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How “Self-Partnering” Changed My Dating Game (and the Way I Live My Life)

Ive taken breaks from dating here and there. Not in that sad, bitter Its not working so why should I try? kind of way. Sure, there were times I felt heartbroken or defeated in the strident swipe-right culture, but the fact that every dozen frogs led to a could-be fianc kept my spirits high. I liked being social, meeting new friends and trying new restaurants, but periods of dating were followed my stints of self-discovery and recovery. Some heartbreaks hit me hard, but with the help of my friends, emotional bruises never lingered too long. (Psst: Here’s what you have to do to get over a breakup.) Id simply shake the sting off and start swiping again. That had been my pattern for 15 yearsbut then something shifted.When Emma Watson told BritishVogue she’s “very happy being single” and she calls it “beingself-partnered,” a wave of relief washed over me. I teared up, but I didnt understand why. How were her words so powerful when I dont consider myself self-partnered? After considerable self-reflection, I realized that for my entire life, Ive seen marriage as a goal. With no thanks to fairy tales, song lyrics, romance movies and the marriage plots of generations before, I saw my life as a love story culminating in a wedding and family. It wasnt parental pressure (thanks mom and dad for never, ever, telling me how badly you want grandchildren), but societal. It was a mentality that permeated magazines, movies, books and friends. Its like my life always had this unspoken expectation that I would partner up, and not having someone reflected poorly on me. (Why are you single? Youre so great! Thanks. I didnt ask.)My ongoing failure to meet that expectation not only negatively affected my mentality, but also impacted the lifestyle I wanted to prioritize. In trying to find a partner, I cant count how many times I skipped the gym, turned down last-minute friend hangs, shelved munch-needed me-time or traded healthy days in for cheat days, all for a first dateand often one I didnt even care to see again. I resented the pattern. I resented that I had to sacrifice my present priorities to achieve a goal I didnt understand. Emma Watsons statement was, for me, a release from those expectations. That this brilliant, talented and beautiful powerhouse was celebrated for self-partnering confirmed it was okay to create my own love timeline; to put dating on the back burneror to take it off the stove entirely.So, Im not currently taking a break from dating, Im justnot dating. I dont want to spend my free time swiping, discussing the swipes, wondering if theyll call. The next time a friend tells me You should get back online because Time is running outthings I hear oftenI wont get defensive. Ill smile and shrug, smile and say, This is whats working for me. Im not opposed to meeting someone, but its no longer a goal I want to spend my precious time and energy on, and Im happier for it.And, if I do happen to find a partner, I see myself reframing how romance looks in my life.I have spent my lifetime cultivating a lifestyle I love. Between my career, social circle, hobbies, on-again-off-again workout regimen and love of just being alone, where does the considerable time commitment that is a partner fit in? How does a late-thirties city girl with a jam-packed social calendar slow that down to make room for a whole other human? Its a lot to unpack (literally and figuratively). (Psst: Did you know having a life of your own is actually the secret to a successful relationship?)Maybe this: If I do meet a partner, we wont live together (my closets are full, anyway). I wont go home to him every night (I hate sharing my bed). Its not assumed well hang out most days (unless he loves concerts, musicals, ballets, art exhibits, my friends and new restaurants as much as I do). I can simply be me, and he can simultaneously be himself and neither of us will ever define our relationship by compromise.Maybe my future relationship is simply a side dish on my feast of life. Finding one would be a total bonusbut without it? The main course is more than enough.Now that you’ve learned about the benefits of self-partnering, check out ways to beat loneliness and enrich your life.

The post How “Self-Partnering” Changed My Dating Game (and the Way I Live My Life) appeared first on Best Health Magazine Canada.

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