Updated: Jun 1, 2021
I'm so proud of who I was today. I didn't cry in front of you, cuss you out, or try to convince you that you're making a mistake. I took a semi-awkward walk with you and watched you walk away. If this was two years ago I probably would have tried to convince you to stay or broke my brain trying to understand why you can't handle “us” all of sudden. The truth is, you deciding by yourself that you needed to leave should be as much of an answer as I need. But it's not. I'll always respect that you didn't waste too much of my time, but that doesn't make me feel any less...blindsided.
I've written and rewritten this post about dating again so many times in my head and stroking my keyboard. My first draft did too much finger-pointing of the past, my second draft gave an aggressively rose-colored view on what falling for someone again actually felt like for me, and this final draft finally takes an honest look at what happened when I got comfortable dating someone just in time for it to be the wrong time for them.
If you would have told me in the midst of my first heartbreak that I'd risk it all again, I would have cried harder.
A couple of years ago was the only time I'd ever been asked why I'm single. I know the club bouncer didn't care about my answer for as hard as I was thinking about it, but I couldn't stop. I finally said that I stayed single at the time because I wanted to make sure that whoever I invited into my life next feels like a wave of peace, love, intimacy, and respect comparable to what I give myself.
While I could (and do) have a mile-long list of what I want in a partner, I also will continue to grow into what I want to attract. It took me a long time to convince myself that I was a person worth getting to know despite the overwhelming sadness in parts of my life. Dating is supposed to be fun and light, especially in the beginning! How would I explain to someone that I cry myself to sleep worrying about my dying dad? Or that being alone most of the time has been my safe space for the past year and letting them in is a big deal for me? There's nothing attractive about feeling like a liability.
In case you were wondering, the answer, thankfully, is that I was only brave enough to overshare that with my therapist...and everyone reading this now apparently.
From being afraid to text a guy I thought was "too fine" for me to ghosting a friend with *feelings*, getting to know new people has taught me a lot about myself over the past couple of years. I often kept my guard up until it was too late, when I like someone I basically love them, and if you show me your goodness once that’s all I’ll ever see.
With *some* new standards in mind, I set out to test the waters and created a Hinge profile in the heat of the night! It was interesting to chat with and scroll past familiar faces for about a week, but nothing really clicked. I’d go back on the app every once in and while to clear out my likes, after scrolling through a few I came across...HIM. Cute? ✔ Thoughtfully curated profile? ✔ Not holding a fish? ✔ Officially, I decided to respond based on his answer to my "Best French Fry in Fast Food" prompt and had been hooked ever since :)
From our first date at a coffee shop/ impromptu tour of the botanical gardens to him getting the SUPER stamp of approval from my girls, things were great...until they weren’t and now I’m back writing again with another heartache under my belt.
Like good things do, our time came to an end but I still recognize some moments I would have stayed in forever. Watching This is Us while he rubbed my thumb, him rekindling my love of writing and sparking the flame of surprise podcasts appearances, cuddling with him and Tom while I *secretly* pretended he was ours, and all the mini adventures we ever went on. You know what? I think I'm still glad that we met.
For the time being, I'm back to focusing on myself because frankly, I'm scared not to. I'm tired of being broken up with when "I'm not the problem". No matter how many compliments I receive while they do it, it still hurts. Despite being a work in progress, I need to know that there's someone out there with the capacity to care for themselves and takes the time to learn me well enough to know how understanding I am. Good relationships take work and if you're looking for a reason to leave, it's easy to find one. Word of advice: before leaving, try opening up first if that relationship seems worth a conversation in the slightest because the person on the other side might surprise you. Or not. I guess he'll never know. *sighs* Here's to fucking dating again🥂