Today I am helping you, my listeners, find love and keep it flourishing while healing yourself. In this episode, I answer some of your questions about love, dating, and sex. I talk about the pros of dating apps and how to master them. I also talk about the cons of certain dating apps and explain which red flags to look out for when you sign up with a new app. I share tips for adults who have, so far, been unlucky in love and I also discuss the touchy topic of dating and racism in the United States.
Listen in to learn why you keep getting ghosted, how to conquer your loneliness, and ways to find the right sex therapist for you and your partner.
You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!
- Mastering dating apps
- Pitfalls of dating apps
- Why do I keep getting ghosted
- Dating app red flags
- Juggling racism and dating in the U.S.
- Tips for adults that have so far been unlucky in love
- The value in the ache for love
- Mastering the grief of loneliness
- How long should you stay
- Finding the right sex therapist
- Listen to The Deeper Dating Podcast Episode 130: Is This a Stepping Stone Relationship or A Lasting Love?
- Get a copy of Deeper Dating by Ken Page
- Join the Coaching and Mentorship Intensive with Ken Page
- Connect with us on Instagram
Welcome to the Deeper Dating Q&A, where I answer your most pressing personal questions about love, sex, and intimacy in a way that lets you leave the episode with new possibilities and revelations about your own love life. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.The skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love and those are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. Click To Tweet
Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating, co-founder of deeperdating.com and creator of the upcoming Deeper Dating Intensive, which you’ll get to hear more about later. In this Q and A episode and in every episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. And those are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.
And if you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You’ll receive free gifts and resources, you’ll learn about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey, and there’ll be complete transcripts of every episode there. Also, everything I share in this podcast is educational, it’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any condition. And if you think you need help, I really encourage you to seek it out. And by the way, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that.
I’m going to pretty much read the first question. “Hi Ken, my name’s James and I’m okay with you using my name.” And he said, “I want to thank you for being such an inspiration and your determination to change the way a lot of us think.” Thank you so much, James.
So he said, “I’m not sure this is an actual question or more of an observation. I’ve been diving deep into your work and I’ve made the choice to only do attractions of inspiration. I’ve been more selective of the men I choose to talk to. But unfortunately, the majority of swipe apps that we use don’t really allow that. I’ve had a lot more communication with men and it’s led to really good conversations as I’ve made these changes, but there just seems to be a lack of that final moment of getting them to meet and I feel ghosted a lot more of the times.”
“And I’ve had the chance to talk with people who I found to be quite possibly an attraction of inspiration and we’ve had really good conversation for two or three days or even weeks. And I might say to them, ‘Hey, it would be great to meet for a cup of coffee,’ because obviously you can’t just stay on this virtual reality for ages when you want to meet someone. And it’s taken me a lot of inner work to think that this quality of wanting to meet is actually an intimacy gift. But I wonder, is this something I need to work on, or could it be their wave of distancing, or that Eros kind of can sometimes go away when people know that other people are available? I would just like your thoughts and your guidance about what to do about people who just run when someone seems available.”Sex and love are choices that some of us are not offered. Click To Tweet
I paraphrased a little bit there. But this is a really great question. So, James, I really want to acknowledge you for the work that you’ve done and the shift in your focus of only seeking attractions of inspiration and you’re already noticing a difference. You’re starting to meet people who are more like that. This stuff happens in stepping stone ways. That’s something I’ve talked about. So, accomplishment; shift in your field, shift in the people you’re meeting, mark that and note it as a shift in your field that comes from the choices that you have made. And that is nothing short of fabulous.
But now you’re confronting, especially on the swipe apps, the gay men swipe apps, that people are willing to talk and chat and not meet. Here’s what I want to say about that. That is not you, my friend and these are core gifts of yours. It’s absolutely a core gift that you’re someone who’s willing to do this work, who really wants to meet someone and connect with them. And yeah, there’s a lot of people who don’t in swipe culture and a lot of queer men’s culture really doesn’t support the actual connecting.
In fact, it’s built to have you keep reaching for another chip and another chip and another chip, and there’s research that shows that’s true. What I want to say is honor this about yourself, honor it about yourself. I would also say, if somebody’s going for like that many times, like even weeks and not meeting, something is wrong and it ain’t you. They are, for whatever reason, frightened of meeting and you are ready to meet. So you keep looking. And I would say that a good way to do this is that you message a few times, you move to texting, maybe you move to speaking and then you move to actually meeting. If it goes on for too long, it’s a sign of something or just not really a good thing. Sometimes people are happy to have conversations, but the only time they want to meet is just to hook up.
These are not the guys you’re looking for. But I would also say to you is be creative and start looking online, and offline if you’re ready to do that, for environments with men who share deeper values, who want to connect, who do volunteer work, who have interest in other things than the apps and start looking in those places too. You have progressed really far, this is a fabulous thing, it’s not you, but now is the time to externalize responsibility for that. You’re trying to meet these guys and they’re not willing to do it. Move on and look for the guys who are the kind of guys who actually do want to meet and connect and have a date.
