If my recent experiences are any indication, the disappearing act has regrettably become a regular part of modern dating behavior. The previously mentioned boy—the one who caused those awkward teenage girl feelings—inexplicably pulled the untenable maneuver last week. After showing a fair amount of interest on the first couple dates, asking to see me again and setting up a date he would ultimately blow off, the guy vanished.
Friends offered a myriad of potential explanations: “he was leaving and didn’t want to get attached,” “maybe he read your blog and freaked out,” “he just likes playing games.” Whatever the reason, I was once again left completely in the dark, feeling a bit blue.
The rather superfluous level of interest I had in this individual caused the disappearance to have a sobering effect. In an effort to pull me out of my brooding funk, my friend offered some advice, “use it as a learning experience, consider what you did wrong and change it the next time around.” I pondered this idea, looking back on the few dating experiences I had with this guy to determine exactly where I had gone wrong. The problem was I couldn’t think of anything I should have done differently. Essentially I behaved precisely as the person I am and anything I would have done differently would have been fake and part of a game.
I’m not saying I am flawless in every dating situation, but if you aren’t allowed to make a mistake or two without prompting the guy to run in the opposite direction, his expectations may need to be adjusted.
While I think people should learn from all experiences in life, I don’t think the lessons in this case necessarily illustrate how hopelessly flawed I am. As a firm believer in the process of constantly improving oneself, self-reflection (and sometimes self-flagellation) has become a way of life. However, it seems using a brief interlude with a virtual stranger to illuminate the areas in need of improvement may prove to be a slippery slope.
If we scrutinize every bad dating experience fully expecting to discover fatal errors within ourselves, it becomes a dangerous game. Not only will it inexorably dent our self worth, it threatens the very essence of our personality. If we alter our behavior every time someone decides that something in us makes us undatable, we will be bouncing back and forth desperately trying to define ourselves by someone else’s estimation of us.
This becomes especially detrimental when the individual rejecting us only knows us on a superficial level.
Someone may be able to determine if you aren’t the person for them after a couple dates, but they certainly don't know you well enough to suggest that something is inherently wrong with you. After I realized how little my crush actually knew about me, I quickly pulled myself out of my despondent mood ready to move on to the next romantic mistake.