Life can throw some serious stuff your way when you least expect it, and one of the best ways to make it through the tough stuff is to try to find the upside in any situation (which is easier said than done, of course). Optimism is especially important when it comes to dating since finding love is usually more painstaking than it is fun. In fact, it’s enough to turn even the most positive person into a total pessimist. Here’s why:
- There’s way too much unknown. In theory, this is an optimist’s dream because it means anything could happen and the most amazing people, places and things could be just around the corner. Unfortunately, in the dating world, guys are so unpredictable that you wonder if your prince actually exists. What if you end up alone, with 30 cats that will eat your face when you die and no one will discover your body for years? That sounds dramatic, but sometimes it feels realistic.
- After dealing with so many jerks, you’re bound to lose hope. After going out with or even getting into relationships with guys that disappoint you at best and screw you over at worst, it’s only natural that you’re starting to lose faith. One bad date after another pretty much convinces you that you’re fighting a losing battle and that the love you’ve believed in your whole life is actually a lie. Blah.
- The bad guys make it way harder to believe in the good ones. So you’re four dates in with the same guy and things seem to be going great! This should be an optimist’s dream and it would have been yours once upon a time, but at this point, all you can think is, “He’s going to ghost me in a few days,” or, “He’s probably already got a girlfriend.” Soon enough, those thoughts threaten to take over your sanity and you start pulling away before this (truly great) guy even has a fighting chance.
- You start looking for flaws so they don’t catch you by surprise. Instead of appreciating what’s right in front of you, you start looking for cracks that aren’t even there. If you actually thought he was a liar, cheater or outright jerks, that would be justified. Instead, it’s the fact that he has a weird smile or that he likes football too much that gives you pause. They’re not dealbreakers by any means, but since you’re terrified of getting screwed over again and certain that’s the only way this will play out due to your past experiences, they become more serious than they should be.
- You can’t enjoy the honeymoon phase because you’re busy worrying about what comes next. You’ve had “The Talk” and have both decided that you’re crazy about each other and want to get exclusive. Back in your more optimistic days, this is when you’d take a deep breath, sit back and enjoy the most magical, passionate part of your new relationship. These days, however, you can’t keep yourself from worrying about what happens when the new relationship shine wears off. Things will only go downhill from there, right?
- You don’t think you’re being pessimistic, just realistic. It’s so much easier to be a pessimist in a relationship, right? That way, when it falls through, you can tell yourself that you knew it all along. Back in your more optimistic days, you wore constant rose-colored glasses any time you met a guy and it always ended in disaster. In your eyes, not hoping for the best just seems like the smarter, safer option — even though you know deep down that if you want love, you have to believe in it.
- No one seems to get where you’re coming from. Everyone who knows you is probably confused as hell by now. Generally, you’re always putting a positive spin on things; you’re the one who tells your friends and family how to look at problems from a new angle. So when you’re dating a new guy, they’re excited for you and encouraging about where this could lead… and you turn around and say it’s no big deal and probably won’t work out anyway. WTF?
- All it’ll take is one great guy to restore your faith. Fortunately, pessimism doesn’t necessarily have to be permanent. If you manage to find a great guy and push yourself to open up and give him a real chance, he might just prove all the negative thoughts you’ve developed about guys and dating wrong. Dating isn’t always a disaster, and there are guys out there who will make it worth it. You’re just waiting to find one, that’s all.