As of November 11, 2017, I will have gone out with 40 men. Some became relationships. Some were short coffee “dates” where I ordered water rather than feel guilt when I realized I had no interest in the guy.
When I decided to put the effort I put into the rest of my life into dating, I created 50 First Dates, a private Facebook group with 90+ people, many of whom wanted to approach dating in a supportive community of other single parents. Some were new to the dating world and others, like me, were just burned out.
The “challenge” was not to meet 50 people but not allow myself to quit dating unless I had. It was inspired by the gold stars I earned doing a yoga challenge. I figured if I applied my same goal oriented attitude towards dating, I would certainly have success. I am suddenly feeling like going on 40 first dates is no success.
After being challenged in the group about why I’d been on so many first dates, hearing Sandy Weiner’s Your Last First Date Podcast Offline Dating with Camille Virginia on the subject of dating and seeing one of my favorite dating coaches, Evan Marc Katz’s Tedtalk, I deleted my online accounts and decided to pivot. I'm not sure I ever deleted the accounts before but I have hidden my profile probably more times than I’ve gone on first dates. This time when I hit the delete button, it asked me if I was prepared to lose all of my conversations. I decided to burn the bridge.
What I’ve discovered about myself is I said “yes” to many people I should have said “no” to. I now realize the lack of screening I was using on them, they were also using on me. There was no skin in the game on either part and we treat each other very differently than we would IRL.
My own superficiality felt “icky” and at the same time, my ego didn’t like the process either. My energy around online dating was just bad. I invested very little because I expected very little. As someone who believes what we put out into the world comes back, THIS is NOT the energy I want.
My new approach to dating is going to be getting out in real life and making myself a little bit uncomfortable. A few things I learned from the interview I'm going to put into practice is meeting friends out but showing up 20 minutes early. I will also be initiating conversations with strangers, even the good looking ones I’d normally be too shy to talk to. Now, when I am out in public rather than burying my head in a phone, I’m going to risk appearing alone and vulnerable, hold my head up high and make wait for it...eye contact. I am going to find things to do outside my “bubble” -join Orangetheory and initiate Meetup activities.
WIthin a half an hour of deleting the dating apps, I got a message from someone I’d given my number to but had dropped the ball on our conversation. I told him though I was no longer online dating, but he’d gotten in under the wire. We shall see.