03/13/2012 12:49 pm ET Updated May 13, 2012

Was Your Marriage a Train Wreck? Date Differently to Get Better Results

I get tons of emails from women who tell me they hate dating -- loathe it, really -- but are putting themselves out there and doing what they know they "should" in order to meet Mr. Right. This is particularly true of recent divorcees who haven't played the dating game in a while.
In fact, many women hate dating so much they would rather:
1. Stay in a bad relationship ("After all, I put in X number of months/years thus far..."), holding tight to the possibility that this guy is better than the ex and the other duds they dated. (At Dating With Dignity, we call this a man's "Relative Charm Factor," e.g., "Relative to my ex, this guy has soooo much charm and potential!")
2. Convince themselves they're "okay" being single because they love their job, work a zillion hours anyway, have awesome friends, adore their kids, and enjoy going night after night to the gym or watching "Real Housewives of Orange County" marathons and "Project Runway" reruns without having to battle over the remote.
3. Consistently put pressure on themselves and the men they date to determine if he's "The One," making little ticks in the columns and boxes that live in their minds. (You know the three columns you keep diligently in your mind's eye: Keeper, Wait and See if the Chemistry Grows, and Ugh.)
If you find yourself going to galleries, attending gatherings, online dating feverishly, or battling with yourself over whether to actually go out on Saturday night with your friends to the upscale hotel bar -- yet you seem to have zero luck meeting men or attracting men you actually want to date -- then it's time to break free of your romantic rut.
Consider making one very powerful shift now that can help you stop being a divorced dating hater and increase the chances that you actually get results from your efforts -- without having to lose 10 pounds, shop, or rewrite your profile. Here's the deal:
Ask yourself this very critical question: "What would dating look like if I became attached to the process instead of the outcome?"
Imagine the freedom you would enjoy.
Stop reading for a moment, close your eyes, and consider what it feels like in your body and mind to become attached to the process of dating. Imagine attaching to the possibility that every single opportunity, bad date, fight, breakup, first date, and even the laugh you might share about it with all with your friends is it (versus the "I can't believe that guy lied about being bald" conversation you might usually have peppered with sarcasm, anger, judgment and fury that ultimately leads to feelings of despair and wanting to give up). This stuff is just as important as finding "him." It is, after all, part of the texture and journey of your very special, one-of-a-kind, magical life!
After my horrible breakup and the end of my marriage, I knew that if I continued to put the emphasis on getting the result I thought was best, I would ultimately make very bad decisions that would keep me stuck in the romantic rut I had been repeating for most of my dating life. And so I made a shift. I decided to do four things that changed everything.
1. I would create a life I loved, with or without a partner, and ultimately fall passionately in love with me!
2. I would choose to have fun dating, seeing the opportunity in every single date, breakup or frustration (including one of my favorite "worsts" with the Will Ferrell look-alike who showed up sporting fake blond Billy Idol hair and wifebeater T-shirt, leaving me to wonder if he had stepped right out of a "Saturday Night Live" comedic sketch.).
3. I would turn inward regularly through coaching and therapy to figure out why I was unconsciously attracting each and every man, including the Hunters, Boy Toys, Will Ferrell types, and even the tons of Mr. Quality Casuals who started to show up after I began to change and blossom nearly five years into my dating journey.
4. I became a courageous "Intentional Dater," making all my choices consciously (even the "less healthy" bad ones).
Once I was able to be present in the process of dating and practicing these principles consistently, I let go of wanting a certain result. Sure, I was disappointed, angry and sometimes even very sad. Yet I was able to manage my fears. (Notice I didn't say get rid of my fears!) I became brave, exploring the depths of all my emotions for the very first time. And ultimately I was ready to attract a man who was capable of having an interdependent, loving relationship.
There you have it.

Marni Battista, founder of Dating with Dignity, has professional training in dating and relationship coaching and a certified Life Coach through the International Coaching Federation. Marni helps clients pinpoint exactly why they are or are not "date-able" and what types of messages they unconsciously broadcast based on their thoughts, feelings, actions and attitudes.

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