Next and super, super timely. “Thank you so much, Ken. I spoke with you and your husband once about this: Would you please have a special or at least an episode or a part of an episode devoted purely to African Americans, African American daters? And what would be some of the suggestions you have for how to deal with the extreme stress of racism in this country and trying to keep an open mind about love and intimacy and trust?”
I just want to thank you so much for that comment. As I said, it comes really, really in time because our very next episode is with the amazing Damona Hoffman who has a lot of expertise in this issue and is the host of the amazing Dates and Mates Podcast. She speaks about her own experiences of dealing with racism in dating and the insights she’s cultivated and her thoughts and reflections about that. I’m grateful that you asked this question and super excited about the very next episode. So again, thank you so much for that question.
Unlucky in Love:
And I’m going to read the next one too. “Hi Ken, I’m a 65 year old lesbian. I have never had a relationship. I’ve never been a girlfriend. I’ve asked women out. I have a great life. I’m fully engaged with the world. People are often crazy about me. However, romantic intimacy has never been offered to me. I’m in the paradoxical and mysterious dilemma of being admired, accepted, respected, but not given the chance to share myself with a true partner. I can’t do all the work and make it happen. Some other person has to say yes or at least be interested enough to want to have coffee with me and that has not happened. I do enjoy my own company and I love my own space, but I’ve spent every single day of adulthood being completely alone because I’ve had to. And I function really well, but I don’t thrive. And loneliness is truly having its grip on me.”
And that’s a legitimate thing, because sex and love are choices that some of us are not offered. And a lot of self-help folks assume that we can get a date and most people talk about making your dates better and how to choose better, but some of us don’t even get up to that point. “Everyone I’ve asked has said no, and no one has ever asked me. And I wonder what you have to say about that. Thank you.”When there is a kind of sexual blockage it hinders the feeling of attachment with our partner. Click To Tweet
I want to thank you so much for being so vulnerable and asking such an important and kind of naked, real raw question. I so appreciate that. I just want to share some thoughts. I don’t know you so there’s a lot I don’t know, but I just want to share some general thoughts. I think you might be at a really powerful and important point where you are opening up to your vulnerability. And this is a guess, the guess is that you are really, really good at independence, but that dependence might come harder. Leaning on, might come harder. That would be my guess is that you don’t necessarily show the dependent part of yourself or that’s been kind of kept hidden. But that’s just a general guess. The main pieces that I want to say, first of all, you may be in an area where there are not a lot of older lesbian women, that makes it really hard.
It may be that the lesbians who might be part of your community are into things that you are not into. That’s also really hard. That’s why it’s so important to look for people who share your values. What I would say to you is, however you’re doing this, stretch out your boundaries. If you’re not doing online dating, you might really want to consider it. I want to encourage you to really stretch in terms of where you look. But I also want to say that with that experience of not having met anyone, there’s probably something that is not conscious in the way that you’re holding and expressing yourself. And there is a shift that you can make inside as whatever that is becomes clearer. And here’s what I would say to you. First of all, ask your close friends what they think might be happening. Now, maybe they’ll say they have absolutely no idea, then you’re going to have to kind of let them know how you might be different in dating. And it’s a question for yourself.
If your friends feel so deeply connected to you, are you shy about revealing those beautiful qualities in your dating life? Again, this is a guess, but I think that you might be at a milestone point where you are beginning to open up because of pain and the pain of loneliness, but still be able to open up to the depth of your need. And that’s a hard and beautiful thing, but that is rocket fuel to help you get out of the gravity zone of whatever might be unconsciously holding you back from connecting. I just want to say something about the value, the intense value of that ache for love. I remember I just spent many years looking for love in the club scene and the backroom scene and all of those scenes in the gay men’s community and not finding love, not finding love, not finding love, but looking desperately and frantically. This isn’t you, but it was me neglecting my family, neglecting my friends, because I was just on that hunt, that search.
And at a certain point, that shifted. But before it shifted, I had to feel the grief of my loneliness. I remember once being in a therapy group and I was just beginning to touch it. And if you’ve ever seen a kid who got really hurt and their mouth opens up and they can’t even make a noise because they’re so stunned by whatever accident just happened to them, that’s what happened to me. My mouth opened up, there was no sound that could capture this yawning depth of loneliness and then the tears came. But this was a gift. So what I want to say to you is welcome this softness of this longing. Look for people using that. But I would also say, I really, really, really, really, really believe this, because this is a hardened pattern, get help and get support through an intensive like the one that I do, through working with a coach like Deeper Dating mentors or there are many other wonderful, wonderful coaches and it would probably be most beneficial to work with a lesbian coach.
