3 Ways to Move Past or Protect Yourself from Rejection in Relationships and Dating

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Mae West room Salvador Dali museum
This is one way to look at this art exhibit. (Image/An Epic Education)

When I wasn’t crying over my divorce and broken family, I was mostly getting dating wrong.

Must Be This Tall To Ride wasn’t about helping anyone. It wasn’t about strengthening relationships, preventing divorce, or improving ourselves.

It was simply about me being a trainwreck and amusing myself by sharing stories about it.

I had just turned 34—at the time, the oldest I’d ever been—yet found myself the least secure and most afraid that I’d ever been. Being that it came at the same time that I was also setting new personal records for being sad and angry, it was a pretty bad time.

But even at my worst, my brain is always trying to problem-solve.

I just lost my wife. My home and life are incomplete without a partner. There’s a void now. I should begin trying to fill that void, I thought.

If MBTTTR was anything, it was me chronicling what I perceived to be rejection—first from my ex-wife, and then from people I never even met on online-dating sites.

Losing half of my son’s childhood is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But my wife CHOSE that over staying with me—THAT’s how unlikable I am, I thought.

I failed at marriage—who would want me?

I have a kid—who would want to deal with that?

I don’t have as much money as that guy. I’m not as smart as that guy. I’m not as attractive as that guy.

It was one big Hey Matt, You’re Not Good Enough festival.

When I first started dating I was a teenager and in my early 20s. I was nothing but hope and confidence, youthful energy and fearlessness, as well as the most physically attractive version of myself that I’d ever be.

I was CONSTANTLY surrounded by women my age who were in similar life circumstances, both in and outside of school. Pretty much everyone around me was close to my age and single.

The possibilities were endless.

I dreamed big, chased what I wanted, and usually got it. Dating? It was mostly easy.

You Must be This Tall to Ride

I’m not very tall. (5’9”-ish.)

When I was young, I never even thought about my height beyond the basketball court. I wanted to dunk on people and it totally sucks that I never have. But outside of sports, my height wasn’t on my radar as anything that would ever matter.

But then I woke up one day divorced and 15 years older.

I didn’t feel youthful. I didn’t feel confident. I didn’t feel like I had my whole life ahead of me.

I had JUST failed at literally the most important job I’d ever had, and done the ONE THING I swore I would never do—get divorced.

I was an emotional disaster. I’d totally lost confidence in myself and was afraid of everything.

And now, this broken version of myself was tasked with finding a romantic partner in a life where I’m almost never surrounded by women my age, or in similar life circumstances like I’d been 15 years prior.

This problem is why people invented online dating—something that in my estimation is both good and bad.

When I was 19 or 20, my dating competition—not that I was ever thinking about it as any type of competition—consisted mostly of the other guys around me—and I mean, literally in my physical proximity. They were mostly people I knew and liked, and were within a few years of me, age-wise.

But as a middle-aged dude? None of that was true anymore.

I was just a few photos on the screen.

That’s what I’d been reduced to.

Some mediocre stats, underwhelming photography, and a digital poster child for cliché divorced single father red-flag-waving trainwreck.

It didn’t matter what I thought about. It didn’t matter how I felt about people—or about the world. It didn’t matter what good I had to give.

For some, the only thing that mattered was that this one dude was driving a Mercedes and was 6’3” tall. And that I didn’t. That I wasn’t.

There is ALWAYS some tall, rich, super-attractive dude. And that guy will ALWAYS be more appealing than the short, divorced, middle-class guy when you’re swiping left and right.

It was a hard pill to swallow at first.

This is how people meet now, and I can’t compete.

Rejection—the idea of not being good enough and trying to deal with it—is what this place was built on.

Must be this tall to ride.

Everyone Changes Their Mind About You After You Do

Whether they come via blog comments, emails, or in real-life conversation, I get some form of this question a lot: How do I move past rejection?

It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how I was going to do it. I’d finally had enough of feeling shitty.

