Being single seems to be a pervasive phenomenon. For example... Are you going to see the new movie, “How To Be Single?” I am. Hell, I might even go after my Match.com date tonight, then come home to a glass of wine, cuddle up with my phone, and contemplate switching dating sites. Is OkCupid still a thing? Or a hole in the internet now reserved for couples looking to meet their unicorn?
To be fair, my current relationship status is influencing my opinion on these matters, alongside my questionable obsession with Bachelor Ben. I’ve been telling people for years they grow men better in the Midwest!
While I learned a lot from my previous relationship, dating is still the great unknown. Tinder came-to-be while I was in a committed relationship and it’s hard to navigate the blanket objectivism of swiping right, favoriting or sending hearts to people!
I’m torn. I have never been particularly successful at meeting anyone on the internet. Yet, I have friends who are now married after meeting online.
So, after many failed attempts and chance encounters with weirdos, I still kind of believe in it. Perhaps, I’m a romantic hoping we are able love many many people in this life. People who include the similarly lonely souls introduced by the internetwebs. I’m not an expert so instead of giving advice I prefer to call the following list, “Field Notes.” It’s basically a set of aha moments I’ve acquired over the last couple months.
1. Figure out what makes you happy first.
Not because,”That’s when the perfect partner will walk into your life,” but because, as a dear friend said on the phone yesterday, YOU are all that you have! That’s it. Being content and healthy is the goal. It’s also is the only thing we have to fall back on should someone tear our heart out and throw it onto the freeway.
2. Don’t take dating too seriously.
It’s hard to listen to a self proclaimed trust fund baby talk about his “loft,” and spend the rest of the night showing you pictures of the model he used to date. The poor girl was significantly younger than him but it’s ok because she “ran ultra marathons and you would want to-do-her too.” (eye-roll)
These experiences have to be taken in jest and do make for fun writing material. One thing online dating does give is experience. Telling someone or a lot of someones, NO, can be confidence boosting, and helps you figure out what you can and cannot stand. It’s good practice especially for introverts and those of us who aren’t polished conversationalists. It’s practice and confidence that can be used in coffee shops or gyms later on down the line.
3. Be honest with yourself.
When I started dating, I had convinced myself that I didn’t want a relationship with anyone. I was still lost in that my-heart-is-completely-shattered-fog. Which made me the ideal candidate for attractive men on Tinder with little depth who I quickly found out were snapchatting me sweet nothings over pizza slices then taking the girl who served them home. I do want a relationship. Most people do, especially women. The sooner I realized that, the easier it has been for me to accept what I’m really looking for and not waste my time. In my opinion if you don’t want a relationship, you shouldn’t be dating, otherwise it opens you or them up to being hurt. I want to treat others how I like to be treated and that includes honesty.
4. Rejection hurts.
It hurts. It hurts, to start down a road and find that you or the person you are seeing is lying to themselves or you’re lying to one another. It stings a little when you don’t match with someone you think you’d have a lot in common with, who fell well within or even below your attractiveness standards. Every time you message someone and they don’t respond a small cringe happens. Or the worst, which I have totally done, they cancel at the last minute saying, “They just aren’t that into you.” It’s also not fun to be the rejector. These become little unjustified slivers to one’s self-esteem.
5. Take breaks.
These minute pricks of rejection can build-up and become serious infections if not treated with care and strong doses of self-respect. This is usually when I plan a girls night or something fun to do with Dominic. I try to take time to focus on the things I’m doing well and not the ones I can’t control. We can’t control other people’s interest in us but we can go to yoga.
6. And remember, we are all human.
Which means we all make lame mistakes that hurt other people’s feeling. These errors in judgement often stem out of our own insecurities. All we can do is try harder to continue to treat others with kindness and to hold ourselves accountable.