The Relationship Blog

Books about Relationships – “We Could Have Had A Great Date If It Weren’t For You” A Discussion About Dating

In my first book “We’d Have A Great Date If It Wasn’t For You” the focus is mostly on couples and what’s involved in a couple relationships. This book really reflects my whole philosophy which, if I’m going to break it down to one phrase, involves learning to accept the unacceptable. So that needs to prove and defend yourself are the result of some aspect of your humanity that you’re not accepting. The more you can accept it the less you need to prove and defend anything and the less you’d need to prove that there’s something wrong with your partner. This is a real key of learning to accept the unacceptable. What I mean by unacceptable is powerlessness, inadequacy, fear, sadness, disappointment, awkwardness, foolishness, stupidity. These are all things most people consider problems. I don’t consider them problems, however. I consider them aspects of your humanity. And they are necessary if you’re going to be in an intimate relationship.

My first book helps people to go down a path of leaving the difference game which I’ve discussed in my previous blogs, by learning to accept themselves more. This allows them to accept their partners, and be open to much greater intimacy.

Several years later I wrote about single people, not just couples, using the same philosophy of seeing similarities and not judging. This was my second book, “We Could Have Had A Great Date If It Weren’t For You” because I wasn’t happy about what I was seeing in the current dating books and books about relationships.

Most of the dating books are just about finding “the one”. There are two difficulties with that. It assumes everyone is ready for “the one”, and that it’s all everybody wants. This is false. A lot of people can’t handle a committed intimate relationship and they need much more choices than that. So I opened up the idea that everybody has a dating plan and it doesn’t matter what it is. I don’t judge any dating plan. There is a plan I mention in my book called “dating nobody”. I know of no other book that supports dating nobody as a legitimate plan. If you say your dating nobody, people will think there’s something wrong with you, but not in my system. If you’re dating no one and that’s what’s good for you, and that’s what fits for you then I will support it as much as a committed intimate relationship.

So I have presented fifteen dating plans and all I care about is that whatever dating plan you choose fits who you are. And that you’re willing to accept what goes with that plan and what that plan offers. So a three month relationship is not a problem. There’s nothing wrong with a three month relationship if that’s what you’re ready for. It offers, for example, the chance to meet a variety of people. For those people who don’t like messy relationships, the three month plan allows you to not worry about it. Because one month you’re feeling hot and heavy, one month your sort of mutual, and then next month you’re already leaving. So it never gets too messy because you’re gone by the time there can be a mess.

I really support, in my BOOK, for people to discover the dating plan that fits them and works for them. And I only accept that you’re ready to go on to a different plan when you have changed somewhat and are ready for something different. When you’ve increased your capacity, then you’re ready for a different plan. It’s important to understand that there is no judging in my system.
Most individuals can’t stand dating. They can’t stand it because they don’t accept what dating is. Dating is judgment and rejection.

When you see someone for five seconds, in my view, you’ve already judged them five times. It’s part of the nature of dating. People want to date but they don’t want judgment and rejection to be a part of it. So they are constantly objecting to the nature of dating. In my book I totally accept what dating is, and support people to be upfront about it. Not to hide from it, nor to defend it.
In “We Could Have Had A Great Date If It Weren’t For You” I bring up telling your date, very early in dating, “You know, we’re probably going to be rejecting each other, so why don’t we be upfront about it. You tell me the ways you’ll reject me and I’ll tell you the ways I’m going to reject you and we can enjoy the rejection rather than live in fear of it.” I know no other book that will take that path.

All relationships are successful, in my philosophy. So dating nobody is just as successful as a long term relationship, to me. As long as you live it for what it is. The only reason we even have the word “unsuccessful” is because we compare things to what they aren’t. So a three month relationship gets compared to a long-term relationship and we call it a failure. It’s a dupe. I really support people getting off that type of thinking. Even to the extent of getting people to understand that there are no bad dates. There are just dates. But since we value certain dates over other dates, anything that we don’t regard as positive, we judge as bad dates. I support my clients to view all dating through non- judgmental eyes and I track any variation from this perspective.

What do you think people define dating as?

People mostly define dating as finding “the one”. If you look at all the dating books, they all have the word “find” in it. I don’t come from that place, and I don’t support just finding the one. I support that the person you want to meet is out there. It’s not that they are missing. You just have to be open to them. You have to let them come to you. When you realize that you are the problem, not them, then you can begin to take accountability for dating track record.

I’ll frequently hear people say that “Everyone in Los Angeles is superficial and have no substance .” So this thinking leads to all daters ending up it in the same stereotype box. That creates an extremely false picture of dating life and supports excuses and justifications. The more accountable position is that you can find whatever relationship you want in Los Angeles, as long as you’re open to it. In addition, I try to get people off of the compulsion of seeking after finding “the one”. That’s what we are conditioned to look for and that’s what we are told is considered success. As a result of this quest, many daters get very depressed when they can’t find the one. I support enjoying whatever relationship you’re in as where you are at in your life. Even if you end up dating married people.

Every dating plan has something positive in it. So if you want a safe relationship in which you can open yourself totally, in total safety, then date married men. You won’t have to worry about the relationship going anywhere because it’s not going to. And as a result you’re safe. Yet you can create this into tremendous drama by saying “I found the greatest love of my life, but he just happens to be married.”

What about men dating married women?

The same applies. But it’s important to remember that all relationships have their own unique consequences that are dictated by the dating plan you are in.


Author: Bruce Derman Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Woodland Hills and Santa Monica, California who specializes in working with people in all stages of relationships. You may reach Dr. Derman by calling (818) 375-7194.

For more information on books about relationships, contact Dr. Bruce Derman PH.D. at

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