Take time to recognize and appreciate your strengths, instead of focusing on negative. And please do not reveal any downsides early on. You could be interpreted as trying to chase someone off, and that may be exactly what you are doing. Also, when you do share real or perceived flaws they can be reformulated. For example, if you don’t have much formal education then just state what you do have, your other means of learning, and what you’ve accomplished. Speak of yourself with pride and discuss your ambitions. Or, if you are divorced or have had multiple marriages, be clear that you are not carrying more baggage than a carry-on size, are resentment free, and have great relationships with friends and family.

Smart dating requires a sales pitch that is focused on your assets. Determine what you are bringing to the table and have a good understanding of your own “market value.”

When trying to focus on your strong points, it can help to make a list of your assets and your desirable and admirable traits. For example:


Now Make Your Own List

Once you’ve created your list, ask one or two of your friends to give you their answers and add them to your list. Keep this with you as a reminder whenever you are being self-critical. In addition, pull out your list whenever you’re feeling un-datable or less than high market. Read it as many timesas you need to until you’ve convinced yourself that anyone would be lucky to have you. Once you can pinpoint what it is that you really have to contribute to a relationship, finding a good match is so much easier.

Elaine had been emotionally buffeted by dating and was fearful, but was always willing to try again and again because she was determined to beat her younger sister to the altar.

Elaine came to my office after what she called “59 painfully blind dates.” And she wasn’t exaggerating. One man had patted her hand and said he hoped she got married soon because he just didn’t think she should be out in the world alone. Elaine knew something was going wrong—she was looking for love and was finding sympathy. She didn’t realize that her “little girl” defense mechanism might get her adopted but wasn’t helping her get married. She needed to change her attitude, but first she needed to see the image she was projecting into the world and which of her more positive traits she should focus on. Soon she came to realize that she had a natural demureness that was potentially appealing. Once she realized how to work that—as more of a steel magnolia than wilting violet—she met Max who liked feeling protective. Her sweetness and naïveté attracted him big-time. They made an instant connection, and Elaine recognized that her “weakness” was a strong point for him.

Reformulate Your Way of Thinking about Yourself.

An easy way to sell yourself based on your strong points is to simply change your thinking. It’s as easy as flipping a mental switch, but it takes practice.

Never been married? No matter your age, it just means you carry around that much less extra baggage. Really! Think about this: no oneelse has ever affected your credit score, you don’t write an alimony check every month, and your future spouse will never have to live up to the idea of being better than your ex.

Divorced? If you’re divorced, not only is this your opportunity for an upgrade, you’ll also go into your next committed relationship with experience and realistic expectations of a successful partnership. You’ve been through the good and the bad, and you’re stronger and more emotionally sophisticated because of it. You know what works for you and what doesn’t, and you can be confident in that knowledge.

Widowed? Widows and widowers are often perceived, as still being in love, but what a widowed person may offer is proof of a successful relationship. As long as you are not making a deceased spouse even better over time in your mind, and don’t build him or her into every conversation and every thought, you will simply be perceived as someone who’s good at marriage.

We all have faults – perfect would be boring – but that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone who will love you for you, all of you! Approach your “faults” as challenges you intend to overcome, or as something that might not be a good match for a certain type of partner, so they can stop being “reasons” for dating failure. By keeping aware of the strength of what you have to offer, and a realistic eye of who would suit you, you date with confidence – which is always a winning and appealing trait.


Click here for a complete list of all Dr. Janet Blair Page’s articles.
Janet Blair Page, PhD, author of Get Married This Year: 365 Days to “I Do”, is a psychotherapist with more than thirty years of experience in private practice in New York and Atlanta. She teaches at Emory University and has been in the New York Times, Glamour and on CNN, FOX, Good Morning America, and The Early Show. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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