Dating can often feel very lonely. Maybe you’re not getting any matches on dating apps, or you’re tired of going on dates with an open mind and heart only to be disappointed over and over again. When you keep striking out and start to worry that you’ll never feel that spark again, you may start to feel that odd, discomforting feeling of being unwanted creeping over you—even if logically, you tell yourself it’s not true, somehow it’s still there nagging at you.
If you haven’t made a match in ages, it’s common to suspect that the problem is you. But it’s important to remember that while feeling unwanted is a valid emotion, you are never the problem. You don’t need to let that become your narrative.
Although it’s easier said than done, here are a few things to remind yourself of when you’re feeling unwanted that may help you move past it.
You’re not the only one.
Feeling unwanted is a part of life— it happens to everyone at one point or another. Even the most confident, conventionally attractive people feel it. Loneliness is hard to combat, and when it comes with the added baggage of feeling like you’ll be single forever, it’s even harder. Try opening up to friends about it. You might be surprised at who can identify with you.
Your worth is not decided by who wants you.
You are the only person who gets to decide what your measure of self-worth is. If it’s dependent on who wants you, maybe it’s time to do some reflection on why that’s the case. Try making a list of all the things you like about yourself, and what’s important to you when you envision your self-worth. Being found desirable by potential matches on dating sites probably won’t make that cut. Your empathy for others and passion for the things that excite you count way more than any reasons why a two-date fling didn’t turn into something more.
It’s really not the truth.
Just because you haven’t heard any searing declarations of love lately doesn’t mean you’re not desirable. It only means you haven’t met someone you’re compatible with. There are a lot of potential boyfriends, girlfriends, and partners in the world. It makes sense that you might have a few dips in your dating game. It’s okay to feel unwanted, but try to remind yourself that the feeling, like so many others, is temporary. You’re bound to hit your stride again.
Your friends want to be around you.
Being romantically desired is not the most important thing in life. Platonic relationships can outlast romantic ones, and you need them even more. Friendships are foundational to a life well-lived, and they can be just as nourishing as a romance, if not more so. The stakes are different in a friendship; you don’t have to want to be each other’s partner for life, and sustaining a friendship carries less pressure. When you’re feeling unwanted, just remember that you have friends who will always care about you. It sounds cheesy, but it’s really true. Let your friends help you through this rough patch.
Make the best of it.
This lull in your romantic life may not have been planned, but you can make the best of it while you’re in it. Now’s the perfect time to spend less time agonizing over the opening line of your first message and spend more time doing the things you love. Take up a beloved hobby that’s fallen by the wayside while you’ve been busy with an active dating life. Catch up with old friends. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. It’ll be good for you and your community, and serve as a distraction from dissecting your recent matches that went nowhere.
You’re pretty great.
Yes, you are, because you’re just another human in the world who’s trying to do their best. If you care for yourself and the people around you, you’re already doing a great job. You already know you don’t need validation from potential romantic partners, but try to be gentle with yourself when the lack of it stings anyway. This, too, shall pass, and you’ll be stronger because of it.