When dates didn’t work out, my mind flooded with self-doubt and I was continuously asking myself, ‘what did I do wrong?’
Relationships can have an extremely positive impact on our lives – support, trust and love are some of the best parts of a healthy relationship. However, from personal experience, establishing a healthy relationship isn’t always easy, and unhealthy relationships can have a negative impact on our mental health.
I hope that I can share some advice to support anybody who may be struggling with the challenges of dating.
Develop a healthy relationship with yourself
The idea of self-love is something that I was familiar with but struggled to put into practice when dating. When dates didn’t work out, my mind flooded with self-doubt and I was continuously asking myself, ‘what did I do wrong?’ Alongside negative self-talk, I repeatedly bottled up how I was feeling when a romantic relationship ended, because I felt embarrassed. I placed the blame upon myself time and time again.
If you are content with the person that you are and recognise the love that you can offer somebody, you will be able to understand that they simply were not the right person for you.
I wanted to carry on putting myself out there, but I was terrified to feel like a failure again. One day, I decided that these feelings were starting to become overwhelming and I needed to talk to somebody. Luckily, I have a fantastic support network, so I discussed my feelings with a close friend of mine.
They listened and reassured me that a date not working out is not a reflection on me, it’s part of life and each experience is an opportunity to learn more about what I want. As a result of this conversation, I started to become more mindful of how I was talking to myself when dating didn’t lead to a relationship.
This improved my wellbeing massively as I began to realise that rejection is only perception. By this I mean that in the early stages of getting to know somebody, it is rarely personal if they have decided to end the romantic connection between the two of you. If you are content with the person that you are and recognise the love that you can offer somebody, you will be able to understand that they simply were not the right person for you.
To deal with this pressure, I think that it’s important to take things slowly and reflect upon how you are feeling on a regular basis.
Don’t feel pressured to be in a relationship
The pressure to settle down is another aspect of dating that I believe many people struggle with. In today’s society, it’s hard not to feel like you need to achieve certain things at a particular age, like moving out, going to uni or being in a relationship. You may feel pressured to settle down with someone quickly without really considering if they are the right person for you.
To deal with this pressure, I think that it’s important to take things slowly and reflect upon how you are feeling on a regular basis. This will help you to think about if a relationship is impacting your life in a good or bad way.
If you are single, remember, there is absolutely no rush to find a partner and settle down. It’s okay to want to be in a relationship, but it should be with someone who brings more happiness to your already happy life. If you feel as though you would like to focus on developing a healthy relationship with yourself, please do that.
Ultimately, having good self-esteem and feeling confident in who you are is more important than being in a relationship. Feeling secure in yourself can help you recognise whether or not someone is right for you and makes you feel good.
You should not feel trapped in a relationship or pressured to stay with somebody if they are making you feel bad.
You are worthy
Dating can be a struggle. Because there are countless dating apps and social settings, it can feel really overwhelming. I encourage you to be mindful of the situation that you are in – if you are happy and content as you are, do not feel pressured to search for a relationship. On the other hand, you should not feel trapped in a relationship or pressured to stay with somebody if they are making you feel bad.
You are worthy of finding a person that will love and support you, but it’s okay if it hasn’t happened yet. The most important relationship to look after is the one you have with yourself.
You are worthy of finding a person that will love and support you, but it’s okay if it hasn’t happened yet.
More information and advice
We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.
Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
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