The idea of spending our lives alone has been stigmatized so much that many of us tend to put ourselves through unnecessary and painful heartbreaks for the wrong men.
As someone who's been in the dating game for quite a while now, I believe I can safely say I've got a fair understanding of the good and bad out there. You know, how they say it's all a battlefield? Yep, they weren't kidding. To be very honest, it did take me a hot minute to figure that one out, but when I ultimately did accept the general consensus, the clarity that came with it saved me a lot of unnecessary heartbreaks.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should renounce dating forever and prepare yourself for the life of a spinster. Rather, what I'm saying is, if you do want to play this game, you need to smart about it. No one really wants to play it, but since some humans do feel the need for a partner at times, everyone simply goes through the motions.
However, as with every game, you need to have a strategy for how you're going to explore the jungle before you and emerge unscathed and hopefully victorious, from the other side. Mine is simple. A**holes don't deserve a single minute of your time.
I know. It sounds like I'm stating the obvious. But you'd be surprised how many times I've had to remind myself of this rule and painstakingly pull myself back from the latest destructive black hole I've been crushing on. Why? Because the majority of the single men out there are, in fact, a**holes.
And while you can spot some of them from a mile away, others tend to be a bit more nuanced. They check all the right boxes when it comes to first impressions. They're sweet, handsome, thoughtful, funny, respectful, and silver-tongued. That is until they show their true f*ckboy colors. And my naive ass used to fall for it hook, line, and sinker—almost every single time.
Thankfully, my "adapt and survive" skills kicked in before I handed my heart over in a neatly wrapped box with a bow on top to another one these manbabies. I realized the trick to saving myself the trouble of being designated the booty call role was to be ultra-perceptive to the ever-so-faint stench of trouble emanating from these men.
And boy, was it hard. The romantic aspect of dates went out the window real quick and it felt more like I was going into a strategic war where one wrong move or misinterpreted signal could be game over for me.
Of course, I did meet some actually good men out there and we had a great time. I've stayed in touch with some of them and we've even become pretty good friends over time. Thankfully, we never felt the need to forcefully bring romance into our camaraderie and set fire to our stressfree and refreshing platonic bond.
In some ways, this also helped me realize that I did not need to push myself into the battlefield every week. So now, my Friday nights are spent wining and dining myself while I spread out on the couch. And let me just tell you, it's made a world of difference in how happy I am.
Spending quality time with myself is so much more worth it than dolling up for some guy who carries his decision-making skills in his pants. My mental health improved drastically without the exhaustion and disappointments of modern-day dating. Being able to enjoy your freedom and personal accomplishments without the need for a partner hanging over your head like a noose, has literally been a life-changer.
Having said that, if you want to explore the casual dating scene, I fully encourage you to try it out safely and smartly. Playing the field a bit is the best way to figure out what you want in a partner and what's non-negotiable.
On the other hand, if you're only doing it to put an end to the "oh, are you still single?" questions, save yourself the trouble and chill with a glass of rosé. Finding a partner doesn't need to be the primary focus of your life. Just keep yourself to the possibilities and go into dating with a good hold on your self-worth. And at the end of the day, just enjoy life.