The 10 things you discover when you quit dating

This week some hopeful and enthusiastic tinder match of mine asked if I would like to catch up for a coffee on Wednesday. He was my age and his photos represented that he was clean cut and had his shit together (not my type at all). After considering it for about 2.3 seconds I politely declined. I was already bored with him. It soon occurred to me that I am bored with dating as a whole and the mediocrity it continually brings to my life. So I deleted Tinder and the other countless soul destroying apps on my phone (saved my tagline for future use because obviously it’s great) and finally had time to do the things I had been neglecting… for the last 2 years or so.

In reaching this point (and look It’s not forever, I don’t like cats and I promise not to go grocery shopping in my dressing gown yet) I am able to reflect on the things that all this monotonous dating has brought to my life. In all honestly it hasn’t all been bland. Some of it has been really, really exciting. Some of it has hurt. But none of it has killed me. And it brought me to this point, which means for the next short while I don’t have to do my hair on a week night and trek to the city to sit with yet another stranger and pretend like we care about the other persons story. And that has to be a good thing right?

1. Meeting new people is awesome

Yes some will be boring, painful or so into themselves they don’t allow you to speak. But meeting new people open your eyes to things you’ve never considered before. They remind you of the beauty of initial human connection and attraction. They also confirm that sometimes (often) It’s not there at all. Drink quickly and don’t beat yourself up. At least you’re getting out there.

2. If I can date, I can do anything

Let’s face it. Dating is terrifying. And it’s not so much the date that is the problem. It’s the excruciating anticipation. What’s worse is that the online world has you dressing up and travelling to some semi fancy bar for someone who you don’t know in the slightest. The fact that you have made it to the date at all without fainting or throwing up on the train, says that you’ve done something that scares you. And we all know that that’s the only way we can ever better ourselves. I hate to say it but this scenario doesnt really get easier with time. What it does do however, is makes every other minor challenge you face a little more manageable.

3. You are really interesting

And not only to the person you’re dating. Most people you come across while you are peaking singledom want to know your dating stories. In great detail. People want to hear about that night that you broke into an abandoned building and had a picnic at midnight amongst the graffiti until the security guard chased you out and you kissed in that perfectly awkward moment just after you nearly sprained you ankle in the disguised pot hole in the random paddock you ended up in... and so on and so forth. Although mildly juvenile, its experiences like this that keep you young. And when you are single you tend to endure a lot of them. Sharing the joy is part of the fun.

4. Time is precious

When you’re single with a career, a close family, an abundance of friends and so many hobbies you barely have time to sleep (unless you’re me of course because this is a HUGE priority and I will always find time for at least 8.5 hours a night), dating is quite frankly another thing that takes up time. Since quitting I actually have time in my day to put my phone down, make myself a new skirt and clean my hideously dirty bathroom because lets face it, it was becoming unusable and I was about to contract some form of lung disease from the excessive mould build up.

5. Honesty is the only way

Yes I talk about my exes on a first date if it comes up, the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing with my life and I swear a lot. Because that’s who I am. I even told a guy who was in no way ready for children that I was clucky. It didn’t stop him chasing me to the point that it was nearly annoying. The people that have different values or find your honesty too confronting won’t call again. And wouldn’t you prefer it that way? Brutal honesty has never been the thing to turn them off (obviously it was my filthy bathroom). In fact, I think it’s what everyone truly appreciates more than anything. And if they want something fake there is plenty of that in the world to choose from.

6. You learn things about yourself

Have you ever noticed when you’re telling a story to someone who may or may not be pretending to be interested, you have minor epiphanies? When you verbalise an experience from start to finish, your interpretation of the story will develop as will the lessons you took from it. Also, the person you are dating will compliment you. At some point, in some way. It may be subtle or incredibly sleazy. But at the time they meant it. Calculate the stats, notice the patterns and hold onto every single acknowledgement. They might even point out something about yourself that you never even knew was fabulous. So dump them and go and explore it.

7. You find out what you want in partner, and more importantly what you don’t.

Personally, I am a professional at ignoring deal breakers. And it has brought me here. Single, alone, eating cold blueberry porridge at midday in my pyjamas. Just kidding, it’s only 11:27. But as you meet and date more people, you take the good with the bad and become better equipped in knowing what you want. You then have a clearer picture that you otherwise wouldn’t have without the never ending train of failed dates. The lesson for me become simple. Don’t be too focused on ‘practicalities’ if you feel something real. But you need to be realistic if you want a relationship that will work in this thing called ‘real life’. Different interests are ok, different values are not. And of course, don’t be a complete idiot and ignore those bright red flags that are not only waving, but flashing, with sirens accompanied with a giant neon sign that says ‘GET OUT!’

8. You notice a pattern

We all have a ‘type’. But as you continue to chase a particular type that funnily enough never works out, you eventually discover that there is a reason you are drawn to these kinds of people and that there are healthier ways to fulfill a need in your life that is obviously not being met. Its not easy and can seem very cloudy when an abundance of lust and feelings are involved, but eventually when you discover that this pattern has led you to a few handfuls of failed relationships your taste automatically changes. If you find yourself on yet another date thinking ‘this is all a little too familiar’ and respond by yawning, tuning out and thinking about what you are going to cook for dinner, congratulations. The penny has finally dropped. And take it from me, the day you finally come to this grand realisation is quite a liberating one!

9. Rejection is healthy

I mean, it sucks. Being rejected and having to reject someone are almost as bad as each other. But it keeps us all grounded and reminds us that this perfect fairy tale that ‘everyone else seems to find’ involves quite a process. Sometimes (if you’re anything like me) when feelings get involved you’re too clouded to make logical decisions, therefore being rejected may be the only way you are freed from a relationship that was never right for you in the first place. Having to reject someone on the other hand, takes a lot of courage and once you have been honest and open about why you are ending it (maybe with some added sugar on top to soften the blow), you can sleep soundly at night knowing that you had the balls to confront something that would have been a lot easier to avoid by turning your phone off, fleeing the country and faking your own death.

10. Dating to feed your ego is dangerous.

No one actually wants to admit they do this, but some of us are guilty of dating to make ourselves feel like we are worth something. When I met my last boyfriend and we were possibly only one date in, a message from him popped up and I had to stop and think ‘which one is this again?’ At that time there were 4 males that were in close reach of becoming something more to me and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t really interested in any of them. But I felt a ping of an ego boost because at that time they all wanted something from me (most probably my vagina). Chances are they were quite possibly keeping their options open as much as I was. They chased, I ran (a little bit but never too much) and we all got kicks from this ridiculous game of no one caring about anything other than feeding their own insecurities.

When you take the time to stop, curse, break things and plot with your friends how you will go about petrol bombing your most recent ‘almost ex’s’ car, you may actually just be grateful for these experiences. The lessons you took, the connections you made and the fact that it lead you to a place where you are hopefully closer to meeting someone that is much less likely to make you yawn on a third date and ask you to pay for their dinner because they accidentally left their wallet at home.