I have taken quite the hiatus from dating. A full year. Seriously.
October 2017 was when my last little blip of a relationship ended and I decided to take some time to myself. And I think I’ve been on maybe one random date since?
There are a few reasons why I stopped dating or trying to date. One, I felt like I really needed to just put the brakes on anything romantic for a while. After my heart was crushed nearly two years ago, my immediate response was to jump into dating full force. Probs not the wisest of emotional choices but I was trying my hardest to move on towards something real. I was also trying super hard not to contact my ex. Long story short, I kind of hurricane-d my way through men without stopping.
But after the last ‘thing’ ended, I realized I had a lot of hurt and baggage I hadn’t dealt with. I didn’t know exactly HOW to deal with it, but I figured taking a break from subjecting my wildly anxious, broken heart on men was a good first step.
Another reason I stopped dating was because I just got worn the hell out. It is EXHAUSTING. The funny thing is, I was the most hopeful, most energetic and optimistic of all my friends when I first started dating about 4 years ago. I was like, this is easy and fun! I was the one encouraging all my friends to jump in, open up, give dating a try! You get to meet new people, eat good food, have a grand old time. This, of course, was my young(er), naive(er) self that had yet to be truly burned by this cold, loveless world. Just kidding. But … not really.
Dating was tricky for me before I started seeing the guy who broke me (lets call him Andy) and then dating got even trickier after. Then … it just got tiring. So tiring.
Banter till you get the date, then pretty yourself up, shave parts, put all the things together and then go see if you even like each other. Or at least like the version of each other that is all prettied up and neatly put together. If you do (huzzah), then you have to start the very slow, very time-consuming task of getting to know each other, layer by layer, to hopefully (if you don’t fuck it up with your insecurities or baggage) get to the place that I SO long to be … which is true depth and intimacy. I forgot how much I hate the beginning parts of a relationship. I love the romance! But then I wanna skip straight to intimacy and deep knowing.
Dating is just …. SO much. I needed a Rip Van Winkle type nap from dating. And so I took one.
However, another reason I haven’t been dating, at least in past 6 months, was because of a very dumb (but maybe also wise?) decision. My ex, the one who shredded my heart before, came back into my life briefly.
*Cue chorus of groans.* Yup, I went there. Again.
There are so many reasons why … why I let him back in my life again … but I’m not ready to unpack it all yet. I need time. My best friend has been begging me to write about this part of my story for the longest time. I’ve discussed the heartbreak and I’ve lightly glossed over the ‘affair’, but I haven’t really given it the time and energy it deserves. I haven’t given the context or shared everything that happened between us, every big/little thing that led up to us even happening. I haven’t explained why despite every moral fiber in me saying don’t do this and despite my own overwhelming fear of being crushed that I felt compelled to be with Andy the first time … so it’s even harder to explain why it all needed to happen this way again.
In some ways, this time was actually for both of us to heal. And a lot of REAL healing was done, through conversations and interactions. There was a wrecked and wounded place in me that honestly become more whole after we started to talk again. We forgave each other for some of the cruelties we’d subjected each other to and that brought me a lot of peace.
In another way, I think the universe finally ripped off my rose-colored glasses with him. I was finally able to see that even though I was a mess when I was with him, our problems were not my doing. They did not rest on my shoulders and while I do share in the blame for how badly it ended last time (I was an ass), I wasn’t to blame for why he didn’t ‘choose’ me. He was weak and unsure of himself. But that didn’t make me weak or unsure of myself. There wasn’t anything wrong with me …. and there was nothing I did. I am not so broken, no more broken than anyone else. Furthermore, I wasn’t the one lying or deceiving or trying desperately to appease two souls for my gain.
I was just a girl, a dumb girl trying to find my way … who fell for the wrong guy and got sucked into a sob story that wasn’t even real.
It broke my heart, again, but it also set me free. Well, I did. I set myself free this time and that is incredibly empowering.
There will be more to share … or maybe there won’t. Maybe it doesn’t really matter anymore? The lessons I learned are here and those will be worth repeating. But maybe that story is done. Finally. I have loved, do love, will love. But the story of our doomed romance is boring to me. I want real. Real arms and a real heart and a real life with someone who isn’t afraid to face their demons with me.
And so … I am now going to attempt to date. Womp womp.
It’s crazy to me the hoops we have to jump through to get to real intimacy, to get to the place of demon facing … but .. they are worth it. And the first hoop we have to jump through is the ridiculously weird world of dating.
I mean, seriously. Scroll through any online dating app and you’ll see. We’re just aching and hungry for connection, but the ones who admit that often come across as needy and the ones who don’t, seem to lack complete self awareness. We need to seem cool, but not too cool. Show we’re cute but no snap chat selfies (I totally break this rule because fuck it).
And then there are people that are like ‘I NEVER date from online apps.’ As if it would be beneath them. But then … where do you meet people? Co-workers? That just seems like a bad idea to me. Bars? Let me tell you, most of the men I have dated and the handful I have been in relationships with have been men from bars. There were several good ones in that group, but the vast majority were douches or weirdos.
There’s this bizarre dance with dating too. ‘Don’t share too much. Don’t share too little. Tiptoe around past relationships. But DEFINITELY mention that you’ve had some so you don’t seem like a loser, just not too many or you’ll appear as incapable of keeping anyone happy.’
It’s like we’re all just doing a damn, bright feathered mating dance. But .. ok … I guess that makes sense, eh?
Dating is so weird. But it’s fascinating too. And it’s the first hoop we have to jump through to find someone worth building a life with.
I needed a break from dating … quite frankly, I needed to face some demons of my own. And I did. Now I’m refreshed and I feel a whole lot lighter. It’s amazing how much lighter you feel once you start to stare down your demons and stand up for yourself and what you deserve.
So here’s to giving this whole dating thing another shot. And here’s to finding the one who will be ready to take a leap, ready to get to that place of deep knowing … and who won’t be afraid to face their demons with me.