Per what we’ve covered in the last few blog posts, I have very little idea about what I’m doing with my life; and that includes my dating life. This is partially due to the fact that a little over 7 months ago, my relationship of 2 years ended.
I’ve been pretty candid about what all went on, without being disrespectful to the other person–we were young, dumb, and toxic–but this was also the person I genuinely thought I’d end up marrying one day. We essentially lived together, and I already felt like a part of their family.
Then everything came crashing down. I had no idea where to start in order to pick up the pieces. I just stood looking around at the war zone that was my heart and wondered if I’d ever look like a whole person again.
Eventually, I realized that I couldn’t change the past two years or what happened, but what I could do was change myself. I could actually become the whole, healthy person I thought I was at the onset of the relationship and make sure I never put myself in the same situation again.
So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 7 months. With intermittent dating here and there, but obviously not making that a priority. I think it’s completely healthy to start a journey of self discovery alone; I mean I know it is. You have to know who you are and love that person, first, before you can truly love someone else.
I did my best not to jump into a rebound situation (and this is hard my friends, very hard) because contrary to popular belief, the best way to get over someone is not to get under another. And I’ve been working on myself ever since.
Spoiler Alert: this isn’t all leading up to some big moment where I know I’m ready for a relationship and this amazingly perfect guy comes into my life and now I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Sorry folks. But I am still happy, just happily single.
What it is leading up to is a time in my life where I’m looking for what’s called an Emotionally Corrective Experience. This is therapist speak for changing your negative views on something by having a positive experience with it.
I.e. My dating life.
In this chapter of my life, part of my healing process is just dating. Not courting, not looking for a significant other, and definitely not planning for marriage. I’m intentionally, unintentional. I don’t want a relationship, so my intention is not to have one. This should be so easy right? All guys want is a relationship but without all that commitment stuff, isn’t it?
When a twenty-something guy hears me say that I’m just looking to date and get to know someone without the intentions of a relationship right now, I’m pretty sure they see three heads pop up where my one used to be. I think it’s because they automatically think I’m lying to disarm them into thinking I’m a “chill” girl who doesn’t need a label, but in reality I have a marriage Pinterest board that keep staring me down in the middle of the night.
And I’m not saying girls who are looking for a serious relationship right now are in the wrong either. That’s just not what I need. I’m still figure out who I am and what I want in life, without having to consider another human being.
I’m also still figuring out what I want out of dating and in a partner, and the best way to do that is through experience. This lends itself to a whole other set of difficulties in dating. Figuring out boundaries, setting the pace of spending time together, making it clear that exclusivity isn’t a thing, etc. It can make your head spin. You have to have an extra layer of communication so that no one feels led on or gets hurt. But to me, it’s worth it.
Being unintentional about dating is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard and frustrating, but also rewarding. I’ve grown so much and learned how not to back down on my boundaries and asking for what I want. Learning that, it says nothing about who I am if a guy can’t stick it out with me and where I’m at right now, has been priceless. The right guy is out there, but for now my intentions are simple: get healthy, get clarity, and have fun. A boyfriend just doesn’t fit in, and that’s ok.