How to use the couch dating theory to find love

There are all sorts of factors that can cause dating burnout and discouragement. You may be facing social and cultural pressures to pair up. Or perhaps the rise of dating apps (and the decision fatigue they produce) is keeping you from finding a partner. To combat this, psychologist Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, developed the couch dating theory, which helps put daters in the right place to date effectively—with less stress.

She suggests approaching dating with a simple analogy: look for a partner like you would look for a couch. When she was developing her theory, Dr. Greenberg found that many of the female-identifying women and patients in her New York City therapy practice who seem to have an easy time dating and finding a partner — people who are objectively good — looking, accomplished, and interesting — felt the worst. about their love lives.

In addition to the very real pressures women and men face to settle down and have children, her patients cite pressures to look and act a certain way while courting. For example, to always look interested but not also interested, warm and friendly, but not also welcoming and friendly. Dr. Greenberg noticed that these influences were making his patients any less interested in dating and more unhappy in the process.

“The background of couch theory was to help with the shame and comparisons and to help undo the coping mechanisms that are really counterproductive.” – Dr. Elinor Greenberg, psychologist

“There are a lot of hurdles for women to overcome in the dating game, and there’s enormous pressure on women that isn’t on men,” says Dr. Greenberg. “The background of couch theory was to help with the shame and comparisons and help them undo the coping mechanisms they’re using that are really counterproductive,” she says.

So knowing what you like and need, finding something that fits your needs, and looking around until you find what you want are the frameworks of her method.

5 Applications of the Couch Theory of Dating to Start Following Now

1. Be clear about what you want

You wouldn’t buy a sofa without a clear idea of ​​what type or size you need. Before making a decision, you would likely research the dimensions of the space it will be entering and decide what kind of style and material you are interested in.

Apply the same discernment when it comes to identifying what you want in a potential partner, especially if you’re looking for something serious. The Doctor. Greenberg advises taking the time to decide what you want in a relationship and a partner and keeping that in mind when meeting people.

For example, when Greenberg was dating before meeting her husband of 45 years, she knew she wanted a partner who could stand up to her intellectually, so she only seriously pursued men she thought were very smart.

2. But be careful when looking for perfection in a potential partner

Don’t fall into the trap of making a list so exhaustive that no one fits it, warns Dr. Greenberg. Instead, one notion she encourages people to abandon is the idea of ​​waiting for your soul mate to arrive.

This doesn’t mean settling for someone you don’t want, but Dr. Greenberg says waiting for the perfect match to come along while ignoring a few really good ones can leave you alone. “I believe there are thousands of people in the world that any of us can be happy with,” she says.

3. Only date people who have traits you want in a partner

doctor Greenberg says you wouldn’t look at sofas in stores you can’t afford, or in styles you don’t like. “You wouldn’t shop at a store that carries sofas you wouldn’t take home,” she adds — same with people.

On dating apps or IRL, Dr. Greenberg says to match and talk with people who share your interests and values. She adds not to waste time with people who have values ​​that are very different from yours, or who are not interested and serious.

4. Place yourself in high potential places

Even if you’re an online shopper, you wouldn’t expect a sofa to fall into your lap – you’d browse stores and websites to find one you like.

The same goes for finding a partner, says Dr. Greenberg. You can’t expect to find someone staying at home, and you won’t find people that interest you if you’re going places that don’t interest you.

So, once you’ve identified what traits you want in a partner, and put yourself in situations to find people like that. For example, if you want someone athletic, joining an indoor sports league is a good bet.

On the other hand, don’t look for potential partners in places where you won’t find them. If you’re more of a homebody and want an equal partner, you probably won’t find a compatible partner at a club. Instead, frequent places and groups that are more in line with your interests.

5. Use unsuccessful dates as learning lessons, not reasons to lose hope

Going back to the couch comparison, wouldn’t you throw your hands up and say, “I’m not buying any couches!” if the one you wanted was out of stock or if you didn’t find one you liked. You would make another plan and regroup.

There’s no doubt that dating can be daunting, but Dr. Greenberg emphasizes that it’s a numbers game, so part of the process may involve going on a lot of dates, which you won’t win. Take the time to analyze what you’ve learned from bad dates to see what you want in a partner—and what you don’t. If you’re having a string of bad dates and unsatisfying hookups, take the time to recalibrate, but don’t cut yourself off permanently.

How to use the couch dating theory to find love

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