guy is happy enough to go along with whatever happens, he’ll wait for it to come to him.

If you find yourself in this situation often, on either side, it may be time to make some changes. If you’re usually the chaser, take a step back and wait for a guy to show he’s really interested before you get too invested. Look for signals from him like initiating contact, making plans that don’t just involve sex, and meeting his friends. If you’re usually the guy who’s less invested, sort it out early. As much as it’s nice for your ego to have someone chasing you, it’s not going to end well — tell him firmly but respectfully that you’re not interested.

4. Are you clear about what you want?

Part (a): Are you clear about what you want with him? It can be tricky to work out boundaries, especially when you’re dating in a hook-up world. So whatever it is you want, tell him directly with no room for interpretation, and ask him to do the same. Good examples: “I’d really like to meet someone special,” and “I’m just looking to have some fun right now.” Bad examples: “Let’s just see what happens,” and “I’m open to anything.”

Part (b): Are you clear about what you want with yourself? Take a moment, or an evening (or a week) to ask yourself exactly what you’re looking for. Write it down. Go past the physical (even though it’s still important) to the sorts of qualities you find appealing and the things which are definite deal-breakers. Do you want monogamy or a different sort of relationship? What sort of things have tripped you up in past relationships? Having some clear answers to these questions will help you make good decisions when you’re going into something new.

5. Do you focus on the idea rather than on the guy?

It can be easy to romanticise what your ideal Long Term Relationship® is going to look like. And when you’re dating a guy, it’s natural to measure him up against how well he fits your vision — and to be disappointed when he doesn’t (i.e. every single time).

He may be not quite the right age to hang out with your friends, or too serious for your favourite comedy night, or just not who you always imagined. If you find you’re getting frustrated because you can’t find a guy who’s ‘the right fit’, it may be time to re-evaluate what you’re trying to squeeze him into. No guy is ever going to be completely ‘right’, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of being a great boyfriend — and it’s definitely not a reason to ruin something that’s got a lot of potential. Focus on getting to know the guy instead, and build the relationship — ideal or otherwise — from there.

6. Are you forcing the issue?

It’s easy to get obsessed passionate about something you don’t have. This is especially true when everyone else seems — without even trying — to fall into relationships with photogenic, funny, stylish guys who can cook and snowboard and do their own tax. But comparing yourself to other guys is never very helpful, especially when their relationship seems to be perfect (which it’s not, we promise — no relationship ever is). And there’s no deadline on dating. Too much focus on bagging a man ASAP can have you reeking of the wrong sort of D — desperation.

So if you find that most of your social time is dedicated to ‘meeting the right guy’, you might be forcing something that really, really needs to happen in its own time. Take a break. There’s a lot to be said for the freedom of the single life, and when you’re unattached, you can build all of those valuable life skills (e.g. cooking, tax returns) on your own terms. You can also invest some very important time in your family, your friends and your career in ways that people in relationships often can’t.

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