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Thursday, 3 November 2016

A BREAK FROM DATING | Conclusion

So Monday officially marked the end to my dating ban where I took a break from dating - for an entire month - for personal reasons.

To sum up briefly, the reasons were:

- I was feeling a little overwhelmed with Tinder and, admittedly, social media. It seemed I'd got to the point where if I wasn't swiping right on Tinder, I was trying to arrange a date on What'sapp, flirting on Facebook or generally just chatting with boys. I couldn't remember the last time I was genuinely 100% single and not interested in or flirting with someone.
- I was also feeling a bit fed up of not just the dating scene, but dating in general as a generation. I wrote about this in more detail in the original blog post, but let's just say it was doing my head in a bit.
- And, finally, I wanted to take some time to myself to work out what I wanted. At the end of the day, taking a step back and a brief break from things can always be refreshing and eye opening.


HOW I GOT ON
My dating ban got off to a good start, partly because I was a few hundred miles away from home on the first day of my ban, enjoying the sights and wonders of Blackpool and far too busy to think about dating or lack thereof.

It's Sunday that I started to feel it - and yes, I am aware that that was only the second day.

A guy I'd been chatting to for a long time popped up, and when he sent me a kiss emoji, I had to send a laughing one back. Oh the wonders of modern dating. It's picky, but I wanted to do it right! I explained my ban to him, and we continued to talk, but as normal. It wasn't so bad - we'd been talking for a good few months at this point with no intentions of things going further, so although the conversation often turned flirty, there were also many times where we just catch up like normal.

So far, no massive change there.

Sunday is the day that I actually properly deleted Tinder, though. I'd deleted it previously, but not my profile, and this is a scary thought - but it had to be done properly. Deleting my profile meant deleting all my matches and conversations, and I almost don't want to. I'm one of those 'what if' people.

- What if that fit guy I matched with last month just deleted Tinder for a bit, too?
- What if that guy I was dating deleted my number and the only way he can get back into contact with me again is through Tinder, where we first started messaging?
- What if I'm just days away from swiping right on the future love of my life?!

These thoughts hindered in my mind for a moment, before I tell myself my nan's famous motto 'if it's meant to be, it will be'. I hit delete, and told myself that if a boy has missed his chance in not initiating conversation with me already, then, well, it's his own fault.

I felt a slight flush of satisfaction, knowing that deleting my Tinder profile - not just deleting the app or hiding my profile - was one of the biggest steps in taking a more permanent break.

I also started to feel a bit down on Sunday, mostly out of boredom. Sunday is such a couples night, isn't it? No one wants to go out and see friends till late at night on a Sunday when they have work in the morning, so not having anyone to talk to constantly had me reaching for my phone, wanting to find someone hot to talk to on Tinder or wanting any sort of male attention.

On the Monday night, I had a very concerning dream about a guy I used to date. Before I went to bed, his name popped up on 'people you may know' on a social networking site, and I haven't seen or heard from him in almost two years now. Once he got a new girlfriend, he dropped off the face of the earth - which was fine by me. We got on well enough, but never ever saw each other as relationship material. It was just a bit of on/off fun for three or so years when our situations allowed, although it did get to a point where I found myself wondering why we always ended up migrating back to each other.

Anyway, in this dream, not only were we 'on' again, but we were a couple! It was weird as I'd never seen him as boyfriend material, yet in my dream I was genuinely really happy.

How odd. I think this is mostly to do with seeing his name pop up so me thinking about him properly for the first time in years, but I also wondered if deep down it's because I really am over the whole idea of casual dating and am perhaps ready for something a bit more serious.

Who knows, but it certainly was a blast from the past that made me feel quite weird when I woke up!

On Friday, I went out to dinner with some friends and mentioned how I had deleted my Tinder profile. On the way home, one friend asked me if I'd deleted it completely and was I talking to anyone. I paused and then admitted 'no, not really'.

I can't remember the last time my answer to that question hadn't been something like 'well yes, there's this one guy' or 'this guy I used to date popped up'. It was just a simple answer of no and for once, I felt really happy about that.

The rest of the month went by without much to write home about, although I did end up kissing a friend, oops.

