By Kelly Campbell
It’s a common experience: You meet someone new and things are going great—but after a short time, you’re left wondering, what went wrong? If you find yourself longing for more time with someone who has lost interest, you are not alone. Terms like “ghosting” and “benching” have been coined to explain this experience. The list below provides reasons why people suddenly lose interest and suggestions to prevent it from happening again.
1) Low confidence. One of the most common reasons people lose interest is because the person they’re dating lacks confidence. Confidence counts for a lot. Consider a person—and we all know at least one—who is physically unattractive yet has many dating options. The reason they do so well is because people are drawn to their confidence. Insecurities may not be obvious right from the start, which is why two people could go out a few times before one person has a change of heart.
What can you do about it? Boost your confidence! High self-esteem results from being comfortable in your own skin and excelling in valued domains. Ask yourself, what parts of your life do you want to improve upon? If you feel insecure about your body, prioritize getting in shape. If you are insecure about your job, enroll in courses that will get you to your desired profession. Even working towards those goals will boost your esteem. Keep in mind, there may be some things you cannot change. In that case, tackle what’s malleable and accept the things not under your control.
2) Caring too much. Some people are desperately seeking a relationship. They are unhappy on their own and long for someone to spend their life with. Dating partners quickly pick up on—and are turned off by—this quality. Well-rounded individuals, by contrast, are comfortable on their own, they don’t need a partner to feel whole.
What can you do about it? If you find yourself in this situation, come to terms with the idea of remaining single for the rest of your life. Once you feel comfortable with this notion, you are ready for a healthy partnership. It could be difficult, at first, to accept this possibility but it will force you to reflect on who you want to become as an individual. Then, when the time is right, that special person will come into your life and add to who you are, not serve to complete you.
3) Bad timing. If none of the above applies to you then perhaps the partner lost interest because the timing wasn’t right. We have no way of knowing all that is going on in someone’s life—maybe the person is already in a relationship, maybe they are still getting over someone, the list goes on and on. The phrase “it’s not me, it’s you” applies here. You have high confidence, are perfectly happy on your own, and available for that person to enter your life but if they aren’t in the same place, none of that will matter.
What can you do about it? Be okay with the unexplainable. You can’t understand everything, some things in life are a mystery. Have faith that if the relationship is meant to be, it will work out when the timing is right for both people. In the meantime, get busy doing things for yourself like eating right, exercising, spending time with family and friends, and being open to receive all the positive experiences life has in store for you.
4) Too much too soon. Sometimes both people are in a good place, ready to start a relationship but after a hot and heavy start, the spark fizzles out. What went wrong? This can happen when a relationship accelerates too fast and has nowhere to go but down. The physical attraction that draws two people together is often so intense that the partners want to spend all their time together and when they’re apart, they’re texting constantly and obsessively thinking about each other. Although this can be fun and exciting, the risk is that the relationship doesn’t last.
What can you do about it? Be deliberate about a relationship’s progression. Even when you’re starting a new relationship and things are going great, balance is important. Don’t neglect important people or aspects of your life when you get into a new partnership. Also, work on building the friendshipwithin your new relationship. The most satisfying, long-lasting partnerships have a balance of passion and companionship. You want to ensure that you and your partner have things in common, beyond the physical chemistry.
If you follow everything on this list and still find yourself being benched or ghosted, don’t fret. As stated above, people have things going on that you will never understand. A person who doesn’t prioritize you isn’t worth your time and effort so don’t get stuck on them. Keep an open mind, work on yourself, and have faith that you are right where you need to be.
Kelly Campbell, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, San Bernardino.
First published on Psychology Today
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