Hundreds of Women Share Why They Quit Dating Apps (And Men), Say They’re Happier Single

Psychologists have noticed a trend in the dating world and in dating apps: many women are leaving en masse to pursue happier, more independent lives and focus on themselves. The disparity of active men and women on dating apps and in the dating world seems to have only increased post-pandemic, with women leaving in droves due to their experiences with hookup culture, rampant misogyny, and a more solid sense of standards and boundaries. Some women are choosing to be celibate altogether and many are open about how their experiences in the dating world have pushed their decision to remain single. I asked hundreds of women from a wide range of age groups what they felt were their biggest reasons for leaving the dating world or quitting dating apps. Here are the main reasons women stated: 

Reason #1: The current dating pool is toxic. It causes far too much trauma and takes too much time, energy, and investment for many women to deal with. Most women are not willing to sacrifice their mental or physical health just to find a partner, are choosing to prioritize themselves and want to protect their peace. Many women also report they have worked intensively on healing and working on themselves through therapy – but they don’t feel they receive that same courtesy from their dating partners.

A theme that came up consistently in responses I received from women was the sheer time and energy it took to wade through the toxicity of the current dating pool. Women feel that dating apps are filled with predatory people, and it takes a great deal of time and energy to invest in a potential connection, only to be met with red flags, disrespect, and abuse. They opt instead to choose to protect their well-being. This toxicity, women note, tends to be unequal: while men tend to have a larger pool of potential mates who have done inner work or have gone to therapy, are nurturing, accomplished, thoughtful, and empathic, women don’t feel most men on dating apps (or elsewhere) have done the work to heal or be empathic. Here is what women have to say:

“My peace is so valuable to me. I have yet – in my 54 years – to find a man that has added to my life, instead only men that take. I was exhausted. My life has exponentially changed for the better when I’ve placed priority on my own happiness and building my own full and abundant life. I am so happy!” – Piper

“Choosing singlehood has taken away the distractions that I felt were a need in life. I’ve built up so much in a short period of time that I’m so proud of. I did the work and pushed through to be better on my own. I tried dating at one point this year and it took away from my life more than anything. I don’t want to date anyone and I feel more comfortable with that decision now than ever before. It’s just not for me.” – Amanda

“I am choosing to not care about finding someone at this time. I honestly don’t want to find anyone at this point. I am exhausted. I am exhausted from constantly being let down by men who won’t choose to do the work and heal themselves…I am now choosing to date myself and give me the attention I’ve given all these men throughout my entire life since I was 16. I owe this to myself and if the kind of guy I’ve been looking for comes into my life, I’ll welcome him in, but I won’t beg for scraps of love ever again. I’m now choosing to give my kids the happy energetic mom they have always deserved. I am able to because I’m not bending over backwards for everyone else.” – Alex

“I did my healing. I put the effort in for years to learn what my toxic behaviors were and how to recognize and respond to my emotions. I healed from my divorce and from my abuser. Trying to date and centering men in any way, wasted my time and halted my progress and caused me way too much anxiety wondering what else I should do to make it right. Yet none of these men were ever willing to put as much effort into their own healing (physical or emotional, they always lacked somewhere) and progress as the majority of the women that I knew had, let alone the amount of effort I put into myself. I was not given this One Life to live, simply to move from incompetent man to incompetent man to incompetent man claiming he just needed love. I am here to live life, happily, beautifully and in the manner that I define successfully!” – Alesha

“Because men are not worth the time due to the low quality presented: noncommittal, no marriage, no children mentality now a days. So why bother? I can go have a baby on my own, raise my child my way and not have to deal with their childish behavior.” – Maru

“I know so many amazing single, straight women and so very few decent single, straight men. I’ve tried probably at least a dozen different dating sites in the past decade, and I’ve found them all incredibly discouraging. There’s also no real way to meet organically anymore. I’ve made some connections here and there and then mostly have gotten ghosted. It’s not that I’m closed off from dating – I just haven’t come across many men that are worth going on a date with.” – Lauren

