09/28/2012 05:24 EDT | Updated 11/28/2012 05:12 EST

Is a "Fill-in-Boyfriend" Stopping You From Finding Love?


Often times when I sit down with a new client, we review how and with whom they are spending their time. Sometimes it is to highlight they are not getting themselves out there at all and other times it is to highlight that perhaps the people they are spending time with are hindering their search. I am all about having healthy relationships in all areas of your life but when a client is specifically trying to meet their future partner, we often need to rearrange a few things.

What I often see is that women have a "fill-in" boyfriend in their life, meaning a purely platonic guy-friend that they hang out with, laugh with, do activities with, confide in but are not involved with. I've come to learn that this type of closeness can sometimes get in the way of meeting a boyfriend because you are already getting all your needs met by this guy-friend, except for physical intimacy.

You aren't as motivated to meet a boyfriend because it's just easier to complain to the guy-friend that you can't meet anyone. It is just easier to go for a drink with him after work than it is to follow-up on that blind-date your co-worker wanted to set you up on. Sound familiar?

The other "fill-in" boyfriend I see can come in the form of family commitments. I had a client who had dinner with his parents every single Friday night and for good reason, he enjoys their company. However, guess what the topic of conversation was every Friday -- "so, have you met a special lady yet?".

I think it's great to have a good relationship with your family but I often see when you have too many family commitments, it takes valuable time away from your search and often makes you feel worse about yourself. I recommend having an open talk with your family about the IRONY around the fact they always ask when you are going to meet someone but yet you are spending all your free time with them.

Although this isn't the most romantic comparison, what if you were looking for a job and you spent a good portion of your free time with your family and they were asking why you hadn't found a job? Your family will be understanding if it's presented in a way that you care about them a lot, still wish to spend time with them, but your dating life needs to be priority right now. This is simply a shift to quality over quantity.

If your usual schedule is to have an hour call with a family member every night, perhaps move it to every second night for starters. That means you have just gifted yourself up to four hours of time that can be dedicated to your search. Whether it is joining that biking group you've been meaning to or editing your online profile so that it feels more authentically you.

Take a look to see if you have any "fill-in's" in your life right now.

Live Love,


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