Sunday, 18 September 2016

Giving up on dating

I'm being ghosted by a boy.

It's the least I deserve as I've been guilty of doing the same. But that doesn't mean it stings any less.

For those of you not familiar with the 21st century dating lingo, ghosting is when "someone you're seeing or dating suddenly stops all communications in an attempt to show the other person that they're not interested anymore in the hopes that they will just 'get the hint'". 

John Doe, or JD as we will call him for this segment, and I met on a dating app. I know, I know, I can hear your sighs already but in my defence this was an app that my own mother recommended. We went on around four dates. I'm attempting an air of indifference but I know it's exactly four because I wrote them down in my journal (oh god, I know how this makes me sound). I thought things were going well, I really did. He ticked quite a few of the boxes on my list and made me laugh a lot. He appeared to be a functioning adult with a job he enjoyed, and it felt like he had his shit together in a way the previous men in my life didn't have.

But as with all previous relationships from which I never seem to learn, I got carried away and lulled into a false sense of security. Before I knew it the daily texts became less and less. Suddenly it would take him two days to respond to a text. Then complete radio silence that would stretch on for days before a random text would come flashing up on my screen. I'd reply only to be left hanging again for days. He hasn't suggested meeting up again leaving me to feel a little foolish and licking my wounds in the corner.

As with all 21st century dating it's a little awkward because I can see that he watches my Snapchats, so I have to make sure I look like I'm having a good time and not in the least bit bothered by his indifference.

Before the first date with JD I was psyching myself out. I'd been on so many average or just downright bad dates that I told myself: "If this doesn't work out, I'm done with dating." But the date went well, as did the subsequent others and I let myself believe for a little while that maybe, just maybe, I was close to getting done with this tiring game.

Too much hope too soon. He slowly disappeared from my life and it's my karma for having done the same to two other bad Tinder dates. 

As a result I've deleted all the dating apps from my phone, and despite the at times oppressing loneliness that I feel I've resisted the urge to revive my Tinder profile. 

I'm done dating.

I'm done getting excited about meeting a boy, I'm done with rotating my 'date clothes' and putting my best foot forward. I'm done with the 'getting to know you Spiel' and having to explain who I am and where I come from to a boy who probably isn't going to stick around. I'm done guessing how much of my personality to show and I'm done with trying to figure out how much of 'me' to share. I'm done with deciphering texts and wondering how long I should leave it before I reply. I'm done with seeing photos of guys with sedated tigers or photos of them playing rugby. I'm done with having expectations and them not even come close to being met.

Dating is exhausting, especially for me as I struggle knowing when to let my walls down. With JD thankfully I at least maintained my own Berlin style wall around my heart. So whilst I'm annoyed that he's ghosting me out of his life, I'm not upset because I didn't let him close enough to truly upset me by doing that. I've just got a bit of a bruised ego. 

At this stage of my dating cycle, I've accepted that I'm not going to find that best friend and partner in crime if I'm desperately looking. My mother keeps reminding me that she met my father when she had given up on ever finding someone. They've been married for almost 30 years now. She's also offered me some sage advice: "Just lead an active life where you meet new people. Maybe start bird watching, interesting men among them."

Apart from the bird watching she's of course right. And I know better than to judge my own value on a relationship, or lack of one. I think I've just taken so many knocks when it comes to dating that I'm so disheartened by it all.

I know that good things come unexpectedly so I'm just going to go forward taking care of myself and doing the things I love. Sooner or later the right person is going to appear in my life and hopefully I'll be smart enough to notice it when it happens.

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