10 Things I Learned About Myself From Online Dating

I’m a 33-year-old single female living in Los Angeles, and let’s just say, the odds of meeting eligible bachelors under any “normal” circumstances here are very slim. LA is notorious for being a city in which it’s tough to date; the urban sprawl, traffic, and busy lifestyles tend to keep people in their own routines.

I’ve been in the world of online dating on and off for several years, and even had some luck at various points during that time. Today, online dating doesn’t have to be something to be ashamed of — it seems every single person is doing it! For me, it’s been a journey of hilarity, heartbreak, and self-discovery. He’s what I’ve learned:

1. I’m insecure.

It’s taken many years to learn to love myself, and I can honestly say that I do. That said, it’s easy to fall into a well of insecurity if you're trying online dating. When I see that 10 eligible bachelors viewed my profile, but didn’t bother to write me a message, sometimes my mind starts spinning. I have to remind myself to rein it in — I can’t predict what any of these people are actually looking for, and it may very well not be me.

2. My time is precious.

When I first tried online dating several years ago, I lined up several dates a week. The novelty was exciting! These days, I don’t have a lot of time to spend with complete strangers in hope of finding romance. I’ve spent far too many nights doing the ultimate test: Would I rather be home watching Netflix? This simple question has helped me be be more judicious about the time I spend dating.

3. Fear of being alone is real.

Here’s how it goes: I meet someone and we hit it off. We go out again, and it’s pretty good. Then we go out again, and it occurs to me that this guy just isn’t for me. The thought creeps into the back of my head immediately: I’m going to be alone forever. I’ve become good about pushing this out and laughing off the awkward encounters. But it’s a worry that can feel very real at times.

4. Being comfortable alone is amazing.

Years ago I would sit in my apartment alone and stare at the wall. I was in a funk, feeling sorry for myself, and very alone. Small things would set me off — friends getting engaged, seeing a couple holding hands. Today, I embrace my life, which is by no means lonely. This comes from years of developing self-love. Once you have that, you certainly don’t need a partner.

5. Sometimes, you gotta take a break.

Online dating can get overwhelming very fast. I’ve been known to deactivate my profile just to take a breather. Sometimes it feels like I’m getting the same form email, same creepy note, same poorly written compliment. Stepping back and taking time away grounds me again.

6. It’s easy for me to become inauthentic.

I do my best to live my most authentic life. But in an attempt to be likable, I catch myself being something I’m not. It doesn’t happen often, but when I do, I immediately pull back and ask myself, “What am I doing?”

7. I worry about how others will perceive me.

In life, I don’t really care what others think of me. That’s not to say I don’t try to be a kind, loving, generous human. But I’m not going to change out of my sweatpants to go to the grocery store. And yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ve removed certain photos from my profile, only to later ask myself why? If a guy thinks it’s stupid that I posted a yoga pic, then he’s not for me.

8. I don’t have to fit a mold.

Dating sites really like to put you in categories. My favorite is “body type.” I believe some of the options include “thin,” “athletic,” “average,” and so on. I think I’m any number of any combinations, depending on who I’m being compared to. It’s silly and stupid and if someone’s photos are so indecipherable as to whether or not they’re someone you’re attracted to, you shouldn’t go out with them in the first place, right?

9. When I put confident energy into the universe, it comes back to me.

I believe this with everything in life. With dating, I find the more I just back off, be myself, and do the things I love, the good stuff comes to me naturally. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. The more I obsess over meeting someone, the more messages I get from murderous-looking grammatically-incoherent men who are my father’s age.

10. I appreciate my friends more than ever.

Who needs a man when you have amazing friends? 'Nuf said.

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