“I’ve spent over half my life putting my energy into love and men. 7 serious monogamous relationships since I was 15 years old. I was always seeking outside of myself for the love I wanted – not realizing it was within me the whole time. As an 80s baby, growing up in the Disney princess era – we weren’t taught that. Finally, my last relationship with an insane narcissist broke me of my love addiction and codependency. Sadly it had to go that far and I had to learn the hard way. So now I am in my “healing, true self-love, and get the bag” era. I want to focus on me and pouring all the energy I’ve poured into men and love into myself and watch my glow up. I’ve seen what my love can do for others – what can it do for ME? I’m ready to find out! Not to mention, this dating scene is tragic, men got the whole game twisted and desperately need to catch up to our evolution as women before it will be worth the effort. We as women have to raise the bar and stop accepting breadcrumbs as if that’s enough to feed our deep souls. I’m the object of my affection now and it feels so good.” – Ivory

“The dating pool is full of immature men who don’t measure up to the accomplishments of these beautiful, smart and hard-working single women. It’s better to be single than it is to be undermined by someone who isn’t nearly as accomplished.” – Christina

“I am not sure if I can say I’m leaving dating altogether, but I am certainly taking a break. I find it difficult to manage for many reasons. I think one of the top reasons being that so few men on apps are honest about what they want. They say they want a relationship, but they don’t. They want casual, which is fine, but they don’t say that up front. It becomes draining and heartbreaking. I’m independent in that I own a home, am educated and am not looking for someone to take care of me. I’m starting to wonder if that is intimidating to a lot of men.” – Trina

“Men aren’t competing with each other anymore, they’re competing with my peace, my happiness, my cleanliness and the mental freedom I get while being a single woman.” – Shannon

“I’m 54, I was married 27 years, dated after and realized I had a lot of work to do on myself, for myself to be able to be in a healthy relationship. As I’ve healed myself, I’ve realized how few people truly “get” me and aren’t toxic in some way. So, I’m focusing on myself and my family and life. I’m not interested in taking care of another person ever again. If an emotionally healthy man came along and acted with integrity, I’d be open, but I’m not wasting time looking, I’m okay alone now and actually, I’m really enjoying just being me now in my solitude. I think many women who have worked on themselves just aren’t settling anymore.” – Cinamon

“As the daughter of a narcissist, and the rise of narcissism in general, I have not only been forced, but have chosen to put personal development at the forefront of my journey in order to break generational trauma. I find that most are not interested in “doing the work,” and men in particular, are rarely capable of deepening their EQ while at the same time, being a true alpha and holding space for feminine energy. Dating has become exhaustive in a way I never thought possible; integrity is rare, the modern world has made people disposable and generational cycles are becoming impossible to break for those that don’t make this a priority.” – Lauren

“I don’t think women are willing to put up with men’s shenanigans like they “had” to in the past, holding out and trying to will the relationship they wanted. Women are smart and more resourceful than ever. The power differential is changing. Men have to realize it’s a different relationship world and women have no time for nonsense. Men have a whole lot of healing to do to be authentic and effortful in a real relationship or women will turf them.” – Diana

“I’m tired of the misogyny, abuse and most men being unwilling to grow and heal or having ridiculous expectations of women. I’m done being traumatized. I can’t take any more relational or sexual trauma. No man or relationship has made my life better but has almost seemed to actively work against me. I am healthier in every way on my own so far in life. I’m not closed off to ever being in a relationship again, but I’m not impressed with what I have encountered out there… at all.” – Bethany

“I realized I was happy and complete on my own. I did a lot of healing to get to this place, and it is a choice every day to acknowledge and embrace my own worth. We are conditioned as a society to believe that our proximity to a man is what gives us our value as women. This narrative is incredibly false and damaging!  We are what make ourselves happy and complete. We are enough and always have been. I value the connection with my children and watching this grow and deepen. I greatly treasure the depth of the friendships I share with my girlfriends. I serve in my community and find this fulfilling. And I have found that it is very challenging to find a man who truly understands and practices vulnerability, empathy, and self-reflection in a way that matches the work I have embraced within my life. There is a lot of unhealthiness out there. Once you grow and learn, you have little tolerance for anything other than the peace that self-care and acceptance can bring.” – Lesley B.

