I Took Risks in My Love Life For One Week & Here’s What Happened

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The world of dating is still unfamiliar to me, even at the age of 22. Sure, I’ve had my share of memorable nights, a few months of dating the same person, and even unexpected dates, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a serious relationship. Maybe it’s because of the hook-up culture we live in, but something told me I’ve been holding myself back on purpose.

I talk about wanting someone new, something exciting, but I rarely put myself out there when it comes to dating to let this happen. That’s why I willingly pushed myself out of my comfort zone for this week. I wanted to test my limits and see what would happen if I embraced a new outlook on both dating and my sexuality. As Barney Stinson would say, Challenge Accepted. Needless to say, I surprised myself in many ways and genuinely enjoyed taking these risks. I’ve decided to share a few of my favorite experiences from this week with hopes of inspiring other independent women to live on the edge a little more.

I started to use Tinder

I’ve never been one to support the concept of Tinder. Blame it on the hopeless romantic in me, but the idea of meeting someone over an app is far from appealing. So, of course, I had to try it out for the sake of this week.

Getting the app was easy, but making my profile and choosing pictures was not. I kept asking my friends, “What should my bio say?” “Is this a good first photo?” Clearly very insecure about what my fellow Tinder users would think of me. The first night I used the app, I hated it. Swiping through a bunch of randos, clicking on someone only when I found them attractive, and the worst part, seeing people from my college pop up. I felt embarrassed about having a Tinder account, as if my love life had come to this point.

Despite my own personal bias, I made an effort to truly embrace the app. I started matching with more people and even talking to some. Many of the conversations lead to nothing, which makes sense considering we probably matched based on physical interest alone. I matched with athletes whose bios consisted of their impressive height and a picture of them in their sport’s jersey. I talked to fellow Mainers, learning their favorite bars to visit and being able to relate based on our love for country music. And, as expected, there were those overly confident guys who messaged me instantly, “Hey, your hot. What r u doing tonight?” First of all, great grammar! Secondly, I’m not doing you, but thanks!

Despite my many mixed emotions throughout the week, I can see why people find Tinder to be fun. It was a slight confidence booster to match with those I found attractive and I never failed to crack a smile when someone “super-liked” me. Hell, I even have a date to look forward to in the upcoming week because of Tinder, but we’ll see how that goes. I may not judge Tinder users as harshly anymore but it’s still not for me. I’ll stick to waiting for my fairytale romance to sweep me off my feet.

I gave my crush my number

My crush is someone I had a great night with at the end of last semester. We hadn’t known each other too well before that night but we always exchanged curious smiles and the occasional hello. Janis Ian would have definitely labeled him as a “regulation hottie.” I’ve wondered if the timing were right, and the separation during summer wasn’t a factor, would we have turned into something more?  

In the spirit of this week, I decided to reach out and give him my number. No, he didn’t ask for it, which may have been my first mistake, but I figured, why not? Being the millennial I am, I messaged him online and basically said, “Hey, I know I don’t see you around too often anymore but if you ever want to hangout here’s my number…” Short and sweet, my honest attempt to sound nonchalant yet interested. It took me forever to send this message, knowing he rarely checks his social media. I anticipated the waiting game, which isn’t for me.

I saw him on campus the next day, knowing he hadn’t read my message yet, I grew anxious. He smiled at me as he was about to walk by. Surprising myself, “Wait” I said as I touched his arm, “I messaged you on Facebook and I just wanted to tell you before you saw it.” He smiled and said, “Yeah, I don’t check Facebook often, but I’ll look and reply.” It sounded promising enough.

Not even an hour later he answered, “I don’t really go out anymore but if I do I’ll hit u up.” Romantic, right? Sure, I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to hear back, but that wasn’t it. Taking a moment to process the response, I found myself smirking. I no longer have to wonder “what if” about him, the question that haunts us all. Yes, it sucked not hearing what I wanted but then again I didn’t really know what I was going for. And maybe that’s my own fault. Maybe next time I’m interested in someone I’ll ask them out, being completely straightforward. At this point, why not?

I bought an attractive stranger a drink

I’ve seen this done in movies. The confident woman buys an attractive guy a drink, turning the tables on the standards of dating. I had to see for myself how this scenario would play out in real life. Naturally, I chose Thirsty Thursday to make my move. Sitting at a table with a few of my girlfriends, I scanned the bar for a potential prospect. This part of my night was funny, somewhat stressful, but overall entertaining knowing the power was in my hands.

