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Posts Tagged ‘dating advice’

I’ve been emotionally unavailable. I thought I was in a position where I could open up and love a potential life partner, but I wasn’t. I was able to develop deep feelings and perhaps love that person, but I wasn’t able to open up and let go of my defenses. I think I just might be ready now.

I can’t blame the guys I was dating for the relationships not working out – many shouldn’t have worked out! Some were amazing experiences I think I was supposed to have in life. Others were a testament to what I have learned since my divorce about myself … how early experiences shaped my thinking and behaviors; how family dynamics created learned dysfunction; how I created barriers that led to repeated experiences and how I have to take chances in order to live a fulfilling life.

I have the power in my life to create a healthy life with a healthy relationship. The first step is knowing I deserve it! The second step is allowing myself to take chances – emotional chances where I open up and don’t create an invisible safety net. I won’t lose myself in the people I date and I know I can survive if the relationship doesn’t work.

Now I need to make a decision; do I stay in the city I live in now or do I move elsewhere. I can’t open myself up to a relationship before I answer this question. I have a small network of incredible people I call friends and that will be difficult, not impossible, to recreate elsewhere.

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This is a brief post where I rant about flakey behavior. I’m not a needy person and I’m not demanding either, but I do think you should treat people with respect and consideration. I get that things happen and “life” can get in the way sometimes. Sometimes plans have to be changed because you just can’t make them. It isn’t a big deal until there’s a strong recurring pattern of not showing up and making excuses.

I used to accept a string of excuses and explain away flakey behavior. (Notice the past tense there?) No more. We all deserve equal consideration. There is no one out there that is so great that their needs always trump everyone else’s.

So, to the self-absorbed, self-important, self-centered or those who are simply unaware, we’re not a match. I don’t want to waste my time waiting when I could be spending it laughing and making great memories with people I care about and who care about me.

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I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself and to remember “the basics”. The basics include believing I am worthy of love and learning to trust in order to love authentically again. I often find myself going through the motions I know are expected of me. It’s an odd thing to question your motive and feelings. After a while you simply become disconnected and numb.

Here are a few reminders I am working on:

  • I am worthy of healthy love. Although not perfect, I have a lot to offer a partner including emotional support, humor and loyalty.
  • I can only guard my heart so much before I miss out on life experiences. I have to take a chance if I want to experience something wonderful
  • Others are responsible for protecting their heart. I will move forward with honesty and sincerity, but it’s up to my potential partner to express their needs and wants.
  • I can only control how I react to situations. I’ve learned you only know so much about a person. If they want to hide something they can and the only way for you to find out it to play private detective. I don’t intend to be with anyone I have to spy on. Honesty is too important to me. I also need to appreciate the small day-to-day joys that occur and leave the non-stop worrying behind.
  • I can allow myself to be sad, but I can’t allow myself to wallow in sadness.
  • Sometimes you just have to proceed with life regardless of if you have any control or not over what happens next.
  • The above are struggles for me – some I struggle with more than others. I sometimes wonder how other people make it look so easy and then I remind myself that they were either taught healthy coping skills or learned those skills themselves. I can learn these skills too, but it takes time and practice. I won’t nail everything out of the gate, but as long as I continue to try, acknowledge when I fall short of my goals and forgive myself when I fall short of my goals, I will be just fine.

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    There’s no right or wrong to a must-have, but I do believe they evolve as you do. I feel that I have grown in many ways and need to clarify a couple of my must haves that I posted last year. For one, I know I want the person I am dating to appreciate and cherish me. I know I am not perfect, but I want my partner to appreciate me for all that I am and all that I am not. Also, my partner must be authentically interested in me; not my potential.

    • Honest with good character
    • Loves to laugh
    • Mature, but enjoys life
    • Follows through on things started
    • Financially responsible
    • Appreciates/cherishes me as-is
    • He must be authentically interested in me
    • Challenges me in supportive way to be the best person I can be

    What I haven’t stated clearly is my list of deal-breakers. I think my deal-breakers are implied by my list of must-haves, but there shouldn’t be any doubt in this area.

