Dr. Christine Carpenter – Clinical Psychologist – Dating & Relationship Expert Are you single and trying really hard not to be? I can help you become a better dater. AMA about dating, relationships, break-ups, love, attachment, rebounding, dating later in life, dating after divorce

Dr. Christine Carpenter
May 8, 2018

By the time we reach dating age, we already have many years of relationship experience. This experience, for better or worse, has an enormous impact on how we do relationships throughout our lives. Dating in our teens and twenties is the time to modify, refine and improve these relationship patterns to make them most effective for us as individuals. By the time we're ready to settle down, the idea is to have the bugs worked out so that we end up with someone who is well-suited to our most authentic selves. 

So what happens when you are at the settling down phase of life and this developmental progression seems to have eluded you? Dating sites, apps and articles can offer useful information about dating in general but if your own personal obstacles are what's getting in the way, that generalized knowledge will only take you so far. I will help you identify, understand and EVOLVE your own personal patterns so you can land a relationship that fits for you.

www.evolvedating.net

Facebook: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chicagodatingdr/

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What are your thoughts on online dating negatively affecting people's real life dating skills?
May 13, 7:11PM EDT0
What is the best way to deal with anxiety when it comes to dating?
May 13, 3:34PM EDT0
What are the most important factors for compatibility?
May 13, 4:16AM EDT0
What, in your opinion, is the best dating app and why?
May 12, 7:32PM EDT0
Why do you think some people have a problem with honesty when they are in a relationship?
May 9, 1:29PM EDT0
Is it possible to be friends with exes? Is it advisable?
May 9, 7:01AM EDT0
Is it possible to avoid bad dating out of fear or hopelessness?
May 9, 6:35AM EDT0
How do you became a dating and relationship professional? What is your background?
May 9, 5:02AM EDT0
When attending your clients, is it usual or allowed to draw examples of your own life?
May 9, 1:40AM EDT0
Why is it that some people after a date disappear and how long should one wait to call them or text them?
May 8, 3:42PM EDT0

Hi Elizabeth,

This is so frustrating! I wish there were a good simple answer. I think the best way to think of it is that they just weren't feeling it and decided that it was early enough in the process that they didn't owe a personal explanation or good-bye. Those who drop off the radar are also just people with their own insecurities and probably some level of disocmfort with conflict. It's honeslty just easier not to say anything. Rude, yes, but human. I wouldn't read anything into what it means about you. Chances are it's happening at a stage when they can't really know anything about you anyway.

It can be tempting to villainize ghosters but I don't think it's helpful. It sets up a good guys/bad guys dynamic that informs how you enter your next experience. Go ahead and be angry and disappointed about being ghosted but add a little dose of compassion. It ultimately makes it easier to be gentle with ourselves.

When my clients ask when they should contact someone, I almost always answer, "When you want to." In situations like this, there is no reason to wait to check out why they seemed to disappear after the date. It can reignite the conversation or it can allow you to release it sooner and move on to the next thing. 

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn

Last edited @ May 8, 5:26PM EDT.
May 8, 5:24PM EDT0
What do you find most challenging about your job?
May 8, 3:10PM EDT0

Hi Campbell,

Honestly, I find it frustrating not to be able to also work with the people my clients are dating!! There is some pretty disasterous behavior out there and I want to improve everyone's chances of finding the relationship they deserve. It is hard to watch people sabotage themsleves without realizing it. Self-awareness for all! :D 

Christine

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn

May 8, 5:03PM EDT0
How can anyone in their twenties deal with the rejection that comes from constant dating and never finding a stable relationship?
May 8, 2:30PM EDT0

Hi Victoria,

Rejection is so painful but, unfortunately, it is an inevitable part of dating. I end up talking with all of my clients at some point about how not to personalize the ones that don't work out. If you think about it, every relationship except the one that sticks is technically a failure. It's just what it is. And believe it or not, it isn't unique to you. 

