I'm having no luck dating, and every opportunity I seem to get doesn't end well. The latest girl has ghosted on me three times, and I think I am ready to cut her off, but I’m not sure. She says she's too busy with school, and that I live too far away, but I think she might just be making excuses. I’ve now made it clear that I will not seek anyone else; I’d rather have them seek me. Maybe I’m just not ready for a relationship, but I’m worried I’ll always just be alone.
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I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had so much difficulty finding someone to date; your experience is very common, and it’s perfectly normal to be feeling a sense of frustration and apathy after attempting to date without success for a sustained period. However, it’s important to recognize that you don’t have to feel that way; indeed, greater happiness and success on the dating scene could be yours with just a few changes in your perspective and interpretation.
First off, it’s important that you have confidence in your own attractiveness and desirability if you expect anyone else to find you desirable or attractive. If you approach a dating scenario without that confidence, your potential partners will smell it on you, even if you think you’re covering your lack of confidence up fairly well — there are a million subtle changes in body language and tone and even in the words you choose to use that happen when you lack confidence in yourself, and you’d never be able to correct for them all on the conscious level.
Think of it like this; we don’t tend to get what it is that we want; it’s more often that we get what we think we deserve. If some part of you thinks that you deserve rejection, that you really aren’t good enough, rejection is what you will manifest in the world, leaving you the victim of a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is why it is so important to love yourself before you seek others to love you.
Another way to look at it is that we choose what's comfortable. If our own self talk tends to agree with the negative messages we're getting from others, it will feel comfortable and familiar, so we won’t question it, and we’ll accept being treated less well than we truly deserve. If instead you believe deep down that you are a unique, interesting, and lovable person, you’ll feel that same comfort with people who think that of you, and suddenly a whole new world of dating possibilities will open up to you.
As to the girl who ghosted on you three times: You're not a priority to her. She's written you off. Best that you do the same with her. It seems likely to me that she isn't that into you, and that she's making excuses about not having time right now to keep you as a back burner option, perhaps because she enjoys the validation of you pursuing her. Regardless, she's using you to meet her emotional needs and not giving you what you need emotionally. Rather than allow her to string you along any further, it’s likely best if you cut ties.
When people treat you with no respect and treat your time as if it is not valuable, and you allow it to happen, you're essentially agreeing with them, and this is a sign that you really don’t love yourself much at all. Do you think you deserve to be happy? Do you think you're worthy of respect? If so, then try to bring your actions more in line with your words, and do not tolerate people who disrespect you remaining in your life.
As to your decision not to pursue others and to only be pursued, I am curious, what led to your decision to only be pursued? Do you think that's really an effective strategy for meeting people you’d like to date? To me, it sounds more like an effective strategy for excusing your lack of success on the dating scene.
The problem with entering a holding pattern in the way that you suggest is that it’s very difficult to get what you don't ask for — and far less likely that you’ll find it. Waiting for love to be handed to you therefore makes you far less likely to succeed. It also creates an artificial scarcity; every time someone approaches you, you'll be tempted to cling to them, because they’re your only chance, and you have no control — because you set it up that way. You're also setting yourself up to accept whatever people offer you, rather than what you truly need or want.
Living this way will lead to you operating using a really toxic limiting belief that love is scarce, and that if you don't connect with the person right in front of you who is finally showing interest, you'll never meet anyone else. The problem with that belief is it makes you act desperate, which isn't attractive, and it encourages you to compromise on your core values, because you think if this relationship doesn't work, none ever will. That's not a recipe for a happy relationship.
Although it can be really difficult to keep putting yourself out there after facing lots of rejection, that is what’s required to date successfully. Imagine if you were searching for a new job, and after being rejected a number of times, you decided "I'm never going to look for a job, I'm only going to have employers make offers to me." The thing is, no employer will make you any offers if they don't know that you exist, and if you aren’t sending in your resume and cover letter, they’d only even be guessing what position it is that you want or that you are qualified for. You’d likely remain unemployed for quite some time, and you’re just as likely to remain single if you approach dating this way.
The biggest hurdle you’ll need to overcome to keep putting yourself out there is getting over your fears of failure, embarrassment, and rejection. Right now, I am guessing you interpret rejection as confirmation that you just aren't good enough. But that's not what rejection means. Rejection just means you and that one person weren't a match. And that's literally all it means.
