You meet someone, and they have you caught up in shock cause they are just “fione.” They smell good, they feel good, and they make you feel good. The first date has you feeling intoxicated, the sex leaves you having flashbacks at your day job. Everything seems like it’s going great, you’re on cloud nine. Flash forward, and you’re sobbing into your pillow wondering how the hell you got here. What did you miss? How do you go from feeling so amazed by a person to absolutely crushed by the reality of who they are? I’ve had this scenario play out far too many times than I’m proud to admit. As I transform in the Woman I want to be I think it’s important to grow from your mistakes, so here are the 6 things I did wrong in Dating:
- I dated people who liked me, not valued me
I think it’s easy to get caught up. To be infatuated by how easy it is to laugh with someone, and how magical it feels to fit into the small parts of their bodies. It’s so easy to feel like when someone likes you, and if you like them back then that’s special. But the feeling of liking and being liked is so fleeting. It’s sorta like music, sometimes we are ALL about “I Like it” by Cardi B, but then BAM, “Chun-Li” by Nicki Minaj comes on. It’s very possible that songs (and people) will always have a special place in our heart, but the songs (and people) we hold onto are the ones we truly value. Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” will always be classics. When you date someone I’ve learned you should keep dating them, don’t commit, at least not until you’re a classic in their book.
- I was way too passive
I can definitely recall a significant amount of times when I’ve had sex with people when I didn’t really feel into it (completely consensual), and I agreed to committment when in the back of my head I was not ready. I think I chose more of a back seat role because I lacked faith in my ability to be right. I’d trust everyone else’s intuition instead of trusting my own. I think in a lot of relationships I compromise my beliefs and values because they deviate from the norm. I think I know exactly what I want in a person, good looking, funny, respectful, a thoughtful, and opened minded person. I wanted someone who was experimental in the bedroom, someone who was open to trying things like polyamory. Someone who got me. I think I passively accepted that my ideas and wants were “out there,” so instead of staying true to myself I fit into the box that others wanted me to fit into.
- I didn’t believe people when they told me who they were
When I was younger someone once told me “Boys will tell you EXACTLY how they will hurt you before they hurt you, you just have to listen for it.” I can definitely say that most guys I’ve dated have probably alluded to being called “assholes” or hinted to having issues they were trying to get over. I think when you like someone it’s REALLY easy to take passive hints, put them in a suitcase in the back of your mind, and never revisit them until AFTER you get hurt. But follow me for a second, after a relationship we all kinda have an idea of where we went wrong. After being in numerous relationships we have an idea of our pattern/toxic behaviors. Maybe out of guilt some people will drop passive hints to suggest what they’ll end up doing to you, but I think it’s very important to pay close attention to how people describe their past behaviors in relationships (not just romantic).
- I believed that their exes were “crazy”
Look Y’all, I do believe that some people really do be doing the AB–SO–LUTE most. That being said, you have to ask yourself two important questions: Why is this person crazy and Why did they date this crazy person? We all seek out people for a reason, and sometimes it isn’t because we ourselves are abusive (but sometimes it is). What my ex’s ex taught me was, people who have issues with themselves may go after people who make them feel better about themselves. Examples can be if someone feels like they are scared of being left they may seek out people who they feel like have abandonment issues. If a person has issues validating themselves they may seek out the person who tells them all the right things. But just because those people sought out individuals to fill their needs doesn’t mean they have any intention to fulfill the needs of the other person. In extreme situations, the person won’t just be selfish, but they could become manipulative and take their insecurities and fears out on you.
- I normalized red flags
“Oh my gosh, I didn’t see it coming.” Ok sis, but like, really? Maybe it’s just me but I have issues trusting my intuition. I’ve definitely heard some OFF the wall shit, and then I normalized it. “If you cheat on me I’ll kill you” is an OBVIOUS red flag that I’m ashamed to admit I normalized. The amount of times I’ve had a man say that to me is bothersome, not because I believed they’d do it, but because that red flag means that they don’t value me. First off, why would someone assume without reason that I would cheat (projection much?). Secondly, why would someone think that they are entitled to end my life because I hurt their feelings? A less extreme example is someone who doesn’t like any of my friends. Please feel free to argue me on this, but I feel like my friends are my friends for a reason. If someone dislikes all of my friends either I seriously have issues, and/or they don’t actually like me. Moral of the story, trust your gut.
- I saw myself as regular
I spent my entire life internalizing the expression “you have to work twice as hard as them to get half of what they got, and if you’re a Black woman you gotta work even harder.” Whenever I would have high achievements they were always brushed off as things that I was SUPPOSED to do. Perhaps I just wanted to be humble, but I really ended up under-valuing myself. I am an intelligent Black Women, with two degrees, a great career, and I’m a cutie to boot. No these things do not define me, but they tell a story of a woman who has defied odds to make her dreams come true. I am not “regular.” I actively try to go above and beyond to better my mind, body, and spirit. Yes, a person may choose to date me, but not because I am “lucky.” No, I walked through the door worthy and deserving of respect and quality. I do believe so long as you exist, regardless of your level of privilege or background, that you are deserving of kindness and respect.
Now I have A LOT more to learn, and maybe I have a few more frogs to kiss (ew). But I hope that this list of some of the mistakes I made during dating helps Y’all. I’d love to hear back from you all, so please leave a comment letting me know what you’ve learned from dating/relationships!