In my previous blog post, I wrote about what I was going to be giving up for Lent this year. I decided to make a huge sacrifice and give up dating. For the past 40+ days, I haven't been on a date at all. I even deleted all my online dating profiles and apps so I wouldn't even be tempted to even flirt with a guy. So, how was the experience of going dateless for Lent? Did I hate it? Did I love it? Would I do it again?
To be honest, it was actually kinda refreshing to give up something so important to me for forty days. Did I miss it? At first, kinda but then I got used to it. It was nice to not have my time so caught up in messaging guys and to not have to play those crazy mind games for a while of "will he message me back". It felt freeing to be able to devote my time and energy to other pursuits and interests. I had more time to myself, more time with friends and more time to devote to other hobbies. I found myself not having to be concerned as much with whether or not a guy likes me or is into me. I enjoyed my time away from the dating game and think it gave me a new clarity and focus. I had some time to figure out what it is I actually might want in a potential partner. I had time to determine what really are my deal breakers and what am I more willing to compromise on. I also now know that I don't want to play games with anybody. I'm not looking for games. I'm looking for something real. Games are for children, not adults. I have a better idea of that now.
Sunday night, I slowly began the process of dipping my toes back into the dating pool. I'm going gently back in as I don't want to burn myself out on it again. I feel much less cynical about it now, though. I genuinely am going into this with a much more optimistic outlook on it all but also a much more realistic outlook as well. I know that not every guy is going to be into me. I get that now. I also know that I'm not going to be into every guy. That's ok too. I feel better able to handle rejection and disappointment now and I also have learned better how to respect my own needs and time more. I'm not going to waste time going on a date with someone unless I am really into them and feel like there might be a connection. My time is way too valuable to me now. I'm also going to try and do a better job of asserting myself and being the first one to message and the first one to ask out on a date and such. I have tended to be rather passive about that in the past but that hasn't done me any good. If I like someone, I need to be more aggressive. That's going to be difficult for me as I know myself well enough to know that being assertive is something that doesn't come to me naturally. Blame the social anxiety or the Asperger's or whatever else but I am determined to overcome it.
What I have also realized is that it really is going to be ok if I end up alone. That doesn't mean I've been a failure. That doesn't mean that I have to feel alone. I can surround myself with friends and family and such. Yes, having a partner is a different thing entirely but that doesn't mean that that has to be the only option to be happy. I'm not going to close the door or say that there isn't anyone out there for me but I'm also going to accept that this may end up being my normal for the rest of my life and I need to make peace with that. Taking a break from dating helped me realize that. Now when I do go on dates it won't be because of some desperate need to not be single. It will be more out of a genuine desire to connect romantically with someone and to have them be a part of my already great life. Perhaps that's been the secret all along? I don't know but I sure am looking forward to getting back out there. It's been a good 40 days in the desert but now, I'm ready to have my thirst quenched!