When good dates don’t call: Why does it hurt?
You know the drill: you meet cute somewhere. You go out. You have a wonderful time: laughing, sharing common interests and making ironic statements about popular culture. You might have even shared a kiss (or more) as a nightcap. In a phrase: you clicked! Or at least you thought as much, but here you are six days later and no call, text or email. Your date seems to have moved on- but why haven’t you? Why do the memories of certain dates haunt us longer than the date itself?
One theory is simply that of narrative incompleteness. When you open yourself to the start of a potential relationship by going out on a date (or a few) – and it goes well- you often visualize the entire relationship (or at least all the good parts) based on this experience. This is called the narrative. Some may have even tried to figure out which features are going to get inherited in the future children. In essence, you get carried away in your narrative. The reality of early dating often comes back to stomp on the daydream. It ruins our story! And research has found that continued distress comes out of an individual’s inability to construct a narrative ending to the experience. Since you don’t know why he hasn’t called, you think you can’t finish the story. So you review, recount, and generally ruminate about why a good date didn’t grow into something more.
When a person doesn’t call, it’s important to finish the story on their behalf. Providing a complete account of the story is going to give you a deeper awareness and understanding of why it didn’t work out (even if it was just one date). You can reflect on the situation without the sting of the emotions, eliciting a clearer understanding of what happened. While it might be harsh to conclude that your date just didn’t feel the same potential about a relationship, placing a finale on the story allows you to establish a sense of control, closure, and increase in self esteem. It doesn’t matter that the specific reason is coming from you, and not the vanished date. In the end they didn’t call because they weren’t the right date for you. Telling a complete story elevates you from hapless character in a comedy of errors to author of your own dating destiny.
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