It's awkward, it's mostly wasted time, and it seems to make everyone I know sad or anxious. I'm single and have been for years, tried dating again recently and remembered exactly why I swore off it in the first place: I've not got enough time or emotional energy for endlessly messaging on apps or meeting 3 other singles a week for drinks half way across the city.
The question is, what are the alternatives? Seems to me like everyone just does it because there's no other choice. Advice appreciated.
Thanks for your post. I'm Justin, a member of the OutLife support team. Welcome to the community!
I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that dating can be super tiring. I've been there: trudging across the city to spend a couple of hours with a total stranger who I didn't hit it off with. Spending money on drinks and transport and sometimes dinner which could be spent on holidays or put into savings. It can feel like an absolute chore, and I suspect it's the shared experience of most people who've hopped aboard the dating train at some point in their lives.
Thankfully, there are alternatives to traditional dating which might be more up your street. You don't mention how you're finding dates (Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid?) but I'll assume for now that you're doing what most people do: heading to an online dating site and meeting people there. In fact, as you're part of the LGBTQ+ community, there are other options for meeting people.
Clubs and societies - dependent on where you live, there might be some LGBTQ+ clubs where you could meet people in a low-pressure, friendly environment. In London, for instance, we have everything from queer choirs to tennis clubs to horror film nights. Obviously you're restricted by where you live, but most major cities have a number of LGBTQ+ societies. If you pick something you genuinely enjoy, then you'll be able to pick up a hobby and have the potential to meet other people at the same time.
Dating done different - If you're finding the expense and travel tiring, try some simple, cheap dates rather than going to the pub or a restaurant every time. There's no rule book about what a date has to be! It could be something as simple as a packet of haribo and park bench! Try reading this guide on the main site to simple dates www.outlife.org.uk/fs-146-7-simple-dates-gay
Self-care - Regardless of whether you continue traditional dating or not, it's important to take care of yourself. Your self-esteem can take a beating when dating is getting you down, so try focusing on yourself, your happiness, and your mental health. These things are key for keeping yourself healthy and happy! Try taking a read about self-esteem here: www.outlife.org.uk/self-esteem
Hopefully other people will be able to chime in with their own experiences too! That's what this forum is for. I hope all goes well for you and please do feel free to post again and let us know how you're getting on