I Quit Online Dating, And Now I Feel Free
The Grace Tales reader Anna Abignano decided to stop looking for a date online, and rediscover the real world. She shares her experience of life after Tinder.



After being on and off online dating for the past three years, I have decided to quit. In fact, I deleted three dating apps from my phone, and I feel amazing. I feel free, light, energised, and like I have control of my life back. I feel like an addict who has given up drugs or smoking, although it has been a much easier thing to give up. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to give up drugs, drinking or smoking.

I haven't had these issues thank God, but I have had issues with online dating. I was completely addicted. Night after night I would put the kids to bed and log on and spend the next two to three hours on each site answering messages from men. I would not allow anything sleazy. I stopped finding it appealing if men called me 'hot' or 'sexy' or "milf'. That meant they were only after one thing.

Trying to find someone who was willing to be themselves, great at conversation, interesting and witty, was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. And let me tell you, it was harrowing. It was not at all enjoyable. Not even one ounce enjoyable. At the beginning, I would reply to everyone who sent me a message. And I didn't struggle to receive messages, but I did struggle to find someone with all the qualities I was after. And I don't think I was asking for that much. I wanted a guy who was at least a six. A six! Come on, that's being generous.

I wanted to date a guy who had the same values as me. Because I think that's very important. After some traumatic relationships, I needed to find a guy who communicated and problem-solved in a similar fashion, otherwise: disaster. I wanted someone empathetic, caring and kind. Ok, that may be stretching things a little. I was almost at the bottom of the haystack. Women are biologically wired to be compassionate, nurturing and caring – all the qualities I wanted in a man. I seriously even considered dating a woman. I never got that far. I was ghosted. Many times. And, I became the ghoster. I was 'breadcrumbed', lead on to believe there was something happening but it turned out the man had little intention of meeting (thanks a lot to the guy who made me listen to him talk about cranes on the job site every lunch time for three weeks, without even committing to a lunch date. Another one preferred to talk about trains instead of how he felt about me). I sat in front of a guy on a date for two hours (two hours!) who said things like "That's why it's called a KINGdom, not a QUEENdom" and "The inside jobs are for the woman, the outside jobs are for the man".

My last relationship was with a man who had our future planned in the first week. That relationship lasted for a year but I was drained with him going one speed, myself going another. Once back online, I swiped left and right so often I almost gave myself RSI. I started to check for messages when my kids and I were at the café drinking soy lattes and babycinos. I would jump at the sound of a Tinder notification while I was driving, only to check it at traffic lights (and thereafter pull over when zero tolerance kicked in for mobile phone use while driving. I swear.).

Online dating was TAKING OVER MY LIFE. And, because of the bad dates, ghosting, breadcrumbing and anything else that made me feel shitty using these online dating apps, I reached a point where I felt I had lost any sense of the actual life I was living. What happened to picking up a guy in a bar or nightclub or crushing on the cute Italian guy at the local deli and getting asked out on a date? Thanks to online dating, many people don't connect like that anymore.

One night, I felt so low I sat on the couch pondering what life would be like without logging onto these dating apps each day. I recalled a childhood of making mud pies, running around the backyard, picking up rocks and finding insects underneath. I loved my childhood without the internet and I loved the excitement I had for life before it all took over.

Ok, so I'm no longer a child who does those things. I'm a 45-year-old woman, but I loved the idea of being awake and open to life again and all it's activities. I loved the thought of sitting with my kids at the dinner table and talking with them instead of checking messages, and I mostly loved the idea of not feeling crappy when the guy I felt I was connecting with ghosted me. It's only been 48 hours, but I already feel amazing. I am no longer controlled or strangled by looking for a boyfriend. I will let it happen naturally. I will let him walk into my life or bump into me at the shopping centre or something. If he looks up from his phone long enough to notice me.

I have also long known I can survive being single. I really enjoy being single! But yeah, I miss having a companion when I want one. I'll meet him when I'm supposed to. For now, I have my kids, my business, my friendships and my exercise regime to get back into. And I'm excited to put more energy into all of them. I also decided on the same night two nights ago when I demolished the dating apps that I also had to delete Facebook, however I am still on it. I can do without the dating apps, but I can't do without the MAFS support groups, the Kmart home décor hacks, Netflix Bangers or the single mother's groups to keep me company of a night while my children are in bed. I might delete them when I finally bump into my soulmate on the street, whenever that will be.

Anna Abignano loves her day job as a writer and marketing consultant at www.allaboutpr.com.au and is a busy single mum of two.

thegracetalespodcast

Amelia Freer with client Boy George

Like so many women, British celebrity nutritional therapist and best-selling author Amelia Freer just assumed she'd one day be a mother. But as she ended her thirties, she suffered a spate of miscarriages - including one that occurred while Freer was appearing on live TV, promoting one of her best-selling books - and doctors told her to prepare for a life without children.