When I first started dating and writing after divorce, every day I felt like no one would like me like they had the younger me.

And now? I don’t feel bad every day. People like me.

The question of whether I’m good enough no longer hangs over my head.

Why? Because I figured out something important about who gets to decide how much I’m worth.

I was letting OTHER people—or worse—what I THOUGHT other people might believe about me to dictate how I felt about myself.

I was letting other people decide who I was. What I was worth. How much I mattered.

People’s opinions—total strangers much of the time—had the power to dictate how good or bad I felt every day. Other people had the power to determine whether being alive today would feel good or feel horrible.

It was power that I’d given them.

You ever like a food, or a movie, or an activity, or a person, or whatever that someone else didn’t like?

Are you going to stop liking pepperoni pizza because some vegan says it’s gross?

Are you going to stop liking The Shawshank Redemption because some warm-milk drinker said they didn’t think it was a good movie?

I KNOW the things I like are awesome. I recognize that not everyone will agree. I make no value judgments about them as human beings on account of their different tastes and preferences, because I know that if I were THEM, having lived their identical life, I would share their identical tastes and preferences.

But MY stuff? The things I enjoy doing, or admire, or that inspire me somehow?

One day it occurred to me how irrelevant other people’s opinions were to me, and how they almost never influenced my likes and dislikes.

Then, everything changed.

Why would I ever let other people’s opinions affect my evaluation of myself?

3 Ways to Overcome Rejection or Fear of Rejection in Dating

1. Get serious about your personal values and boundaries.

Here are your choices, single people:

  1. Stay single, don’t date.
  2. Date casually.
  3. Date seriously, with the intention of marrying OR entering a long-term committed relationship that approximates marriage.

There are people—many people—who make getting married, or Being in a Relationship a goal. The goal is not health. The goal is not happiness. The goal isn’t about anything meaningful.

The goal is simply—Be Part of a Relationship.

When the goal is to simply NOT be single, people demonstrate the tendency to compromise their personal values and avoid enforcing their personal boundaries if it means their relationship might be in jeopardy EVEN IF it’s a shitty relationship that should have never happened in the first place.

If the long-term goal is having a sustainable committed long-term partnership with someone, why is everyone in such a damn hurry RIGHT NOW, where they’ll make a bunch of excuses for asshole behavior, because tolerating the asshole behavior somehow feels easier than having to start the dating process over again? Why is having a shitty relationship somehow better than having no relationship?

I spend a lot of time writing about divorce and how I believe men—by and large—are the biggest culprits in the typical crappy marriage and divorce story. There’s plenty of data to support this.

What I don’t spend enough time writing about (because it isn’t useful to the majority of people reading marriage and divorce-prevention content) is how I believe women—by and large—are the biggest culprits in creating the conditions for the typical marriage and divorce story to play out.

I agree that many, many, many men (and some women) seem to ‘change’ after marriage. And that their spouses feel almost duped, betrayed, and stuck when that happens.

It’s relatively easy to breakup with a boyfriend. It’s much harder to breakup with a spouse who is often a significant financial provider for a shared home, with shared bank accounts, shared vehicles, shared extended family, shared friends, and—most significantly—shared children.

Children change everything for couples, and not always in good ways. It’s easy to understand how people who have never had children before would do a crappy job of mentally guessing what the experience would be like.

But there are core needs—emotionally, psychologically, physically, spiritually—that people have. When they’re not met, something starts to hurt for the people with the unmet needs. It’s obvious to them that something is wrong.

And this is when people start compromising their principles—their self-respect—to keep their relationships intact.

I KNOW how hard that can be in marriage.

But I struggle to find reasons why it should be hard during the dating phase. Fantasizing about a happy marriage is NOT the same as actually having a happy marriage.

If someone doesn’t fulfill your core needs, you’re going to spend a lifetime feeling pain and awfulness BECAUSE of the very thing that’s supposed to help support you during life’s hardest moments.

