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Chapter 15. Get a Social Life—or Change ... > Dealing with Relationship Problems - Pg. 162

Get a Social Life--or Change the One You Have 162 Getting Past the Dating Roadblocks To stop saying, "I'll deal with it later," and start doing it now, consider these painless ways to ease into dating: · Don't put pressure on yourself to look or act perfect. · Make it your main aim to have fun, not to connect with your life's soulmate. You're Not Alone Despite the numerous single role models today working in entertainment, sports, politics, business, and other high-profile fields, people still feel tremendous internal pressure to marry. We are not talking here about the natural desire to mate or to fall in love. We are referring to an outdated cultural mandate to marry. --From Being Single in a Couple's World by Xavier Amador, Ph.D., and Judith Keirsky, Ph.D. · When you meet a potential date or go out on a first date, make the focal point an activity that can deflect attention away from the awkwardness of a first meeting, such as going to a sports event, the theater, or anything else you enjoy. You might feel less pressure than you would on the traditional drinks or dinner date. · Keep your expectations realistic. · Consider using a reputable dating service. The old stereotype of their being just for losers is not at all the case. · Don't let yourself feel stigmatized by being single. Having a chip on your shoulder won't attract people to you. Most important of all, date because you want to, not because you think you're supposed to. Don't let yourself get caught up in feeling stigmatized by your single status. Plenty of people choose not to marry or get involved in serious relationships. They enjoy going out with friends and maybe having an occasional date, but they don't stress out over looking for a life partner just because that's what society expects them to do (or because their relatives nag them about when they're going to settle down). Dealing with Relationship Problems Just about everyone (except maybe those who marry their college sweetheart and live happily ever after) has had the experience of staying in a relationship far too long. You may know the feeling; something's just not quite right, and the attachment doesn't seem to have any future, but you put off doing anything about it. It often seems easier to stick with the status quo than to make the tough decisions and have the difficult discussions necessary to make the relationship better or leave it confidently. This dilemma is expressed well in the book Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship, by Mira Kirshenbaum. Procrastinating taking a firm stand on where a relationship stands is the result of what she calls "relationship ambivalence." When in this ambivalent state, you do all the wrong things to try to make decisions about whether to cut loose or stay and try to make the relationship work. This list is a synopsis of those wrong things, described in more detail in Kirshenbaum's book: