I recently went out on the town with some of my girlfriends from work. We drank wine, had dinner together, they set up my Snapchat account, we talked about boys, and then we danced our asses off. It was so GD fun.
As it so happened, the majority of us are single. Naturally, the topic of dating arose in conversation. As I’ve made a return to the world of dating, I’m gaining a new perspective on how men and women relate to one another and also how women view themselves in relationship to men. The dating world is its own culture with its own set of social customs. It’s fascinating when it isn’t frustrating AF. People, driven by either fear or love, behave in the most interesting ways toward one another. Yet, the ultimate goal is the same. Everyone is looking for meaningful connection and true love.
I met the man I would marry when I was 17 years old, became his wife at 20 and his ex-wife at 31. My dating experience is fairly limited. Nonetheless, I’ve made several observations since the fall out of my marriage and first dating experiences post-divorce.
Women are becoming unapologetically ambitious. Women are doing more, having more and showing up more than they ever have. We are driven, focused, and available in our pursuit to acquire all of the things that contribute to our version of a happy life. This is EXCELLENT. It’s about time.
We are so steadfast in our pursuit for succeeding at life, however, that we may have blurred the lines between securing a promotion and meeting a good man. With benevolent determination and an eagerness to LOCK.THAT.SHIT.IN., women can make the honest mistake of being the pursuer rather than the extraordinary accolade reserved for the best and most deserving candidate.
When it comes to dating and relationships, our “feminist” tenacity may have created a monster. A monster that eats chivalry, thoughtfulness and romance. And shits out men that don’t provide basic respect and don’t recognize worth, let alone appreciate it. Consequently, they haven’t a clue how to hang on to it when they’re given a unique opportunity to possess it. When we are too easy, too available, too accommodating we enable laziness and complacency. In my experience lazy, leads to lack of achievement, an ensuing low self-esteem and…schmucky behavior.
We live in a world of instant gratification. We have ample methods to having whatever we want, right now. We are able to acquire the things we dream of having, without having to first endure the discomfort of longing, patience, and persistent work toward the acquisition. When anything becomes ours with the snap of our fingers, our succeeding sense of value and fulfillment isn’t the same as when we obtain the same gains by a means of hard work and discipline.
It’s no different in dating. When it’s easy for the guy to date you, not only do they not feel the need to get after it and work to treat you like the high-quality lady you are but they also lose sight of your significance. They fail to realize that a multitude of guys could have the luxury of taking you to dinner and spending their time with you. And, YOU.CHOSE.THEM. The lucky bastard. If they don’t comprehend they hit the lady jackpot, then they aren’t the one for you. Move on. Furthermore, when a guy isn’t into you enough to work for your affection, cut ‘em loose. If they don’t put in the effort to make you feel as special as you are, imagine what it will be like if God forbid, you marry the fool. You’ll be starved for the love and respect you deserve. Don’t do it. No matter how much you think you like the guy.
Date the guy that makes plans with you in advance. Date the dude that holds doors, isn’t afraid of romantic gestures and who calls or texts when he says he’s going to. These are basic behaviors that convey respect. If you settle for anything less, you are basically saying, “Oh ya, no worries, I don’t mind being treated like a piece of shit. Basic consideration is so old school!”
I repeat, don’t do it.
As a brilliant friend of mine says, don’t play hard to get, BE HARD TO GET.
Next, if a relationship doesn’t work out, this is in no way a reflection of your success as a human. A friend of mine who is also going through a divorce right now commented to me that she couldn’t shake feeling like a failure. I’ve spoken with several women now who have all attested to this same feeling following divorce, regardless of whose decision it was. I 100% know this feeling. After my husband left, I spent months going over every detail of my role as a wife, over and over and over again. Was I affectionate enough? Was I fun enough? Was I sexy enough? If I had made meals that he enjoyed rather than healthy chicken-quinoa-casserole, would he have stayed? Where did I drop the ball? Where was I not enough?
Let me tell you something. I was more than enough then and I’m more than enough now. It took a lot of self-love, reflection and time to come to this realization. I worked really hard to truly look at myself and really see the woman I am. I was a loving wife, a loyal friend and an exceptional woman. At my core I have the most beautiful heart and this has never changed. I gradually came to understand that his lack of love, had nothing to do with me. For a long time, you think that when people say “it’s him, not you”, that they’re just saying this to you to make you feel better. And then one day it clicks and you have clear and powerful sense of your worth.
Heartbreak hurts. Whether it be through divorce or a breakup. Oh my goodness, it burns. When you’re a deeply caring person and you’re brave enough to put yourself out there for someone and they don’t want what you have to offer…that shit stings.
Here’s my advice….feel the sting. It’s part of the growth. Then step back out in the world and put yourself out there again. Look at yourself today and start to entertain the thought that you are a beautiful, good and loving woman. See yourself. Love yourself. Accept yourself. You are enough. One day, you will understand that you are the farthest thing from a failure. Have faith.
And for my final point for this blog post…
Your importance is not synonymous with the attraction or attention you receive from men. And your significance is in no way related to your relationship status. The misconception is that we are valuable because someone else sees our value and wants to be WITH us. No, no, no. We are more than someone else’s perception of us. We are more than the romantic relationships we are in.
So let’s get deep now girlfriend…
What if we understood our worth first and foremost and we used that knowledge of ourselves to be uncompromising in how we allowed others to treat us? What if that discernment set the bar for the respect we required and the love we allowed in our lives?
I spent well over a year being single…granted, I was pregnant and breastfeeding for much of that time (While I’m one sexy gestating, lactating biiiatch, I was extremely tired).
During that time alone…I was given such a priceless opportunity to get to know myself. For the first time in a long time, I really observed myself. I asked myself the hard questions. What did I want from this life? Who do I want to be? Am I strong enough for this?
And I did something that felt sadly unfamiliar, I started to love myself. I began to notice all of the things I liked about myself, and gradually, self-love turned into acceptance. Now, I truly enjoy my own company. And unlike the woman I was in my marriage, I no longer experience my worth as a consequence of my relationship status.
Companionship is a beautiful thing. Someday, I would love to be in a loving and respectful partnership and share the amazing moments in life with that lucky guy. For now, I’m enjoying my passions and exploring the various directions my life may venture. We are beings with so much power to create and inspire. We have the capacity to love and to be loved in return. I’ve realized that there are a multitude of ways to experience these abilities that don’t require a romantic relationship.
So to all the women struggling with loneliness or fear of never meeting “the one”: You are a woman with so much to offer the world just by your brilliant presence – entertain this powerful thought for a moment…
Get passionate and busy being that woman you want to be. The one that shows up bright, intelligent, strong, independent and confident. When you decide to love yourself and boldly show up vivid and alive, the world will be yours. As will love.