When we like our results then everything's gravy BUT, what if we don't like our results? I'm going to talk about why being able to correctly decipher what your thoughts arefrom what's real is the first step in changing your the results you're getting...
Dating in your 30s When You Hate Dating
For the better part of the last decade, I hated dating. I used to hate anything to do with dating. Swiping was torture, actual dating was demoralising, and being single year after year felt like this weird gift I’d never asked for but was somehow supposed to be enjoying. And then one day, everything changed...
One of my favourite episodes of the podcast so far is the episode on “How to Talk To Single Women”. The amount of thought work and introspection it took to produce that episode has had a knock on effect on my views on dating as a thirtysomethibng that I did not expect. This week I’d love to share some of the aftermath of that episode with you in the hopes it might help bring you or someone you care about a little bit of peace and clarity on this topic.
For the better part of the last decade, I hated dating. I used to hate anything to do with dating. Swiping was torture, actual dating was demoralising, and being single year after year felt like this weird gift I’d never asked for but was somehow supposed to be enjoying. I didn’t like being around couples and as friends would get coupled up to other lovely human beings, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was failing and being abandoned. I would bristle whenever the topic of dating and "why I was still single" was raised and get fed up with unsolicited platitudes that were intended as loving reassurances from loved ones but were actually just irritating to be on the receiving end of.
Back in April, I extended a work trip in order to spend my first ever solo weekend abroad in a very sunny Lake Como. I spent 3 full days exploring alone, eating alone, and writing in beautiful cafes surrounded by couples who were clearly experiencing their most romantic weekend ever. There was a time when this would have been my absolute worst nightmare but instead, I had a superb weekend. I wouldn’t have wanted any of this any other way and I’m still so shocked about that.
So what changed? My thoughts obviously!
The biggest reason so many of us hate dating is because of the thoughts we’re having about dating and what we’re making them all mean about us. In my case, I had (unbeknownst to me) ingested and codified society’s core narrative that being in a relationship was better than being single. I was treating being single as something I was failing to overcome. Like it was something I needed to escape. With that mentality, every date was basically a measure of whether or not I would be rescued.
Every swipe that wasn’t a match or every match that went nowhere would serve as a reminder that I was failing and therefore a failure. It’s no wonder I hated dating. These thoughts would play on a loop and when they did, my brain would do what all human brains do. It set about finding as much evidence as it could as often as it could to prove me right. I talk about this in my episode on confirmation bias so check that one out after this one.
I haven't even mentioned my thoughts about other couples! Sheesh. I would make other people’s relationships mean all sorts of things about me and my value. Couples weren't evidence that love was possible, they were evidence that I was missing something, that the men were running out and there'd be none left for me. Imagine that!
Lake Como was a pleasure because I've managed to recognise and shift all of these thoughts. I've instructed my brain to find evidence of the thoughts I want to belive and it's been smashing the assignment so far. That's why the couples in Lake Como made me smile so big and bright. Why I felt empathy watching a couple argue instead of the usual smug vindication that love is a lie. Why I looked forward to eating solo even when well-meaning strangers extended invitations (also stranger danger so no thank you ma'am).
I’ve talked often about the power of self talk and being intentional about the stories we tell ourselves. It took months of very difficult coaching to shift mindsets I’ve had for YEARS. It didn’t hit home for me that I was making any sort of progress until my solo weekend. Seeing couples laughing together, holding hands, exchanging lakeside kisses, etc made me smile because the link between other couples and my sense of self worth has been fully severed.
So, what about dating?
I can no longer relate to the feelings of hating dating which is a new sensation to get used to. I don’t dread dating. If anything, I’m very curious to know what a Lumes who doesn’t hate dating is like on a date. I’ll keep you posted of course.
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I sat down about an hour ago to write this week’s post on motivation (LOL) and in that hour, I’ve customised a PAX wardrobe on the IKEA website.