15 Poems To Read When Dating Isn't Going Well

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Dating is hard, y'all. The effort required to meet new people and try to form relationships out of the aether, the despair when you realize you've swiped left on every available person in your area, the distinct displeasure of receiving an unsolicited dick pic — it's enough to make anyone want to give up dating and become a cat-collecting hermit. On the list below, I've got 15 poems for you to read when dating isn't going well, and they're full of the commiseration and inspiration you need to get over your latest dating disappointment.

The world throws a lot of mixed messages at single people: You're too picky. You do you. What's wrong with you? Be carefree and live large while you can! Have you tried [insert dating app here]? You should really settle down. ALL THE SINGLE LADIES! Figuring out which of these you're supposed to listen to — in effect, how you're supposed to feel about being single — is a real challenge.

The truth is, no matter how you feel about being single, your feelings are valid. It's OK to enjoy your life as an unattached person, and it's just as OK to feel sad because you don't have a partner. The poems on the list below reflect the disparate feelings people may have about being single, so feel free to browse until you find one that fits you.

"For Women Who Are Difficult to Love" by Warsan Shire

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you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name

"The Inside Out Mermaid" by Matthea Harvey

The Inside Out Mermaid is fine with letting it all hang out–veins, muscles, the bits of fat at her belly, her small gray spleen.

Read the poem in full here.

"Corpse Flower" by Vanessa Angélica Villarreal

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Yesterday, the final petal curled its soft lure into bone.
The flowerhead shed clean, I gathered up your spine
and built you on a dark day. You are still missing

Read the poem in full here.

"April Is a Dog's Dream" by Marilyn Singer

april is a dog's dream
the soft grass is growing
the sweet breeze is blowing
the air all full of singing feels just right

Read the poem in full here.

"Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou

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The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own

Read the poem in full here.

"The Affliction" by Marie Howe

and he: (and this was almost unbearable)
he saw me see him,
and I saw him see me.

Read the poem in full here.

"Idée Fixe" by Catherine Barnett

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No woman wants to be low-hanging fruit,
my glamorous girlfriend says, but I’m indiscriminate
and love all fruit, I’m tempted to list each kind
right here, in and out of season,
because even just saying the names gives me pleasure,
as does saying your name.

Read the poem in full here.

"Tomb in Three Parts" by Mary Jo Bang

I remove my heart from its marble casing and grind that shell into glass dust and force the dust and the occupational core into a box barely big enough to hold them and watch while the self-sealing lid sets itself.

Read the poem in full here.

"Advice from the Lights" by Stephanie Burt

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If you don't get too close to people you can't disappoint them,
which would be so much worse
than letting them disappoint you.

Read the poem in full here.

"The friend" by Marge Piercy

We sat across the table.
he said, cut off your hands.
they are always poking at things.
they might touch me.
I said yes.

Read the poem in full here.

"Loneliness" by Fanny Howe

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Loneliness is not an accident or a choice.
It’s an uninvited and uncreated companion.
It slips in beside you when you are not aware that a
choice you are making will have consequences.

Read the poem in full here.

"[Stutter]" by Leslie Harrison

I said love because it came closest said leave
because you did we do this peeling off each
from each each from suddenly other said
come back but meant don't go I said dead

Read the poem in full here.

"Among Women" by Marie Ponsot

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What women wander?
Not many. All. A few.
Most would, now & then,
& no wonder.

Read the poem in full here.

"Split" by Cathy Linh Che

I see my mother, at thirteen,
in a village so small
it’s never given a name.

Read the poem in full here.

"Bound for Hell" by Maria Tsvetaeva

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Hell, my ardent sisters, be assured,
Is where we’re bound; we’ll drink the pitch of hell—
We, who have sung the praises of the lord
With every fiber in us, every cell.

Read the poem in full here.