This world is full of complications and emotions. We can wake up stressed and go to sleep anxious. It is amazing at how much duty and pressure we put on ourselves over some of the most simplistic things. Let’s not add a break-up to the mix, then a long time of being single -humans can become so obsessed with our flaws and lose sight at some of the things that make us great. When I went to file for a divorce, it was one of the very few things in my life that made me feel insecure. It was as if the title of no longer being married seemed as if it was going to leave a stain on my credit score or something. I had kids and felt like I was “damaged goods”. I had to think long and hard about what the term "damaged goods" was, and I realized that I didn’t even know what the fuck "damaged goods" even meant. In fact, "damaged goods" wasn’t even a real thing. I had to take an honest look around, and I was honestly, a great person. It is funny how people can influence your thinking, by how they project what they themselves have gone through or what they think they would feel if they were to go through the same thing.
It took me two years of going back and forth with myself about what it is that I wanted to do with my life. I started searching for my identity that I was lost after my marriage. After praying and soul-searching, I said I wanted to date myself for a while. I became more comfortable with who I was as a woman, and I made the conscious decision, that I needed to figure out what it was that I liked about men and what I didn’t like about them. What better way to do that than to date? So, that is exactly what I did.
I found that dating gets a bad reputation, but it's only because people forget to appreciate the experience.I have met some very interesting people along the way, and I wanted to provide some small little tips to make dating more fun.
1. LEAVE OUT THE EXPECTATIONS
When you are just meeting someone new, let them be themselves. When you are used to your own “type” you will think that a new person you just met, is supposed to look, smell or be a certain way that you have made up in your own mind, and you’ll miss the opportunity to enjoy what is in front of you. Yes, be clear on your must-haves in a man or woman, and deal-breakers- but have an open mind along the way.
2. IN ALL THINGS- HAVE FUN.
Cut out the idea of going out to DATE solely to get married. Listen, on the first two dates, I hate to break it to you- you will not be able to go to the altar. It is entirely too much pressure on you, to be perfect. Let your hair down, keep things light, and keep all good vibes, because time is something that you don’t get back. If you are already out, make the most of your time.
3. BE PRESENT
I don’t know about anyone else, but a huge pet peeve of mine is a person who has an attention span of a five-year old. As people we seem to hate processes, but guess what? Processes are apart of life. You must take the process of getting to know people when you are dating. Even if it is just to network and or become platonic friends. Put the phones down, and let your mind be in the moment, and be appreciative to share time and space with another person in such a busy world.
4. GO INTO THE DATE WITH THE INTENTION TO LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF
We can easily learn a lot about what we don’t and do want in a spouse, but we hardly ever have the time to analyze the things that we need to look at within ourselves. When you are dating, it is always good to leave with a take-a-way on how you can become a better person. Is there something about your attitude you can change? Is there insecurities that you noticed that come out when you are with certain types of people? What types of things do you need to work on to make others feel safe and comfortable? Are you an active listener?
5. DO NOT OVER-ANALYZE
I myself, suffered from this and in some ways, I still do. I would literally talk myself through how I would greet a person, what tone I would use, etc. I would overthink my outfit choice, as to I wonder what they would like, and how they would perceive me. Then, I realized once I was comfortable in my own skin, I am going to do me. It only really matters that when I leave my house, that I think that I look great, and I feel great and comfortable and the person that I am with will have to accept it or not. I also, was committed to just being vulnerable. None of that, let me portray this uppity, high maintenance doctoral educated, all put together person. I want to be me. Sometimes, that means I am a mess, and sometimes I talk a lot, sometimes I just want to be the person that is having a moment and can let go and be free. So, my advice to anyone, is to just be yourself. You will not be for everyone, and that is A-OKAY!
6. NO COMPARISONS
Do NOT! I repeat, DO NOT COMPARE your dates to your exes.. Do not bring up the things that your exes did or did not do. No one wants to hear that on the first few dates. Get it out of your head. If you experience something different and better, just note that it is refreshing. If you experience something that is very similar to red flags you have picked up on before or things that you dislike, just note that this person doesn't need a second date, and move on to the next!
7. TRUST THE PROCESS
Take a breath, and don’t apply any pressure. Just because you reach a certain age, doesn’t mean that you should hurry to date and have children. You do not need to rush, just for you to have answers for the family event when "auntie"or grandma asks you when you are settling down. Real relationships unfold when there is no ego involved. The right person will come along when you are in the right state of mind, and you put forth the right amount of effort. You have to be committed to working on yourself.
Try a few of these things and be present in the moment and you will find yourself to be on a few dates, with a few people that could have made dating worthwhile.