DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: A couple months ago I asked out two different girls at work. I asked them out about a month apart. They both (politely) turned me down and while I was disappointed, I took them at their word and didn’t pursue anything further.
A couple weeks ago I saw on Facebook (I’m friends with both of them) that one of them had posted some pictures about being bridesmaids in a mutual friend’s wedding. She said something about how a good man is hard to find and she was envious of the bride. The other one commented similarly.
Dr. NerdLove, I’m so mad at them! They rejected me and then they talk about how hard it is to find someone! I know it’s none of my business, and I’m not going to say anything, and I hid both their posts afterwords. I don’t intend to say anything to either of them, and I’ve dealt with rejection before, but the post really hurt! How do I deal with my anger and frustration? Is there something I missed or did wrong that I need to examine? I haven’t engaged with them at all since I asked them out, and we work in different departments so interacting is not an issue. But I still feel double rejection! What can I do?
Still Single Over Here
DEAR STILL SINGLE OVER HERE: Dude. Dude. Take a deep breath. Take another. Let it out slowly.
I understand how upset you’re feeling right now. Here you are, having put yourself out there as a potential paramour to these women and they’ve both turned you down. Now here they both are, talking about how hard it is to find a good man. It’s understandable that you’re left here thinking “what the hell am I, chopped liver?”
But here’s the thing. When you hear someone say ““a good man is hard to find” or something similar, you need to append an unspoken “…that I’m attracted to,” at the end. It’s like when we hear someone say “I wish I could meet a guy like you.” What they’re saying is that you have a lot of qualities that they would like to find in a potential partner except for one: they’re just not attracted to you. So while you may tick a lot of their boxes, you just don’t match the one that’s marked “required”. And as much as you might be a great match for them otherwise… that lack of attraction ultimately means that it’s not going to work for them.
And therein lies the rub. For whatever reason, these women were just not feeling it with you. And while this can feel like a personal judgement on you as an individual, it really isn’t. It doesn’t mean that you did something wrong, or that you’re a flawed person. It doesn’t mean that you’re unworthy of love. It just means that they just didn’t feel that spark with you.
And honestly, there are going to be people out there who will not like you, no matter what you do, and that’s fine. Yeah, I know, how are you supposed to NOT take that personally? But think about this: how many women do you know out there that just don’t move your needle? How many women are there in your social circle who are great people, but just don’t have that je ne said quois that marks the difference between “nice” and “niiiiiiiice.” You’re not judging them or seeing them as lesser; it’s just that you’re not into them. No harm, no foul.
I mean, trust me, I get it. It’s frustrating. When you hear someone lament being single after you went and made yourself vulnerable to them, it feels like you’re being insulted. But you really aren’t. Many times, people not wanting to date you will have absolutely nothing to do with you. It won’t matter what changes you make, what words you say or how you present yourself. It’s just that you aren’t the droid they’re looking for. And at the end of the day, that’s value-neutral. Attraction is a personal thing, after all. Nobody is going to be attractive to everyone. And they just weren’t attracted to you.
Yeah, I know. It’s like someone kicked your soul in the junk. I’ve been there myself. I’ve literally had women I’ve asked on dates say that to my face. But being angry at them isn’t reasonable, any more than it’s reasonable for the women you haven’t dated to be upset at you for not dating them.
So the best thing you can do is brush off the dust, square your shoulders and tell yourself “OK, that sucked, but I’ll get over it.” Take a deep breath, let it out slowly and let that anger just sink through your body towards your feet, then into the ground and let it dissipate. There will be other opportunities, with women who’ll dig what you have to offer.
Stay cool, bro. You’ll get there.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I am not attracted to anyone in my area, not a single one. It’s either the horrible voice or being underweight or overweight, or the terrible personality (I have this one)
It honestly seems like everyone sucks where I am, and it’s the exact same no matter what area I am in.
I have a weekly D&D game and that’s about the extent of my socialising, most of my time is just spent on my computer. Women are an alien species for me, and not the interesting ones with mind powers or incredibly advanced machinery or powerful magics. They’re the boring kind who the whole movie would be spent trying to communicate with them
It also doesn’t help I’ve never asked anyone out yet and likely never will due to the potential reaction (I. E. Public shaming.)
