How to Date With Resilience, discussion with sex therapist Angela Rennie

How to Date With Resilience by Angela Rennie

It's easy to lose confidence and hope when dating in today's world. Navigating increased options, easier accessibility, breaking of trust, people who manipulate, narcissism, ghosting, porn conditioned brains, drooming (dating grooming) and 'the grass might be greener' fears isn't easy.

You need tools if you are going to manage this with resilience, confidence and awareness. 


If you don't have self-worth, you are prey for anyone out there who wants to manipulate you.

I am yet to meet someone that hasn't had to work on confidence in life (confidence is not arrogance, which comes from low self-esteem). Not only do our brains think in comparisons, they are also programmed to focus more on negatives. You will remember and replay when Bobby said you were ugly in the primary school playground without question, however you are much less likely to replay all the times people have told you that you are beautiful.

so keep the following in mind:
  • Don't accept less than you deserve because you are scared you aren't worth more or not loving ourselves enough to be attracted to someone that treats us well.
  • Your self worth must come from you, not others so tell yourself daily what you love about yourself, why you are proud of yourself and why you are a great partner. 

What are your non non-negotiables with a partner. 

Start by making your ideal partner/relationship list. Create the person that would be perfect for you and list the qualities your perfect relationship has. And then, accept there is no such thing as perfectionism. what your doing it working out what you you can and can't compromise on in a more considered way.

For example, you might be able to accept someone has different political views than you, but being with someone who isn’t family orientated is not something you can compromise on.

Don't date blindly, look for the qualities on your list in people you date. 

It's a statistical game.

A dear friend of mine went on over 100 dates before meeting someone  who she is still extremely happy with years later.

The more you are in, the more likely you are to win. I often ask clients what they are doing to meet new people and often the answer is nothing.
It is unlikely a new partner will knock on your door. The more you get out, try new hobbies, accept invitations (even if only for an hour), use dating sites and move on from things that don't work out, the more likely you are to meet the type of partner you want.

Hurting is an inevitable part of dating

A lot of people are worried about hurting others or themselves. This is an inevitable part of the dating world. You can't let this stop you from being open to connecting if that is what you are really wanting. Be as honest and respectful as you can be too yourself and others. 
When thing don't work out try think that its part of the process rather than taking it too personally, learn the lessons and move forward, it is difficult to find and be open to someone great for you if you are stuck on someone that isn’t.


This isn't always easy and takes practice, try change your internalised view of dating to a more external view. Instead of thinking 'It's because I'm not good enough", think "it's because they aren't right for me" Instead of thinking "why did they ghost me?" reframe your mindset to “this happens to everyone in the dating scene". 

Avoid misguided loyalty.

This is harder for women than men, as they tend to commit before a conversation has been had. They need to give you good reasons to be monogamous, it doesn’t have to be a default. 

Keep it fun while searching.

If you aren't looking for a relationship with them, it doesn't matter if they don't fit your wants/needs. You can enjoy others' company until you find someone that does (just be honest about this to them).

Having a casual lover is great for preventing touch hunger, confidence and resilience. Make sure it's someone who doesn't play games and is respectful. Just try not to get attached emotionally, which isn't always easy. Tools for this; have more than one, don't go on dates with them, don't have sleepovers and don't do too much snuggling. 

Maintain reality and take the time.

On initial dates you are just seeing if you would like to spend more time with them. You're not seeing if they are 'the one' Get to date 4-5 before making a decision, unless you really aren't interested. Desire, lust, and good sex can make you overlook the reality of someone. Stop using rushes of desire to pick your potential partner.
We usually choose partners from 'chemistry', without knowing that the physiological response to desire is very similar to the physiology response to danger.
You may be thinking 'I want them so much, it must mean something,' but it can be your nervous system saying 'run, this is going to hurt.'
Lots of people say 'there is something missing' when they meet a person who is emotionally available and kind. They usually don't realise what is missing is games, drama, and a huge risk of being hurt. People that are shy and/or anxious to begin with can be amazing once they feel a bit more comfortable. Of course you need to be attracted to someone, however, great chemistry/sex can grow from great connection and learning each other over time. We often sabotage ourselves by looking for a healthy relationship with people who aren't in a place they provide that. 
We are socialised to believe in great love stories, the 'one'. Whether this is true or not we often rush into great love stories in our head.
Ground yourself in the present, don't get swept up in a fantasy.
Think from a realistic and calm place. Instead of 'they are so amazing' replace it with 'they seem amazing so far, but time will tell'. Slow down and find out who they really are. Don't trust someone until they earn it. Have some walls of protection that come down slowly as you get to know them. To know the reality of someone takes time, and there is no way around this. 

Don't be scared to move on.

We often stay too long due to being too empathetic, making excuses for behaviour, listening to excuses, feeling terrified of being alone, and feeling too scared of being vulnerable so picking distant partners, being manipulated with clever techniques and equity theory (where the more you put in the less likely you are to leave without return on investment). 
You won't meet the right person by trying to make it work with the wrong ones.

Final word. Remember you are not waiting to be chosen, they need to impress you and have the qualities you're looking for.  

Back to blog