Learning to be Honest in Dating

23 04 2015
Photo: stopkiruvnow.blogspot.com

Photo: stopkiruvnow.blogspot.com

Honesty is something a lot of us talk about. We say we want folks to be honest with us. We claim we’re honest individuals. We even say cliché statements like “honesty is the best policy,” but I would argue that many of us tell little white lies all the time when we’re dating.

Lies about our actual interest level in the other person. Lies about how much baggage we’re bringing into the situation. Even lies about what we’re hoping or not hoping will come of the connection. We all do it or have done it.

And it’s something I’ve been actively working to stop doing in my life.

But anyone who has lived will tell you that putting something into practice is a lot harder than just working on it in your head.

And so a few weeks ago a situation came up where I’d given my number to a gentleman, but I’d realized I was no longer interested in him. Before me, I had a few choices — I could ignore him when he contacted me as many folks like to do these days, hoping it would get the point across without ever having to tell him the real deal (but I think that’s kinda petty, and I hope I’m more mature than that); I could go into disconnected and cold mode, hoping that he would become disinterested and stop calling me (but interestingly enough, whenever I’ve done that, the guy has always stayed around longer); or I could just be honest and say “hey listen, you seem alright but I’m just not interested in seeing where this can go anymore.”

I chose the last one.

I know that probably seems like a small step for some of y’all, but it was a huge deal for me. I’m so used to trying not to be the bad person that I’ve definitely allowed relationships to last much longer than their natural expiration date, and this was my small way of saying no more. I could clearly tell me and dude weren’t going to work out, so why waste his time or mine.

I’m hoping to continue to put my honesty in dating into practice,  but I know I’ll have stronger tests still. It’s one thing to tell a guy you’ve known a couple weeks you’re not interested;  it’s a different story entirely to have the courage to say things to a person you’ve known for years.

But I’m getting there. I’m learning that what I’ve always believed really does hold true — you can say just about anything as long as it comes from a respectful and genuine place, and honesty (like forgiveness) is sometimes less about the person you’re being honest to and more about saving you.

What do you all think? Do you find that you sometimes tell little white lies in relationships? And what’s the hardest things you’ve ever told a partner? Pretty sure mine was when I told an ex boyfriend who wanted to marry me that I didn’t see a future with us. But right after that, I dated 2 guys back to back for months when it should have been over in weeks.

So clearly your girl has work to do lol





Throwback Thursday — When I Finally Wore My Perfect Date Dress

9 04 2015

Hey y’all, it’s Thursday, and I’m preparing to make my way to celebrate a friend’s birthday in Las Vegas!! And since I was slack and didn’t give you all a blog post on Tuesday (sorry!), I figured the least I could do was post one of my faves from last year around this time. Spring is in the air, it’s sundress time, folks are going to start going on more dates now, and for me, it’s the perfect reason to have a good #tbt blog post about the time I wore one of my favorite sundresses on a pretty amazing date.

Hope you enjoy!

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We didn't exactly look like this, but it felt prett darn close... Photo: http://knowmore.tv

We didn’t exactly look like this, but it felt prett darn close…
Photo: http://knowmore.tv

It was a little less than a year ago now, but I still remember it like it was yesterday — the day I finally wore my perfect date dress.

If you’ll recall I’d purchased this dress some time ago, not with the knowledge that it would be a perfect date dress at all. But once I got home, tried it on with some heels and a cardigan, I knew. I knew that the only place it could be worn was a date so perfect that it suited how I felt in that dress.

And how I felt was happy, sexy, confident, giddy, pretty, alluring, and more. It was, in a phrase, a dress that made me feel special.

So I waited and waited and waited to wear it because the last thing I wanted to do was to waste that kind of dress on a date that wasn’t worthy. You may think that’s a lot of pressure to put on a dress… and you’d be right. What I inadvertently did was put so much pressure on the notion of wearing the dress, no potential date became good enough.

In fact, I went on quite a few dates between when I bought the dress and when I wore it. And each time I had a chance to wear it, I thought, hmmm I don’t know — I don’t think this guy or this date is special enough. And so I put it back in the closet, maybe to wear for the next time.

