Are you single and curious about how to meet the right partner? Do you want to know where you're going wrong? Do you think you're 'accidentally single' and concerned that things will always stay the same? This book will open your eyes to the fifteen key relationship obstacles and teach you ways to overcome them so you are able to attract the right person into your life.
Most dating guides tell us that by following a few simple rules, we can reach relationship nirvana: don't call too soon, be confident, be careless, get a new hairdo, walk away, persevere, flirt more, flirt less. But those who've been single for a while, or in and out of unsatisfactory relationships, know that the complexities of dating can't be reduced to a checklist for a Saturday night out.
Finding the right partner involves more than knowing how to flirt. But after years listening to his clients talk about the difficulties of finding a partner psychologist John Aiken has come to the conclusion that many of our dating mistakes are ones we don't even know we are making.
In his revealing new book Aiken shares his own dating stories as well as identifies the 15 key mistakes that hold singles back - including being too bossy and picky, being attracted to unavailable types, being hung up on the past, letting drama rule your life and having toxic friends - and provides detailed step-by-step advice on how to overcome these mistakes in order to make room in our lives for love.
Insightful, authoritative and entertaining, Accidentally Single provides grown-up advice for singles who want to find someone special, and are prepared to do the work to make it happen.
John Aiken has been a psychologist for 15 years specialising in relationship advice for singles and couples. During this time, he has also worked in the media as a TV host and psychology expert, had his own nationwide radio show, and featured in numerous magazines. He is a high energy live speaker and workshop presenter and runs a private practice in Sydney, Australia.
Accidentally Single The 15 mistakes that ruin romance and how to avoid them
Author: John Aiken
Why did you decide to write this book?
John Aiken: I had seen many single clients over the years that complained of not being able to meet the right person, but were also making key mistakes unknowingly that held them back. I was also guilty of doing this myself when I was single - going after unavailable types, putting work first, being hung up on the past - and I thought it was important for singles to know that anyone can do this and give them easy strategies to break the pattern.
How did you collate the 15 mistakes, was it via interviews, dating or prior experience?
John Aiken: The mistakes were based on a combination of all the stories I had heard from single clients, friends and my own past horror dating experiences.
15 mistakes is quite a long list, have you experienced all of these mistakes?
John Aiken: No thankfully! If I had done all of these I don't think I would've ever met my wife! Basically, the book allows you to dip in and out of the chapters that apply - you don't need to read all of it. In each chapter, you'll get an overview of the key signs to look out for in each mistake (e.g. having a problem ex, you have a negative attitude, you're too picky or bossy etc.), what it's like to date someone like you, what's in it for you, and 5 easy strategies to overcome the mistake. It has my own stories sprinkled throughout, as well as 15 case stories that show clearly how to deal with each obstacle.
In your experience do men and women both make the same mistakes?
John Aiken: I had seen men and women talk to me about the same dating mistakes, so the book is a great read for both sexes. At the end of the day, if you're single and frustrated, then this book will open your eyes to what obstacles you put up unconsciously, and teach you how to pull them down and let someone special in. It's much more than just learning a few simple pick up lines, you need to take responsibility and start living your life differently as a single person. This book will show you how to do this.
I showed your book to a work colleague she said she ticks all the mistake boxes, what advice to you have to give her?
John Aiken: Well, I would reassure her and say that being able to recognise her mistakes is the first step in changing her approach to meeting the right guy. Then I would say that she has to begin to break patterns. This book is all about the "how do I do it differently", so she would need to begin to break patterns and live her life differently. Whether she always goes after married men, has over involved parents, toxic friends, a problem ex, is too picky, or too clingy, she needs to identify clearly these behaviours and then make changes. I would also encourage her to enlist the help of someone who can keep her on the right track and stay positive as she moves forward in the dating game.
What are your three top steps to overcoming dating mistakes?
John Aiken: 1) Take responsibility and look inwards at the situation. Stop focusing on outside factors like the Man Drought, all the good ones are taken, know one wants commitment anymore, guys just want younger women etc. Put your hand up and look at how you're contributing to this situation and make a change now. Ask yourself - "What barriers do I put up that stop the right person coming into my life?" and "What am I going to do now to make myself more available to let the right one in?"
2) Treat dating as a process of elimination not rejection. Too many people take it too personally! You need to remember that you've got to get rid of the bad to get to the good. You'll meet many people along the way that aren't right for you. It's just like trying on clothes - if they don't fit, put them back and move on to the next store. Stay patient and be selective. As long as you're not putting up any obstacles it will happen.
3) Only go after love interests that are available. So often you can waste valuable time and energy trying to get someone to commit to you when they have no intention of doing so. Make a pact with yourself to say 'no' to anyone who is unavailable for a long term relationship. They may be married or attached, too young or too old, travel too much, always put work first, party too much and love drinking and doing drugs, or tell you they're bad at relationships or don't want anything serious. You're not going to change them - move on to someone who wants a long term commitment!
Do you think dating experiences differ from state to state and country to country?
John Aiken: I've worked with singles from all parts of the world - Australia, New Zealand, USA, the UK, South Africa, and Europe. The dating experiences that they talk about are all very similar and these 15 key mistakes that ruin romance exist everywhere!
The book shares your own dating stories; can you share some of them with us?
John Aiken: Sure! I tried once going out with a fitness junkie that I had met at a party. We both went to the same gym, so I thought we might be a good match. I was wrong! After three weeks of dating I had to give it away due to the fact I always came second to her excessive exercise regime, her night time curfew, and her carb free diet! She was single but unavailable, and nobody was going to get her to put romance ahead of fitness. I also went after a woman when I was travelling around England. I met her at a bar - and she was total English rose, stunning and successful. I thought I had met the one, went home that night and started dreaming of moving permanently to London. I then spent the next few weeks texting her, leaving phone messages and trying to catch-up with her. After several weeks of no reply I realised I had become too clingy in my approach and pushed her away. A good lesson to earn!
Do you think we ever get past our first love?
John Aiken: Absolutely! Out first love can certainly have a big impact on us as it's all so new, fresh and intense! You're often experiencing things for the first time and they can make a great impression. However, we all change and mature, our personalities and preferences develop, and what we had back then may not have the same hold on us as we get older. It's great to have memories, but it's much better to live in the now rather than hang onto the past.
Are you in a relationship now; if so why is it successful?
John Aiken: I've been married for 3 years now to Kelly and we're about to have our first child! I think there are many reasons for it being successful. For starters, she told me early on that she wanted a husband and not a psychologist, and that I needed to keep any psycho-babble to myself! We make sure we spend regular amounts of time together during the week catching up for coffees, brunches in the week-ends and having date nights. We're honest about our finances, feelings and any issues that need to be discussed. When we fight, we don't look to blame, but rather acknowledge the situation and try and look for a solution. We also praise and compliment each as much as possible, and we both make an effort with each other's family members and friends.
If you had a daughter, what advice would you give her?
John Aiken: Don't have sex on the first night! Other than that, I would tell her to be patient and selective, don't give out mixed messages, and be interested in guys and ask questions. Take a pride in your appearance, be responsible with alcohol and avoid drugs, and be prepared to say 'no', express your opinion, and be open to new dating opportunities. Finally, I would tell her to always maintain her friendships and family relationships rather than making guys the center of her world!