Understanding Your Dating Defenses

By: Samantha Eng, Copy Cutie

At times, the dating world can seem like a jungle, navigating your way through a bunch of mismatches, trial and error, until you find Mr. or Mrs. Right. We’re constantly told that “when you least expect it” that person will come along and “you’ll just know.” But as time passes without any enduring prospects it’s only natural to defend yourself emotionally. It’s time to ask yourself: when it comes to love, do you freeze, fight or flee? 

Psychologists developed this theory to explain how our animal instincts react when threatened. A natural discharge from our nervous system primes us to freeze, fight, or flee, actions that are used in the dating scene, like when approaching confrontation or heading towards a breakup. Below are three scenarios you might find yourself in and possible reactions:

Riding it Out. 

A statement said by those who freeze, this person typically stands still in an uncomfortable situation to see how it plays out before making an actual decision. While the benefits include allowing the person to mull over their action, their passive approach to dating often makes them question obvious red flags. 

If you freeze: Let yourself assess the situation within a reasonable time frame. Firmly establish what’s non-negotiable and realize that if those are not met, you need to move forward. This will help get you out of dating limbo.

Forcing Yourself to "Make it Work.”

A fighter in love — someone who tends to be a hopeless romantic and believes that love will prevail (no matter what) — will always stick around. No one can attest to his or her passion, but what the fighter tends to forget is that relationships take two people to make it work. Blinded by their overzealous championing for love, it’s easy for the fighter to miss when they’re in the ring … alone.

If you fight: Recognize when you’re in the fight alone, or worse — if you’re fighting with someone you’re supposed to love. Everyone deserves a love that’s worth fighting for against the odds, but when you’re struggling alone, be strong enough to leave and make it work for you somewhere else.

Deafening Silence.

That silence right there is from he or she who flees. They’re already gone from the situation once there’s any hint of confrontation, doubt, or abandonment in the air. A firm believer of relationships working out seamlessly when two people are meant to be, flight is the go-to response behavior — if it’s not there, I’m out of here. While it’s good that this person will never stay in a situation that is bad for them since they know what they want, they’ll never know what they missed had they stuck around for a second longer.

If you flee: Breathe. Take a deep breath and allow yourself a moment to think before running off. While a rash decision might save you immediate hurt or heartache, you might be missing out on someone truly wonderful that’s worth staying for.

So tell us: Are you a freezer, fighter, or fleer? And have you worked against your normal defenses and have it work out for the best? We’d love to hear your stories below!