“I’m never going to meet someone”

“All women want a guy with a lot of money”

These are examples of All-or-Nothing thinking, a cognitive distortion seen among people who suffer from anxiety and/or depression.

So what is it really?

It’s when someone views themselves and their life experiences in black and white terms – things are either all good or all bad.

Why is this a problem in dating?

Because you don’t see a potential partner for who she really is. 

All-or-Nothing thinkers tend to see women in overly idealized ways at first (“She’s perfect!”) and then withdraw when they start to see their flaws.

Their lack of fulfillment bubbles up into criticism and resentment and then, inevitably, a break-up ensues.

Sounds exhausting, right?

It is.

But here’s the worst part.

All-or-Nothing thinkers suffer from low self-esteem. 

That was the conclusion of a Yale study.  The researchers found that All-or-Nothing thinkers suffered from chronic dissatisfaction because of a fear of disappointment. 

And they project those fears onto their partners by placing unrealistic expectations on them.

How do you know if you’re an All-or-Nothing thinker?

Here’s some clues:

  • You frequently use the words “always”, “never” and “all”
  • Your thinking vacillates between believing you’re very successful or a total failure in life
  • You overlook how valuable you are to family and friends
  • You find it hard to come up with solutions when in conflict

I’ve certainly painted a gloomy picture but it’s not all bad.  There are things All-or-Nothing thinkers can do:

  • Phone a friend – identify someone you respect who can give you a balanced assessment of a difficult situation, particularly in a dating scenario – someone who can see a middle ground
  • Work with a therapist or Life Coach – they can help you with cognitive reframing, which is shifting your mindset so you can see situations from a different perspective
  • Download your thoughts – in order to shift your thinking, you first need to identify your disruptive thought patterns and an easy way to do that is by writing them down, particularly when you’re upset. 

All-or-Nothing thinking is no joke.

It could be the reason your dating life is not going the way you want.

But in order to turn things around, you’ll need to acknowledge you suffer from it and get some help.

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