I like to challenge myself constantly, whether the challenge is not swearing for an hour or for a day, to exercise more, or I even challenged myself to write one poem everyday for a year last year. But another challenge I undertook last year was to not date, kiss, or have sex with anyone for a year.
A few reasons…
Anyone you talk to who is single and dating will tell you it is a jungle out there. Dating apps and websites were incredibly convenient at a point in time, but I feel the novelty has worn off. I remember an instance in late 2015 where I was chatting with a guy online and he seemed pretty interesting. The conversation led to how I didn’t have much on that afternoon, to which he replied with a picture of his building penis in his jeans and said “maybe you could do something with this”. It takes a lot to bring me down, but this picture and these words did. I remember feeling like the most worthless, insignificant vessel of a human being possible.
At that point, I was going on a few dates which were really not adding any value to my days, so I thought, well, fuck it, I’m swearing off the dating world for a one year minimum and I will see what happens after that.
During that one year, I learned a lot about people, about people I thought I knew quite well, and about those I met along the way. There was a common theme amongst most, and that was that so many were afraid of not just dying old and alone, but afraid of being alone at any stage of their life, some even for just five minutes.
Here are a few other points that I learned along the way.
People don’t have much to talk about other than their own or other’s sex lives.
In the absence of sex and dating, not a lot of people have much to talk about of any substance. In fact, what I found that not a lot of people have much to talk about outside of trivial gossip about other’s lives, their own, or the lives of people on the Internet.
Many would rather have anyone in their bed than someone special.
A lot of people are lonely. In a world where we are more connected than ever before, and in a world where there are more opportunities, people are lonely, empty and lacking drive. It really is astounding when you think about it. Enter dating apps and the possibility of having someone around for the night, the weekend, or maybe a month, and people’s eyes seem to light up. That is until it is all over because there was really nothing holding it together in the first place.
A lot of people see others as just sexual conquests as opposed to who they are as people.
Sex sells, yeah yeah, but come on people, there is so much more to life than the next conquest. I’ve spoken to some of my good friends at length about where they feel their love lives are going wrong, and more often than not, they are 100% aware of their issues, but, continue to go against their knowledge and do something, or someone for that matter that they will end up regretting.
A lot of people are cheating.
A lot. I’m the first to admit that even after all these years, after my own failed relationships at the hand of another’s infidelity, I still hold on to the fairy tale of being somewhere someday and just locking eyes with someone and the rest is history. I know I am not alone in this line of thinking, and I also know that if/and/or when I do lock eyes with this person, that will be it. That will be the last time I look at anyone else, why? Because I believe this is the right thing to do, and it is how we are wired. We are not wired to have three phones, seventeen email addresses and online dating profiles with cagey pictures so our partners or their friends don’t stumble across them and out us for being liars and cheats. The only people who should ever be talking about a relationship are the people in it, call me old fashioned, but it works. Cheating is not a good look, once you’ve done it, it is like a criminal record, it is there for life. Think about that.
Not a lot of people have much to say on a date.
Outside of the weather or how busy their day was, not a lot of people have much to say on a date. Yes, I know that dates can be awkward in general, but I have built a career around talking to people, interviewing, questioning and extracting information and even I have found my skills to be useless in the world of dating. Perhaps I have just been looking in all the wrong places for all the right answers. I can’t decide.
So what happened when the year was up?
Many of my friends impatiently waited until the 31st of December 2016 for me to download a dating app and hookup with the first person I chatted to. Not so.
After I hit the one-year mark, I didn’t feel that I was missing anything in my life; in fact I felt the opposite. I felt that I had a deeper understanding of those around me and of craved a deeper understanding of anyone I met.
I also realized that my fairy tale life is still perhaps a little out of reach, but that’s ok, I have a lot more faith now than at the beginning of the year of just how clear I am on who I am, and who I am willing to let in, so it’s just a matter of waiting a little longer.