It was just about a year ago that I started dating seriously again. I moved back to the Cities. I had gotten out of a semi-serious relationship that lasted a few months. And I hadn’t dated a whole lot in the previous year due to other various reasons. I was going back out on the market. Here I am a year later maybe slightly wiser.
I went through my phone, apps, and numbers this past week to find out how many women (Note: I’ve tried to stop saying “girls” in these instances. I’m nearly 30 for pete’s sake.) I’ve gone on dates with this past year. After literally calculating it, I realized that I’ve gone out with approximately 20 different women in 2016. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad number. It is what it is. I’d like to think I was gentleman to all of them, but I’ll be honest that I didn’t call some of them back after dates one or two. As nice as I think I am, I have the ability to be a jerk as well.
A few weeks ago, a friend asked, “What’s your endgame here?” That made me rethink a few things. Dating apps are all about just heaving potential connections on you that you can easily forget the point of the whole thing: cultivating a relationship. There was more than once that I told myself that I hated dating and that it felt like like a chore, yet a few days (or hours) later I would be back on the dating apps swiping left or right. Sometimes it was good, most times it was just frustrating.
So, I changed my endgame to focus on making a good connection. Post-Thanksgiving, I went on multiple dates with three different women. They were all good dates, and I made good connections with all of them, but not all of them felt like relationships. I made sure to tell them. This past year has honed my sense of when it’s going to work and when it won’t. Don’t try and force it when it isn’t. Both people will just end up extremely unhappy.
I’ve also tried to check in about the dates and not just assume. Assuming is worst. Then you end up with unanswered texts and hurt hearts. I really don’t want to do that. Sometimes it was telling the person that I don’t think a relationship is in the cards in person, other times it was via text. This action has required a lot of growing up on my part.
Am I happier than I was a year ago about my love life? One hundred percent. That’s not because I found someone, but I’ve developed a better sense of self. I know what I need in a relationship and what I don’t want. I know how to make myself happy first. That’s really important. If you can’t bring your own joyful self to a relationship, it’s probably unsustainable. Yeah, I’m still bummed that I’m “behind” my other friends in terms of relationships, but I’ve learned to push that aside. I’ve found what makes me happy and that’s good enough for right now.
I guess the important question that you all are wondering is: is there anyone in Nick’s life right now? All I’ll say is that I’ve been on a few dates with a woman I really like, and I think it could develop into something special. But that’s all I’m going to say about it now. It’s required a new skill that’s not exactly emphasized in online dating: patience.