The Dating Game – How Three Years of One-Off Dates Helped Shape My Perspective on Marriage

To be honest, I thought all those one off dates would somehow lead to marriage. I thought that three years of the single life and being super picky about who I spent time with would help me refine my tastes in men. That part really happened, although I’m very much still unmarried.

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Image: Andrew Thomas Clifton

Remember I had a list of complaints about my suitors?

I always look back with pleasure on the fun I had writing those stories and the fun I had learning about men.

I learned a lot that I hadn’t really noticed before (while I was in an eleven year relationship with an older man I met when I was 20-something).

I learned that contrary to popular belief, there’s a whole host of successful black men in their 30s who have put off having children while they’ve worked on careers and held out for a woman who’s “right for them.”

I learned that it was very damn possible for me fall in love with a younger man. My experience with him prepared me for my current relationship in that I realized, for the first time what it felt like to be fully supported, emotionally, by a communicative, expressive and passionate man. Just being able to dialogue with him was exhilarating. Simple, but I had been missing and craving that sort of interaction for many years.

And he encouraged me to start this blog. (Here I am, still blogging damn near five years later.) Prince also taught me that letting go of someone you’re enjoying simply because things aren’t panning out the way you want them to a whole five years from now is a surefire way to be depressed. It’s possible to focus on the now and enjoy the moment, without trying to orchestrate the outcome. (This was a hard one, but I finally got it.)

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I learned that I like a well traveled man. There’s just something soothing and intriguing about a man who’s seen a great deal of the world and is able to share glimpses of that perspective – and do even more traveling – with me. (I went to Europe for the first time last year and had an amazing time in London and Paris with LB.)

I learned that above all, men really do want to make women feel special. General statement, I know. But all the men I went out with were very generous and wanted to make sure I had a good time. Except this one guy who wanted to meet for coffee at lunch time. I bought my own panini, and he wasn’t hungry or thirsty. Smh. I also expected them to be kind and generous, so they were.

I like men who are visionary, forward thinking, disciplined, driven, and “chocolatey.” Men who are health conscious, work out, etc.

I learned how to spend time with myself and be okay alone. So when I met a suitable candidate, I felt no need to rush.

And now I’ve taken self love to another level. I meditate, work out, do kundalini yoga (I have to pick back up and go more regularly), practice visualization, etc. I do the small things like take naps, and baths, use Groupon deals for massages, attend concerts (I’ve always done this), admire the beauty in anything I can… My point is, I make a conscious effort to do as many things as possible that make me happy. I blog, I occasionally meet up with friends (actually, rarely because I only have a few), I shop, salivate over LB’s voice, enjoy him as much as possible, picture the dips in his shoulder blades, fantasize til I’m grinning, etc.

Notice how the things I do to nurture my relationship with Self are first on my list of activities that make me happy?

I’ve learned that the more I focus on those things, and the more I support him in nurturing his relationship with himself (firstly) and with the other people he loves, the better able we are to show up for each other.

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I’ve learned that exceptional is possible, and quite thrilling. (Ayyyeeeee….)

So I’m less selfish. Am I prefect? No. Am I better able to love unconditionally? Yes. Does it start with Self? Yes. Am I better for it? Did those one off dates help? Yes. They were all part of the process. But actually being in a relationship and experiencing the growth that inevitably comes with patience, has been the biggest catalyst for me.

I’ll leave you with one tip – for those of you who are still single and dating: After each date, go home (or do it on your way home like I used to) and write a list of everything you liked about the person – first impression traits, notes about their life experience, etc.

I found all the delicious traits I listed about various men, all encompassed in one man. And here is what I wrote after our first date. Is he perfect? Nope. Beautiful as he is? Yup. I could go on, but you’d probably be bored!

In summation, and this may be an entirely different post altogether, I’m more ready for a viable partnership and or marriage than I’ve ever been before. It won’t all be roses, and in those moments, I am going to love him anyway.

Happy dating/ loving!

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What do you think is the most significant thing you’ve learned about yourself via dating and or being married? If that’s a little deep, what do you like the most about being in a partnership? If you’re single, are you enjoying the process? How so?

Ultimately, I want my favorite love story to be my own. Can you relate to that? What makes for a good love story?



Categories: Inspiration, Personal Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

27 replies

  1. I love this. Im still learning but my man is patient with me. You have some great ideas to do for self. I need to make a list lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The most important lesson learned while dating and especially in marriage, is how much willingness to compromise you must have.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was totally awesome! I understand that we can be picky. But no one is perfect. We do have to compromise on something. Being well traveled is good. I myself would like to travel more than I did when I was in the military. Hence the passport I now have. Yay!!
    As for the post that said Queens inspire Kings. That is so true! As a Queen can help bring the idea into fruition. Teamwork makes the dream work.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As always, a good read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love you too fam.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful!! Through dating, Im learning that I have to find a balance between being too closed off and too open. I have to broaden my outlooks on the type of men allowed in my dating pool. More importantly I am learning that I still have a lot of work to do on myself as well. Lastly, having my love story be my favorite love story is everything!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My favorite love story is the one I share with my wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am married, but I wish I had experienced a dating life. I’ve only been in long term relationships, two to be exact. Due to this, I’ve learned that I was naive to some things for lack of experience. As you’ve outlined, dating allows you to experience and meet different men to learn your likes, dislikes, and about yourself in that regard. You writing about your dating life is actually what drew me to your blog. I was fascinated by your stories and active dating life. I appreciate your perspective on how your dating years have shaped you. I am happy for you and your relationship. I also like how you add in the importance of self love. I like to call it treating myself, which is something I make sure to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very interesting. I’ve had two long term relationships too, one 1.5 year one, and then my current one. So I was very guarded, and somewhat naive too of course. And I’m still learning! Thanks for continuing to read after I stopped sharing dating stories! I definitely enjoyed writing them. And thanks for the well wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dang. Deep. I love this post though. #1. What do you think is the most significant thing you’ve learned about yourself via dating and or being married? That it is okay to say no. I don’t have to look at every man as a possibility if I know that he is not. I don’t need to prolong the inevitable to be in a rush to be linked to someone. I’m single and I’m enjoying the process of dating someone who is the opposite of me but fits. We are taking our time and slowly discovering each other. That makes it fun.

    Yes, I can totally relate to the fact that you want your favorite love story to be your own. I think the fact that you love, how you love, what love has taught you and how that love has made you a better person is the basis for a good love story.

    Like

    • Thanks for chiming in. Good point: “it is okay to say no.” I practiced that a lot when I was on the dating scene! Having fun and enjoying the process is the best way. I’m glad I can look back on the experiences fondly via my blog, although in all cases names were changed. I enjoy the intimacy of a committed relationship even more as yall may gauge by my writing! Lol

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I learned that you only get what you allow. Also you have to develop balance when you’re talking about dating and relationships. You need to have a cold side where if things aren’t working, you have to tap into that side and just be done. I know that it is easier said than done but it’s mandatory or you will be stuck dealing with someone you really don’t want to deal with. Lastly, under any circumstances is it okay to not deal with attractive women only. Have standards for yourself and make sure you are in a position to UPGRADE.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well there you have it. I think more so than having a cold side, it’s important to know that what you want is coming. If the person you’re dating is not him/her, there will be more! People hold on for fear that that’s their last chance sometimes, or because they create babies together, etc.

      Like

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