A lot of my clients struggle with playing the “What if?” game, as do the guys who are my Catches. And sometimes people don’t even realize they’re doing it!
The game can be played many ways, but it always boils down to asking “What if?” questions, like:
What if there’s someone better out there for me?
What if I could find X?
What if Y or Q or BGJZZ is just around the corner?
Basically, it means you feel something is missing in your current relationship [whether you’re partnered, or dating, or somewhere in between]. And to find this missing something, you’re searching outside your relationship to find it. The reason this is so problematic is that it creates a barrier between finding yourself and finding a healthy relationship because the truth is the “something” that’s missing is something inside you. And you’re not going to find it inside someone else.
Other common “What if?”s include:
What if he was more muscular?
What if he had a European accent?
What if he wasn’t bald?
This turns small details into complete dealbreakers. Some guys purposely look for these to avoid ever finding a partner. This fault-finding [and people in this space always have a successful search] stems from a deep-seeded fear of finding the right guy. It can also take the form of a lingering feeling that you didn’t make the right decision to be with the person you’re with. The sinking feeling that you missed the boat. (No pun intended. Okay, maybe a little intended.)
The thing is, we ALL do this to some degree, no matter how much we’ve mastered love or done things that empower us. We all hit the wall sometimes.
What I tell my clients and Catches who are doing this, is to trust me and stop thinking about the What Ifs. I challenge them to look within themselves and ask what it is that’s missing that they’re looking to a partner to complete. It’s a very tough and challenging exercise! But one that is essential to do in order to get over the What Iffiness that’s going on.
For example, if your question is “What if he was more handsome?” then ask yourself if you think you’re not handsome enough for him. Or substitute “handsome” for “muscular” or “blond” or “tall” or whatever. Turn it around, pull it apart, and take a closer look.
This can also show up as “What if he was HIV-negative?” In a case like this, it’s also challenging because if you were both communicating honestly his HIV status would be something you would know from the beginning, and we all know what comes with that, so what’s really going on? Is it a fear you have about HIV?
I could go on and on with the examples, but I think you get my point. The next time you find yourself saying “What if…?” stop, and do a 180. And ask yourself a different question: “Am I looking outside of myself for the answer to my issue?” If the answer is Yes – even just a little bit Yes – you’re not being fair to the man sitting across from you at the dinner table. Nor are you being completely honest with the one staring back at you in the mirror.
If you recognize yourself in anything I’ve said here, and want to work on fixing it, I’d love to help you. Contact me and let’s chat about relationship coaching.