Men, Dating, and Confidence
Hello – and welcome episode 19 of The Men’s Self-Help Podcast. I’m your host, Dr. John Moore. I’m a licensed mental health counselor out of Chicago, Illinois – and I’ve been involved with counseling for a little over 15-years.
I this podcast because I wanted to reach men everywhere and extend the walls of my practice to folks who might already might be in therapy – or to guys who might have been recently diagnosed with something – be it depression or anxiety or even PTSD – or to men who are struggling with relationship issues.
But I also wanted to create a safe conduit for guys who might never walk through the door of a therapist – but are curious enough about the counseling process and open to listening to a podcast.
Today’s show is going to focus on confidence and dating. In episode 9, I talked about building self-esteem and how you as a man can reach inward to create a stronger self.
As a result, several of you reached out to me and asked if I would do a podcast on confidence and dating. And so that’s what this podcast will be about today – how to be more confident in your dating life.
I’ll tell you – one of the major topics that comes up in the counseling office is relationships. In my experience, single guys want to know how they can meet someone new and attract that special someone to their life.
A major barrier to connecting with another, however, is confidence. As men, we’re inculcated to think we should exude strong, masculine energy. The reality is most of us struggle with that kind of stoicism because it’s just not real for us.
In truth, inner confidence is a gift we give to ourselves that develops over the course of time. It would be great if we could go out and buy a computer chip that we simply insert into our heads to create confidence, wouldn’t it? I suspect whoever made that would become rich overnight.
But here’s the thing – I live in the real world and I’m betting you do too. And so, a bit later, we’re going to look at 7 unique ways to increase your mental core – confidence – so that you can go about the business of attracting the type of person you want in your life.
So, we’ll talk about that.
We’ll also discuss an email that I got from a young listener who wrote just last week about his own dating woes, feeling rejected and wondering if he should seek out professional help from a therapist.
As you can see, we have a number of topics to explore in today’s podcast. I’m really glad you are here.
Dating, Confidence and Starting Over
Dating. Talk about issues that come up in counseling. While not true for all guys, I can tell you that a lot of them – at least the ones I’ve worked with – see out guidance around gaining more confidence in this area.
Maybe the best way to dive into this area with you is to quickly share with you the story of Adam. In the not too distant past, he came to see me about his struggles with dating.
The main presenting problem he had was getting back into the dating scene after being off the market for a number of years. You see Adam had been seeing a woman for five years with plans to get married.
For a variety of reasons, things didn’t work out and they broke up. As a result, he found himself single again. Over time, once he had healed from the breakup, he was ready to put himself out there again.
That’s where the problems popped up. You see for Adam, there was a great deal of fear about getting back into dating. He was worried the usual stuff many singles struggle with when it comes to dating:
- Am I attractive enough?
- Will people like me?
- Do I have enough to offer
If you are presently single, can you relate to these questions? And let me say now that the three I’ve just shared are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more that can be added to the list.
I’m mentioning all of this because at the core of Adam’s struggle was confidence – meaning confidence in himself and his ability to date.
To help him in this area, our work together focused on strengthening his self-concept. This happened through a variety of techniques but mostly cognitive restructuring.
Our goal was to ditch the negative self-tape Adam played in his mind and move about the business of creative positive, healthier self-talk.
In show notes, I’m going to link to an article I wrote on Guy Counseling called “Confident Man: 10 Steps to Higher Self-Esteem”.
I’m mentioning this because it was those 10 things that truly were the basis of our work. I encourage you to check that article out – it’s completely free and you can share it as you wish.
You see before you can be confident in dating, you’ve got to be confident in yourself. That may sound cliché but sometimes clichés fit the moment.
In creating this show, I called upon the resources of Dr. Tyler Fortman. He’s a psychologist in Chicago, Illinois and works with clients around issues related to dating.
He wrote an article that I’ll link to in show notes called, “7 Ways To Improve Your Self-Confidence in Dating”.
I’m going to share with you what they are and add my own thoughts as part of the dynamic.
7 Ways to increase dating confidence (boiled down)
1. Be your own cheerleader
2. Avoid ruminating on the negative
3. Reframe thoughts into “Not Yet” statements
4. Practice gratitude
5. Focus on the journey
6. Resource yourself
7. Don’t just date
So, let’s get back to Adam. You may be wondering what happened to him? Well, I can tell you he has a new girlfriend. Rather things will ultimately workout or where things will lead I can’t say. Here’s the link to building a circle of confidence.