“I now equate celibacy and being single as empowering because I am harnessing my own fortitude, happiness, security, and wisdom. No more second or third or fourth persons forcefully shoving down in my throat their opinions, wants, and needs like those are gospel truth that I must heed.” – VM

“Any temptation is not worthy of interacting with unawakened and insensitive people. Also, life is beautiful and ought to be lived with self-respect without any compromise. I am practicing gratitude for what I have.” – Murshiquaa

“Because I now place value on my time and protect it fiercely. When someone buys their leisure time off the back of your emotional or physical labor, they’re literally stealing your precious life. I’m not letting anyone do that again.” – Julia

“I met someone online. He seemed perfect at first! He moved fast, came on strong and I fell in love. He love-bombed me and begged me to marry him! The longer we dated, I found out he wasn’t truthful! It was like an onion and I was peeling the layers. He was married and was living with his wife! He lied about so many things with ease during the two years we dated. It was second nature to lie! Eventually he moved into his own apartment and we continued to see each other.

The longer we dated, the more I learned and the less I wanted to be with him. He was also a serial cheater and when I started to move away from him, he started to cheat. I found out and ended the relationship. You never know what you are getting with online dating! Yes, some relationships are successful. But none of the women I know that have been online have anything positive to say. There are mostly scammers, liars and cheaters in my opinion and that’s just sad. You can’t be faint of heart and be in the dating pool these days! Best of luck to all my sisters out there! My mom would say “there’s a lid for every kettle!” I think I flipped mine.” – Sharon

“Men are not worth the high risk for disappointment. I’ve immersed myself in my hobbies and spent more time with friends, and also with my favorite animals (also friends). I feel stronger and happier than ever.” – Diggy

“High quality men were already a minority in my 20s. At 50, I’ve not met one in 7 years. It’s not about what they can offer me that’s better than my ex. It’s whether they can offer me better than what I’m currently supplying to myself. Life is peaceful being single.” – Doula

“I am choosing celibacy and raising my son so I can focus on my career and provide for myself and my little one. I prefer celibacy. I want to get back to myself after literal years of toxic abuse from family and partners. In order to not repeat these cycles with my child, I must heal myself. Healing can only happen if I’m not distracted. I don’t feel that I’m missing out on anything (possibly romantic connection or great sex), and I love great sex. But I love myself and my child more.” – Dev

“I went on a dating hiatus after years of being mistreated by men. I was in a relationship with an abusive alcoholic, emotionally unavailable men, and a cheater. The common trend amongst the majority of these men, was manipulation and deceit. Ultimately they were not being true to themselves, and therefore presenting very differently in the beginning, until eventually, they could no longer keep up the facade. I acknowledge that these behaviors likely stemmed from being hurt or from lived trauma – but, that doesn’t make it right.

It took a while for me to learn how to fill my own cup, set/maintain healthy boundaries, address my lack of self-worth, regulate my nervous system, practice self-regulating when hurt/triggered, and love myself. Once I was at peace with myself, by myself… the second something felt off or I realized I deserved to be treated better, I chose my peace over chaos and I chose to keep loving myself the way I knew I was capable of loving another. The moment I chose that for myself and EVERY time I make that choice – I know I am doing what’s best for me. My experience with dating changed cataclysmically from that day forward. I feel as though more women are refusing to settle for less than they deserve. That is why I stopped dating. I chose me.” – Megan

“I have decided to preserve my soul, worth, intelligence, energy and life youth since self-perseverance is Universal Law and number one at that.” – Lydia

“When I was much less self-assured, my lack of self-worth led me to many toxic partners. I can’t believe what I put up with and thought it was love. The peace and self-discovery are so addictive right now that I can’t imagine letting a romantic interest in.” – Tia

Reason #2: Misogyny is rampant and so is exploitation, deception, fraud, cheating, and abuse.

