Later, I began to feel feverish. Was I going through withdrawal? I’d experienced that before when I was getting clean from drugs, but this was different — surely I hadn’t become physically dependent on the validation that came from all those guys on all those apps. It was impossible.
It was as simple as deleting all those apps from my phone. One by one, I held my finger to the icon on the screen of my phone until it began to vibrate and a little X appeared in the right-hand corner, and then it was gone — like it had never existed in the first place. I stared down at my phone. All that potential for love — I’d made it all just disappear.
Because it is benumbing to date this way, the way that I did, to only have relationships that are brief and transactional. True intimacy, the kind of intimacy that you share with a partner and that you share with yourself, leaves you, and people grow somehow insubstantial in your experience of them. The more dates I went on, the further away I felt from the person I had once been — the person who actually kept the souvenirs left behind by the men who passed through my life, the person who held them close to my heart.