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Emotionally Preparing Yourself After a Bad Dating Experience

Dating is a vulnerable experience in our lifetime, and although there are books, tiktokers, podcasts, and friends that can share advice on this topic, nothing ever prepares you for the direct experience of a bad date.

Some of these bad dating experiences are worse than others, but nonetheless, they create long lasting uncomfortable emotions within us, such as anxiety, disappointment, fear, hesitation, and sadness to name a few.

To add to the flame of hurt, some Latinos come from households where blaming is more normalized than validating a loved one who had a bad date experience, and we may hear statements from our families like “you need to get over it,” “te vas a quedar solterona,” “get back on the saddle and try again,” or “estas exagerando.” Invalidation from our family can actually create identity issues, low confidence and narratives that impact our internal dialogue.

Some of core beliefs that community members have shared about themselves after a bad dating experience may include:

  • “Love is not for me.”

  • “I am overwhelmed.”

  • “I give up on dating life forever.”

  • “I am not good enough.”

The root issue after a bad dating experience is that it impacts the ability to trust, a foundational value for emotional safety and relationships.

Taking time to recover will be essential, and there are various activities and techniques you can integrate into your healing journey to emotionally prepare yourself to date again. Below are some recommendations:

  1. Reflect on how your body responded during the date, and after the date. Your body’s responses are messages. Helping your body through this experience can improve your mental health as you process your experience.

  2. Talk to a friend you trust about the date. Receiving support from people who validate us, and increase safety soothes your nervous system after emotional ruptures.

  3. Journal about childhood experiences and triggers that may be coming up due to this experience and reflect on any unhelpful narratives showing up that may not be yours.

  4. Learn about ‘cognitive biases’ from Google, and identify any you may be engaging in after this experience, or that may be normal for your thought patterns. Are they helpful or harmful for you?

  5. Take time to heal, and trust yourself again. These experiences can make us doubt our judgment. Practice making decisions to help you.

  6. If you are finding yourself ready to return in the dating pool, or are already in the dating pool, practice assertive communication skills to set boundaries that prioritizes your safety. I recommend practicing in front of a mirror, and recording your voice. Play it back and keep practicing. You’ll notice that your anxiety will decrease through this type of exposure.

Remember, at the end of any negative experience, the relationship you foster with your own self is the most important one. It is a privilege for others to be cared by you, loved by you, be given your time and share space with you. If you feel you can’t do it alone, consider therapy to speak to a mental health professional. Most therapists offer a free consultation. Find a mental health professional that has experience helping others with what you went through.

Meet Adriana Alejandre, Founder of Latinx Therapy

Adriana Alejandre is a trauma therapist, mental health speaker and podcaster. She is the founder of Latinx Therapy, a national, bilingual mental health hub of resources for the Latinx community.

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