I’m part of a number of non-singles Facebook groups, and the holidays brings “cuffing season,” and with that has been coming a lot of posts complaining about how hard dating is, along with dating horror stories.
Having dated, I can identify and empathize. And I used to get into relationships that I had no business being in because I had bought into the societal narrative that I “needed” to have a partner, or at least be looking for one. Then I had an epiphany, largely due in part to the Community of Single People page and how it was shaping me.
Why? Why do we “need” to be dating? The idea of “marrying for love” didn’t even come about until fairly recently; before that, marriage was a business arrangement. Some of the happiest people I know don’t date and are totally fine with it. And some people date but don’t have the expectation that it’s going to “go anywhere,” which, in my opinion, is the healthiest way to do it.
I undertook a no-dating challenge for 90 days after my last breakup, back in 2017. I found that during those 90 days, I felt happier and more serene than I’d ever been, and I was working on me. That ninety days has “sort of” turned into four years, with a few dates sprinkled in, and I’ve found that it was a lot happier because I had done a lot of work on myself and had learned that being single isn’t this disease society wants us to believe it is.
And this leads me to my proposal: I think every singleton who has a habit of dating or being in a relationship should undertake a Ninety-Day No-Dating Challenge. Stop trying to put your happiness in the hands of another person; it’s not fair to them or to you. Focus on you. Engage in hobbies. Spend time with friends and family. Binge a Netflix series by yourself. Go to a restaurant, movie, or even a museum by yourself. Travel. These are the things that truly liberate us.
Know that I’m not against dating or relationships (I may even do it again myself one day). But this challenge reset my mental patterns around it, in that I’ll do because I want to, not because I have to. And I’m a lot happier as a result. You can be too. Contact me for more details about how to go about it.
To say 2020 was a rough, strange year is an understatement. As an introvert, when they first told us to “stay home” at the beginning of the pandemic, I thought, what’s the catch? The host of Breaking Pod, a podcast on Breaking Bad, even said, “For an introvert who lives alone, this must be heaven.” But even I need to get out and interact once in a while.
Which brings me to New Year’s Eve traditions. The last time I spent it alone was 2003/2004, and that was because I had to catch an early flight to Israel on New Year’s Day. Normally, NYE might be spent at a concert or with friends, but because I’m being cautious due to the pandemic, I elected to spend it alone. There was a brief conversation on Zoom with some fellow CoSPers, which was interrupted by my delivery of some Indian tapas.
I watched a movie, The Music Never Stopped, finished binging the first season of Community on Netflix, began to learn the Grateful Dead’s “Till the Morning Comes,” and watched a bit of Anderson Cooper’s New Year’s Countdown on CNN before settling in.
When I announced my plans on CoSP, someone said that they typically do that alone and that they’re governed by social norms. As much as I’d love to say the same thing, I guess there’s some conditioning I still have. That being said, next year, if there’s a band I love playing on NYE in New York or DC or somewhere in between, I’ll probably make plans to see them. Still, it was nice to just treat NYE like a regular evening in with Chester.
Here’s to a better 2021 for all of us!
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.