September 14, 2016

Why I’m Quitting Dating Once And For All

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What is the issue?
averie woodard
averie woodard

I’ve spent the better part of my single life feeling guilty and shameful. Guilt for the things that led me to be single, and shame for continuing to be single, despite all the “opportunities” that I’ve had to partner off. Maybe I was too quick to judge certain individuals. Maybe I’m shallow because I’m simply incapable of being attracted to a man that is shorter than me, therefore limiting my dating pool to anomalies and married men (is it just my city, or are all the tall ones always taken?).

Maybe I’m being too selfish with my time. I just need to “put myself out there” and “be vulnerable” – as the 56,000 dating articles I’ve read suggest, echoing the words that my family & friends offer as advice when I lament about the dating pool being dead.

Whenever I get down on myself for being single, I go over the same dialogue in my head. The same story.

I’m not pretty.
I’m not interesting.
I’m not worthy of love.

I sink into the same darkness that has consumed me since I was a child – some nagging voice telling me that I am simply not enough. I see my friends functioning in seemingly pleasant relationships and making milestones with long-term boyfriends – and it’s clear that investing time, energy, and emotional resources into finding and maintaining a life partner is very high on the millennial priority list. I like to scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and count proposals, marriages, babies, and spousal challenges just to really kick myself when I’m down. I inevitably compare myself to the people around me – and sometimes it seems like I am the only single person out there.

I know this is false. I know for a scientific fact that I am not the only single person out there.

The problem is: I’m not even remotely interested in dating.

I watch all these movies about how to be single, and read articles about the bliss & the fun of single life. Late night bar crawls, and drunken make out sessions with strangers. AND ALL THE FREE FOOD & BOOZE YOUR HEART COULD DESIRE. A social calendar filled to the brim with eager men that, at the least, will pay for your drink! What goals to aspire to!

My social calendar is filled with massages, spin classes, and learning to cook variations of Zoodle dishes so I can trick my brain into thinking it’s pasta.

I have a job that I love, with a very bright and promising trajectory. I have an adorable apartment that I have put sweat and tears into – to make it a beautiful, calm place that adequately expresses me. I teach yoga – sometimes at a local brewery which is just flat out cool. My brain tells I have every reason to believe I am amazing. My heart begs to differ. The “single” umbrella casts a wide shadow, and I discredit all these positive things about my life, because I feel that I am in the wrong for not attempting to go on more dates, or meet “the one.” (I think I’d prefer six instead of one, but that is a different article.)

I’m a rather logical person, and they say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different outcomes.

So. The insanity stops now. I’ve done every dating app that is available on a cell phone, and I’ve even paid for Match.com – which is supposed to be the holy grail for a low price of $39.99 a month. Or you can upgrade to the premium membership which allows you to wink AND message your prey (or something equally as stupid). I’ve tried to embrace this new norm of modern dating. Hell, I’ve even managed to go on one date where I met the guy IRL first! And the results of the experiment comes down to this:

I want to be single. I don’t want to app date, or online date, or maybe just date in general.

It’s taken approximately 16 hours of therapy to be able to say the words “I am single AND happy.” – as if the two are mutually exclusive. I’ve spent so much time telling myself that I needed to date to prove that I’m desirable, and indeed “putting myself out there” and “being vulnerable”. But today? I’m quitting dating. The apps have been deleted, the memberships canceled, and I’m no longer going to force a relationship via online or any other means.

I’m giving myself permission to be single – and I am going to relish in the fact that I have no idea what my future holds. I have no idea who will be in my life tomorrow or five years from now. And I am going to allow myself to be excited about this. Thrilled, even. The possibilities are endless for me. My fate has not been sealed or written in stone, and I could go anywhere. Do anything. I could get a job offer in NYC tomorrow and move. I could buy a puppy. I could go into credit card debt and hop a plane to Lisbon for a week-long vacation. I could open a yoga studio. I could become a food truck owner that makes vegan perogies.

I don’t want my adventure to be written on the wall at the mere age of 26. I don’t want to be comfortable. I want to be so uncomfortable so I can find out what I am really made of. What kind of foundation I really stand on. And that intense relationship with myself will ultimately be why someone falls in love with me. Planning my future sounds like a death sentence. Scheduling my life around one person sounds like a living hell. I’m going to schedule my life around me – and I will not apologize.

I’m going to let my life run its course. And I’m going to have the faith that someone else is out there doing the same. Running, chasing, dreaming. And maybe we can hit the ground running together. Tomorrow. Or five years from now. I’m not longer self-imposing a timeline or a schedule. And while I am at it, I may even delete my Facebook so I can stop comparing myself to every God damn couple on the internet. Because how do we ever really know if anyone else is truly happy?

We don’t. All I can do is be responsible for is my happiness. And today, I am single AND happy. I can say finally say that in confidence for the first time since becoming single.

Cheers to falling in love with myself. TC mark

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