“Don’t treat me to the things of the world
I’m not that kind of girl
Your love is what I prefer, what I deserveHere’s a man that makes me then takes me
And delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond
Pull me into your arms, say I’m the one you own
If you don’t, you’ll be alone
And like a ghost I’ll be gone…”– Beyoncé
Around this time last year I decided to be more intentional with my dating life. I was single and had been for about a year and I was ready to explore some new possibilities. During this time I was actively healing, reflecting and evolving through my trauma and I realized that I didn’t really have much knowledge on how to date and the dating world.
Before my singledom, I was in a relationship for several years and had been “off the market” for quite some time. Now add in a global crisis and a provincial lockdown and I was feeling stuck. I have heard so many horror stories about the dating world and I totally got the apprehension that people sometimes feel in regards to dating and being single, but I was hoping that my experience would be better. I was heading into this journey with a entirely different mindset and outlook of love, relationships and sex and I decided to use my dating experience as an opportunity to learn more about myself. I’m forever a nerd at heart.
The first hurdle was that I couldn’t meet anyone new physically at the moment, because there was a province wide lockdown and all “non essential” public spaces were closed. I would have to try online dating… the dread that filled my heart LOL.
I now enjoy the online dating experience, but initially I was nervous AF. I downloaded an online dating app and created my profile and started swiping. As I would come across a profile that interested me, I would carefully assess how I felt before I chose to swipe right or left… I made sure not to even open the app when I was feeling sad, lonely or any other negative emotion, I didn’t want my emotions to betray my sense of judgement and internal voice of intuition just because my ass was feeling down.
We are sometimes capable of making decisions that are not conducive to our better selves because we feel lonely or alone. In my case as well, I had also chosen to remove sex from the table (which was difficult for me because I enjoy sex VERY MUCH – 5-6 per week would be ideal for me) but I only wanted to have sex with men that I had emotionally connected with as well as physically connected with.
As I began connecting with men, I learned that dating is really just like making friends that you also may want to get naked with and learn more about and perhaps have a relationship with.
That seemed to lessen the pressure and that line of thinking allowed me to really be present and unload any expectations. With 7 billion people in the world, there’s no way to be friends with everyone so that gave me the permission to let go when I needed to, to be unafraid of walking away from situations not serving me and most importantly to be open to other perspectives and viewpoints.
Some people you will just be better friends with, some people you will connect better with and that may be due to similar backgrounds, values and lifestyles. I think it’s okay to enjoy meeting new people, we each have an unique lens that we filter life through that has been coloured by our own experiences.
In learning how to date with intentionality, I became very clear on what I wanted and desired from a potential partner. I started listening to and watching podcasts and shows that depicted healthy relationship dynamics, I recognized that although I hadn’t necessarily seen healthy love firsthand, I knew it existed. I wanted to train my mind and heart to begin to identify and recognize the good blessing when it came around.
I would highly suggest that if considering dating and relating with more intentionality, that you also take inventory of what are the messages you receive in regards to relationships? Do you watch shows that promote discontent and drama? Are you listening to “all ____ behave in this way” narratives? Are you subscribing to the “relationships are hard, so you have to struggle to make it work” stories? These types of ideologies and beliefs can actually be hindering your ability to get what you truly want.
As we become more and more desensitized and acclimated to the negative narratives about love, especially Black love, we can begin to lead lives that mirror the dysfunction that we watch or listen to. Our trauma has already wired us to seek comfort in uncomfortable places and now we actively participate in our own relationship demise and undoing’s. I wanted to challenge this way of thinking and discover what else could be explored and learned about love and relationships and I encourage you to do the same.
I have met and connected with some really amazing, interesting and wonderful men during this journey so far, each person taught me something new about myself and helped me continue to heal my past hurts and disappointments. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone in regards to race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status and the knowledge that each person has brought into my life is forever valuable. Allow yourself the opportunity and blessing of wisdom poured in from unusual sources. Allow yourself the honour to discover more of what love has to offer, it could be kinda scary yes, but when did anything in life truly worth having… not freak you out a little??