Dating disappointment: 4 practical things to do when a date isn’t everything you’d hoped
Most of us have some ‘bad date’ experiences and stories that we can tell for entertainment. I know that I have had my fair share of them, from being told not to wear sunglasses (despite it being sunny), to being taken to a bug taxidermy museum (I don’t like bugs!), to becoming an agony aunt on a first date and afterwards being told I didn’t give said person a chance! These dates can be added to life experience and dating experience and we can move onwards and upwards from them, but there’s always that feeling of disappointment. So, what happens if a date doesn’t go to plan? How can you move on from dating disappointment?
There are always two sides of the story – for all I know, the dates above might have wanted to see my face, might have really thought hard for something ‘different’ for a date having exhausted the other usual options, or maybe they were really going through something personally and just needed to talk to someone and have counsel.
We never know the circumstances that surround bad dates (unless they do go further!) but how can we manage our expectations and pick ourselves back up afterwards to re-enter the dating scene? Here are four things that could help with dating disappointment.
Not every date is going to be amazing. That’s real life and even when you have chosen to be in a relationship with someone, or even if you are married and go on dates, the reality often does not match the expectation. We can put too much pressure on the dates, and of course we will be disappointed if that’s the case.
Sometimes we need to look at our own expectations – are they too high? Do we expect to be ‘taken out’ literally and not have to pay every time? Do we expect them to have everything together straight away? Going into a date with an open mind and not too high an expectation does help – if you have created a whole backstory for your date and dreamt of them continually, thought of your children’s names and where you’d live in the future since starting to speak, then chances are they will never match your expectations.
Hold the first meetings lightly until you know them better. That means you will not come across as desperate, you will be more yourself, less nervous so that the conversation can flow better, and being more open means you’re giving your date more of a chance.
No one is perfect and if your imagination runs wild then potentially the date itself will not go to plan because of the expectation given.
Be generous and see both sides
You don’t know what is going on in someone’s day and vice versa. There may be challenging personal circumstances that your date is going through, which might make them a bit distant, or maybe they’ve had a stressful work day, or going through illness or bereavement. These things can affect someone’s persona and how they interact. Conversations can be harder to make and sometimes things are said that can be taken the wrong way.
Always remember that there’s a reason for how people are acting and although maybe they’re not the one for you, you can still be kind and try to see past the potential dating mistakes that are made. Sometimes people can just be extremely nervous and if you can see past that and take the time to get to know them, then that act of generosity and not writing someone off straight away, gives someone a better chance (and some help along the way).
Be practical and prayerful
A lot can go wrong in practical terms. There may have been traffic or train troubles, a bad day at work, you or your date may arrive flustered. Try to leave these issues ‘at the door’, as it were, and enter with a fresh start. Try not to bring baggage into a first date and instead try to see the positives of meeting someone new, having interesting chats and maybe some nice food or drinks.
Practically, give yourself a moment before walking into a date – pray before you go in – God can give you discernment as to whether someone is right for you or not and God can also refresh you. Allow Him to be a part of your date and seek His will. Maybe pop to a nearby bathroom first to breathe and have a couple of minutes before entering as then you can feel more in control of the situation.
They just might not be right for you and not your type, or even may not look like their profile picture. Sometimes we just have to admit that and move on. Of course, have a moment to bemoan this fact but don’t dwell on it. Just because they’re not right doesn’t mean Mr or Mrs Right isn’t out there.
Don’t give up, just be smart about the situation – don’t try and continue something that doesn’t want to be continued. Don’t chase someone who isn’t interested. Make sure you discern the situation. When someone is right for you, they will want to get to know you, talk to you, spend time with you. If you or your date don’t feel this, then don’t pursue. Know your worth in Christ and don’t waste time dating people who don’t see that.
If I really liked someone but they didn’t want to make time to see me, then yes, I would find it incredibly hard to move on, but I would find the situation going round in circles, and never getting anywhere, just making me more miserable. Get out of that cycle sooner rather than later.
And vice versa, if you don’t want to make the effort or take the time because you know it’s not right, then be gracious and kind, let them down politely and move on. Life is too short to be playing games. God knows who is right for you, should you be called for marriage. He is the best advisor and best dating agent around. He actually wants to be involved in your life too. What better way to get the best advice than pray and seek His will?
Disappointment is hard, especially when you’ve built the idea of someone up in your brain. However, no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. We’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t and done things we wish we did not. We can learn, move on, forgive and ask for forgiveness and wipe the slate clean for the next. God is the God of forgiveness, so we can take Him as our example and learn how to be kind, understanding, yet realistic. If you can’t move on and start dating again after a bad date, you may never meet that special someone round the corner.
What are your tips for dealing with dating disappointment?
Enjoyed reading ‘What to do when a date isn’t everything you’d hoped’? Read more by Hannah Grace here