It’s hard to stay optimistic dating in the modern age. Especially in your 30’s. By the time you hit your 30’s and are still single, you’ve collected a baggage train so long and heavy it feels like the sheer weight of it will overcome you.
By now, you’ve had your heartbroken. You’ve been on so many bad first dates you’ve stopped counting. You’ve put yourself out there, online dating, giving your number to strangers in bars, meeting friends of friends, maybe even speed dating or going on blind dates.
You’ve really tried, over and over again to find the person to settle down with. To share your hopes and dreams and to make a life with. You’ve lived alone, you’ve worked on yourself. You’ve gone to therapy and read self-help books and done yoga. You’ve meditated, you’ve dieted, you’ve exercised. You’ve worked hard to collect a community of friends to support you – to find your ride or die to be there no matter what.
But still, you long. You long for partnership, to find love and someone you can be yourself with. To feel comfortable with your hair up, your makeup off in your sweatpants happily watching Seinfeld re-runs as you cuddle on the couch.
But where are they? Your soul cries out.
Where is this mythical mate, this person who you can finally get comfortable with? The one who will show up for you – emotionally as well as physically.
Every new date feels like a heavy burden, every new person has the shadows of those who came before lurking in the background. How is it possible to start dating a new person, and really just take them for who they are in that moment, without seeing the face of disappointment or anger from a similar situation with another person?
Projection and Faulty Belief Systems
How do you keep yourself optimistic? How do you see potential anymore when you are so exhausted from hauling around the baggage train? How do you truly see a new person for who they are, rather than who you think they might be?
What is called for in modern relationships is to heal your past so you don’t drag it into your present. Relationship trauma is a real thing. When we experience trauma, we take these old experiences and project them onto our present. When they don’t text back, we project the last time our spouse cheated on us when they went silent. Then we react from this faulty belief that their silence means they aren’t interested anymore, or other erroneous conclusions. Often, wee behave in all kinds of crazy ways from this faulty belief system.
Maybe we start to stalk him online or check her phone for old messages, looking for betrayal.
What we are missing is the reality of this situation, this person, which very well might be different from the last. Perhaps he isn’t responding because he is working, or just busy! Perhaps she hasn’t said she loves you yet because she is afraid, and not because she doesn’t feel it.
Healing the Past
Figuring out a way to heal our past relationship trauma is the key to successful relationships in the present. For some, therapy can be a helpful place to unravel these old stories, to forgive and move on from past hurts so we can bring our best selves into our present moment.
Another way is to practice mindfulness, to start to notice when you are living in past ‘hell’ and move into the present moment reality. Check yourself – are you assuming the worst? Are these old hurts impacting your present? Is what you are thinking necessarily true? Can you know for sure?
“Whatever is meant for you will never pass you by'”
Remind yourself this – you cannot blow past your destiny, whatever that is. Relax in the knowledge that you will find love, even if its love you eventually find for yourself.
You are more than the sum total of your past experiences. Take a deep breath, be gentle with yourself, and take another step forward.