dating

"Once I turned off my dating apps, I discovered there's more to being single than dating."

Modern dating is broken.

This isn’t exactly a revolutionary statement by any means, but it was particularly apt last Friday night, when I received the following Bumble message from a 26-year-old named Paul.

“I just wanted to say that you are beautiful, but beauty is on the inside and I would like to get inside of you,” he wrote.

A modern day Romeo.

Dating translated… it’s a minefield.

Video by MMC

On the advice of my friends, we returned his serve with a pointing finger emoji, a foot emoji and a winky face emoji and he very quickly deleted our blossoming romance from his message bank.

Old mate couldn’t hack it.

Now this isn’t every dating app conversation, but any single girl knows that this barely skims the blazing trash fire that’s modern romance.

But here’s the thing. If you’re looking at single life in terms of the relationship you’re not finding, the stifled back and forth messages on dating apps and the spark-less dates that proceed them, then yes, it’s a bit rubbish.

However, actually being single – i.e. not dating – is great.

Not being attached gives you the freedom to learn and explore who and what you’re like as your own person, and more importantly it gives you the time to do so. It’s empowering, it’s liberating and it’s watching Friends from College at 7pm on a Thursday night while eating a green curry AND a pad see ew.

All great things.

Instead of the texting, the dates, and the mental headspace you dedicate to thinking about your significant other, you can spend it in discovering how you tick.

Solo activities like reading and building hobbies, to the mundane everyday things like grocery shopping and cooking, become exercises in learning how you process thoughts, react to things, and see the world.

 

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For me, it was taking up gardening and really relishing the gentle peace and self-sufficiency that came with something as simple as watching my basil seeds sprout or re-potting a devil’s ivy.

Writer Emily Schildt writes about going on weekly solo date nights for Atelier Dore and sees these personal catch-ups as an investment in her relationship with herself.

“I treat myself. I luxuriate,” she writes.

“It is through this unfiltered, unpressured, undistracted time that I’m able to intimately get in touch and in tune with myself, to nurture what will ultimately make me a better partner, and a better friend, sister, daughter, and businesswoman.”

It’s this growing personal closeness that becomes just as intimate as the period when you’re getting to know someone romantically, when the small talk gives way to deeper conversations.

Really, being single isn’t any better or worse than being in a relationship – they’re just different. But so often that pivotal part you spend solo is seen as the inferior means to an end, when it really doesn’t and shouldn’t be seen that way.

Maybe one day I’ll be married with 1.9 children, maybe I won’t, but I just want to be able to look back and know that I made the best of a pretty fantastic situation.

What are your thoughts on being single? Tell us in a comment below.

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