The First Lesson I Learned While Dating

I actually learned a few lessons from the first guy who took me out (it gets confusing if I say I dated him because he was never my boyfriend, we just went on dates for a month or two). I’ve decided to nickname him Liar since most of what I’ve learned from him has to do with lies and betrayal.

So naïve, young Me first started talking to Liar around Thanksgiving 2014. We started going on some dates, he would call me on his way home from work, and I even met some of his friends and coworkers. Maybe it was moving a little fast, but what did I know, this was my first time going on real dates with someone who actually seemed like they wanted to date me.

Now this was nearly 2 years ago and such a short amount of time, so it’s hard to get the timeline right but I’m doing what I can. One date was rock climbing and two of his friends came along. At one point, they wanted to video each other trying out new rock jumping tricks (because nothing counts unless you film it). I went to get Liar’s phone from the cubby and his home screen showed that some girl was texting him. I honestly thought nothing of it, he knows plenty of female co-workers, I sure he has friends of the opposite gender, it really wasn’t a big deal.

Perhaps at this point he had already told me that all his focus was on me and therefore, I had gotten off my dating apps and even stopped talking to Stubborn (yeah, he’s been in the picture for THAT long). I suggest this only because Liar kept reassuring me that this text message on his phone was absolutely nothing to worry about. He told me twice and then even had his friend message me to make sure I believed him. The amount of effort he took to cover his tracks was actually the signal that tipped me off.

Since we weren’t officially dating and I had no idea what the text messages were really about, I actually continued to see him for a few more weeks. I guess at that point Liar was getting a bit too comfortable with the fact that I had stuck around for more than 4 weeks and he needed a way to let me go.

I don’t remember how the conversation got started but suddenly Liar was telling me that his Aunt’s cancer was back and that he needed to focus on his family and he didn’t want to do wrong by me if he didn’t have enough time for me. Naïve, young Me felt really bad about his Aunt being sick; I truly wanted to help him through it and be an emotionally support system for him. He lied so smoothly I didn’t even realize this was him breaking things off with me!

I don’t know how soon after, but eventually I was filled in that his Aunt’s cancer was not back and this was just his way of getting rid of me. Who the hell lies about CANCER?!

Oh and he met up with some girl from the next state over. Anyways, it wasn’t till recently after I’ve dated much more that I figured it out. Liar just wasn’t ready to leave his comfort zone. He liked dating multiple girls, he liked thinking he was so cool and desirable, and he probably even liked the thrill of sneaking around. And of course, when you don’t commit then you can’t make yourself vulnerable to getting hurt.

I went on A LOT of first dates over the past 2 years. And I always found something wrong with the guy and I almost always TOLD him about it. (Yeah, I was that brutally honest bitch.)

It was a lesson I learned: hurt them first so they can’t hurt you.

Of course, that didn’t exactly work out like I wanted it to. I was wrongfully teaching those guys the same lesson I had learned while hurt. I was teaching them that if they put themselves out there I was going to make them regret it (or some other girl trying to stay safe in her comfort zone would). It’s the same reason people ‘ghost’ each other. There’s no hurt or rejection if you leave. But I was hurting myself by not allowing love in.

Relationships are hard work. We mess up a lot. But if you never get out of your comfort zone and allow yourself to be vulnerable, then you’ll never experience the love you gain when the gamble works out. There’s no pay out if you leave before all the cards are dealt.

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Do You Date the Guy You Know You Won’t Marry?

If you’re in a crunch and don’t have time to read, the short answer is No.

 

I mean yes, sure you could date him as long as you both know the deal: that it will eventually end so that you can each marry someone else (if you happen to choose that marriage is for you).

But that leads to a lot of IFs:

IF you catch hard feelings then it will be much harder to let things end later down the road.

IF you (or him) are counting on you changing your mind about your deal breakers.

Or you’re hoping he’ll change his mind, which is also a big IF.

I’m sure there are plenty of stories you might hear about loving someone so much that the deal breakers don’t matter or they just find a way to make it work. Those stories are definitely real and definitely happen. But even those relationships take a lot of hard work, communication, and compromising. And let’s face the facts, those are rare relationships and most of us aren’t that lucky.

If you don’t think you’re going to marry him, then you probably aren’t going to marry him. You can continue to date him, trying to convince yourself that you can make it work long term. You might succeed, you probably won’t. I might sound a bit too harsh but I’ve been here before. I’ve been the one looking for an answer that will make me love the guy I don’t truly love. Yes, I care for him, yes we have good conversation or good sex (fill in here whatever it is that makes you want to keep dating him), and yes he’s good for me. But if I really, really loved him, I probably wouldn’t have been on the Internet looking for answers. And you wouldn’t either.

Now if you also answered yes for when I said he was good for me, then I’m going to assume you and I have a lot in common. You probably tend to date assholes (the Cheater, the Liar, the One who Couldn’t Commit – I’m sure you know at least one of them), undervalue yourself, and jump from guy to guy looking for that real love.

Well, Honey the good news is you’ve come along way if you’re now able to recognize a guy who is actually good for you, respects you, and supports you. This guy might not be The One and you probably still have some work to do for yourself but I’m confident the right one will come along when you’re ready. Until then, live your life, continue to date that guy or don’t, order that 5th margarita or don’t, sleep in on the weekend or don’t. Just try your best to judge yourself less for the past and honor yourself more for the future.

