Your 20’s is a weird and complicated time for dating. If you go to a college eight hours away from home like I do, it can be incredibly trying to keep a long distance relationship going. I dated a few guys my freshman year of college, dating a guy from my high school and later, a guy from Boston, where I attend college. I never felt like I had a home in Maryland or Boston since I was always going back and forth and it felt nearly impossible to date because of this. The past nine months have been incredibly trying on my mental health and I found myself trying to fill a void by dating. Several boyfriends, Tinder matches and failed relationships later, I found myself looking for yet another guy to give me the love and attention I craved. It honestly wasn’t until I was re-watching the episode of Parks and Recreation where Ann decides to ‘date herself’ that I realized who I should date next. Myself. As silly as it may seem, when you date yourself, it can bring about many opportunities and realizations that you may not experience while in a relationship. I’m not saying you should never date, but there are quite a few benefits of staying single for at least a couple of months.
Your significant other can be a great support system for you. They love and care for you, sometimes more than anyone else. You spend a lot of time with them and in turn you can unintentionally build a support system consisting of that one person. This makes those inevitable break ups even more difficult, since you can no longer communicate with your support system as you once did. It’s important to build relationships and support outside of your significant other and sometimes dating yourself and making time for both your friends and self is the only way to do so.
Recognize what you deserve
I’ve dated several guys who didn’t give me the respect I deserved. I noticed too many times that my friends, both male and female, were also dating people who didn’t respect them. Most of the time, my friends didn’t even realize that they deserved more out of a relationship. You can get so used to a person or a relationship to the point where you may not recognize how they treat you, or even believe that you deserve more. I personally found my self worth through being single. I didn’t look to anyone else for my value, as I once made a habit out of looking towards others for my self worth. Sometimes it takes being alone to recognize what you deserve. And I’ll tell you right now, you deserve nothing less than the best.
You hear too many stories about couples breaking up after years of dating because of how much they’ve changed throughout their late teens and early twenties. Sometimes we get so caught up in our relationship and we lose ourselves. You learn so much during your college years, you make mistakes, you have really high and really love moments and you can make some great discoveries about yourself because of that. Since being single, I’ve had so much more time for myself. I’m doing more of what I love, reading, writing, listening to music, pursuing my career, teaching myself new instruments and most importantly I’m learning more about myself and who I am when you date yourself. It can be incredibly exciting to learn who you are and what you value without explaining it to anyone else.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong obtaining some confidence from your significant other, but the concept of self-confidence exists for a reason. I’m not adding onto that overused and honestly what I think is a ridiculous concept of “No one can love you until you love yourself,” but no one can give you as much confidence, love, or validation as you can give yourself.
I never thought date yourself could feel so empowering. Don’t get me wrong, I do love dating in college; but I also love dating myself and seeking self-worth and self-love this way. After just a few weeks of trying this method, I realized how happy I could be while also being single. Being single is a great time to get to know yourself and what you want. Everyone should step back at some point in their life and consider the idea of dating yourself, because I can guarantee you won’t regret it.