I’m disconcerted by the fact that I am attracted to NO ONE. What the hell kind of robot brain do I have where that is even possible,
It also doesn’t help that I trust very few people outside of my immediate family, and I’mm constantly on my guard for no good reason. I’ve been using dating sites, but even when I see someone with my interests, I pass them as I don’t believe that it is a real profile ( most of the dating profile I’ve seen are blank or nothing of significance) Furthermore, I strongly believe that most dating profiles are elaborate catfishes.
On another note, I am certain that no one is attracted to me, and if anyone asks me out, it is some form of trick.
More to the point, how can I actually care about freaking anything, I say that as my life has ground to a halt, am too busy with school to make any significant changes and I’m sick of the rat race already and I’m not even working yet.
I would love to switch places with me in an alternate universe where I’m a success living in the biggest mansion in the world, but dimensional travellers are played out, just like time travellers (it’s such a bad idea)
I don’t know, I don’t want to be a loser my whole life, but I have no idea how to change this. I’ve been like this so long that I find it difficult to change anything.
Thank you for your assistance
DEAR TIRED MAN: There’s a lot going on here, TM and I think a lot of it is outside what I can do for you. A lot of what I see here are things that are beyond my pay grade. You don’t really need a loudmouth with a blog, you need a counselor or therapist to talk through some of this. Now, what I can tell you is that your issue is one I’ve heard before. Part of the problem sounds to me like a form of anxiety. People tend to think of anxiety as near heart-attacks and freak-outs, when it can manifest in a lot of different ways – low-key dread, a sense of impending doom, belief that everyone is lying to you…
I mean, stop me if this sounds familiar.
Another part of anxiety is how it can lead to avoidance behaviors; you (general you, not you, TM) live in fear of the possibility of an anxiety attack and so you find ways to avoid it ever being a possibility. You find reasons to avoid situations or people because of the stress or the potential of something going horribly wrong.
But I think the big reason why you don’t like the people around you… mostly seems to be that you don’t really like yourself. Like Baleful Eye back in October, you sound like you’ve got a lot of internalized self-loathing, which is often a symptom of depression – something that tends to come as part of the sucky benefits package of anxiety. It’s easier to dismiss the people around you as fakes, phonies and scam artists than to let them get close to you and risk the inevitable rejection that obviously will be coming because hey, who could possibly be interested in someone as awful as you.
And I have to tell you: I have been there, I have done that and I know that particular feeling very well. I’ve dealt with chronic depression for most of my life and I can tell you first hand: there is no voice more believable than the one depression uses because it’s your voice. It’s dripping poison in your ear, jabbing you in all of the places that you are the most sensitive because it knows damned good and well where you have the least armor. It crawls into your head and tells you that your worthless, that there’s no point to anything, that there’s nothing that you could do. There’s no point in trying because nothing can change or improve. This is your life and it will be this bad or worse until the end.
But here’s the thing: anxiety is a liar. Depression is a liar. It is bulls
t that only sounds like truth because it tells you things that you fear, and it does so with your voice. Change is possible. Improvement is possible. I can tell you this with 100% certainty because hey, I’ve done it. I have been where you are, I have been in the hole you are in right now and I have climbed the ever-loving hell out.
I won’t lie to you: it’s hard. It’s maddening even. It takes a lot of work and – worse – a lot of random chance. One of the frustrating things about depression and anxiety is that they’re all so damn personal that there’s no one way to deal with it. For some, cognitive behavioral therapy works. Talk therapy works for others. Still others need medication to get the worst of it under control… and even then, it takes time to find the medication and the dosage that works for you. And some people need a combination of all of the above.
And you know what: that’s fine. Finding that one way didn’t work for you doesn’t mean that you’re a hopeless case, it just means that you need a different form of help. The important part is getting help in the first place.
Now, I’ve done a few things, like exercise and mindfulness meditation, that I’ve found help get your brain under control that may be worth trying to take the edge off things. But to be perfectly honest, you need to be talking to a proper therapist. You’re in college which can actually make things easier; you have access to health services through your school, which often includes mental health. And if they don’t have someone on campus, they can almost certainly recommend someone to you. But keep in mind: just as in dating, having a connection with your therapist is important. If you two aren’t clicking and you don’t feel that they understand you or aren’t giving you the help that you need, you can find someone else. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your own needs; you know what’s going on in your head better than anyone else.
This will get better. Once you get some of this under control, I think you’ll find your outlook on life, the universe and everything changing for the better.
It will be ok.
All will be well.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, email@example.com)