Dating is supposed to be fun: you go out, you meet new and interesting people, and you make fulfilling new connections. If you ask your friends about dating, they tell you to go out, “be yourself” and “just have fun.” While inarguably this is often true, it is just as true that a lot of the time dating can be infuriating.
You think you look pretty good, and you see other guys who, at least, look no better, who, you believe, have no more to offer than what you bring to the table, and those men have girlfriends. Women are paying attention to those men and ignoring you. How can that be when you went to the mall and got yourself some nifty khaki slacks and a polo shirt. You look sharp in your dating site photographs. Your own mother said you were the most handsome boy in school. If that was true, and your mother wouldn’t lie to you, then why are you single?
You have probably heard people say that “it’s not you, it’s them,” but that begs the question of why women completely fail to tear their clothes off and throw themselves at you? How dare anyone fail to express interest in you!
These questions and others that relate to a lack of dating or romantic success can engender feelings of anger or even rage. You feel cheated out of something you’ve convinced yourself you’re entitled to. The question for you is how do you respond to these feelings. You can blame women, you can blame society, and you can even find a community of like-minded losers online and sit around in your basements complaining about how you are an involuntary celibate because women reject you.
Let us be blunt. While there are many things about dating that can legitimately make you angry, your inability to obtain a partner is not one of them.
There are some things you will encounter in dating that are honestly going to make you angry because that is a reasonable response to bad behavior. Note for a moment that most of these scenarios are avoidable in a strategic dating plan but are fairly likely to occur when you venture forth without preparation.
When someone messages you and then, despite a zip code two thousand miles from yours, expresses interest and then, five messages later asks you to buy them a $100 gift card? It is alright to be angry.
When someone puts “sorry, no guys under 6 feet because I want you to be taller when i’m in heels” on their dating profile, and they’re actually shorter than you, and you know if you put something similar on your profile the dating site would terminate your account? Here you’re both wrong but its not unreasonable to be angry.
When you are polite and a gentleman and someone rejects you impolitely or with an insult? Perfectly acceptable to be angry about it. When you wine and dine a prospective partner and then, after they’ve put down a couple hundred dollars worth of dinners, they say they’re really just not interested in you? Very reasonable to be angry about that.
It is even acceptable to be angry at someone who uses pictures that are ten years old for their profile and who no longer bears any resemblance their former selves; so long as you aren’t guilty of the same offense.
The question is what can you do about, or with, your anger?
Unacceptable Responses to Anger (and Dating Violence)
This should be self-evident but apparently here in modern times, it needs to be said that dating violence, whether verbal or physical, is never an acceptable response to whomever has aroused your righteous wrath.
To begin with, physical violence is almost certainly a crime and you did not get into dating to pick up a criminal record. Verbal violence, returning insults with insults or verbally attacking and attempting to revenge yourself on someone who has provoked you is not much better than physical violence. You may run afoul of criminal laws even if you only make threats, and you will certainly earn yourself a ban from any dating sites you are reported to.
Is striking back worth doing time in jail, taking a very lengthy court-ordered class on domestic violence, losing certain civil rights permanently, and ruining your employment prospects while spending thousands in legal fees and court fines? While not substituting for the advice of your own lawyer, we would submit the answer to the question of whether dating violence is worth it is clearly “no.”
If you really feel that other people are deserving of violence in response to their non-violent but obnoxious treatment of you then you should not be dating. You should be in therapy and we do not mean that as joke or say it to be flippant. It is a terrible way to live to be constantly irritated and upset. Furthermore, women will sense your anger coming off you in waves. Call it female intuition, or just good sense but you will not have any success dating if your aura of angry instability is scaring women away. Some time spent in therapy before you try to return to dating might be the change you need for success.
Stop and ask yourself the fundamental question of what you achieve by returning bad behavior with equally bad behavior? Are you keeping score? Is there some balance you seek to equalize? If you admit that no one is keeping score then you must concede that whoever insulted you has also not “run up the score” through their behavior. Since there is nothing to win, and a risk of losing, your best move is to move on. No one is listening to your snappy comeback. Just cut off communications with the offending party and continue your search. When you lash out, or strike back you only lose; always take the high road and move on.
If you need help accepting rejection, then there are articles on this website that deal specifically with moving on from that hurt.
Acceptable Responses to Anger
So if you cannot lash out, and you cannot punch back, and you will not have revenge directly upon those who offend you, then what can you do? The first thing to try is moving on. Close out any conversations you have been having with the people who have insulted or otherwise rejected you.
This is usually pretty easy to do since they will often do it first; most of the time you won’t even have the chance to strike back because you’ll be sitting there impotently looking at a blank screen. If you are the one to cut things off though, just close the window and block the person without fanfare.
Save your energy, you will need it to persist in the dating game. The problem with simply moving on is that if there are serious flaws with your presentation, your approach, your texting or messaging game, or other areas that influence outcome of your quest, then you will find yourself back where you are: insulted and angry.
