No matter how often you remind yourself not to take dating too personally, that’s especially difficult when a new relationship you thought had real potential, suddenly dies. On one hand, a little healthy introspection is never wasted. But more often than not, the fizzled romance prompts you to wonder: “What’s wrong with me?!?”
That’s a loaded question you should approach with caution. Why? Because it springs from this faulty assumption: If a promising new love chooses to drift away, it must be your fault. Not true. Most of the time the real reasons have little or nothing to do with you. Romantic potential is like a complex algebraic equation, but one that’s dependent on variables you can’t even see.
If you’re presently in that post-dating state of wondering why the other person ghosted from your life, resist the temptation to find flaws in yourself that probably don’t exist. Here are seven alternative explanations:
Romance must often compete with other priorities, such as looming career changes, family obligations, illness, money troubles, or pre-existing plans to move to another city. It is no sign of failure on your part for a prospective partner to conclude they simply can’t fit a new relationship into their life at the moment.
Sometimes a new love walks away because they realize they haven’t fully recovered from their last romance and are not yet ready to embark on a new one — with anyone. There’s a failed relationship involved all right, but it isn’t yours.
It’s possible your new interest simply got cold feet at the idea of moving from “dating” to “being together.” It happens. In that case, there’s nothing to be gained from agonizing over what you could have done differently. The answer: nothing.
Suppose you’ve just launched a career in international banking and your new love dreams of owning an organic orchard far off the beaten path in Montana. The decision to put on the brakes sooner rather than later is not a rejection of you or your goals, but simply a realistic response to insurmountable incompatibility.
The word “values” covers a lot of important ground, including religion, politics, family, and social issues. If it’s clear early on that you don’t see eye to eye on important subjects, your date may feel it’s wise to let go now and spare you both the ordeal of conflict later.
You love to travel to remote corners of the world; his idea of the perfect vacation is Disneyland. She likes high-adrenaline sports; you collect postage stamps. If he loves to club hop and listen to bands all weekend and you can’t stay awake past nine, it should not be surprising when one person (or both) moves on. There’s no judgment in that — just realism.
Like it or not, there are charming people out there who never have any intention of settling down to a single relationship. If you suspect that explains why the person drifted away, don’t waste time blaming yourself. In fact, look on the bright side: You’re more likely now to spot the next player who comes along.