Over a year into the pandemic, a lot has changed about how I (and I think, the world) approaches dating – I kind of don’t want to approach it at all anymore. Anyone else?
In all seriousness, the past year has forced me personally to face the world pretty much alone – there obviously wasn’t a lot of opportunity to hook up with people, meet people etc. – even if you were to meet people, there’s the added layer of figuring out someone’s preferences with masks, social distancing, etc. – not that it’s not worth it, but it definitely makes it a lot harder. And for someone who’s had a lot more negative dating experiences than positive, the risk honestly made me even more wary of dating.
Since being in quarantine and just away from people physically in general, I’ve personally had a lot of time to get to know myself and just kind of patiently learn more about myself, and you know what? She’s cool, I like her a lot.
I was a serial dater in high school, and after a great relationship of over a year came to an end my sophomore year (people do grow apart!), I was suddenly in the unknown territory of being alone. A few more mistakes later and the pandemic hit, and suddenly, I was really alone. At least, in a way that I honestly wasn’t quite used to.
And I kind of really love it. I get to do whatever I want, I never have to worry about anyone else, I get to explore anything and everything I’ve always wanted to dig into, and I’ve reignited a lot of my passions. I don’t honestly think there’s room for a relationship of any kind in my life anymore.
There’s so much that I want to do and accomplish, and I’m absolutely not trying to say that you can’t do those things with a partner. But for me, the idea of taking so much time getting to know someone, being vulnerable, compromising on everything and giving up time only for someone to maybe be a good fit for me and possibly end up being someone I date is just a huge investment that I don’t care to indulge in anymore.
Please don’t think I hate relationships – I don’t, I think they’re fantastic if you find the person you click with and I do miss it sometimes. But being alone and hanging out with myself has given me a much different perspective in what I want and what I’m looking for right now especially. But hey, who am I to say no if my soulmate falls out of the sky either right?
There’s so much left out there that I want to do, I’ve barely even scratched the surface. I know what it’s like to plan a future with someone, but with the uncertainties that the past year has brought, I don’t even know what my future holds, let alone trying to factor someone else into the equation.
I think it’s a very stupid cliché to say that you need to love yourself before someone else can love you; if anything, it should be that you should know yourself, your boundaries, and what you want, before putting another person into the mix. That’s my style or approach when it comes to dating at least.
But now? I paint. I spend much less time on my phone. I read more. I take walks. I go to therapy. I feel like I’m really starting to figure out who I am and what I want, minus any influence of others. And it’s funny, because I thought I’d always known, and here I am a year into this absolute mess of what life is now and I’ve realized I had no idea all along.
It wasn’t just the quarantining and the pandemic that forced me to confront this reality, but overall the entire past year or so has made me really not want to bother being in a relationship anymore. I know how beautiful and amazing it can be, really, but I also am really enjoying riding this wave of independence, and maybe a little selfishness too.
So for now, and maybe forever, I think I’m just going to date myself. I would love to get to know her more, and really figure her out. It’s a good time, and not nearly as stressful and trying to get into to someone else’s head and figure out why they’re not texting you back or whatever else my mind had always been consumed with instead of myself.
Maybe it’s just me – I’m cool with that, but I’m curious. I’m curious to see how much dating has changed when we get “back to reality” (whatever that means), because I’m sure it will in some ways. I’m absolutely not trying to tell you how to live your life, or if you should or shouldn’t date. But I will say, getting to know myself in this unique way has given me a much different perspective on, well, honestly everything. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.