It's difficult to remain upbeat and positive when you have a string of bad dates, or boring, unattractive people. When the bad experiences pile up you get numb to the whole dating thing. What's the point of trying if things are going to continue to break down?
Our dating mindset has a strong role in the success of relationships. The mind reacts to experiences, and the mental outlook on dating shifts in relation to these experiences. Basically, we are up for dating, or we are against it. Here are the different mindsets I've been through:
Jadedness means I've lost faith in dating and love. I don't think it's going to lead to happiness even if it does work out. I'm not particularly happy on my own, but the process and idea of dating is so daunting that I feel more comfortable being alone. I also convince myself that I don't like anyone I meet and I never will. Because jadedness leads to fear of dating, I act in self-defeating ways, and specifically go for people that are unavailable, knowing in the back of my mind that things won't work out.
When I am in "No Luck" mode, Charlie Brown and I are kindred spirits. I try like the dickens to get something to work, but convince myself it's not in the cards for me to be happily dating. And even if it does work out, then something will go wrong to destroy everything. it gets really bad when I've convinced myself that I don't deserve to be happy in a relationship.
This is where I want to be, but it's tough to remain level headed when I feel lonely and put pressure on myself. This is that great time in my life when I'm balanced, and if something doesn't work out I'm fine with being alone until something does work out. I give it my best shot because I'm ready to date, and I succeed in other facets of my life. I meet a lot of people just to meet new people and not necessarily to date them. If something doesn't work out, then there are plenty of other fish in the sea.
At first glance, a confident mindset seems like it would be a good one to have. But when I'm confident it leads to careless behavior. I go out expecting things to go well, and I don't think about consequences for mistakes or risky behavior. When I'm feeling confident, I see no reason to focus on one woman, and it leads to a lot of different projects that may work out short term, but are not emotionally rewarding.
I hate when I get like this, and it's strange that I flip the switch from jaded to whimsical so quickly. When I meet someone and I get their number or there's some other little positive development, I do the "destiny math" in my head:
"If I hadn't been here at this time because of this circumstance, I would have never met her. This feels different than all the others, it's destined to work out."
My friend Margaret once said of a girl I met: "she seemed to come along at just the time you needed her to." That got my hopes way up, but of course that girl disappeared shortly after that. I get so whimsical at times, I think of what my parents would think of a girl, what our wedding would be like, and other future endeavors all after a few meetings. This is a dangerous mindset because it gets you high, and you fall harder when things don't work out. And that hard fall can push you into some of the more negative mindsets on this list. This mindset causes over analysis and all that tension you feel when you're waiting for email responses or return phone calls/texts because you want it to work out so badly.
My strategy for staying level headed is to hold hope that somewhere in the future I'll meet that special someone and it will work out, while keeping the bar low. Going on some dates with no expectations, would be helpful. And I got some good advice about being whimsical: it's fun to look back and see how destiny brought you together, but only after you're in the relationship. But in order to get level headed, I need to shake the jadedness that keeps me from trying, and believing in dating and love.
What dating mindsets have you had? Have you ever felt the ones I mentioned above? How do you stay level headed in dating?