Here’s What Happened When I Started Dating Myself

At the start of the pandemic, I was a senior in college and newly single. I used the initial months of lockdown to focus on graduating, moving into my first apartment, and beginning my career as a new nurse. Because I was practicing social distancing and living alone, this meant that I was quarantining by myself. I never reached a point in which I struggled with my mental health or in which I neglected self-care, but even then, I began to realize that my life felt quite monotonous. Although I was spending all of my time by myself, I didn’t feel like myself at all. In losing so much of my everyday routine, I lost sight of who I was outside of it, too.

Being alone grew to be even more challenging once school ended. I had plenty of free time, but I was unsure as to how I wanted to spend it. I knew that the pandemic would eventually be over, but that my role as an undergraduate student was officially complete. With my previous clubs and classes gone, it was now up to me to decide how I wanted to spend my time. I felt rather small and insignificant as I was isolated from both the external world and the identity I once held in it.  heart shaped neon sign Photo by Designecologist Being in lockdown ended out being an excellent opportunity for me to learn more about both myself and what I want from life. In order to keep things exciting and to help me get to know myself better, I came up with the idea of taking myself on a date once a week.

You might be wondering what that even means.

At the start of each week, I sit down and schedule a special activity for myself. Some weeks, my date has been something small, like going for a walk to buy my favorite latte or spending an evening painting. In other weeks, it has been something more time-consuming or a larger financial investment. One week I tried a tai chi class. Another week, I got a facial. Because I’m still social distancing, most of the time I don’t even leave my apartment to take myself on these weekly dates. The important thing is that I go out of my way to treating myself and that I follow through with my commitments.

Journal opened to September Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash As an extrovert, I get my energy from being around other people and in being in new environments. These weekly dates have helped me break the monotony of my daily routine and introduced me to new activities. This has been especially important during the pandemic as I’m not leaving the house or traveling as much as I’d prefer.

I've also grown to realize that throughout college, I relied heavily on external sources for measuring my own worthiness. In between boyfriends, I remained single for only a few months at a time and spent most of them talking to various potential suitors. Getting asked out on dates and receiving compliments from these men made me feel worthy of being loved. In reality, I've always been (and always will be) deserving of both being and feeling loved. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to make sure that I feel loved at all stages of life — regardless of my relationship status. 

Related: 7 Signs You’re Just Not Ready to Start Dating Again

Without even telling people in my life what I was doing, I found that once I started dating myself, people began telling me how much more attractive I was. I started posting more over social media. Over time, my social media accounts have become less about me sharing what I'm doing, and more about me expressing what I stand for in life. A lot of the time, what I post directly correlates with the activities I’ve done on my weekly dates or lessons I’ve learned from them.

woman practicing yoga and meditating Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels My weekly dates have given me permission to invest in the things that I value, regardless of the value society places on them. For example, a $60 massage is more meaningful to me than a pair of $60 boots. I’d rather buy an expensive organic smoothie than spend the night at a bar downtown. By investing my time, money, and energy into things that are meaningful to me, I’ve grown closer to people who share similar values and passions. Several men have recently approached saying they're interested in dating. Not because of my appearance, per se, but because they’re interested in the person I am. Being more authentic in what I communicate with the world has allowed me to live in fuller alignment with myself, and alignment brings attraction.

In the past month, I’ve stepped back into the world of dating. I continue to take myself on a date once a week as well. Spending this time with myself has become a non-negotiable that I don’t want to let go of. If anything, self dating has made me a better partner. Having a stronger sense of what I love and stand for in life has made me more resilient and authentic in the way I show up in the world. Self-love is always attractive — regardless of our relationship status.