Resisting the Urge to Date Again
How do I know I am not ready to date again? You see that photo up there? That looks terrible to me. I don’t want that. Maybe it’s just because I despise holding hands. Or maybe it’s because I know I don’t want to be in a relationship. And that would make dating a fallacy. And unfair.
But I always get to a certain point. After a break up. After time alone. And I usually decide I am ready for a relationship again. So I start looking. Or I just go back to my list.
Do you have a list? You know, the one in your head of people who you would want to date, if you were ever single again. And if they were single. We all have that list. I use it every time I go through a break up.
But the list is a fallacy too. Because I already know them. And for whatever reason, the timing wasn’t right. So why focus on something behind me? Because it’s safer. Easier. It would move quicker. But that’s all of what I don’t want.
The Internal Struggle
Everyone goes back to dating too soon. Everyone. Because it’s lonely being alone. But the weird thing is that it’s not for me. I like it. But 30 years of consistent relationships and sex is a powerful force feeding my brain misinformation on when the time is right.
I usually cave. And decide I’m ready too early. And then I lose focus on myself. Instead of spending time on creative writing and traveling, I spend time obsessing over Internet dating profiles.
And they are such bullsh*t. And that’s part of the internal struggle of dating in general. You never know what’s real. Profiles certainly are not. You can’t like a little of this and a little of that for everything. Just tell me what you are really like. Cranky AF on weekend mornings? Thank you for being honest.
You never know what’s real in real life either. If you compare a relationship to peeling back an onion, I see why. Not because of the crying, but because of the layers. But the difference with people is that if they don’t want you to uncover their hidden layers, they won’t let you. And you will keep peeling the same layer, learning nothing new. And they will keep the parts hidden that they want to.
In the past when I get to this point, I activate again. And scroll through a bunch of “look at the aspirational me” profiles. And then I hate it after one awkward date. And I ban it. And I am not going to do the routine again. Because as much as I may struggle with an occasional want for more companionship, I know I am not ready.
What Makes Me Cave
Weakness. And that’s what always allows me to make bad dating decisions. Or move dating too quickly. So it becomes a relationship. And then it’s too late. Too far. To easily back out when you realize you messed up again. It’s not them. It’s me. It’s always me.
Companionship. Sometimes I just want to go to the movies with another person so I can discuss it afterwards. I’ve always been a confident solo movie goer and have been doing it my whole life. But going with someone you are interested in is fun. Wait, no it’s not. You just sit there in the dark and don’t talk. This is where we trick ourselves. And I won’t trick myself again.
Sex. This is really what makes everyone cave. The reason they call people who they have been with before. The reason they call the people they almost dated in the past. It cuts down the timeframe for sex. Anyone who doesn’t think this is a driving factor in most people’s will to date again is kidding themselves.
How To Know If You Are Ready
If you aren’t sure, you aren’t ready. Even if you think you are sure, you probably aren’t. We have to accept that the first dating experience after a prolonged relationship absence might not work out. But our brains tell us that it wants it to. So we don’t have to go through more uncomfortable waits at the bar for someone who may or may not look like their photo.
If you are hoping the next person is your soulmate, you aren’t ready. Because that is so much pressure you are putting on yourself and your prospective suitor. It’s like if the first date isn’t amazing, they must be sh*t. They could have just been nervous. Or tired. Or actually just an a**hole. Dating for a soulmate is like trying to be the best writer. Give yourself a break.
If you are dating and don’t care what it’s called, you might be closer to ready than you think. Because then you are letting life and love happen instead of spending your time forecasting the possibilities. Or judging what the last text meant.
You: Wanna hang out this weekend?
Them: Yeah sure.
Them: Maybe. I’ll let you know.
You know you can’t text again after this, right? Would you? Just plan something else. But texting is elusive as a love connection descriptor. It’s not always indicative of what’s happening on the other side. If you are hanging on every text, you probably aren’t ready. And they probably aren’t either.
What’s the Solution?
Relax. Don’t overthink it. That’s what kills us all in dating. Too much activity in our stupid brains. Over nothing. They said, “Great,” but didn’t use an exclamation point so are they really excited? Don’t do this. It’s the worst. We have all done it. But it’s so terrible.
Don’t go on the Internet unless you enjoy dating. Personally, I hate going on several first dates and wondering how they went. It’s like getting water boarded to me. But I used to keep going back to it. Just to hate it again.
Internet dating is great, when you really like dating. And can stomach all the errors that come with it. And the f*cking upkeep. Women in particular get inundated with so many overly aggressive messages (dick pics) that the upkeep becomes impossible.
If you are hoping every Internet date is “the one,” pack it up and stop. It does happen, but if you are hoping it does it’s likely you will overlook many things to get there. Anyone who lies about their appearance in their profile is hiding a lot more.
The only solution is to enjoy your choice. I don’t enjoy dating so I should not do it. Because it’s not fair to the other person. My head would not be in the game at all. If you like meeting new people and have a care-free attitude about it, it’s probably still fun.
But I can guarantee you that if you resist the urge to date again too soon, you will be better for it. Because if you get to the point where you feel you are not ready, you need more time. Think about all the relationships that seemed so great and turned out to be sh*t. Take your time. Focus on yourself.