Both on and off dating apps, women are experiencing misogyny and various forms of abuse and deception at high levels in the dating world. From unsolicited pictures that violate them to deceitful partners that hide their marital status or criminal records, dating and dating apps have become more of a dangerous game of emotional Russian roulette. Successful and high-achieving women stated they felt the pressure to be providers as well as the primary parent and “mother” to their partners; some experienced pathologically envious men who lashed out at them due to their success. Post-pandemic, more women are leaving hookup culture and dating apps to reclaim their power.

“For straight women, dating apps are like being thrown into a pool of frenzied piranhas. It’s giving their only natural predator, men, easier access to their prey. From sending icky rude remarks and unwanted d*ck pics and verbal abuse to them actually murdering their dates.” – Veronica

“I once, downloaded one of these so called “dating apps” and 10 minutes later, I immediately uninstalled it. I felt like I was being in a lake of swarming narcissistic, sexaholic, maniac crocodiles. I would never ever do this again in my entire life.” – Mae

“I tried it twice. One guy had severe mental health issues and the second guy had 13 sexual assault charges and is on the sex offenders registry! These people aren’t vetted and anyone can set up a profile. Online dating is too risky; I’m a single mom and I will never do it again, my children’s safety is paramount.” – Jacquie

“Men’s entitlement creates abusiveness and allows for a lack of awareness. I wasn’t put on this earth to be powerless and fix the misogyny created by men for men. I’m here to be fully myself, my strong and beautiful self! I don’t believe I can do that in a heterosexual relationship.” – Alex

“I am no longer willing to diminish my worth, or compromise my peace, simply because a man is not willing to learn to be a better person and then consistently act on it. After twenty years of covert abuse, I have zero fucks left to give. Never again will I betray myself as to not hurt a man’s feelings. If you can’t add to my peace, then leave me alone. If you haven’t healed your trauma, go live with your mama. Women need to stop being so available to these little boys, pretending like they are men. And most importantly, healthy and healed men need to be the ones holding these little boys accountable for their toxic behaviors, entitlement, and misogyny.” – Rae

“I am tired of teaching. It’s not my responsibility to teach you emotional intelligence, basic kindness, intersectional feminism, or the direction of the clitoris. I am tired of not knowing. I am tired of latching onto the green flags, only to be knocked upside the head with that red flag they hide so well. And I feel so good, so free and light and happy when it’s just me. I know how to love myself and I truly enjoy my own company. If someone is not adding to my life, they’re simply subtracting and nobody got time for that.” – Toni

“I want to be money making! Going back to school for my J.D. I feel that men want women to provide and take care of the home and family, while they just provide. They want us to be feminine but push us into a masculine role. I am going to make bank and travel the world. I don’t want to mix finances at this point in my life, anyway. Many of my female friends agree. We all own our $650k+ homes and we’re just fine never cohabitating with a significant other. I have done the work to heal, many men claim they have but it never truly appears as though they have. I’ll kick ass, take names, and make my own coin.” – Lisa

“I felt like an item on the shelf or an option on these apps. There was no connection. Men were filtering and did not seem serious. Even the ones that got to the point of actually meeting in person could not handle a strong career oriented successful woman. Others mostly wanted a physical relationship, some portrayed themselves as victims of their previous spouses and were recently out of a relationship. It is a very difficult world out there when it comes to finding someone you can commit to, as I don’t think there will be anyone ever that will be perfect.” – Javeria

