‘Failing’ at Dating Is a Good Thing, Actually

Photo:  fizkes (Shutterstock)
Photo: fizkes (Shutterstock)

No one likes to fail at anything, especially at love. Even if you are successful at work and friendships, dating can cause all sorts of anxiety and fear particularly if your love life continues to fall flat. According to relationship coach Laura Doyle, it’s normal to fear that you’re failing at dating.

“There’s an actual fear of ‘failing’ at the entire dating game; basically, wasting time with the wrong person, not finding your one, or just screwing up the relationship in general,” she says. “Imagine the stress and anxiety you feel when a work deadline is fast approaching, yet you’re not close to completing the task. Now crank that up 10 notches and you’ll have the emotions associated with what some people consider, their internal clock running out.”

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The thing to remember, Doyle says, is that dating is meant to be fun—even if you’re “failing” at it. Think of it this way: Every “failed” experience is actually leading you closer to your ideal partner and relationship. Here’s why.

Change your mindset about dating and failure

People are often more scared of failure than excited by the adventure of dating, Doyle says, which can lead to choices they later regret. This could look like staying in an unhealthy relationship or convincing yourself that you don’t deserve love or that there’s something wrong with you if you haven’t found “the one” yet.

“Maybe consider that failure isn’t a bad thing,” Doyle says. “After all, there is always a lesson you can learn, which will help prepare you for future success. If you embrace the possibility of failure, you can extinguish the icky feelings of stress and anxiety, opening the doors again to frivolous fun.”

So instead of fearing a date might not go well, tell yourself that you’ll have fun no matter what and that feeling good is your main priority whether your date and you click or not.

Failure also leads to the path to self-exploration

Doyle believes “failing” at dating is also a good opportunity to look at your own negative patterns so you can improve upon them to help you find the relationship you want.

“Imagine evaluating a bad date or failed relationship through the lens of what you did to contribute to the situation,” she says. “You have a lot more power in creating the life you want if you can honestly take a look at what you don’t want and what you did to attract it or create it in the first place. If we don’t know something is broken, we can’t repair it, right? Relationships are always magical at the beginning and if you bring bad habits into the new relationship, you are just as likely to crash.”

The faster you’re aware of how you might be self-sabotaging your dating life and do the work to heal your old habits, the sooner you’re on the path to finding the right relationship.

Failure helps you realize what you want (and don’t want)

No one likes an uncomfortable date, but try this on for size: Meeting the “wrong” people helps you realize the qualities you do and don’t want in a partner. For instance, take stock of what you’re concentrating on when you meet potential partners. Are you placing too much weight on the little things that you “sort of” like in fear of rejection? Or are they aligned with what you truly want in a relationship? Sometimes we might continue to date people who don’t share the same values we hold near and dear in fear of “failing.” However, what if you saw failing at dating as a quick way to move on to meet someone else who checks off all of your boxes instead?

“Moving on fast can be beneficial,” Doyle says. “For instance, if you put your attention on what you want most to attract, what you focus on and concentrate on will expand.”

Bottom line: Don’t settle for less. Be clear with what you’re looking for and focus more on what you want. Let that intention guide you more than your fear of failing at dating.

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