How do I stop freaking out when dates don’t work out?

Jo_primo_g asks:

I tend to focus on one guy at a time, so it hurts me when it doesn’t work out. I can’t do it with multiple guys because statistically that happens. I mean I may be talking to 2 or 3 guys at the same time and every 1-2 months, with one we will text a lot every day etc. but in the end, it will not work.

But there is never a spark. I don’t feel anything amazing but I am willing to go on more dates with the guys to get to know them. But for them that’s not the case.

After such a date, I freak out. I freak out that nobody will feel a spark for me and I will be alone. I also hate that I have to start over, talking to matches, saying the same stuff for my life, hobbies etc. It’s a really bad feeling that goes away after a few days, then I start talking to people again, I meet a guy where we seem to click and there is the vicious cycle all over again.

Any people out there who feel the same? Any piece of advice?


Demetrius says:

There’s nothing wrong with feeling weighed down by the weight of failure. That’s what each date that doesn’t pan out is. That’s what each match that doesn’t turn into a date is. That’s what each person you’re “kind of seeing” that doesn’t turn into a relationship is.

Failure sucks. Who wants to feel like a failure?

I hate clich├ęs about failing, so I wont do the whole “Michael Jordan was cut from his varsity team” team-building spiel. Instead, I’ll be real with you. Every failure is going to suck, but they are all opportunities. Those opportunities won’t be immediate, they might not be obvious, and they won’t be easy, but they’ll be here. Each dating failure can be a growth opportunity, or to better use your time.

If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve been rejected more often than you have. I’m not complaining, it’s just how these things work for straight men. Statistically speaking the odds are good that I’ve asked out more people than you, and sent more first messages than you, so I’ve probably been rejected more than you have. Because of all those rejections, I’ve built up some pretty tough skin. Not interested in me? It doesn’t bother me all that much. The first time I got rejected it devastated me, but that was almost 20 years ago. Hell, even 10 years ago I’d get a bit down when I get rejected. These days rejections feel as bad as missing a train and having to wait for another one. It sucks, but eh, there’s another train coming.

If you want to, you can think of each rejection as a way to toughen up. Each rejection, each failure, could help you grow a thicker skin. Each one hurts, but each one makes it a little easier to face the next one. You have to learn to appreciate the harsh lessons that life teaches you. It won’t feel great to have another dating failure, but the more they happen the less devastating they can be.

Alternatively, you can just take each failure as an opportunity to meet someone better suited for you. Yes, the repetition of dating sucks, there’s no changing that. However, at the very least, you can appreciate that you’re available to meet someone else. It’s better that things fall apart early on so you can find someone better suited to dating you.

Some final things to keep in mind:

This might sound a bit metaphysical or something but, things wont work out until they do. You need to learn to deal with things not working out, whether that is changing how you view dating failures, or just toughening up. You can’t go through life miserable when you fail, because dating is full of failures. It doesn’t matter how great you are as a person, how beautiful you are, or how wonderful you’d be to be with, you’ll still fail in love at some point. We all do. What’s going to determine how successful you’ll be when dating is your reaction to adversity. Toughen up, or lighten up.

This might be hard to do but, ground your expectations a little. My approach in dating has always been to prepare for the worst in my head, but act as if the best will happen. That means preparing mentally for failure, but proceeding in dating as if things will work out. Do your best to build a connection with the people you date, but be prepared for things to end at a moments notice. Become more invested the longer that things work out, but never date someone and assume that it’s inconceivable that things will end. Conceive of it. I know it sounds weird, but it’s always worked for me.

Finally, just know people feel the same way you feel on a pretty frequent basis. You’re not alone.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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