I’m Not Ready to Date

About three weeks ago, I went on a fourth! – that I got that far should be cause for celebration – date with a woman who I quite liked. She is nice, smart, and caring. If I were to date someone, she’s a really good candidate. Except, at some point during dinner she asked if I’m ready to date. She’s ready to date. I told her that I don’t know and would have to think about it.

Red flag.

After three and a half years of being single, I’m less ready to date now than I have ever been. There isn’t even a really good reason for why.

For the last few weeks, whenever I have a minute or two, I sometimes think about why I’m not ready to date. I even had a quick conversation with a friend of mine about it. The only thing that really comes to mind is that I just don’t want to.

At the beginning of the summer, I decided that I’d give dating a real go. I’ve been on more dates over the last four months than I had been in the three years before the summer began. It was fun meeting different women (all online), sharing a few laughs, getting rejected, rejecting, and sipping drinks in different parts of the city.

Newton's Cradle. Source: Wikipedia Commons.
Newton’s Cradle. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

Moving to Toronto has been something of a struggle, and I’m finally on a decent upswing, like a pendulum, with my life. It would seem that now would be the time to take on a partner, but it’s one thing that I want very little.

Maybe I just haven’t been on the right date yet. Maybe it’s the idea of keeping my apartment, including the bathroom and kitchen, really clean. Who knows, though?

I used to think that being in love with someone was the real experience of freedom, but I’m changing my tune. I used to think that love was the most liberating emotion/feeling/state of being that one can experience, but no more. Now, I’m starting to think that freedom is a phone that doesn’t ring and an empty calendar; my phone rarely rings – it’s on silent for about two-thirds of the day – and my calendar is mostly (~80%) blank, but it’s still a little overwhelming for me.

Once I realized that I’m simply not ready to date, I deleted my online dating profiles – OkCupid and Tinder. I haven’t been going out much lately, so I’m not meeting women in the “real” world. I wouldn’t be meeting women if I were going out more, but the potential would be significantly higher if I were to.

Strangely, once I stopped trying to date, my stress level has gone down and my attention and energy is more focused. I thought that not having a girlfriend was why I was feeling a little low. All of the time – sweet mercy, the number of hours it takes to go through online dating profiles – I used to spend writing introductory messages, after reading women’s online dating profiles, I now spend doing things that I’d rather do.

I’ve started cooking for myself more, writing more, getting through some of the projects that I’ve been thinking about, and reading more. In a strange twist of fate, I’m probably a more interesting person to date since realizing that I don’t want to. I’d date me since I’ve decided that I don’t want to date, but we all want what we can’t have.

I haven’t stopped believing in love, but I’ve put it on the back burner. It’s one of those “careful what you wish for” situations; hope is a dangerous thing, as Red would say.

Still, the pendulum swings, hanging in the middle when it stops. Maybe this whole deal is better analogized by Newton’s cradle, and I’m currently one of the three balls in the middle.

Those things are useless once the strings get tangled.

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