When I listen to people explain their frustrations with dating or how they’re feeling rejected after a possible date didn’t materialise, or not getting past a date or few with someone, what I realise is some of us are waiting to be chosen.
In these situations, the dynamic is imbalanced from the outset because you’re putting your fate into someone else’s hands, because you assume that if they choose you that it’s something you want to be in, and on the flipside you assume that if you’re not chosen that it must definitely have been a relationship you should have had.
The trouble with all of this is you’re not showing up as someone who is holding their own and owning their right to choose and go through the discovery phase of dating. Instead, you’re taking a more passive role where you’re happy to be the passenger on whatever journey the driver takes you on, just as long as they take you on a journey and keep driving. If ‘chosen’ for their journey, you may be happy to make their agenda your agenda, or you’ll privately decide that when you’ve got your feet well and truly under the proverbial table, that you’ll be so valued and loved, that they’ll be willing to change.
In effect, it’s like handing over a Choose Me Stick – when someone is in possession of it, they have the power to choose you, validate you, and even shape you.
Why? Because when you’re not showing up to your dates and relationships as an equal party with their eyes and ears open with the right to choose, the only choice you have is to subconsciously and possibly even consciously adapt your behaviour to increase the chances of being chosen.
Think about it: While it’s very possible that initially you might be yourself, as soon as you start to feel like they’re ‘pulling away’, or you’ve already stuck your pump on them and started inflating who they are so that you can think that they’re way more special than they actually are while they look down on you from that pedestal. If what’s on your mind is to be chosen, then you’re going to reflect that in your behaviour which essentially boils down to being and doing things that contradict your values to hold onto someone you haven’t positively chosen, at all costs.
Whatever it is, you change, morph, adapt, twist, and contort to be chosen. You also go into a holding pattern circling over the possibility of the relationship that you want, hoping that air traffic control will give you the signal that you can land and take up your slot.
Waiting for someone to make you a priority, to proceed to a relationship, to not breakup, to leave a different partner, or whatever it is that you’re waiting to be chosen for, just de-prioritises you. If you prioritised you, you’d never be in a situation where someone not only has the power to decide your fate, but to leave a crater sized hole in your life, because by handing out so much power, you’re bound to feel very rejected when it all goes tits up.
When you’re not co-choosing in a mutually beneficial relationship, it all becomes about one person working harder than the other, which by default assigns greater ‘value’ – they’re just not that special.
You may go for the easy, low-hanging fruit option and choose people that you perceive as being more likely to be with you. It could be that you recognise certain things that would register as issues to avoid with someone else, but you see it as an opportunity. Of course, when it doesn’t pan out, it’s like “I can’t believe someone like them doesn’t want me – what’s wrong with me?”
Or you’ll choose a challenge in the form of someone who you think is unlikely to choose you, which may be simply based on the fact that you’d have to convince them to make you the exception to their rule of being unavailable.
Waiting to be chosen is a bit like how some people go about job hunting – they put so much energy into being the right person for the job, it’s assumed that it’s the right job for them. Interview processes do actually involve you evaluating whether it’s the right job for you, which will arise from the questions you ask and what you glean during the interview process plus any other research you do. Instead they get the job offer and then start evaluating whether it’s actually the right opportunity for them. If they don’t get the job, some take it as a huge blow of rejection.
Of course it’s not as great an issue with your job hunting unless you end up miserable in a job that you knew wasn’t right for you but felt compelled to take it because you were asked, or you feel blah about your career, or you end up floating around getting job offers but never staying in a job for any decent length of time and always have a foot out the door…
With dating and relationships, once you start dipping into the Illusions Account, the High Growth Sexual Activity Fund and start planning a future around this idea of what it’ll be like to be The Chosen One, you can see why you will struggle to deal with rejection.
We don’t spend enough time asking if it’s the right job for us, just like we don’t ask if it’s the right relationship for us. It’s like there’s a job going that’s in your field – you want it. Someone in your common interests, appearance or whatever ‘field’ has a vacancy, you’re on it without even truly evaluating what the ‘opportunity’ is. “I’m on it! I’m on it!”
You’re just not that desperate.You technically have a ‘vacancy’ too – surely you don’t want to give it to any ‘ole muppet off this street?
One of the things that job interviews and eventually dating and relationships taught me, is that anything that you get ‘rejected’ by through the process of not being ‘chosen’, there’s normally a very good reason why you wouldn’t have chosen them either. The overwhelming majority of the time, you are already aware of these reasons, it’s just that you get sidetracked by your ego that needs that gold star of someone choosing you. It’s like “I want to be chosen so I have the option of telling them to bog off.”
Newsflash – you have that option already.
What may come as a surprise to you is that your ego needs you to own your power and get on with your life, more than it needs you to bust your proverbial balls, hollow yourself out, or ruminate yourself into a Ph.D on A.N. Other so that you can figure out why you weren’t chosen to be on the rowing team of a boat you don’t even want to be on, or a boat that you’ve already worked out is a bad ride and that you need to get the hell out of.
I’m thankful that whether it was through actions or ego, that I eventually steered myself out of various dodgy dating situations. I’m also thankful that I wasn’t ‘chosen’ for certain relationships – when I was ready to own my power, it left me free to choose and be chosen for a relationship I genuinely wanted for healthy reasons.
This is your life – you must be the primary driver of your choices. Hold your own and put away your Choose Me Stick and stop playing a role in life that says “How can I be the right one for you?” You have control over what you do and don’t participate in – choose (positively) instead of letting life happen to you!
Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to “please” or protect yourself from others? My new book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (HarperCollins/Harper Horizon), is out now.
Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl in my bookshop.