This year, at this hallmark time of love, my relationship status is a lot different because it has new meaning to me this year.
For the majority of my 20’s and after my most recent long-term relationship ended, I was what I refer to as a ‘serial dater’. I had a lot of short-term relationships (3months -9months typically). As much as this made for some epic dating stories and a lot of learnings about the kinds of guys I wanted to date and the type I didn’t want to date. It was this perpetual pattern of diving into one dating opportunity after the other.
I felt ‘boy crazy’ and it was unhealthy but I didn’t know any different.
I always wondered if ‘the next guy’ would be ‘the one’
I would love to play victim here and place blame on the numerous “rom-coms” I have watched over the years, I have too much awareness now to do so. Even those BS lines I heard that gave me the idea that I should (hate that work) give any guy a chance because “you never know who ‘the one’ could be, so stay open to all possibilities”. I most definitely took that a little too literally.
I was trying to make any guy, the right guy.
I dated ALL types; the co-workers (… you’d think I’d learn my lesson after the first few times – Oi!), Friends of friends (Because every person in a relationship LOVES setting up their single friend!). The mechanic at my car dealership, the guy who wanted to date my friend but she wasn’t interested (yah, I was THAT girl LOL…but in my defense, he could dance and liked to dance and I thought that was rare -Fresh Prince of Bel-Air moment LOL). The dogwalker, the bartender who served us at girl’s night out, the guys at the professional development courses, they were all shapes and forms, various nationalities, every profession, the most random & unique traits. I was certainly being open to the possibilities!
When I started doing my personal work and reflection on my “dating journey” I saw that I developed a dependency on relationships with others. I was codependent in relationships with the men I dated and it showed up in my friendships too. I attracted friends who embraced my need for them, my dependency on them. They in-turn wanted to ‘rescue’ me, a perfect fit.
Every time I dove into a relationship I got to ignore the pain and feelings that would come up if I spent time on my own. Despite how unmatched I was with the suitors, which was oblivious to me at the time.
It was a wonderful distraction. I used the relationships to hide from my feelings, my pain and most especially from grieving my father’s death.
The last romantic relationship I was in where I was happy and felt connected to the person was at the same time that my dad died. I later learned that I grew a wicked limiting decision that any time I was happy with life, in a romantic relationship, I would lose someone significant in my life and relive the most painful heartbreak I experienced with the loss of a parent.
So naturally, with romantic relationships I played it safe and protected my heart. I dated guys who I was minimally invested in to protect my heart so that I didn’t get hurt. I definitely didn’t realize it in the moment, it wasn’t until the pattern became too obvious to ignore. I became a pro serial dater, a heartbreaker and the guys wouldn’t even see it coming. I had gone 11 years without being broken up with and I am by no means proud of that. All the while seeing friends get into connected, committed relationships that I wanted so much and yet I was not allowing myself to go there.
The reason I was pushing away connected love was because I hadn’t allowed healing of the heartbreak I felt and I would cover it up and pretend I didn’t hurt.
Awareness is a B%*ch – Pt. 1: I didn’t know who I was or how to love myself so how the F could I love someone else.
I believe everything happens in divine timing and the understanding takes place after events happen and space and time is given. In the moment, I could not yet see the lessons that were coming. The awareness came at the culmination of my wedding engagement. I had A LOT of personal work & ‘soul searching’ to do.
Through that experience I learned the heartbreaking lessons that I had not seen before. A boyfriend, fiancé, husband, or any other platonic relationship could not take away pain inside of me, or solve all of my “problems”. The idea that I would feel ‘complete’ if I just had a man to love me.
I came to realize that I am the only one who can control and change my thoughts, feelings and emotions. No boyfriend, friend or family member has a remote control of my personal GPS that can change what I feel on the inside. I am the only one that can truly navigate my compass.
Awareness is a B%*ch Pt. 2: When I think that someone else controls my emotions and inner GPS, I give away ALL of my power.
The amount of disempowerment that comes from that astounds me. I was in complete denial that maybe, just maybe, it had nothing to do with the people in my life I dated and everything to do with ME. I couldn’t see it before though. I had blinders on.
“It all starts with the self”
Awareness is a B%*ch Pt. 3: I was always searching outside of myself for love, when it was right here within me, all along.
I firmly believe it all starts with the self. I had to go through experiences just the way that I did so that I could realize that I had the option to choose a different kind of love. To learn to be vulnerable again and find joy from the inside.
I completely respect and appreciate the men that I dated along that part of my self-discovery journey. They all taught me lessons, valuable lessons that I needed to learn.
Inevitably they were pieces that brought me to the most important, greatest love of all, love for myself.
I had to attract those experiences to understand who I was, what I liked, what I didn’t like. What I would tolerate and what was a deal-breaker. To heal the wounds of my past and put the pain into my purpose.
Awareness is a B%*ch , BLESSING Pt. 1: I learned how to date and fall
in love my #1
I’ve learned that self-ish is actually a really, really good, positive concept. Despite what media and other limited beliefs taught me about how self-ish is a bad thing for the majority of my life up to this point. After finding love within myself I learned that it is the birth place of love for others and attracting healthy, meaningful relationships.
“Self-ish = Becoming more like YOU” – Jessy Morrison
I learned that now when I feel lonely or wish I had boyfriend or someone else to make me feel better I ask myself what I need and want.
To heal my relationship, when I felt down or upset, I would ask what would others do that would make me feel better or take my mind off of what was going on in that moment. Now I take action and take myself out. I LOVE to go out for delicious meals at a restaurant, go on walks to reconnect with nature and my surroundings, go to movies, read a book near the water, listen to music, write, have a dance party in my living room, etc. These are the things that change my mood, make me happier and feel connected to myself again. Ways I show my self love.
I allowed myself to feel the most important love of all, the love with my self. And the most beautiful part; this love is always safe, secure, cared for and full. The one person I can count on in life unconditionally and the person who will be there for me no matter what life throws my way.
I became my own best friend.
I have respect, high self-worth, confidence in my own abilities and talents and an unexplainable feeling on the inside. I have love in my heart, love and compassion for my younger self who was doing the best she could with the resources she had at the time. I have so much love for the woman I am today, I will continue to go through moments in life that will teach more invaluable lessons and develop an even deeper love for myself.
THIS is what SELF f*%king Love feels like for me!!!
This has been the journey of finding my way back to my self. And now that I have a deep connection and 100% fullness within, I am SO ready for a relationship with a romantic partner, should a compatible man come along. It is no longer a need. I believe that romantic relationships are about two people, who are each 100% of their true selves coming together to be 200% of vibrant-f-ing-aliveness!
The love now radiates onto everyone else in my world because my heart is so full.
“It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
In order to receive a 200% love, I’ll take the brave risk of love again and again!
Dream BIG my friends!