The dating world is filled with pitfalls and landmines; you may think you're doing fine, when - boom! - you encounter an unexpected setback. Could it be because you're unknowingly making a critical dating mistake? Here are eight of the most common mistakes women make.
Over-aggression. If you're a successful businesswoman, a real go-getter, you're most likely using the same guerilla tactics that made your workplace success to attract dates. Bad news: the characteristics that worked in your professional life won't necessarily work for you in your personal life. This isn't to say that you should pretend you don't have those characteristics; be proud of them, because they played a big part in shaping you into the strong woman that you are. But when you enter the realm of dating and relationships, let your Alpha female take the backseat.
The "Cinderella complex". Blame the soap operas, the romance novels and the Cinderella stories - sometimes it feels like we've found our soul mate after a couple of exciting dates. Most likely, it's due to a strong rush of the infatuation that's the common hallmark of new relationships. If, after dinner and a movie, you find yourself lingering a little too long in the bridal section at the bookstore, you should probably rethink your ideas about how relationships progress. It isn't necessary to define the parameters of a relationship (the ever-so-sticky "are we or aren't we a couple" question) so soon. Enjoy each other's company and learn all you can about the other person. If the feeling is mutual, there will be no question of a committed relationship happening later on down the road. Wait until those initial euphoric feelings have lessened before you start picking out rings.
Commitment-phobia. It may be that things are progressing too quickly in the relationship, and you're a little freaked out. Or perhaps you can't shake the nagging suspicion that there's a better deal out there somewhere. Whatever the reason, ask yourself this: why are you in a serious relationship when you're so obviously not ready? Is it due to pressure from family and friends? Are you afraid of being hurt? Getting to the underlying cause of a problem makes it easier to solve.
Hitting the sack immediately. Whether you call it hooking up or bedding down, do it too quickly and the only call you'll be getting is a booty call. If you're looking for a potentially serious relationship, give it some time before you slip between the sheets. Having sex with someone right off the bat puts emphasis on the physical attraction and downplays the emotional. Remember, great sex does not equal a great relationship and you can't make someone love you by being easy.
Pursuing the un-pursuable. Maybe there's someone you're dying to date, but he's demonstrated that he doesn't feel the same way about you, or he just isn't overly responsive to your advances. Muscling your way into his life isn't going to help you win him over - in fact, it will probably do quite the opposite, which is why restraining orders were invented. If you've expressed your feelings to someone who doesn't share the same emotions, don't while away the hours hoping he'll come around. Just move on. You don't want to date someone whose feelings for you are merely lukewarm, anyway!
Having opposite life goals. Opposites may attract, and that's fine - if "opposite" means that you prefer Coke while he prefers Pepsi, or similarly trivial issues. But it's important that you find out your mate's biggest goals and dreams and measure them against yours. Could you handle giving up your dream of a swanky urban condo if he was dead set on some land and a few chickens? If you're a devout Catholic, does it matter if he wants his children to be raised in the Jewish faith? In the early stages of a relationship, we're so infatuated that we can easily overlook crucial issues like this, taking the romantic view that our love can overcome anything. But you don't want to find yourself in a deep and committed relationship and suddenly realize that neither of you is willing to change your goals to match the others.
Seeking out "Mr. Perfect". I'm definitely not saying you shouldn't have high standards when it comes to choosing your man. But if you set your sights unrealistically high, you're bound to do some major overlooking. Have a clear idea of what you want in a mate, but be flexible. If you can't seem to find the right guy, you may be too particular. Does he really have to be six foot two with black hair and blue eyes? Keep your standards, but try not to be overly picky. Keep it realistic.
Settling for less. At the other end of the spectrum, don't be tempted to settle into a less-than-ideal relationship simply for the security it affords. You can really sell yourself short by adopting the "at least I'm not single" attitude. You're only cheating yourself out of a successful relationship by staying together "just because." Is it really easier than dating? And if it is, is it worth throwing away your happiness?