Inevitably during any conversation with a friend I haven't seen in a while, dating comes up. "How's dating going?" and I always reply "Ugh, I hate dating." Because I do. 90% of it results in failure and the 10% I feel successful in usually ends in being ghosted. If you are a modern dater, you know that dating isn't the courtship and formal relationship status quo of our parent's generation. But when I officially gave up on dating, I found that I began to enjoy finally.
It started with getting my dog. He's my #1 guy now. Dating lost a lot of its meaning once I had this whole other creature to take care of. Who cares if none of my matches are messaging me back? What used to feel like a reflection of myself as an attractive, attainable partner suddenly felt very pointless. It doesn't matter if I don't hear back, I know I'm loved because this puppy cries if he can't sleep in my lap.
Once the weight of random stranger's opinions left the conversation, dating felt more like an added bonus to my life. I can choose to date on top of everything else I have going on. Since getting my heart trampled several months ago, I went on a first date last month and actually enjoyed it. It was the most relaxed I'd been on a first date in years. For the first time in my adult dating history I didn't care what he thought of me. I was focused on whether I liked him! Revolutionary! It felt like there was no skin in the game because I'd given up on finding a life partner, I was purely there for fun. And I was enjoying myself.
Giving up on dating doesn't mean shutting yourself out from love. It means putting less weight on the experience. My majority of my thoughts the past few years when I met someone was focused on being concerned on how long it had been since we last talked and whether they liked me enough. But now my thoughts are focused on my life, my dog, my friends, etc. with thoughts about my dates as an added option. My life does not revolve around dating anymore.
Will I probably dislike dating until I meet my life partner? Absolutely. But will I enjoy the experience the teensiest bit more than I was? Yes. And I might actual date more because it's no longer a constant source of dread. Life is too short to not enjoy.