“You’re back on the on-line dating sites?” She asked me.
“Yeah,” I responded hesitantly.
“But why?” she asked. The question I had to seriously ask myself.
A friend and I went to happy hour one day. As we conversed and shared over margaritas, I simply told her I was ready to get back on the dating scene. And yes, I was sober!! LOL. I took a break from dating after my last “situation” ended unexpectedly. I went in to a place of questioning my self-worth and confidence, but also seeking out the appropriate help in my areas of struggle. There was a common denominator in each of my relationships, and it was me! I went through counseling, did some soul searching, read a few books, and I settled in knowing I was worth it again!
How long did I take a break you may ask? It’s only been approximately three months. For some, that’s a short time, and for others, years have been their break time. It absolutely depends on the person and their ability to discern the time in which they are ready. It also depends on how invested you were in the relationship and how much time you were together. For me, we had only been dating a little over a month. Although I saw the relationship as having great potential, when it ended, it didn't break me completely, but I knew healing was needed.
As Iyanla Vanzant would say, “Have you done the work?” It’s been three months of seeking, searching, praying, sheltering myself and hiding behind my fears. I was afraid to date again. My heart couldn't take another hurt or break-up and I didn't feel desirable or wanted. In my counseling sessions I was able to unload all of those feelings and own my own truth. My therapist would always say that I needed to practice my communication skills with family and friends since I was no longer in a relationship, but my real struggle was communicating while in a relationship.
So I decided to get back out there. Practice makes perfect! There is a quote that I live by at this point in my life, and it simply says,
“It’s okay to be scared, but you have to get out there,
open up, love, make mistakes, learn, be stronger, and
start all over again.”
And that’s what I am doing! I am using this opportunity to get back in the dating scene and practice what I've learned. I’m communicating with men and being honest and open about my struggles, what I desire, what I stand for, and what I don't desire. I’m OK with telling men something they may not want to hear. I’m no longer worried about whether or not they will like me. The truth is, I absolutely I love me, and that's good enough. The right one will adore and accept all of me!
With all that being said, I forgot how stressful and time consuming online dating can be! Checking all the messages, reading all the profiles (because I do read them all). When did I have time for this before!? Many things have changed in my life since taking a break. I refuse to be side tracked in my pursuits, or up late at night checking profiles and messages, going to work sleepy and exhausted. I’m limiting myself and putting a limit on my time spent on the sites. Ladies, it's OK to desire companionship and date, but don't get distracted by what seems harmless and begins to encroach on time spent with God, friends, and pursuing your passions.
If you are someone who is taking a break from dating and “doing you,” more power to you! If you are still afraid and going through your healing process, I understand! Take the time you need for you! When you're ready to get back out there, make sure you come back refreshed and ready to change the game. Come back stronger, wiser, and willing to do it differently to get the results that is desired (i.e. marriage, healthy relationships). Come back with the mindset that no matter what comes your way, if you experience another hurt, you can always start over!
So in the words of LL Cool J, “Don't call it a comeback, I been here for years....." [Just getting better at as I grow and mature!]