Another season of the Bachelor is winding down. Last week was the “Women Tell All” episode where all the women contestants can confront the Bachelor, Nick. Nick has been systematically dumping them one-by-one all season, because that is the show, and lots of women are really upset about it. Some of them take this opportunity to ask Nick why: why did you dump me? I thought we had something really good! I thought we had chemistry! What was missing?
These questions are asked a lot on “Women Tell All” night, but they were also asked throughout the season. One woman asked why she wasn’t good enough. And it broke my heart.
I wanted to take her by the shoulders, look her right in the eye, and say “You ARE good enough! You are amazing! Just because this one man likes another woman/women more than he likes you, that does not say anything about your worthiness! It only says something about his personal preferences! That’s it!”
Now I know that when you are being dumped, it is natural to want Reasons. You really like this person, you think you are great together, and you very much personally prefer them. It really hurts when they do not feel the same way about you. You want to know WHY.
The baseline assumption is that if you like them, and they don’t like you, there must be something wrong with you. You rack your brain trying to figure out what it might be. If you are already insecure about something, it’s easy to pin the relationship failure on that thing. He/She doesn’t like you because you are too ugly, or needy, or stupid, or whatever.
But it’s best, as much as possible, to Not Go There. Attraction and compatibility are weird and mysterious things. Odds are, the other person is just not feeling it in some weird, indefinable way. When you demand reasons, and want to know WHY they don’t love you, they probably are not going to have very satisfying answers. They just aren’t feeling it. And you can’t make them feel it. And truly, you want to be with someone who doesn’t need to be argued into feeling it. You need to respect the other person’s feelings, and even though you wish they felt differently about you, they don’t, and that’s ok.
Now, maybe they do have Reasons. Maybe you’re really bad with money, or you’re jokes aren’t that funny, or you don’t put your clothes in the hamper. And you want the person to just TELL you that so that you can change and then they will love you! But the person has already tried to work through that issue, or has decided that they don’t want to work through that issue with you. And you have to respect that too. The person who really loves you will love you AND be willing to work through your issues in the relationship.
And if you are worried that they broke up with you for a reason, and you agree that that reason is a problem, work on that thing! Not to get them back, but because you want to work on it. If someone broke up with you because you are a slob, and you want to be less slobby, do that!
It's also entirely possible that they are breaking up with you for dumb reasons. Being dumped feels like an injustice, so sometimes we want proof that they are in the wrong, and then maybe we can convince them to do the right thing, which is date us, forever and ever. But again, you can't stop other people from making dumb decisions, even if you are, objectively, the best thing they will ever have.
So when someone is breaking up with you, try to not give into to the temptation to ask why and demand reasons. Respect the other person’s decision. Definitely be sad about it! Call up your good friends and cry on all of their shoulders. Watch junky tv. Print out your social media interactions and burn them. But as much as possible, don’t let that person’s rejection call into question your own worthiness. You are great!
And if you are on the Bachelor, you should always remember that no matter how awesome you are, your odds are terrible. But you can find love! Just most likely not on this crazy dating show.