Her chances of becoming pregnant, they said, were incredibly low. "It was quite brutal to accept that my future was going to look different to how I had imagined," she says. "But I don't think I really accepted it or gave up, I just quietly hoped for a miracle. I saw it as yet another of life's hurdles and I do have an attitude of just seeing how things turn out." It's this attitude – and a healthy dose of reproductive luck, of course – that saw Freer fall pregnant at 41 with her first child. Her beautiful daughter, Willow, is now two and a half.

During her pregnancy, Freer's attitude to health stayed as sensible as it has always been. With a focus on gut health, vegetables and good fats, Freer has always steered away from fad diets and trend-based superfoods when it comes to her clients (who include Victoria Beckham, James Corden and Sam Smith, among others). Victoria Beckham has said Freer taught her "so much about food; you've got to eat the right things, eat the right healthy fats."

She's written four books (her fourth book Simply Good For You celebrates the joy and the nutrition of food, and features over a hundred delicious, quick and non-nonsense recipes that are as healthy as they are tasty). Her third book, Nourish and Glow: The Ten Day Plan was borne of Freer's no-nonsense approach to nutrition. Based on a modified version of the Mediterranean diet, Freer says the book is a great place to start for anyone looking to improve their nutrition. As in all of her work, there's an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and complex grains.

We caught up with the inspiring Freer to talk motherhood, the experience of miscarriage and more. In our conversation, we cover:

-The joy and the nutrition of food.
-The psychological and social aspects of nutrition.
-How Amelia's approach is driven by 'Positive Nutrition' and it's not perfectionist.
-Why we aren't understanding that diets simply don't work.
-What should we actually eat in a day?
-How many of us are dehydrated and how this has a massive impact on our wellbeing.
-Pregnancy loss and her motherhood journey
-How to nurture our bodies after we have children.
-Time management and the power of "no"

To find out more about Amelia Freer, go to ameliafreer.com

Amelia Freer

Amelia Freer holding her book Simply Good For You

Amelia Freer with her daughter Willow

Collective membership
Carly Brown

By the time you finish this story on Auguste founder Ebony Eagle, you'll want to move to Byron Bay, own a couple of horses and dress exclusively in Auguste. At least, I did. She's the type of woman who spreads positive energy and this energy trickles down to the clothes she designs. Ebony has created a fashion brand for women and children that's driven by sustainability and giving back.

Keep Reading Show less
GRACE MAIL
Sign Up For A Weekly Dose Of Mama Love

If I asked you if you embrace your body, what would you say? When was the last time you looked in the mirror and loved what you saw? And if I told you that the largest problem for Australian school children is their body image and 70% of Australian school children consider it to be their number one concern, how would you feel? As Body Image Movement founder Taryn Brumfitt discovered when creating her documentary Embrace - the most successfully crowdfunded documentary in Australian history – body image is a global problem and it begins far younger than we'd like to believe. "No matter where I travelled to, the stories were still the same. There was still an expectation of what beauty meant in particular countries and cultures. And if you fell outside of that beauty standard, then you were like most women, on that road of battling against your body," she says. Embrace Kids is now in the works and you can donate to the funding of the documentary here. Teresa Palmer, Celeste Barber and Natasha Stott Despoja are all executive producers - what a line-up!

Here, we hear more about the defining moment that lead Taryn to begin her journey of learning to embrace her body and how we can all follow her lead and also her latest project, a new children's book entitled Embrace Your Body.

Keep Reading Show less
The Suite Set

The Melbourne-based founder of The Suite Set Sally Branson Dalwood has worked as a senior media advisor to a prime minister, developed and promoted strategy around entrepreneurship policy for women and worked as the director of a political party. Ask her about her career in politics, and you'll hear about the time she was catapulted off an aircraft carrier. And the time she climbed a rope ladder down the side of a US warship into a pilot boat floating aside it in the middle of the ocean. There's also time she was accompanying the Prime Minister when the Duke and Duchessof Cambridge visited Australia. Dalwood not only attended the royal's events in Sydney and Canberra, but travelled in the car behind the couple.

Keep Reading Show less

The Grace Tales is a global lifestyle platform for mothers searching for style, substance, and solidarity. Driven by creating content, community and connection, we celebrate the paradox of modern motherhood; the struggle and the beauty, the joy and the relentlessness.

Sophie Harris-Taylor captures something we often try so hard to hide: our vulnerability. As mothers, we're supposed to be strong and powerful, yet what is often overlooked is that our transition into becoming a mother is the most vulnerable period of our lives...

"I think we're often afraid to show our vulnerabilities," agrees London-based Harris-Taylor. "Perhaps we think by showing this side people are going to judge and only see weakness. Where actually I think there's something incredibly powerful and strong about being openly vulnerable. I'm in awe of the people I photograph, its often about striking the balance between confidence and vulnerability. I've found my work to be a very therapeutic experience, it took me a while to open up myself, but by doing this it has allowed my subjects to open up and engage in an honest conversation."

Keep Reading Show less

"I'd always had a strong sense of social justice and been aware of the privilege I had been born into in a middle class family in London. I knew I wanted to use the opportunities I had to do something that made some kind of difference or had an impact on other people's lives," says Joanna Maiden.

Keep Reading Show less