I have discovered that you learn a lot about who you are while you are dating. Dating is much more than it appears to be at face value. Dating really isn’t about whether someone likes you. This simple perspective of love is held by school kids on playgrounds everywhere. But, we are adults. Dating for men and women should be much more rich. Dating can be so much more than child’s play. If you date you can learn a lot about human behaviour; and, concurrently, and most importantly, you will be taught a lot about yourself too.
Recently, engaging in the act dating has helped me grow as a person. If you are not simply dating for sport, earnest dating can be an education for those that let it be. And, the cool part is that the curriculum is not what you’d think it is. For me, the tricky part about dating has little to do with who I am dating. Rather, the challenging part about dating has been adjusting my mindset. I have had to readjust how I perceive my worth. And, I have been forced to remember my value; and, in doing so, I have regained my confidence. It has been a tedious process that’s for sure, but it has been worth it.
The self assurance I had when I was Mike’s girl has largely eluded me since he died; but, surprisingly, dating has brought my confidence back. Dating has forced me to step back and take a good hard look in the mirror. I have been forced to take stock of myself. I have had to ask myself some hard questions. And, I am better for it.
Because of dating, I’m schooling myself about myself and it has been a very rich process of self discovery. While dating you are naturally forced to ask yourself hard questions – well that is if you are purposefully dating. Dating for sport does not have the same affects as the type of heartfelt dating I’m engaging in.
I have discovered that successful dating is really about whether YOU like the other person. If you aren’t following my thinking maybe this will make it clearer… When you aren’t really into someone you just know that they will call you; and, you’re right, they always call. You can feel it. You know the call is incoming. So, how is it that you are able to accurately predict their behaviour? Well, it is because you easily attract them because you are not giving off anxious energy. You are acting with confidence because they don’t really matter to you. You just aren’t into them so it is easy for you to be confident. You have the control. You are the one deciding if you like them – being with them is your choice and you know it. Whether they are interested in you is irrelevant in your mind because you know they like you. I know this sounds harsh – it’s not meant to – it is simply the truth about this familiar scenario. Bottom line, all people are drawn to confidence. Confidence is a magnet in life and dating is no exception to this.
This said, I know from experience, it is so much harder to feel confident when you actually care about a person. When you are invested in a person and the outcome things can get messier and your confidence can waiver. When we like someone we begin to overthink things and consequently we begin to give off nervous energy. This kind of vibe causes us to become unsure about how the potential suitor feels about us and sometimes we manifest our worse fears. Capiche?
The truth is, you can’t completely avoid this nervous energy. It’s part of being human. “Butterflies” occur in your stomach because you care. That is part of the chemistry we are all seeking. This is part of the process of falling in love.
With time, as I have become a more proficient dater, I am learning how to control my emotions so that I can exude confidence not fear. In reality, I know that I have nothing to be fearful about. This is just dating. Nothing here is that big a deal unless I decide it is. I continuously remind myself that I am choosing whether I like him – it is not the other way round – this was great advice given to me by my friend who is a remarried widow. She told me when she was dating that she never considered whether a man liked her. She only focussed on if she liked him. She assumed he was lucky to have her affections. She did not question her worth and she encouraged me to do the same. My friend reminded me to remember that I am deciding if I want to share my life with this new person. He is my choice. Males, this goes both ways, you must remember that she is your choice. Don’t put yourself in the position to be chosen. Be the one picking. This confident mindset makes all the difference.
For me, dating is about picking a new life partner. It is about choosing someone to share my life with. This is big stuff and it is no wonder dating is not easy for me. This said, some people chose to date more casually and I envy these people in some ways. It is easy to spend time with someone. It is harder to invest time into a person.
I am not a girl who is kicking tires. I am willing to wholeheartedly invest my time into someone again. I had a big love with Mike; and, for me, a cheap imitation of the real thing will not quench my thirst for love. I do not want to drink Kool-Aid. I want something real. I want the good stuff. I can taste the difference.
Dating success depends on a lot of factors out of your control, but there is one thing that determines success that is in your control. This thing is Self-Love. Dating will not be successful if you do not like yourself. If you are unhappy with who you are you will not find real, true love. You need to like who you are before you expect anyone else to like you in return.
If you do not value yourself you will not be able to discern fraud from the real thing. Without a healthy respect for yourself, you will not be able to recognize love, even if it hits you over the head; and, for this reason, the Universe will not send love your way because it’d be a waste of time. So, before you start dating ask yourself if you know your own worth. Are you self assured enough to walk away from someone who is simply not right for you? And, are you confident enough to accept someone new into your life who is right for you? If you can’t do these things then my advice is don’t date because you will not be successful until you are more proficient at loving yourself.
Dating requires you to think about what you want and what you need. There is a big difference between these two things. As widowed people, we want to “fix” the pain of living without our spouse. That is part of our motivation for seeking a new person. This is normal and okay. However, loneliness can not be the main reason for dating. It is not the job or responsibility of any person to “fix” our loneliness. Before you begin dating you must work on yourself. You need to do the heavy lifting on your own. You need to have begun to reestablish your identity without your spouse and you must be emotionally secure before you date. There is no timeline for this evolution, but for me this took about three years. I know that I am ready to date. I am confident.
Once upon a time, Mike told me, “Stace, any man would crawl over broken glass to be with you.” So, now I have to believe Mike.
The man I am dating is lovely in more ways than I can share here. But, he is a lousy texter between dates. So, how do I respond to Mr. _____’s lack of communication with me between dates? Well, that is simple. I do nothing. Yep. Zilch. Less is more here. Confidence is quiet. Insecurity is loud.
My insecurities and loneliness are not his problem and they can not be cured by a text message or phone call. The only cure for these things are love itself and the only way to find love again is to be ready to attract it.
Somehow, I have found my confidence; therefore, I do not feel the need to text him hoping that he will answer me quickly and this will somehow affirm that he “likes” me. Nope. Full stop, I am not engaging in this child’s play. I have never chased him or any other man around and I will not start doing this now because I find that I am starting to like him. This is no time to question his affection for me. Rather, it is time for me to sit back and have him show me how he feels about me. A man who is interested in a woman will do everything possible to show her. He will make sure she knows his intentions. Mike taught me this, and thankfully I have remembered.
I will not go into details here, but his other behaviour shows me that he is legitimately interested in me. So, my job is to simply believe it. I need to trust this man’s intentions and more importantly I must trust my gut.
As my friend reminded me, it is him who is lucky to have me, not the other way around. She reminded me of my worth; and this is where the power is. Finally, I remember and acknowledge what Mike saw in me; and now I am valuing myself accordingly. Prior, to this realization, I would have been worrying about whether Mr. _______ would call me. Now, I can tell you that, I know I will hear from him. Confidence is that powerful. When you have enough self-worth to know your value you do not need to worry about whether a potential suitor will call you. Your confidence allows you to be just aloof enough to be attractive. I do not need to do anything particular to attract this man except love myself the way Mike did.
Love is the answer. Love attracts love.