Relationships: “I’ve been single my whole life. This is what happened when I first asked someone out”

I’ve been unique my entire 25 years, and while I’ve embraced it a bit, I can’t always say I love it.

Over the years, I have been given many tip – being number one, “You have to expose yourself more”. As I approached a quarter century on my own, I thought, “Hey, let’s try it.”

Big mistake.

It was a boy she had met through work. I thought we really aligned on a lot of things, so after we finished our business, I thought I’d ask him out. Casually, no pressure.

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Author looking into the distance with the Sydney Opera House in the background
I had a lot of thoughts after my first attempt at dating. (Supplied)

Within three minutes of sending it, it left me on read.

Now for you, this may not be a big deal. Trust me, I thought so too. But what followed was a frenzy of doubt. Maybe she didn’t see it? Or maybe he saw it and forgot to reply? But who forgets when someone asks you out?

After days of dealing with myself, I finally committed the worst possible sin: I sent two texts. Again, in five minutes, he saw it. But this time she answered. With a rejection.

‘OK’, I thought, ‘that’s it, then’. I gave it a try and it didn’t work. Somehow, I was even calmer after receiving a rejection than when I was cheated on. But what he didn’t expect was the spiral of emotions afterwards.

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My mind created all possible explanations for why he said no. Maybe he’s busy with work, maybe he has to work on himself, avoiding the worst, maybe he just doesn’t like me. I’ll spare you the rest of the details of the two months of torment (yes, it took me two months to get over a guy who ghosted me. Trust me, I’m more ashamed than you).

But in the process of all this, I realized a lot of things about myself.

I realized that I didn’t want to do all the emotional heavy lifting. I have spent my whole life taking care of others, and it does not mean that I would not be taking care of my partner, but I just want someone who takes care of me, takes care of me, makes me feel comfortable. I don’t want to be nervous, making every move and taking the initiative. It may not be a feminist girlboss movement, but frankly, I’m tired.

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Author standing next to a lavender bush
“I had to go through a lot of things to feel a little good.” (Supplied)

I also realized (thanks to the endless TikTok videos that my algorithm recommended) that I have what is called an anxious attachment wound, that I am very frantic in relationships and try to cling to every option with fervor, that more than it probably scares the other person away.

I learned that I have a scarcity mentality; that because of all my years alone, when someone approaches me, I feel like it’s the end of everything, that this is my only chance at love because, based on past experiences, it’s not coming back.

I had to go through a lot of stuff (and a lot of TikTok tarot card readings telling me I was coming back) just to feel a little good. At least well enough to write this article.

I can’t say if I would date again, but I am beginning to realize that it will be a valuable experience regardless of whether it works out or not. I always avoided the pressure to “go out and find myself.” It did not seem fair to me that the other party used them for my own personal development.

But maybe that’s what my peers (who have probably been dating since their teens) had that I was missing the whole time. I will be able to work more on myself in relation to others, after years of building my own image.

Maybe the angst of dating is worth it even just for that?

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