woman using an online dating app on her phone
Dating | Finding your soulmate

Why is dating so hard?!

May 21, 2024
Posted by Karen Strang Allen

Let’s look at a common dating scenario…

You put your profile up, excited at the possibility of meeting someone wonderful.

Soon after, you get a nice message from a cute guy who seems genuine. You chat back and forth, and you start feeling eager to meet him. You suggest meeting up, and then…radio silence.

What happened?! Where did he go? Did you say something wrong?

He could have been a catfisher. He may have social anxiety or commitment issues. You may have said something he didn’t like. He may be seeing several people, or he may not be that into you…

The truth is, you will likely never know what happened.

There’s no doubt about it, dating in the digital world is challenging. It’s like driving on a giant freeway with no rules and everyone going in different directions!

Like many women, when my ex & I first split, I dreaded dating… especially online dating. I felt confused when men acted hot & cold. I felt hurt if someone ghosted me or didn’t choose me. I attracted players, mama’s boys, emotionally damaged men, and even a narcissist.

And the more failed relationships I had, the worse I felt about myself (and about men). Was there something wrong with me? Were there no good men out there? Was I destined to be alone forever?

Eventually I realized…hey, wait a second, I can blame the guys, but the common denominator here is me! I know I’m a good person, so it’s not that there’s something wrong with me…it must be that I’m doing something wrong (and sure enough, I was)!

That realization led me to research dating and relationships for over a decade, discovering the underlying reasons why high-quality women like me attract (and chose) wounded men.

While there were many dating coaches, few were talking about the root causes of why women commonly settle for less than they deserve in love…and I was determined for find out why.

So what goes wrong when dating?

So let’s begin with our original question: Why is dating so hard?

Through my research and 10 years of professional experience coaching single women, I’ve discovered there are 5 main reasons (and solutions):

1. Dating for the wrong reasons – Many people date in order to avoid feelings of unhappiness and loneliness. But sad and lonely people attract sad and lonely people. Your pain will attract their pain. So to attract someone better, you must do the work to heal and unpack your emotional baggage first. The right reason to date is because you’re feeling great about your life and want to share your happiness with someone (you’re not looking for someone to make you happy).

2. Looking for validation and acceptance – Many people are also looking for validation from their dates/partners…to be chosen so that they feel good about themselves. But you’ll always attract a reflection of what you feel inside. So if you don’t feel confident in yourself, you’ll attract someone who makes you feel less confident. Or you’ll feel “rejected” when someone doesn’t choose you. Or you’ll choose too quickly, just because someone is flattering you. To be successful in love, you must first know and love who you are. Feeling good about yourself is the best antidote to perceived rejection and allows you to be more patient with the process and make better choices.

3. Not knowing what you actually want – Many people use the trial and error method of dating, and have no clue what they really want. Or they have a very vague idea. But here’s the thing: you can’t get what you want if you don’t even know what that is! And trial and error is a painful way of doing relationships, because you have to keep going through break-ups, over and over again. Just like you shouldn’t get to the drive-through window without knowing what you’re ordering, you shouldn’t sign up for online dating without knowing what you want either.

4. Having limiting beliefs – We don’t get what we want in life, we get what you believe. So even if you figure out what you want, if you believe that there’s no good partners out there, men only want young women, there’s no one where you live…then that is what you will experience in your reality. Your brain will only see what you’ve programmed it to believe, so you will prove yourself right. We won’t act contrary to our beliefs. So what you’re seeing and experiencing in your “reality” is simply a mirror of your present beliefs. Don’t like your results? Change your beliefs!

5. Focusing on the wrong thing – What you focus on, expands. So if you keep focusing on the jerks, liars, cheaters, players…that’s what you’ll continue to attract and see! Not because there aren’t good people out there. But because that is what you told your brain to focus on. So learn how to control your point of focus and redirect it to what you do want.

Your “reality” is created

Many single women I talk to try to convince me that online dating really does suck and there are no good ones where they live, because that has been their experience…their “reality.”

And granted, it’s true that it’s their experience of reality (subjective reality), but it’s not an objective reality that is true for all people. There are people who actually enjoy dating, and many of my clients have found love while online dating ― we are not all having the same experience!

Think of it this way…when it’s 14⁰ Celsius in the fall after a long hot summer, it feels cold. But when it’s 14⁰ Celsius after a long cold winter, it feels warm! Saying it is cold or warm is not objective truth or reality ― it is subjective experience (and what someone who lives down South finds “cold” will be different than someone who lives up North does).