I also ended up having so many dreams about past flings and interests! Nothing really notable happened in them, usually just us reuniting, and it didn't make me feel any different, but I just found it interesting. To me, it also seems like I must have been dating the ban really seriously if my subconscious picked up on it and decided to throw in a bunch of dreams about blasts from the past!

In the end, I was actually a little naughty, and gave in and re-installed Tinder two days early - oops. I'd been feeling glum over the past few days and I guess that's just another example of what our generation is like - giving in and hoping to find some sort of comfort or at least being cheered up a bit with a little flirt with someone cute or some attention.



DID I STICK TO MY BAN?
For the most part, yes. I completely deleted Tinder (well for 29 days, anyway), and I definitely didn't sleep with anyone or go on dates. However, is this just because the opportunities never arose? I can't say I was actually invited on a date during my ban, but there were chances I could have got laid, so to speak.

I did kiss someone, but this said someone promptly noted afterwards that they were just after something casual and I promptly mentioned I definitely was not. So that was entirely short lived, but I'm kind of glad it happened because it gave me a chance to not give in.

I didn't last very long with the flirting or using no flirty emojis though - so sue me! Do you know how hard it is to actively avoid using a kiss or wink emoji? It's impossible! Maybe I was a bit harsh on myself there with that rule. But I will say, for the most part, I didn't initiate any flirting. So that's something.

WHAT IT TAUGHT ME
This month break has taught me what I want and how I should always stick to my guns. Many times in the past I've often 'gone with the flow' with guys who I knew deep down didn't want relationships when deep down I wanted more.

But when presented with the idea this month, I knew as much as it would have been fun to see someone casually, it would only be a quick fix and that it wasn't really what I wanted. I stuck to my guns because I knew deep down in the long run it wouldn't work or would be harder on me, and I'm glad I did.

So I've definitely learned to turn around and stick to my guns about what I want, and to not feel so ashamed for being the one who wants more.

That's not to say the next person I see is going to go on to become my future boyfriend, because despite what I've said above, I do still believe that you can meet some people who you simply don't see as boyfriend material and can still feel content taking it casual and slow with. But if there is someone I meet (there may have been...) that I do see myself wanting a relationship with, I'm not going to forgo my own feelings to keep things casual because it's what he wants.

I'm getting too old for those games!

I've also learned to be a bit more picky on Tinder and to not waste anyone's time. When I used to use Tinder before, I used to someones swipe on guys who I didn't find that attractive but liked their bios, but most of the time I'd find our conversations boring and never going anywhere. Now, I'm only going to swipe right on people I genuinely 100% believe I would go on a date with if they asked. This is tough because, of course, there's only so much you can tell from a photo and a small bio, but I suppose that's the whole point of Tinder really.

Finally, I also learned that I've definitely been neglecting my friends lately. My life is all over the place right now and I always seem to be skint, but I know in the past the reasons why I've enjoyed being single is because I've always been out and about doing things with friends. This I haven't done so much lately, hence why some evenings I've just been sat at home feeling pretty, well, lonely if I'm honest.

I know first hand that you should never get in a relationship just because you're lonely and that is not the answer to fixing that, so I know for sure it's a case of me making a bit more effort with my friends again. Sometimes it is just life through, for example with the H&M girls, it's always really hard to find a time where we're all free and can all afford going out to dinner or for a few drinks and such.


WHAT NOW
I don't think much will change. I've re-installed Tinder but I'm not bothering with any other dating apps. I just feel although it's a bad thing for our generation, everyone is on it, so if you can't beat them = join them. It is just a bit of fun at the end of the day though, however I won't be expecting much from it.

I'm still taking a step back of sorts, and not actively looking (not that I did anyway) but I suppose with guys I'd been speaking to for a while before my ban - I'll talk to them, if they pop up, but I likely won't initiate things.

And I'm going to try and see my friends a bit more.

That's about it, really. I am proud I managed the full month and even if there were a few slip ups here and there, I do genuinely feel it's had a positive effect on me and given me some food for thought - which is the outcome I wanted.

Have you ever been on a dating ban? Do you think it can be refreshing to take a step back sometimes and take a break? Let me know!

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