3 Ways to Date Yourself

Being single can make you feel sad sometimes. We’ve been conditioned to believe that love is the most important thing in life, and maybe it is!

But, that love can start with us. We can delight in our company! So, in your loneliness, I propose dating yourself. Yes. I said date yourself. Take you out. Love you. Here are three ways you’re probably already doing it, but now change your mindset and the way you go about them:

  • GO TO A MOVIE! Make it cathartic

I went to see Fences and I cried. It made me realize that I wanted to watch sad movies! There’s a catharsis in them. You get lost in this journey with these people and whatever pains of the day are buried in you can be released in the end. I recommend watching the movie in the evening after the weight of the day has worn you down, you could just get lost in the lives of other and then sleep. My goal is to check out Moonlight and maybe even Manchester By The Sea (ew Casey Affleck) just because I hear they are beautiful which is code for you’re probably going to cry. And if we can’t cry away the expectations of society, how will be free for good things when they come?

  • TABLE FOR ONE! Own the place.

Take yourself out to a café, or to a restaurant. Yes, go to a nice restaurant, and say you’re a party for one and enjoy a nice steak dinner, or something vegan. Whatever floats your boat. It’s important to enjoy your own company. It’s important to understand that your validation is not with whom you share your company with. You’ve got to be happy with you and not feel embarrassed that other people may pity you. And if they do, so what? Eat your nice meal. But, if a steak dinner is pushing it, café spots are cute to spend some quiet time. I don’t mean Starbucks, but the quiet little café somewhere in a less crowded part of the neighborhood. You go without your laptop, and just enjoy the ambiance, cakes, or spinach crepes they have. And of course people watching!

I Took a Relationship Hiatus for 18 Months

What abstaining from romantic love taught me about myself.

A while ago, I ended an unhealthy relationship and decided to give dating a wide berth for the foreseeable future. That turned out to be 18 months. I made the decision not out of bitterness or because I didn’t want to love again, and not even because my heart had received a sucker punch. It definitely had (multiple times).

But I realized that after my last relationship, I didn’t recognize myself. I felt so far removed from the person I wanted to be. I knew I needed to get to know myself, not a man.

Women spend so much time learning who we’re supposed to be that we forget to pay attention to who we actually are. The fear of being alone drives us towards men with whom we are ultimately (and sometimes glaringly) incompatible.

And one day it occurred to me that I was unfit to be anyone’s partner until I could stand to be myself.

Step 1: Face down my own emotions

I took some time to feel what I hadn’t let myself feel: all of the pain, abandonment, insecurity, etc. that had accumulated throughout my adult life. It socked me in the jaw. But I faced it down and began dealing with it. At first, I was terrified. I felt the suffocating loneliness of dating withdrawals. I panicked when, with no one else around, I stood face to face with my own demons.

But here’s the incredible thing: it didn’t last forever. After a few months, I learned new, healthier ways to deal with loneliness. The negative voices gradually softened. Like exercising a new muscle, my confidence and sense of self-worth strengthened.

Step 2: Date myself

It started with simply learning to be with myself. I took long walks and I thought. I took time to do exactly what I wanted to do. I wrote a novel. I read my favorite authors and watched my favorite films. I realized that while I love company, I don’t necessarily need it to be happy. Everything I need is already contained within me. Self-soothing is a wonderful skill we somehow acquire as babies and promptly forget once we reach adulthood. I’m proud to say I rediscovered it.

Step 3: Rekindle platonic love

Then I focused on my platonic relationships. I received so much more love than I could ever have anticipated. My friend recently told me I’m much easier to be around now than I was a year and a half ago. Taking this time to clear my own head opened up myriad possibilities — I cultivated friendships and relationships with family that I had neglected, began a new career path that I had dreamed of but never had the courage to pursue, and above all, in committing my love to those dear to me, I learned how to love myself.

Step 4: Set new #relationshipgoals

Affirming my choice not to date was liberating. I know now that if and when I do enter into a new relationship, I will do so as a more capable and compassionate partner. I also learned that I’m fine being alone. I faced my demons and came out alive.

There were times when I miss being kissed. I miss holding a man’s hand or the back-and-forth repartee that accompanies a first date. But I also recognize that it’s worth waiting for. I refuse to accept anything less than exactly what I want.

If it’s not out there, so be it. I’ll be ok. I have friends and family who love and support me. I have a new career that constantly challenges and rewards me. I’m enough.

Loved this? Discover more stories about finding yourself while single on Love TV.