The Curse of The Should's in Dating: How HBO's Insecure Hit the Nail on the Head

The Curse of The Should's in Dating: How HBO's Insecure Hit the Nail on the Head
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Should. One word out of hundreds of thousands in the English language. However, this seemingly simple idea plagues men and women from early on in life. As children you learn that life is unpredictable and unfair, but those remain difficult concepts to grasp. So instead you go about the business of trying to control the things you can, and depend on certain things happening just the way you want them to.

In Episode 2 of HBO's Insecure, Molly was finally feeling comfortable with a therapist that she could tolerate (which was no easy task) when all of a sudden she was called out. The therapist pointed out that she often discussed how she felt things should be or how things should turn out. The therapist proceeded to label this habit as magical thinking. Magical thinking is the belief that one's own thoughts, wishes, or desires can influence the external world. Basically just because you think of things a certain way that it should be that way.

And therein lies the problem. Molly's character represents many professional women striving for love and success. They feel that just because they put in hard work and have goals for themselves, everything should just work out. That you should just live happily ever after. And when that does not happen, they are not just distraught, they are angry or resentful.

If this sounds similar I am sorry to say it, but you do not deserve sympathy. This phenomenon is a form of entitlement that many share in a society that has become more self-centered and accustomed to instant gratification. You have friends that you enjoy and the job of your dreams now you want a certain type of man with a certain type of job standing at a certain height to complete the picture. It seems like it should be easy as everything else has worked out for you, right? But life just isn't that simple.

Upon closer inspection, the other things in your life did not come packaged just the way you thought it would. You have friends that you would never have expected to bond with or had jobs that you couldn't wait to quit. All of this before settling in to the life that makes sense for you.

So why wouldn't it be similar for your love life? The thought that you wouldn't have to put the same amount of effort and have just as many trials in your dating life is unreasonable. The idea that Mr. Charming should come and sweep you off your feet with you two having instant chemistry and perfect compatibility is ridiculous.

You have to nix the fantasy that just because you want something to happen in a certain fashion or timeline that life will deliver. You need to be open to all that life will throw at you with all of its ups and downs and unexpected experiences.

So ditch the should's and welcome an attitude where patience and resilience are key. You can handle the rollercoaster that is dating with a positive not assuming thought process. And it will be all the more beautiful when things finally settle down and you have the love you worked for and deserve.

The opinions expressed here are solely my own as a psychiatrist and public health advocate. I receive no support from any pharmaceutical or device company.

My new book—The Modern Trophy Wife: How to Achieve Your Life Goals While Thriving at Home — is now available in electronic, paperback and hard cover versions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ibooks.

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