It is in my 33rd year that I realize, while I have driven myself to reach numerous professional goals, I’ve allowed myself to settle with my personal goals, specifically in my dating world. In my friendship world, my friends know me as the diplomatic, mostly sassy voice of truth. I will be in your corner, but I will not put anyone down or spew negativity to support you. I will also not sugar coast if something is a bad idea or if you ask me that infamous question, “how does this outfit look.” If it is an unflattering color of puke green, I will ask, “is that the color that you see yourself making a statement in?” As your friend, while I can’t own your decisions, I sure will make you question if they are the best decisions for you and only you. Only you can decide if puke green is your power color (it is not your power color… it is no one’s power color).
If only I was that forthright in my dating life. There is one theme that prevails in my dating life, and that theme is the phrase, “sure, why not.” Allow me to provide some key examples… if a potential suitor asks me “hey do you want to hang out,” and I do not have any immediate attachment, work obligations, or I’m not dying from diphtheria my answer tends to be “sure, why not.” Now, I know some of you are thinking, what’s the problem with opening yourself up to a nice gentleman. That is a great question, and I counter that with did I say that he was either nice or a gentleman?
We have found the problem! I am great at just settling with who is in front of me. That may sound harsh, but it is the truth, and it may be the truth for you. Now, I can’t control your dating decisions, clearly, I am doing a poor job at controlling my own. Now in my 20s, those dating decisions had less of an impact. I absolutely hate to admit it but dating in your 30s is a whole other world. I can’t afford to just date someone who cold potentially be an ax murderer, a stalker, a stage 4 clinger, or as in my unfortunate past an abusive rapist.
On the less dramatic side, and on the boldly truthful side, I am too valuable to invest time in someone who is not willing to purposefully invest quality time in me. What quality time looks like is truly up to me. I have to decide what type of person I need to supplement my life not complete my life. My sense of fulfillment cannot depend on that other person, nor can my sense of purpose. That is where we make the mistake, depending on someone else to fill a whole that only we can fill.
Now don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoy the company of a companion. I love being around people, but if I don’t have the self-respect to set boundaries, goals and expectations for the people that I allow around me, then I am not being true to the woman I have prided myself on becoming. My challenge to myself is to be discerning. Don’t just say yes to the people that feign the slightest bit of interest, instead… take pride in the value that I bring to my own life, and the value that they should see in me. If it is not naturally reciprocated- not after I have invested my time without them investing their time and also not after I have coached that person on how to value me and continue to re-coach them on what value should like… it needs to be a natural reciprocation that shows that person values exactly who I am- then it is time for me to move on and refuse to settle for anything other than a purposeful, value-filled connection. Do not settle!