    • A current addiction or substance abuse problem
    • Self-centered or selfish approach to life
    • Doesn’t have a passion for travel
    • Unwilling to communicate and share experiences, thoughts and emotions
    • Financially irresponsible
    • Doesn’t follow through on obligations or promises
    • Bad hygiene

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    I’ve made no secret of my awkwardness in dating. There are times I have no idea how to respond; especially when it comes to the goodnight kiss – or even the mid-date kiss!

    New Year’s Eve was a fun but mellow night. I went out on a group event and ended up talking with an older man for most of the evening – we were seated next to one another during dinner and just fell into conversation. The rest of the evening, the guy seemed to follow me around. He was a nice guy, but not really my type physically or even personality-wise.

    Anyways, he tried to kiss me at midnight and I instead turned it into a peck and a hug. He was definitely going in for an open-mouth kiss and it was awkward for a bit. At the end of the evening he again tried for a kiss. I was more caught by surprise this time and ended up giving him two pecks … After the first peck he was still right there in my face’ I didn’t know what to do and so the second peck resulted.

    I almost feel the double-peck is misleading and conveys a sense of interest even when there is none. Obviously, the peck isn’t as misleading as a full open-mouth kiss. I just didn’t know what to do – he was literally right in my face and not pulling back. (Kudos for his confidence, but respect my personal space.)

    Even when I can tell my date is going to go in for a kiss I can react awkwardly. Other times I don’t and can smoothly turn and offer “the cheek”. I think this is partly because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Maybe I should practice the hair tousle or top-of-the-head pat.

    I’m curious how others react and respond to the goodnight kiss and other attempts before the end of the evening.

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    I met a guy this past weekend who I had been emailing and texting for months. I realize if you are texting and emailing for months without meeting there’s probably not a sincere interest, but decided to explore and see what would happen. So we met.

    BUST!!!!

    Again, the guy’s profile picture was old and about 40lb lighter than what he currently weighs.

    I completely get being self-conscious, but if meeting someone you can’t hide what you look like. The best strategy is to be honest. Yes, you might meet fewer people in person but the people you do meet will be interested in you for you.

    It’s a red flag for me when people post outdated profile pictures. If you can’t be honest now, can you be honest in difficult situations? If you are so insecure in yourself, are you looking for someone to make you feel whole or better about yourself? No one can make you complete or truly happy. You have to be happy yourself first.

    This sounds harsh, but my first thought when I meet someone who doesn’t look like their profile pics is that I have wasted my time. Unless you bedazzle me with your personality or we have crazy chemistry, it’s a deal-breaker for me.

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    I had an epiphany … It may be obvious to others as I write about it, but it’s taken me quite a while to realize.

    I grew up with mental illness in my family. My mother is bipolar with a strong mean streak. She has extreme mood swings with her highs and lows cycling quickly along with narcissism, depression & highly tuned manipulative skills.

    As a child I was powerless to act and instead learned I had to accept her behavior and deal as best I could. This means I learned to stifle my needs, silence my inner voice and tolerate, even accept, the unacceptable.
    Why am I sharing this information? One, my blog is anonymous; two, this is why Tornado Dating exists. When I learned to accept the above behavior from my mom I believed I should accept it from others. It didn’t appear odd or out of the norm because it was my everyday life.

    This isn’t a pity party. I’ve learned I don’t have to deal with my mom and her crazy behaviors. As an adult I can remove myself from the situation. This realization was slow in coming, but was liberating once realized. The same applies to dating. I can remove myself from situations where behavior is unacceptable … and I have.

    What I need is to listen to my inner voice earlier and leave a situation sooner rather than later. This won’t end my Tornado Dating experiences, but does provide me with a sense of empowerment.
    If you are struggling with dating, take a look at yourself and key family relationships you have struggled with or watched struggle. (We learn by watching too!) This isn’t a magic bullet approach, but a first step in a better direction.

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