The dating muscle

I was listening to a podcast today and someone on it made a passing comment comparing dating to a muscle. They said ‘the more dates you go on, the easier it is. If you haven’t been on a date in a while, it can be nerve wracking.’ I don’t know what this person’s definition of ‘a while’ but I haven’t been on an actual date in 3 years, around summer 2015. My last date prior to that one was Christmas time 2014. Prior to that date it had been over three years.

These dry spells really bummed me out. I felt that I never got any male attention. I told myself that I was just living in areas that were made more families and not single gals but I had girlfriends who would get hit on or propositioned every time we would go out while I felt like I never got a glance. It was really depressing. I felt completely alone and unworthy of love and just…like an ugly piece of shit. To be fair, I realize I wasn’t very good at putting myself out there to begin with. Going out to bars made me miserable and making small talk with people I don’t is akin to getting a root canal for me. Now that I’m a little more removed from those dark times, I get that no one wanted to talk to the morose looking chick in the corner who’s not saying anything.

Like I said, those days are mostly in the past. I still struggle with my self-confidence and I have a certain around of anxiety with men, especially men I find attractive. So, online dating seemed like the perfect fit for me. I got my profile up and running a week or two ago and I was off to the races, I got a message within my first 15 minutes. I’m not going to lie, a big part of the reason I created a dating profile in the first place is because I was looking for validation. I wanted people to ‘like’ my pictures so I could feel pretty and wanted on some level. I’ve had quite a few messages and likes but I’ve only responded to two of them.

I look at the age and picture of some guys and immediately write them off (yes, I know this is shallow and hyprocritical but I’m not looking for a 45 year old, unhealthy man; I’ve still got some youth in me and I want someone else that does too). The few that I do see potential in, I’m too scared to even read their messages. I have messages that are a week old that I haven’t read yet because, even now, the thought of reading and responding is making me want to cry. I think this shit is reaching levels of phobia for me.

Where it gets really fucking frustrating is that I don’t want to live this life forever. I’m in school and I have my own priorities right now so I don’t necessarily want someone else’s priorities messing that up but I certainly don’t want to be alone forever, living with my mom and not having a social or love life. I want to find someone but I’m too scared to because the thought of doing/saying something stupid/clumsy in front of that person is terrifying and the thought of being vulnerable and hurt is just…it’s more than I want to think about.

They say 22 veterans commit suicide every day. I get it now. I get it where that can come from and mind you, I was never in combat. I was never shot at or had a near death experience. Being out, being a civilian, it’s lonely because you just don’t fit anywhere. You don’t have a uniform and no one speaks your language or understands you. You go from this world in a bubble to…not being there and it’s fucking hard.

I’m not suicidal but I have been on the emotional side and I’ve had a couple fleeting thoughts about how nice it would be to be free of emotions and frustration and loneliness. I’m not suicidal but I get it.

Days like today I feel like I’m still the 14 year old kid who is completely lost and alone.

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