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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the link between dating and my level of anxiety. There seems to be a very strong correlation between my decision to meet, or try to meet, someone with the goal of being in a romantic relationship with them and my level of self loathing.

I spend a lot of time thinking about whether I’m acceptable. I think about how long it’s been since I had a serious relationship. I think about all the things I dislike about myself, and about my body. I think about all the things I would be willing to change if they conflicted with having a boyfriend. I drive myself crazy with it and I don’t know how to turn it off.

Except to say I’m not dating anymore. I don’t seem to be able to find a way to date, be on the market, meet new people who I think about in a romantic way, none of it, without my head being filled with an endless parade of negative thoughts, all centered around the various ways in which I am unworthy of romance.

This is not helpful. I also find I spend a lot of time sitting on online dating websites, sending out feelers; trying to make connections with people. If only I could manage to use that time productively, to work on the rewrites for my last novel or to practise the bass! I’m sure I would be much happier to just potter around doing my own thing. Although admittedly it may just mean more time on Youtube.

It feels very antisocial to say those sorts of things out aloud. Like I must have turned into a man-hating feminazi to give up on dating. Or maybe I’ve finally gotten so far up my own arse that no one will ever be good enough so I’m choosing to be celibate instead.

It seems really radical to have decided not to pursue coupledom in our society which seems to be so obsessed with it. And maybe I’ll be accused, as I have been before, of being disengaged from the world, but maybe I’ll be able to just be a human being and stop measuring myself by whether people want to sleep with me.

Initially I wrote this when I was feeling bitter and depressed about the concept, like I was punishing myself by saying “you’ll never have that so just give up.” But now, after a couple of days, I’m feeling kind of good about it. It feels like taking back my control, like sticking it to The Man and The Patriarchy. It’s probably extremely selfish but screw it, I’m giving myself permission to be selfish and to stop torturing myself.