How To Deal When a Relationship Fizzles in the Early Stages of Dating


I’ve stayed true to one thing since I’ve started – all breakups hurt. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only dated a few weeks, months or years, a breakup (especially those that are unexpected) feel like a kick to the gut. I’ve written about breakups after long-term relationships before but a few weeks ago, I realised that breakups in the early stages of dating have a different set of emotions. It comes with guilt, confusion and disappointment.

Guilt – The guilt of feeling sad and feeling like ‘something is wrong with you’ because you’ve only dated this guy for 2 months.

Confusion – What happened? There were no signs that could predict this coming. And you backtrack and think back on all your dates, texts and things said.

Disappointment – You thought he was a great catch and there could have been potential for something more. The idea of going on another date seems like a chore.

If you can relate to any of the feelings above, here are 5 ways to deal when a great relationship fizzles out in the early stages of dating.

1. Own your emotions, it’s ok to

It doesn’t matter how long you dated the guy for, you are allowed to feel and process all the emotions you have. Often women feel guilty about having such strong intense feelings after a breakup because they’d only been seeing a guy for a few weeks. But it really isn’t about how many dates you’ve been on. How you feel is based on how emotionally invested you were, the strength of your connection and your overall mindset in dating. Your emotions are your own. Own them. It’s okay to.

Check in to how your body is reacting. Is there tension in your body? Where? What are the feelings associated with that tension? Take time to acknowledge those feelings and let them be.

2. Understand it may not be you

As I mention in my mini course/ebook “Understanding Men and Commitment”, every relationship takes 200%. Just as you have your own relationship stories and challenges to deal with, so does your man. It takes more than just physical and emotional attraction for a man to commit and him breaking it off may have nothing to do with you. Often the most natural thing to do after a new relationship ends is to self critique the role you played in the relationship but what we don’t realise is that a guy could also be battling his own commitment issues. Go easy on yourself.

3. Lay off the revenge games

How you react to setbacks says a lot about you. Here’s a scenario you may be familiar with:

Ciara and Ben meet through mutual friends and shared instant chemistry and attraction. A month of really fun and romantic dates later, Ben sits Ciara down and tells her he’s not ready to be in a relationship and thinks they should be friends for now. At first Ciara is quiet and agrees to the friendship but as she gets home she grows increasingly hurt and confused about what happened. Here are two ways Ciara can deal with it:

  1. Adopts a ‘f&*( him, I can get any guy I want’ attitude and organises a night out with friends where  the goal is to get ‘revenge’. She posts images of every guy she meets on social media hoping the guy will see it and realise what he’s lost.
  1. Wishes the guy all the best but also acknowledges that she knows her worth and deserves the kind of love she is looking for. She self soothes her disappointment and hurt with things that nourish her.

One reflects the behaviour or a girl, the other of a high value woman who doesn’t need other men to validate her worth. One leads with the ego (looking to nurse its bruises through affirmations from men) and the other leads with the heart.

4. Hold off on dating (really)

Those who believe that dating is a numbers game will tell you to ‘get back out there and date’ but not everyone may be ready for the roller coaster of emotions that come with dating. There’s excitement (meeting someone new), anticipation (waiting to be asked out, go on that first date), curiosity (is he the one, could he be the one), anxiety (what if he doesn’t like me or I get hurt), disappointment (when things don’t go according to plan, there’s no chemistry or it’s one sided, and heart break. If you’ve just ended things with your guy, you may want to wait for your heart to heal so that 1) When you do meet someone, you’re able to give them 100% of yourself (without the emotional wounds from previous relationships 2) You don’t punish new guys for mistakes other guys have made in the past. 3) You learn to copy with setbacks in dating so that when things do end you’re able to see that regardless of what happens – you are enough.

5. Work on your mindset

I recently read that our brain is exposed to millions bits of information in each second (wow) and yet we can only process 2000. This means that we need to train our brain to filter the thoughts we want to focus on. Thoughts that come to mind after a break up:

I’m going to be alone forever.

I’ll never meet anyone.

This always happens to me.

There’s something wrong with me.

If our thoughts create our reality (which science has proven it does), we need to re-train our brain to re-direct negative thoughts. You can do this through journaling, meditations and affirmations but that’s only the surface. If you struggle with doing any of those three things and if you want to learn about creating a mindset that sets you up for epic love, I have a 30 day programme dedicated to it.

If you’re going through a break up, know that the feelings of heartache and disappointment are temporary. Often breakups are often a blessing in disguise with so much to learn. Take care of yourself and of your heart.




Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.