#CuffingSeason

You said it, Marilyn.

It’s winter. It’s cuffing season. My social media feeds are filled with couples being cute and cozy, leaving us single people feeling lonely and unwanted. Usually, I’m one of those singles pinning away for someone special to spend the holiday season with but this year, I haven’t experienced that feeling. Maybe it was the last couple of months I spent dating and the heartbreak that came with it. Maybe I might be a little bitter, broken and bruised. But can I be enlightened, as well?

I wrote in my last post about my big plans to be single. I was finally going to do it! Get off the apps. Stop giving out my number. Etc. But then at the end of October, I was bored, lonely and horny and hopped back on Bumble. I met some great guys and had a couple flings that didn’t pan out for various reasons: we were not in the same place emotionally or in our life timeline. We were both playing games. I was ghosted a few times. It finally got to a point where I was so emotionally exhausted that I canceled a date a few hours before we were supposed to meet, explaining my truth: I just wasn’t dating place anymore (sorry, Jose).

I spent Christmas weekend thinking about what I learned about love this year- the love I have for myself; the kind of relationship I want to be in; new revelations about dating. I definitely know, more than ever, what I want in a partner and out of a relationship. I took a hard look at my dating and attachment styles ,and what my expectations are with meeting new people. A big part of my identity is tied to my dating history. My friends always ask me for dating advice, or who is latest dude that I’m seeing. Dating is as much a hobby for me as a low-key addiction. I do get buzzed when I match someone on Bumble. If I’m not getting “high” from it, dating then only adds a low-key anxiety to my life.

When you’re truly honest with yourself, you realize that you are an asshole sometimes and have developed a lot of bad habits. I know that I have with dating and being a girlfriend. I’ve had the wrong idea about love all along. I thought that being alone was the worst thing in the world. Growing up, I would listen to all cheesy 90s pop songs about falling for someone and how was the best thing in the world. It was the key to happiness; the end all, be all. That’s bullshit. This year, I found myself happier being single, doing my own thing. Although I really cared for the men I dated (especially for Amit), I feel lighter and more free being single.

My final breakup with Amit taught me a lot about the stigma the world sees when relationships end. I started seeing my “failed” relationships as end points- and that’s it. I’ve had a lot of successful relationships, ones that taught me a lot. I have a lot of good memories from them. I’ve been able to experience a lot. Because of those relationships, I know exactly what I want in a partner. I think people assume that breakups are sad and depressing (which they can be) but mine this year have been major pillars of growth. I found a part of my voice during my breakups.

There is still a lot of things that I need to work on with dating. My choice in men definitely says a lot about me as a person- I’ve been reevaluating the type of people that I’m flocking to and getting naked with. That goes for sex. Over the last couple of years, I’ve had partners that don’t care about my pleasure. Although I was eager to have sex and get them off, I felt like a human FleshLight to them. Life is too short for one-sided sex. My orgasm is important, too! If I’m expected to act like a porn star, I at least deserve kisses during and to be held for a while afterwards. I deserve to be savored and need to hold out for someone who will treat me that way.

I’m at the point where dating and relationships should be fun and stress-free. As much as I want to be partnered and am looking forward to one day being married and raising a family with someone, I’m happy being alone. I’ve been debating whether or not to take a break next year from dating and/or hopping on Reddit for a hook-up. I’m thinking about how much of a challenge this would be for me since I do get lonely pretty often. But being lonely and dealing with those feelings are only part of the dating experience. It’s all a learning lesson and I’m determine to be the best relationship student I can. Love can be troubling but through those trials when we grow.

How is your dating life, dear reader? What did you learn about love?

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