There will be disappointment with dating, it is just part of the deal. Even when you do everything right. I know that sounds depressing and dire, but hear me out.
Successful dating is a skill, it takes time to learn and it is not a quick fix. I know, you are lonely and more than ready to share your life with someone. You want to skip ahead to the good parts. Don’t we all? But desperately dating is not the answer. If successful dating is about methodically and thoughtfully seeking a great partner, desperately dating is a total free for all shitshow without regard to consequences; it is about running over stop signs in favor of immediate gratification and wanting things now now now. But please believe me when I tell you that desperately dating comes with a price. The cost is often your long-term happiness when you rush into a relationship with someone who is not a great fit. And it is soooo much harder to disentangle yourself later than had you avoided settling in the first place. Much easier to be more discerning on the front end and avoid getting involved with someone who isn’t right for you now and never will be. No matter how lonely you are.
But being discerning takes commitment and patience and an iron will that sometime seems at odds with our hopeful side. You’ve worked on yourself, learned from your mistakes and you’ve got your list of desired partner traits with clarity about what is and is not negotiable. You are ready to go! Then say you meet someone nice, you get a little excited about them and start daydreaming about a happy future together. And then you recognize that it is not right. You so want it to be right, you’re tired of dating, but you can’t unsee how it is just not right with this person. You’ve got to let them go and move on, but you really don’t want to do that, but you do it anyway. And you feel let down. Disappointed. Wasted energy and no closer to finding a great partner. And this may happen multiple times. I remember when I was in the dating pool, I went on sooo many first dates. I felt some amount of disappointment every time they didn’t work out. But I also knew I wanted to hold out for great, not just good enough. The more often I didn’t compromise, the easier it got and the less disappointment I felt after saying goodbye. It was like my dating muscles were more fully developed.
My advice is to make friends with disappointment, because it will be there whether you like it or not. Know it will happen, expect it and maybe even try to become a little grateful for it’s protective powers. It is saving you from heartache later by keeping you honest now. Disappointment is a little like a badge of honor because it shows you haven’t become bitter or jaded; if you were, you wouldn’t feel let down. Disappointment is proof that your heart is open, you believe in love and you are still invested in finding a great partner – that’s why you are sad this one isn’t going to work. But the flip side is that disappointment also proves that you are succeeding in being strong, adhering to your own standards and you aren’t willing to compromise. Little disappointments while dating discerningly are way better than the big-time disappointment of winding up with the wrong person.