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.
Remember I had a list of complaints about my suitors?
- This one was a creep who lied and said he was eight years younger than his real age
- This one was biased (A Chinese guy who only dated black women)
- This one was a stalker
- This one wanted to pursue me before ever having seen me
- This one was a cowardly bitch.
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.)
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.
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!
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?