“I’m a family therapist that works with teens, adults, and couples. There has been a notable shift in what women are looking for in a partnership, specifically, more mutuality, shared responsibility for making life work at home, and reciprocal encouragement and support for each in the partnership to live an inspired, fulfilling life. Most men of my generation (I am 70) continue to expect their partners to take care of the “heavy-lifting” at home, while they want the last word when it comes to finances and making the “big decisions.” Younger women also report inequities in their relationships with men, i.e. when it comes to maintaining the household, even many young men will describe themselves as “helping” if they do laundry or childcare. So more and more, women of all ages are done with the old relationship “script”, preferring to go it alone until there is an upgrade. I think women are much more eager to welcome partnerships that are equitable – after all, who wants to go back to being a serf?” – Linda

Ramon Samborskyi

“They have put me off for life. I can’t comprehend how they think a pic of their “appendage” is a way of making a connection.” – Tina

“I refuse to be their banker or their mommy!” – Rebecca

“Misogyny is at an all-time high.” – Christy

“Romance is dead. Men using dating apps are merely looking for a cheap alternative to parting with their hard earned cash and paying a hooker!” – Mancy

“Men have – over time – developed the nature of women. They need to be pursued. They have no ability for self-control or focus in this age of instant click and gratify. It’s like children with too many toys – unhealthy and never focused enough to learn a single female. I can’t date a man with no plan for where he is leading me. I need safety and safety comes with intentions and a plan – lead protect and provide and pursue. It’s harsh out there.” – Angelica

“After decades of taking care of others, putting myself last, being the bigger person, compromising to keep the peace, and being unappreciated and taken advantage of and abused by those who claimed to love me, I don’t want to share a home, a room or a bed with anyone ever again. I don’t want to be needed or depended upon any longer. I enjoy my own company and my own space, and it would take a very rare being to make me give that up just for company’s sake. I am now in my late 50’s, an empty nester, and I have dated and had long term relationships with men and women. My last relationship was with a woman and I have been single and celibate for the past 5 years.” – Mandy

“I am not necessarily anti-men, I am anti-patriarchy. I’m not necessarily opposed to dating men, but I haven’t met anyone yet who I want to date! I guess he would have to be anti-patriarchy as well.” – Aimee

“I choose singlehood because the “men” aren’t all that! You don’t know what type of person they really are and it takes too long to figure it out! At that time you find they weren’t worth the time or energy!” – Cindi

“My friend is a fraud investigator. She can pick up on nuances in dating app profiles. For example, she reported many prospects who copied job descriptions from reliable sources. She figured it out when she asked about their jobs, they didn’t have the proper response. Trust is a major issue for me and what I learned from her makes dating pools seem like danger zones. Not to mention the MGTOW and red pill movement…creating pick up artists!” – Cathy

“Because my experience is that men and women are generally looking for different things and have different needs in the modern dating world. These needs and wants simply don’t align. Luckily women are empowered enough nowadays to take care of ourselves and the majority of us are not willing to settle for less than we deserve because we no longer need to as a means for survival and fulfillment.” – Amy

“I feel dating apps are a tool favored by toxic men because it’s easy, it takes minimal effort to swipe right and see who bites. On the other side, most of the great men I know in real life, aren’t, and never have been, on dating apps. Considering those two factors, I choose to no longer bother with them. Of course, there’s exceptions to this, but I think it’s just gotten worse over time, so I personally have no more interest in online dating. Ironically, since I’ve made that decision, I’ve been meeting more quality like- minded men in person out at events that are geared toward my interests and values.” – Amanda

“Me and several of my friends left extremely abusive relationships this year and there’s one main theme in common: these men have been narcissistic abusers who are charming; great to everyone outside of the home, but abusive to us behind closed doors. It seems there is an epidemic of toxically sick men who enable and validate each other to be awful to women and who refuse to take accountability for their behavior and refuse to go to therapy. I am tired of not feeling safe around men and tired of questioning if they have good intentions or not. My girlfriends ALWAYS make me feel safe. As a long-time preschool teacher, I can attest that I’ve witnessed it starting very young – with parents telling their boys “boys will be boys” and “aww – he’s being mean to you? That means he likes you” – a narrative that needs to stop being taught to young boys.” – Mandy

