#65: The thing about me and dating...
Updated: Nov 11, 2022
Since graduating college 1.5 years ago, I thought I had my life together. I thought I was doing well at work, keeping up with friends, staying consistent in the gym, being conventionally "hot," and with my person. As It turns out, I’m freaking amazing at my job, have a crippling dependency on the gym, was with the complete wrong person, and didn't know that I didn't know how to heal. Being "hot" is irrelevant to anyone but myself – In fact, being conventionally “hot” made me think that my love life was going well, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m not saying this for people to feel bad or think I'm arrogant. I’m saying this because it’s important for me to take stock of my life in an objective way so that I can understand how to improve. Yeah, I’ve been doing this wrong the whole time. I’ve been chasing what I want instead of putting in the work for delayed and sustainable gratification, which is ultimately what I want more than anything. Unfortunately, realizing this means that I have a lot of difficult work to do on myself, difficult nights alone, and conversations in the future. It also means that I have a shot at the partnership that I've been searching for. I’m only looking for one person.
I avoided talking about my dating life on this blog because I thought I should keep it private, but In doing so, I kept such a large part of myself hidden. I have plenty of funny stories to share, but it’s not about that anymore. It’s not about the games. It’s about accepting and processing my feelings so that I have a greater understanding of the world, my corner of the world, and what’s best for me and my future family.
I used being “hot” as a way to distract myself from rejection I experienced. I thought, that because I’m both conventionally hot and successful for my age, it was whatever dude's flaw that he didn’t want to be with me. I never claimed even for a second that I’m anywhere near perfect, but I used my success on paper both as a defense mechanism and justification of my own entitlement. Furthermore, I assumed that there was something wrong with anyone who didn’t want to be with me, and that I was too good to ever be alone. Consciously or not, I consistently blamed someone else for leaving me on my own for even one night out. Again, consciously or not, I punished whomever I was blaming at the time by finding someone else to validate me. I thought that made me more valuable, but I see how it made me less "valuable" because it exposed a glaring insecurity.
I’m completely wrong for allowing myself to have a mindset of entitlement. I deserve a happy relationship equally as much as the next person, but I’m not going to truly find it unless I understand what I want/need and find someone whose looking for similar things. I’m reminded of the cheesy saying the guidance counselors told us high school when applying to college. "College isn’t a prize to be won, it’s a match to be made.” Admittedly, I snickered the first time I heard this phrase. I wanted to go to the most prestigious college I could possibly get into, no matter what. I finally understand that I need to view dating the same way – Each person has a unique own idea of what he or she (or they) want. It might not be me and that's okay. Actually, it's probably not me amd that's still okay.
Not everyone wants a woman who prioritizes her career or who wants to settle down in Chicago or who has brown eyes, etc. I can't take it personally anymore. I should appreciate that someone else understands what he wants enough to know it’s not me, and respects me enough not to waste time. (It’s not always the case that he respects me, but I’m choosing to look at it that way.)
I’ve probably said yes to more dates than I should’ve over the last few months. I said yes even when I knew it wouldn’t work out because I wanted validation, and used the excuse that I didn’t waste my time because learned something new about a person, a perspective, or the world. I don’t regret any of it because I genuinely believe I’ve learned a ton, but it’s time for a new chapter. It’s easy to say that someone didn’t “deserve” me, but that’s an entitled way to say that he didn’t want me. That’s okay. Even if it doesn't feel okay now, it has to be okay. Part of the criteria in finding my “match” for life is finding a guy that wants me in the same way that I want them. If someone doesn’t want me, it means I’m not looking for him.
I often said that the person who ends up with me is “lucky.” I understand now that if I feel that way about a guy, then he isn’t for me. I should be genuinely grateful every single day that I found the person end up. Among many things, he'll make me undoubtedly better. I hate to admit it, but I won’t have doubts when I’m with the right person. I’ll know. I literally dated someone for years and thought that loving him was my biggest weakness. I want my partner to be my greatest strength. Definitely not a weakness. Being in love with someone is no longer enough to be with someone. I thought it was, because being in love is rare, and the best feeling in the world, but it’s not enough for sustainable life.
None of this is to say that I’m going to find a perfect person, or that the guy for me will magically appear one day, or that we won’t fight and compromise. It takes effort to find the guy that will accept my flaws as much as I accept his. I fully expect us to fight and compromise more times than I can count. At this point, I'm looking forward to it.
As I saw the pattens of someone close to me get cheated on and lied to, it hit me last week that I was most likely cheated on and didn’t realize it because I thought too highly of myself and the person I was with. Funny enough, I can now recall at least one of the dates when it probably happened. I was forced to think about my dating life again after someone who claimed to be interested in me couldn’t put in bare minimum of communication, and after someone else told me he wasn’t interested in seeing me again. Each of these situations was a different form of rejection, no matter how many different ways I tried to look at it. As I forced myself to “feel my feelings” (something another guy told me before he somewhat brutally rejected me a few months later), I saw how many times I’ve been rejected - for various reasons. I’m more hurt than expected by the latest rejection, especially as I become a more straightforward and mature person. I'm even more hurt as I feel the rejection I didn't allow myself to feel before, and understand how little my previous relationship apparently meant to someone else. Deep down, I know that I needed all of this to realize my mistakes - It goes without saying that I'm no saint in any of this either.
If nothing else, previous relationships (and rejections) have shown me how I’m capable caring for another person. I’ve been told countless times that I’m selfish – I accept that. There’s a level of looking out for myself and tuning out others that I conditioned in myself to get to where I am. However, I consistently prove to myself that if I really love someone (romantically or otherwise), I will go to any length to protect them and make them happy, and I will remember almost everything they ever me. Trust me, it’s as much of a surprise to me as it is to you.
I realized this when I spent hours writing 180 little notes to put in a painted jar, got up at 2am to bake cookies because he had a long day (regardless if mine was longer), kept my fridge stocked with favorite ice flavors, planned countless birthdays only to be disappointed, spent a formal watching a wrestling match… etc. I didn’t think twice before doing any of these things either, and never regretted it for a second… until I find out that someone cheated, didn’t have the basic respect to communicate, or never cared in the first place and didn’t bother to tell me. I'm not expecting someone to return the effort. I only hope that someone can recognize it, and maybe respect my career in return? Rather than tell me it’s the reason they can’t see a future with me… (By the way, these are instances from multiple situations, and several are duplicates.)
One guy had the audacity to ask me how I’d manage to be a good mom. Are you kidding me? The common theme across my life is that if I care about something, I give it all my energy until I can do it best. I’m enraged thinking about it again – of course I’m going to be an amazing mom. I’m not ready for kids anytime soon, but didn’t I give up someone I thought I would spend my life with for my future family? Isn’t that why anyone does all of this? I can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s how my family was. I’ll never stop appreciating that. I intend to do the exact same thing.