When I was a student in my late teens and early twenties, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting cafés alone.
Indeed, there was a type of indulgence in taking the time to read a good book or simply take in the bustle while enjoying a good coffee without having to make polite conversation with anyone.
There was a time when I cherished and reveled in my solitude. I would happily enjoy a good lunch out by myself and see it as a special treat. However, many things have changed since the days that I enjoyed my own company in this way. I got married, got busier, had children, and I stopped appreciating just what a wonderful self-date I make.
Recently, I have been lamenting over how I would love to go out for a nice meal somewhere; I think I’ve been driving my husband mad about the subject. With baby number four imminent, I have really felt the need to do something other than work and do domestic chores. My partner, however, is always tired from work when he returns in the evenings, and weekends just get filled with stuff that can’t be caught up with during the week.
Having mentioned date nights, meals out, the theater, and so on, a fair amount of times and receiving negative responses or excuses, I ended up feeling pretty hurt and rejected. I felt really melancholy about the situation and started to wonder why he didn’t want to spend a few hours with me, and then I realized that perhaps the emphasis shouldn’t be on why he didn’t want to spend a few hours with me, but on why I didn’t want to spend a few hours with me.
I began to think that if I couldn’t spend time with myself, and learn to love myself, how could anyone else? After all, if I could not entertain myself without the presence of somebody else, what is the point of being a unique individual? It wasn’t easy to make the decision to make time for me and start going on solo dates, but it has certainly been a game changer. It’s relaxing and makes me feel better about myself. It’s also a refreshing reminder that it is okay to be alone no matter where you are.
Although I was deeply wounded when my husband said he didn’t want to do date nights because of the chaos of organizing babysitters and getting the children ready, then rushing out for a meal just to rush back again and drop a babysitter home, he did have a point: all the rushing about didn’t make for a calm or romantic start to a dinner date.
I thought about a romantic evening in or even doing lunch together, but again these things didn’t work out as my other half was tired, had a headache, or just gave out the vibe that he couldn’t be bothered. Yes, I sat and cried and wondered what happened to the guy who used want to spend every available moment with me, and then it dawned on me that I had stopped loving myself and was no longer content to spend time alone.
As a result, I had become frightened to ask for what I wanted without coming across as being demanding. The whole thing about spending quality time together had become such a big deal in my head, and I was so fearful of rejection, that I hadn’t really had the courage to ask for what I wanted. When he said no to date night, I didn’t have the confidence to accept it gracefully.
Some of the greatest things come from outside our comfort zones, and in my case this was taking myself on a date, which allowed me to indulge in my own thoughts and allow my mind to meander. Dressing up, just for me, and going out, just for me, has led to a newfound confidence and feeling of self-worth that completely changed my life.
Allowing myself the time to get away from my everyday life for one hour a week has really started to replenish my confidence and well of creativity. The great thing about spending time alone on a self-date is that you can be yourself or anything you choose to be. I feel that you’ve got to get out, by yourself, and soak up some creative vibes in order to stay happy, balanced, and interesting to others.
The five reasons that I recommend going on a self-date are:
1. Freedom! When you take yourself on a date night, you have the freedom to do whatever you want to do! You can sit with a journal and plot out that novel you’ve been wanting to write for years, you can eat at the restaurant you love and your partner dislikes, and you can be whoever you want to be. I found that this exercise reminds us of who we really are, what we love, and that we can be a brilliant date ourselves—and, most importantly, that we can make our own happiness.
2. There is no agenda…relax. When we take ourselves on a date, we can take as long as we like to sip a glass of wine or drink a coffee. On a self-date, there is only you and there is no one who is rushing you. I found that on a self-date it is easy to slow things down and really start enjoying life.
3. Independence. I found that self-dates restored some of that confidence and independence that I had before the days of responsibility and children. For me, going on self-dates was a revelation because it showed me that I was more than capable of being on my own and able to enjoy my time and space. For me, time alone served as relieving and nurturing to my inner self.
4. It makes you more interesting. Without realizing it, I had slipped into the “we” speech pattern and had lost myself as part of a couple. Spending time on my own has meant that my opinions, preferences, and memories are kept alive. Knowing what I want has made me feel more alive and attractive as a date because it has made me more interesting.
5. Get over your fear of being alone. The more time I have spent nurturing and dating myself the more I have learned about what I want from my partner. Being able to connect with my husband and hold a conversation with him about something other than work and children makes me more appealing. It is attractive to be someone that is confident being alone.
I have found that making time each week for me through a self-date has really boosted my confidence, while also helping me to revitalize myself. With work, family, and home commitments, it is easy to become jaded and lose our identities, and my self-dates have helped to remedy that. I’ve also found that self-dating has nourished my creativity by allowing me the time and space to ponder and develop creative thoughts.
The art of self-dating has also helped my relationship, as my husband hasn’t been subject to my moans and groans about date nights, and suddenly we have more to talk about. My next task is to make more time for my relationship in a non-demanding or resentful way.
In such a fast-paced society, it can be hard to fit everything in, but
it is important to make time for ourselves and those relationships we cherish.
Author: Seren Charrington-Hollins
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Travis May
Copy & Social Editor: Nicole Cameron