Dating can be a confusing and stressful experience for many people, especially those who are coming out of a long-term relationship. The process of dating has been moving faster and faster in recent years. Terms like “friends with benefits,” “hook-up,” “casual, “and many more are all now part of dating world, not to mention the amount of time, energy, and effort required to interact with individuals online in order to find “the right” person. Time investment becomes more painful when one comes across “bread crammers,” “fakes,” “players,” and “ghosters.”
The general finding in research, which may not be true for all, shows that women tend to be picky and focus on building emotional connection while men look for physical intimacy right from the start. This can create further complications and ultimate disappointments for both men and women due to different expectations; for example, some women feel forced into physical relationship when they were not ready, and accompanied by feeling used or taken advantaged of. On the other hand, a women’s choosiness affects men’s self- esteem and self-concept which results in “playing it safe” and engaging in casual and non-serious relationships.
It appears that the cycle of hope followed by disappointment and sometimes anger is inevitable in modern world’s system of courtship. Sometimes, it may even trigger negative self-talk of “I am not good enough” which can result in depression and anxiety. The challenge would be how to continue searching for love while maintaining hope:
- Reality: Because relationships are not only about dating, engagement, and marriage anymore due to many types of relationships out there, expect and dedicate some time for filtering-out process. Also know that the process can take time.
- Communication: State your wants and needs clearly in your profile and while talking to people. If you are a woman who wants to hold off sex you can clearly state that during a conversation with a man.
- Self-esteem: Expect to be rejected as you are rejecting other people but this does not indicate that you are not good enough. Staying connected with friends and family while believing in sense of who you are can help the process go smoother.
- Time: Allow time and be patient, finding love is only one aspect of your life and meanwhile continue with healthy habits and having a meaningful life.
- Flexibility: Revisit your goal and find where it has rigidity and keep on growing and becoming better version of yourself. This is not the same as becoming desperate, in fact, flexibility means becoming more aligned with reality.
However, there are times when previous relationship trauma, lack of self-esteem, or a difficult childhood can get in the way of dating life. In such circumstances, giving your therapist a call and booking an appointment might be the best option.