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Honestly, online dating hasn’t been a total bust. I’ve met two really great guys through Tinder. But for different reasons, the relationships didn’t last; of course, a big part of the problem was me.

Going through the process of online dating has taught me some important lessons about what I want in a partner — and what I don’t want. I use the word “partner” purposefully because I don’t want just a guy. I want something more.

But I don’t think I can find something more on Tinder, or maybe through any online dating platform. And really, I don’t want to. Right now, I don’t want to invest the small amount of free time I have searching for that special someone. I want to spend that time doing the things I love. And hope — and pray — that he’s doing the same kind of things.

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A friend of mine met her boyfriend while she was a hot, sweaty mess. See, she’s a runner. And she ran into her now boyfriend (a fabulous guy) during a race in the city. They talked afterwards, red-faced, soaking wet, and feeling a shared sense of accomplishment. Later, they became running partners. Now, they’ve intertwined their lives around each other and a common passion, which seems to be good for the heart, romantically and physically. That passion for life and organic chemistry is hard to see in cyberspace.

Another pretty amazing thing has happened since my ex moved out: I’ve learned to be alone. This may seem like the easiest thing in the world, but for me it was my worst fear realized — besides getting head lice, which I did for the first time at age 30! (But that’s another crazy story entirely.) Now, I’m not scared to spend the night by myself, even though my parents think I should be. Of course, I do miss the warmth and love of another human being in the bed beside me, but I’m okay sleeping with the “lovies” my daughter has so generously granted me.

My best friend has told me countless times to embrace being alone. I agree with the sentiment, but always brush it off as not for me. And you know what, solitude still isn’t my style. But it’s OK right now. I’m not going to enforce any strict time restrictions or rules made to be broken. Instead, I’m just going to do the things I love in Fort Worth and try to be the best version of myself, while keeping my eyes (and heart) open.

But let’s be real: Being alone sucks a lot of the time. So here’s a list of places, spaces, and upcoming events in the city where I think real connections could occur — no screens required. Goodbye, Tinder. Hello, reality.

Arts Goggle | Saturday, Oct. 10 | Near Southside

Well, if 550 artists and 50 bands don’t inspire passionate connections and conversations we’ll all SOL. Plus it’s free, and there will be plenty of beer to buy to quiet inhibitions.

Pandora’s Box Poetry Showcase | Monday, Oct. 19 | Shipping & Receiving

A poetry reading at one of Fort Worth’s hippest bars is a great reason to grab a drink and strike up a conversation with one of the cool cats in attendance. Snap it up.

Modern til Midnight: Beats and Baroque | Saturday, Oct. 24 | The Modern Art Museum

This one’s not free ($25 at the door) but it’s worth the splurge. There’s a pop-up opera —I didn’t even know that was a thing — gallery tours from smart artsy folks, live music on the museum’s lawn, dancing, drinks, and all sorts of hook-up happenings.

As always, please write to me with your questions on love, relationships, and life at: xsandoscolumn@gmail.com.

XOXO,

Sarah

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