According to the Pew Research Center, 33% of American adults are single, but just over half are interested in dating. At the same time, 47% of Americans find dating harder now than they feel it was 10 years ago. COVID-19 changed many people’s habits and expectations as it became a time of isolation and self-assessments.
This has a trickle-down effect on dating as people are putting their needs first and not always caving to societal norms. When adults are ready to start dating, they may be looking for companionship over marriage, and it’s crucial to find someone who supports your goals.
However, dating is hard, and social anxiety is very common and even limiting. That’s where dating therapy and counseling can help. But, which option is best for your needs?
What Services Do Traditional Relationship Counselors Provide?
Aren’t traditional relationship counselors and dating coaches or therapists the same? No, they’re not. There are subtle differences that can make one service better for your needs than another.
Marriage and relationship therapists focus on the things you’re doing in your relationships and life that aren’t beneficial or helping you. It can help you take a much closer look at the emotional issues that impact your dating life.
Social anxiety is a great example. While social anxiety is very common, it can make you appear standoffish or cold, but the reality is you simply have this form of anxiety and need help learning how to move past it.
A relationship expert can help an individual:
- Better understand their goals, must-haves, and incompatibilities
- Help identify what it feels like to connect and how to nurture that connection
- Improve how they communicate and express feelings
- Learn how to strengthen a connection
- Work on conflict resolution
You will find that there’s often some crossover between the things a relationship counselor offers and those that dating therapists specialize in.
What Services Do Dating Therapists Provide?
A dating therapist helps you learn what you want. Is dating even realistic given the things you’re looking for in a partner? Some people are happier single, and that’s okay. Learning to assess your wants and needs is a crucial first step.
Once you’ve decided to date, you need to find someone who is compatible. Your dating coach can help you draft, edit, and publish an effective, honest, appealing dating profile. Don’t create fake details. They will catch up with you.
If you lack the confidence or know-how to put your best foot forward and show the best version of yourself, your date may not go as well as you hope. Expectations need to be realistic, and a dating coach helps with that.
As soon as you arrange a first meeting with someone you meet on a dating app, which should happen after chatting online and over the phone for a while, you’ll have the help of your dating therapist to create a game plan for that date. If nerves start kicking in, your dating therapist helps you get excited and eager to go. You’ll get advice on how to dress, things to say and what not to say, ways to keep the conversation flowing, and the best way to end the date.
Not all people decide to use a dating app. A dating therapist also helps you navigate where to find dates when you’re outside your home in stores, restaurants, bars, libraries, theaters, and other public areas. It can be harder to meet people in person than online, but it’s not impossible and a dating therapist helps you through the challenges.
You’ll also work on what to do if the date isn’t going well, when to consider a second date, and how to assess how things went in an honest, neutral manner. Think of your dating therapist as the best friend you need for encouragement, a reality check, and a high five after a successful date.
Sometimes, the best way to help a person prepare for a date is by doing a practice run. A dating therapist can guide you through a typical dating experience and work on the things you do well and what to change. You could meet in a coffee shop and master what to say, how to avoid closed-ended questions that shut down a conversation’s flow, and body language that can be detrimental when dating.
Consider Your Issues With Past Dates
Sit down and be honest with yourself about past dates. What went wrong and what went well? Give an honest assessment of yourself and dates that did or didn’t work out. If you found that your date kept checking his or her phone, there was a clear disconnect.
Before you blame the person for not being interested, jot down a list of everything you did and said. There may have been something you did that created the disinterest, and you might not have even realized it at the time. It happens to everyone, and it can help if you analyze what you’d do differently next time.
If there was a clear personality conflict, think about why you chose to ask that person on a date. What drew you to them? You’ll want to look out for that in the past. With dating therapy and relationship counseling, you’ll start gaining more insights on how to date effectively.
In-Person, Phone, Video Conferencing – Which Best Meets Your Needs?
Once you know whether you want to work with a relationship counselor or dating therapist, you have to decide how to attend sessions. The Relationship Expert can meet in person, over the phone, or via video conferencing.
Which is best? It depends on your comfort level and the time available to meet. If you’re too busy to leave work in the middle of the day to meet up, you might find it hard to attend in-person meetings unless you find a therapist with very early morning, evening, or weekend hours.
In-person meetings allow you to meet face-to-face and hone your skills in an unfamiliar setting where you know social anxiety or nerves will make you uncomfortable. It can be a great way to start acquiring the skills needed to be confident on a date.
The phone may be better as it allows you to meet at any time and from anywhere. You don’t have to get to an office to meet up, you can call when you get home from work. Eventually, you’ll gain confidence and be ready to progress to video conferences and in-person meetings.
Many people prefer the convenience of video conferencing. It’s still held at your convenience from anywhere you happen to be with the internet and a video camera. But, it is also face-to-face so you have that experience, too. It starts you off in a setting you’re comfortable in, however, and you can work up to in-person sessions.