11 Ways Women Who’ve Been On Their Own For Way Too Long Approach Dating Differently

It’s easy to date when every first date is a magical evening full of interesting conversation and crazy romantic chemistry. Of course, that rarely happens, especially when you’re single AF. When you’ve been solo for as long as you can remember, here’s how your dating game changes:

  1. You expect dates to be bad. You don’t try to be a pessimist, but at this point, it’s hard to think positively. You can’t remember the last time when you had a first date that actually went well. Those nights are few and far between when you’re forever single.
  2. You’re pretty paranoid. When you actually like a guy, it’s borderline terrifying. You’re always wondering when something is going to go wrong. Sometimes it feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy when things don’t work out.
  3. You’re afraid to be yourself. Of course you know that you have to show a new guy who you really are, but that’s easier said than done. You hold your cards close to your chest on first dates because you’re scared of opening up only to be hurt and disappointed once again.
  4. You cut dates short. The second you know that a date isn’t going anywhere, you’re out of there. Sometimes you wonder if you don’t give guys enough of a chance. By this point, though, you’ve been on so many crappy dates that you just can’t waste your time with someone that you don’t see a future with.
  5. You control whatever you can. You totally get that there are some aspects of first dates that you have zero control over, like whether there’s any chemistry or good conversation. But you still try to control what you can, like making sure that you’re meeting at a bar that you’re familiar with or that you have an excuse ready if you have to bail.
  6. You don’t have fun. Yes, even when you’re into the guy. Especially when you’re into the guy. You’ve been burned so many times by almost-relationships and ghosting that you can’t even imagine being super happy about the new guy in your life. It’s tough not to think that things are going to fall apart… and soon.
  7. You never get invested. You adopt a total “who cares?” attitude toward dating when you’re forever single. You make sure that if you like a new guy, you never like him too much. You can’t let  yourself get invested in the dream of what could be since you’re pretty sure you’re just going to end up alone all over again.
  8. You feel weak when you care. You know that caring about someone and being strong aren’t mutually exclusive, and yet, that’s a really hard truth to swallow. You’re so used to being independent that it’s really hard to let someone new in, and it’s even harder to admit that you might not be as strong as you thought.
  9. You can’t stop judging. You can’t help it. You’re so used to finding things wrong with guys, you can’t handle it when you meet a good one who only has minor flaws. Even though you don’t try to, you always end up looking for even the tiniest problems in guys and turning them into massive issues.
  10. You die by your dealbreakers. When you’re used to being on your own, you can’t date just anyone. You take your dealbreakers seriously, and if someone doesn’t fit your criteria, you have no problem leaving him behind. Whether you want a guy who is as much of a workaholic as you are or you need someone family-oriented, you’re confident that your standards are going to bring you a guy who’s everything you want and nothing you don’t want.
  11. You appreciate the small wins. These change on a daily basis when you’re forever single. Maybe you finally went on a second date. Maybe you went on a date after a month-long dry spell. Maybe you stood up for yourself. Whatever the wins are in your dating life, you appreciate them and believe that you’re always one step closer to a real relationship.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.