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How can I be happy being single?

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  • #358321
    Kimberly
    Participant

    Hi,

    I’m 26 and I’ve never had a boyfriend (the only guy I’ve dated “seriously” didn’t want to be my boyfriend, and it only lasted a few months). I recently got my own apartment and am at a good place in my career. I’m very independent and enjoy my own company, but I also would love to share my life with someone. I’ve been single for so long and have also been going to therapy to work on myself as well. I feel in a good place to be in a relationship and experience love. I think I would make a great partner.

    I’m an introvert so I use dating apps to meet people, but every time I go on a date I get excited and then feel anxious and sad after the date. I’ve been on tons of first dates (and second dates), but they never go anywhere. I either don’t like the person, or the person doesn’t like me back even when I felt like the date went well. It makes me feel like I will never meet someone, and it’s emotionally draining to feel hopeful and then let down on each date. I know that my worth is not defined by my relationship status, but it does make me feel like there’s something wrong with me when the person doesn’t like me back, especially since it’s been a pattern.

    It’s also especially hard because all of my friends are in relationships so I feel they don’t truly understand how I’m feeling. Having friends in relationships also makes me feel especially alone because they always have a person to talk to and be with and I don’t. I know a lot of people say “you’ll meet someone when you’re not looking,” but if you’re not looking then I feel like I definitely won’t meet someone, which is why I use dating apps.

    I guess I have a few questions. How can I be content being single? And by that I mean how can I get in the mindset of being happy as a single person, especially when my friends are in happy relationships? How do I break out of the mindset/fear that I will alone forever? How do I prevent my failed dates from making me feel depressed? Do you think it’s still worth dating?

    I appreciate your insights.

    Kimberly

     

     

    #358392
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kimberely:

    I will attempt to answer two of your questions for now, and I hope that you let me know what you think of it, and if you do, we can communicate further:

    “How do I prevent my failed dates from making me feel depressed? Do you think it’s still worth dating?”- here is my suggestion: instead of diving into mini-relationships (online communication, maybe on the phone as well,  followed by one or two dates), look at your dating app activity as interviewing men for the position of being your boyfriend.

    Think of all the men on the app as potential boyfriends, and start the process of eliminating possibilities based on the information they share on the app. Communicate with a number of men online, continue to eliminate, then start meeting a few, one at a time of course, in a coffee shop during the day, socially distanced of course, the two of you learning about each other during a meeting in-person.

    This way your dating app activity will be a learning experience for you, instead of mini-relationship that involve hope and then disappointment, over and over again. I think that it will be worth it for you to date with the change of mindset that I am suggesting, if you are willing and able to adapt such a mindset.

    anita

    #358385
    ao3rz
    Participant

    hey there kimberly,

    You can try something new. Like get a new hobby. Choose something you like or do something you’ve never done. Invest in your own mental wellbeing.

    Instead of going on dates via dating apps, maybe try to meet people with similar interest.

    Good luck!

     

    #358409
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi Kimberly!

    I’m 28 and in the same boat. Dating apps have definitely led to “dates” but they also leave me feeling sad and anxious, like “finding a boyfriend” is a job I have to do. Societal and friend pressure is also tough. Sometimes the friendly suggestions to come to a party and “maybe meet someone” are annoying and make you feel worse, you know? Like you’re not enough just as you a

    I think it’s hard for guys too. I mean I know they are into getting laid a lot of the time but I think the idea of a big “R” relationship freaks people out so it’s hard to find guys who will “go slowly” (i.e. not rush into sex and then flake).

    I want a boyfriend too. But not just as a guy to have around, I want to meet a human being who likes spending time with me like i do them, and who values my company, respects me, yadda yadda. Just like how I choose my friends but… more.

    Like ao3rz suggested, I’m going to try and meet people with whom I have things in common at places I go to, or whatever (whenever life resumes its normal pace…).