“Dating online has become a traumatizing shit show. You have to be extremely secure and confident to get through it unscathed. For those of us in the over 50 group, 90% of the men are a waste of time or worse. They are scammers, or married, or players, or sociopaths, or 25 year olds saying they like older women, or guys in relationships who go online out of boredom like it was an online poker game swiping for a laugh, or damaged shy introverts who don’t have the nerve to meet in person, misogynist old boomer assholes, widowers still grieving whose kids made their profile for them, guys who actually believe online dating is code for free phone/video sex/sex workers. If you are very very lucky to find the needle in a haystack, 10% decent guy you will have dates with him and find he is 10 years older and 50 pounds heavier than his photo or you just won’t have any chemistry at all. All this time of 5 years of the same hitting my head against this wall, I decided to throw in the towel.” – Gillian

“I know my worth and none of these men live up to that.” – Jen

“I’m in couple with myself. Taking care of my needs, and of my dreams. I tried at one point last year the apps, it felt like a zoo, it’s just crazy and unreal. I’d rather spend time reading, learning, dancing, painting, enjoying life with my family, with friends, than wasting time with people who are not committed to anything. This dating world is so bizarre, like “fast food” whereas knowing someone takes time, curiosity, willingness, effort. It feels more like “shopping” based on extremely superficial criteria.” – Anne

Roman Samborskyi

Reason #3: Experiences of narcissistic partners tend to be frequent, especially on dating apps but in modern romance in general. Accountability is at an all-time low, and women prefer solitude to “raising” a man.

“I’ve never felt more alone than in the arms of the wrong man. I now stand independently, holding my little boy’s hand, knowing he is safe away from his narcissistic father. He already shows more empathy at 3 years old than most men I know.” – Charlotte

“I have had too many issues with attracting the narcissists and sociopaths. It’s easier to be single and save myself from harm. I like my peace and serenity. I love the joy of knowing that I am safe.” – Daana

“I don’t need a man. I support myself. I raise my child. I please myself. It seems like more of a pain in the ass to be with one than to be without one.” – Sara

“Done with gaslighting, lying, cheating, and two timing.” – Wendy

“Too many frogs, not enough Princes. I just can’t be bothered. I have a lot of friends and great family. I’m never lonely. 35 years with a supreme narcissist took all the fun out of a relationship.” – Caroline

“I have loved twice since my precious husband unexpectedly passed away in 2018. My husband and I were high school sweethearts, and I was unfamiliar with the dating scene. I’ve emerged into what appears to be a toxic wasteland of self-involved narcissists, quick to demand physical, yet they reject the emotional. I live on the fumes of the precious love I’ve felt in my life, secretly always hoping the one who holds my heart returns. In the meantime, I’m taking care of my husband’s and my 7 sweet babies alone while conquering law school. No time for the folly associated with modern-day dating. Or in the words of Megan Thee Stallion: “F*** b******, get money!” – Scarlet

“I chose to quit dating apps because I am dedicated to my own life, my goals and my healing. I was in a terrible relationship for almost 2 years. He as an awful person. So, I am taking my time, working on my Master’s in social work.”

