As just about any TV sitcom can attest, dating can be hard. Dating can take a lot of courage and determination, and there’s oftentimes a lot of disappointment involved. Although dating is often portrayed simplistically as a fun, straightforward endeavor, for many people dating is essentially a means of finding someone with whom they can share their life ─ or someone to warm their bed for at least a few hours. Regardless, the basic idea is the same: dating exists to bring people together and to forge connections.
The trouble is that you can’t seem to get to a point where dating that ever-elusive cornucopia of available people seems to be a legitimate possibility. Perhaps you’ve never been asked on a date. Perhaps you’ve never asked someone to go out. Perhaps you’ve only been asked a few times, or perhaps you’re asked constantly and with increasing regularity, but nothing ever seems to work. Is it possible that you’re “undateable”?
“Undateable”: 5 Reasons You May Have Difficulty Dating
1) Your Expectations Are Set Too High
You might think that your date will sweep you off your feet, confess their undying love in a matter of days, and pledge their devotion to you. However, the truth is that getting to know someone takes time and deciding that someone belongs in your life also takes time. Dating is not a single one-stop shop but is instead far closer to a marathon in which you and your date (perhaps significant other down the line) gradually and consistently spend time together to determine what you mean to one another.
This can certainly go the other way—setting expectations too low and swallowing poor treatment—but there is a healthy, reasonable middle ground. Anticipate having a nice time, or at the very least find out whether or not you’d like to go on another date. Going into your date with an open mind and relaxed expectations can create a wonderful experience for you and your date.
2) You Think Too Little of Yourself
Thinking too little of yourself can be extremely problematic in love. Although the notion that you must first love yourself before anyone else can love you isn’t necessarily true, there is some substance to the idea that your relationships will benefit from being confident and secure in yourself. If you feel poorly about yourself, you might be less likely to put yourself out there, struggle to encourage and engage in conversation, and entirely misread signals and nonverbal cues. Your date could touch your arm, pay rapt attention to everything you say, and give you every indication that they’re interested in you. Still, you might inadvertently misunderstand these cues if you feel that you are unworthy of such admiration.
Thinking too little of yourself can also affect whether or not you accept a date at all. If you perpetually think that other people are too good for you or that there must be something wrong with anyone willing to go out with you, you will, by default, put up a wall between you and your prospective or actual date.
3) You Always Rely on Others
You do not have to sit around looking pretty or looking available to attract possible suitors. Standing at a bar and looking aloof as you palm your whiskey might make you feel sexy and mysterious for a few minutes, yet it does little to actually engage the people around you or offer anyone a window into who you are, what you want, or what you are feeling.
You are a human being and you are more than capable of determining your thoughts, needs, and likes, as well as being able to ask the person you like out on a date. You don’t have to wait for an invite, nor do you need to bring in a massive panel of judges regarding every little thing that happened on your date.
4) You Place Too Much Weight on Dating
Although a partnership is a beautiful thing, and having someone with whom to spend your life is wonderful, you are a whole person by yourself. The most magnificent partner in the world is not a requirement for you to be fulfilled, successful, and happy. You do not have to give up on dating, but it might be smart to take a step back and determine what you want from dating. If you expect the last piece of your life’s puzzle to fall into place, you might be placing too much weight on your dating life and the possibility of a partnership.
5) You Aren’t Ready For a Relationship
Some people have traits that do not lend themselves to a healthy, stable relationship. These traits, if you exhibit them, might make others consider you as someone “difficult” to date you. Traits or tendencies such as selfishness or grudge-holding might indicate to a potential partner that you are not ready for a relationship and are thus not a dateable person.
Of course, one person’s view of dateability will not be representative of the entire population. What one person might consider immature, another person might consider an expected part of being a human. The question to ask yourself, then, is whether or not you are prone to gossiping, thinking or speaking poorly of others, refusing to accept responsibility for your mistakes, or refusing to apologize. These all can indicate a lack of maturity. The good thing is all of them could be worked on and, to some degree, resolved before trying to enter into a relationship with anyone.
What to Do Instead
If you are afraid that you are “undateable,” there are some things you can do to improve your situation. Even if it turns out that you do not exhibit any of the behaviors mentioned above, none of the practical steps below would be detrimental to you overall and are reasonable actions to take at any station in life.
1) Work on You
Ultimately, you are the only person you are guaranteed to have in your life, ensuring you are someone you like and respect. Rather than simply lamenting your flaws, or throwing your hands up at your mistakes, take the time and effort to actively work on becoming a healthy, complete individual who does not consider happiness as contingent on others.
2) Practice Connecting with Others
Again, dating is largely about connection and communication. To improve your “dateability,” improve your ability to connect with and communicate with others. Dating is not just about you and getting your needs met; it is also about your partner and their needs—practice reaching out to friends and family and engaging in healthy, strong, straightforward communication.
You can also practice speaking honestly and openly in times of conflict. Ask anyone close to you to help you step forward in creating healthier patterns of communication, connection, and general relationship navigation. This will help you create better habits that can improve your compatibility with others and your corresponding dateability.
3) Feel Your Feelings
Ignoring that you feel undateable will not help and could even make the thought stronger. Instead of allowing these feelings to rule your life completely, close your eyes, breathe in deeply, and allow yourself to feel sad, overwhelmed, angry, or anything else you might feel about being undateable, then open your eyes and resolve to move forward.