Your experiences are simply a reflection of your past beliefs, emotions and behaviours…which is what generates your results.

How do I know this? Because I coach single women who come to me with a pattern of attracting the wrong partners…and when they do the inner work to shift this, they start attracting better quality partners!

It might seem like magic, but it’s not..it’s frequency and focus. When we complain about what we don’t like (e.g. online dating and players), we reinforce it and attract more of it. It’s like tuning into the hard-hitting rap music station when what you want to hear is peaceful, spa-like music. Your dial is tuned to the wrong frequency!

So, when you’re struggling in love, it makes no sense to just keep dating. As Einstein famously said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He also said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

In other words, you won’t see the good guys when you keep complaining about your ex or bad dates and your vision is clouded by your struggle, pain and fear. Continuing to date when you are feeling this way will not result in a different experience, so it’s wasted time and effort.

How can I change my dating experience?

Contrary to popular belief, there are just as many good single men out there as women. And there is an easier way to find them. Dating doesn’t have to be as hard as people make it out to be.

Long story short, if you’re finding it hard, you’re doing it wrong! And if you want different results, you need to change your approach!

So please, for goodness sake, stop dating if it’s not working for you! Recalibrate, change your beliefs and date from a place of happiness and confidence instead of trying to fill a void in your life.

If you don’t acknowledge your responsibility in who you’re attracting, who you’re choosing, and why you keep staying too long in unhealthy relationships, you are giving your power away to others and you cannot fix the problem.

Your point of power is not in complaining about or trying to change men. It’s in changing yourself…your beliefs, emotions, attitude, behaviours and focus.

Empowered dating

If you have a pattern of attracting the wrong partners and you want to know how to change your dating experience (or how to even get started), I invite you to a FREE virtual training called Finding Love in the Modern Age.

During this 40-minute online masterclass, you will learn:

  • How modern dating has changed since your 20s
  • The 10 biggest mistakes women make when looking for love
  • The surprising reasons why women settle
  • How to know if you’re ready to date (and what to do if you aren’t)
  • What you need to succeed in love!

Learn more and register here

Best of luck in your dating adventures!

❤ Karen

Share your ideas

What has your experience with dating been like? Please share!


  1. Francesca Dattilo

    This is a great post Karen. I really like the analogies you have used to demonstrate your points. I have worked and work with many women myself helping them end hopeless relationships and attract their ideal partners. I have also shared with them all of what you have shared here in my own words. And, it works!

    • Karen Strang Allen

      Thanks Francesca! 🙂

  2. Elaine

    Thank you Karen! I always try to read what you post as I find those nuggets of wisdom and wonderful aha moments. I will be forever in your debt for helping me see myself differently, take back my power, see my worth, learn I am the master of my happiness, health, emotions and voice. I love being this work in progress. Every day gets better, even being able spend time with, say goodbye to, and to find acceptance and peace with the death of my friend Sandy yesterday. ❤️

    • Karen Strang Allen

      I’m glad you find my posts helpful Elaine, and it has been a true pleasure working with amazing women like you! Sending you lots of love as you heal from the loss of your friend. xo

  3. Moraine McDonald

    I dated one man 4 years after my separation/divorce. We broke up 2 times and I got back together with him. It was good in the beginning but the longer we went out the more mundane it became. I felt like I was married again. We were more emotionally connected than my ex, however, he was having career challenge and I am retired. He never had time to travel. After I got back from 2 weeks in Portugal he just drifted away and I let him. We never had closure ( a conscious discussion) . Every so often he will text on Mother’s Day or holidays out of politeness I guess. I have been single since November and although I would like to start dating I thought by taking Karen’s program I would be better prepared and get better results. I can see I get attached and settle.

    • Karen Strang Allen

      Yes, it can be hard when we don’t get closure. But we can create our own closure by moving on and creating a joyful life, and then eventually finding an even better partner than what we had before. You deserve so much better Moraine! 🙂

  4. AD

    Good post…. dating takes two people to want the same thing and be on the same page. Also, if nothing else good come from it, meeting the wrong person helps you to know what you’re looking for in the right person for you. Last, consider it a good thing is dating comes off a little hard, to me that just means you know specifically what you’re looking for and want and not willing to accept anything. Thus, you’re able to easily filter out people with key red flags…

  5. Marta Frant

    Thank you for your profound research! I believe this post should be on every dating site as an entry so that everyone could read it before starting their search.

    • silverliningsblog

      You’re welcome Marta, and thanks for the compliment! 🙂



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About the author

Karen Strang Allen

Karen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. 

Learn More about Karen