Frustrating Dating

Annoyed blonde drinking a coffee outside a bookstore
Me angrily drinking Starbucks outside a Barnes & Noble after being stood up for a date.

I’ve been single for over a year since my last committed relationship.

As I mentioned in a previous post about the single-shaming culture of Utah, I don’t mind being single. I enjoy having my time, money, and space to myself. I like going out and meeting new people both casually and on dates. Sometimes, I am lonely, and I miss the idea of having that “special someone” I can turn to for both romantic and platonic companionship. Now that I’ve graduated from school and have started out on the career path, I’ve considered taking “dating” to the next level. I’ve been thinking about actually looking for a committed relationship, but I’ve run into a slight problem.

I haven’t been attracted to anyone.

I am not asexual or aromantic. I have been in love, lust, and relationships of varying degrees in the past. I’ve felt arousal and genuine romantic affection for several men. While I am slow to become attached to a paramour and am slow fall in love or enter an exclusive relationship, I have done so in the past. Usually, I find dating to be a fun experience. Usually, I can find someone I am attracted to in a physical and mental/emotional sense, and we can enjoy our time together. But recently, I haven’t been so lucky. I’ve meet some wonderful men who are compassionate, sweet, intelligent, funny, and attractive, but I haven’t felt any draw to date them.

It’s been frustrating.

Though no one is at fault, I’ve found that my lack of attraction in the recent months has a true annoyance. It has killed the fun of dating. There is no buzz, no butterflies, and no excitement without the draw of attraction. Again, I must stress that these men have been wonderful individuals that any person should be happy to date. I feel that I should be head-over-heels infatuated with any one of them, but I’m not. This general blase toward my partners has got me thinking:

Is there something wrong with me?

I’ve been documenting my mental healthy on this blog, and I’ve been open about my struggles with anxiety, depression, and complex PTSD. While I know I still have a lot of work to do, I have come a long way. In short, at this point my mental health could be one of many factors impacting my dating life. Maybe my general inability to trust others, my fear of dependency are to blame. These are barriers that can’t be torn down over-night. Despite these, admittedly big hurtles, I don’t think that this means I am broken. I just think I am overwhelmed, stressed from the constant mental and emotional strain that dating has on the mind and body. As an introvert, the constant meet-and-greet, coffee-runs, and get-to-know you games are exhausting.

I just need a break.

After spending the last few months feeling anxious, annoyed, and frustrated, I’ve decided to take a break. I’ve deleted my dating apps, and had open and honest conversations with the guys I had been seeing. Instead swiping right and left all day trying to force relationships. Instead of pretending that I feel something for guys I’ve just met, I decided to give it a rest. I read an article online somewhere (probably Facebook) that modern dating is stressful because there are too many options. It reminds me of that episode of How I Met Your Mother when Barney has the “magic phone” that never stops ringing. The endless supply of women makes him anxious, jumpy, indecisive, and miserable (the episode is called Rabbit or Duck, season 5, episode 15). I don’t know if this scenario is what is what’s causing my dating frustrations, but I do believe it is a large part of it.

Dating shouldn’t be frustrating.

I’m not saying that we don’t get annoyed with our partner’s, and I’m not saying that relationships are easy– I’m just saying that the mere thought of dating shouldn’t make you tense. There is nothing wrong with admitting to yourself that “maybe right now, it’s not a good time for me”. I’m not saying that I’m not going to date at all, I’m just letting it happen naturally. In other words, I’m not looking, but I’m not hiding either. Instead of trying to force attraction through dating apps and active searches, I’m taking a breather and going about my day. If it happens, it happens. Maybe I’ll go back to online dating later. Right now, I’m just relieved to look at my phone without seeing notifications waiting.

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