The funny thing is when you are single again, and of a certain age, you think will I ever meet anyone again? The answer is yes! I have no problem meeting men, it’s keeping them lately that seems to be the issue. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately and decided to write about my thoughts and perceptions on what I have learned and am still learning. I feel like this past summer I spiraled into someone I know that I am not. Looking back I have finally realized that I lost myself a bit the past two years. I was in a relationship that took a lot out of me, mentally, and unfortunately it changed me from being a very confident, self-assured woman into a much more insecure one. I am on a mission to get back to regaining my confidence, at least as far as relationships are concerned. In other aspects of my life I am very confident, relationships lately– not so much.
The older you are when dating again, the more you need to be self-aware of your own issues. And the older you are the more you have the trifecta of dating issues: drama, insecurities and projecting.
Which leads me to online dating and expectations. Online dating can be both the devil and a good way to meet someone. It is very hard today to meet someone organically and find a mate, I mean date. Dates have turned into quick meetings, a job interview per say, and on to the next candidate if you don’t fit all the qualifications. As I read over many online dating profiles there seems to be a common theme, particularly among men, concerning the topic of drama. “I don’t want drama.” What really is drama? Is it code for issues? Everyone defines it differently. Are you referring to someone who argues everything with you from day one? Not good. Or someone who is perpetually angry? Also, not good! Or is it someone who may be dealing with a personal issue and occasionally loses it and may cry from the stress in his/her life in front of you? Are you expecting someone to come into a relationship with you and have no issues? Impossible. And although women seem to be equated with drama more, drama is gender agnostic. We all have drama. I think a point that we overlook is that we sometimes don’t recognize that we may be the one causing unnecessary drama in our relationship. I have been guilty of doing this, I admit it, but most times I am reacting to my partner.
As for online dating wouldn’t it be more refreshing to have a profile that read the following:
I know we will both come into this relationship with issues and insecurities. I will do my best to understand you and I hope you will do your best to understand me as well. I am sure that we have both been through a lot in our lives but I still look forward to learning more about you regardless. I am not your ex and you are not my ex – thank God! Let’s give it a shot and see what happens.
Now that is a profile I’d answer. I have read many profiles that speak about walking on the beach (I actually do like that), traveling the world together, feeding you chocolate while massaging you in front of a fireplace (wait that’s my fantasy), kissing under the stars, etc., but no one likes to talk about acceptance of all the shit you will bring into a relationship. Now I am not saying accept someone who is abusive, or mean or nasty to you (or the dude or chick with outdated photos), that is just plain wrong! But sometimes we come into a new relationship with so many checklists and expectations that we fail to just see the potential of someone. Don’t judge your new mate on the failings of your old mate. Open your heart and your mind and see what happens. Get out of your own head, and as someone who tends to overthink and over analyze I know this isn’t easy to do but it needs to be done!
We also have a habit of projecting what we think our new partner wants instead of actually asking him or her. We make assumptions instead of just asking them what they want.
As for me, I am flawed. I am not perfect and I know it! I’m insecure at times, more than occasionally unfiltered, but I am also compassionate, have an open mind and more understanding than I probably should have. If you choose to have me in your life I will do my best to understand you, but I also expect that you will do the same. I am an open book and look at everyone I meet as a new chapter in my life. It isn’t easy to do and sometimes the easy thing is to just throw in the towel when things get bad and go back to fishing, swiping, matching or God forbid, e-harmonizing. I am not that girl. I will do my best to fight for you. Some have told me that I am gearing myself up for heartbreak and to be let down, and maybe I am, but that is me, I love hard. I’ll fight for you and if you fight for me, you will have someone who will be in your corner through thick and thin.
I have made mistakes in my previous relationships and I take full ownership of them. A very good friend once said to me – stop creating problems where there aren’t any. Unfortunately I recently did and it created issues that weren’t there. I should have just said exactly why I was worried instead of probing to find out what I thought was wrong. Insecurity reared its ugly head and caused damage. I lost someone who I knew had potential and I regret it. He challenged me in many ways and took me out of my comfort zone, not in a bad way. I like to be challenged. But this time because of new found insecurity I did not express myself in a healthy way. I reacted instead of being proactive. I realize now that I need to work on this and go back to the person I was, the one who would communicate if I thought something was wrong. On the flip side though I have no problem in saying I am sorry. I may talk a lot, a whole lot, and sometimes I even confuse myself, but I will look you straight in the eye and say I was wrong. I take ownership.
We often forget how important communication is to keeping a relationship healthy and I’m not talking about the easy communication. It’s the hard conversations that we need to have and those are the most important. When I look back at many of my relationships, it’s those conversations that were lacking. Communication is key to not only progressing but saving a relationship. We need to remember that our partners are not mind-readers.
Maybe in the end we all just need get out of our own heads, past relationships and just go with it. Stop waiting for our partner to screw up and just talk to each other when things are not going so well. It’s not always easy but it helps to open you up to seeing the person in front of you, who is not perfect and is flawed, just like you. And who knows, once the pressure is off trying to both expect perfection and be perfect is gone, you can then open your eyes to the person in front of you and you may be surprised that who is standing there right in front of you is who you want. Talk to each other, listen to each other and hear what your partner is saying. But most of all remember that acceptance of each others flaws is a two-way street.
As for me, I don’t want Prince Charming – he doesn’t exist. I want someone who has my back, lifts me up when I need it, challenges me, laughs with me and at me, and understands that I will make mistakes but I will learn from them and in return give you the best love you can ever imagine, flaws and all. I’m still hopeful. I’m learning and growing, but most of all, I’m working on me, version 2.0, better than ever!