“I have been celibate for 7 months. I entered into a relationship of 2 years with a covert narcissist who also had hidden an alcohol problem from me. I uprooted my life and moved to the city he lived in, to be closer to him and his 3 beautiful children. The first week there, I found out I was pregnant. 2 weeks later I had a miscarriage. He broke up with me for the first time during the miscarriage because, “this isn’t bringing me any joy.” I stayed with him because I didn’t know anyone else. For a year, he broke up with me 2-3 times a month. I finally said, “sure,” the last time. He never even checked back in with me and still hasn’t. Before I fully realized I needed to move back to my hometown, I went on a few dates with a seemingly nice man. When we had intercourse, he slapped me in the face without my consent. I decided after those episodes that I wanted to be celibate. I have stuck to it (very easily) and haven’t entertained dating. Nor do I want to.” – Alex

“After getting divorced…I’m taking the dating thing extremely slow…through my post-divorce tiptoeing toward possibly loving someone again I’ve had multiple crushes that basically taught me more about my own boundaries. Hot and cold… hell no. That’s just mind games. I’ve been hit on twice by guys who had girlfriends. Also hell no, I don’t think I’m naive enough to think that won’t be me down the line. I got hit on by a guy who wanted to trauma dump about his ex – also no. I don’t want to be your nurse or your mommy. Another person I’m genuinely interested in: hints are great but I won’t act on them. I was breadcrumbed so intensely in my marriage that I want to see love meet action in order to engage someone romantically again. None of this bare minimum to keep you interested bullshit.” – Ashley

“Because nobody wants to be emotionally available or get to know anyone beyond a surface or casual level. I never wanted marriage and I love that the culture is appearing to be more open and moving beyond outdated norms but sometimes it feels like it’s gone to the opposite extreme where nobody wants to be accountable at all on any level for how they act in any type of relationship with another person.” – Aneisha

“I experienced relationships, most of them with narcissists, hindsight tells me. I just couldn’t bother being in a romantic relationship anymore. The only times I miss having someone special by my side is when I’m planning trips (so much to think about and do), or when I’m sick in bed. Otherwise I delight in being on my own, making my own decisions, deciding how to spend my time, what to eat, when to go to sleep, etc. I’m on my own, but I’m not alone. I have many friends, and a few family members I like. I’m significant for myself; I don’t feel a need to share every waking moments of my life with someone, to reminisce with anyone about what I saw, heard, experienced. I accept that “my life will end with me” and I’ll be forgotten after death. I enjoy life right here, right now. I don’t see what a romantic relationship would add to my life; on the contrary I feel it would shrink it.” – Gloria

“Just physically and mentally tired. I’d rather concentrate on getting me and my kids and build and focus on that joy. Tired of being lied to, cheated on, putting energy into someone and finding out they would not do the same for me, scared of dating a narcissistic abuser again. Just trying to enjoy my life and my family and friends.” – Ewnie

Reason #4: Singlehood offers freedom, time and space for goals and personal self-development, self-care, raising your standards, other meaningful connections and most importantly, peace. 

“After my divorce and a few toxic relationships after, I realized the only constant was me. Thus began my healing journey. I’ve taken the past two years to focus on myself. To focus on self-care and mental health, embracing therapy which helped me understand the generational and childhood trauma that attracted me to unhealthy men and allowed myself to be mistreated. I then fell in love with myself. I’ve learned to love my own company and protect my peace and my energy. I’ve shifted focus to my home, career, finances, children, and physical and mental health. If I find a partner who compliments my life, great. If not, that’s great too. My value and self-worth is no longer defined by a relationship with a man.” – Lindsay

“Was my last relationship 6 years ago that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, so to speak. To where I finally realized my worth and set boundaries. Where I finally fell in love with myself. Now even thinking of trying to date I just have no interest in – I enjoy taking myself out to dinner, shopping, movies. Just being alone with ME! I used to be the woman worried what people would think of me, seeing me at a table alone in a restaurant, now I LOVE it and can’t get enough of it! After leaving a toxic relationship, you’re just over dating completely.” – Kimberly

“I have broken the generational curses in my family. I am actively healing my childhood trauma and no longer see myself as a survivor. I am in my thriving season, and I am now incompatible with anyone who isn’t also actively doing the inner work. I am incompatible with any trauma bonds and low vibrational frequencies. I now emit a different frequency that is attracting/manifesting a specific individual on the same wavelength. I am single because, I am patient, and I deserve an Emperor worthy of me.” – Namhla

