“I’m single and I’m loving it” is now your go-to phrase (and may have been for awhile). It’s also a verbal power-pose when relatives start probing about your ex-boyfriend during family gatherings.
You may have finally learnt how to pull up your dress’ back zipper without a man (ahem, Dakota Johnson in How to Be Single), but is that really what singlehood is only about?
The way I see it, most people overthink dating.
And yes, it’s OK to date for the sake of dating. It’s not always about finding the perfect guy. Reasons to date can range from wanting a dinner buddy or a travel companion to, let’s be real, some bedroom action.
But it’s also about doing the things you never could while you were stuck in the bland relationship you had a couple of months ago - and that includes dating for the sake of dating.
The difference between serial dating and going on several dates
It’s helpful to be honest with yourself. Are you dating multiple guys because you’re looking for something? Are you checking off lists when you go on dates (i.e. what he likes or loves, and if he’s husband-material)? If you’re saying yes to these questions, you’re probably not really happy with being single. And that’s okay. But you shouldn’t make it seem like a casual thing because, in reality, finding a partner means a lot to you.
“I’m always clear on my point of view, where dating is concerned. When I was in my mid-20s, I’d get really disappointed when a guy did something that I wouldn’t want in my future husband. Then, I realised that there's no point in being so upset. Sometimes, people date just for the sake of dating. Being too serious about it in the beginning is never a good idea.” - Daphne Ong (32), single.
Keeping it casual doesn’t make you an “easy” person
Block out the age-old stereotyping because preferring casual relationships to marriage just means you’re not ready to settle down. It’s not a crime and taking time to explore your options doesn't make you an “easy” person.
Other than that, having a temporary partner-in-crime is great. You get to try new things without feeling the pressure of imposing expectations. If it doesn’t work out? No biggie, you guys can still be friends.
“Yes, I’m still single and dating is pretty much just an extension of my social life. I like freedom and I get to do different things with different people. Just two weeks ago, I went paragliding with a Turkish guy I met on Tinder. We dated on and off for like, 6 months and one day, I asked him if he wanted to go paragliding because the guys I dated previously had no time for it. He said yes, so we booked our tickets to Mozambique. It was amazing.” - Ling Yen (37), single.
Dating right after getting out of a relationship isn’t taboo
Let’s get this straight: you’re not cheating on your ex (and don’t listen to the next person who tells you that this is “emotionally unfaithful”, whatever that means). If you find yourself wanting to go on dates shortly after ending a long relationship, you’re most likely looking for companionship. According to Dr. Suzanne Lachmann, author of Me Before We, feeling guilty about dating after a breakup is caused by our instinctive fear of change.
“For most people, part of the experience of feeling guilt is due to the difficulty of turning off the switch of unhappiness. Though you were unhappy in your relationship, it was a known, even comfortable state. Feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with your life choices and circumstances became familiar to you through time. It formed in your early relationships and through your history and learned experiences. Now finally free from your most recent dissatisfying relationship, it's hard to know how to access more positive feelings, to be able to bask in your own relief.” - Suzanne Lachmann for Psychology Today
Real women on dating while being single
And if, for some reason, you still feel that you can’t be proudly single because you went on more than four Tinder dates, I asked some real women on their thoughts on dating while being single.
“If dating is casual, you don’t have to worry about what will go wrong in the future. Just live in the now and enjoy the companionship.” - Justine, 25
“No commitments. It’s freedom at its finest.” - Nerissa, 24
“If you keep falling out of relationships you thought would last, you’re probably just not ready for marriage. Take a break, let go of expectations and go on more than just a couple of dates.” - Amanda, 32
So instead of trying to keep to the ambiguous guidelines of singlehood, keep dating.