Dating Advisory: Hindsight is 20/20
My dating advisory . . . DON"T
Just don't do it.
Dating is not for the unhealed, faint of heart, and fragile people out there. It requires resilience and patience to make it through this game. Last May I began this blog and posted my first piece called Dating Advisory. If you haven't read it yet, start there. I am literally writing one year later after experiencing dual pandemics as well as changes in my life and a heightened awareness of everything in it.
Now one year later I still believe aspects of what I wrote and thought, but I am one more year into dating and figuring out the nuances and complexities of what that has meant for me. I now see the world from a new vantage point of someone who is fearless to take any step towards happiness at the risk of having my heart broken or falling flat on my face.
I need to also say that I use the words dating and relationships with the knowledge that they are nuanced and have multiple interpretations. There aren't many words outside of a "situationship" ( stay tuned for more on that) that capture that complexity and frustration.
They both seem to have blurred lines and are not defined the same. I thought dating was short-term, but for some, it can go on for years. It seems that a dating situation that goes on that long might now be a relationship, but that's not always everyone else's description. Either way, I am at the point where my advice for dating is just don't. That headache of just knowing what something is for your own sense of peace is enough frustration add on that you need to now navigate another person. Now it starts to feel more like work than anything should be in a busy woman's life.
Maybe you can date, but what I realized was that I jumped into this dating situation last year way before I had done the work to heal and figure myself out. Over the past year, I did that work and took the time to understand more about who I am and want to be while simultaneously dating. I am the queen of multitasking in life and can usually compartmentalize the sections of it. So of course, I needed to go the extra mile and do it all at once. I don't recommend it, I should have stuck with the self-work and focused on building and knowing my own needs. It ended up being overwhelming and exhausting and the end results have not necessarily been fruitful in the relationship aspects of my life
And, the second year of dating resulted in three outcomes I keep coming up against.
One, the men I potentially might date don't make it past the texting communication before I lose interest and effort in getting to know someone new. I have gotten to a point where having a nickname I chose instead of just their number is a big deal.
Two, we make it through a decent first date and I am geared up for a second date until that actually has to happen. Then I need to call in my reinforcements, to convince me that I should show up to the date and do my best to give the guy a chance. Inevitably, my initial instincts are spot on and the second date is also the last. This is the most common of the outcomes. Leaving a trail of guilt and numbers and nicknames filling up my iPhone address book never to be looked at again.
Then finally the third scenario is that I put too much of myself out there sooner than I should and end up in a situation where I am emotionally invested in someone who isn't putting the same level of effort into me. They have a name and a picture on my phone, but every once in a while when I am not so pleased, I might change that name to a less flattering nickname that reflects my emotional state and thoughts about them.
That final scenario has been rare but left the longest impact on my feelings towards dating. It's also helped me to narrow down what it is I do and don't want from the person I am involving myself with.
My dating advisory in hindsight is this. I may still need to help a man understand my needs and communicate to fill in the gaps that he may not know or understand about me That's ok and it is part of learning each other's nuances for the benefit of a strong connection.
Once you decide to date and they get past the second night, you are putting a little bit more investment into the possibility of something. That is when you come up against men who you might have to guide a little more than others. Your intuition may have led you to this person, so there is a potential for something between you growing. I still stand by where I was a year ago on that. It's also another way to foster and grow in our communication with each other. How someone responds tells me their willingness to grow and develop as an individual and with me.
Hindsight has led me to add another layer to that learning. That guidance and open communication need to be coupled with a man pouring into me as well. I can not put forth all the energy and effort without reciprocation. Don't get me wrong, I like to do things for others that I care about. I will cook you a meal, help you develop an idea, or solve a problem, I am a giver to the people I love and care for. I don't expect things because I give, but at some point, I also want to receive.
Pouring into me is simple. Prioritize time with me, check in on me daily, fulfill the things I ask for especially when they are small and don't require anything more than effort and time. Support me in my projects and validate my gifts and strengths. Pour into me by matching my energy and effort.
Do not think this means that as a woman I don't know my own worth or need a man to complete those things. I know what I am capable of and I know that I am a rare find. I entertain myself and have plenty of people in my life who love and spend time with me. Plus I take care of myself and my children financially so I do not need someone to take care of me. But I want someone who can lighten my load and recognize that I am worthy of that effort.
If you are getting all that I bring to the table, what are you bringing for me?
How do you add to my life?
A man pouring into me enhances what is already present it doesn't make or break me. I know that when I am cared for properly and given that effort, I glow differently, I smile brighter and I feel a sense of calm that I have a partner who lifts me so I can continue to hold up my world with ease and the comfort of someone by my side.
Dating has been tough from the start. Maybe I am not great at it, because I know what I want and don't have patience for anything that doesn't feel worthwhile. But I still put myself out there and am trying to find that missing piece that brings me peace and adds to my world.
For once I want to be the person who someone else is afraid to lose instead of wondering when I will be the one left. I have no fear of jumping off into the unknown if my intuition is guiding me to take a chance and just trust. I may fall and get hurt, but what I know for a certain, is that I will always rise tall again. Hopefully, one day that will be with a man who knows me in my complexity and wants to grow and build together in partnership.