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.
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.