Someone in the Dating Cocktail Lounge recently posted that they’re struggling with coping through dating disappointments.
My heart went out to her because while there will always be disappointments and frustrations in life, they seem to be even more pronounced when it comes to dating.
Dating disappointments can bring up feelings of rejection – feelings that can run deep into our subconscious mind from childhood.
The actual event may be far less substantial than how the event feels.
It can trigger us in ways that leave us wondering why we even bother looking for love in the first place when it just seems so freaking hard at times.
So how do you deal with dating disappointment when it arises? How can you even turn it into a spiritual practice?
I’m going to share a series of practices that you can turn into habits. When you notice yourself feeling disappointed, instead of spiraling down or lashing out, practice the following.
The first practice is to catch your habitual pattern as early as you can.
Shift your attention by not allowing yourself to indulge in it. When you notice yourself feeling disappointed, notice the urge to go to your habitual pattern (shutting down, crying, lashing out, giving up), but pause instead of indulging it.
The next practice is to drop into the body.
Again, pause, and let yourself take a breath. Drop your attention into your body and notice the sensations of disappointment. Stay with these sensations, with curiosity.
Open up to it, relax around it, be with it. Be compassionate with this feeling. As you continue to breathe, you should notice the sensation beginning to lessen.
The third practice is to use this newfound space to reconnect.
I understand that you might be angry at the person who let you down. Your heart then becomes closed off, because you think the other person is the problem. The problem is your closed heart. Try not indulging in that shutting down, and opening yourself a little. This is a challenging but transformative practice.
Realize that the other person may be acting the way they’re acting because they are feeling some kind of pain themselves. Maybe they’re feeling insecure, anxious, worried about the future. Maybe they are hurt by a previous dating disappointment of their own. You are feeling the same thing. In this way, the two of you are connected.
The final practice is to try to find an appropriate and loving response.
You have empathized with the other person, but now you need to take action. The answer of what action to take is not always easy, but at the very least, you’re not responding from a place of anger or sheer disappointment.
Some examples of loving responses and actions are:
- Choose to call, write, or message the person who disappointed you from a kind place. You can say something along the lines of, “Hey I know that you’re no longer interested. And I’m just curious what may have happened for you? That would really help me if you shared it and I’ll be okay no matter what. So if you’re afraid that I’ll be hurt, it’s actually the opposite, it would really help me to know.”
- You could choose to say and do nothing, realize he’s just not your guy, and move on.
- You could choose to give yourself a break from dating for a period of time.
- You could choose to dive deeper into dating, but do so in a more mindful way.
- You could choose to give yourself some love and self-care. Journal about your feelings, meditate on it, go for a nice walk or call a friend.
As you can see, there are many possibilities — many more than I can list here.
In the end, this stuff takes a lot of practice. But it’s immeasurably more helpful to do these practices than to lash out, drown in self-pity, or give up entirely, which doesn’t hurt the other person but yourself.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you had a recent dating disappointment? What helped you to get through it?
Hundreds of beautiful souls come here each week and your answer may be just the thing to inspire them.
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