I decided to take a year off from dating. No Tinder or Bumble, no dates, no set ups or casual hook ups. Nothing. Now, to some this may seem like a normal thing to do, we all get busy with work, university and other commitments. Or we just got out of a long-term relationship and want to heal.
But my decision came after I had to admit to myself that my self-esteem rises whenever a man is interested in me. But the morning after, all the effort goes out of the window and they no longer care.
I got back from my European travel, to find out that a few friends of mine had found love. I am honestly very happy for them, but it crushed me too.
I looked back to my history of dating and realized that in my 33 years, that none of them ever loved me back. I had one serious relationship, which was emotionally abusive. The last guy I fell in love with ghosted me after we had sex for the first time, after dating for two months.
It seems like other women find it easy to get into relationships and have someone fall for them as well.
For a long time, I was actually happy being single. I have traveled the world by myself , I keep myself fit at the gym, I have a lot of hobbies and interests.
But when you realize you’re getting older and you have never had a happy relationship, you start to doubt yourself. I knew something was wrong when I lost all interest in my studies a veterinary nurse I worked so hard for, when I didn’t want to get out of bed for two weeks, when looking at photos of myself wanted to make me die.
I felt like a monster, like I had something seriously wrong with me. I suddenly became terrified of aging and started to really resent couples. I felt so alone and embarrassed that I felt this way.
My self-hate has become so bad, I was angry for having to go to work and finish my studies. I just wanted to go to a hospital and I wanted them to help me. I tried everything, and was just tired of feeling like I wanted to die. I saw no hope at all.
It took a while to admit to myself that I need validation from others to feel good about myself. I knew that each time a man that I was interested in lost interest in me, I became extremely depressed. Doubted myself.
Then one night, I deleted Tinder and Bumble. I’ve done that before, but this time I am sticking to it. I decided to take a year off, just to myself. I am going to practice my violin. I am going to finish my studies, hit the gym more often, spend more time with my friends and family and just work on loving me.
And you know what? It’s already working. I feel like a huge weight has lifted off my shoulders. I can go out without wondering if I will meet someone, I have all this time just for myself. No dates, more nights I can spend in watching Netflix or going out for dinner with my friends. I can spend time loving my hobbies and all my interests, without having to worry if they seem dorky or weird to a guy. I can learn to love my body for me, and not work on it so I can impress a guy.
I’m actually excited and feel a new sense of freedom. Of course, I’m open to meeting someone, but I’m not waiting for him or looking.
But my goal for the end of the year is to look in the mirror and feel a sense of self-acceptance, and most of all, whole. Even without another person by my side.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
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