“One person is all it takes.”
So goes the advice of my married and paired-off peers, who patiently listen as I lament my lackluster dating life. Being both an optimist and a romantic, I’ve gone into every budding relationship carrying this notion with an open heart and an open mind, wondering if this person might be that person. And to make a long story short, my last person was not my Last Person.
In his words, our demise came down to “irreconcilable differences.” In my heart of hearts, I knew it was true, and if we’re being honest, I knew it all along. What can I say? I liked him. I was drawn to his intellect, his opinions, and most notably, his edge. Of course, it was that same edge that led me to bend my morals, beliefs, and needs little by little. It wasn’t on an extreme level, but I found myself trying to fit into his lifestyle, which grated against my own. After we decided to bring our rendezvous to an end, I finally saw that clearly.
It was a jarring wake-up call to reality. If I’m so willing to compromise my values—even on a small scale—just to be with someone, what exactly are my priorities? I took so much pride in not changing for the sake of romance—and yet, this was arguably the most significant way someone could change. Once I took off the rose-colored glasses and snapped back into a rational headspace, I knew I needed a reset.
“I developed a solid foundation of who I am and what I want in a partner.”
You’ve probably heard of digital detoxes, where people will go on a social media hiatus to focus on other aspects of their lives. This was a dating detox—which meant completely wiping the slate clean. No apps, no dates, no prospects. It started with three months in July. After that, I would decide whether it was time to get back in the game or to keep on truckin’ for the next three (spoiler alert: I kept going).
God has a funny way of working, because not long after my sabbatical from romance begun, I met a couple of guys. One was a friend of a friend, and the other was a waiter. I entertained the ideas, tempted to break this fast. But just as quick as they came, they fizzled out—que será, será. My heart wasn’t in it, anyway.
Everything started to settle in after that. I’m not the type of person to regularly go on first dates, so my day-to-day life was relatively the same. I still mused on the perils of modern dating with my friends. But I spent more time pressing into my work, which led to an epic amount of growth in my career—a mere bonus to not stressing about love. Most importantly though, I developed a solid foundation of who I am and what I want in a partner.
As I mentioned before, this dating detox lasted until the New Year, which meant that once the clock struck midnight on January 1st, I was officially back on the market. I considered hopping onto some of the dating apps or asking if my friends might know someone. Instead, I stayed put with this new perspective and left myself open to the possibilities ahead.
Fast forward three weeks later, and I‘m catching up with an acquaintance over dinner. As it turns out, it was a date. And for those of you who love a happy ending, we’re still seeing each other—but that’s a story for another time.