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How I Regained My Confidence After A Decade’s Dating Drought

I clearly recall when Tinder launched, a little over a decade ago. It coincided with the breakup of a relationship I thought would go the distance. I was heartbroken and a little lost in life, and found the gamification of dating a fun distraction. Every new match came with a little dopamine hit and a glimmer of hope that maybe this time I had hit the jackpot.

My early 30s are a blur of drinks, dinners, gigs and gallery visits that rarely led to much more than another few dates (if that). Occasionally I felt a connection with someone yet things never progressed further than a summer fling. Meanwhile, the years passed and I grew increasingly frustrated that finding my person should be this tricky. Dating felt like a game I couldn’t crack and I desperately wanted to figure out where I was going wrong.

In my search for answers I turned to the plethora of advice offered by dating coaches and matchmakers who somehow made their way into my social media feeds. I watched their YouTube videos, read their books and listened to their podcasts for guidance. All of this was helpful up to a point — it made me aware of red flags to watch out for and, in some ways, more assertive about what not to put up with. But consulting so many different sources meant some of the advice seemed contradictory and I ended up confused about which approach to take. Despite my efforts, I was still single and now suffering from a serious case of dating fatigue. I suspected I would need to delve deeper into my own psychology if I were to have any sort of breakthrough in my love life.

I found a retreat called The Heart of Relationships, run by the British husband-and-wife facilitator team Emma and Matthew Pruen

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