Dating or cartooning?
February 13, 2018 1:50 AM   Subscribe

I've been on a dating odyssey in the last year but I'm wondering if it's distracting me from my freelance cartoon career?

I broke up with someone just over a year ago. It wasn't a healthy relationship and left me bruised. I decided that I needed to get myself back out there to try to move on. I signed up for Tinder and Bumble and so began my dating odyssey. I reckon I've been on 100 dates and as of yet I haven't met anyone I've really felt a connection with. I'm not even sure if I'm going to get that feeling as I'm still not really over my ex. I haven't used anybody or slept around and have been pretty upfront with my dates about where I'm at. Mostly they're just coffee dates that don't lead to a second date for one reason or another. I think initially I was using the dating as a distraction from my heartbreak and to build my self esteem back up. I'm not sure if it has worked....maybe, though maybe time would have done this anyway without the dating. Where I'm at now, and what leads me to my main question, is I'm wondering if the dating is actually distracting me now from other things and perhaps using up too much of my mental and emotional energy? I have a 9-5 job but I'm also a freelance cartoonist on the side. Over the years I've had some degree of success and I still receive some regular commissions. However, I think I'm really under-performing and could do so much better....if I was more focused and disciplined. I think I started to underperform in my previous relationship as that consumed me and now I'm wondering if the dating has simply replaced that in consuming my thoughts? What I really need is to kick start the cartooning again, produce more work and market myself in the all the various ways to push myself forward. I am actually quite good at it and I'm not someone who usually blows his own trumpet. I'm wondering if I should knock the dating on the head to give myself a chance to do this? I think I would like to meet someone and would probably start fretting if this wasn't happening (I'm 53) but I wonder if I'm trying too hard.
posted by blokefromipanema to Human Relations (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For me, dating was the massive energy suck as you point out. But once I found the right person, and all the encouragement that came from them, I gained about 5 times as much creative productivity as before. "Love is a force that's powerful and strange" -- Frozen.
posted by johngoren at 2:33 AM on February 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Getting "addicted" to dating is such a thing that there are even checklist articles about it. Just like booze or sex, it's something that can be used to boost self-esteem for a while, but for some people gets out of hand and kind of takes over.

With this in mind, I think you should probably think about a period of dating abstinence (try a month to start with) for yourself and your wellbeing, not just your career. It's not healthy to rely on something too heavily to stay happy, and I think you're likely to feel better in lots of ways if you give it a solid break.

Also, a bit of space and letting go of the urge to search might make it easier to spot someone who you actually are interested in when they come along!
posted by greenish at 3:52 AM on February 13, 2018

I don't believe we ever get 'over' someone. Instead, it takes us a while to incorporate our feelings and lessons into who we are. Sometimes it hurts longer, sometimes we wish we still had 'X' because we learn that 'X' is important... Sometimes we take a while to work through the trauma or the grief or the emotional rollercoaster we were just on.

And then, when we go on dates, people can't compare to what we had - or what they do compare it leaves us... numb because either we've not found someone who is engaging us yet.

'Clicking' can take time - especially if we clicked with someone recently. We generally expect that we click with someone the same way as the last - and the reality is - your next significant other will likely be someone you click with entirely differently because it is a different person.

And that means, while you've dated a bunch of new people, have you gone after the same type? Would you consider finding a dating source from something where you have less of a disqualification process on the front end -where you relinquish some level of control? (You still need some level of screening for safety, but give up on designing your perfect mate before you meet them).
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:48 AM on February 13, 2018 [11 favorites]

You've had 100 dates this year? That's a bit ridiculous. I'm sure it's hurt your side business.

Look for someone you like and find attractive, even if they don't meet your checklist. Seeing one person is a lot less energy intensive than going on first dates every week. I'm not saying settle, but try not to reject people out of hand.

If you can't find someone suitable in the next 10 dates or so, pausing for a few months would benefit you.
posted by Trifling at 6:03 AM on February 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think initially I was using the dating as a distraction from my heartbreak and to build my self esteem back up. [...] I'm wondering if the dating is actually distracting me now from other things... [...] I'm wondering if the dating has simply replaced that in consuming my thoughts?

I think your instincts are right here. Follow those instincts, and cut back on the dating which isn't getting you anywhere. Having a bit of distance from your relationship now, perhaps it's easier to focus on yourself.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:38 AM on February 13, 2018

This seems like a very low stakes proposition. If you're thinking that dating so much might have impacted your workflow, go ahead and test that hypothesis! The nice thing about online dating, especially if you're not in the middle of pursuing a lot of compelling leads (which it sounds like you are not), is that you can put it down and pick it up at will.

If you take a break for two or three months and it turns out that you miss the dating, or your productivity doesn't pick up again, you can always just revive your profiles. As a side bonus, there will have been turn-over while you were away, so you might find fresh folks to date when you come back.
posted by merriment at 2:45 PM on February 13, 2018

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