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  • Writer's pictureloveandeducate

Do you even know HOW to date?

A question my eldest asked me after I broke off an engagement.

First, that wasn’t his business (ok, maybe it was since he was my go-to guy) and secondly, the answer was mostly no. It’s not really that I didn’t know how, it was just other stuff. This man and I spent a long time talking and hanging out and sharing our thoughts and feelings about our other relationships that just didn’t work out; so I sort of jokingly asked him if we should just get married? My bluff he did call, without hesitation. Next thing you know he’s living at my place and we’re making wedding plans; until we weren’t.

So, what exactly happened? In my Kevin Hart voice – I wasn’t ready! He was kind, nonconfrontational, easy going, and catering. He took out the trash, did dishes and opened my car door. He fused over me to make sure I was ok. He was exhausting!

His downfalls (which werent' downfalls after all)? He didn’t particularly like reading, he was content to sit around and watch movies on TV. And wrestling. What grown man watches wrestling? I’ve since learned that there are a bunch of them, go figure. He played video games and watched every sporting game that aired. He listened to music constantly and wanted to dance my socks off, all the time. He didn’t want to start a business and chose to just stand by and be supportive while I was building mine. Again, he was so exhausting!

Although this seems like I’m complaining, I’m not; not now anyway. I just wanted him to be what I wanted him to be. Who he was just didn’t seem to fit my niche. He needed to be more like … well, me. He didn’t think like me, hustle like me, socialize like me or even eat like me. He was just too much like himself, and that would just never do! I’ve learned a great deal since then.

I’ve learned that I was living outside of myself. I had never allowed myself the opportunity to heal from past relationships. I was suffering depression and anxiety. I was living in fear and mourning. I had lost two brothers and a sister that year and had not even attempted to address those losses. I was bound in chains and tied up in knots. So, we split. We didn’t speak for a few years and I didn’t care. Except I did care. The very reason that I wouldn’t date him before was I didn’t want to jeopardize our friendship and having lost that friendship was heartbreaking.

I had trust issues. Severe trust issues. About everything. Nobody could get close to me, although I insisted that I was an open book that could be easily accessed. I was an absolute mess. It appeared that I had it together, but internally I was falling apart. It was like the beautifully wrapped giftbox under the Christmas tree that had been shaken too many times – the packaging was precious, but the insides were shattered. I am still a work in progress and my therapist is my bestie; and I’ve since learned to accept some things about myself.

I’ve learned that if you are going to be in a relationship serious enough to get married, transparency is a must. And despite what people tell you about needing to have yourself together before you can be with someone, I choose to believe otherwise. We are all a little messed up. I’m not saying go get yourself a basket case and make them a project for you to fix – been there, done that; what I am saying is, I don’t believe that two people with issues are doomed to fail. What I believe is that if you enter into this type of commitment be willing, be vulnerable, be giving and be tender. Your partners' battles are equally as important as yours. They may have fought on a different battlefield than you, but their fight was real. You both survived. Now use the strength that it took to win every fight you’ve had this far to continue building yourself; just remember to take somebody with you because if you don’t you will just be a lonely winner and what’s the point of that?

I am very grateful that I’ve begun the healing process. The tedious, painful healing process. And although I’m not in the dating/marrying market, I am truly happy that my ex fiancé and I found our way back to friendship.

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