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May 17, 2017

Single and not looking

A few years ago, I saw on my stats (with some amusement) that someone had looked up "boyfriend" in this blog's search bar. These days, the same search will turn up more posts, but referring to a style of denim rather than an actual person. In other words: no progress on that front to update this curious reader on.

A holiday fling.

I'm 24 and I've never been in a romantic relationship. In my whole life I've been on one date and was stood up on another. Add in some awkward online dating interactions and crushes on people who are inappropriate, unattainable or complete strangers, and that pretty much sums up my love life over the last few years.

Luckily, I was never raised to think that this meant there was something wrong with me. It's been a long time since being single has affected my self esteem negatively (my self esteem is probably too high anyway), despite what society tries to tell women. Nevertheless, up until recently, I always felt like having a significant other was a milestone, in the same way that you're supposed to start smiling or playing with other children at certain ages. I was also curious about being in a relationship, and wanted one like how I want to go to Morocco one day. Not as a necessity to life, but as an interesting experience.

So I took a dive into the world of online dating. I didn't find it very enjoyable. I'm okay with real life conversation but horrible at online chats, and the idea of meeting up with someone I've never seen in person before is kind of terrifying. As my friends found varying levels of success with it, I tried to persevere. Embarrassingly, I even found matches validating and flattering in some way, despite the fact that I would dread the "hey how's it going" first message. Not to mention all the eyeroll-inducing profiles you come across.

This year, I've finally come to my senses. What's the point of all this time spent trying to go on dates, which will probably be mediocre or downright terrible and take up time that would be better spent catching up with people who I actually like? Between full time work and studying for specialty exams, my time is more limited than ever. One of my life lessons came into play: if I want balance, I have to prioritise. Dating is right at the bottom of the list.

And why? Because I can't think of how dating or having a boyfriend will add anything to my life. I have a job as a doctor and the beginnings of a career. I have a family who loves me unconditionally. I have awesome, smart friends who collectively function as a full time therapist. Sure, a romantic relationship is an interesting life experience. But I've had plenty of other interesting life experiences. I mean, I've kissed the Sphinx in Egypt!

Importantly, I've also stopped placing value on male attention and validation. It is of no use to me.

Don't get me wrong, I am totally happy for someone to come into my life and disprove all this. I'm not swearing off love or relationships or romance (typing that makes me feel gross to be honest). But I'm not going to search, wait, or pine for them anymore. I'm certainly not going to settle. Because there is no need to. Realising this has set me free.

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