“Unfortunately, our culture continues to condition females at an early age to imagine our prince, dating, boyfriends, then husband! We are further conditioned to yearn and pine for a boy/man’s romantic love; which shifts the focus on normal development and curiosity of self to focus on being pretty enough, and sexy and then chosen throughout our formative years. Why are we conditioned to couple at age 3 or 4 when males aren’t? I’m happier on my own having tried it all! And most of my married female friends say they wish they had my single life. Takeaway — most women and men don’t want the same things and little girls don’t need to start looking for princes who care less about princesses until they want to have kids!” – M.B.

“I value my life-maintenance labor, my emotional labor and wellbeing, my finances, my pleasure, my safety, stable and independent housing, and compensation for my efforts. Reciprocity is important, unless it’s a charitable contribution. In all my relationships. Interaction with cishet men doesn’t align with these priorities. I live in authenticity and liberty.” – Bel

“Men just don’t value women. They want to use and control them. We have to be a slave for them, but not be respected. They have women convinced they should be grateful for the opportunity for being used when it’s actually the men that need them more than the women need them. Men are completely ungrateful. It’s just not something women need when they get everything they want and need out of female friendships and relationships with their children.” – Belinda

“While I would love nothing more than to be in a relationship (or my idea of a relationship, I’ve honestly never been in one), I have no desire to date. My day job is teaching elementary students and they (plus the planning and prepping of teaching) take so much of my energy. I don’t have the energy to put forth into going on first/second dates with guys who just aren’t worth my time. Or maybe I’m not worth their time. But the energy I have I would rather put into my friends and family — people I already have a connection with.” – Alex

“Spiritually, I need to focus on my relationship with God. My love life is His to manage, not me. My picker is broken, and He has moved stars to try to tell me someone is not the one, but I don’t listen. God is my first love…maybe even my last.” – Cristina

“It’s nice after being married (and undervalued) for 20 years, to just “be.” To be: into books, journals, roller skating, yoga, travel, my dogs, my family, my friends, making pottery, taking classes, my job, cooking … and choosing what I want to watch on tv. I control the remote. I exist as a person, not as an object. I am in charge, solely, of my finances. I am in my power. I am empowered. I am deep. I am also an extroverted introvert. I was a sharing and caring partner, but not sure if I could be again. I find few men (at my age) share my tastes, passions. I am in my authenticity… I’m happy here. I have peace. I come and go as I please, and am not ever seeking “approval,” physically or otherwise. The male ego turns me off. My girlfriends are amazing people – and I save a lot on razors.” – Jana

“I am on my own for the first time in life. But I no longer “wait” with a tension in my shoulders and a pit in my stomach. I don’t wait for validation from someone that I thought loved me. I don’t put energy into someone who gives me less than minimum respect and courtesy! I DO self-care, self-love, and take care of my own things! I understand that my satisfaction in completing tasks, is my own validation and appreciation. I now, have learned, to respect MYSELF. I tolerate, nothing less than that, from others!” – Michelle

“Because I know my worth and have decided to place my efforts into myself.” – Tessa

“I have zero desire to compromise the peace I work hard to achieve every day. After an abusive and toxic marriage of 33 years, I am finally prioritizing myself, my peace of mind, and my overall happiness and well-being. Have not dated and have no desire to do so.” – Lora

“Boyfriends are a lot of work, and all the sexy ones are players.” – Diane

“I am choosing me first.” – Melissa

About the author

Shahida Arabi

Shahida is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University. She is a published researcher and author of Power: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse and Breaking Trauma Bonds with Narcissists and Psychopaths. Her books have been translated into 16+ languages all over the world. Her work has been featured on Salon, HuffPost, Inc., Bustle, Psychology Today, Healthline, VICE, NYDaily News and more. For more inspiration and insight on manipulation and red flags, follow her on Instagram here.