How online dating taught me that I am enough
Losing myself ultimately helped me find what I was looking for.
I remember the day I re-signed up for online dating. Yes, re-signed up. I was sitting on my best friend’s (and fellow therapist) sofa.
It had been about a week since I had called her asking if I could crash in her spare room for a few weeks. I had just been “evicted” from my ex-partner’s condo where I had been living for two years. It was a messy breakup and I was feeling vulnerable, damaged and at a total loss of what to do or where to go.
I also had been anticipating this moment for the past year but had tried my best to keep status quo and hide under the veil of a relationship to protect me from the internal dialogue that told me almost daily that I wasn’t good enough. This sentiment was also often echoed by my ex-partner through insults, criticisms and put-downs. I tried my best to ignore his words, because in my mind I was safe in the realm of public perception, where my Instagram told everyone that I could hold down a relationship, sign a lease on a new therapy space, recover from a concussion, get a puppy and keep my shit together.
I was finally enough…at least that’s what I so desperately wanted everyone to believe. Most of all, I wanted to believe it myself.
The illusion I created didn’t stop my friends and family from expressing concerns. They told me they were worried about me. That I was working too much. They wondered if I ever spent time having fun with my partner. They wondered if I was okay. My eyes were puffy. I was not sleeping and I was exhausted from crying.
The day I called my friend asking to take over her spare bedroom was a day she had known would come, but so kindly didn’t push too hard to get me there. She knew I would arrive at her door when I was ready to start believing that I might be good enough to leave behind the life that wasn’t working for me.
So fast forward a week.
Here we were signing me up for online dating. I had downloaded Bumble and Tinder. I came up will all of the excuses in the book…errr, internet.
Was I ready? What if my clients see me online? I am a professional after all. I met my ex online so clearly there were only weirdos on there. Inside my head, my thoughts were lined with the fears I was so afraid to say out loud, what was I thinking?, what if I have another failed relationship?, what if no one likes me?, and worst of all, what if I try to date but it turns out I really am not good enough?
My friend’s voice quickly cut through the noise in my head, “Megan, remember, just as these men are trying to determine if you are a good fit for them, you too need to determine if they are a good fit for you”. And then, as if she was reading my mind, she said, “you are enough as you are”.
So off I went, again, into the world of “starting over”…into online dating, rejection, and a whole lot of growth. Throughout those weeks sleeping on her spare room futon, I learned less about what made me not good enough and more about what made me lovable.
My friends spent time reminding me why they loved my quirkiness. My dad called me everyday to check in. My brother cooked me dinner every Sunday and his girlfriend and I got our nails done together. I bonded with those closest to me again. Those that I had pulled away from while I was with my ex became those who reminded me again how to love myself.
Online dating is a process of self-reflection. As is learning to like yourself and then learning to love yourself. The best part is that none of feeling enough had anything to do with the actual online dating piece but moreso with a best friend who knew how to help me move forward and believe in myself again in the most kindest of ways.