Who Are You Actually Angry At?
If moving on does not work, then the next step is to ask yourself who you are really angry with. Is it the faceless, fungible, non-entity who rejected you or insulted you online? Is it the girl who you allowed to milk your wallet for nights out on the town when she wasn’t, in her words, really interested? Are you actually angry with your mother for misleading you about how handsome you are, despite the fact that she was viewing you through a favorable but distorted maternal lens? Or is the person you are most angry with the one person who really could make a difference in the outcome. The one person who let these things happen to them and then responded negatively.
Consider for a moment a radical proposal. Maybe the advice your friends gave you, “be yourself,” is the worst advice they could have offered. Perhaps the reason you are rejected and angry is not that everyone else, all women everywhere, are jerks and monsters.
Consider instead the horrible possibility that these things happen to you because you’re the easy target and you actually are not good enough to compete in the dating game. This the ugly and barren place that the online communities of the single inhabit. They get here and they never leave; they simply remain in the wasteland feeding upon themselves and each other.
Is that what you want to do? To not live your life, to watch other people live? Because whether you take action or not, other people will date the women you want to date, they will have sex with women you dream about, and they will not spare a moment’s concern for your plight. The universe does not care if you fail; this is not a fairytale and you are not guaranteed a happy or even pleasant ending.
Making Use of Your Dating Anger
Having established who it is that you are actually angry at, it is clear against whom you should take action. While you can take negative actions, like withdrawing from dating, declaring yourself involuntarily celibate, and sitting there mediating on your own narcissistic wounds, you could also take positive actions.
There is not much that you can do about women who insist you be six feet tall or 20 years younger, although feel free to ignore them. Almost everything else about you is malleable and within your control to alter. Ask yourself how you feel when you are taken advantage of, when you are belittled, when someone else walks away with the girl. You can use that feeling to transform your approach to dating and to fundamentally alter yourself. The only involuntary celibates are in solitary confinement; everyone else is a voluntary celibate too lazy to harness their anger.
If you are really angry enough to swear off dating then what do you have to lose; you cannot do worse. With your only direction being up, free yourself to made radical changes. Stand up and reject defeat. Stop living a life of “if only.” Women would like me if only I was taller. Women would want me if only I had more money. Women would like me if only there was more power, was thinner, was more muscular, or whatever personal hobgoblin you have invented to explain your lack of success.
You can change yourself. Feel the pain of actually being hungry as you lose weight. Go to the gym, embrace suffering, and get ripped. Take up a musical instrument, persist, and become the guitar god you always felt lurked inside you. Take night courses to improve your job prospects. Do something crazy like hiring a dating coach to professionally polish your rusty or absent dating skills.
Do not do it because the people who reject you will be amazed because, remember: they really do not care. Do this to obtain your own goals because whatever “if only” you tell yourself is a lie. You can improve almost everything about yourself but change your attitude first; if only you cared more about yourself and if only you focused on improving yourself, the women will follow as a natural consequence.
If all of that sounds like too much, just remember that a second ago, you were ready to declare yourself celibate and never date again. Did you really mean that? You are willing to forgo the pleasures of women? Their companionship, their physical presence, their intellectual and emotional gifts, and all because you got your feelings hurt? If you are willing to do something as insane as swear off women for good because a small subset of women managed to get under your skin, then you should have absolutely no problem mustering the energy for personal transformation.
The thing you’ll realize rather quickly is that being angry and resentful of others, while it drains your energy and returns nothing, requires only that you be passive. Being active will also require energy but moreover it requires you to gamble that your efforts will pay off.
It is wrong to say that nothing in life is guaranteed. If you do nothing, you are guaranteed failure and loneliness; your self-fulfilling prophecy of celibacy and isolation. On the other hand, possible failures can bring eventual successes.
Some chance is better than no chance so the opportunity for success justifies the risk. When you say you are willing to forfeit everything to mitigate your hurt, you should be willing to invest and risk everything in an effort to obtain what you want.
People may tell you to let go of your dating anger. You want to put the actual impotent rage behind you, but you never want to forget the feeling. You can remember the anger and the hurt but you cannot allow yourself to be governed by it. You have to grasp that pain fully and use it to whip yourself forward. If you are angry at yourself, then change what you do not like in a productive and positive way. If you do not like who you are then become someone else, some one who succeeds at fulfilling your goals.
Dating Violence Hotlines
If you’re a victim of dating violence, here are some websites you can reach out to for help:
- The National Center for Victims of Crime
- Love is Respect
- Break the Cycle
- The Date Safe Project
- National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
Author Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not represent the views of the Social Security Administration or the United States Government. They are solely the views of Ted Stalcup in my personal capacity or as a representative of EmLovz. I am not acting as an agent of the Social Security Administration or the United States Government in this activity. There is no express or implied endorsement of Ted Stalcup or of EmLovz by either the Social Security Administration or the United States Government.