I Can't Date Anymore. Can I Still Be Happy?

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    Hi all,

    Long time listener, first time caller.

    After having been in a committed relationship nearing four years that ended early this year, I made the decision a few months ago to date again. I’m a guy, 37, never married, no kids. Suffice it to say the prospect of this scared the **** out of me.

    Long story short, after around 40 something dates (including second and third dates, etc), all of which came from a couple of very popular dating websites, I’ve sort of realized that I just can’t emotionally handle it anymore. Specifically, I’m talking about repeatedly opening myself up when getting to know someone and constantly being let down, lied to, taken advantage of, etc. I feel like an onion that’s had all of its layers stripped away. Not only has this impacted my social self confidence, I feel like I’ve sort of lost myself in this whole process.

    So here’s my question: Are there others out there than can identify with what I’m saying who, at some point, said “F this, I’m done with dating?” If so, how has your life been since making that decision?

    There are probably going to be some that read this and say don’t give up! While I appreciate the positivity, I don’t view it as giving up…I view it as making a conscious decision to not do something that by and large has only been a source of angst, heartache, and unhappiness. To me, the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.

    TL/DR; Can one find lasting happiness and contentment in life by essentially giving up on finding love?


    I I understand what your going through because I have recently gone through simiar experience of online dating and dealing with dissappointment after dissapointment when opening yourself emotionally, which I think comes from having expectation of putting your happiness in another person.

    To answer your question, I think you can find lasting happiness in your life if that is what you want and focus. Inner peace and happiness comes from working on the inner world and not outer world.

    Hope this makes sense and helps πŸ™‚


    Dear desolate:

    Maybe a different attitude and MO during the online based dating would have made a different experience for you. I think it can work out with an approach that will fit the nature on online dating. (will explore this with you if you were to be interested at any point).

    I understand you giving up on dating given the experience you had. Can you be happy, you asked. You are the only one that should answer this question. Again it will be about your attitude and the way you go about living without a girlfriend. It may very well work for you.

    You can use this thread to experiment with no dating and aiming at being happy not dating, a journal or diary of sorts…?



    Wow, thank you Anita! Funny you mention the approach/MO as I literally just got done writing a huge entry in my journal and no sooner had I hit save than I got an email that someone had replied to this thread.

    Thank you (both of you) for replying. I feel like maybe I should clarify a little. By and large, I’m pretty happy with every other aspect of my life. I’ve got a good job where I genuinely make a difference and I get to work from home (professional computer geek). I have a great relationship with my parents. I’ll be the first to say what I’m dealing with is likely minuscule to what others have endured in their lives and that is never lost on me. I live alone and take great pride in having done a ton of work to my home myself in the thee years I’ve lived here to make it the home it is today. It’s small and unassuming, but it’s my sanctuary. Despite living alone, I’m never bored. I read a lot (thank god for kindle unlimited), have lots of interests and things I enjoy doing that center me and make me feel at peace with things. I’m saying all of this because I don’t want to sound like lack of relationship = no happiness. I’m in touch/comfortable with who I am, which has taken many years to get to and I’m not looking for someone to “complete me.”

    I guess I was asking whether or not that can be enough. I’m guessing based on the fact that I asked the question I already know the answer to it. I guess now it’s a matter of evaluating my dating experiences (both positive and negative) and somehow translating that into…something.

    I would gladly take you up on your offer to help me explore this. I’m grateful in fact. Thanks once again.


    Hi Desolate,

    I am going through something very similar. I am a 31 year old guy, never married, never had any kids, came out of a 2.5 years old long relationship ( start of this year) and repetitively been meeting similar people as you described from your online dating experience. Although, I don’t do online dating, it might be slightly more easier for me to identify such people.

    In my opinion, you are sort of on a right track. Although, ‘strictly not dating again’ isn’t the best approach, similar to going out with every single girl you meet online or offline ( not that you are doing). Its like going extreme, too much or not at all.