You have a lot of love to give, and any guy of your past or future is lucky to experience that love, but it’s time you gave that love to yourself.

Don’t Settle, Mr. Right

So I was watching Bachelor in Paradise Monday night and could not stop shaking my head at Izzy. Izzy and Vinny hit it off right away and seemed like a very solid couple. A few weeks go by and a guy finally comes to Paradise peeking Izzy’s interest. Izzy just has to talk to Brett to see if he’s worth the risk of letting go of her strong connection to Vinny. Vinny, not wanting to wait around on the Backburner, leaves Paradise.

Some more time goes by, Brett goes on a date with someone else and then tells Izzy that they just don’t have a strong enough connection. Izzy then departs from Paradise, realizing the mistake she made by letting Vinny go and tries to win him back via phone call. He shuts her down quickly, making the right decision in my opinion.

I met my own Vinny, my own Mr. Right. He was a great guy, treated me really well, and I would be a fool to let that go. But I did anyway.

I did it for the potential of Stubborn. Or maybe because Izzy and I have a lot in common and we did it because we didn’t want to end up ruining a great thing and getting left heartbroken. There’s a 75% chance that my Brett will go on a date with someone else that will end up outweighing my connection with him. But I guess that’s where my similarities with Izzy end.

I wouldn’t go back to Mr. Right. If one man was all it took for me to question my relationship enough to let it go then eventually, another man will come along giving me that same desire to risk it again. I think Izzy feared being alone more than she loved Vinny. I think Vinny realized that too and he wasn’t going to settle for someone who doesn’t truly love him.

I’m not going to settle and I don’t think Mr. Right should either.

 

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Am I Single or Not?

I am… 100% single. I haven’t been asked to be someone’s girlfriend since I was 14 (oh the woes of middle school). So saying anything other than 100% single would make me the delusional, crazy girl. And yet…

I’m at least 10% taken, maybe even 50%. Or maybe I’m 50% crazy? Either way, the math isn’t looking too good for me.

If I was completely single then I would be going out with my friends and talking to guys guilt-free. I might start dating around and trying out all the dating apps. Or I might not be interested in getting involved with anyone at all and I might just be enjoying my family and a girls’ night in. No matter what way you shook it, I wouldn’t be thinking of a certain someone when I fall asleep every night.

So some of you might be asking “How the heck can you be half single?” (You probably didn’t but play along and be a good sport). Well, I’m glad you asked.

It’s actually pretty easy to be a little bit taken by someone. Friends with Benefits, the ‘talking’ stage of dating, and F*ck Buddies are all different types of 10% taken. Throughout my teen years I was often part of the unrequited love or the ‘crushing on my friend’ club. It’s near impossible to label this current guy (who will be nicknamed Stubborn from now on) so I won’t even try. Or more accurately, I haven’t been ready to face the reality that I’ve wasted countless months putting time and energy into a dead- end relationship. What I do know, for sure, is 10% taken was not a place I liked being.

I tried dating other people to get over Stubborn, I tried to force Stubborn to date me, and I tried breaking up my ‘non –relationship’ relationship with Stubborn (and yes, it’s super embarrassing calling it that and if he ever finds this blog, I plead the fifth).

Amazingly (read: predictably), none of that worked. There’s no fool -proof plan to getting in or out of your 10% taken relationship so I welcome all of you to try what I’ve tried and I hope something works for you (if you’ve had success, totally contact me so I can hear all the juicy details). If I’m honest though, I don’t think it’s going to work.

I’m in a 60% relationship with myself, and it took many years just to make it here. And I think until that number improves, I’ll only ever be half –in, half -out of these half -assed relationships. And even then, Stubborn would have to be in a healthy relationship with himself too before he could ever be serious with me.

The only advice I really can offer is to not beat yourself up about being stuck in a 10% taken relationship. Don’t shame yourself, don’t guilt yourself. Just try to be present with yourself and your reality. Trying to set timelines for the future just left me upset and disappointed when I didn’t reach them. You want to improve your relationship with yourself, not disappoint yourself by setting goals you might not be ready for. There will come a day when you love and respect yourself so much that you realize this guy doesn’t deserve you or he will realize what a fool he would be to lose you.

So I hope one day you can be 100% committed to yourself because there is no doubt, you are something worth holding on to.

 

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I met Mr. Right and He was Dreamy (and He’s Single)

It took me a long time to date the right guy and it wasn’t because I refused to date. I did date, a lot. I went on more first dates then I can count nor care to remember. But I was really bad at picking the right guy and I even starting setting rules for myself in order to only go on a date with a guy who REALLY liked me and meant it when he said he would treat me right.

And boy did he! He opened car doors for me, always asked about my day and how I was feeling (remaining completely supportive always), and he constantly reassured me that physical intimacy would move at my pace. He was a hopeless romantic, respectful, old school kind of guy.

This was the dream guy, Mr. Right. And I still maintain that months after breaking things off with him. It’s just that he’s Mr. Right for Someone Else, not me. We had different visions for our futures and I realized I would have to let this sweet man fall in love with someone else. And if any girl reading this is interested, I’ll gladly pass it along to him!

Mr. Right for Someone Else showed me that I deserve someone who is supportive, considerate, and trustworthy. He gave me the confidence to know that I’m worth the effort and don’t have to settle nor hide my true self from love. He gave me the hope that I will find that perfect someone for me and I’ll always appreciate him for giving me that.