My, who would have ever thought that I would be writing about my findings as a single woman at this time in my life, certainly not me? But here I am, single … again. It's completely different for me as I have not been SINGLE in a long time. I am finding out more and more interesting things, not only about me but also about dating in general. Either the rules have changed since I was last in the game or the game has changed since they last invented the rules. Either way, it's rather interesting.
So what do you do when you find yourself 'Back on the Market' after years of being in a committed relationship? I can tell you that it hasn't been easy. You see, I am at my best when I am in a nurturing and loving relationship … when I have that 'stability' in my life. Not having it throws me off balance (truly a Libra thing) and it takes me a minute to get back on track. But you can trust that I don't stay down for long. I have you to share my life's experiences with and I have to say that you know a lot more about me than I share with people I actually interact with on a daily basis. Anyway, back to dating. What have I learned in the past few months?
— There are just certain traits a person has to have and others I can compromise on.
— Exactly what brings me personal fulfillment and makes me feel special.
— That I should not always take things personal … and I don't (It's not my issue).
— How to read a person's energy up front so as not to waste time; their's or mine.
— What I liked least and what I liked most about my previous relationships.
— What I am willing to give at this point in my life … and what I am not.
— How to say no, no thank you as well as 'hell naw!'
I realized I had a tendency to get lost in my relationships; losing the ME portion trying so hard to make things work. I have now had to practice what I have been preaching all along to friends, family and clients. I have had a long hard journey back to self ... one that I will never forget.
I have also had plenty of time to define relationship terms. I will define the following five terms as they speak to me. I find it crucial to discuss and compare my definition of these terms within the beginning of any potential 'dating situation,' this way at least I know if we are speaking the same language. It is amazing how many relationships start out with two people totally expecting two entirely different things. Communicate more in the beginning and you will surely save yourself a lot of backtracking in the long run. Shall we…
Friendship: Casual communications, spending time together, getting to know them and observing them in different situations. Sharing only a few personal details.
Dating: Once you have decided that you would like to get to know this person on a more personal level and you want to spend more time with them then you communicate that would like to consider yourself dating. However, the two of you are still open to dating other people and you should.
Committed relationships: If after dating several people, you decide you have found one that feeds your spirit, you can discuss the idea of committing. Of course both of you have to be on the same page so communication is key.
Engagement: During the course of the relationship, as you continue to grow with each other, learn each other and love each other, you may come to a point where you are thinking that you would like to take things a step further and begin to talk seriously, in greater detail about marriage. Because surely you have had conversations about your idea of marriage and all that you feel it would entail. You are just ironing out the details and learning about your partner's needs and expectations for the long haul.
Marriage: Taking that formal and final step. Yes, I said final. This should not be taken lightly. Are you really ready to spend the rest of your life (not just your nights) with this person? Is this the person you would want by your bedside if you only had 24 hours to live? During this phase of your lives together you are now living, learning, loving, and building a life TOGETHER. Not in absence of your individual interests, but not with the single mindset either.
I could go on and on about this topic but I think I have run my limit for the column already. Let's continue this conversation next month. Until then … know thyself!