Updated: Oct 27, 2021
By Carly Sackellares, MSW
I recently stumbled across a New York Times Modern Love article about a woman's quest for love in an unforgiving world. The author explains that she lost her leg to an aggressive form of bone cancer at a young age. Though that is only a part of her story.
While confident, accomplished, and at peace with her identity as an amputee, her prosthetic leg felt like a looming elephant in the "virtual" room as she ventured into online dating. She believed her prosthetic leg would most likely shrink her dating pool. Yet, she did her best to triumph fearlessly and create an authentic profile—taking measures to include photos proudly showcasing her prosthesis. Interestingly, her matches often overlooked those photos.
Her urge to explain her situation remained strong. She didn't want to blindside anyone on their first date. She was fearful of making anyone uncomfortable.
That's when she met Rob, a promising match she planned to meet for a dinner date. As the date neared, her anxiety heightened. She decided to send a quick text the morning of to check if Rob knew about her prosthesis. He quickly unmatched her, and she never heard from him again.
Rejection is painful—so much so that it can cloud our perspective on online dating. Fear of rejection can plague even the most brave of us. When we push past the fear and face rejection, we may become even more fearful. As Chapter 5: Staying Healthily Self-Centered (and Zen) as You Get to Know a Match in Naked Online reminds us, it can help if we look at rejection as good information.
This dater tried to approach online dating from a healthy place. She didn't try to misrepresent herself through lying or withholding information about an important aspect of her identity. Upon evaluating her potential match, her inner-parent/inner-matchmaker determined Rob was someone she'd enjoy meeting. Once rejected, however, her inner-child began to emerge. She began contemplating the "what ifs." What if I hadn't said anything, and we had met? What if he knew about all my accomplishments? What if I could have disproved his preconceived notions about the life of an amputee?
When we soothe those little kid feelings and allow our inner-parent/inner-matchmaker to shine through, we can take a step back with an indifferent perspective. We can coach ourselves to recognize the other person's behavior as a reflection of them, not us. Instead of engaging in negative self-talk—"I'll never find anyone who accepts me!"—our inner-parent/inner-matchmaker can say, "That person's actions are good information! Now I can focus my energy on a more compatible match."
Of course, when emotions are high, it can be challenging to find our inner-coach. In these times, Chi for Two® practices can help us find our voice. Connecting to our bodies allows us to honor and soothe any discomfort.
Sometimes it helps to have a Chi for Two® embodiment coach. I am ready to coach your inner-coach. You can reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (678) 242-9519.