Really feeling your feelings is essential for good mental and emotional health. Suppressing the way you feel can be dangerous, while overindulging how you feel can be similarly hazardous. Allowing yourself to feel and then taking action to improve is the best way to move forward.
4) Think About Your Strengths
Some people have intense needs or backgrounds that can make dating seem intimidating. Abuse, divorce, single parenthood, poverty, and other issues may make dating seem like an impossible task. Even if you have a complicated background, you can be an incredible partner. Focus on all of your strengths rather than only acknowledging your flaws. Perhaps you have an incredible zest for life, or you can curate music playlists filled with the most obscure, incredible musicians. Everyone has something that they can consider a strength, so take the time to go through all of your potential strengths and begin to build your strength and confidence on that.
If you feel as though you are undateable, have no fear: it is highly unlikely that you are so entirely unlovable as to be impossible to date. There can, however, be plenty of reasons you are struggling to get dates, connect with other people, or maintain a relationship. If you are struggling to improve your interactions with others or your confidence seems impossible to improve, you may benefit from the help of a mental health professional, such as those found on ReGain. Therapy can help you regain confidence, improve your interpersonal skills, and leave behind the self-imposed label of “undateable.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Makes a Man Undateable?
The phrase “undateable men” gets thrown around quite often. Many people ask themselves, “am I undateable?” The truth is that there is no such thing as permanently undateable men, even if you are yet to find satisfaction in your love life. However, numerous factors can create what society considers to be undateable men. Some of the factors that create undateable men include:
So, if you’re worrying about being “undateable,” consider whether there may be certain factors reducing your chances of finding a healthy relationship.
How Do You Know If It’s Casual or Not?
If you’ve been going out with someone you like and they haven’t made their intentions clear, the natural thing would be to step back and let things happen as they will. However, you’ll want to be sure that you haven’t missed any signs they might be giving.
If the person you’ve been seeing has never referred to you both as a couple, they may be hesitating not to rush things and scare you away. However, it’s also possible that they see your relationship as a casual one. A good way to tell if you’re in a casual relationship is to reflect on your communication together. Notice how they refer to you in front of other people. Are they eager to introduce you to their friends? How often do you communicate with each other? If you speak almost daily and at random times, they may be ready to integrate the relationship into their life fully. However, if you only communicate when it’s time to hang out, you might still be in the casual territory.
How Do You Know Your League?
The idea that there are ‘leagues’ is a social construct that is often based socially in terms of class or superficially in terms of traditional beauty norms. A better way to look at it is, “how do you know that she/he would find you interesting?” The truth is that people only date people they are interested in. So, if you have someone you’re interested in, ask yourself the real reasons why. Then ask yourself the reasons why you doubt if they’d be interested in you. No formula can accurately determine the basis of attraction.
Is It Ok to Just Casually Date?
There’s nothing wrong with casual dating, as long as that is truly what you want. It becomes wrong if the other person is interested in a serious relationship and you intentionally lead them on even though you are not ready for a relationship. It is important to establish the nature of a romantic relationship during its early stages. So before trying to take a relationship from casual to serious, make sure you know the real reasons you want that and communicate your intentions with the other person.
What Does “Undateable” Mean?
People considered “undateable” are often either very difficult to be in a relationship with or very difficult to get into a relationship with. If you are having difficulties getting into a relationship or staying in one, you can consider the reasons why that is happening and work towards self-improvement. So, rather than fretting over being “undateable,” consider what you can do to increase your chances of getting into a proper relationship.
How Do You Tell if He Wants More Than Casual?
The best way to tell if the person you’ve been seeing wants to take your casual relationship into more serious territory is to monitor how they communicate both with you and about you. Is he eager to introduce you to his friends? How often does he call and text you? Has he said anything that suggests he might be ready for a relationship? Even if you are online dating, these questions still stand.
If he checks on you almost daily and at random times, it’s possible that the real reasons for that are either he feels genuine affection towards you, or he is ready to integrate the relationship into his life fully. However, if he only communicates with you when it’s time to hang out, you might still be in the casual territory. When a relationship is getting more serious, emotions should feel easy to share rather than something to withhold.
How Do You Know If A Guy Wants More Than Casual?
Most guys are careful about sharing their intentions for a relationship as they do not want to be seen as desperate or needy. If you’re concerned about his seeming lack of interest in taking things further and don’t want to ask, there are other ways to find out.
Consider questions such as: What does he talk to you about? Does he tell you personal things? How much does he tell you about himself? It is very easy to tell how important you are to someone by the way they speak both to you and about you. Monitor your communication, and you will find some answers.
Do Casual Relationships Ever Turn Serious?
Most relationships start casually. Whether or not a relationship becomes serious is determined by the individuals involved in a relationship. If you’re both genuinely interested in each other and eager to be with each other, the relationship will eventually become serious. However, if you’ve both already established your relationship as “casual,” it can be more difficult to get it to become serious. Even if this is the case, however, you can always state your intention to take things to the next level. Both people must share the same goal for a relationship and know the real reasons why that’s what they want. If they don’t, then this will breed dissatisfaction and toxicity.
How Do I Know If A Girl Is In My League?
The idea that there are ‘leagues’ is a construct that is often based in looks and/or status. Many relationships develop between people who are very different from each other and don’t like the same things. Unless there is a socio-economic barrier preventing you from meeting with someone, it is unlikely that any girl is out of your league. In other words, you might as well try your luck!