Do you know people who constantly complain about dating, how hard it is, and how it’s always someone else’s fault when things don’t work out? They blame the opposite sex, the patriarchy, toxic masculinity, feminism, narcissistic exes, dating apps, etc., adopt a victim mentality and never own their part?

Do you listen and nod? Do you hold your tongue? Do you validate their anger? Or, do you offer another perspective (aka brutal honesty and tough love) and suggest it might be (GULP!) them? 

When I was single, I fretted quite a bit about dating, never thinking the problem could be me. My friends gave me their ear, but it wasn’t an ear I needed. What I really needed was brutal honesty and tough love. I needed them to call me out on my shit and show me where I was going wrong.

“Actually Treva, have you ever thought it might be you?” would’ve been hard to hear, but it would’ve done me good to hear it. It would’ve forced me to look at my relationships, and my part in them. I was the common denominator in all my dealings, so all fingers pointed back to me. Something had to change if I wanted a healthy relationship, and looking at myself first would’ve been a good place to start.

I Was The Problem (for a few reasons):

  • I wasn’t making good choices.
  • I wasn’t dating with intention and direction.
  • I lost sight of my worth and value.
  • I didn’t like being a late bloomer.
  • I lacked faith and patience.

We talk all day about having high standards for others, but don’t hold ourselves to the same standards; we don’t self-examine; we don’t practice self-compassion; we let our ego get in the way; we’re quick to pass judgment, but slow to see where we could improve; and we don’t take responsibility, which is the first step in solving our problems, according to self-help writer Mark Manson.

Why Am I Still Single?

I can’t tell you how many dating bloggers I read who rage against dating in article after article, and how many times I’ve rolled my eyes and wanted to say in the comment section:

“Have you ever thought it might be you?”

Have you ever thought you might be self-sabotaging? Putting up obstacles? Projecting your fear? Expecting too much? Not setting clear boundaries? Lacking patience? Harboring resentment, or holding onto negativity and self-limiting beliefs? (I’m guilty of a few here as mentioned).

Yes, my friends, sometimes the problem is you.

It’s been said a million times: You are enough. But even the best of us could use a little work, a bit of tweaking, sometimes even a total emotional makeover.

Look Inward

Taking a hard look at ourselves isn’t easy; holding up a mirror to our problems is painful. No one wants to hear where they’re going wrong or why they’re striking out. It’s much easier to trash men or point fingers at women than it is to take ownership.

I can tell you first-hand it takes serious balls to look at your problems, and even bigger balls to want to solve them. I call this “radical self-reflection,” which I detail in my book, Done Being Single: A Late Bloomer’s Guide to Love.

It also takes serious balls to bring it to someone’s attention. Unsolicited advice is always a risk; you could get into a fight or lose a friend over it, but if you really care, tell them the truth. Better yet, you help them with the truth.

But First, Wine

If they’re open and ready to change, sit them down, pour a glass of wine, take their hand, let them know how much you love them. Be compassionate, constructive, and direct. And if they can’t accept your advice, or refuse to listen, suggest they find a therapist or coach who’ll give it to them straight. The key is for them to find clarity wherever they can get it.

And if you’re the chronic complainer, here’s some good news: you can help yourself. You can give yourself the gift of brutal honesty and tough love by doing “third party thinking,”a simple trick that helps you become your own best advisor.

With third-party thinking, you view yourself as a third person taking a 30,000 ft. overview of your situation. Pretend the person you’re watching isn’t you, but a best friend that you care about. Your job is to observe them, watch their behaviors and actions, and listen to what comes out of their mouth. If your friend keeps getting his/her heartbroken, and doesn’t know why, what would you tell them? Pretend that person is you and give it to them straight.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Hearing the truth is liberating and empowering, and will set you free. When you’re equipped with the truth, you become more intentional and inspired, more self-aware and self-loving. You’re also equipped with a game plan for change.

If you want to attract good people, find love (or success, stability, etc.) you need to be open to another perspective. You can ask a friend for brutal honesty and tough love; you can talk to a therapist or coach; you can try third-party thinking, or you can do the most badass thing of all:

Look your shit dead in the eye and own it.

* * * *

If you’re looking for more actionable dating advice (with some juicy dating stories and true confessions thrown in), check out my self-help memoir, “Done Being Single: A Late Bloomer’s Guide to Love,” available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

If you’re looking for more dating help and would like to work with me 1:1, apply for a free 45-minute discovery session here.

For more wit and wisdom, follow me @trevabme.

Stay updated with the latest dating news, trends, and empowered singles content by signing up for my newsletter, “The Latest in Love,” which you can subscribe to here. Join my community and stay in the loop!