Communicating what those core needs are effectively, and then respecting oneself enough to walk away from anyone refusing to fulfill them is the ONLY way to avoid a marriage with fundamental problems from Day 1.

Feeling rejected because someone refuses to fulfill your stated needs?

Did they really reject you, or did they just do you and your future children a huge favor?

2. Become the One Who Rejects

That sounds uglier than it’s supposed to, because none of this is rooted in superficiality.

Here’s the thing. People go on dates, and in the back of their minds, they want the person they are meeting to “pick them.” People try to say the right things, do the right things, look the right way—not because that’s necessarily the most honest and authentic and true version of themselves—but because they want this total stranger on the other side of the dinner table to give them the You’re Good Enough stamp of approval.

People do this all of the time. And then their entire emotional wellbeing is rooted in how often these strangers ‘approve’ of them.

Ugh. Sorry. Not happening.

Half of these people are assholes. Let’s start there. I don’t mean crazy, huge assholes who will do super-awful things to you. I just mean regular-sized assholes like me. Everyone’s got baggage and problems, and their own fears and insecurities.

It’s important to not let assholes with baggage and problems and fears and insecurities DETERMINE how you feel about yourself.

This isn’t a job interview where it’s only successful if the other person decides you’re good enough.

When YOU are the one who rejects, you give no effs about whether THEY think YOU are good enough. You’re spending the entire meeting working out whether you think THEY are good enough for YOU. This isn’t about judging people superficially. It’s about evaluating the relative competence and compatibility of another human being to determine whether romance and/or legit partnership would be viable.

Will it hurt a little if you end up really liking someone who DOESN’T end up really liking you back?


And I’m sorry.

But. Serious question: How much do you want to be in a relationship with someone who literally doesn’t value you enough to want the same thing? Like, how’s that going to turn out for everyone?

I probably shouldn’t try to speak for everyone here, but I feel fairly confident 99 out of 100 will agree: Divorce or horrible breakups of long-term relationships are VASTLY shittier experiences than having some attractive stranger not like you as much you like them.

Framing things in intellectually honest ways is a huge part of dealing with perceived ‘rejection.’

Which leads to…

3. Tell Yourself the Right Story

You’re not only good enough, but you’re kind of awesome. If you’re doing a bunch of things you DON’T think are awesome, then I strongly suggest giving up those sucky things for all of the awesome alternatives.

Wake up and do things you want to do. Do things you love. Engage in people and activities that set your heart on fire.

If some rando out there doesn’t think those things you do and love are awesome or interesting, is that going to stop you from loving to do them or thinking they’re awesome?

Bad things happen every day. They happen to good people who don’t deserve it, and that is universal. If you love others then you’ll always have something to lose. And all of us will.

The longer you live, the more you lose.

It’s not a tasty beverage.

But, in the context of relationships, the conventional wisdom is that you either ARE in a relationship or that you WILL BE one day.

The most beautiful, significant, lasting relationship—the one that occurs with two people who promise to love one another forever, and mean it. Two people who bring children into the world, and teach them to be forces for good in the world, and how to love romantically, and otherwise.


That only happens when all of the bad relationship stuff happens first. You only meet that amazing person when you’re not too busy wasting time and energy on people who can’t and won’t be that.

Dating failure IS NOT failure. Dating ‘failure’ is healthy relationship insurance.

Your mind deserves to be stimulated. It deserves peace.

Your body deserves to be wanted. It deserves satisfaction.

Your spirit deserves to be nurtured. It deserves whatever support you require on your life journey.

When those things happen, you are emotionally healthy.


When any or all of those things DON’T happen, you get knocked out of balance emotionally, and then every moment of life feels crappier than it otherwise would.

How do you get past feelings of rejection?

We tell ourselves the right stories. The correct ones.

The true ones.

No one gets to decide what we’re worth. Only us.

And are we really being rejected, or is someone showing themselves to be someone we don’t want to be with anyway?

It might seem like I’m advocating mind games. A bunch of psychobabble, or cat-poster B.S.

