Like any single person, I sometimes get lonely and miss the companionship of a relationship — I’m only human, after all — but for the most part, I really love being on my own. I’m an introvert and time alone isn’t just something I want every now and then, it’s something I go crazy without. That’s fine and all, but it definitely makes dating even more difficult than normal.
Guys don’t always understand why I don’t want to hang 24/7. I need time alone like plants need sunlight, like babies need naps, like cats need to jump on your countertops no matter how many times you put them on the floor. If I don’t plot out sufficient recharging time, I become a monster. I have to prioritize it because without it, I slowly lose all ability to function like a normal, happy, capable adult — it takes precedence over me dating almost every time.
My job is draining. Like many people, I work a full-time job and have to deal with people 40 hours a week. It’s draining as hell. I enjoy my job and I like to see everyone and everything, but the fact remains that a fundamental piece of my personality makeup is that I need time to be alone to be okay. A large chunk of my energy is spent on that. It doesn’t leave me a lot of energy left over to use for dating.
I don’t remember to push myself. I can go for long stretches of time without seeing anyone and be completely fine. I can go weeks without scheduling a hangout sesh with friends before realizing that I’ve isolated myself into hermit mode. It’s probably no surprise that I also forget to force myself to make an effort when it comes to dating.
First dates are basically Russian roulette. I’m taking a chance that this dude isn’t going to be completely awful. This means I have to gear myself up for it with a lot of mental prep work beforehand in case it is a total dud. Sometimes I just don’t have the mental strength for it.
Building connections with guys (or at least trying to) is exhausting. I mean, for me they are! Even if I enjoy the time spent, even if I feel that telltale spark, I still leave completely drained. I get worn out meeting new people on a regular day. Adding romantic expectations to that leaves me totally tired. I want to meet someone amazing but getting to that point makes me tired just thinking about it.
Dating is a numbers game. The more people you go out with, the more likely you are to find someone you hit it off with. I get worn out after just a few dates, so I never really get a chance to play the game in a way that will lead to success. I’m sure there are people who enjoy going on a ton of dates all in a row, but I just can’t function that way. This means I get discouraged easier too.
I have to psyche myself up for it. I can’t just hop on Tinder, pick a date, and have weekend plans. If I’m going to start making an effort again, it takes me a while to really talk myself into it. I know, I’m making dating sound like torture, but it’s not something that comes naturally to me at all, so it takes a lot of effort for me to get ready for it.
There’s only so much time in a day. For that matter, there’s only so much free time on any given weekend. I have so many things I enjoy doing that are time-consuming, and when they chip into the time I need to recharge and reboot, that naturally takes time away from me seeking out dates.
If I have to choose, I choose my friends. If I know I only have so much social time in my calendar, I’m going to budget it on my friends first. They’re people who I care about and who I know care about me. I’m not always willing to waste time on a date that could go nowhere when I could be hearing about my friend’s lives instead.
Maybe one day it’ll feel more important. Perhaps I just don’t make it as much of a priority right now because it simply doesn’t feel like one to me. I’m relatively happy in my singleness, so I’m not necessarily desperate to do the song and dance of dating. Maybe there will come a time when I’m feeling like I’m ready to take that challenge on again, and I’ll adjust accordingly. But for now, you can find me at home on a Friday night, by myself, instead of out on yet another date.
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