The Dating Game, 2018

It appears my newest acquaintance lost interest after a bit more conversation. My last message to him was an inquiry about scheduling a meet over coffee. A week has passed with no response, so it feels safe to say I’ve been ghosted. While I’m disappointed he didn’t reply to say he changed his mind, he didn’t owe me a response. I “get” that most people wish to avoid what they believe is unnecessary conflict – and perhaps they’re right in doing so. Ultimately, it’s all good. Unless the other person is hurling insults and epithets at me, (see related post here), it’s no harm, no foul.

In my youth, I would have reacted very differently. I didn’t cope well with rejection. I would have ruminated for weeks. What amounted to no more than a blip, I’d spin into misery, becoming even more defensive. Whenever a new acquaintanceship or budding romance went sideways (as so many did), it reinforced my beliefs about the unreliability of people. Additionally, suffering from low self-esteem at that time, it reinforced my belief of how unlovable I was. That was a lousy place to be.

It’s taken a long time, and a marriage which has endured great hardship, to put such trivial concerns (and my misaligned expectations) into their proper perspective.

Dipping my toes into the dating pool now as an older (and hopefully wiser), married, Poly woman, I’ve discovered how mindfulness allows me to shape my experience. I can choose how I react to challenges, rejection, and false starts. I can choose to get frustrated, or learn and move forward.

It’s critical to my own sense of well-being that I view others as kind, well-intentioned beings. It’s much harder for me to take offense at another person’s words or actions when good intent or at least, a lack of bad intent, is assumed. So, I’ve learned to approach dating with optimism; that is, I try to see the best in others, and not make assumptions about what motivates their behavior. I also understand that not everyone I meet may understand or trust these things about me, so I shouldn’t expect them to respond to me in kind.

I admit, I am challenged in being as mindful when I meet with outright hostility; which has been the case most often when I was the one expressing disinterest. I still need to learn to let go of such things, to not be baited by them. While I’m typically capable of either responding in a polite but assertive manner, or restraining myself from responding at all, I still allow myself to get upset. I need to remember their hostility is not about me. It comes from a place very similar to the one I inhabited so many years ago.

 

 

2 thoughts on “The Dating Game, 2018

  1. Sean D. Layton says:

    Definitely reacted the same when I was younger — rejection would send me spinning into despair. Sometimes, I’d anticipate rejection when there was no indication it would happen, building these elaborate scenarios in my head and sending myself off the deep end — before anything even happened!

    Liked by 1 person

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