    Firstly, look inside yourself and ask what are you looking for? What do you value? What are the biggest red flags when you are dating? Reflect on what happened in the past and where things went wrong, not in terms of blame or guilt, but in terms of values and compatibility. And most importantly why you want to have another relationship? If you are very clear about this in your mind then you will have far better idea in identifying people at a very early stage and saving yourself from getting used.

    Many people jump from one relationship to other because of many reasons like scared of loneliness, worry of getting old, worry about what worlds says about them, feeling of a loser or a failure, validation or getting the feeling of valued or worthiness etc. It is very difficult to find a right partner and develop a healthy relationship if above reasons exists.

    Second, if you are very clear about what you want and why you want ( not above reasons)? Chances are either you will reduce significantly dating dishonest, manipulative people or identify them very early before getting heavily invested and will save yourself from huge let downs and disappointments. In fact, you might end up attracting people who have similar values to yours.

    In conclusion, if you are meeting the same people again and again, there’s something you haven’t learn yet, there’s something you need to open your eyes to understand. Running away from it isn’t the solution, in fact life will presents you such people again, in a different way. So, get curious and learn, its not easy, its not comfortable but it will give you the wisdom that you need.

    Good luck !!!!


    Dear Desolate:

    I read your latest post and re-read part of your original post.

    You wrote regarding the online dating experience you had: ” I just can’t emotionally handle it anymore…(‘it’ being:) repeatedly opening myself up when getting to know someone and constantly being let down, lied to, taken advantage of, etc.”

    This is my input about your online dating experience and how a different attitude and MO may work for you, if you try it again:

    Do not open yourself up like you did before, not on first, second or third dates. That didn’t work and so, abandon it.

    Instead, observe, learn and evaluate. Use Online Dating as a school you are attending. Keep your focus on learning who this woman is and who that other woman is. Pay attention. Ask questions (gently, not in an interrogative way). If she asks you a question, keep your answer short, or tell her you are not ready to answer this one yet.

    Meet the women in a coffee shop settings during the day, if possible, or otherwise in early evenings. No big-dates production of dinner-and-a-movie. You are doing this to LEARN, not to date.

    If a woman survives the first two casual meetings and conversations, if you and her are interested, meet in a park – again, during the day if possible. Continue to learn.

    Slowly, gradually, it may happen that a particular woman, maybe one out of a hundred, makes a very different experience for you, and it being a Win-Win experience. Then you start dating her.

    Until then, this is not dating, it is learning. Exclusiveness is for dating, not for learning. Be open with your objective, to learn as it is a good policy for the woman as well: learn who the person is before you get emotionally invested.



    Brilliant advice, Anita, thank you.

    I think I’m going to take some time to reflect on some positives and negatives as well as review my “profile” and see if there’s any correlation between the types of women I was meeting and the information provided in my profile. Maybe I need to be more clear and add more information in. I don’t remember as it’s been a number of months since I’ve even looked at it.

    Thanks for the great advice as well, Brav3. I feel like I’ve been very clear about what I’m looking for versus what I’m not but you’re right, there are probably some things I could have done better to filter out the disingenuous folks.

    Thanks again!


    Dear Desolate:

    Your profile- good idea to edit it or put together a new one. Make it honest, straightforward. If you’d like you can post it here (or parts of it) for (my) input and suggestions. If you’d like that is.



    Yes, you can still be happy. But do you feel happy not having someone? If you were, why are you posting here? Perhaps in hopes that maybe one day you could find someone again? Hope is the key. And “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” -Churchill

    I myself have given up hope and I’m completely happy πŸ™‚

    Positive Pamela

    Hi there,

    It sounds like you’re taking action for action’s sake (online dating) and not taking inspired action…so many people do online dating because it seems like the logical thing to do, without or before doing the inner work on themselves first to nail down what they want in a partner, what will make them happy, feeling what it would be like to be in the ideal relationship, etc. This means it’s not mandatory to kiss 100 frogs (or in this case, frogettes) to attract the ideal partner!

