How Completely Failing At Online Dating Taught Me To Actually Love Myself

Bruno Gomiero
Bruno Gomiero

It’s 2016. The way of dating has changed. Instead of meeting someone, we have to not meet them before we can actually meet them. It’s no secret that online dating have become the norm for this generation. Everyone is constantly glued to their phone and our thumbs have become the strongest part of our bodies. Swipe right. Left, left. Right again.

When I was still in school, I joined one dating website to give it a shot but found that talking to people through a screen with only a few pictures and random facts was not my style. But back when I first tried, guys were still offering to buy me a drink or get together for a meal.

A few years have gone by since that first try. I work in Manhattan now. It should be the prime spot to catch someone’s eye. Quite the opposite. It’s hard to catch someone’s eye when everyone is too busy looking down at profiles of people who are miles away. That being said, I haven’t dated much. My coworkers, on the other hand, are guilty of the infamous swipe. After listening to their stories, I decided to give it another shot. This time, I downloaded two apps. I told myself that I was ready to give this a real chance. I was prepared to chat with a guy and go through the small talk and potential awkward conversations. Maybe I would go on a date and find a real connection. I’ve had the apps for just short of a week now and you know what I’ve learned?

I love myself too much to bother.

Honestly. I’m twenty-four years old. I’m still so young but it doesn’t always feel like that. Often times, I think I’m a mess. I feel like I barely have anything together. I sit and binge watch the same show I’ve seen before and question what I’m doing with my life. I don’t need to have my own apartment or full time job to be happy but some direction would be nice at times.

But as I sit on my couch and look down at the pictures of strangers, I realize that I can’t do it. All of the mirror shots and muscle pictures. The “dog is a man’s best friend” picture and the group shot at the bar. They’re all nice. Great smile, nice eyes, excellent hair, cute dog. Very cute dog. But every time I go to message the second Josh of the hour or the first Elijah, I struggle with following through. I have gone out on a limb and sent a few simple messages but then I don’t bother to reply once I get the notification that the guy has responded. In fact, one time, I found myself rolling my eyes. I have nothing against dating apps or people who use them. I give a lot of credit to people who do follow through and go on a date. It has nothing to do with the guys. It’s not like I was getting inappropriate messages (though sometimes, I was), or that crickets were chirping in my inbox. I have my fair of messages from guys who seem perfectly nice and interesting. It’s not personal.

It’s simple. Every time I thought about a guy, or looked at a new profile, I found myself saying the following: I don’t need this. I have better things to do. This is wasting my phone battery.

I’m at a place in my life where I don’t want to share me.

There was a time when I would fill my life with people. With noise. I didn’t want to be alone. Being alone meant time with my thoughts, my fears, my anxieties. I couldn’t handle it back then. When I think about that time in my life, I was truly my own worst enemy. Being left with myself was the most miserable place I could be and I avoided it at all costs.

Now, I still have those thoughts, fears, and anxieties. But I don’t need someone to try scaring them away with empty smiles and hollow laughter. I didn’t know this about me until I signed up for online dating this time around. I didn’t have the realization until I was literally texting my friend saying, “These guys just aren’t me.”

I’m not at my best. But I’m no longer at my worst. If anything, I’m at the best place that I can be. Which is no place at all. I’m moving. Not left or right but up. Up and up and it’s so beautiful because I understand that it’s exactly where I should be going. Maybe one day, this path will open up and welcome a new guy to walk alongside me.

But right now, it’s just me, myself, and I. I like it this way.

I never thought signing up for some apps that are meant for people who don’t want to be alone would teach me that that’s exactly what I want to be.

In love with myself.
And moving up. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Leanne is a writer from New York who is trying to make sense of it all.

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