If you’re stuck in an endless cycle of bad first dates and unfulfilling almost-relationships, it can be tempting to throw in the towel and give up on dating altogether. Maybe you’ve decided that you’d rather be single than suffer never-ending disappointment. But before you delete your dating apps and cancel upcoming dates, read this. There are a few reasons why you should still date even when it feels pointless.
- You always have someone to do things with. Being in a romantic relationship is like having a perpetual adventure buddy. Your friends have their own lives and schedules, but you and your partner move through the world together. When you need someone to hang out with, they’re there. Even when you don’t want to do anything in particular but you still want company, your partner is there to do nothing with you.
- Reliable sex. If you’re single and horny, finding someone to have sex with is a lot harder than dating apps and TV shows make it seem. For women especially, meeting up with a stranger carries safety concerns, making it necessary to meet in public at least once before you consider going somewhere private. Even if you do feel safe, it’s not always easy finding someone you’re attracted to when the urge strikes you. For people in relationships, on the other hand, sex is almost always an option. If you’re in the mood, you might not even have to leave the room to get your fix.
- It keeps your priorities balanced. Without a busy personal life, it’s easy to become obsessed with work. Dating forces you to turn your attention elsewhere. It gives you perspective on how you spend your time and what you value, and ensures that you will never get too focused on just one aspect of your life. Having this balance will always give you more energy to pursue your professional goals because it will prevent you from being mentally exhausted and burnt out.
- It’s cheaper. On a purely logistical level, being in a relationship is economical. Sharing food expenses is one thing, but if you end up moving in together, you’ll be splitting rent, bills, and vacation costs. You might spend a little more upfront by going on dates instead of staying at home by yourself, but once you’re in a solid relationship, you’ll end up saving a lot more money than you were when you were single.
- You’ll learn what you do and don’t want. This is one of the best reasons you should date regularly. Not everyone wants to tie themselves to a partner for the rest of their lives, just as not everyone wants to have children. But you need to be informed about your options to make the decision that is best for you. Dating around will help you recognize what type of future you want, whether it’s with the person you’re dating, with someone you haven’t met yet, or by yourself.
- Human bonding is a necessity. Like it or not, humans are social animals. Developing close relationships is a requirement for our mental and emotional wellbeing, and is a key component of our evolution. Multiple studies have shown that strong relationships contribute to physical health as well, along with exercise, diet, and sleep. Ultimately, people with close human bonds live longer.
- You’ll always have a travel buddy. Have you ever been somewhere new and wished you had someone to share it with? When you’re dating someone, you’ll always have someone to go on adventures with and share memories of all the embarrassing, exhilarating, and scary situations you got yourselves into. Everyone should experience solo travel at least once in their life, but eventually, you’ll want to share your adventures with someone.
- You won’t have relationship FOMO. Everyone’s had at least one experience of going out to dinner with friends and being the only one without a date. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s awkward and sometimes a little lonely. Being in a relationship means that you’ll never have to worry about being in this situation again. You won’t be the third wheel, and you’ll always have someone to gossip about everyone with when the night is over. While this isn’t necessarily one of the best reasons you should date, it’s still worth considering.
- You will learn from them. One of the most fulfilling and challenging parts of dating is learning and growing from your experiences. Getting to know people romantically is a vulnerable process. You have to reveal your deepest self and share things that you aren’t proud of. But through this process, you will become stronger. Even relationships that fall apart will teach you how to be a better partner next time. Dating is difficult, but in this respect, the difficulty will teach you valuable life lessons.
- You might surprise yourself. You may think you’re not cut out for long-term relationships, only to discover in the course of dating that you are an amazing partner and enjoy the company of a significant other. You might stumble upon the love of your life and transform your life goals. Dating keeps you open to serendipity. You never know who you’ll end up on a first date with. Your soulmate might be just one swipe away.
Why dating is so frustrating in general
All of these things make dating sound like a good idea, but in reality, it’s a lot easier said than done. For most of us, finding someone we actually want to be with for more than five minutes feels like a Herculean challenge. Here’s why it’s so tough:
- There are just too many options. We are more connected by technology than ever, and this means that the dating pool has expanded from a person’s immediate social circle and its outside connections (friends-of-friends, etc.) to include…basically everyone. Because of this, people find it nearly impossible to commit to anyone for fear of ruling out something better. When there’s always another option, why settle? Someone even more amazing might be hovering just around the corner. Too many options have the paradoxical effect of preventing people from ever settling down. Instead, they’re stuck in an endless assembly line of first dates.
- Pickiness. Having an abundance of options also makes us prohibitively picky. It allows us to imagine that there is someone out there who fits every single desire we have, as if we could write a recipe for the perfect partner and miraculously bring them to life. But your ideal partner is never going to be exactly who you imagined. Love is not triggered by a specific assortment of behaviors and interests. It’s much more mysterious than that. Being overly specific about what you’re looking for limits your options and prevents you from finding your perfect match.
- Hookup culture. Changes in societal expectations about romance and sexual behavior have meant that casual sex is no longer taboo. You could even argue that it is the norm. While cultural acceptance of sexual freedom is a largely positive change, it also brings detrimental consequences. Studies indicate that casual sex can be harmful to mental health and increases the risk of unfulfilling relationships. Many people are exhausted by hookup culture because it disregards emotional connection and meaningful intimacy. In light of this, it makes sense that being single is a better option than wading through months of transactional encounters to find a worthwhile relationship.