Two women, two very different reactions to a break-up. Senior features writer Clara How swore off men for six months, while another woman went on a dating spree to get over her ex. She spoke to Hoe I Yune to share her story.
When my boyfriend of two years, Ben*, was away, I swung by his flat to help tidy up since he lived alone and had been gone for a while. In his study, I chanced upon a crumpled piece of paper with a phone number and an e-mail address on it. There was no name, but the handwriting was feminine, and my intuition told me something was up.
So I looked up the details on Facebook. A woman in her 20s stared back at me, unabashedly flaunting her double- Ds in a low-cut tank top. I told myself to get a grip. Ben and I were happy together. Or so I thought.
A few months later, Ben broke up with me. He didn’t explain, but deep down, I knew. Not long after, pictures of him and that same woman began surfacing on Facebook. In fact, it was so soon after the break-up, I was sure he must have been seeing her behind my back. It stung, especially since Ben was the first guy I had really fallen for.
I decided that the only way to get over this was to fill the gap Ben had left as quickly as possible. Before the break-up, my life had revolved around him. Now, the chance to date other men might just be the boost my shattered confidence needed.
I decided on a dating frenzy, meeting men through mutual friends and dating apps. At the height of it, I was dating nine guys at the same time. I know it sounds exciting, but in all honesty, it was completely exhausting. At one point, I even went on dates with seven different guys over seven consecutive days. Juggling so many men at one time was tough. Texting them also became a complete drag. Evenings were the worst, when many of them would spam me with texts post-work. Replying to all of them became impossible, because I’d be doing nothing else for the night.
I would buy myself time by not replying until the next day, or even a few days later, so they wouldn’t think I was a speedy texter. Excuses like being super busy at work, or needing an early night, soon rolled off my tongue easily. But there would still be slip-ups because it was so hard to keep track of all of them, especially in real life. Without a chat history to refer to, I would often forget who said what. Once, when I was out with one guy, I made a reference to a conversation I’d had with another, only to be met with a confused look. There were also times when one of the guys would call while I was on a date with someone else. I have to say that dating so many men at the same time is truly an art – one for which I had absolutely no aptitude.
These men were a mixed bag. Eric* was three years younger and deeply insecure – always wanting to know where I was and who I was with. Then there was Alex*, whom I met at the gym and later told me he was into both men and women. After Alex came Kendrick*, who expected us to split the bill on every date. Once, at the movies, he told me I’d have to get my own tub of popcorn, because he didn’t plan on sharing. Even worse was Aaron*, who would always order more food than he had cash for, which meant I’d wind up handing my card over while he reassured me he’d pay me back (he never did). And Jason*, whom I met at a bar, was only interested in taking things to second base and beyond.
My dating bender came to a head when I started seeing Greg*, who was in my yoga class. He turned out to be good friends with yet another guy I was seeing, Ian*. And they both knew about each other. Greg was upset, but seemed to use this as motivation to keep asking me out. Of all the men I was dating at the time, I enjoyed Greg’s company the most. He was goodlooking, engaging, and had a great sense of humour. We eventually ended up dating exclusively for four months.
After we split up, it dawned on me that although I enjoyed the attention these men had given me, it didn’t feel fulfilling. Maybe serial dating just wasn’t my style.
I decided to give the dating spree a break. During this time, Ben came back into my life. When I found out he was no longer with that other woman, we started spending time together – first as friends for a year, before we made the call to give things another go.
Ben’s a lot more thoughtful and caring now. I’m glad we decided to try again, because finding someone you connect with, and who has similar values and interests, isn’t easy. Looking back, it’s funny that I had to date so many men before realising this.
*Names have been changed.
Read Part 1 here.
This story was originally published in the October 2017 issue of Her World magazine.