Sunday, October 13, 2013

Who Are You Really Dating? 11 Dysfunctional Dating Personalities

Anyone over 30 on the dating scene is sure to have a plethora of stories to tell. And hopefully the joyful ones outweigh the nightmares. Dating as an evolved, self-aware woman is not for the faint of heart. The willingness to open your heart requires taking a risk. It is a leap of faith into the dating abyss. Some of us come out running and wondering whether or not it was worth the trouble. Well, beloveds, it is most certainly worth the risk in order to find the one. However, you have to be self-aware and lead with a healthy balance of intellect and emotion. This requires you to pay attention to the person in front of you and not the fantasy in your head. Too often this is where women struggle in the quest for romantic bliss. Then when the fog is lifted you are left scrambling for the exit. Save yourself the trouble and pay attention with both your head and your heart.

In my work with individuals and couples I have found several relationship personality types that emerge with consistency. I'd like to offer you some insight on the dysfunctional dating personalities that I've seen in my personal life and on my counseling couch. As you scroll through the list you might see some of your exes, friends, or if you're really being honest – yourself. That is not necessarily problematic unless it is out of balance. For example, if you are going through something it is natural to be a little more clingy and self-centered than you might be otherwise. However, if it is more than a moment in time and is present more often than not, then you might want to consider if this list is calling your name. And if that is the case, don't fret. CREATE LOVE is about growth and loving each other through the progress. Remember, change begins when you seek it.


1) THE CLING-ON: The Cling-On latches on very quickly. She has a desire to be around you all the time. Within the first couple of days of meeting you she is calling you her baby. She is booed-up before she even knows much about you. She really doesn't have a sense of needing space. Where you are is where she wants to be. With minimal reciprocity from you, she is attached. She is needy even to the point of neglecting her own priorities. Her sense of validation comes from being connected to you. She texts and calls you more than usual and feels abandoned if you are not doing the same. She can't get enough of you and has a need for attention that is a black hole you can never really fill to satisfaction.

2) THE RUNNER/CHASER: The Runner/Chaser is thrilled about the pursuit. She wines and dines and/or seduces you well. She talks of wanting to be in a relationship and believes the words as they leave her mouth. She hopes that you might be the one. She is courting you and excited by the chase. If you are playing hard to get, she is more determined than ever. However, as soon as you turn and say, "yes", she heads for the hills! She is thrilled by the chase but landing is way too scary, or makes her feel too vulnerable and uncomfortable. She is afraid of deep connection for one reason or another. Maybe she got her heartbroken before, or maybe she doesn't trust anyone to fully love her. Whatever the case may be, you must be very cautious because she will keep you in a loop of distancing and pursuing that can be mind numbing. You look the most attractive to her on your way out of the door. It is you who will have to decide to finally get off of the merry-go-round.

3) THE FIXER: The Fixer suffers from "save a sister syndrome". She has a profound need to be needed. She is all about resolving whatever problems you show up with. Now, this may sound appealing at first and may have the appearance of altruism. But beware that the fixer's need to be needed has more to do with her own emptiness than anything else. She often feels resentful at the fact that no one gives like she gives. Fixers can be martyrs and perceive themselves as the great sacrificer. She feels a misguided sense of gratification by being able to "save" you...Even if you didn't ask. Many times it is really herself that she is trying to save. Your dependence on her feeds her self worth, despite the fact that she will probably complain about giving and never getting.  The truth is that she is not as open to receiving as she might think.

4) THE SECRET KEEPER: The Secret Keeper never really fully reveals herself to you. This is not to say that she is a liar. To the contrary, integrity is probably one of her values. To her, omitting is not the same as lying. No one ever has all of the pieces. Vulnerability is not her strong suit. However, she may very well require it of you. She is a master at keeping things close to the chest. She may be charismatic enough that you won't even know how little you actually know about her. You may be dating her for six months or more before you find out things that others would consider basic information. And if you stumble upon her secrets before she is ready to reveal them she may feel invaded. The only person she wholly trusts is herself. She may have been deeply betrayed in her past and won't take the risk of further violation easily. Rest assured if you are dating the Secret Keeper, mutual disclosure is not on the menu. Breaking down her wall of armor is a job for a superhero.

