It hurts.

For Shelia, it was first date after first date with nary a second date.

For Michael, it was when a two-year relationship that was on the fast track to being engaged ended abruptly.

For Allie, it was dating profiles on five different sites for a period of four years and only one semi long-term relationship to speak of.

Skepticism can be a common companion for singles that have gone through frustrating experiences such as the ones above. We will turn off the light in our heart while we regroup and re-energize before putting ourselves back out there. This is healthy.

What is not healthy, however, is putting ourselves back out there before we re-energize. We all know people who are on the dating scene and yet have little faith that any light will shine their way. One must be optimistic in order to be an emotionally intelligent lover.

An optimistic lover:

  • Is confident in themselves. "I am a catch."

  • Has faith in the dating pool. "There are plenty of potential matches out there for me."

  • Can roll with the punches. "Yes, he was a frog but I will not let that deter my faith."

  • Sees valuable lessons learned from bad dating experiences.

It is very difficult for humans to see things from this angle for one very important reason: experience. 

Allie may suggest that her lack of faith in the dating pool is warranted based on her frequent perusing of the available men in her area across five dating sites. For Shelia, being confident can seem a tough ask considering the dearth of second dates she has been on. "Well, if I am a catch, why does no one ask me out a second time?" 

Allie and Shelia may have logical perspectives and yet they are missing the boat in a couple of ways.

  1. Experiences drive perceptions of confidence and faith; perceptions drive how we show up in the world. If Allie and Shelia's presence and aura are skeptical or pessimistic, that will affect how they look, act and feel around potential matches, in person or online. This is an emotional intelligence reality. 

  2. The dating scene is complicated and people are complicated. Shelia and Allie are two people looking at the terrain from their disappointed lens while people are in relationships, having fun dates and getting married all around them. People in meaningful marriages and relationships rolled with the punches that currently have Shelia and Allie down for the count. Eventually, they came out on the other side but that was not until they decided to look forward instead of being consumed by the past.

We cannot let past experiences cloud our optimism.     

Your turn:

Did you ever fall into the trap of letting your past experiences cloud your present experiences?
How did that change your expectations?
What could be a way to put a positive spin on present experiences, despite of the disappointment of the past?