As you may have already figured out, I’ve been working on myself over the last several months. From practicing yoga and meditating, to reading and listening to podcasts, I’m trying to cover as many bases as I can. Of course there are days when I want to disregard all the knowledge and insight I’m gathering and just have some fun, or just feel sad again even. Fortunately, the days of choosing to be sad are less frequent and short-lived. And as much of a rule-follower as I’ve been my whole life, it’s hard for me to ignore what I’ve learned about myself and throw caution to the wind and just have a good time.
A lot of what I have been reading and hearing in regard to dating is about emotional availability, my own and my potential partner’s. There are multiple aspects of emotional availability but one that immediately resonated with me was the ability to hold space for someone’s emotions, and doing so without trying to fix the person or minimize their experience. I’ve written before about how emotional I am and the fact that this frequently results in crying very easily. My ex wasn’t comfortable with my emotions toward the end of our relationship, and maybe never was. He said it felt like manipulation. He was a fixer.
So far in my dating life I’ve made the mistake of oversharing and becoming very emotional at the very first meeting with two men. I did not intend to do so, and I wasn’t trying to make them feel sorry for me. I was embarrassed and mortified. I’m relieved that both have stuck around despite that huge red flag warning them away.
But am I emotionally available? Reading through this emotional availability checklist and answering these questions honestly about myself, I think my biggest indicator of non-availability would be how often I can say no with love in order to honor my own boundaries. I think this is something I need to work on some more. I know as a parent this was a struggle for me, and it’s still one of my weaknesses. But otherwise, I gotta say I’m ready.
Dating with intention?
As I check out the various dating apps and figure out what I’m doing on them, I keep asking myself what my purpose is. Am I dating just for the sake of dating? Am I looking for a relationship or a situationship? (I’d never heard this term until recently. Apparently a situationship is a “romantic relationship that is undefined and uncommitted.) Do I want to be in a monogamous relationship? I’ve posted before that I want to meet new people, a variety of people, men specifically, in order to figure out what I want out of my next relationship. After all, I do want a monogamous relationship eventually, regardless of whether that leads to marriage or not.
However, at what point do I decide I’ve done enough window shopping, so to speak? I had another first date last week (I think that brings my total to five over the last seven months. I’m not exactly breaking any records here.) I’ve exchanged messages with a handful more that didn’t go anywhere for one reason or another. And I’m still looking, but with less intention these days. I don’t know if I’m just getting tired of the apps, or if maybe I’m just content with getting to know more about the ones I’ve already met. I have to say, I had a great time at the arboretum yesterday, and my date was a big part of that. I’m really enjoying spending time with him.
Guess I need to continue doing the work. More reading. More self-reflection. More meditation. More honest conversations with myself, as well as with the people I’m seeing.