I decided at some point that this was going to be my summer of zero dates. Well, mostly.
I was online and on apps a lot. I had more first dates in a two-month period than I had had in my entire life—and I was always a pretty active dater. Nothing disastrous had happened. Nothing traumatic. I just felt as if the dating scene had become a chore.
For most people, casual conversation with a stranger is difficult. For me, I could talk to anyone. Really. The janitor. The CEO. The three-year-old child. The eighty-year-old guy with dementia on the subway. Conversing with dates was a breeze.
I met interesting people, and not-so-interesting people. Some were a little crazy, while others were perfectly fine. None gave me a tingle or spark. None made me say: Let's take this to the next level.
And hey, when you are divorced and dating, we all know how tough that can be. Juggling your schedules around the kids—if you've both got them, or you or your date is a parent; trusting someone after perhaps some intense "trust fails" from an ex; revealing parts of yourself, and being vulnerable, after watching a marriage fail.
Dating after a divorce is an intricate dance, and one that I had committed to carrying out, from the beginning intro to the final curtsy. But before summer had even dropped its hot, humid temperatures on the East Coast, I was done.
Not bitter. Not jaded. Just bored.
I decided to do something different. I decided to let life take its course.
If I was to meet someone in the grocery store or at the bar, awesome. If I met someone at the gym—sure! Let's go out. I just didn't want to do the endless barrage of "swipe left or swipe right" and "here's my basic 411—will you message me back now?" I wanted authenticity. I wanted real life run-ins.
And truthfully, there were times when I would come home from a date and think, "I wish I had just gone out with my friends instead." My free time is precious. There's not enough of it to go around.
So instead of fighting the good fight. I decided to take a few weeks off, with the goal of it being the whole summer.
I'm a romantic at heart, but a part of me just wanted to "keep it simple, stupid," as my math teachers would tell me and my fellow students growing up. I didn't want to juggle schedules, deal with needy dudes, go out for my one sole evening of alone adult time and have it be a dud date, or go out with perfectly nice people but not feel the spark.
I wanted my friends. I wanted the sunshine, the beach, and long hot nights making conversation with anyone I felt like talking to.
Some of my friends thought this meant I had given up, but others knew better. Sometimes, you just need to step aside for a bit. Sometimes, you just need to stick to the comforts of what you know. It's okay if dating starts to become stale, boring or stressful, and you need a break. What's not okay is allowing dating to become this way and continuing to repeat the same pattern.
For me, I was happy to date if I happened to run into someone in my real-life surroundings, but I didn't want to make the online effort for a while.
With summer halfway over, I've decided that maybe it's okay to swipe around a little. I had my break. I had my time to digest what it was that dating was lacking for me, and what it is I'm looking for.
Sometimes, you just need to hit pause to reflect and redefine who you are and what you want in this life—post-divorce—and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.