What I should have realized at the time, and what I realized much later on, was that the dress was symbolic for how I felt about those men in general, but also about me. I mean, who says to herself, “this guy isn’t special enough for a certain dress”? I should have immediately asked myself afterwards, “well then why are you going out with him?”

But because we rarely realize those things in the moment, I didn’t ask myself that question. Instead, I dated… and I waited… for the guy and the date who would make me want to feel pretty and alluring and sexy and confident and happy and giddy and special all at once.

That date finally happened last summer.

What’s remarkable is that there was nothing particularly special about the date. It wasn’t some grand production or fancy occasion. We basically walked around the city, talking and joking while my arm was wrapped inside of his, and finally made our way to the restaurant where we had dinner and pretty much spent the next four hours laughing.

It was fun, sure. And we had a great time. And the dress did make me feel everything I thought it would when I finally wore it for more than just my eyes to see.

But what was most important to me about that night (and actually what was the part that made the moment so awesome) was that I finally stopped waiting to wear the danged thing. I realized something that I’ve also since realized about my writing and my work and my heart — that until you share it with others, it’s just a pretty dress hanging in the closet. It has no meaning and no memories associated with it. It is, for lack of a better word, dead.

It’s not until I wore it and allowed someone else to see how beautiful it looked on me that the dress truly came alive. Now, it is not just a generic perfect date dress, one where I could imagine how I would feel wearing it with the guy I like. It’s the dress I was wearing when the guy I like looked at me and couldn’t stop smiling. It’s the dress I was wearing when I took the initiative and slipped my arm around his (that’s big for me, yall!).

It’s the dress I was wearing when I decided to stop waiting for life to be perfect before I enjoyed it.

This dress has memories now. It has a story. And even if it wouldn’t have turned out well that night, although I’m very glad it did, it still would have been for the best that I finally pulled it out of the closet.

Do you all have anything like that, that reminds you of a time when you made a pivotal decision for yourself?





Here’s What Happened when I Tried Online Dating

10 03 2015

Disclaimer: This isn’t everyone’s story about online dating, just mine. I am not seeking to encourage or discourage online dating in this post.

About a year ago, I decided I would try online dating. While I don’t think I have a hard time getting approached in real life, I was finding that I was meeting the same kind of guy over and over. So I thought I’d try to expand my options. And I figured at the very least, I’d have something to write for the blog haha.

I created my profile, added some pictures, and immediately began receiving messages and “likes.” (Note: One thing I will say about online dating is that it’s a major ego boost!)

However, just like meeting folks in person, you have to weed out the “characters.” And so, after a couple messages here and there, I was ready to meet my first person. We Skyped first to make sure that neither of us was being catfished, and then set plans for our first date.

Now, the guy and date were nice enough. We had pleasant conversation while having a drink at one of D.C.’s popular restaurants. We laughed, exchanged war stories, and talked about the things most people talk about on a first date. Thing was, I could tell dude was far more interested in me than I was in him. Or rather, interested in the idea of me. My theory was very quickly proven by the way he soon tried to check me about things I’d written in my blog (that he found on his own) and the way he started making “we” declarations way too early on.

My take? Nice guy, but very ready for a relationship… when I was just trying to let life take me where it wanted.

The next guy was the complete opposite. We Skyped as well and made plans for our first date. I cancelled those plans after he tried to tell me 3 hours before we were to meet up at 7pm that he actually wouldn’t be available until after 10pm. Ummmm… what are we doing after 10pm on a Tuesday, sir? Not dating, that’s for sure. This dude would proceed to try to early booty call me for the next few weeks before I finally let him know that I wasn’t hard up for peen, and I wasn’t looking for someone to say he wants to date me when he really just wants to have sex with me. Basically, I told him to be honest about what he wanted and that was over before it started.

You know what happened then? Every dude I talked to from the site either fell in one or the other category. Essentially, he wanted to marry me (or thought I wanted to marry anyone) immediately or he was just looking to hook-up.

Needless to say, I was completely unimpressed.

Here I was just looking to meet new people, have fun dating, and maybe lick a few teeth — and I was getting everything but that. I mean, who tries to check someone about their blog posts when you’re not even their man??