5) THE COLLECTOR: The collector is just what it sounds like. She collects women like others might have a hobby. It is not about possessing women, but rather an unclear vision of what she truly wants. Therefore when you inquire about her dating life you will find various types of women. She might even say "I don't have a type" with pride. Her relationships are in a string of serial monogamy. She goes from one to the other with ease. At the heart of her issue may be a fear of intimacy or just an unrealistic expectation of relationships.  She is, what I call, a surface-dweller because she doesn't put in the effort to go too deep. She is not very comfortable unless she is in a relationship, but doesn't have a real sense of how to commit for the long haul.

6) THE SUCCESS SEEKER: The Success Seeker craves a certain lifestyle and/or attention. She hasn't quite figured out how to garner it for herself, so she is attracted to strong, powerful and successful women. Now, "I ain't saying she's a gold digger, but she ain't messing with no broke..." -LOL. She would never perceive herself as using these women. Instead she sees herself as seeking someone who is equally yoked. The problem is that on her end she only shows up with potential. The Success Seeker loves life in the limelight and wears is it well. At times, her jealousy will peek out and come across as insecurity. You will have to watch your bank account closely if you are dating the Success Seeker. It is not so much that she wants to use you, it is really that she wants to be you.

7) THE PAYMASTER: The Paymaster is strongly identified with her ability to handle your stuff. While she doesn't think of herself as buying love, that is exactly what it amounts to. Not only will she pay for dates, gifts and trips, she will also take care of your bills. She is probably well accomplished professionally and has acquired a wide range of toys to show for it. She will court you at some whole other level. Sounds wonderful, right? Wrong! See the Paymaster is overly identified with her money and her professional self. She believes that it costs to be the boss. So on the other end of her giving is indeed an expectation. The expectation may not be spoken, or she may not even know what it is herself. Yet have no doubt that if you don't fulfill it she will make you pay. Remember when your mother told you that nothing in life is free? Well, if you are dating the Paymaster you will soon discover mother was right!

8) THE DRAMA QUEEN: The Drama Queen is in need of a stage so that she can stop acting out in her life. Her life is filled with one crisis after another. You will probably be in awe at how she experiences one issue after another. Of course, she will swear that it is not about anything she is doing. Life seems to be happening to her instead of her having a handle on living fully. Chaos seems to find her like a magnet and drama puts her at center stage, where she truly loves to be. She is probably creative and talented and lured you in with her right-brain prowess. Initially, dating her is exciting and passionate. She is willing to do anything once but can be impulsive. You will enjoy the show momentarily, but you will soon be looking for at the curtain to be pulled. Enjoy it while you can because in the end she may very well wear you out.

9) THE PLEASER: The Pleaser is driven by fulfilling your needs. If you are taking her to the movies and dare to ask what she wants to see, she will be quick to respond "whatever you want to see". And that will pretty much be her stock response for most things. Your happiness is paramount, even to the sacrifice of her own needs. Her own needs disappear and she is driven by a yours. Her sense of self is lost in her desire to please. It is not that she is devoid of needs, but your disapproval is too great of a risk for her to make too many requests. She has probably had a long history of people-pleasing to the extent that it feels normal. She is not as comfortable receiving pleasure as she is giving it to you. This may be appealing to some, but you are never really getting a full person to love.

10) THE SEX MASTER: The Sex Master borders on being a sex addict. In some cases, she may very well have a sex addiction. She is driven by the thrill of seduction. She may ooze sensuality in everything she does. While you are talking to her she is imagining kissing your lips. She feels fulfilled by making love to you and she may be extremely good at what she does. She has honed her technique because you will never be able to say she didn't know what she was doing. But like any addict, the thrill is never as good as you build it up to be. And after she has had you the way she wanted her interests starts to wane. As bad as you might feel about this, she probably feels even worse. She is trying to find love through sex and is consistently disappointed that she never does. She may even stay in an unfulfilled relationship simply because the sex is good. It is a futile battle for her and for you.