But what I hope it seems like is that you were standing on one side of the room looking at something, and seeing things one way, and I helped you find the other side of the room, where you discovered the exact same thing looks entirely different when you finally see it from the proper angle.

salvador dali mae west room - straight view - Pinterest
Here’s the way Salvador Dali intended you to view his tribute to actress Mae West. (Image/Pinterest)

44 thoughts on “3 Ways to Move Past or Protect Yourself from Rejection in Relationships and Dating”

  1. Nailed it. I am so glad I read this today. You’ve (one again) managed to put into words what I’ve been feeling. I am a catch, and I’m not going to waste time on anyone who doesn’t see me that way. I think being alone is better than being in a shitty relationship, but it has taken me a while to get to that place in my heart and mind. Thanks for writing this, I have a feeling I will be rereading it regularly just to reinforce what I know to be true.

    1. Thank you.

      Every unpleasant experience is one that had to happen to get to whatever good thing’s up ahead waiting for you.

      If we choose to, we can be grateful for the bad times, and look forward the good ones.

      Thank you for reading this.

      1. Thanks for your reply, I’m kind of fan-girling over here. 🙂 I’ve been reading your blog for almost 3 years now, since my husband of 15+ years and I split. (Let’s just say that sending him the Letters to a Shitty Husband went over like a lead balloon!) Despite the loneliness I feel from time to time, I am so grateful for all the experiences–the good and terrible–that have brought me to this place right here and now. I am more whole than I have ever been. Thanks again!

  2. “What I don’t spend enough time writing about (because it isn’t useful to the majority of people reading marriage and divorce-prevention content) is how I believe women—by and large—are the biggest culprits in creating the conditions for the typical marriage and divorce story to play out.

    I agree that many, many, many men (and some women) seem to ‘change’ after marriage. And that their spouses feel almost duped, betrayed, and stuck when that happens.”

    Hmm I think this is often put on women but as with the cocreation of a shitty marriage I don’t believe this is gender specific.

      1. It’s not any more specific to women than being an accidentally shitty spouse is to men.

        As a percentage, men do specific things that suck and ruin marriage and a higher clip than women.

        In that same vein, I think women, as a percentage, are more likely to not enforce their boundaries and ‘forgive’ or overlook marriage-killing behaviors because of how badly they want the relationship to happen.

        Then, years later, it’s total shit.

        Is the guy’s behavior the primary problem? Absolutely. But did the lack of vigilant boundary enforcement create the condition for shitty husbandry to take root and do what shitty husbandry does?

        I think so.

        Like all things I write, it’s not inherent to gender. It’s observably true more often in a particular gender.

        If you disagree, please share, because you’re excellent at making me rethink things.

        I think the writing was poorly executed in the post because I rush. But I absolutely believe the slightly better-communicated version that I just shared here.

        1. Let me throw out my point of view and see how it lands with you. Obviously, as in the theme of your blog, we all have different ways of seeing these things and different personal experiences that inform that. ?

          I think, like a lot of stereotypes, there is some truth that women, on average, are more invested in moving to a committed relationship or marriage. (I think this is your story as I remember?)
          Lots of reasons that happens but that’s for another discussion.

          I think that our basic premises of what causes average shitty marriages are slightly different. While I agree that some things are more common for men to do to cause shitty marriages, women, on average, have a different but *equally important* contribution to the cocreation of a shitty marriage. Imho the body of research shows that to be true in average shitty marriages when you factor in both sets of relationship skills.

          Even my often quoted Gottman research of men accepting influence being the critical factor in a happy marriage needs to be balanced with that is true *because* women often don’t know how to deal with that. So it is the combination of those two things that co-create a shitty marriage.

          That is an area I agree with you that women should not marry a guy who shows a tendency to not accept influence while they are dating. Until the relationship skills on both sides are better. Just as I don’t think men should marry because they are pressured to get married. Relationship skills in that situation show a lack of skills too.

