I’ve decided, drum roll please, to take a break from the world of dating apps. I was on two of them in hopes that maybe, just maybe, I would meet a like-minded fella. Don’t get me wrong, I did find a few interesting prospects, and I do speak with one or two of them on occasion.
From experience, I found myself repeatedly falling into the same cycle and to be frank; it wore me out. It hasn’t worked out so well for me. I have picked myself up countless times and dusted myself off. I’ve even asked men what I did wrong. How is that for a new low? Not that I would get a straight answer in response, but curiosity got the best of me. To my credit, I’ve put myself out there many times with a fresh perspective each and every time. It's disappointing. I used to be too trusting; now my wall is up in full force. So much so, I have a small army posted outside of it, and they are sending in more troops as I write this post.
There is a multitude of reasons why things just haven’t panned out ranging from timing being off, meeting a line of unsuspecting players, mixed messages, interest from one of us fleeted, distance or true colors emerged that just didn’t mesh with me. Blah, blah, blah. It’s been an experience, to say the least. I am resilient by nature, but there are times I need to throw in the towel. And this, my friends, is one of those times.
No more swiping for this girl, at least for the time being. Never say never, right? However, a break is very much needed. Time to regroup, refocus and let the Universe do its thing. I’m not closing myself off, just changing my approach by not having an approach. I have plenty of other, great things to focus on in my life. That is not to say I may not get bored and browse again in the future but for now, I’m happy putting it on pause. I understand that online dating and dating apps work for some people, so I’m not knocking them. Far from it. It just hasn’t worked out for me so far. My skin is thick, but it’s thinning a bit. On top of all that, it’s not fun anymore. So, it’s time to cut bait.
I recently had a drink with someone I dated briefly a while back, turned friend, who told me something, about me, that struck a deep chord. In fact, I sobbed like a baby most of my drive home. Ridiculous. I know. I haven’t had a good cry like that in a while, so it was a good release. What he said to me was not technically an insult, but his delivery made it feel like one. He told me that I’m too nice, give men too many chances and that’s why I’m single. That went over like a led balloon. He wasn’t insinuating; he was blatant that I should become an entirely different person to find a long-term relationship. “You’re great but change everything about yourself.” Does that mean I should change into a deceitful, uninterested, lunatic, raving bitch to land a man? Really? Is that all? I can’t be something I’m not. You get what you get with this girl. I don’t try to change you, so don’t try to change me. Capiche?
Oh yeah, lest not forget that I am Italian. So, believe me, you, I can show you “not nice” if you push me too far. Ask my family and a few coworkers. Lucky for you, I usually walk away from people verses show my anger especially when I hear smack talking about family, close friends of mine or me, or when dating situations fizzle out of nowhere. I also tend to clean when I’m angry. So, if my place is spotless, ask me how I am. Just don’t interrupt me when I'm feverishly sweeping or mopping the floor. Run! Don’t judge. It’s an easier coping mechanism than throwing my hands all over the place and venting (again, I am Italian, remember).
I already had one foot out the door on these apps, but that conversation sealed the deal and led me to write this post. What I found was a profound shift in how I see myself and treat myself. In turn how I want someone else to treat me.
So, here are four benefits I’ve found when giving myself a much-needed break from tindering and bumbling:
- Taking the pressure off– I felt a sense of relief when I clicked “delete account” as if a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. No more energy exerted into browsing/swiping profiles like it was a second job. No more figuring out who should make the initial contact. No more having to keep dating prospects profiles, stories, and conversations straight. No more wondering where I fit into his dating queue, how I ranked, and how many other women were wondering the same thing. I will no longer subject myself to cat fishing or fake profiles, married men disguising themselves as singles, traveling salesmen who were in town for a few days, men who are not ready to date, or the eternal bachelor. Got to hand it to the bachelors. They are fun, just not long term. Or at least not yet. There was no longer a need for me to rethink text responses, when to respond, analyzing their responses, and crafting flirty, witty responses to make an impression. I no longer had to think about being sized up against my photos or a stranger making wrong assumptions about me. No more pressure regarding defining his level of interest. No more wondering if a date two was in our future or if I was just one of many he swiped to the right. I look forward to an organic process instead of reading another profile and viewing another bathroom selfie
- Focus better – I notice about myself, that when I met a man online, I was cautious at first. Once it appeared to be mutual and could potentially lead to something, whatever that something may be, I was easily swept up. Especially when he talked about a future, alluded to me being his girlfriend or made grand gestures like planning a trip for two, etc. It’s easy to fall into that and even more so to want to believe it. Hey! Look over here at this shiny new thing, want it? Who would say no? Cut to the scene where cracks in the foundation start, doubts start to emerge, or you sense something shifted, and distractions come into play. Even when you first meet someone, this can occur. You are secure and know who you are but darn it, the guy got under your skin. You like him; you enjoy his company and want to see where it goes. You start checking your phone for his text messages. Maybe he is not as responsive, so you start doubting yourself. Maybe things progressed too far too fast, and now it’s a big, fat question. You may overlook or ignore red flags because your focus is blurry. Your mind becomes preoccupied. Even when you try to meditate, he tends to cloud your thoughts. Once I took a break, it all went away. I was able to clearly focus on me, my work, causes I'm passionate about, my workouts, writing, shoe shopping, and friends & family.
- Taking the “what ifs” out of the equation – No more questioning why certain situations didn’t turn out the way I hoped when they seemed ideal at the start. What if I was more busy, what if I didn’t cave in, what if I played harder to get, what if I said this, did that, acted this way or that way? “What if “can suck it! Be yourself. That’s all you can be. Don’t put on an act or try to change your behavior to suit someone else’s needs. Do be courteous and self-aware. Maybe change certain behaviors of your own if you are constantly questioning yourself and your dating experiences. Don’t bring up your past baggage on date one, talk about your ex or worse compare him to your ex. That’s basic stuff. There are no “what ifs” if it did not work out. It just didn’t. Move on. The only "what if " that should matter is, what if I meet someone else who is better suited to me? You may need a break like me, and that’s okay. Maybe stop letting societal pressures or someone else dictate how you feel or what your expectations should be.
- Focus on bettering yourself for you and no one else– Meditate, take that yoga class and that photography class you put off. Go to that seminar. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Throw yourself into work but make sure you maintain a work/life balance. Change your diet. Workout a little harder. Pamper yourself by getting a massage or a facial. Go ahead and get that new haircut or hair color (or both) you saw in the magazine. Take a weekend trip with some girlfriends; plan a fun outing or night in with your friends. Sleep! Read that book. Travel. Let me share a little secret with you; when you feel good about yourself, good things tend to happen. It's also contagious to those around you and flows over into your daily routine. You can do many things you love and still hold onto your identity. It doesn't matter if you are single or coupled. The point is, take care of you, enjoy your life and see what unfolds.
As for me, I am enjoying this much needed and deserved break from the world of dating apps. I'm focusing less on the dating and more on living. Who knows? Maybe I'll meet someone in a real, nonvirtual way doing things I enjoy.
Keep your chin up and don't forget to love yourself!