How I bounce back from dating disappointments
GOD I hate online dating. You know how most of us feel about paying bills. Well, that's how I feel about dating. I don't enjoy it but I am left with little choice but to do it.
If you're reading this and you've never had to do any online dating, you're a lucky bugger - get out of sight. No, but seriously, online dating really is a bit crap. It's probably one of the things I'd put in Room 101, along with Canada Goose coats and the unnecessary use of the 'high priority' button on emails when the message is not remotely important.
I've been online dating for about 3 and a half years now and I've deleted and re-downloaded hinge or bumble at least 560,000 times, to be precise. I get tired of the same old cycle, answering the same old questions and seeing the same old people on there. 2020 really has not been kind to us single people and the dating scene. I know it's probably the wrong time to be saying this, with corona and all, but I just wish people met how they used to back in the good old days - face to face. Remember that? Human interaction? Those were the days, eh?
Recently, I experienced a little dating set back that made me feel...crap, quite frankly. To give you a bit of context, we had been dating for a month and things had been going really well (I'm talking ALL the laughter and fun times) until, well, it wasn't. It's hard not to take it personally when things do not end on your terms. It's difficult not to question what you did wrong or what you could have done differently to make them think you're worth pursuing. You feel embarrassed, stupid and just generally a bit bloody flat. Combine the 'it's not you, it's me' conversation with a 3 month late period and the tears really did flow that day.
Once in a while, we all need a 10 minute pity party (in my case, it was about 24 hours, but same difference). However, there comes a time when the party is over, the headache kicks in (from alcohol and crying or maybe even both) and we have to pull up our big girl pants and find a way of moving forward. It's not the first time I've been in this situation and I'm not naive enough to believe it will be the last. I used to really beat myself up about dating failures and I'd convince myself I wasn't good enough for anyone. It wouldn't take long before my self-esteem took a right little kick in.
This time, I took my dating disappointment recovery plan to the next level, developing new habits that have benefited me greatly.
First of all, out that number went from my phone. Being blunt (because why would I be anything other than that?), I don't go on dating apps for more mates. Even though I know sometimes that can happen, it's just not for me. Realistically, to be friends you have to accept being able to see that person move on and be okay with it. That's what you're signing up for with a friendship. It would be hard not to compare yourself to the new love interest and think, 'what did they do right that I didn't?'. I am not ashamed to admit that I'd just rather not put myself in that situation, so I simply won't. If you don't look out for yourself, no one else will. Well, apart from your mum...and your sister...and your best friend...but STILL. Have your own back, yeh?
Any form of rejection, be it romantic, social or work-related, knocks your self-esteem. That's why when dating doesn't quite go to plan, showering myself in self-love is one of the most effective ways of getting back on track. No, not shower, DRENCH. I've never dedicated protected time to really work on my self-esteem, but my god I wish I had sooner! My efforts over the last month or so have made me realise just how much of a difference it can make when you commit to it wholeheartedly. Not only do I feel more confident in myself, but I even feel more ambitious and optimistic. I feel more able to truly accept myself for who I am in my entirety - the good and the bad - which is both empowering and quite liberating. It's even helped me to realise it was a good thing that things didn't go to plan with my recent crush which I can assure you I would not have said 24 hours after receiving the news. Top results I'd say, darlings. TOP RESULTS.
If you're like me and you've spent years berating yourself for failed dating experiences, the negative self-talk can distract you from the facts. These are facts my sister, in my case, likes to remind me of on a frequent basis. As she often explains to me, I am very quick to forget that I haven't wanted to pursue something with EVERY person I've dated. For every good experience where I've wanted something to happen, there has been a not so good one where they've wanted to see each other again and I haven't been feeling it. On every occasion, it's never been about them as a person. In fact, some of them have been really great guys. It has simply been a case of chemistry or circumstance. Thank the lord for sisters who gives us a good ’you listen to me’ talking to when we need one.
No one is ever going to jump for joy when someone they like doesn't want to pursue things, but I've learned there are certainly ways I can soften the blow and not let it affect me for too long. Well, that's unless I end up dating Harry Styles. In which case if he calls things off, I will be inconsolable. But otherwise, I think I've developed a reasonably cracking plan.