Here's Why Dating Pessimism Isn't Always A Bad Thing

Pessimism has a bad reputation. Social media influencers and motivational speakers will consistently tell you that being pessimistic, whether it comes to work, our love life, or future plans can actually get in the way of us achieving things. Optimism, on the other hand, is celebrated. It's touted as being the gateway to accomplishing anything in life. 

But how many times have you found yourself being disappointed by expectations in your dating life? You get on dating apps, full of hope and vigor, with the intention of finding someone perfect. How hard can it be really? There are more than 7 billion people in the world. Surely, there has to be someone who's exactly right for you out there. They'd be the Frodo to your Gamgee. The Phoebe to your Mike. The Shrek to your Fiona. But, according to some experts, you might be making a big dating mistake without even knowing it. 

Having a healthy dose of pessimism while dating can actually be good for you. Here's why. 

A little bit of pessimism can lower unrealistic expectations

Expectations can be a real demotivating factor, especially when it comes to love. Yet many of us find ourselves, knowingly or unknowingly, envisioning someone for ourselves who'd meet all of our relationship needs. But more often than not, this is never the case. People are flawed, just like you, and chances are, you're going to go on quite a few dates where some qualities of your potential suitor would seem less-than-perfect.  

According to clinical sexologist and dating coach Myisha Battle (via MindBodyGreen), settling in a relationship is not necessarily a bad thing, even though modern society might tell you otherwise. "There are many instances when people settle in the interest of getting an approximation of what they want, and it's not seen as a terrible thing," she explained. It's a principle we tend to follow in most other areas of our lives — jobs, finances, and even travel plans, so why is dating the exception? Battle noted that expecting perfection in partners is setting yourself up for a bad precedent.  

Idea hub The School of Life shared that it's helpful to "attend a funeral" before we attempt to love. Burying our unrealistic expectations six feet under can be one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Seeing the glass as half empty, in this case, might not be a bad thing. 

How to incorporate dating pessimism into your life

You may want to start by doing a bit of soul-searching to figure out if you have any expectations that have consistently not been met in the past. Are all of your dates falling short of what you expect? What are your expectations? Where do they come from? Are they realistic? Asking yourself such questions can give some clarity. 

Next, approach dating with an open mind, and a healthy dose of pessimism. Pessimism not only allows us to bounce back quickly from a bad date (because we go in with a realistic idea of what could go wrong), but it also allows us to be more forgiving of flaws in our suitors — flaws all of us have as humans. Ultimately what makes for a good connection is not that the person is a perfect match — interest or traits wise — but that they're someone who can navigate the differences respectfully. Relationships take work and compatibility is not something you'll gain on the very first date. 

Battle told MindBodyGreen that dating pessimism isn't about being all doom and gloom all the time. "Expecting that things won't always be great means that you can better recognize when they are. In fact, your definition of success might even open up, giving you more to celebrate," she added. So the next time you're blaming dating apps for your love life, ask yourself if you can benefit from injecting some healthy pessimism into your quest.