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Do I Really Want to Date Again?

By Diane Koller July 06, 2021 Dating

When I am single, I reflexively sign up for a dating app, or three. Why would I ever want my flirting skills to get rusty? I don’t know about all of you, but for me it’s soothing and fun to peruse profiles, kind of like going to a cocktail party where you know no one, but everyone is friendly and receptive. And, I feel less alone, because there’s something to do on a Saturday night besides the laundry!

Of course, when I’m in a partnership, I fantasize about the fun of being single. My house can maintain disaster zone status, cereal is eaten for dinner… This woman goes where she wants, with whomever she wants, spending money like it’s going out of style (more or less…).

When I’m single, it’s hard fighting the feeling that my life is lacking in some important way. However, eureka! Recent research suggests that partnered or married people are not necessarily that much happier.

On a 5-point scale, married people more often rated their happiness a “4”, while long time single people averaged scores between 3.7 and 3.82. So, there!

But for those of us who prefer being part of a couple, we know that finding someone suitable is something over which we have little control. So, learning to be single and truly happy is downright mandatory if one is to live a full life.

Being Single May Not Be as Bad as I Thought

Luckily, there is a plethora of articles and books on how to be happy and fulfilled as a single person. Many of them are list oriented, as in “Nine Ways Being Single Can Improve Your Life.” In sifting through multiple articles, the advice seems to boil down to a handful of absolutes.

Make and keep good friends, participate in group activities, be grateful for and mindful of the good things in life. I had no idea that angst about being single is so prevalent that the condition has spawned articles and studies galore.

Something else that pops up in these lists is that being single appears to provide more opportunities for personal growth and self-awareness. Writers and researchers talk about the emotional and psychological energy devoted to your partner and “the relationship” when you are with someone.

And let’s not underestimate the energy drain of thinking, talking, and emotional processing. When you are single, this energy can be directed to personal fulfillment.

Truth be told, I usually skip over advice like this. After all, I have been in therapy for what seems half a lifetime and skimmed far too many self-help books. So according to me, I have known myself for many years now, what more can there possibly be?

And yet..

The Legacy of Growing Up in the 1950s

More recently, I’ve noticed that my self-esteem automatically defaults to the stance that I should look like a 50s’ pin up star. My mother was movie star gorgeous; my father looked like Frank Sinatra, so somehow I think I have come by this honestly.

I was good looking enough in my youth, but now my reptilian brain freaks out when it sees the wrinkles, sages, bags, and cellulite. This wasn’t supposed to happen, ha ha.

New Challenges

So apparently, I’m lucky enough to have more internal battles to fight. This tenacious and deeply buried core belief needs to be vanquished! Nice to know this poodle dog is about to learn some new tricks.

Now I am very busy (maybe even on a Saturday night?) metamorphosing into a woman who “looks good for her age,” who is the matriarch of a pretty cool tribe (made up of ex-wives, ex-husbands, new boyfriends and girlfriends, children, grandchildren, etc.). Wish me luck, please!

How do you feel when you’re in “single” status? Do you feel like you need to start dating again? Or have you started working on yourself instead? What interesting things have you found about yourself while single? Let’s have a conversation!

Let's Have a Conversation!

The Author

Diane Koller has been a newspaper reporter, social worker, and cocktail waitress. Since her 20s, she has been curious about aging. Diane has an adventurous spirit, viewing most of what life throws her way as a possible escapade. She has retained her social work soul and loves helping others.

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