Why & how I stopped dating
I began dating very early, in my teens. The way I was raised was to date with the intent of marriage and even though I hadn't quite figured out life yet there was one thing I was always certain of, I wanted to be married. (Happily) When you're raised with that mindset and everyone around you in your faith is aiming for the same thing, its tough to understand how we can live in a world where you'd meet people who weren't on the same page. This was the biggest mistake of my early 20s but not something that could've been known without experiencing it first hand.
I've always had the same intent, that never changed. While many can date for fun or just to fill time or get out of the house, I've always been perfectly content doing things to occupy my boredom on my own. (I mean come on, I'm an only child so doing things alone comes easy) So as soon as I began to realize a relationship was not leading towards my ultimate goal, I wouldn't waste anymore time with a person and stepped away.
In my early to mid 20s though, I would continue working at full force to find a mate. A relationship would end and I may be single for a few months or a year in between the next but for the most part, I've never "stopped" dating. I would get my heart broken and the search would begin all over again. I'd easily be able to tell myself, "It's okay, he wasn't the one. Move on." So that's what I did...for 10+ years.
Moving on became like second nature and the disappointments would come one right behind the other. I'd bounce back from them within a day or even a few hours and I began to have no expectations. Dating stopped being fun although I'd always gone into each situation with a smile on my face and low to no expectations.
In the past year though I started to embrace more things that made me happy. Not that I wasn't already engaging in things that made me happy but this year and even more so in recent months I began actively seeking out events I enjoyed without the intent of anyone joining me. I've taken full week vacations, cruises by myself and really enjoyed the solitude and freedom that came along with creating my own agenda but little did I know that I'd really found my grounding.
My work to help others was calling me, my blog, my journal, my passion was all calling me. My years of dating and crappy experiences had really been the foundation of everything coming into fruition but the dating aspect was not contributing to my overall happiness. It's served it's purpose. I can ironically say I have more than enough happen to me to give feedback on just about most issues people come to me about. This is why I stopped.
Did a part of me stop dating because I'd grown tired, exhausted, or fed up? Not really. I've been told that if you're exhausted, learn to take a rest but don't stop if you haven't gotten to your destination yet. My relationship goal is still to be happily married but the reality of it is that I'm 30 yrs old. Oprah was 30 when she was fired from her last job and turned it all around. I can honestly say that my personal passion for expanding and growing my career takes precedence and my future husband will appreciate me focusing on me becoming the greatest person I can be for him at this very moment.
The ones who know me can tell you that this post may come to a HUGE shock because Carla is always actively dating, well...not right now. I'm not active on any dating sites that I've had and not actively pursuing a love interest. This is how I stopped. It honestly wasn't hard because my focus naturally changed. I looked up one day and realized I hadn't responded to several dating site messages online and I didn't have any interest in doing so either.
Do I think I'm missing out on meeting "The one"? Nope. If you know me, I've made myself available on every avenue possible to meet my match. I personally feel that it doesn't matter how much effort you put into meeting someone if it doesn't happen organically. So pursue your dreams, your goals, your passions...because I believe I'll meet them on my journey if I haven't already...