It’s difficult to change your mindset or routine because it requires conscious effort and work. It’s easy to just continue life on auto pilot, never leaving your comfort zone. But that’s a pretty limited area and there’s not enough room to grow. I haven’t been on a date in 6 months. After yet another potential relationship crashing before even getting off the ground, I was somewhat hopeless about my future.

I tended to my wounds in private and back to the comfort of my own company. It was safe here, no hope to shatter nor vulnerability to fear. Eventually dating finally held my interest again for longer than a few weeks. I found myself talking to a very nice boy, one with old fashion manners and quite the infatuation with me. His compliments and sweet nature warmed me up to a coffee date.

It was horrible. I mean he was nice still but I left feeling very uncomfortable like even a shower wouldn’t be able to shake this feeling. Of course, that night I ended things with him and he very quickly stopped being nice.

Luckily, I was talking to someone else in which I was able to have very deep and honest conversations with early on. These sensitive topics allowed us to form a connection quickly and two weeks later we met for coffee as well. The honesty we had formed did have one little downside though, as he seemed to have a habit of telling me about the other girls he was talking to and taking on dates. Perhaps I could cut him some slack for the lack of dating etiquette though since he had been in two long-term relationships back to back within the past 5 years.

Although I was thrilled to find a guy my age who isn’t afraid of relationships, I was a little worried he would care more about that romantic attention than he would actually care for me. That issue was easily avoided though because he realized long distance didn’t speed up the healing process when a three-year relationship ends.

Maybe I still needed a few more months of healing myself.

However, I had already set up two more dates and canceling them the day before seemed a bit too rude. The next guy was also nice and I’m pleased to have started a fairly good track record of only going on dates with nice boys ever since Mr. Right taught how I really deserved to be treated. Unfortunately for dater #3, I wasn’t really experiencing those romantic feelings for him.

It wasn’t until my final date that getting back in the saddle finally seemed worth it. Interestingly, it was someone I had talked to nearly a year ago who I had written off before even meeting. A common interest on my social media had persuaded him to text me. I explained the notions I had of him last time and why I believed we stopped talking. He did his best to clear things up and quickly introduced the idea of meeting so I could finally get to know the real him. I’m glad for second chances because I couldn’t have been more wrong about his personality. He was good at encouraging me to speak my mind and (ahem, mom cover your eyes) an even better kisser.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy but in order to go after your goals and desires, you have to find the courage to take a leap and saddle up. There’s risks of failure and vulnerability but the success and happiness you find could be well worth it in the end.