          It’s challenging because in the early stages of a relationship we naturally find it easy to have better skills than later in the relationship when the feel good hormones diminish and you get overwhelmed with the details of the daily grind.

          My oft referenced Atkinson ebook approaches it without mentioning gender differences because so much of what we are missing are basic relationship skills and an understanding of to create a good relationship.

          (I do think gender matters in certain ways. There are common patterns that through nature/nurture express differently.)

          Does that resonate with you or do you see things differently?

          1. Similarly, I think that the not thinking of your boundaries and values and having realistic expectations and skills needed is equally true of both men and women though often expressed in different ways.

            Men, on average, imho tend to think that marriage will be “just like dating” as my beloved hubby said after being disillusioned by the many changes marriage and kids entails or are at least requested of them.

            In that sense, I think men tend to have a far more romantic view before marriage than most women. That they do have not considered how much they are willing or able to change as needed. So they feel a great sense of loss of who they are. Or emasculated etc.

            That does not mean that men aren’t often very heroic in trying their best to be a good husband and dad. Only that the resentment is fueled by unrealistic understanding before marriage imho.

          2. And, of course, many women often have unrealistic expectations too.

            I think we agree that most people get very little education about how good relationships function and we absorb modeling from
            our family and culture that are often defaults for us.

            That combo is what causes so much of the deficits for men and women to co-create all kinds of bad or barely functional relationships. Not just marriage but in-laws or extended family or siblings or whatever.

            Not to mention personal ways of dealing with your own thoughts.

            All that creates so much pain and loneliness that imho explains a lot of anxiety and depression. ?

        2. I mostly get what is being said here, but I’m thinking isn’t a certain amount of flexibility needed to establish any relationship?
          Obviously if you’re enamored with someone who is content being dickhole then you’re not going to win- either you will get a forever dickhole, or you won’t get the person you’re enamored with.
          It just sucks because of our emotionally driven will.
          So I guess I have to give up on all the admirable dickholes that are out there.
          Not easy.

          1. P.S.- I don’t really think anyone is a dick hole, but the term does add some spice in an otherwise dull world.
            Why is it wrong to want to establish relationships?
            Hurrying romantic and life long commitments I can understand saying “woah, let’s ride the phases out.”
            But just in general- people want to establish relationships; and while when your in high school relationships just happened, when you’re older people need to be more intentional not only because of time constraints, but also there is more discrimination in what your values are,ect.
            You want to be around people who will encourage and influence you in the directions you already value.
            What’s wrong with wanting to establish those relationships?

            By the way, I realize what Lisa was talking about has nothing to do with what I’m talking about here.
            But these are the thoughts that this post brings up for me.

          2. PIP,

            It is absolutely healthy to want to establish relationships of all types.
            Research and common sense has shown that loneliness and shallow connections are at the root of a lot of physical and mental illnesses and just regular unhappiness.

            The issue is that it is often hard to do that as an adult. Just because of the way our culture is now set up with less people staying near friends and family.

            The second is more what we are addressing here.

            How do we have a healthy mature way of approaching our desire for relationships. And how do we choose who to have relationships with.

            Often we don’t know what healthy and unhealthy looks like in other people or ourselves.

          3. Yes, this exactly.
            How much is having too high of expectations vs. really not getting your needs met?
            If I have an authentic desire to be someone’s friend and they meet that need 25% of the time, the mere virtue of being a “friendship” allows less obligation.
            But it’s still true that if the person isn’t getting thier friendship needs met, then investing time and energy would be a waste.
            That doesn’t mean a no to relationship a, it just means more attention goes to relationships b,c, and d.
            Friendships, and thier lower obligations are much more easy to manage than a committed romantic relationship, obviously.
            But I wonder if the same basic question applies.
            How much is “too high of expectations” vs. getting your needs met.
            How do we assess that in relation to our boundaries when the emotional pull sends signals of reward at the beginning of the relationship?
            Our brains are telling us our needs are being met, though those chemicals will subside.
            (And I apologize if I’m not making a huge amount of sense. It’s the first cold snap, and my body is responding as though I need to hibernate for the winter!)

