I'm back on dating apps to help fill the void with no expectation of love - Alexander Brown
Meeting on a dating app, we’d had six or seven dates and things were going well.
We’d talked about our shared politics, taken each other to our favourite restaurants, and even spent new year’s together.
I was due to go over at nine, when she told me I could now come earlier as her plans had fallen through.
She explained: “I’m free from six now, my date cancelled.”
I realised I was not the romantic prospect, just the guy she had over after for dessert.
This is the world of dating apps, where I have returned with my tail between my legs after a year that saw me try and fail to save a relationship.
I have always been a girlfriend guy, stumbling from partner to partner as if it was a simple costume change, rather than an upheaval and unstitching from those I felt were part of me.
When friends told me they were happy alone and not interested in meeting someone I smiled, thinking it was said from frustration rather than contentment.
Relationships give the mundane joy, chores become an activity, washing up while dancing or taking the bins out knowing a film and company is waiting for you when you return.
Being single, those activities yawn like a chasm, mundane tasks stretching out with no laughter waiting for you at the end of them.
But relationships also bear a toll, the emotional energy of believing something is forever only for it to end.
Trying to convince yourself you still want something is draining enough, let alone someone else.
And you have to go again. You have to pick yourself up, shake off the sleepless nights and meet someone new.
So I’m back on dating apps, and I don’t know what I want, in a forum where certainty is everything.
I no longer seek love, I have no expectation or demand for it.
Instead I want to fill the void without the work, enjoy the benefits while not promising more of myself than I wish to share.
That is not to say I am damaged or unhappy from bad breakups, I just feel content in my own company, and no longer wish to lose parts of myself to make space for someone else.
Being with someone should be an addition to your life, not the crux of it, but people online demand to know what you want immediately.
Scrolling profiles, you see people demanding “something serious”, which while honest and admirable is incredibly off-putting.
Even if I wanted that, imagine meeting someone in real life, feeling a connection and then being immediately warned not to waste their time.
Alternatively they ask for something casual, giving them the chance to sleep around but also rule out any future feelings.
I don’t expect nor seek love, but what is the point of dating if not the intimacy, the connection?
It’s getting to know someone with plans to push them away, placing an immediate ceiling on how much they can care.
I don’t know what I want beyond a connection, and I don’t want to choose right away.
Alexander Brown is a columnist with Scotland on Sunday and Westminster Correspondent with The Scotsman
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