    In other words, I’m talking about the law of attraction, and wondering if you’ve used it or would consider it. I highly recommend a book called The Soulmate Secret by Arielle Ford (and it’s not just for women; many men read and used her techniques to attract their perfect female partner.) I’m still working on it myself…got very close but the last guy was married. However, we did not meet in person and it ended very quickly…but it also meant I had (and maybe still have) some beliefs about abundance and availability that need to be cleared up. He read one of my blogs for years and had reached out one day. I’m relating this because it’s proof that it’s quite possible to attract a partner without using online dating. When you use LOA and get in touch with yourself and feeling good, you’re going to feel inspired to take action that’s inspired and feels good…maybe check out a new grocery store in town or take an adult education class or join a gym, etc. Online dating is definitely not the only way people meet, even today! There are literally thousands of ways the universe can help you rendezvous with the right person.

    So by all means, give up online dating if it makes you feel good, but keep milking the feelings of being happy and grateful with your life (as it sounds like you already on.) And when the time feels good, write out a list of what you want in your partner and think about how you would feel being with her. Then ask the Universe to deliver it in the right way.

    Also, you can never truly ever give up on a desire. But you can give up on how you think it should or will manifest. Just be happy, and let the Universe take care of the rest.



    You can be happy ‘for a while’!

    When you are young, you will make your life ‘busy’ with work, friends, and other social activities to keep the loneliness away….but when you get older it will manifest itself in ways you could never imagine!!

    Having said that, do not turn into a desperate person!!!

    I pray you find your soulmate soon.

    GOD bless!


    Can’t is an interesting choice of words. Unless you are dead, or similarly impaired, can’t probably isn’t a viable option in terms of dating.

    While I haven’t done 40 dates, feel your pain. Usually don’t get to a third date. Financially and employment sound, I just don’t flash it around. I prefer long term planning to instant gratification, so my stuff isn’t really flashy.

    I have a melancholic personality which probably doesn’t help.

    Think about how you approach things and how you wind up looking.


    Dear Desolate,

    1. “I Can’t Date Anymore. Can I Still Be Happy?”
    Yes, but when you separate out your Life and your Life-situation.

    If the above answer is not clear then I leave it for you to research as while doing that you are going to gain great insights about being happy when you do not have any of the three major factors of life – Health, Wealth, Relationships.

    2. If your post was to only know about what’s in the title of this thread, then you can stop after reading the 1st point above.
    But if you are looking for a soulmate, just like me, then carry on…


    3. After you go through the above link, if you have a question like – “So then, what do I do, should I simply sit and do nothing and wait for my soulmate to fall on my lap?”

    The answer is this e-book for you.

    Anybody on this forum who has this link and are in a similar situation can download it for free but can do as suggested by the author (more below).
    Free Download Link:

    (The PDF on the above link will remain for an unlimited period of time unless the file is not downloaded by anyone for 100 days)

    Note from the author: Gabriella Hartwell

    This book is intended for singles AND couples. This book will help you to connect with who you are so that you can draw your soul mate to you, or to bring your current relationship to a soul mate level. –

    Spirit operates in giving love freely, the exchange of energy
    without any expectations, and therefore I am offering my book,
    You Find Your Soul Mate When You Let Go of Searching, in a PDF
    format free of charge.

    The only thing that I ask is if you feel inspired, please write a
    review for the book on Amazon.com and spread the book to those
    you think may benefit from it…

    I am always available for coaching and to help anyone to connect
    with and receive love.

    May all the love in your heart warm you,

    Gabriella Hartwell


    Amazon link:

    Take Care,

    • This reply was modified 7 years ago by VJ.

