I Feel Like No Woman Is Attracted To Me: Low Self-Esteem And How It Impacts Dating
Updated November 23, 2019
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
Reality is a difficult thing to quantify. Although many things have concrete evidence to indicate life, people, or things are one way or another; there are just as many that rely entirely upon personal experiences and perceptions. Dating is one of those things: some adhere to a series of social rules that are almost intrinsic in nature, while others say "fie!" in the face of rules, and date according to their own needs and preferences.
Dating according to your own rules can be wonderful: your perceptions and instincts can work far better than any conventional dating rules, and you may be more likely to get what you want if you operate according to your own needs. There are instances when using your perception can be dicey, though: if you suffer from low self-esteem, your perceptions might be inaccurate, and your ability to date successfully could be impaired.
What Is Low Self-Esteem?
There are different ways you can view yourself. Self-esteem typically falls into two camps: high and low. Someone with high self-esteem thinks well of themselves, exhibits confidence, and is usually able to navigate the world with greater ease and comfort. Conversely, someone with low self-esteem might struggle with anxiety, fear, and frustration, and may have trouble navigating friendships, romantic relationships, and the workplace.
Low self-esteem manifests in several different ways. For some, low self-esteem shows itself as being guarded, jumpy, and unsure of yourself. For others, low self-esteem means always putting yourself in the center of attention, to find someone who can see and appreciate you. Low self-esteem shows itself in different ways from person to person, and may even demonstrate different traits from day to day.
What Causes Low Self-Esteem?
Several things can create, maintain, and further encourage low self-esteem. Childhood trauma, perceived physical flaws, existing anxiety and other mood disorders, neglect, bullying, and disabilities can all negatively impact your self-esteem, and make you feel as though you have little to offer others. Although this is very rarely true of anyone, low self-esteem can be extremely deceitful, and even more convincing.
Childhood trauma takes on many forms. Parental neglect, peer and adult bullying, trauma, loss, and disabilities can all converge to create a perfect storm that lends itself to developing low self-esteem. Low self-esteem might occur after a single instance of bullying, or could be the product of the life-long poor treatment. Low self-esteem might be incurred due to societal pressures to look, speak, and behave a certain way, despite difficulty doing so. Existing in a space that in any way deviates from the norm can create low self-esteem, as well, as it can create feelings of ostracism and inadequacy.
Can You Treat Low Self-Esteem?
In most cases, you can raise your self-esteem. Therapy, lifestyle changes, and thought process changes can all help raise self-esteem. Once you are saddled with low self-esteem, finding the motivation to change it can be difficult; after all, low self-esteem would try to tell you that you are not worth the time and attention necessary to seek treatment and general improvement. Nevertheless, once motivation has been found, even for a moment, treatment becomes possible.
Typically, the best way to treat low self-esteem is to interrupt the thought processes and patterns that lead to thinking poorly of yourself. Suffering from this particular malady is usually accompanied by a host of negative self-talk, ranging from your appearance to the very worth of yourself as a human being. Improving the way you look at, speak to, and care for yourself is the primary line of defense in treating and overcoming low self-esteem, and all that it encompasses.
Lifestyle changes might also help with self-esteem. Enacting self-care routines, eating healthy, whole foods, journaling, meditating, and exercising can all help boost your mood overall, leading to greater self-esteem. While it is certainly possible to take care of yourself and still find yourself saddled with low self-esteem, it is far more difficult to speak poorly to and of yourself if you are consistently showing yourself kindness, compassion, and care.
How Self-Esteem Impacts Dating
Because self-esteem can influence the way you interact with others, it plays a significant role in your dating life. Self-esteem can lead you to see or feel rejection when it is not present, can make you more likely to start fights, and can make you feel as though you have to leave before you are abandoned. The past rejection that has altered your perception of yourself can worm its way into your dating life, too, as you might find yourself repeating old patterns, or falling into the same behaviors that occurred when you were rejected. Low self-esteem can essentially stunt the progression of your relationships and can lock you into unhealthy habits. As a general rule, low self-esteem:
1) Fosters Unhealthy Habits
Low self-esteem fosters unhealthy habits because it forces you to focus inward, rather than viewing yourself and your situation as objectively as possible. Every tiny interaction can feel loaded, painful, and confusing; when your partner texts you "hey" instead of their usual "hey!" you might find yourself worrying for hours that you've done something wrong, or that your partner is on their way to breaking up with you. Jumping to the worst possible conclusion is an unhealthy habit that can invite other negative behaviors.
2) Encourages Poor Communication
If you are driven by fear of being left, and the fear of being inadequate plays a large role in your life, you may fear honest open communication. When you begin to hide or keep things close to the belt for fear of rejection, you are doing yourself and the person you are dating a huge disservice; intimacy, connection, and bonding cannot exist between two people who are not being honest with one another.
Poor communication can involve many different factors, including dishonesty, stonewalling, blaming, shaming, and mocking. While many of these unhealthy communication patterns might initially seem like willful manipulation, they are very often the panicked coping mechanisms of someone with low self-esteem, who might feel they must belittle others to keep them around. This type of communication can fracture relationships and prompt the onset of low self-esteem in others.
3) Creates False Feelings Of Rejection
Low self-esteem can make everything seem like it is about you. Every time you walk past someone who laughs, you might internalize that laughter. Any time you see your partner enjoying themselves with someone else, you might think you are not good enough and should disappear. Any time your partner has a bad day or is in a foul mood, you might immediately assume you are the source of those feelings and begin to retreat from your relationship. Constantly feeling rejected can make keeping a personal relationship difficult.
4) Encourages Abandonment
People with low self-esteem often feel like they have to abandon potential partners before they, themselves, are abandoned. Low self-esteem is often accompanied by a pattern of pushing people away before they can get close to guard against pain and rejection, which can make the partner feel alienated, unwanted, and unloved, actually leading to rejection. This kind of behavior creates a painful cycle within dating-or may mean that you avoid dating altogether to avoid being left behind, getting hurt, or feeling rejected. While dating is not an absolute necessity in life, most studies do demonstrate that people in healthy relationships enjoy longer life spans and greater contentment in general.
Improving Self-Esteem To Improve Dating
Dating is a difficult process in and of itself, without the addition of low self-esteem, convincing you that attracting women is practically impossible. Adding low self-esteem can make dating an anxiety-riddled exercise, replete with fear, uncertainty, and confusion. Low self-esteem is not merely an unfortunate personality trait; it can erode the foundation that relationships are built on, and it can erode your ability to trust yourself and others. In a romantic relationship, that usually spells trouble and tumult.
One of the greatest assets to your mental health is a professional, such as a therapist or counselor. With the help of a trained mental health professional, you can begin to disrupt and unravel negative self-talk, inaccurate self-perceptions, and flawed ideas about yourself and where you fit in the larger scheme of humans and relationships. Although past rejection, childhood pain, and feelings of inadequacy might have convinced you that you are incapable of attracting women, or that you are not in some way valuable to the dating scene in general, this is low self-esteem talking, not the truth. The two are often easily mistaken for one another, but are not the same; understanding that your low self-esteem is a critical wound in need of healing is one of the best ways to leave it behind.
The therapists from ReGain.Us are equipped to deal with mental health issues that run the gamut, including issues of low self-esteem, past trauma, and unhealthy patterns of behavior, all of which can benefit from talk therapy and lifestyle interventions.