From a DGS Facebook group page member: I really would love to be in a new relationship but I hate online dating. I am just not cut out for it. My heart gets ripped out way too easily and I can’t deal with the ghosting.
I really want to learn to be fine being on my own. I want to get to a point that I don’t need to engage in online dating and where I don’t want a relationship. Everyone is different, but sometimes I worry that I am never going to be okay with being alone–being on my own, but it is where I really want to get to.
We are taught growing up to desire and dream of finding our knight in shining armor and living happily ever after. This dream teaches us to rely on others to achieve our dreams and feel love instead of trusting we get to create it for ourselves. I know that was what I was taught and it took my divorce to teach me to not only learn what loving myself felt and looked like, it also taught me to date myself for the first time in 40 years.
Being alone after divorce feels scary and we often wonder if we will ever find love again. Many jump back into the dating world quickly because it is easier than being alone. And I believe that it is a good thing because it is a chance for you to learn more about yourself, and spend time with friends that you otherwise would have needed permission to do. Alone is a choice – there are so many ways we get to engage with others. Sometimes it is through a book, finding new MeetUp groups, learning a new hobby, to name a few. Socializing is important to your recovery and there are many ways to do so that do not involve dating apps.
So, if you are one of those people who are saying “I hate online dating,” here are 5 ways to socialize without actually swiping.
Volunteering is an amazing way to not only be accountable to show up somewhere, you also get to help others, which always makes us feel amazing. It is about engaging with others to boost your brain’s endorphins and help you feel happiness. And who knows? You may make a new lasting friendship and a new support network!
2. Socialize with Friends and Family.
Many of us find more time to ourselves after divorce so this is a great opportunity for you to make time for people and friendships you haven’t given attention to. I find that being proactive in making plans goes a long way . People love feeling wanted! And who knows? they may ask you to come over for a night in to Neflix and binge!
3. Join a Community.
It is so important to reach out and surround yourself with others who understand what you are going through and are within reach should you need support. You will find that surrounding yourself with people who are in the same place and who are looking to talk, listen and offer advice is comforting, validating and inspiring.
4. Start a Wellness Routine.
Getting your body moving allows blood to flow, endorphins to get pumped and the opportunity to clear your mind. And who knows? You may make a new friend! I remember crying on the treadmill early in my separation not caring who saw because at least I was out of the house.
5. Take a trip / Plan a Staycation.
There is never a bad time to take a trip on your own – even if it is a day trip! It also prevents you from running into anyone you know. Or, perhaps you check in a local hotel and order room service. A change of scenery does wonders for your soul.
More advice for “I hate online dating.”
This reader does say she wants to be in a relationship, but hates online dating, and so I have to ask, is she going to sacrifice the chance to find love because she doesn’t want to go through the process of dating online or otherwise?
She needs to be honest with herself. If she is trying to talk herself into wanting to get to a place of being alone (the only reason being because she doesn’t want to meet anymore toxic people on dating apps) that’s not healthy either.
A person not wanting a relationship because they choose that, or because they just aren’t ready yet, or if they are still grieving their past relationship, is very different from someone who doesn’t want a relationship because they don’t like the dating process.
In other words, you can’t talk yourself into wanting to be alone because you don’t want to go through the frustrations and disappointments of online dating. My advice would be to take a break from online dating and implement my social suggestions. You will know when you are ready to date again. That could be in a few weeks, months or even years. There are no right or wrong answers.
However you feel about online dating, spend some time reflecting and rediscovering who you are. Make it fun. Engage in hobbies you let fall by the wayside or dust off that bike in the garage. Choose something to get reacquainted with yourself whether that is reawakening old passions or finding new ones. This is a crucial step to not skip so you know who you are and what kind of people deserve your time and energy moving forward.
Lastly, be kind to yourself and have compassion for where you are. Life, dating, and finding love isn’t a competition. It is your life and you get to decide what your future is going to look like. Use this time to rediscover your own gifts and talents to create a life on your terms. Remember, a table for one has blessings in it when you choose to see them.