But I can say that he was able to bolster his self-concept to the point that he could once again put himself on the market.
I mentioned during the first segment that I offered my clients handouts on self-esteem. Here’s the link to Therapist Aid where you can download some a few for yourself. They have different types, so be sure to spend time looking.
I hope the material we’ve gone over today was helpful. Before we transition to the next segment, I have some questions for you to reflect on:
How would you describe your dating confidence? If you think it needs improvement, what are you going to do about it?
Dating, Self-Confidence and Counseling
This week’s listener email comes to us from a young man in Georgia. He wrote me wanting to get some guidance on dating and how to find a therapist in his area.
I’ll read to you what he sent me and then offer my response.
“My name is Jacob and I’m 20 years old.
I’ve been in a constant cycle of low insecurity and bad relationships since last October. My partner at the time decided things weren’t to her liking and left after our second year.
I hold no grudges towards her but since then I’ve been in a loop of bringing myself down and having very low self-esteem, followed by getting on a path of progress to improving myself, to meeting someone and getting *really* invested in those relationships, to them leaving me and repeating the cycle.
Not to say everything is completely their fault, but nevertheless that’s been the routine since my first (and only) long term relationship ended back in October.
I’ve tried everything from being really close and affectionate, to being more distant and less dependent on who I’m with, as well as listening to my partners needs/concerns and shifting my behavior in the relationships to better suit them.
Each different strategy resulted in the same outcome, which leads me to doubt myself. I end up distancing myself from my friends and family, and displaying very unhealthy behaviors (not working out, drinking more frequently, being “down” all the time, and overall not being myself). This continues until step 2 happens, and the cycle proceeds as normal.
It has gotten to a point where I was considering going to counseling and seeking professional help. However, it never went anywhere as there aren’t very many non-religious based therapy places in my area.
Any advice? I look forward to your response.
Here is my response:
First, thanks for your email and I really appreciate you asking these questions. It sounds like you are going through a really difficult time right now. Let’s be real, two years in a relationship isn’t an insignificant amount of time. I’m sorry that didn’t work out.
You mentioned that right since October, you’ve been in a cycle of low insecurity – and bad relationships. It’s important you mention that because those two things aren’t islands among themselves. In truth, how we feel at a given moment in time when we are dating can, unintentionally, attract certain types of people to us.
You didn’t mention it in your note but I’m wondering if you noticed any patterns with your dates? Were they emotionally unavailable? If so, were there any red flags that you could have spotted in hindsight?
I’m going to share an article with you an article I wrote for Men’s Variety that explores the question, “5 Reasons You Keep Attracting The Wrong Partners”. In reading this piece, I think it will give you some points of self-reflection. Well, at least I hope it does.
I don’t know you but my sense if you are feeling down and I can’t help but wonder if – through the series of dating issues you mentioned – and perhaps other life events not mentioned – you aren’t feeling a little blue? In other words, is it possible depression might be at play, somewhere in the background. I ask because when we are feeling down, it has a way of distorting our thoughts and ultimately our realities.
If you get a chance, listen to episode 8 of The Men’s Self-Help Podcast. This show is all about the ways depression can lie to us and make us feel terrible.
You mentioned you were in Georgia and thinking of counseling. I’ll level with you Jacob. Given what you shared, I do think working with a professional would be a smart choice.
And not because something is “wrong” with you but instead, because something is right. You see, people who are self-aware are among the strongest people on the planet.
That includes you.
By looking inward, we are able to take stock, give ourselves a reality check and learn new tools for coping along the way.
To find the right person, I encourage you to go to Psychology Today and type in your zip code to see what you find. Given your location, it may be that seeing a counselor face to face isn’t possible. Should this apply, I encourage you to input zip codes for larger metropolitan areas and see who offers video counseling, life Facetime or Skype.
Even someone who just does phone could be an option. The most important thing is for you to work with someone you feel comfortable with. Look for a helping professional who has strong experience with self-esteem.
I hope what I’ve shared here was helpful to you. Let us know how things work out.
If you found today’s show helpful, please leave a review on the platform you subscribe too. If you aren’t a subscriber, please become one. Your support means everything.
Here are the links to subscribe and leave a review.