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How to Break Out of Your Dating Slump

Here are Four Ways to Improve Your Dating Batting Average …

Baseball has long been a rich source of dating references and metaphors: striking out, getting to first base, and knocking it out of the park. Here is another, if striking out has become a regular occurrence in your dating game: The Slump. This is the danger zone in which you start to suspect that bad luck is here to stay and your romantic career is over before it even began.

Don’t believe it! In baseball—and dating—there is no such thing as an unbreakable losing streak. In the 1984 film ‘The Natural’, the abysmal New York Knights can’t win a game for God or country, threatening to derail slugger Roy Hobbs’ last-chance shot at the majors after years of heartbreak and hard luck. In desperation, the manager hires a diminutive and bookish sports psychologist, who couldn’t hit a ball in three tries if his life were on the line. “Losing is a disease,” he says to the assembled team in a monotonous, nasal voice. He slowly repeats himself three times, then, waving a boney finger, he adds: “Ah, but curable.” To prove the point, Hobbs finally gets his chance at bat—and magically leads the team to capture the pennant. (He also gets the girl.)

Your dating slump may feel like a terrible disease, but the prognosis is excellent. Here are four ways to get your swing back:

Change Your Stance. Good players know that small alterations in their posture at the plate can translate into big changes on the scoreboard. In dating that can mean evaluating everything from your wardrobe to where you typically go on a first date. Analyze your attitude for signs of self-fulfilling pessimism about your chances of success. Do you focus on positive topics of conversation, or spend the evening complaining about the weather, the traffic, your coworkers? Next time you have an opportunity to pursue someone new, identify any ruts you have fallen into—and try something new.

Loosen Your Grip. Maybe you are simply trying too hard. Approaching each new date like the whole season is on the line is a sure way to come off as uptight, overly serious, and emotionally fragile—deathly afraid of yet another strike out before the pitcher even takes the mound. Relax. Remember that dating is not about winning or losing, but about having (and being) as much fun as possible while you play the game. Your stats will improve the minute you stop worrying about them.

Choose Your Pitches Carefully. It’s true that patience grows exponentially more difficult the longer you go without a hit. But a willingness to wait for the right person to come along never stops being an essential element of your game. A batter who swings wildly at every pitch anywhere near the plate is sure to spend a lot of time walking back to the dugout instead of sprinting around the bases.

Listen to Your Coach. Everyone needs objective input now and then. In baseball, experienced coaches study all the fine points of a players’ swing to see where problems exist. Sometimes minor changes and corrections are all that’s needed to turn things around. When it comes to relationships, you have friends who will give you advice, share opinions, and offer perspective. If you’ve got someone whose insights you trust, listen carefully. Most important, allies like this provide encouragement to press on and persevere until the slump is over.

One last tip: when you finally get a hit, put all your energy into making the most of it.