Reading the heading of this post, I know you’re wondering why would one choose to be single.-Let me explain.- I found myself in an odd place. I was in a situationship that ended on good terms, we even decided to still remain friends. Even after the romantic phase was over, we would meet up for drinks and still text as friends. One day, I found myself blocked and ignored. This was someone who I had a fifteen year friendship with so to be suddenly cut out of their life was odd. I would speak when I saw them and nothing, not even a hello back. The need to know why I was suddenly being treated this way was growing inside of me. The more it happened the angrier I became. –I know what your thinking why did you continue to speak?- A part of me was all kill them with kindness, but another part felt it was probably agitating them that I did– that was the petty part of me.–
Privately, I was very hurt by losing the relationship and the friendship. – I was hurt hurt. Mariah Carey’s breakdown ft Bone-Thugs and Harmony has never made more sense than that moment in time–
The guy a dated after that 5months into the dating phase –not relationship but casually dating– he got engaged to someone else. Yes, you read that right, engaged to another girl while we were dating, and to add insult to injury I found about it 2 weeks later from someone who didn’t even know I knew him, let alone was dating him.- the audacity, tuh!-
I felt myself becoming bitter. I didn’t want to shut love out, but at that moment I didn’t know how I could continue to be so open to something that was literally ripping my heart apart. I prayed to ease the pain and bring me understanding. In the past, I had taken a break from dating before and dated myself, but I was still open to invitations. Initially when I took the first break, I was a 20 something year old who was lost. My 20s were rough and flew by. I am now a 30 something who has experience. I’m more settled now, I feel wiser like I have a new lens on life. I don’t feel so desperate to get to a finish line of a goal, until I started comparing my life to where I thought I should be for my age. So this decision didn’t come lightly. This time I decided to decline any interests. No dates. I didn’t entertain someone who was interested in dating. If they weren’t pre-existing non-romantic friendships, I wasn’t available for it. I wanted to completely focus on me and pour into myself. My prayers were eventually answered, but in praying I realized a few things about myself and how I approached dating:
1. Relationships were the goal
My goal was to be in a relationship. That’s it. That’s all I wanted. I had no clue what I was going to do after I got into one, but as someone whos never been in one, that was my goal. Somewhere along the way I began to be desperate to be in one. To be claimed, chosen, picked from the bunch. The older I got the more important it became. Towards the end of my 20s dating began to feel more of a hassle than fun. Dating was supposed to be the time of your life, but for me it felt like a means to an end.
If you listen to society, being single will have you feeling worthless. You cant possibly be anyone of value if you’re not in a relationship or married, your advice is worthless, you don’t understand anything as it relates to relationships and you can’t hang around the couple crowd if you are single. I have lost so called friends for being the single one. To be deemed “worthy” by society, I needed to be in a relationship.
I started to look at every possible love interest as “the one”. After the initial contact, I daydreamed about our life together. -if I really found you attractive.- I had an unrealistic expectation for every man who entered my romantic life. I was never in the present moment. I never saw it for what it was until it was over, and I was heartbroken, more so by the possibilities than by missing out on the person. –cause lets be honest, if relationships weren’t my goal there is no way I would have been with some of the dudes I entertained. They were definitely “what were you thinking?” type of guys, especially the 2 mentioned at the opening- I focused very little on the person and more on the end result.
2. Dating with Intention.
I investigated my dating history and they were all pointless. There were no clear intentions or standards set in the beginning. They were all “I like you, you like me, lets see what happens”. – 4 words no woman should fall for-. There were no clear boundaries. No clear communication. It was all unhealthy. Not only were the relationships not clear, but neither was I. I had no clue what I wanted in a relationship. I didn’t understand the value of what I was bringing to a relationship and what I should be receiving from one. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had no clue how relationships worked. Sure, I had examples, but they all seemed to be unhappy or settling for things that didn’t align with their morals or values. –and I did not want to be one of those people.- Even though I knew what I didn’t want, I still wasn’t clear on what I did want.
I’m a researcher, I have to have understanding. The “why” must be answered. So, I did what any researcher would do; I read. I read books, 4 specifically; The Conversation– Hill Harper, Relationship Goals– Michael Todd, Judge This Cover-Brittany Renner, and The Game of Desire– Shannon Boodram.