My basic framework for thinking about dating is that it is practice. That's all. Dating isn't finding the perfect mate or settling down or marrying or anything else. It's relationship practice. Looking at it this way can lessen the pressure on each experience because you go into it without needing it to be anything other than a trial. You're essentially trying someone on to see if they are a good fit. If it doesn't progress, it wasn't the right fit. 

If you are noticing that each experience is following the same basic pattern, there may be something deeper getting in the way that's worth expoloring. In the meantime, think about each experience as an important stepping stone. Each pass at dating with someone new is an opportunity to explore, develop and refine your interpersonal patterns. and that ultimately helps you evolve to match with the person who eventually is a good fit for you. 

Hang in there!

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn

May 8, 3:05PM EDT0
When did you decide to start EVOLVE Dating Consultation and what was the inspiration behind it?
May 8, 2:04PM EDT0

Hi,

Thanks for asking! The seeds of the Evolve idea probably go back more than 10 years. In my clinical practice I noticed that the stories of my dating clients had a lot of similarities. One of the common complaints was that when something didn't work out early on, they had no way of really knowing why. I thought it would be useful to gather daters together in a group and design excercises that would allow them to get answers to some of the questions they all seemed to have. 

Dating Boot Camp (now called Engage)was born. I ran this group several times for a few years with great results but I wanted to do more. I found that working with my individual therapy clients on dating issues really energized me and seemed to benefit them immensely. In December I began developing Evovle. My wish is to offer dating consulting services to anyone in the world, whether they are in therapy or not.

A really important component to Evovle is the community aspect of it. Dating can be a very isolating experience so, true to my original Dating Boot Camp idea, I wanted to provide a space where singles can find support and share experiences with people in the same situation. While my Engage group workshop meets this need, I also have an annual Evovle membership which includes access to a closed Facebook page. The Dating Loop serves as a private group forum for all things dating. 

I aboslutely LOVE what I do and I'm excited to share it with the world!

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn

May 8, 2:35PM EDT0
When is the right time to take a next step in a good relationship? Like moving in together, or getting married?
May 8, 10:41AM EDT0

Hi,

Great question! When you are in a good, healthy relationship, my answer to this question is, you'll know. In a healthy situation, the couple is generally moving forward at about the same pace. Conversations about a long-term future start to organically happen one both sides and neither is avoiding talking about it. 

When the feelings are there and mutual, milestones like moving in, getting married and satrting a family begin to happen when they make sense in the life stage and life circumstances. 

In short, when things are healthy, it's not that hard. If there is some hesitation on one side, it's best to talk about it and understand what may need to happen for both partners to be ready to move forward. If this takes in inordinate amount of time, there may be something deeper going on. 

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn

May 8, 2:21PM EDT0
How can anyone modify their relationship patterns to get a positive experience? How does one identify which patterns are not working? What are the signs?
May 8, 7:31AM EDT0

Hi Robert,

I'll answer your last quesiton first. If you find yourself having the same experiences over and over again and you don't feel like anything is progressing, there's a good chance there is an unproductive pattern at play. You may have some idea of what patterns tend to trip you up or you may be completely mysitfied. If the latter is the case, it takes a little bit of self-reflection and exploration of relationship history to connect the dots. This is where a consulting practice like Evolve comes in. And if your sense is that the patterns are really dysfuncitonal or too deeply ingrained to shift well on your own, longer-term relational therapy is a great option.

Regarding how to modify the patterns, the bottom line is active practice. Understanding where the patterns come from is really important but not much is going to change unless you do things differently. But we are creatures of habit and change is hard. 

A good guage of whether you are doing something differently or challenging a pattern is if something makes you uncomfortable. When we're comfortable, we're not growing or changing so don't be afraid to break some eggs!

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn

May 8, 2:04PM EDT0
Why is it so hard to get over a breakup? Can you share any tips to move on?
May 7, 11:44AM EDT0

Hi,

Ugh, break ups are so hard! The loss of a relationship represents the loss of a lot of different things including:

-companionship

-love

-belonging

-being seen and understood

-acceptance

-safety

-stability

-a wished for future

-a reflection of self

I could go on. But it's a big deal. There is a lot to consider when trying to move on.

