Jumping on dating apps is pretty much the go to for any recent singleton, I was no exception. I couldn’t wait to see what was available to me. I felt like I’d been handed a gift, albeit a shitty one served in a turd stained app called Tinder. I was desperate to turn guys down and meet up with ones I thought were hot – why wouldn’t I be, I’d finally broken free from the shackles of an abusive relationship?! The dating world was still fairly new to me; I was ready to see what it had to offer. Little did I know I would be the bucket of chum thrown into a sea of ravenous great whites.
As much I liked to think I had full control of every situation I had myself in, I was wrong. I had no grasp on reality because my mental health had taken a huge nose dive. ‘is going on dates 5 nights a week and getting wasted with strangers really how you want to spend your spare time?’ at the time it seemed like the only logical thing to do. It was my first taste of freedom and I was quite literally (and figuratively) swimming in a sea of dicks. What more could a girl in her mid-twenties want? Upon reflection, I realise the other things I should’ve wanted:
- A promotion
- A solid group of friends
- A family who are proud
Instead I had my friends and family worrying that I was running myself into an early grave. I just couldn’t see how my actions had any consequences or could have anything but a positive impact on my life. I was blissfully ignorant to my closest loved ones being genuinely terrified about my life choices – of course, I just thought they were all being squares. I was the only one who was living their life to the fullest, or so I thought. Newsflash Charli, having copious one night stands, letting guys treat you like shit and boasting about being a sloppy, drunken mess is NOT the way to impress people. I have negatively impacted the way people view me for the past 9 months and I’m now having to deal with the repercussions of my abhorrent behaviour. Running into people who were at the forefront of my breakdown ask me if I’m still shagging about…do you know how humiliating that feels. I am so much more than the guys I have slept with, but I have painted this picture of myself.
The standards of guy that I used to waste my time on was substantially lower than anyone id even consider giving the time of day to today. You have a pulse and a penis? STEP RIGHT THROUGH!
The girl who used live, breathe and sleep Tinder is pretty much dead at this point. I realised I was heavily depending on it as an escapism from the real troubles in my life. Letting it have a detrimental effect on my mental health and allowing it to dictate how I lived my life. Wherever I went, Tinder was there too giving me a quick fix whenever I needed it. Why worry about the realities of life when you can lose yourself in a world of fantasy where you are the most desired woman on the planet? I was an addict, any moment I could I would be on Tinder, paying for a Plus subscription for £7.49 a month – claiming it was all for the benefit of the blog. Who the hell was I kidding? I lived for the attention. Dating apps were the first thing I checked in the morning, and the last thing I checked at night. It was routine. I’d have it open on my desktop at work so I could immediately reply to anyone who messaged me. I once described having dating apps like ‘having a full-time job’ but who made it that way? Me, I did, I LOVED the barrage of messages I’d receive on an hourly basis. Of course compliments and guys fighting to get messages from me was a superficial way of me feeling ‘wanted’. I’m more than aware that isn’t the reality. Firstly, 99.999% of men wanted a shag or to see me naked (I’ll save you some time, just google ‘mashed potato with eyes) I wasn’t blind to that. Secondly, I had little to no interest in these men/guys/boys. WHO WAS I TRYING TO KID?! Well, I’ll let you in on a wee secret…I was manically depressed and I’m pretty sure I had a mental breakdown so my behaviour from Feb – Sept was completely out of character and absolutely NOT who I am or wanted to be.
My phone had become the IV drip feeding me match after match, compliment and date offer one after another directly into my attention dependent veins. Who wouldn’t want to feel desirable for even a split second? The point I’m trying to make is that throwing yourself head first into ‘dating’ and shagging everyone with a pulse and a paycheck (sometimes the latter isn’t necessary) is completely normal. That’s not to say its ‘okay’ to do it, but it’s your damn life. Just be careful about what you chose to do; I ended up in some horrendous situations and have genuine anxieties and triggers as a result. Your mental health is so important, and as great as it may seem to go on date after date with these losers, you need to actually take time for you. The main reason I know the last 9 months of my life were a mistake is because I look at the people I’ve wasted my time on and think ‘Christ Charli, what the fuck is wrong with you’. I was meeting up with simpletons who live on their mate’s sofa and really I should’ve been seeing a therapist.
It’s cliché as hell, but I’m gonna say it anyway, but since steering away from dating apps I’ve kind of discovered who I am. I haven’t been able to make time for me or spend time with just myself for the last 6 years and here I am, at the age of 25 finally realising what my interests and passions are. IT’S OKAY TO BE ALONE, but it’s also OKAY TO WANT TO BE ALONE. Hell; it’s my favourite thing ever. I LOVE my own company, I’m hilarious, interesting and intelligent, a real joy to be around. I wish I had spent more time discovering who I was when I was younger, perhaps whilst travelling around South East Asia on my gap year. Regardless, I’m doing it now and I honestly cherish every moment I get on my own.
I am by no means saying distancing myself from dating apps has cured me – trust me, I am far from fixed. I’ve just given myself an opportunity to work out what I actually want, and right now, it’s to be alone. Or to have a boy in a beanie and docs with a septum ring to sweep me off my feet on his fixie and take me to an art gallery. Alexa, where is the nearest vegan cafe? I digress, dating is hard, its stressful and most of the time it just aint worth it.