So after a bit of time, I gave up the online ghost. I know some folks who’ve had great success with it, but it wasn’t for me. Plus, it’s kind of hard to flirt the way I’m good at flirting through a computer. And honestly, flirting is kind of one of the most fun things I like about meeting new guys. On the bright side, my foray into online dating made me appreciate the other way so much more. There’s just something about the old fashioned way of meeting someone out when you least expect it.

What about you all? Have you ever tried any of the online dating sites? If so, what was your experience? And would you do it again?





At 31+, My Definition of Love is So Different from 10 Years Ago

5 03 2015

On a recent trip with some friends, one of the girls brought up a list titled “6 Phrases More Important than I Love You,” which was recently featured on the Huffington Post. The list asserted that while “I love you” was very important, it wasn’t always enough, and so you needed more than love (possibly the other six items) to make a relationship work. The six phrases they mentioned all sounded great at first glance, but as much as I wanted to agree with the entire list, I just couldn’t. I did, however, agree with at least one of them (which I’ll get to later).

They were:

1. I forgive you

2. I’ll sacrifice for you

3. I respect you

4. I’ll support you

5. I’ll protect you

6. I’m committed to you

Now, my reason for not agreeing with the complete list was not because I don’t think those phrases and the ideas behind them are important. It’s that, for me, at 31 +, they are included in “I love you.” If I say to someone now that I love him, I mean I will sacrifice for him, I respect him, I’ll support him, I’ll forgive him, and I’ll protect him (as I can).

This wasn’t always the case. In my early 20s, my concept of love was completely different. I fell in love at 21, as if it was a faulty emotion I couldn’t control. Love was all about passion and desire, how fast my heart beat when I saw his name on my phone or AIM account (aging myself here). It was all about romance (unrequited or not) and whether or not he and I talked to each other all day, every day.

But now? I’m not saying those things don’t matter — because they absolutely do — but love includes all those unromantic, practical things as well. I’m not looking for someone to “complete me.” I want to be whole and for him to be whole and then we come together. Love is not something I fall into anymore. It’s a choice I make. I choose to love who I love. And much of that choice is based off of certain criteria.

Such as…

Do I trust him?

Can I be honest with him even when I don’t want to be?

Do I have a desire to support him, and does he support my dreams and efforts?

Do I forgive him, even after a big argument, not because I’m a pushover, but because it’s worth it?

Love now includes aspects like responsibility and future. And sure, I absolutely still want to smile like a Cheshire cat when I hear his name and have a desire to tear his clothes off and lick his teeth when I see him. But I equally want to think of him as someone I wholly and completely respect. Someone who pushes me to fight for better, even when he doesn’t realize it.

That’s love for me now.

So when I tell a man I love him, I’m saying most of those other phrases as well.

Now, if you couldn’t tell by this point, the last phrase is the only one I thought was separate from “I love you,” simply because you can love someone and not commit to him/her. Just like love, commitment is a choice as well, and frankly there are people in love who are not committed to each other and vice versa.

But if we’re just talking about love here, I think the more mature definition, at least for me, has to include those other concepts. Otherwise, it’s just undeniable, passionate lust. And while that’s great and there’s certainly a place for it; I’m not 21 anymore, so I know the difference.





What’s Hugs Got to Do with It

18 11 2014

hug

Not sure if you all remember, but a couple years ago, I started embracing (pun intended) the beauty of hugs.

I decided to let go of my fears of emotions and enjoy the feelings you get when hugging or letting someone hug you. And I have to say, it really has made a big difference in my life. For one, I find that I’m less bitter and cynical about relationships. For two, I’ve become more comfortable with being me and expressing whatever emotions I have for a person.

Now, granted, I’m not saying all of that happened just because I came around on hugs, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence they have coincided with each other either. As Mandy Pants said back in the day, “humans need to be touched.” And I was essentially missing out on basic human interaction that was needed to survive by limiting this type of interaction.

Since then, however, I’ve clearly come around. I mean, I really believe in the power of hugs now y’all. Annnnnnnd physical touch became one of my top love languages! Who would have thought??

But here’s the thing. Once I got past the power and beauty of hugs, then I was able to just get into the pure awesomeness of them. Especially when done with boo thangs and potential boo thangs.

