Re-Entering the Dating World

The last and only time I was in a relationship was over four years ago with my high school boyfriend. I dated him for a couple of months, and nothing has happened since. I know some people will want to ask whether the lack of dating since then was by choice, but it just kind of…happened?

I’m sure that part of the reason for this dating dry spell is because I’ve tended to be more on the quiet side for the majority of my life. Then again, I could not be any prouder of myself for trying to come out of my shell and put myself out there. By joining clubs, forcing myself to initiate small talk, and pushing my introverted limits in general, I’ve definitely made an effort to make my presence known. College is becoming a time of growth and getting to know myself. I just haven’t clicked with anyone yet, and that’s totally fine.

Part of my attempt to reenter the dating world has been through dating apps, which, in short, were kind of a hot mess for me. All the more to you if you’ve had success (you go, girl!), but it just hasn’t been a fantastic experience for me yet. I had a Tinder account for approximately two weeks, last year, which resulted in me getting ghosted by a date I planned to meet in person, as well as some awkward messaging with a guy that turned out to be my TA, the following semester. Yikes.

The antics resumed, this past week, when I took to OKCupid for a whopping total of six days. If the short lifespan of that venture doesn’t give you an idea of how it all went, it resulted in a face-to-face date who was ready to jump into a serious relationship with all engines firing, another unnecessary ghosting by someone I was actually sort of interested in (you could’ve just said you weren’t into it, dude) and one guy getting absolutely triggered when I wasn’t immediately enamored with him. Once again, yikes.

All online dating chaos aside, I’m realizing this is just going to take patience. Following a mini personal crisis (I seem to have a lot of those) and some rockin’ advice from my awesome mom, I’ve decided that I’ve just got to commit to loving myself first and foremost. I know it sounds cliché, but how could it possibly hurt? Get some exercise, dress up nice, put on your favorite lipstick and show yourself some love in whatever way you feel is best. Seems like a solid plan of action and one I need to actually follow for once.

I am an independent person, and I don't need another person to validate my worth. Neither do you, for that matter. But I would be lying to myself if I said I didn’t want some company, now and then, a desire that doesn’t make me any weaker or less independent…it just makes me human. I’ve always imagined my life including romantic relationships, and eventually, the traditional marriage and kids thing, and while I know that life doesn’t always go as planned, it can be kind of frustrating when something you were hoping to have is nowhere in sight.

I guess we just have to hang in there. Dating has always been tricky, and it seems even more so, these days, with the hookup culture on college campuses. There is no shame in wanting to hookup, of course, but there is also no shame in not wanting to do so. I’m fully aware that not everyone participates in it, but it can be a little disheartening to feel like you’re the odd one out.

By all means, don’t abandon your standards, and don’t lose hope. I truly do believe that there are people out there for everyone, and there’s no set time frame for when relationships should or will happen. Just love yourself, make yourself known and live your life. Maybe there’s something in store for us that we just haven’t found yet.