Today we tackle feeling unattractive and getting back into the dating game.
Let's get to it.
Q: Have you ever struggled with feeling that it's totally bonkers that anyone would be interested in you romantically? I've had serious relationships in the past, but I also do not see myself as someone who people would look at and be like, "Yes, I want to put my mouth on her mouth in a romantic way." It just seems totally out of the realm of possibility that people look at me that way. But I also don't want to die alone, and I want to take up dating again at some point in the future.
A: Hi. Hello. Please step past the velvet rope and through the large red curtain in front of you: You hold membership to a club that includes pretty much all of us and our own personal pesky little voice of self-doubt.
If I had a nickel for every time single friends said they didn't want to die alone, I could buy... probably a small bottle of soda or something, because a nickel really doesn't stretch as far as it used to, honestly...
But I digress. There are a couple of parts of your question that I want to tackle. First: this issue of feeling as though no one will find you attractive. Allow me to pull out this handy-dandy sign I've made out of glitter, puffy paint and feathers and that says, "It is entirely human to feel that way but I'm also willing to bet you're very wrong in your assessment of yourself."
You've got to fight that doubt. And I get it -- easier said than done -- but sometimes it's a matter of batting down the idea the second it creeps in, and continuing to bat it down. These are the everyday battles we all wage in our own heads. Win it for the moment and get on with your day.
The reason this is so important is twofold. The longer that little voice (the one that tells us all that we're not good enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough) goes unchecked, the more it settles into your brain. It gets its mail forwarded there, hangs some posters, maybe gets a couple of plants. Don't let it move in. Squatters rights isn't an area of the law in which I'm well versed.
Also, how we feel about ourselves has a way of seeping out and affecting what we project to the world. You know what's attractive? Confidence. Five out of five dentists agree. Attraction is unpredictable. We can't always explain why we're into whoever we're into, but confidence is like a cologne/perfume that smells good on everybody.
So, all that said, you mentioned you'd like to try dating again. (Remember, though, that if you're happy being single, dating isn't required.) May I interest you in some apps? Online dating might be a good option for you as a way of diving back in. While it does take some resilience, it can also offer you a good bit of control over how you present yourself and how much you want to pursue/be pursued. And really, the stakes are low. If you swipe on someone and you don't match, or the person doesn't answer your message, the impact is relatively soft. But also, if someone is taking it seriously, that person has the benefit of looking at all the other good stuff in your profile.
And look, humans suck at looking into the future. (STILL WAITING ON MY JETPACK, THANKS.) What feels like a permanent state now, isn't -- simply because the universe doesn't roll that way.
It's not always easy to summon good thoughts about yourself. It's an ongoing practice. Some days you've just got to put your shoulders back and walk out into the world.
CNET's Love Syncs is an advice column focusing on online dating. If you've got a question about finding love via app, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.