Jana Hocking: Harsh dating truth no one wants to hear – or why I keep dating duds

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I’ve always appreciated a no nonsense, give it to me straight kinda person. Nothing snaps me out of my lovely comfort zone, often referred to as ‘denial’, quite like some rock-solid hard truths.

So when I invited Married At First Sight dating expert, Mel Schilling, onto my Kinda Sorta Dating podcast, under the guise of asking her about how to get our confidence back now we’re entering the dating world again post-lockdown in Australia – to which she gave some brilliant tips and tricks – I think secretly I just wanted the answer to one question that has REALLY been bugging me.

Why do I keep going for duds, and how do I fall for the ‘nice guys’ that everyone keeps raving about?

You know what I’m talking about. The girls we look at with a touch of envy because they fell in love with and ended up marrying really great, loving, attentive guys. Guys who show up when they say they will, guys who don’t go days without texting back, guys who are great at sharing their feelings.

Like, I want one of those!

Well, I was expecting her to say something like, “Oh he’ll pop up when you least expect it” blah blah blah, but no. What she said in response honestly hurt a little, but is exactly what I needed to hear.

“The first thing you’ve got to do is acknowledge that you’re doing it. It’s not something that’s happening to you, it’s not a coincidence, it’s not luck that you keep bumping into the Peter Pans, you are attracting them!” said Mel.

To be fair … she wasn’t wrong.

“There’s something that’s going on inside you, and loads of other women, that is stopping you from fully engaging in finding a guy who is available! Whether it’s fear of heartbreak, or former trauma, and your brain is telling you to keep safe, by basically being unavailable,” she added.

She also offered another reason, saying fear could play a real factor in why we go for the wrong blokes. “A fear of rejection, fear of intimacy and fear of being vulnerable. All of these things are really, really common, and really, really normal.”

In order to stop this Mel had some sage advice.

Acknowledge and take accountability

“There is no point stepping out into the dating world with a victim mentality,” said Mel. “Because that’s just going to set you up for failure and you will attract the wrong men. If you go into dating, saying to yourself ‘poor me, I only attract the bad boys or losers’, then you are sending out messages and bad energy, that is not the real you. So get your head right first.”

Stop playing the victim

You have to shift your mindset and date from a fun, happy place. Stop playing the victim, and focus on what you want. Remove from your life the blokes who are never going to be boyfriend material, because they are a distraction. The guys who send texts at midnight saying “You up?”, serve nothing but a waste of time.

Delete and block

We need to start focusing on people who want the same things as us. You know, a real relationship. When a guy shows you he’s just here for ‘fun,’ then Mel says you should “delete, block, get them out of the picture”. Why? Because they aren’t what you’re looking for.

And do you know what’s so annoying … it makes total sense! In fact, many of you are probably reading this and going, “Duh!”

But for so long I thought there was something fun about the challenge of changing a guy’s mind, but upon pondering … was it fun? No, it was actually just annoying and really drawing out the inevitable.

Now that I’m taking this whole ‘I want a boyfriend’ thing seriously, well … I’m afraid those kinda blokes have to go! Ooof! Mel really did give me the harsh truth.

She gave me some homework to do, and I really can’t recommend it enough. Write a list of the traits in a partner that we want to leave behind, and then make a list of the traits in a partner we want to look for.

Oh, and also take ownership for originally attracting those traits. Yep, OK, I’ll confess I made dud choices. It was me.

So catch ya later red flags and time wasters, I ain’t got time for you no more! You’re staying in lockdown, along with the exercise equipment I never used, and the tracky dacks that are really on their last legs.

Jana Hocking is a podcaster and collector of kind-of-boyfriends

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