Being honest, I started considering the idea of dating myself after a long string of dating failures and bad relationships. I’d become accustomed to these repeated cycles and it sucked, big time.

Generally, I’m much better at seeking out highs from other people, than I am at making myself happy, but that was something I needed to change. Because like any relationship, I began to realize that the one I had with myself, was something worth cultivating and prioritizing.

Having let go of the idea that a swipe would change my life and that it would be much better to do things with someone else, I was on the first step to embracing intentionally spending some time just on me. But how exactly did I go about self-dating?.

Self-dating for me was ultimately spending some time treating myself how I wanted to be treated, and doing things I really wanted to do, totally solo

Sometimes it wasn’t even fancy – although a little romantic night away to Norfolk was a particular defining moment.

Often it was getting around to reading some of that book that had been sat on my bedside table for months unopened. Or cooking myself up a new recipe with a glass of wine in hand, some music in the background and a bit of dim lighting to set the feel-good mood. Taking long walks in the countryside – as I know it’s really therapeutic for my mental wellbeing. And then here and there it was gigs, comedy shows, travelling abroad by myself and a whole load of active quality me time.

That overnight trip to Norfolk really changed everything for me. It was my first totally solo activity. And I was anxious and nervous as I drove the two hours to a tiny little B&B in the middle of nowhere. But as soon as I set foot in the countryside, took some time to wander along the Norfolk beaches, tucked into a meal for one at a local pub, and ran myself a bath to while away the evening. I didn’t only feel totally relaxed, I felt invigorated and empowered. Because I realized that actually, I really bloody loved spending time just with me. And solo time becomes a little addictive once you get to comfortable and empowered by it. Suddenly there were no barriers to what I could do by myself.

And the reality is, if you’re single and slightly older than 30, your friends and family have different commitments

They may not always be able to lock into your plans and do the things you want to do. I found that I was quite often not doing things because of this. Dating other people, a lot of it is about finding someone who can join you on your adventures who is into the same things you are.

But if you haven’t found that person yet, and all your IRL connections are busy, what’s the alternative?. Do nothing?. That’s why learning to self-date was so important for me. It was showing myself that I was self-reliant, and embracing every day with or without company. Not having someone tagging along wasn’t stopping me from enjoying my life. And without it, my life would be one where I was left in the waiting room. I’ve been happier too because I no longer have a fear that I’m missing out on life.

Dating myself isn’t something I’ll only do when I’m single either

Because it’s really nice to spend a few hours or day or two every now and then just being alone or doing something for and by myself. Self-care is really a core element of dating yourself. So the how I do it, I don’t think is ever as important as the why I’m doing it.

And I self-date because it challenges me to step outside of my comfort zone. It helps me to become comfortable in my own company. It’s also this reminder to myself that I am a priority. I am worth spending some time with. I am always going to be the main person responsible for me and my needs. And I really think it helps me to understand myself more, realize that I am independent and not co-dependent on anyone else – even when I’m in a relationship. And it feels like a really healthy thing to do.   

People have often commented that I’m ‘brave’ for doing some of these things by myself

But it’s just not even something I worry about or stress over anymore. Sure, the first few times I thought, “People are going to think I have no friends.’ And I was scared at the thought of doing things alone. But why did I care about what other people thought, especially the people who I’d meet on a solo outing and didn’t know me plus I’d likely never see again. So learning to self-date is actually quite simple. The hard part is pushing through the feeling that you’re going to look like an utter twat doing it – especially when you’re sandwiched between two couples at a Nish Kumar gig.

But ultimately, it didn’t matter what other people thought. I was self-dating with a purpose – one of self-discovery. Building my confidence with every new solo adventure. Embracing solo moments and self-priority. And making self-care a well-considered addition to my life. If you’re considering a little self-dating, I’d highly recommend it.

By Amy Roullier
By Amy Roullier

Amy is the Founder and Editor of The Authentic Optimist. She talks all things life. From the highs to the lows, to all those messy bits in-between. She is a writer, rambler, lover of carbs (her true soulmate) and she is especially passionate about dispelling myths about women in their 30s. Amy lives in Lincolnshire with her two greyhounds.