4:45 AM 30th October 2021
5 Things That Happened When I Stopped Online Dating
Want to jump off the carousel of dating disappointment for good but scared of what will (or won't) happen? 40+ blogger Claire Marie has road tested the journey and found that miraculously, the world didn’t end.
Image by amrothman from Pixabay
I started using dating apps about a year after my marriage ended. Initially comfortable on my own, I started to feel that something was missing, which I assumed was relationship shaped.
I quickly realised Match.com was the last place I was going to meet mine yet continued regardless, blindly searching for a random guy to make me ‘complete’. Far from a decent partner myself, I somehow expected to attract one. Dating was essentially an elaborate distraction technique from what I should have been doing, which was building myself back up and learning who I was outside of my marriage.
Here’s what happened when I eventually stopped for good:
1. MAJOR withdrawal symptoms from the flimsy yet potent high of sparking up a connection: No opportunities to window shop for my potential partner or respond to cheesy, heart-shaped app notifications meant time on my hands, which at that point, I hadn’t learned to fill with things I loved doing. I couldn’t see the gift all that freedom represented and I squandered it, moping
2. I realised how much time I was wasting: As the withdrawal symptoms faded, I realised how much of my precious energy was being frittered away on waiting rather than living life NOW. I’d literally been holding my breath until the next date in case he turned out to be ‘the one’
3. I faced facts: It eventually sank in that the time and energy I’d spent on successive and underwhelming dates wasn't going to result in anything. What followed was a very real grieving period.
4. I met someone: Ironically, and just a few short months after my decision to stop using apps, I met someone through a mutual friend. It didn’t last, but it taught me about what I wanted from a relationship and put me on course to become a calmer, stronger version of myself
5. I stopped whinging, and started living: Only when I was back on my own did I finally acknowledge my two stark choices:
- Keep waiting for a man to ‘complete me’
- Complete my bloody self
It had been a bumpy ride, but I realised I was absolutely capable of building my own life without a man. There was something missing, but it was fulfilment and meaning. I’d had everything I needed at my disposal all along.
My epiphany made me proactive. I sought out inspiring single women and let their bravery and vulnerability soothe and motivate me. And I learned more about what I love doing and started doing more of it. It hasn’t happened overnight, but I’ve worked hard to change my mindset and it’s paid off. I’m seeing life through the lens of what I have, rather than what I don’t, and things just feel different.
And if I do meet someone? Well it won’t be someone pretending to be 15 years younger than his profile photo, which incidentally features him holding a fish or crouching next to a drugged tiger. It won’t be someone who I’m mortified to discover is rude to waiters, has an overly loud voice or is wearing white towelling socks with black shoes. And it won’t be someone I have to force myself to fall for. If it happens, it’ll be because it’s meant to.
In the meantime? I’m busy building a life that excites me rather than treading water waiting for someone else to.