I thought about this other day when I came up on an old article about the 7 cute hugs a guy can give you.

Let me just say off top, I’m a fan of all of the ones they mentioned. The catch, the spin, the lift, the head rest etc… but my favorite one? The kind of hug I remember just walking down the street later? Oh that’s the combination of the squeeze (which I call the bear hug) and the long one.

Listen. That combo effect? It’ll melt even the stoniest of hearts and leave tingles all up and down your spine.

Okay let me stop telling on myself.

All I’m trying to say is that as a woman dating someone who doesn’t live in her city, sometimes the highlight of my time with sgwmms is the 1 minute hug we do where we just stand there squeezing each other tight. Sometimes that hug then turns into fits of laughter as I try fail to exert my strength on him. And sometimes… it’s… just… heaven.

Plain and simple.

Either way, though, it’s absolutely something I realize I was missing out on for all those years. And I’m so glad I eventually learned the errors of my ways.

But what about you all? Do you have a favorite hug between you and your guy (future, past or present)? Have you tried all of the ones they mentioned in the article? If not, do you have one that piqued your interest?





Lost for Words

14 10 2014

“When I try to explain it, I be sounding insane. The words don’t ever come out right. I get all tongue-tied and twisted. I can’t explain what I’m feeling. And I say baby, baby, baby, baby I… what I’m trying to say is you’re my everything, baby. But every time I try to say it, words, they only complicate it.” ~ Ariana Grande

Have you ever been so in like that you find yourself tongue-tied sometimes when it comes to expressing that to said person?

I know I have. On more occasions that I care to admit, especially for someone who manipulates words for a living.

I’ll find myself babbling on for minutes when a simple “you make me smile” would have sufficed. Or end up saying really lofty and dramatic statements like “my whole being feels safe when I’m around you,” when I really just wanted to say that I’m comfortable around him but not in a way that makes me complacent — just in a “this feels natural type of way.”

What’s amazing is that I can write this out fairly succinctly for the blog, but just as with Ariana G – when I’d try to say it to the guy, I’d get all flustered and suddenly be at a loss for words. All at once, I’d begin to doubt the words coming out of my mouth (as I was saying them!!), so I’d try to switch course and end up sounding like a crazy person.

Am I the only one who has experienced this? I feel like I’m not, but because it’s happened so often for me, I have of course attempted to figure out why.

And what I’ve come up with — at least for now, is that I’m thinking it’s less about not being able to find the right words and more about worrying what those words mean to me that gets me stuck. Like if I say out loud that dude is one of the reasons I’m happy, it makes it more real, harder to take back, and let’s be honest — gives it much more power. I know we’re not supposed to talk about that side of liking someone — the scary, what does this mean for me, how does this change me side. But it’s there.

Anytime you start thinking “we” and not just “I,” it’s there.

And I think that scary factor or the concern that I sound insane is what makes the words then become so complicated. At least for me. At least when I try to express them to dude.¹

And it ends up sounding like, “Baby, baby… baby, baby I…” LOL.

What about you all? Do you have any stories of times when your words came out like a crazy person while you were trying to express your feelings to someone?

1 Not as much anymore, because I’m getting more comfortable with just letting my feelings be what they are, but you know, I’m a work in progress, so sometimes, it’s still like that.





On the Midnight Train (from DC): A Shoe Story

2 09 2014

Coming down the escalator, I looked at the monitor in the train station to see just how long I’d have to wait for the next train.

Sigh. Twenty minutes. I must have just missed the last train, I thought.

I stepped off the escalator with purpose and care, making sure not to let my cobalt blue Jessica Simpson pointed toe pumps hit the ground too hard, but also letting anyone watching know that I was no punk (even with my stilettos on).

It was midnight in DC after all, and I was by myself heading home from a longer than needed to be Happy Hour situation. All of this meant that I was extra aware of not trying to look drunk and/or like a fragile, demure little girl who couldn’t handle herself. But I also didn’t want to ruin my shoes just so no one would bother me.