    I think dating apps work if you’re not too seriously looking. The one couple I know who are married and met on Tinder were mainly on there looking for casual stuff and happened to match (after many other dates) and there was a spark. It’s a numbers game. Unfortunately, and this might be more based on where you are living (I’m in a big city with a lot of transient students), there’s also a lot of guys on there just looking for a quick hookup—but they might not say as much and charm you till you think you’re in love and then… vanish (I speak from experience). Anyway, you kind of have to guard your heart against these people. It takes time and work but I think it’s worth it. Even if you don’t meet “The One” you do meet a lot of people which can be cool.

    In terms of being content being single… well… I have my good days and bad days. I mean I’ve had many a night where I cry myself to sleep about this, lol. Remember that all your friends’ relationships aren’t perfect all the time. Try practising mindfulness, focus on the moment instead of letting your mind race. List all the cool and amazing things you can do, you are doing as a single woman.

    And don’t let it get too much attention in your brain, if that makes sense. I found that all my intense feeling around getting a boyfriend clouded my judgment, or made me a little too-willing to overlook major red flags with the guy I dated.

    — LW

    #358465
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Kimberly,

    Try older guys. The ones solidly in their thirties have had their hookups and are looking for the big “R”, if not the big “M”. They are less likely to play games (they’ve won and lost them all) and know how to treat people.

    This is a little evil of me, but I would keep one guy around as “The Maintenance Man” so you won’t be tempted to fall for a casual hookup (you’re getting that at home!). And another guy around who pines for you and adores you that you keep as “just a friend” (for your self esteem level.)

    I would also acquire a new sporty hobby (other people) and go on a new dating app (one has got to be different!).

    Best,

    Inky

    #358607
    Kiawaki
    Participant

    Hi Kimberely,

    I’m also very much an introvert, have been alone till the age of 26 and would probably have been alone for much longer if not for a chance encounter. So I believe I can relate at least somewhat. Here are some thoughts:

    Dating apps, even if popular now, tend to attract all kinds of sociopaths and shallow people in much greater numbers than in normal population. Besides, people on dating apps, especially the type of men who just want to get laid, tend to get used to perceive others as merchandise. I would sincerely advise to go out and practice being more social, learning social skills (I know I lacked those, and learning to feel comfortable with meeting people means a lot for one’s confidence, too) so that you can meet people in healthier environment. That way you can also make friends, not only seek a bf. How about groups and clubs that share your interests? Sports, dancing, volunteering, whatever? Healthy interest and affection rarely starts at a first glance, but when people have a chance to meet each other repeatedly and know each other better.

    Imagine to take a look at yourself from the outside. Is there something other people might perceive as off-putting if they only look at you shallowly? Do you by chance appear shy – which many might confuse with disinterest or arrogance – or too serious, or worried, or having low self-esteem, or desperate? These are not faults, but recognizing how we can improve the first impression we give can help.
    Sometimes you can’t help people being shallow and not liking anybody who is not superficially fun, and that’s fine, a good way to filter them out. I also imagine that many men, especially men on dating apps, judge women based on how ready they seem to have sex quickly, and drop them if they don’t seem easy. The problem is them, not you, and it’s a good thing not to end up with one of those, but it might feel like you are the problem if it happens so often (and with dating apps, it will).

    Last but not least, to feel good in your solo time, treat yourself with love. Train yourself to be gentle, understanding, compassionate with yourself – anything you wish from a friend or a partner. Comfort yourself when you feel rejected. Encourage yourself as a friend would do. Making it a habit to live that way all the time can make great difference in your life generally.

    #358622
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hijacking thread to say AMEN, @kiawaki!!
    “I also imagine that many men, especially men on dating apps, judge women based on how ready they seem to have sex quickly, and drop them if they don’t seem easy. The problem is them, not you, and it’s a good thing not to end up with one of those, but it might feel like you are the problem if it happens so often (and with dating apps, it will). ”

    This is a very true, yet sad, fact. But what we have to remember, is not to begin any in-fighting with women who do enjoy the casual hookup culture.

