The Minefield of Dating When You Don't Love Yourself

Updated: May 21, 2019

I have been having a lot of doubt and writers block to do with this blog post, and the first draft was entirely different. The fact is my friends will find it laughable that I am writing a blogpost on love and dating, because I am notoriously bad at anything on this topic.

I get hung up on guys two years after we had a few terrible dates, I have had a crush on a certain guy on my course since first year but have cried on nights out after glimpsing at him just because I hated how I looked, Im notoriously good at swiping and but even worse at following through, and I generally just have a bad taste in guys. Safe to say my body count isn't breaking any records.

I have not always been able to see the association between my nerves towards dating and relationships, and with self worth. But once I realised how intricately entwined they are in my mind and in life in general its become hard to untangle them. I feel like over the years I have accepted lower standards for relationships and dating because I have been reflecting my own negative body image onto future 'possibilities'.

I must admit that I had this realisation, of bad self body acceptance and dating, a long time ago, but it is still the biggest challenge I have faced, and what I still genuinely struggle with. I have spent days and weeks of my life upset and lonely with the belief that the only way my life would improve is if I had a boyfriend. I pinned a lot of these feelings of unhappiness and self hate because I was single.

I am a strong, independent woman, and was raised by a strong, independent woman, but I could not shake that thought.

I have been working on body positivity for years, but always the hardest obstacle to overcome was dating and relationships. I believed in romance and romantic films, but plus size girls aren't featured much in films and TV series, and when they are, they tend to be joke side characters - a role I have always been very comfortable playing - and if these girls were in relationships it always seemed to be not quite right, as though the relationships were out of pity instead of curvy girls just allowed to be loved the way thinner girls are. In fact, the first curvy woman I came across who unapologetically showed what it was like to date (and live) as a plus size woman was Lindy West in her book 'Shrill Notes of a Loud Woman'. (Read it! It gave me a whole new perspective on really simple things about life as a curvy woman. Especially read it if you aren't a curvy woman because its great to read and see how life is different from what is normally portrayed on TV and media, and says a lot of things that people are afraid to talk about.)

Yet despite West showing in her book just how dating and relationships is entirely possible for plus size woman, I wasn't confident that I 'deserved' to date, and that someone who looked like me could seem attractive to anyone on a night out or in day-to-day life. I seen friends meeting amazing people and being approached at bars, and I just wasn't. I put this down to my own worthlessness. Dating and healthy relationships has been the last ball to drop for me in terms of body positivity. I could have spent the entire day loving myself and feeling great but as soon as mention of a guy came up, or I was in the pub and I liked the look of someone, or even if a guy glanced at me, it turns out I was actually quite fragile, because that is all it took for me to start doubting myself, and this often brought me to the point of tears. I couldn't count how many times I have left in tears without telling anyone on nights out, and just walked home because I didn't feel hot enough or pretty enough to get with a guy, when that is what all of my friends were doing (especially at my uni).

It has only been very recently that I realised that I deserve the same dating and love experience as everyone else, and I am no different from anyone else. What do I have to be scared of? That an average guy would not find me attractive? That I will get turned down?

My skin is thicker by the day, and I have definitely been through worse.

I now approach people I find attractive and I am not scared when my swiping on Tinder turns into something more. I ask myself what have I got to lose?

I am writing this blog off the back of my second tinder date of the week leaving my apartment. I have been hit with a stroke of genius - men really will fuck you and fancy you, it doesn't matter what you look like, what your body looks like, or whether your tummy sticks out! It doesn't matter, I have realised that around 90% of how much people are attracted to you comes from your attitude and self-confidence. I love theatre and I love acting, Just like I mentioned in my smiling post, faking it till you make it is the perfect way to overcome self-confidence issues, especially in terms of dating.

Okay, maybe this is a little harsh to the male people of the world but listen here - I have spent so much of my adult and teenage life worrying about what men thought about me. Whether they found me attractive, whether they would even bother looking at me when I felt like the ugliest girl in the club, degrading myself because my tummy sticked out a little bit from my pencil skirt, or my arms jiggled when I danced. This realisation is kind of a big deal for me.

I always knew it was true but found it difficult to come to terms with but loving yourself first is one of the only true ways to date, and it’s how I Managed to get over all of my nerves. Body positivity first.

I have so much else to say on this topic, and obviously this post is only from my experiences of dating, I would love to hear yours!

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