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Not long before I ordered that shared ride, I knew I needed a change in perspective in the way I dated.So I took action and radically changed the way I date.I was frustrated by it, exhausted by it, living in a constant state of thinly veiled panic. My expectations, my timeline, my checklist, my reliance on apps.I viewed my daily single existence as a prolonged and agonizing pit stop on the road to the perfect relationship, engagement, and marriage. With this new mindset, I also let go of my tightly held belief that if I tried hard enough I could earn a relationship the same way I earned two degrees and a job I love—by grit, wit, and determination.

I like to say that I started living a “life of yes” because I said no to one specific activity. The change in my perspective was gradual and multifaceted, and in many ways, I am still in the midst of it.I thought being at peace with this stage in my life would mean I had given up—that I would stop trying to find the man of my dreams, stop searching for the relationship that my heart, my soul, yearns for. I won’t be at peace until I find him But when we mutually agreed that the distance had put too heavy a strain on our connection, I knew that this stalwart peace now permeating my sadness wasn’t something I should reject.It was the strength I had gained over the past few years and only recently recognized.Perhaps the most significant change was my reclamation of autonomy in my romantic life.When I used dating apps, I I had been taking charge of my dating life, but I discovered that I had actually ceded control to the algorithmic whims of apps driven by big data, and propelled by my own excessive and increasing desperation, I descended into mindless swiping that left me more dissatisfied than when I started.

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