Have you ever taken someone ghosting you extremely personally? Has someone unmatched you on dating apps, and it felt like they were basically saying, “ew, why did I match with this person??”
If so, it means you’re human. We’re wired to dislike rejection. Back when survival was a top priority for our ancestors, acceptance from others meant the difference between fighting predators with a group and defending yourself solo.
Nowadays, most of the pain that comes with rejection is the meaning we create behind it. Or even the simple fact that we’re perceiving rejection where it may not be happening.
The beginning stages of dating can be confusing, hard, and vulnerable. Unless you’ve hit the jackpot, chances are, you’ll be going on more than one date in your life.
Endings come with the territory of dating. There’s no way around that. What you do have control over is re-framing your mindset around those endings.
I can’t stress enough that the talking stages of dating are all about seeing how compatible you are — that goes for both ends. If you’re on a third date with someone you feel no chemistry with, even if you think they’re great, it makes sense you’d stop seeing them romantically.
You’re not a match.
Yet, when that kind of ending happens to us, we start to make all sorts of meaning out of it. We think, “I’m not enough! What could I have done differently? Why am I such a loser? What’s wrong with me??”
But what if the reason is as simple as incompatibility? It’s not about being enough. It’s not about what you did wrong. It’s not about being a loser or having broccoli in your teeth. You just weren’t a good match.
And if dating is all about finding someone you’re compatible with (including them thinking you’re compatible), then why take things so personally?
You’re not going to be the right person for everyone, just like everyone won’t be the right match for you.
Now, this article isn’t to make you feel bad about taking rejection personally. Dating also includes a lot of emotions and longing. It makes sense you’ll be down when someone you liked doesn’t feel the same.
But maybe, with this re-frame, you can go a little easier on yourself.
The next time someone decides they don’t want to see you anymore, try noticing what thoughts come up for you. What meaning are you creating about this situation?
If it’s anything to do with your value, try replacing that thought with “they weren’t the right match for me.” It may not make you feel completely better, but it’ll make things more bearable. Your sense of self-worth and enthusiasm for dating will thank you.