I Used To Take Dating So Seriously But I’ve Found The Magic Formula For Keeping It All In Perspective

I spent the majority of my twenties consumed by romantic relationships. When I look back on how seriously I took dating at the time, I hardly recognize myself. Thankfully, now that I’m older and wiser, my entire outlook on relationships has changed.

  1. Focusing on my inner happiness makes dating irrelevant. Women are conditioned to believe that we need partners in order to thrive and be fulfilled, and I spent a lot of my life believing that myth. But over the years, I’ve discovered that when I focus on what makes me happy as a complete, individual person, my relationship status has absolutely no significance to my overall happiness.
  2. I’ve accepted the fact that I won’t be having kids right away, so there’s no rush to find someone permanent. For some reason, I thought my biological clock was ticking away like nuts throughout my twenties and it made me feel like I had to find “Mr. Right” as soon as humanly possible. But the older I get, the less concerned I am about having kids now or ever, and my search for the right man has been put on hold indefinitely. Children no longer seem necessary to being a complete person, nor does a partner.
  3. Independence has made me less interested in marriage. Part of my desire to get married early in my twenties definitely had something to do with my need to feel like a grown-up. Now that I actually am a grown-up, marriage seems totally unnecessary. I’m a complete person on my own and I don’t need a relationship to make me feel like I’m living up to my greatest potential.
  4. The men I date have no effect on my value as a person. I used to need validation from men in order to understand why I was an amazing person and worth being loved. When I think about that now, it makes me so sad because no one should need other people to make them feel important. These days, I’m very aware of my worth and of what makes me special and important. I don’t need anyone to validate my existence.
  5. I’m financially independent and have great friends—there’s nothing missing in my life. Once I started reaching my actual goals—having a group of amazing friends, securing an amazing job, and having my own apartment to name a few—there was nothing more I wanted. If a guy shows up and knocks me off my feet and I fall in love, I’m totally open to committing to a relationship, but I’m in no hurry to find one now or anytime in the future.
  6. I’ve learned just how great being single can be. Whenever anyone complains about being single, I can hardly keep myself from rolling my eyes. Being single is amazing. You get to focus on your friendships and your relationships with your family. Most importantly, you get to focus on your relationship with yourself. Being in a romantic relationship can make you forget how important your other connections are, and finally having the time to learn about yourself and your other relationships will show you just how unnecessary dating is to happiness.
  7. I love the freedom of being on my own. I feel so liberated when I’m not in a committed relationship. There’s no anxiety about making someone else happy or wondering where the relationship is going. You don’t have to make plans with anyone about when to go on vacation or when to move. You just get to exist as yourself, on your own, and do what’s best for you. What’s not to love?
  8. Only I can make myself happy. Sometimes it takes years to learn that you’re all you have in life. That may seem kind of depressing and lonely, but it’s actually pretty empowering. I used to be my own worst enemy and feel like I needed someone else in order to feel happy, but now I’m my best friend. I understand that if I’m not happy within myself, no one else will be able to make me feel happy no matter how much love there is between us. You have to rely on yourself for fulfillment, otherwise, you’ll never know what real happiness feels like.
  9. At the end of the day, you have to love yourself no matter who you are or aren’t dating. I used to think that there was something wrong with me if I wasn’t in a relationship, as if I dating someone meant I was lovable and not dating someone meant I couldn’t be loved at all. But no matter who you’re with, loving yourself is crucial to being a complete human being. These days, I date who I want, when I want, and my opinion of myself never wavers. I love myself unconditionally, and that has absolutely nothing to do with who I’m with.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.