One of the things that dating and even pre-dating (the bit where a website introduces you to a potential date or when someone introduces themselves to you and asks you out) along with relationship experiences does is that it helps you to fine-tune your gut instincts.
No one is an expert in every situation–it’s called being human– and everyone is a novice in many situations throughout their lifetime.
When we have little experience of romantic relationships that makes us a novice, which is something that we all are in unfamiliar situations where we have little experience and applicable knowledge to build ‘data’ to help our gut.
When I hear from people who had what call a Critical Heartbreak Experience and it was their first foray into romantic territory or certainly early on in their dating and relationship journey, I really feel for them because they’ve judged themselves for far too long as if they should have had the ‘expertise’ to avoid the outcome or to ‘make’ the object of their affections feel or behave differently. This experience goes on to inform their self-image including their perception of their future romantic capabilities and opportunities and the Critical Heartbreak Experience ends up being treated like a permanent statement of the future. It’s like, This was my big moment to get things right/correct the past/prove myself and I effed up and failed and/or I wasn’t enough.
But is it really fair and reasonable for us to expect to be an expert in our interpersonal relationships, especially when we might have little knowledge or experience of certain situations or people?
Let’s imagine that we’ve always taken pride in not telling lies, being honest with respect, and not treating people as a means to an end and on top of this, we have zero experience of being screwed over by somebody who is the opposite of that: why would we see their shadiness coming? We haven’t had much to test us out in this area so why wouldn’t we take this person at face value?