          4. This is where I agree with Matt.

            If person a is only wants and/or able to provide 25% of what we desire than we must really accept that. Not try to control or push or beg or secretly long for it to be different. Or just giving in to avoid conflict.

            And I KNOW how hard this is to do in real life.

            So that imho is the 1st step to master. Accepting other people’s boundaries or limitations. That doesn’t mean collapsing or controlling but truly accepting. I am still practicing that skill.

            Figuring out what we want that is unrealistic or not and how to move towards healthier desire I think makes sense to master after step 1 if one has to pick an order of focus.

            Obviously both need to be healthy.

          5. Still trying to practice, myself.
            Sometimes I think I’ve got it, other times I obviously don’t.
            My new favorite Dan Siegel writes tons on how what we focus our attention on creates neuro pathways (yay! Neuroplasticity!)…it can make changing the focus of your attention difficult.
            But, fact: in relationships that you aren’t getting what is really beneficial for you, you have to change your focus of attention.
            It can be even more difficult when it still feels like emotional candy. Your brain signals reward when you focus your attention on the object of affection.
            That, I guess, is why some people can feel addictive.

          6. For me it can be very painful to accept reality of the difference between what you long for and what the reality is.

            It often involves grief over the loss. And a lot of pain.

            So I get why people, including me, “fight” accepting that the relationship is not what we need or want.

            I had to do a lot of that with my marriage and other relationships. It is hard and painful to accept who they are and what they are willing and able to do.

            Because in some areas this is literally the opposite of what I want/need.

            Accepting that means I need to accept the relative permanence of that. And decide what I will do in response.

            Either I have to decide it’s a dealbreaker because I can’t love with that reality. Or I can change myself or my environment to some degree to meet my needs/wants in other ways.

            Hard stuff. No wonder many of us just spin in the control/collapse not accepting cycle to try and get the other person to change.

          7. It IS painful. It is doing something that no part of you wants to do.
            I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but “releasing” the person may actually be like making a decision to keep or not to keep your unborn child.
            Either choice sucks. Neither is what you want.
            And then you have to reinforce and maintain that decision. That’s the difficult part for me. Discipline has never been a super power.

          8. For me the analogy is more about accepting that one is unable to have biological children.

            If I longed for a child that is hard to accept. And requires processing the grief over the future you imagined that will never be.

            The way out of the grief is to accept that and to reimagine other possible futures.

            One can have a rich and full life without a child. Or one can pursue adopting/fostering/mentoring children.

            The practice is not holding so tightly on rigid ideas of what our lives must look like but practicing hope in many possibilities.

            Since hope is not one of my superpowers that is difficult for me so I can appreciate your struggle with discipline to maintain a decision.

            But if there is anything I believe in it is that ANY skill can be practiced and improved.

            I practice hope everyday. ?

          9. PIP,

            And I agree with you that neuroplasticity can work for you or against you.

            That’s why imho it so important to get an accurate sense of what is going on with an accurate diagnosis so we can choose to focus our attention on helpful areas of change.

            Rather than focusing on blaming the other person and trying to get them to change. Or focusing on what is wrong with us that people don’t love us in a defeated way rather than seeking healthy change.

          10. To be honest, I am trying different things to change my pattern.
            Accepting , and even appreciating what is, without hidden longings or attempts to control.
            I just want to be happy. I want to know my relationships are solid and real. I want to be fulfilled. I just need to focus on that- being open to and proactive in the things that make me feel alive and fulfilled.
            There’s room for others, there’s even room for others boundaries and limitations.
            But no, no relationship will ever work where my happiness is dependent on someone else’s response to me.
            (Though I do agree that emotional attunement is a very real thing in couples…I would call that more the emotional tone of the relationship, and that can def. be influenced and fostered by your partner. And I would even say that is a responsibility of each partner….I don’t believe a couples emotional life can be lived completely independent of each other.)