11) THE STORYTELLER: The Storyteller is living in a 24-7 fantasy.  She will have phenomenal tales of things that she has done with no concrete evidence of any of it. She may keep you at a distance from her family and long term friends for fear that they will bust the bubble.  The details will start to be misaligned if you are paying close attention.  In short she is a liar. She lies about her job, experiences and anything else that will mask her deep seeded low self-esteem. She dislikes who she is so much that it is more rewarding to make a up a story in which she is the lead.  She may rationalize these stories by saying that she tells people what they want to hear.  She may even have a hard time telling fact from fiction herself because she has been telling the lie for so long. Too bad she doesn't use her powers for good because she'd probably have a best seller on her hands.  Unfortunately, that won't be any consolation for your feelings of betrayal once your blinders have been removed.

Once you have gone through the whole list, I encourage you to read it again. Sometimes it takes a second look to recognize yourself, exes, or your current sweetie. Remember that while you might see some of these characteristics in many people, it is really more about a consistent pattern of behavior. If you do not recognize yourself in this cast of characters it may mean that you have evolved toward better balance. Whether you see yourself in this list or someone whom you are dating, the remedy is still the same; Do your personal work to help you see clearer and choose more wisely.  The goal is to select a mate from an empowered place of fulfillment versus a place of emotional "woundedness". 

We manifest people in our lives because they reflect some facet of where we are in that moment. For example, if you have a pattern of attracting The Runner you might want to consider your own intimacy issues. It is easier to blame the other person for not giving you what you want. However the real work is in facing why you are consistently choosing that experience. This is not about judgment because judgment breeds shame. It is about being courageous enough to tell the truth. It is about gathering the information needed to be empowered with choice. You are where you are for a reason.  Embrace that fact with compassion and get the lesson that the Universe is trying to offer you.

Wherever you are in your dating journey, I wish you great success on your quest to find love. You are worthy of all the bliss you can stand. My hope is that you release the idea of falling in love in exchange for the power of CREATING love.

Nya Akoma,

Imani Evans, MA
Office: 404.368.8827
MORE ARTICLES: Forgiving the Unforgivable; I SEE YOU-Learning to be Vulnerable for LOVE; ARE YOU READY FOR LOVE- Facing The Fear of Intimacy

Join us for this wonderful upcoming workshop on successful lesbian dating!


  1. Wow. Well, damn, Imani. Is anybody left? Uhmmm. If I'm 50% 2,3,6,7,8,9, I really need to make the other 50% count, huh! Except, well, with regard to the success seeker, I don't want to BE anybody except for myself, although, I occasionally wonder how my life would have been different if I'd been Michael (#8) or Batman (#3 above) or Ellen (#7) or a queer black European (then, (I'd have to add #5) or Dr. Spock or Spiderman (#3 again!) or Major Nelson (#7) or one of those don't-give-a-damn bulldaggas in 1920's Harlem (def need to add #5). Hmmmm food for thought. Can next month be on the functional styles? Dang, Imani. Why you gotta make errbody handle the truth?? You know we can't handle the truth!!! :-)

    1. LMAO, Cole you are not right! Yes, I know we can all live in several of these personalities. I too have been there. They are generalizations of issues that show in our stuff. But then, dear one, I know you knew that already. Yes, I will consider going down the more functional ones next time...But for now, we just have to hold our noses and swallow the medicine. ;-)

  2. Hi. I have read the article, I have heard of these descriptions before but I just have to say I enjoy your introduction and conclusion narration. Now to answer I find that I am a mixture of numbers 1 and 4. And the women I have had strong attraction/desire for, are a mixture between 2 and 3. So this opens my mind and has me thinking. Thank you for sharing.

    Tara G.

    1. I do not know how to edit on here. Also thinking about the two women I have dated, I am selective in whom I date; plus I am usually friend zoned by the women I am strongly attracted to. Anyways, my ex fits numbers 1, 8, and 9; and the woman I was dating recently, she is number 9.

    2. Greetings Tara! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. Because we live in a Divine Universe, I am certain that you have heard some of these concepts in a similar fashion. However these terms and descriptions are original content. In fact, some of the terms are wholly created from experiences I've had working with individuals and couples over the past 25 years. On the other hand there are some terms that are common in the helping profession with those of us doing relationship work.

      More importantly, to your specific experience identifying yourself with a mixture of the types is totally understandable. Many times we exhibit different elements of various types and a lot of it can be influenced by the dynamics of the specific relationships. In other words, different relationships can bring out different things. The key is to seek balance and to embrace progress not perfection. Thank you for being courageous enough to share your truth with Create Love. We sincerely appreciate it.