2 ½ years after my divorce, I made an attempt to date and I was terrible at it. As much as I would have liked to put all of the blame on the new batch of men that are out, I just can’t. I was a romantic self-saboteur. I would always assume the worst in a person or get the idea that they would probably leave me just like everyone else. Before, I decided to face my fears- I was the “ghost” girl or as my friends called me “Reclusive Rochelle”.
I wrote this blog because I knew that I was not the only person who would self-destruct relationships, and to think about how we get to this place. There can be a lot of reasons, from past traumas with a serious relationship, parenting issues, and or even how we were raised- but self-sabotaging will always come down to fear.
There are two types of fear that we may have; 1. Fear of abandonment and or 2. Fear of losing who you are, after you have rebuilt from the past.
Here are my tips, on some things we can do to avoid killing our future of love.
1. DOA (Dead on arrival) Sometimes, we struggle with our confidence when we are getting back out on the scene, and the thought that we are worthy of having real love is impossible, so we attract or pick partners who show clear signs that they ARE NOT the one. We will see Mr. Crazy or Ms. Wrong across the street, and even though we know exactly how that looks or feels, we run through traffic just to get to them. As intriguing as it may be, let’s kill the thought on arrival. You deserve better and it is out there for you.
2. SELF-AWARNESS- Being conscious of how you act when you are dating is important, and often scary. I had to learn what my triggers were and have regular check-ins with myself. When I had moments of wanting to shut down and check out on a good guy, I would say “self?”, self would say “giirrllll”, and I would say “yep, I’m doing that thing that I am used to and this guy isn’t my ex”.. Learning myself, allowed me to be able to clearly articulate the type of support and patience that I need from a man. I would tell them upfront, please bear with me and let’s go slow and be good friends to each other first. Telling a person up front about your ways or beliefs, is important- because they need to decide if it is something that they want to engage in or not. If not, you have to respect the honesty, it saves you time in the long run.
3. CALM YOUR NEGATIVE VOICE- Negative emotions are not bad emotions, it is just what we do with these emotions that tend to sabotage something before it even starts. If you are always suspicious or beyond jealous, even though your new bae, hasn’t given you reason- it may be a huge indicator that you still have some work to do with yourself. Maybe, there is that one day that you don’t get the call at the same time from new bae, like you are used to- the first thought might be, they must be with someone else or they are “switching up” on me so I am going to fall back, BLOCK. Calm those thoughts down and pick up the phone. Try calling them, and checking to see if they are okay, before you jump out of your skin.
4. ACCEPT THE LOVE- If they give you compliments, ACCEPT them. Responses like, “You probably say this to all your little girlfriends or dudes”, and or you downplay yourself when they call you handsome or pretty with comments like “no, I look terrible or I am too fat”. They wouldn’t be with you, if they didn’t think that there was something positive about you. Accept the love. Say thank you and just pay attention.
5. CONFLICT-AVOIDANCE- When we are getting through the “honeymoon phase”, a disagreement is bound to happen. Try paying attention to how they treat you, during these times. If they want to talk through the issues with you, as a mature and loving adult, give them an opportunity. At times, we can get held accountable in love, and get extremely defensive and go from 0 to 100, which may be an over-reaction to the feedback. Your new bae may notice that you don’t handle conflict well and bring it to your attention that you are always running or that they don’t like a certain behavior- we then take that feedback personally and kick them to the curb or they kick us to the curb. This results in no more facing the truth, because bae doesn’t exist anymore, no change needed.
Working towards love is a process, and it requires patience. It can be so easy for us to want to just want to go all in. Allowing someone to learn you, and you learn them, requires time. When you pace yourself, it can help you start to overcome your fears.
You may not be ready for companionship, when you have a repetitive pattern of serial dating and ghosting. The common denominator is you and knowing that is half of the battle. It is okay to not date until you are ready. You don’t have to be forced into anything by family or friends. Most importantly, loving yourself is essential, before you give your love to anyone else. Go through your process.
Love and dating can’t be put into a bag full of conditions that you expect someone else to unpack, in exchange for time or loyalty. Unconditional love is making a conscious decision to voluntarily give yourself to someone, in spite of their imperfections without expecting anything in return. That is why it is important that you move with intention, as you start your journey. If they aren’t matching your vibrations, then they have to go. Love freely, openly and honestly, and love…when you are ready.