First, it is a loss so it needs to be grieved. Don't shut off the pain feelings. They will guide you to mourn and then let go. You can't let go of something that's lost until you grieve it. That means feeling the feels.

Second, the feelings aren't going to just go away and never come back. Depending on the relaitonship, you may always feels sad when you think about it. That doesn't mean you aren't "over it" (whatever that means.) You can track whether you are moving through the grieving process if, over time, you are thinking about the break-up a little less, if the feelings gradually decrease in intensity and if the periods of sadness resolve more quickly.

A couple of other thoughts:

You generally want to find a balance of giving the grief space and living your life. Be careful not to overpersonalize a loss. It takes two to tango. Don't rush into dating too quickly. You will know when you're ready if you let the grief unfold organically. And get support! You may be perfectly able to navigate this alone, but why would you if you don't have to. 

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn

May 8, 1:30PM EDT0
Why are so many people afraid of commitment? Why do they run away when someone expresses their feelings and affections towards them?
May 6, 8:03PM EDT0

HI Cleo,

I know this is so confusing and frustrating for the clients I work with. I believe that commitment phobia is really about discomfort with intimacy. Sharing of feelings deepens intimacy and this is where some people will jump ship.

Many of my clients will approach this by modifying their own expression of feeling so they don't "scare" the other person off. I discourage this and instead coach my clients to explore the possibility that they may be attracting to emotionally unavailable people. This might be because it's a familiar and comfortable dynamic or because there is an attempt to correct for an early emotional wound around unvailable people. This is the heart of the work I do with my clients; helping them figure out what they can shift in their own dynamic to attract healthier people rather than trying to adapt to something that isn't satisfying.

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn

May 8, 1:19PM EDT0
What dating, relationship and matchmaking services do you offer? Do you offer online consultations?
May 6, 2:18PM EDT0

Hi Hasan,

I offer individual and goup consultation both in-person and online. My individual services are packaged to suit all levels of investment from brief consults to address specific quesitons (like the ones posed here) to a fuller base-line assessment to a longer-term, in-depth reworking of patterns. My dating group workshop consists of six small group sessions. At the moment, I don't offer matchmaking services but I am working on developing a dating app so I will be moving in that direction soon!

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

LinkedIn

May 8, 1:12PM EDT0
If one is in abusive relationship, what is the best way to leave it?
May 6, 9:05AM EDT0

Hi,

There is no one right way to leave an abusive situation. There are too many factors that determine the best option and, because it can be an issue of safety, it is very important to get support and guidance from someone local who can be informed of the details of a specific situation. I don't know where you are writing from, but there should be a local domestic violence agency who can offer suggestions and even protection if needed. As a starting place, any police station should have a list of resources.

Best of luck with this.

Christine

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

May 7, 10:39PM EDT0
Which are the dating experiences that shape out our future dating life? Do you mean parent's relationships, family?
May 6, 7:41AM EDT0

Yes, I mean family relationships. Of course, peers, teachers and others outside the childhood home have an impact as well. But we learn by example and the examples we have the most exposure to our family relationships. If the adults in the home don't talk about feelings, the children in the home learn not to talk about feelings. If one parent is explosive and the other parent is submissive, we tend to be one of those two ways in our own relationships. If a family is loving and supportive, we learn that we are lovable and deserve support and will seek partners who reflect this. If one gender or characteristic (intellignce, athleticism, appearance) is valued over another, those values will follow us in our dating choices.

I hope this helps clarify what I mean. Feel free to reach out if you have additional quesitons.

Christine

Sign up for my weekly dating tidbit, Dating Matters: My Two Cents where you can get my perspective on many topics just like this.

www.EVOLVEDating.net

FB: @IWantToEvolve

Twitter: @ChicagoDatingDr

May 7, 10:29PM EDT0
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