In the United States, as of April of 2017, 19% of people are using online dating or dating apps, and 84% of those people are looking for a romantic relationship. The dating industry brought in over $3 billion in 2017, with the app bringing in $2.1 million in one month alone!

And yet, over 1,000 people search the words “dating sucks” every month on Google.

Despite our technological advances and having access to resources that are meant to bring people together, people still report that they are struggling to find romantic relationships.

As a dating therapist in San Francisco who works with singles of all ages daily, if you are struggling — you are not alone! Today I want to share three pieces of advice that can help you change your dating outlook in 2019 (and the rest of 2018).

Dating Tip #1: Uncover the What and Why of Your DatingDamns

You can only go on so many bad dates before you start to wonder: Is it me? The truth is, while it is absolutely true that a LOT of your dating woes are impacted by the person you are currently getting to know, there is more in your control than you might realize. A DatingDamn is one of those places that keeps you blocked from flowing into a great relationship, and redirects your energy back into the same old patterns that keep you unhappy.

Could a good friend (or you) easily identify your DatingDamn which keeps you stuck? The type of person you are uncannily drawn to, or the dynamic you seem to inexplicably find no matter where you go or who you talk to, or the way you always find something wrong with people who you were initially attracted to? That is your DatingDamn!

Sidenote: I get this question all the time — Is it a Dating Dam as in a blockage that keeps the dating flow from happening? Or is it a Dating Damn as in “Damn, this dating pattern is really, really frustrating?” Technically, it’s both! But I find that my dating therapy clients resonate with and remember “DatingDamns” so I stick with that.

Now, you may already know what your DatingDamn is, but the most important step is getting to the why of your DatingDamn. I see this again and again with my dating therapy clients. Until they understand why and can deconstruct it, they keep repeating this pattern!

Dating Tip #2: Get Clear On Your Needs

Once you uncover your DatingDamns and why you are drawn to them, it starts to unblock energy and focus and gives you space to get the dating energy flowing in a new direction. So, now is a great time to get clear on exactly where you want that energy flowing.

What do you really need and want? There might be some things from that old DatingDamn that you truly need and want in your life, but in a healthier dynamic. Or maybe the ideal that you *thought* you wanted, actually isn’t a good fit for you. Now, you need to get clear and honest about what you really want.

Write it down. Draw it out. Make a fun collage or vision board. And look for the spots where you might even have competing needs that could be keeping you feeling stuck. This is where having an outside person can be so incredibly helpful. They can often see things from a perspective that you can’t and help you get crystal clear. That person could be a dating therapist, or even a good friend that you trust.

Dating Tip #3: Stop Doing What Isn’t Working

As you start to allow your energy to flow in the direction of what you really want, and you stop pouring your energy towards old patterns that don’t serve you — things may start to get uncomfortable.

Ever heard about those concrete dams that have been in place for a long time and they start to fail, and there is an entire city in the line of the natural flow of the river? When the energy gets unblocked it is going to take you in directions that might start to “inundate” or impact some old habits, places, or patterns that you feel REALLY comfortable in.

Much of the reason we get stuck in unsatisfying places is that they are familiar, and therefore comfortable, while the new and unfamiliar can feel very unsettling. But you want something new in your life, right? This is the path. It will be incredibly tempting to put the DatingDamn back in place and go back to the old, familiar pattern that feels so comfortable. Try to stay conscious of that temptation and tendency.

Moving through those uncomfortable moments and letting the flow guide you to new ways of being, doing, and relating is where the real magic happens! That is where you start to connect with people more aligned with what you want for your life, and start to relate in a way that leaves you open to creating a deep, bonded connection, and can give you new insight to more easily move away from or say no to connections that don’t serve your true vision.