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Game, Set, Mismatch

“You have a good approach, but no follow through.”

 

I must have heard this constructive criticism from my tennis coach at least three times a week. The statement was annoyingly redundant, but it was even more annoyingly accurate.

Cheaper Than Therapy

 

 

“You have a good approach, but no follow through.”

I must have heard this constructive criticism from my tennis coach at least three times a week. The statement was annoyingly redundant, but it was even more annoyingly accurate. I had a lot of speed and was excellent at positioning myself for an ideal shot. My body language was textbook, but just as I would rear back to take my shot I would hesitate. I would question everything. Was my grip solid? Was my wrist locked? Did I have the right upswing?

I would inevitably sacrifice any degree of power by overcompensating placement, lobbing an accurate softball over the net and allowing my opponent plenty of time for countermeasures.

I have heard my coach’s words in my head many times over the years. It seems I carry this same character trait throughout other facets of my life…specifically, dating. Last week I celebrated my 3rd anniversary of being single. In that time I have managed to go on at least fifty first dates, less than a dozen second dates and tallied zero pseudo-quasi-relationships that have lasted more than six weeks. Why? Because, although I have a good approach, I have no follow through.

I often romanticize the idea of a relationship in my head. I enjoy the thought of a breakfast companion. I think how jealous my friends would be when my boyfriend and I win every game because we are so in synch. How wonderful it would be to have those secrets and inside jokes that only the two of us share. It all seems so perfect…in theory.

Over the years, I have had the good fortune of meeting some of Tampa’s finest: top quality candidates with good educations, good careers, good cars. Yet none of them work out and the scenarios are all the same. Whenever I meet one of these amazing guys, I paint the perfect picture of our potential relationship in my mind. Immediately I begin positioning myself to become the object of his affection. I read body language, watch behavior, listen to words and inflection and ultimately leverage this information to secure my station and close the deal. I get the first date. I make him laugh. We have a great time. If things go well, we even sleep together. He says, “I’d like to see you again.” I choke.

Good approach. No follow through.

After all the work and effort I put into convincing this amazing guy that I am worth dating, I hesitate. I begin to question everything. What if he snores? What if he can’t sleep with the TV on? What if he moves his lips when he reads? What if he’s not the right guy after all?

 

The questions come tumbling all around me, forcing me to second guess my picture perfect potential relationship, setting myself up for defeat. I will avoid future phone calls. I will keep messages cryptic and noncommittal. It is only a matter of time before I have erased all possibility for any kind of future.

 

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. I have followed this same pattern for three years, and for three years, the results have been the same. The most accurate summary for my tennis-match-method of dating:

 

It’s in…it’s out…it’s over.

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