Why Dating And I Aren’t Together Anymore
The title of this article is a bit misleading, I suppose. I’m still attempting to date, technically, because I want someone to hold my hand and tell me I’m pretty and challenge me intellectually and be amazing in bed and wake up next to me and get me doughnuts… and unfortunately, you can’t just wish that into your life. But getting to that point via dating is just awful.
My long-distance boyfriend dumped me in late April, over text message. It hurt really badly. In a long-distance relationship, there is an extra amount of work required because you can’t tangibly have a partner as often as you’d like, so I was pretty invested. It also sucked because, prior to meeting him, I was single and not really mingling for nearly three years. He was the first person I was sincerely attracted to in a longer-term sense. I was pretty crushed for a while, but because I’d been single for so long before, I grew a lot and I was able to bounce back much easier than younger Dana would have. I knew that what I was facing outside of this relationship wasn’t as scary or lonely as it seemed. As such, I threw myself into work (I was hired at my dream company), friends (made a ton of new ones this summer) and, now, dating.
Dating is difficult enough, but I suffer from social anxiety that manifests itself as an upset stomach (and all the consequences of that), and it’s usually severe enough to prevent me from wanting to go anywhere. Lately I’ve been trying to force myself past that, because even though I need alone time, I did nothing for my loneliness by not meeting people and cultivating the friendships I already had. Thanks to my efforts and my wonderful friends, I’m at a point where I’m fairly happy and comfortable with my friendships – so now it is time to date again. I’m pushing onwards to the next love by trying to meet guys: I joined OKCupid.
OKCupid in NYC is a cesspool of hotties with that little red light next to them that means “replies selectively.” I once read somewhere that dating in NYC is impossible, because everyone’s standards are so high and they’re always looking for the next best thing. There’s a good chance that if you know a couple in NYC, they met in college and/or moved to the city together. I’m a non-traditional student, so a lot of my colleagues on campus are younger than me. I have had poor experiences dating dudes younger than myself, so I gave up on that completely. And maybe it’s just me, but if you see a super attractive dude, there’s an extremely good chance that he’s already taken (and if he’s not, there’s probably an important reason).
For example, one time I was out with my friend when we encountered some men and ended up hanging out with them for the night. I was flirting pretty hard with this guy and he was so awesome – super hot, great job, smart, and best of all he seemed interested! We exchanged numbers, we made out a little, and I was stoked – I’d finally met someone awesome, who actually lived in the city, outside of OKCupid. We texted after I left and he asked me to dinner – success! The next morning, I woke up to five texts from him saying that he was actually interested in my friend and now he screwed up because he can’t be with either of us. I didn’t respond: just deleted his number, and immediately told all my friends about it. Bye, jerk.
The few OKCupid dates I’ve gone on have been rather flawed in one way or another. One guy was an anti-Semite making terrible blanket statements about Hasidic Jews an hour into the date. Another was attractive, but we had no chemistry whatsoever, and I got drunk and talked about the one time I hooked up with this guy I met on a message board. Good work, me! In addition, there have been people who look nothing like their photos, and guys who I thought were cool but they didn’t think I was cool so I never heard from them again.
All of this has provided me with a thick skin and the ability to say, “Onto the next one!” with sincere passion. The more people I meet, the more I understand my peccadilloes and my desires. It gives me reason to not settle, to move forward and discover someone closer to who I want as a partner. It also offers me some really good stories. But it’s also so tiring meeting one man after another and wondering where this will go, or if it will go, or what’s wrong with me that I can’t attract people?
The answer is that there is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with you if you are single. Being single is fucking awesome. You get to go out where you want when you want and talk to any hottie you want. You don’t have to worry about checking in with someone; you don’t have to wonder what they’re doing when they’re not with you. There’s no sense of obligation outside of the typical ones involving school or work, and your days off are all yours to do as you see fit. When an extremely attractive person comes in to your work and chats with you, you are able to blush and giggle and smile and feel those butterflies guilt-free.
And hell, you are free to date – or not! Dating sucks, and everyone knows it. But when you date, you learn so much from it. I have learned to spot red flags really quickly and what I expect in a relationship from the other person. I have learned my turn-ons and how to express myself clearly to someone I care for. I’ve also learned that I’m cool with being alone for now. Eventually something will come along, and even if it doesn’t soon, I’ll be okay with it.
Reader submission by Dana Melanz