Dating has made me miserable. What do I do to get over it?


 jaws4rl asks: 

First off a little background: I’ve never managed to get a successful relationship with a woman and every time I thought I would finally feel wanted by someone It turns out they were just using me/jerking me around. This was what I dealt with in High School and it made me not even want to risk getting emotionally or even physically involved with any women since I thought they would just treat me the same way I was treated in High School. I have major trust issues because of this and thanks to recent events they’ve only gotten worse. Fast forward six and a half years, I finally take down the emotional barriers with this female coworker and I think things will finally work out. Now I won’t lie and say I didn’t do my fair share of things wrong here but the way things turned out honestly may have destroyed the little trust I had in women. Short version, I told her I liked her, she said she didn’t want to date a coworker, I get a new job, she goes and dates someone else. Was a stupid for not just moving on at the initial rejection? Yes, and if I could I would have made a different decision at that point.

Since then I’ve been giving the online dating thing a shot but nothing has panned out. All I’ve gotten are half-hearted replies or women who “fade” on me right when things seem to be going good. I hate to be one of those guys but I have to wonder, maybe I’m just meant to be miserable. I don’t know maybe I just need someone to talk to about all of this (a female’s perspective might really help to be honest). I don’t like having animosity for a gender for something that not even 1% of them put me through but I guess when you’ve dealt with this betrayal for so many years this is how someone will react.

Maybe I’m just fucked up, maybe I need therapy, maybe I’m actually worthless. But when you go through High School hearing people say “you suck you suck you’ll be alone forever no matter what.” That kind of shit will end up sticking you know? I’ve kept all this bottled up inside for so many years and now I don’t know what to do.

Demetrius says:

I recently wrote about the concept of The One and how ultimately, I don’t think there is a One for everyone, because I don’t believe in predestination. While that might seem like a bleak way to look at life, here’s the flip side of it, that also means that no one is fated to be miserable. That said, you’re putting yourself in a position, by both your actions and your mindset, where you’re destined to fail at dating.

The common theme throughout your question is your past hurt, and how each new hurt over has only made you more and more jaded. You’re afraid of being hurt, you have a deep distrust of women, you have an animosity toward women, and you feel fated to be miserable. I understand feeling these things from time to time, I really do, because I’ve felt these same things from time to time. Whenever I have a bad dating experience, I’m usually more wary that the same experience will happen again. Wary, not guarded, just wary. I think that’s probably true for a lot of people, but the difference is, most people let those things go. What’s holding you back from finding someone, or just finding peace with yourself, is the fact that you can’t let that shit go.

I’ve been hurt in the past, hell, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this right now, you’ve been hurt in the past as well. You might even be going through some dating pain right now. The one silver lining is that pain is formative. You can take the pain that’s been given to you and make yourself better and stronger because of it. You can get better at recognizing behaviors you don’t approve of, or just get better at reading people. Or, you can use the pain you’ve been given and use it as an excuse to wallow in your own self-pity. So you got rejected again, and you’ve never successfully had a relationship. So what? That isn’t an indicator of your worth as a person. It means nothing deeper than you got rejected and you’ve never had a successful relationship. There isn’t some sort of rubric for romantic relationships that you need to adhere to, you either have had good fortunes in romance up until this point, or you haven’t just yet. Not everyone finds success in relationships at the same pace as their peers, and some people face more rejection than others. There’s no fairness in dating.

You’ve had a series of dating mishaps and rejections, and you’ve let your guard down a few times only to be rebuffed. It sucks to have your vulnerability rewarded with pain, but you can’t let those things define you. I’ve had just about every bad dating experience you can think of (short of being physically assaulted, but including being mugged on a date) and yet somehow I’m still here, optimistically writing about dating.  The difference between us is that I can take the bad that comes with dating in stride, because I know it’s just a series of unrelated negative experiences that don’t need to inform or change me as a person,  and you just seem to be holding onto it for dear life.Your mistrust, your fear, and your antipathy toward women is an anchor holding you in place, keeping you stagnant. Let that shit go.

How you work to let it go is entirely up to you. I’m not a mental health professional so I wont even try to figure out what the issue here is, but…there’s clearly something wrong here. At the very least, the fact that you’re taking the actions of people who have no connection to each other, and making it into a narrative where you’re worthless says a hell of a lot. Maybe therapy is the right move, maybe it’s self-reflection and self-improvement, or maybe it’s something else entirely. I’ve always found that a mix of therapy and introspection works well for me if I’m ever feeling like I can’t let go of something holding me back, and maybe that will work for you. What I would not encourage, which you sort of allude to wanting to do, is using dating as therapy. Don’t use your dates as sounding boards for your issues. You have to figure that stuff out on your own time or on the time of someone you’ve paid to help you figure it out.

Some final advice for you, or anyone feeling like the terrible parts of dating have made them jaded. Figure out what dating has made you, figure out if you like what you’ve become, and if you don’t like it, work to change it. It’s one thing to use your experiences to help you make smart dating decisions, it’s another to allow your experiences to make you bitter.

Good Luck Out There.

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