As I was scanning the nearby tables, a tall blonde guy walked out of the bathroom and past my table. We locked eyes and he smiled ever so subtly. Without hesitation, I whispered to my friends, “I choose him.” I watched where he went to sit - a table with another guy and three girls. Crossing my fingers none of those ladies were his girlfriend, I asked my server to find out what he was drinking and buy him his next round. Apparently, his drink of choice was a watermelon margarita, go figure.

Margarita in hand, I watched my server walk over to his table and place it down. His friends began to laugh and his face lit up when she said “the girl in a pink sweater bought this for you.” His reaction was everything I could have hoped for. I mean who wouldn’t be grinning over a free marg? Funnily enough, a server came over to me a few minutes later and handed me a black business card. It belonged to watermelon margarita guy. I was caught off guard but loving every second of this little charade. Soon enough he came over to the table to thank me for buying him a drink and introduce himself. The conversation was casual, I could tell he was nervous too. In his very distinct Boston accent, he ended the conversation by telling me I should text him. Mission accomplished.

I miss hearing stories about people meeting in person and going on incredible dates. And here I was, trying to make it happen for myself. No, I never ended up texting him, but his little black business card will be a reminder that even the smallest rewards can come from simply putting yourself out there.

I reconnected with my ex

An ex is usually out of your life for a reason. Maybe they no longer made sense in your life or maybe it wasn’t your choice to end it. Either way, it’s rare that people can truly just be friends with an ex. I completely understand this and believe it’s important to give yourself room to grow apart, but I’ve always wondered, is there ever an appropriate time to reconnect?

My relationship with my ex was very unique. For one, we kept our love a secret, which obviously resulted in a lot of problems. My ex’s family didn’t approve of our relationship when they found out, putting even more of a strain on us. Imagine being in love for the first time but not being able to tell your loved ones about it? This wasn’t because I didn’t have supportive people in my life, but rather I wasn’t accepting of myself at the time. It still breaks my heart to think I ever went through that, but in a way I’m thankful for learning my own strength.

And now here I am, years later, completely ignorant about what’s going on in my ex’s life. We’ve managed to stay in touch here and there, after months of disconnecting completely. There needs to be a definite amount of time where you let yourself heal before you allow your ex back into your life. Being a completely different person today, I’ve wondered how we would connect and, more importantly, if they’ve changed at all.

It’s always a slippery slope talking to an ex, especially if the love felt unfinished when the relationship came to an end. I tend to be reserved when it comes to reconnecting with my ex, scared to fall for them again. I did it though, I reached out and let my guard down. This resulted in genuine conversation, a few exchanges of memories, and a comfort I didn’t realize I missed. It’s funny, as much as we’ve both changed and lived separate lives, talking again felt just like old times.

I’d say never reach out to an ex unless you know your intentions. If you aren’t strong enough to possibly be let down, don’t waste your time. If you’re not independent enough to be happily single, don’t risk all the progress you’ve made. Reaching out made me realize I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. That’s the beauty of moving on, realizing life has so much more to offer you, if you’re willing to let it.

I told everyone the truth about being bisexual  

If you know me at all, would you expect my official coming-out to be anything less than writing about it for a national article? Didn’t think so. Many of my loved ones and close friends have known this about me for quite some time now, but it’s taken me a long time to fully accept myself. I would always get envious of others who were comfortable with their sexuality, openly talking about it and dating as they pleased. They made it seem so easy and I never understood how, until recently.

The support I’ve received, from each new person I’ve told, has given me the strength to love myself for all that I am. My best friends and my mom have given me the consistent love and patience I’ve needed to embrace myself over the years. They were there for me when my first relationship with a girl ended in unbearable heartbreak (yes, that’s the ex I was talking about) and they have continued to be there for me each day since. It has been a long journey, one that I know is only just beginning, but I am finally excited to see what it has to offer.

For those of you who are just finding this out, congrats! You officially know the real me! I’m still the same passionate, feisty, strong-minded woman my parents raised me to be but now I’m unapologetically myself. Writing about this publicly is scary, because there’s no way to hide anymore, but why would I want to? Embracing my authentic self is something I have strived for and it’s finally here. I’m bisexual and I am finally able to say it proudly.

Cheers to pushing boundaries and going beyond comfort zones. This week has been challenging, unexpected, but overall extremely rewarding. I am so thankful to be able to share my story on such a wonderful platform, and I will continue to keep living with a sense of adventure, in all aspects of my life. Taking risks is scary, but that’s what makes the outcomes worth it. Don’t limit yourself!

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About The Author

Autumn recently graduated from Emmanuel College in Boston with a BA in English/Communications. She is a young 'twentysomething' who lives vicariously through herself. Balance is the key to her existence. Sparkles, journaling and champagne instantly make her smile. Follow Autumn on Instagram (@aduslayy) or check out her blog (autumndube.com). Cheers!