Dear Soft Hearts,
When patients ask me about dating issues I go over the typical things impacting dating. We look at how much racism has impacted their dating options if they are a person of color. We process any red flags they are noticing in dating partners and make sure they aren’t forgetting or repeating patterns. We also dive more deeply into where this stuff came from. Is there relational trauma to tend to? Do you keep picking your dad? Has racism from daters limited your choices and if so are you feeling the weight of the impacts of that hurtful, detrimental racism? This article provides more validation into the ways racism shows up in dating.
Exploring what various traumas including racism, relational traumas, or other traumas have done to you and your love life can empower your dating decisions. What doesn’t help is to have a therapist who gas lights you or diminishes the above impacts. Gentle compassion is so important here. Someone who is culturally humble and can witness while you walk through these experiences can help you uncover and heal wounds that really had nothing to do with you, but rather a projection of their own stuff. It’s okay if it did actually have to do with you picking some of the same folks over and over again. That’s also from a place of trauma and can be treated with the same gentle compassion too.
When patients come to me about these dating issues we also discuss the book Attached: The New Science and how it can Help you Find- and Keep- Love. I highlight how this book explains that there are more avoidant attachment style folks in the dating pool. I want patients and everyone to know that there are more avoidantly attached folks out there. The guy you dumped because he wouldn’t call back or the woman who ghosted you, well they’re all in that avoidantly attached dating pool. The book explains that there are more avoidantly attached folks in the dating pool because they leave or are left more than folks with other attachment styles. To learn more about anxious attachment and avoidantly attached folks getting together click here.
I use the book Attached: The New Science and how it can Help you Find- and Keep- Love therapeutically to point out that there are ways to spot an avoidant attachment style person such as taking the quiz from the book (this can be done super early on while you’re talking to someone). Uncovering the traumas behind dating woes, doing that trauma healing, and picking with discernment when there’s an available option can help. It also just helps to feel heard by reading validating things that say “yeah racism really impacts dating” or “yeah the dating pool has a bunch of avoidantly attached people.” Sometimes that validation in and of itself can release the shame and let the love we have in our hearts pour into ourselves and these dating goals and dreams. I’m no dating/love expert yet, but stay tuned because this psychologist may be getting some more training soon…
With kindness, oh and love,