    Hi Desolate (or Hopeful),

    Sorry to hear about the end of your relationship and well done for getting out there again into the dating scene. Good for you πŸ™‚

    I completely agree with Anita that rather than giving up, you need to change your MO: it was a logical starting point to begin with dating online because it’s direct and convenient. However, when that didn’t work out well for you, instead of saying to yourself “online dating is not the best option for me to meet a person that I might start a relationship with”, you’ve immediately progressed to “online dating isn’t going so well, ergo dating isn’t for me, ergo relationships aren’t for me, ergo I’d better prepare myself mentally to be forever alone”. Do you see that that’s quite a leap and that you could be a bit more creative/think laterally and experiment with other options first? πŸ™‚

    The problem with online dating is that people are trying to jump-start emotional intimacy.

    Recognise that a lot of online dating is attempting to do exactly that – take shortcuts in getting to know strangers well. It is no surprise that you are feeling that you “can’t emotionally handle it anymore”. No-one can; it’s too hard to keep bringing “the real you” to the table again and again, sharing intimate details like values and dreams with people you haven’t met before and might not meet again. It’s not your fault you’re trying to do it this way; people haven’t got used to the medium of online dating yet. It seems like a simple solution to a complicated problem. However, while technology may have advanced, the human heart is still the same; learn to be gentle to it, both to yours and to others’ too. Don’t try to immediately jump in the deep end; be patient and dip your toe. If the water is warm you can wade into a relationship step by step.

    Ultimately, I agree that dating is not for you. Forget about dating. Try socialising more instead. I’m not saying I think you’re anti-social, I promise, but I get the feeling your interests aren’t so gregarious. I know that you said that you are happy in yourself and do things that make you happy, and that’s really awesome. However, the activities in your life are currently not throwing wonderful, compatible women into your path, so that means that you would do well to widen your net. In short, you probably need to get out of your comfort zone. I would step off the online dating sites and onto interest sites, such as “meetup.com” in the city you live in. Find some groups you’re interested in, or activities you’d like to try, like hiking, salsa dancing, pottery, learning a new language, going on pub crawls, book clubs, watching cult movies together, walking tours of your city, etc. Look for activities that are likely to be mixed genders – this is important. Look for a wide enough circle of friends that new people can move through, so it’s not a completely incestuous closed circle of people, but not so large that people never get close and become friends. And most importantly, something you enjoy so much that you’d keep doing it and loving it even if it never brought you a date.

    I understand you’re an introvert – I am, too. However, if you’re doing things you like you’ll find a source of energy and a way to interact with the people you do it with that works for you. You may even end up finding a safe space for yourself outside your home; a second sanctuary. Imagine if people could see you at your happiest and best without even stepping into your home. What would happen if people could see the real, relaxed you shining like a beacon but without incredible expenditure of energy or vulnerability on your part?

    Being yourself in stimulating but safe situations with other men and women around you with similar interests is best, better than dating. Being in this environment will mean that someone suitable who you might not even have considered before will start to become really special (and sexy, too!), because they’ll be at their best and most relaxed as well. You can’t control love, or control who exactly you meet, but you can control the situations you are in. Spend more time in situations that are conducive to love and you will not be able to help falling for someone over the next few years, and there’s a good chance that that someone (and maybe others) will fall for you, too. And in this situation, it will be a deeper connection than dating as it’s been built over time, under less pressure, and based on mutual interests. Also, they will have more personal accountablility as they are known by mutual friends, so they will be more likely to behave with integrity towards you. And this is the best guarantee you get, really. Sure beats reading OK Cupid profiles and you’ll learn some salsa moves along the way.

    Anyway, sorry for the ridiculously long reply – I hope some of it is useful. Sorry if it’s not! I’ve just never found dating to be a good way of finding partners; personally, I’ve only ever fallen for people I’ve spent a lot of time with and who I’m really comfortable around. Out of curiosity, how did you meet the person you broke up with this year? Was is a dating website or something else?

    Wishing you all the best and I’m sure you’ll find your way.

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