    LW

    #358641
    Kiawaki
    Participant

    Of course, I have no problem with women who want casual sex if that’s what they truly desire. It’s often men who are trained to both seek them out and disrespect them. (I might have read some “meninist” forums here and there, when I felt my stomach could handle it for a time.)

    #358773
    Austin
    Participant

    Hi Kimberly,

     

    Your post resonated with me. I was in a very similar situation to yours about 2 years ago. I had gotten out of a relationship that brought stress and pain to my life and had started to focus on my physical and mental health and I wasn’t looking for a relationship for awhile. About 6 months later though I realized that I wanted to share something with somebody, very similar to how I am sure you are feeling now.

    This is my first post on Tiny Buddha but I am sure that the community, and maybe even yourself, are familiar with the Law of Attraction. One of the basics of this is that what we wish to be… we become, but that which we fear not having will attract the same, the lack of that thing that we wish.

    I’m an introvert so I use dating apps to meet people, but every time I go on a date I get excited and then feel anxious and sad after the date.

    When you mentioned this it crossed my mind that this could be the problem that you are experiencing. Dating is difficult in some ways but also very simple when you realize this one thing… People want to be with the people that act / seem like they don’t need them. Isn’t that crazy? The girl at the bar who’s not looking for attention usually receives all of it. The confident guy who doesn’t need anybody has girls constantly hitting him up. When I realized this, I’m not even kidding, I met the girl I am currently very happy with only a few months later.

    It’s about learning to detach your emotions from the outcome of that interaction, the outcome of that text or that date. Talk to them like nothing is at stake. Soon you will start to feel like nothing is, that every missed interaction is not the love of your life slipping away. When you do this – I promise – you will start to find that which you are looking for but have detached from the need to have.

    Best of luck and I wish you all the best in the world as you navigate this part of your life.

    -Austin

    #358799
    Machele
    Participant

    Hi Kimberly,

    I can totally help you out here. I’m a life coach and have dealt with this many times with my clients and this is my advice to you.

    1) It makes me feel like I will never meet someone, and it’s emotionally draining to feel hopeful and then let down on each date. What if you didn’t have so many expectations for the first or second dates? What if you looked at it as if you were willing to go on 100 dates until you meet the person you will marry? Then, if it doesn’t work out, look at it like “Well. One step closer to meeting the one.” instead of “ugh. this was awful, I’m never going to find anyone, it’s so exhausting.” Try to get to neutral when it doesn’t go well. “It’s totally fine that the date didn’t go well. Most won’t, and I only need to find one good one.”

    2) In regards to being happy being single.

    – Remind yourself that life isn’t perfect in a relationship. AT ALL. It’s all 50% good and 50% negative. For example, being single. Pro’s: do whatever you want whenever you want, don’t really have to shave your legs lol, you get to go and do exciting things and have adventures, you can watch whatever you want to watch on television. It’s adventurous and exciting. Dating is fun if you can let the attachment to the outcome go and just play around with it. The downside in relationships is that life can be boring, you don’t have as much downtime, you have to meet in the middle, you have to hang out with in-laws lol, you will argue and disagree, you can’t be as spontaneous. I’m sure you know plenty of people in relationships that are MISERABLE. There’s good and bad to both. Focus on the good that comes with singledom. Embrace, love it, and appreciate it.

    I hope this is helpful. Love the journey and take advantage of being single now so that when you’re in a relationship, you can look back to this phase of your life and know that you made the most of it. 🙂

    Best,
    Machele

    #360104
    Kimberly
    Participant

    Thank you for all of your thoughtful replies! It’s helpful to hear that others have been through the same thing, and I appreciate the reminders about the benefits of being single/how to change my mindset.

    #360166
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Kimberly. Post again anytime.

    anita

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