          11. Lisa, re-reading all of this. Sorry if it seems like I was missing the point, or bouncing off of it in a new trajectory.
            I do understand and agree with a lot (most everything) you are saying here.
            Bottom line is, no you can’t change people, you can only change yourself (and hopefully in ways that are truly healthy.)
            In the exercise of boundaries I personally guard against cut-off. Not necessarily for the benefit of maintaining a relationship, or to hold out hope that it would be different, but because I want to do better than that. I want to learn the skills. That does mean accepting what is and taking care of myself and my needs.
            Sometimes the message to promote boundaries sounds like promoting cut off, and I guess it depends what kind of relationship and “how deep your in” could necessitate whether cut off is appropriate or not.
            Anyway- this all just ends up as rambling, but I do understand and appreciate your words here.

        3. I’m going to agree here that it’s generally women who are willing to overlook the shitty behavior, or are too quick to forgive when they’re told it’ll never happen again. Unfortunately it happens over and over, like a rubber band being pulled to its snapping point, until we’re just too worn out to snap back, so we break.

          But I do think women are becoming less inclined to tolerate the behavior.

          1. I’ve seen the other side too.

            Have you observed that men tolerate and overlook women trying to control how things are in certain areas or topics?

            I always think planning the wedding demonstrates a lot of this that shows up in other areas after marriage.

            How the house and kids look and function for example.

  3. Hi,
    I am a single man who’s about to turn 50 now, sooner than I care to think about. I didn’t date at all during my teens or the first half of my 20’s, but not for lack of trying, or “putting myself out there”.
    For most of my adult life, I’ve had a good life in other areas. I have hobbies that I’m passionate about, and I have friends, men and women, who are happy to pursue those hobbies with me.

    I have an extended family, and I have friends with family and children, and I’m happy and thankful to be a part of those, to see children grow up and help share the load to watch them and educate them about life. And I am grateful for my friends who trust me to look after their kids, not only in their home or in my own, but to be so responsible and use good enough judgement that I can also take them on vacation trips including (but not limited to) camping, hiking, skiing and mountain climbing, suited to their abilities but also challenging them.

    I can take care of myself, and I can take care of a house to turn it into a home, as not to live in a mess. I don’t do drugs. I have a job that I like very much and that pays decent enough money that I can pursue my hobbies and not be overly worried about the foreseeable future.

    But there’s still a void, in that I’ve been single most of my life. I had one serious relationship where we lived under the same roof, that lasted about 5 years. And counting generously, I’ve had 3 stints of “relationships” that perhaps were more of “exclusive dating” phases.

    I have lived a life full of stimulation for body and soul. I still do. And I truly think I am a gem, a real catch.
    But I haven’t met anyone else in a very long time, if ever, who seems to think the same. No-one wanting my body and soul, full-frontal, with my company. No-one wondering where I am when I get stuck in traffic for an hour on my way home from work. No-one to share a bottle of wine and a bubble-bath with on a chilly October night. And so on and so forth…

    So. I can keep telling myself that I’m a catch. But if I don’t meet anyone who agrees with me, then who am I really fooling?

    1. So I keep telling myself that I’m good enough.

      But the question arises, good enough for what? Or for whom?

    2. Your “life story” post sounds eerily familiar to mine; except that I did marry the wrong individual (not just live with him). I do understand that void (and sadly has been on my mind much too often) but I these days I would much rather be alone than in miserable company. Gratefully family/friends stopped asking about dating because that was not helping my ego (it’s like they are saying “hurry hurry hurry-you HAVE to have someone in your life to be a whole person!”).

      However if I must be truthful; I have trust issues as it relates to love relationships. Not in the mans actions but with mine. I get “weird” when “looking for love”. So concerned about other persons thoughts/actions that in the past I have “conformed” (which I’m over) to be who they are looking for. And in the back of my mind I think “Since I’ve made bad decisions before whose to say I won’t do it again?” And while I”m spouting off-I say that I am deserving of giving and rec’ing love but do I really believe it?

