Within hours today, I got a text message, a Snapchat, and a letter from three different women with the same question. It’s a question that’s been coming up from many directions recently. I think the universe may be trying to say something.
“So, I went out with this guy. It’s… not happening. Is it okay that I hate this all?”
Yes, you beautiful women, yes.
You do not have to date.
You do not have to continue seeing someone just because it wasn’t awful.
You are allowed to prefer spending time with your dog, your whiskey, or yourself in the mountains.
You are allowed to have Tinder purely as a way to pass the time. You are under no obligation to talk to any of your matches, under no obligation to go on a date, under no obligation to start a relationship.
You are allowed to enjoy being single.
You are allowed to change that label.
No, you don’t have to be “single”. You don’t have to describe yourself as “unattached”. You don’t have to defend that you’re still “waiting for Mr. Right”.
You are students. You are scientists. You are problem solvers. You are hikers. You are beer geeks. You start grilling chicken and suddenly you’re three chocolate chip cookies into the batch. You’re transplants. You’re natives. You’re sisters. You’re daughters. You’re best friends. You like to be alone. You binge Netflix. You have no fear of trying a new restaurant without company. You are willing to be dragged along by a coworker to meet strangers. You sleep in hammocks or tents. You hop on a plane because someone needs you. You stroke your cat to sleep. You hold your roommates’ baby. You play your guitar. You roam through thrift stores. You save up for that kayak. You work hard. You dream big.
There is absolutely nothing deficient about you! You are allowed to not need a partner. You are allowed to go on dates for fun, and then to say, “This is exhausting and expensive. I’m going to take a nap today.” You are allowed to drink wine on your porch alone, or call up an old friend while going on a walk. You are allowed to go see that new movie alone, and to pick up some flowers from the farmers market because you think they’d brighten up your room.
My dears, my beautiful women. Look at you.
You are allowed to delete the app.
You are allowed to log out of your profile.
You are allowed to cancel that date.
Just as you are allowed to go back out there and try again, you do not have to.
If you want to be alone, enjoy it.
If you want to take six months to be intentionally single, to find yourself and what you like and who you are without using a partner as a measuring stick, do it! Those six months may turn into two years, and that is okay if you are okay.
You are allowed to be happy.
You are allowed to be happy alone.
You are allowed to throw rice at your friends’ wedding and then drive through the night to a national park to explore alone.
You are allowed to swap phones and swipe on someone else’s profile, but then ignore the buzzes as you tell stories to each other of the lives you’re busy living.
You are allowed to go to bed early and sleep in late because you’re working yourself to the bone and just need to recover alone.
Oh my ladies…
Do you need permission to be yourself?
You have it.
If you ever want it, the complicated, deep and shallow wells of dating will be back there.
But you don’t have to be there now.
You have the permission to step back and discover yourself.
Oh dear friends.
You are allowed to hate the fifty first dates and only three second ones.
You are allowed to be so tired of trying to get to know someone, but feeling like you’re going in circles.
You are allowed to want to step away from emotional ups and downs of wanting to click or wanting to love, but something is just not right.
You are allowed to enjoy being single.
You are allowed to enjoy being you.
You went out with that guy. And that’s okay. You can go out with yourself, too.