It was the summer of my senior year of high school. That was the last time I went on a date.
I’m now heading into my junior year of college. And trust me, not dating anyone for two years wasn’t exactly by choice.
Once my relationship fizzled out during that summer, I figured that I’d wait until college to date again. I would enjoy that summer with my friends.
Then the fall came, and it was time to head off to college. A knot formed in my stomach as my parents drove away. It was the first time being away from home for an extended period of time.
I thought it’d a great opportunity to get to know people without my parents being around.
The first day of classes started, and I picked my seat next to the cutest girl in class. This was my chance. She knew nothing of me and I knew nothing of her, the perfect start to the year. She dropped out of that class and I rarely saw her again.
Come second semester, I sat next to another girl who I had a great connection with but unfortunately already had a boyfriend. I took the rest of the year and focused on my studies.
The summer came around again and no summer flings appeared, so I continued to work as much as I could. This is where I went wrong, and it continued into the fall.
I had started a business with a co-founder and when I wasn’t in class and on the weekends, I was working.
This is when I ultimately focused on myself and my business. I shut off the entire world. I have to say sorry to the roommates I had. I wasn’t much of roommate.
The first semester ended and quickly lapsed into the second semester, and I was still working as hard as ever. I was complimented by those around me but I still felt empty, not knowing why.
Then March came. Well, March break more precisely. During those ten precious days off, I easily put in over 80 hours of work. Looking back, that was something I was proud of then. But today, it churns my stomach.
Upon my return from the break, something didn’t feel right. I thought nothing of it, but then it continued on and part of it is still there.
It’s the feeling you’re there, but you aren’t happy nor sad. I no longer got a thrill out the things I used to love. I lost myself chasing success, but more than that, I learned that becoming successful isn’t fun when you can’t share the success with someone.
I quickly learned that you can have all the money in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t share it.
Still to this day, I have told no one how I felt. They kept giving me congratulations. Yet, I felt empty. I was in a rather depressed state. I’m also positive it actually was depression but never went to get any help for fear of my own ego. It may sound stupid, but I’m quietly recovering.
People tell you that you should focus on yourself and you’ll attract the right partner. This is bullshit.
I focused on myself for a good two years and I ended up miserable. I had no one to share memories with or spend time with. I was alone.
I burned myself, lost my friends, hurt the relationship with my family, no longer found joy in the activities I once loved — and more importantly, I lost what it felt liked to be loved.
When you don’t date someone for two years, you learn a lot about yourself and who you are as a person.
The most important thing I can say to you is that success leads nowhere.
Let me rather say, that when you focus on nothing but success and kill the relationships with everyone around you, it’ll lead you nowhere.
I thought by becoming successful it would allow me to get everything I wanted and it couldn’t be further from the truth.
I learned that you can have all the success in the world but nothing feels better than finding a genuine spark with someone.
I remember thinking by becoming successful, I’d get girls to like me. That wasn’t quite true because when I’d meet someone who could be a potential partner, all I could think about was talking about my business. I lost the feeling of what it meant to truly live.
If you’re chasing success, why not do it with a partner so you can help each other?
The goal of every relationship should be to help each other become better. I’m not saying you shouldn’t chase success because you should, but you shouldn’t lose yourself chasing it. There’s a thin line and you don’t want to cross it.
Becoming successful is nice but at what cost? I don’t want you to go through what I went through.
There would be Saturday nights when all my roommates had gone home for the weekend and I’d be there all by myself. It’s a lonely feeling and something that never went away.
I believe my body was trying to me that it was longing another human connection, but I just casted it aside as nothing. You should listen to what your mind and body are trying to tell you. I wish I would’ve listened earlier.
When May came and then rolled into June, I learned quickly what I was missing in my life. I had been a shell of a person that I once was.
I missed that connection that comes from a relationship. I hadn’t been on a date in over two years and some things quickly arose in my body I had to get over.
Because I hadn’t been on a date in over two years, I felt unworthy of another person, especially love.
You have to quiet that little voice in your head or it will overwhelm you. I honestly thought, who would want me? I tried my best to get rid of the negative thinking, understanding that each of us is worthy for love.
I hadn’t had any anxiety from the two previous years of not dating. Yet, it came back. You can’t choose how your body responds to certain situations, you have to try your best to cope.
It’s from the excitement of going out there and meeting your potential partner. The unknown of how it will turn out. I think it’s normal to have anxiety when you date again. It’s something I hadn’t done in a while and something I had to get used to.
When I met this great girl, the anxiety came back. Did I want it there? Of course not. But I’ve tried my best to control it. This came through journaling each morning and sharing my feelings on paper. The uncertainty of dating again hit me like a roaring wave.
The nerves of waiting on that text or hoping she says yes to date never go away.
Most of all, I learned that feelings don’t go away. When I hadn’t even tried to date someone for two years, I thought I’d never get that feeling of talking to someone I had a connection with again. I was super afraid that I’d never have feelings again. But they don’t go away, no matter how long since you’ve dated someone.
It hasn’t been easy to get back into dating. It’s a strange place, and for me, a place where I’m constantly overthinking everything.
But I’d rather be someone who cares than someone who doesn’t care at all. I’ve just accepted that this is a part of me.
We each have different flaws we should embrace and don’t stop searching until you find someone who loves you for every amazing thing you are.
By going out into the dating world, I gained a new perspective. I used to date others for only what was in it for me.
What I learned is that a relationship with someone is helping them, being there for them, helping them grow, and allowing them to become the absolute best person they can be. This was an entirely new concept to me.
I took the focus off myself and put the focus on helping my partner become the best version of herself. It has made me ten times happier than I ever was when I was focusing on myself. You can become happier when you help others become happy themselves.
I wouldn’t recommend taking two years off from dating. You shouldn’t be a person who rushes from relationship to relationship either.
Only you know when you’re ready. Time off can do a person good, but too much can impact your life.
Before we part ways, I want to leave you with a quote from the movie Into The Wild: “Happiness is only real when shared.”