SINGAPORE - What if I'm not good enough for him? Why do men behave this way?
Do these questions strike a chord in you? If so, you're not alone.
Women, particularly in their 40s, are not getting ahead with their dating lives, according to Anisa Hassan, managing director of matchmaking agency, It's Just Lunch Asia (IJL).
The average age of her clients ranges from 34 to 45 years old, the youngest member being a 23-year-old woman and the oldest a 66-year-old man.
Hassan, a former news presenter, is IJL's first international franchisee since 2004 and has paired more than 400 couples in Singapore including inter-ethnic couples.
Back in late Aug this year, IJL conducted a survey among 166 singles in conjunction with the agency's 10th anniversary on the dating preferences of singles in Singapore.
According to the survey done by respondents aged between 28 to 64 years old, people seemed open to dating a person of a different ethnic background (77 per cent) but only 36 per cent of them have actually done it.
The question of whether or not it is okay for either a man or woman to be older in a relationship was also addressed in the survey. 83 per cent think it is fine for the woman to be older than the man with 69 per cent of them agreeing that the acceptable age difference should be within five years.
There is no need to think twice on whether a man should be older than a woman in a relationship as Singaporeans surveyed voted a 100 per cent 'yes' to that question.
It was also deduced from the findings that 32 per cent of the respondents chose emotional stability as the most important quality they want in a potential partner.
Similarly, a report done by the Institute of Policy Studies at the National University of Singapore in June last year showed that 75 per cent of their interviewees (Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 21-39 who have never married) agreed that a marriage provides spouses with emotional stability.
Hassan is now predicting a trend that highly-educated women are more willing to date men who are of a lower academic level. She said the income disparity that may exist within couples of varying educational backgrounds is likely to be on the rise because women are placing more importance in a man's confidence, how driven he is or whether he has leadership qualities, for instance.
According to Hassan, the questions asked by her female clients, contain a lot of "What if's" and they tend to base their answers on perception and beliefs as opposed to facts.
She said that some women are not successful in love because of their energy - not because they are smart or have their acts together.
"The energy given off by these women is like a stumbling block," said Hassan.
"They are always looking for (reasons) why men aren't interested instead of searching from within."
She regarded this as "unfair" for men and that women should prevent themselves from exuding negative energy like sentiments of hopelessness, anger and blame.
Hassan provided an insight on how to counter these false beliefs by using a form of energy psychology called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which involves gentle tapping on key acupuncture points while focusing thoughts on ongoing problems.
Hassan said the ingredients of EFT balances a person's energy system, which she believes would help improve a woman's dating life.
"When energies are managed during the dating process, the outcome could be more positive," said Hassan.
Women are not alone when it comes to the fear of being alone or entering relationships, as men feel the same way too, according to the relationship guru. The problem with men is that they do not know how to approach women, she said.
She also offered tips for single women interested in staying in dating game: "Don't take away the (man's) pursuit. Don't encroach into their territories. They aren't looking for their equals, but someone who respects them."
After 10 years of coaching women, the same patterns emerge, according to Hassan. Almost everyone will say "I want to be in a relationship" but there remains the uncovered seven "lies" or self-limiting beliefs that run unconsciously in the background, blocking women from being in a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
With that, Hassan has identified seven key "lies" that are holding women back from dating successfully:
1. I am alone
Description: "A lot going for a woman in all areas of her life except in love and relationships."
Hassan listed this belief as one that may lead to depression because the woman is "quietly desperate" and has always felt it is okay to be alone since a young age.
2. I am not good enough
Description: "Men stop calling or withdraw after a few dates."
According to Hassan, these women can actually be very confrontational on dates and question men too much, for example, they may lament on dates: "Where are all the good men?"
3. I am not lovable
Description: "Men are going after the young ones."
Among Hassan's clients, 40 per cent are divorcees. She said divorced women hold a lot of "guilt and shame" but she reminds her clients that through her experience, men are keen on improving their personal development and most want to hold harmonious conversations with their potential partners amongst other things.
4. I cannot trust anyone
Description: "Men taking advantage of her loneliness."
Women may go through struggles that repeat but this is only because of how they enter relationships to cover the humiliation of being alone, said Hassan. These relationships are usually short-term because she doesn't get in them for the right reasons - she did so just to fulfil her needs.
5. I am powerless
Description: "Men wanting to dominate the relationship - by controlling her space or asking for intimacy."
Hassan gave an example of how there are women who tend to relinquish control to men in order to feel validated. She said such women are usually those who have been abused.
6. I am not safe
Description: "Men in the 'age appropriate' category has shrunk significantly."
There are women who remain single because they think of others before themselves. Hassan exemplified this by saying there are women who do this just so their fellow bachelorette sisters or friends will not feel bad. She said this is psychologically a wrong thinking.
7. I am bad
Description: "Men feeling intimidated by her intelligence and ambition."
Women use minor reasons like she is "overqualified" as excuses, which in turn, make them feel undeserving of a relationship, according to Hassan.