Dating After a Long-Term Relationship

I was in a relationship for two and a half years—the only relationship I’ve ever really been in. We met in high school and we dated throughout most of it. It wasn’t until I moved away for school that I realized I wasn’t very happy in the relationship. We had some issues, that’s for sure (the man never did anything for me for our anniversaries), and slowly but surely, the relationship fell apart. I broke things off with him back in August, and have been very happily single since then, but I have started to date and see new people, and, man, is it more difficult than I anticipated.

Back in September, I decided that I wanted to try Tinder. I had never done anything like it before and figured that nothing too bad could happen. It felt so weird to talk to other guys and flirt with them, especially multiple at once. I was new to the dating scene, so flirting with more than one guy was overwhelming. I felt too bad to stop responding to people and found myself treating it like a chore. I eventually started to just focus on a few guys who seemed nice, but it still felt odd. Talking to multiple people made me very aware that they were as well, which made me fall into thoughts that there is no way that I’m the best one that they are talking to. But isn’t this what everyone does? Just date around? And wasn’t this what I had been looking forward to?

 

 

I went on a few dates with some guys, which went about as well as you would expect. I hadn’t gone on a first date in years and had no clue just how awkward I would be. Selling yourself is never not odd and uncomfortable. Eventually, I started talking to a guy who I had great conversations with. With him, things felt more natural. When he asked me on a date, I was excited rather than a bundle of nerves. The first date went really well and we started talking regularly. I eventually deleted my Tinder and started only talking to him. Our dates were fun and we would stay up till 3 a.m. together just talking. I got attached too quickly and found myself falling for him fast, which was scary. We were only casually dating and I was acting like he was my soon-to-be boyfriend.

I don’t know if it was because he wasn’t my ex and he was giving me attention, or because I was so new to everything in the casual dating world, but I set myself up for a disaster. He eventually asked to be friends, told me that I wasn’t confident enough, and made me feel like shit. It was the strangest thing: it hurt more being cut off by him than leaving my ex. This was not how I expected my fun single time to go. It took me some time to really come to terms with what happened and be ready to try dating again.

 

 

I’m doing things differently this time—namely staying away from dating apps, but also taking my time to really get to know someone. The dating scene is complicated and scary. It isn’t easy and it can be hard to know if you can really trust people. And when you’ve only ever known a long-term committed relationship, switching to casual dating is odd. I didn’t know how uncomfortable it would make me and really how gullible I would end up being. But it isn’t all bad. Dating again taught me some interesting things about myself and what I want from a relationship. And dating really is fun! Getting to know new people and exploring what you like is something we should all do. I’m excited to see what other adventures the world of dating has for me.