Staying True to Yourself While Dating
I am the type of girl where I always have a plan in place, and seriously had a list for the longest time of characteristics I want in a future partner. Despite this being my first relationship, I have been dating for years, so I kinda understood what I wanted in someone, but it was okay to get in a relationship if it happened and then not meet all my boxes in an effort for me to be more flexible and open to possibilities.
Now here is the thing: I am someone who despite my age, I date in order to marry in terms of my intention with everyone I meet, go out with, etc. This is also why I already know certain characteristics I desire in a person (all of them are just items that over the years I know would balance me out, I know I need in a person, etc).
My boyfriend and I dated from January of 2021 until the end of May 2021. For the most part, initially I was really head over heels for him, although soon a month into the relationship I started to realize how he wasn’t the person I thought he was. For example, despite him not meeting all my checkboxes, he still was an all around great guy. Although, different parts of our relationship just conflicted too much whether that was with personality, financial, career, and even social differences. This resulted in me having to end things due to myself being unhappy for honestly, far too long.
There is likewise a lot of mental health stigma around dating and relationships; especially breakups. This ex in particular, we would get into fights where he would get moody and turn things on me, he would call me horrible names, and honestly just didn’t make me feel happy; which got me to a point of thinking, “If I’m not happy, then why am I still with him?”
Going back to how I date to marry, this resulted in me ending things, and really reflecting from this experience dating. I ended up learning a lot, and I figured this would be the best way to learn and grow, along with tailor what I look for in a significant other.
- I need to listen to other people. My ex told me how I can be forgetful and not always remember stories or small details, he said. This made me start to journal in my phone quick notes after dates I’m on to ensure I don’t forget anything important.
- My list still stays the same even after that first relationship…shocker right? The reason for this is mainly that a lot of the items on my list my ex didn’t meet is ultimately why we did not work out. For example, he did not love and care for his family as much as me, and that is something we fought about. He wasn’t as career-motivated as I thought he initially was, where I personally want to be with someone where we can push each other to achieve goals. It’s okay to find this out, and I can see how even I might change things for future people I date.
- It’s okay to date soon after a breakup if you were ready to move on. Heck, after my breakup he said such horrible things to me, I didn’t even break a tear. This led me to being set up on a date a week later, and so far it’s going perfect. Hey, even if this next guy doesn’t work out, then I’m learning to accept there are other fish in the sea 🙂
- Truthfully, the biggest thing I learned during this first relationship is how looking back, I liked dating him, and staying with him due to how I always had someone to go out to cool places with and have weekend plans. Looking back, that might sound horrible, but in all honesty the time I started to date him I was very lonely, and I think dating was my default answer to feel happy since my friends were all away at school so I couldn’t visit as much.
- Enjoy being single when you can! I’m enjoying all the time I have back to enjoy hobbies, and honestly doing things alone feels empowering! I seriously went to dinner by myself the other day and felt like a million bucks since I can feel independent and confident.
All in all, dating and being single are two amazing periods of time to experience. Although, ultimately, the biggest takeaway is to stay true to yourself when alone and single, dating, and even in a relationship. If you’re not happy, or lose feelings, that is totally okay.