But give yourself that gift because there is a deconstruction and a reconstruction waiting to happen for you and you can make that happen, but don’t try to do it alone because you’ll probably just reenact the same patterns. Get help. Again, beautiful, precious choice point. Now I want to say there is so much external reality about how hard it is to find people, but there is also a deeper physics and when people make these shifts, I have seen again and again and again how the people they meet actually change. So don’t give up. There is huge hope here. Don’t give up, but do get help and do get support.
How long should you stay:
And here is our last question. “Hi Ken, I have a question for you. I’ve been dating a really nice guy about 18 months now. We met during COVID and it’s actually the slowest I’ve ever moved in a relationship. We dated about three months before we ever became sexually intimate. It had also been a dry spell for him for actually a few years. Initially when we did have intercourse, which didn’t last too long, he had premature ejaculation and I chalked it up to his lack of frequency with sex. However, with time it hasn’t improved. So I’m having a tough time with this. My previous boyfriend had erectile dysfunction issues, all psychologically based. And I kind of hung in there with that for about three years while he did therapy. So going through this type of thing a second time is really bringing up a lot for me.”
“I fear being too involved in maybe someone else’s process if there are psychological reasons, which I highly suspect in this situation. Also, my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend refused to have intercourse with him during the course of their relationship, which lasted several years and she refused due to her religious reasons. I did let my feelings be known finally with my boyfriend that I was having a tough time with this and he’s doing a little bit of therapy. I don’t know how well it’s moving. I try not to get involved in that. But my question to you is how long do you stay? I care about him very much, but the sexual piece doesn’t flow very well and it’s really hindering my feeling of attachment to him.”
“I’m 64, I’m super healthy and active and I want to have a fulfilling and fun sex life as part of my intimate relationship. I’m just concerned that this may not be the person I could do it with and I don’t want to hang around for another couple years waiting for it to be better when it’s not. I also don’t know if I’m not being realistic. Is this something I’m going to be faced with dating men 65 and older? I don’t know. But anyway, any insight on your part would be welcomed. Thanks Ken.”
Well, first of all, I just really, really want to support you for standing up for your needs for a deeper connection. And what you said is so true, that when there’s a kind of sexual blockage like this, it hinders the feeling of attachment with our partner. That’s just so true. And it seems like you have been very, very accommodating in the past and even have just experienced a lot of loss because of this issue. And it also sounds like that your partner had some real trauma with his ex around her literally refusing sex with him. So there really could be some trauma there as well. But I want to make a comment that this is something I have said to a lot of people who have sexual issues in their partnership.
I think your partner going off and doing personal therapy is absolutely a great thing, but this is a couple’s issue. I think so many people lose so many years around this stuff by just having one or both people in the party go to their own therapists or having the couple go to a therapist who’s not highly, highly trained in sex therapy. And if there are particular kinds of sex therapy, like maybe you’re into kink or maybe you’re queer or you’re non-binary, or there’s been sexual abuse trauma, you look for a trained sex therapist who has comfort and experience with that. If there is trauma, you definitely want someone who is a trauma sensitive, trauma aware, psychotherapist. But so many people don’t go to a couple’s sex therapist and that’s the way to do it. I just want to share a story with you.
A number of years ago, many years ago, I was in a relationship with someone I really cared about and I was having sexual dysfunction and I felt really bad about it because I really liked this guy and I didn’t want that to get in the way of the relationship. I saw a lovely sex therapist. She had one session with me, one, and she said, “You need to talk to your partner.” And that was the scariest thing in the world. I thought I would fix this on my own and just come in whole to the sex life that we shared and not have to do this mortifying thing. But she was like, “No, you have to do this mortifying thing. You have to include your partner because your partner is a part of this and you’re a couple.” Well, that blew my mind and I thought that it made sense.
I just want to share what my partner said because it was so inspiring and insightful to me. I told him about what I was experiencing, which he knew, and I told him that I saw a sex therapist and what the sex therapist said. And he said, “Ken, this is not a you thing. This is an us thing. We will work it out together because it’s an us thing.” I just thought that was the most beautiful, beautiful thing. He couldn’t have said anything better to me. And so what I want to say to you is, these issues, yeah, maybe he has to work on this himself in certain ways, but this is a you, both issue. And so I want to really encourage you to look for a great sex therapist. And if there are areas of specialization needed, look for that too. And just to share a little bit of research about what happens when you look for a therapist, this is something I tell everybody – you gotta shop around.
In fact, the research shows that if you don’t feel within just a few sessions, this gut level feeling, like this therapist can help me. Not that they’re just skilled and trained and appropriate and have a good body of knowledge and come well recommended, but that you get this gut feeling that they can help you. And that by eight, something like eight sessions in, if you’re not feeling that there’s a significant change happening, it might be a wonderful therapist, but that chemistry that you’re looking for isn’t there. So when you go look with your boyfriend for a sex therapist, look for those qualities and having you both feel the same way about it.
Well, this is the end of our Q&A and I thank you all so much for listening. I send you all my best and please go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and subscribe. I look forward to speaking with you on the next episode, which is my interview with the wonderful Damona Hoffman. Thank you.