      So I’m not forcing “it”. Not “actively” looking for a love relationship. Life goes a whole lot smoother, works out better (i.e. happier) when i let life take a nature flow verse trying to push a square peg in a round hole! If I meet “the one” Hallelujah (cuz that means I stopped worrying about meeting him). If I don’t meet the one, no sweat-I’m still growing as a person, learning, living, dreaming, and loving my life!

      Good luck. Keep living on your terms!

      1. Hi iAm and thanks for your reply.
        However, about the “these days I would much rather be alone than in miserable company.”

        I agree to that. But I maintain that it’s rarely just that simple.
        Regarding Matt’s comment “Why is having a shitty relationship somehow better than having no relationship?”,
        I don’t think anyone actually _wants_ to be in a crap relationship where they don’t even get their most basic human needs met.

    3. Hey Kal, I don’t think you’re fooling anyone. You DO sound like a great catch, and surely the right gal will see that. We all deserve the love you speak of and kudos to you for not forcing something that wasn’t working. What do your friends say? Do they try to set you up? Do you want that? I’m curious what brought you to Matt’s blog.

      1. Amy G Dala,
        Thank you.
        I don’t know. I feel I wasted a big part of my life having my sights on something that was mostly “smoke and mirror”. Maybe someone will come along in the later stages of life, perhaps not. I just feel I had so much to give, but there was no one there to receive it. Putting myself out there and giving, was just tossing everything into a void.

        Sure, it’s better to be alone than in a crappy relationship. But not all relationships are crap. (At least I hope they aren’t, and I see quite a few that doesn’t seem to be)
        And some of your needs, social, emotional, etc, are just not fulfilled the same way.

        I have friends who have tried to set me up. Often less successfully. When I was younger, I used to accidently set _them_ up instead. So even if that dynamic probably have changed, I’m a bit reluctant about it. We’ll just see what happens.

        What brought me here?
        I’ve had lots of time to contemplate the issue, and I’m always interested to try and find new angles. Thank you for showing the interest.

        1. Kal,

          You’re welcome. I’m glad you’re here.

          I get it.

          I think I have given too much in past relationships, not seen them for what they were, and have been looking for something that wasn’t there. I’m really trying to stop that trend as I know it’s not healthy and won’t result in what I truly want. I’m strong, independent, and have a good career. I know I can take care of myself. But that’s not it. I, too, *want* someone special in my life.

          Maybe Matt should start a matchmaking service? 😉

  4. Yep, you nailed it again on this one!! I haven’t been dating much since my divorce; by choice. In the beginning I was so concerned about how I was viewed. My confidence had been rocked to the core and I felt “less of a person”. Three years later I am emerging from my rabbit hole with the knowledge that I AM enough, I AM deserving of receiving love as well as giving love, and that eventually I will meet someone who fills my relationship void naturally. Until then, I’ll continue stimulate my mind, body, and soul with activities that bring me joy, are purposeful, and maybe even a lil adventurous!!

  5. “Don’t fall in love with potential” is what I’ve learned from a very good therapist. And , in general, I think women do this more than men.

  6. Perhaps I am a decent person, good enough to be deserving of receiving as well as giving love. Perhaps I am not? Who’s really to say until it actually happens? And being the one to reject instead of being rejected, since the end result is the same, what does it matter?

    1. “Who’s really to say until it actually happens?” You are, Kal. You’re the one that needs to say it, to believe it. How can you expect someone else to until you do?

  7. Hi! I have been reading your blog with fervor. I find a lot of the musings to be true, and to hit home.

    Disclaimer: I am 5’5. I KNOW height is a requirement, for most women. *That “most” is far greater than 51%.

    That being said, you at 5’9? Dude, c’mon. That’s pretty much average, and while I know women have the 6’0 fantasy in their heads, at your height, if everything else is in-order, I don’t believe you should have too much trouble attracting a woman you desire.

    Now, does that mean she will be a “good” woman? I don’t know; that’s a book in itself.

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