When your confidence shatters after a rejection, and you hear yourself agreeing with what you interpret as someone saying that you just aren't good enough, are other people making you feel that way, or are you choosing to feel that way based on how you interpret the rejection? If you truly believed that all rejection meant was that you and this one specific person weren’t a match, why would your confidence need to shatter?
You can't control anyone except yourself, and that matters where rejection is concerned. You can't control other people, and you often can't control the circumstances that you have to deal with. But there's one factor in all of this that you can control, and that is how you react to those people and circumstances. Surely, rejection is frustrating, but at the ed of the day, the control that you have over your own perspective and interpretation is something no amount of rejection can take away from you.
It's important to note that there is nothing wrong with taking rejection badly; in fact, it's perfectly normal, and most people do experience a blow to their ego when they are rejected. It's just that you do not have to feel that way — doing so is in fact a choice — and you'll be happier and more successful on the dating scene if you choose differently.
Here’s a new perspective for you: You ARE good enough. You really are. And it takes a lot of rejection to find the person who can properly recognize how amazing you truly are. But remember: That rejection isn't a reflection on your quality as a person. It just means your needs and wants didn't line up with someone else’s. There's nothing wrong with that. Most people end up not being compatible for one reason or another.
Take me, for example. I think I am incredibly giving as a partner, and just about anyone would be lucky to have me. I'm still not compatible with 99.9 percent of people. And that's OK! I'll never find the 0.1 percent who recognize how awesome I am if I don't try. And that means accepting rejection from 999 people for every 1 who works for me.
That's how dating works. You're going to have difficulty dating until you stop taking rejection so personally. It's no fun, but you have to accept it as the cost of doing business.
It isn't like if you become God's gift to humanity you'll suddenly have no problems dating. People don't see you as you are. They see what they expect to find, unless you show them something else. No one will know how awesome you are if you don't try to show them.
Vulnerability and being your authentic self, and being willing to face down that rejection of who you are at your very core — that's the only real prerequisite to dating successfully.
To help with all of this, try on a different belief for a while: Love is abundant. There are billions of people in the world, and a great many of them would love to be with you. All you have to do is find them! If one connection doesn't work, learn from it, and apply what you learn next time. You haven't really lost anything — just discovered more about yourself and what you're truly looking for.
If you're afraid of being embarrassed making a mistake socializing, why do you think you're afraid of embarrassing yourself? How does that feel for you? Is embarrassing yourself really such a bad thing? What's truly at stake for you?
Let's say you're in a room with a bunch of strangers, and you embarrass yourself. There's little actually at stake, right? You didn't know these people before, so you haven't really lost anything. Maybe you learned more about yourself and what works and doesn't work, and now you can apply that next time.
Right now, you’re clearly quite concerned with being a nice guy. But nice guys finish last. Don't be nice. Be kind. There's a difference.
Being nice is self-effacing. Being nice is not stepping on toes. Being nice is not asking for what you want for fear it might mildly inconvenience someone. Kind people seek what they want; they take action. They wait till they've actually offended someone to worry about it, and they make amends when they make a mistake, but they don't let fear of making the mistake stop them.
For some help with getting over your desire to people-please and always be seen as nice, allow me to introduce you to “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.” I think it will be an illuminating read for you. https://markmanson.net/not-giving-a-fuck
Now, at the end of your question, you mention the possibility that you just might not be ready for a relationship. If that really feels true for you, there's nothing wrong with taking some time to work on yourself. But I'd encourage you to really question that decision.
Are you saying that because it's more comfortable for you, because not trying means you don't have to face rejection? Or are you saying that because you truly believe that taking some time to work on yourself would make you more successful down the line? Are you really going to do hard introspective work with yourself to raise your consciousness and be a better potential mate? Or are you just going to hide? What are your next steps? How will you know when the time is that you are finally ready to date again? What will be the mark of it? What needs to change for you to be ready? What does "focusing on myself" even mean for you? How are those things going to make you more likely to succeed at attracting a mate?
If you can answer those questions to your own satisfaction, by all means, take some time time for yourself. But if you realize instead you’re just hiding in your comfort zone, I’d encourage you to keep on trying, even now.
Hope that helps! If you or any other readers have any feedback or follow-up questions, please get in touch using the comments section below or feel free to make use of our contact page.
If you think you would benefit from one-on-one personal help with your life and relationship goals, consider scheduling a coaching consultation with Viro; details are available at www.feralattraction.com/coaching.