I have read The Conversation many years ago. I remember it being so packed with gems, that I wrote notes in the margins and highlighted sentences throughout the book. I decided to reread it. The gems were still valid. It is, however, geared more toward people already in a relationship, but it gave me insight.
I loved the Youtube series Relationship Goals so much! It was actually the first thing I watched while struggling through the pain of losing the friendship. I learned a lot by watching the series. So, when Michael Todd wrote a book, I brought it on preorder. The book was so different from the series, which I loved, no one wants to read something they’ve already heard verbatim. There were some parts of the book I disagreed with, but he does speak about all kinds of relationships as it relates to God. I had to keep reminding myself that the book isn’t just talking about romantic relationships. Also, every relationship doesn’t have to work according to someone else’s interpretation of the bible. Overall, I enjoyed the book and got a real grasp about faith in relationships.
Ill admit, I was a little reluctant to read Judge This Cover by Brittany Renner. Brittany Renner is a social media star who is best known for her sexy photos and fitness on Instagram. She has made a name for herself by posting workout videos and promoting fitness products. Brittany has been known to date some very famous people. It is said that most of the relationships she refers to in her book are about those famous people, although the names have been changed in the book. I was really shocked by how insightful this book was. I related to her and her struggles with dating. Though she was a little more free in her sexuality, I admired her willingness to bare it all in the book. She also gave a different perspective and some great advice. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone. Most people I know that did read it, did so to be nosy about her life, but ended up loving the book for her insight. I’m telling you it was a great read!
Lastly, I read The Game of Desire. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. If you’re not familiar with Shannon Boodram, she is a certified intimacy educator who teaches people to be more competent and confident as it relates sexology. My judgement of the book pre-reading it was that it was going to be mostly about sex. While there is, of course, sex talk in the book, the book is mostly about you. Discovering who you are, your love language, your personality traits, your intimacy language etc, and how to use that to be present in your dating life. There is a workbook you can fill out prior to reading which I highly recommend. I learned more about who I am as a person reading this book, than I did about dating. I honestly wished I would have read this book first. This is a book I highly recommend everyone read.
“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
You knew we were going to end up here! I preach this. Every time I think I have finally obtained the highest level of loving yourself, I find something that could use extra work, a little extra love. When it came to intimacy and body positivity, I lacked majorly. I noticed in the bedroom or times of vulnerability; I was very mean to myself. –You know the talk “suck it in don’t let them see you have a gut, eww” “wear something to cover your arms no one needs to see those Hammocks” “ you want to wear shorts, have you seen your thighs??” “Make sure it’s dark when you take your pants off gotta hide those stretch marks, that’ll be a major turn off”.– Being sexual with some one may have felt good, physically, but mentally I was beating myself up with negative talk the entire time and after was worse.
I have struggled with my weight ever since I took the depo shot. My body has been through a lot. I have gotten trainers, changed my diet, taken weight loss pills, different diet fads all to try to lose weight. I cant remember a time in my adult life that I actually loved my body. There were certain things about myself I wanted to change, and I would, only to gain it back. Doctors would tell me to change my diet or to eat smaller meals more frequently and if I got sick they would say it was just a stomach flu. It wasn’t until I landed in the ER twice with the same doctor that pointed out that something wasn’t right; did I really start to find answers.
After getting diagnosed and getting a treatment plan together, I really began to focus on my health as a whole. I began to make the correct changes and my body actually responded. I began to look more and more like the person I saw in my mind. My self-talk became positive. Sure, there are still somethings I’m a little self-conscious about, but the positive outweighs the negative. The negative is what I strive to give the most love to. Constant reminders that we are regular people and look like real people. We don’t have tiny waists and giant asses. Our breast will have a little sag to them. Stretch marks are a part of growth your body is constantly changing, and facial hair is a thing, almost everyone has it. Society and social media will have you out here changing who you are to fit their standards of beauty rather than loving the way God created you. No knock to plastic surgery, if that’s a path you want or need to take to love who you are, more power to you, go forth and do that, but make sure it’s for you and not for the world. “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
I have been purposely single for a year. Every now and again I’ll feel alone, but I’m not lonely. I have found less of a desire to be in a relationship and more of a desire to be comfortable with who I am before inviting someone into my space; my peace. I’m more understanding about my love life and what I need and require to continue to flourish and grow. I’m no longer feeling bitter…. I’m better.-does my tagline make more sense to you now?-
Would you take a year off from dating to learn yourself? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, remember,
Don’t be Bitter,