Knowing when it’s over and moving on

Dandelion with seeds blowing away in the wind across a clear blue sky

Part nine in the Time to Shine Online Dating series.

Dandelion with seeds blowing away in the wind across a clear blue skyOne of the most important parts of online dating is recognising when a relationship has run its course and learning how to handle the end well.

Whether you’re doing the finishing or they are, if you get to grips with recognising when relationships are over and dealing with rejection, you will end up enjoying the whole online dating process so much more and will, I’m sure, be more likely to find love.

I prided myself on always being ready to spot the early warning signs of an impending relationship meltdown and would usually extricate myself very quickly from those relationships. My friends were both impressed and a bit troubled by the ease with which I did this.

I’ll admit I was probably a bit too trigger-happy in this respect. But I have always felt depressed about the people I know staying in relationships which, to me anyway, seemed unhappy. There is not much worse, in my mind, than seeing two people trapped in an unhappy relationship.

So with this in mind, I am going to flag with you the importance of recognising when a relationship is over and dealing with feelings of rejection.

Why is this necessary?

So why is it so important to recognise when a relationship has run its course?

In my experience, prolonging a poor relationship is like being stuck in a job you no longer love. However much you pretend to yourself that things are OK, it will make you unhappy on a very basic, underlying level. And in this day and age who has the time to waste being unhappy?

This is where online dating comes in to its own. When you’re ready to move on, you can. Just log back in, refresh your profile and try again. It’s easy to pick yourself up once you’re in the right place mentally to do that.

See also  National fertility awareness week: donor conception

I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

Art Williams 

How to check if your relationship is on track

It’s not always easy to know whether your relationship has run its course or not. If you’ve been following the Time to Shine Online Dating series, then hopefully you will have already created your own guide to help you determine if a certain someone is right for you or not. If you haven’t read part two of Time to Shine Online Dating series, it might be time to head over there now.

If you’re in a relationship and are starting to wonder if it is right for you, then dig out your answers from part two.

Let’s do a quick recap. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you and your partner value and expect similar things from the relationship?
  • Do they display the qualities that you consider important?
  • Do they fulfil the things you outlined that you need to make you happy?
  • Do they make you feel special?
  • Are you able to put up with the things they do that irritate you?

OK, how did that go? Now here are the two big questions. You remember those deal breakers that you identified? Are any of those deal breakers happening here? Are you ignoring them if they are? Making excuses? Typical deal breakers include:

  • being lied to
  • not being a high enough priority in their life
  • not feeling supported
  • feeling criticised
  • being cheated on.

If your deal breakers are being broken, it is most definitely time to consider moving on.

How are your relationship goals coming along? Your relationship goals may include things like:

  • actively supporting each other
  • planning a holiday together
  • discussing and making plans for the future.

Are they possible, in the pipeline or just a pipe dream? Are you on track with your goals or have they all but fallen off the radar? By spending a bit of time checking in with yourself on these areas, you should feel more equipped to decide whether the relationship has run its course or not.

Crossing the line

Now if all the things you wanted in your ideal relationship aren’t here, that’s OK. People are human not perfect. But you need to figure out where the line is and if you’re crossing it or not. Are you still unsure?

  • Write a list of what is good and what is bad about the relationship. Which list is longer?
  • Figure out and put a percentage on the amount of time you are happy versus the amount of time you’re unhappy
  • Trust your gut.
See also  How to write a winning dating profile

Dealing with rejection

What happens if you felt the relationship was going really well but they want to finish with you?

If you’re actively online dating, then chances are you are going to have felt rejected at some point or other. If you are anything like I was at the beginning, you might take the rejection to heart and allow yourself to get put off continuing your search for love online.

I realised after a while that wallowing in self-pity was not only miserable but also unnecessary and was ultimately dragging out my search for love, so I changed my mind-set. These are the tricks that I used to pick myself up:

1. Train yourself not to take it personally

Dandelion with seeds blowing away in the wind across a clear blue skyWhen someone wants to finish with you, it obviously feels like a very personal thing, it feels like they are rejecting you. Of course, in real life, nothing is as simple as that – when two people meet and go out together there are about a hundred factors that come into play, which means it may not work out.

Quite often the timing is off, or they are in an emotionally bad place, or they’ve just got a massive stressful promotion or someone close to them is sick. None of those things are about you, it’s just that life got in the way. It does that. Once you accept that not everything is about you, it’s easier to let go of any hurt.

2. Treat yourself

There is nothing like treating yourself to make you feel better. New shoes anyone? A great new haircut? Tickets for that concert you want to see? Now you have the perfect justification to do it. You’re doing it in the name of personal development.

See also  Personal boundaries: how to change the way people treat you

3. Remind yourself why you’re so fabulous

This is probably the most important step in the process of bouncing back. It’s crucial to build up your self-esteem and the quickest way to do that is to remind yourself of all the reasons why you’re so fab.

Look at all the great stuff you’ve done in your life and commit them to memory. Do something you love or are really good at. If you’re stuck, ask your best friends they’ll be able to help. Keep this up until you feel all fired up again.

4. Moving on

Give yourself a few days or weeks to wallow but then try and shake it off and get back in the game. Come on, there are dates to be had!

Many of my friends marvelled at my ability to jump back in the saddle quite soon after a break-up by the end of my dating journey. But I had these four steps down to a tee by then and the time it took me to move on got shorter and shorter. Less time wasted = more chance of finding someone who makes you happy. Win win.

I hope you found this useful – do let me know.

woman using a tablet for online dating


Back to Time to Shine Online Dating series:



About Saskia Nelson

Saskia Nelson is London’s one and only dating photographer. She supports men and women to find love at all stages of their lives by working with them to create some gorgeous images for their online dating profile and by running a blog, which provides practical online dating guidance. She learned a lot about online dating from her own personal experiences, in her long and bumpy, but ultimately successful, online search for love. Happily, she is now settled with her long-term partner (spotted on Guardian Soulmates) and has two stepchildren (who are awesome). She is passionate about helping London’s single people to shine online.