I quickly scanned the platform and found an empty bench, plopping my body on the concrete slab since I had so much time to kill. I glanced up at the monitor again. Great — nineteen minutes left. I couldn’t believe only a minute had passed by, but that just meant that I needed to find something to occupy my time and hopefully make it go a little quicker.

Figuring the best way to do that was by writing, I pulled a pen out of my purse, along with my trusty journal and began scribbling down thoughts of mine for later blog posts. I was in a zone. I was writing furiously. I was minding my own business… that is until I suddenly realized I had company.

“Hey, what are you writing over there,” he asked, as he sat down, just a little too close to me.

He’d walked up right as I’d finished about a 1/2 page worth of material, but since I wasn’t really in the mood for chit chatting, I’d tried to ignore him. Clearly, he hadn’t received the hint.

“Uhhh, nothing really. Just some thoughts,” I said, slightly picking my head up, but quickly returning my attention back to my pen and paper.

“Oh ok. Must be some really interesting thoughts. Can I read?”

“I’m sorry, what?” I looked up again, brow furrowed so he would know that I was in no mood to entertain his fancy.

“I was just hoping maybe I could read some of your thoughts,” he replied, backing off slightly.

“I don’t think so.”

I was determined to get this dude to leave me alone, and so finally, I locked eyes with him.

He smiled.

“Listen,” I said, softening up my stance a bit. “I’m not trying to be rude. But I’m just not in the mood, so whatever you were thinking might happen here. It’s not going to. Okay?”

“Okay, cool. I get you,” he said. “And I appreciate you being straight forward. I’m not trying to bother you, promise. I just… well… I saw you coming down that escalator with your serious face on and your blue shoes sparkling on the ground, and I just was caught off guard. And then I saw you sit down and start writing and I was like, man, I need to get to know her.” I could tell he was speaking from a sincere place as he slightly ran his hands over his jeans a few times trying to combat his nerves while talking to me.

“So you just admitted to watching me for the past few minutes, you know that right?”

“Yea I did,” he chuckled nervously. “I guess that didn’t really help my case.”

“No,” I laughed. “It didn’t. Look, you seem like a nice guy and you’re attractive, but I’m just not trying to go there with anyone right now.”

“I understand,” he said, sitting back onto the bench, away from me. “I get it.”

The next few minutes passed by as I continued to write in my journal, still aware that he was sitting next to me and probably still watching me. His obvious stares made me nervous but also a little excited, and that caused me to begin tapping my heeled feet on the ground over and over.

“Am I making you nervous,” he finally asked me.

I turned to face him. “Yea, a little bit.”

“Oh ok, well I don’t want to make you nervous. But I was just thinking about what you said earlier — how you’re not trying to go there with anyone right now?”

“Yea.”

“Well what if we just became friends? I don’t know, there’s something about you that just tells me I need to get to know you — in whatever way you’re comfortable with.”

“Ummmm…” I looked at the monitor again. I was tempted by his request, but thankfully the train was now only a minute away. Saved by the incoming train, I thought.

“I don’t know. I mean, it doesn’t really sound like you’re looking for a friend,” I finally said.

“I’m not. But I’d be willing to be your friend. If that’s what you wanted.”

I looked around again and noticed the lights flickering on the platform, signalling that the train was imminent.

“Hmmmm… I don’t know. I just don’t know,” I said, hesitating, but also beginning to pack my things back into my purse to be ready for when they train came. This guy had no way of knowing, but I’d just recently ended things with someone and just wasn’t in the right place to try and date again. But he was cute… I was torn!

“Come on,” he said — smiling brighter than I’d seen him smile the whole time. “You don’t have to think too hard. How about I just give you my name and number and you can decide later if it’s something you want to use.”

“Okay,” I said. “I could do that.”

He quickly scribbled his name and number down on a piece of scratch paper he found in his wallet and handed it to me as the doors to the train opened.

“Thanks,” I said. “I’ll think about using it.”

“That’s all I ask for,” he said, smiling like a guy who knew he’d just given himself a chance.

“Wait — what’s your name,” he called out right before the doors closed. “I don’t want to just know of you as the pretty girl with the blue shoes.”

“Darby,” I said, giving him a slight smile.

“Okay, Darby. I look forward to hearing from you.”