I have 4 half written blog posts that I need to finish, all on varying subjects, but this just felt like something that needed to be said. And quickly. So you’ll forgive if this is a little scrappy round the edges, poorly constructed or just a mess of words, but the timing of it is just too important, I need to get the words out today.
We all know that the world has been upside down since March, and just as things seem to be returning to a version of normal, many of us are venturing back out into the dating scene. Only it’s changed. It’s all video calls, WhatsApp’s, hour long phone conversations and awkward social distance walks where we can’t tell what the other person is thinking. Single people get one bubble. One opportunity. One chance. We better choose wisely, else we are back to a sexless existence and the electricity bill being doubled due to the extra ‘charging’ time required. It’s no wonder people are feeling wobbly. Second guessing themselves, their actions, their words. None of us know how to behave.
In the past week I have seen countless twitter posts from men and women alike airing frustrations over this new dating world. More so than in the past. I have two real life friends that have both been dating and then been let down. This isn’t anything new. Dating is a constant cycle of disappointments. Ghosts and slow fades. Games and time limits. Secrets and lies. What is new is the backdrop to these dates. The need to get to know someone properly before investing a 2 metre distanced walk or awkward picnic. Then an even bigger decision regarding bubbles. Maybe this is making us all more aware, more sensitive to things, more picky at who we bother to exchange messages and calls with.
What does seem to have increased is the propensity to blame ourselves when it goes wrong. It’s something we’ve done, it’s something we’ve said, it’s our fault that the other person has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. I can count at least 30 conversations in the past week where I have said ‘You Are Enough’. Something I’ve had said to me a hundred times in the past, and something that I finally chose to believe, probably only 3 months ago myself.
I’ve used every excuse possible for why a guy has lost interest in me. I’m too fat. I’m too intimidating. I’m too sweary. I’m too rude. I’m too much. I’m not enough.
Last year I even blamed my reaction to a ‘slow fade’ on the fact I had changed contraceptive pill and was all over the place hormonally. I had felt a change in communication after we had slept together for the first time and called him out after a few days. I took responsibility for it, because I thought I was hormonally imbalanced and scared him off with my direct message calling him out. It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that I know that I absolutely did the right thing. The guy was an utter prick. Enough to have a whole blog post about him at some point. He fucked and left. He fucked and slow faded. He fucked and blocked. He was the one that didn’t deserve my time or energy (side note, the one fuck we managed was distinctly average). My message merely sped up the inevitable process he was planning.
He’s the last guy I have blamed myself over. Something clicked after him. I took some time out of dating at the back end of last year as I realised that I was all over the place. Not just hormonally, but in general. I didn’t love myself. I didn’t even like myself. How could I have done? How could I blame myself for something that wasn’t my fault if I liked me? It did me the world of good. I went away on my own twice over the summer. I went away with my best friend and celebrated my birthday without a care in the world. I wasn’t a nun, I had one night stands, but no dating. No investment of time or feelings. Just a good time, a mutually consensual night of fun every now and again. I worked out, I focused on work, I made myself feel good about me again. I went 6 months without a swipe, a date, a complication. Then I went a step further and went 3 months without any sex. Celibacy. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but I did. Christmas came and went and I spent it with friends and family without that feeling of dread and confusion over whether I’d get a ‘Happy Christmas’ WhatsApp or not.
In January I started dating again. That’s all been documented in my previous blogs. It hasn’t been plain sailing in the slightest. Only now I don’t blame myself. I’ve sat and read back some of my blogs today, and I don’t ever say it was my fault for what happened. That’s growth. That’s progress.
Have I fucked it by telling him how I feel? And if I have, then what does that mean? I can’t do anything but be honest, that’s just who I am. He must have known what my reaction would be so none of this will be unexpected. If I’ve changed his opinion of me with my honesty; then you know what, he’s not the guy for me, so no loss. If he is giving me some time, or actually just sleeping and feeling ill, then I’ll hear from him when he’s ready. If I don’t, then I’m happy that I’ve not done anything wrong except be honest with myself, my feelings and him.The Benefit of Doubt
The other guy wasn’t ready to date, he’s just broken up with his wife, a bit of fun was what he needed. That isn’t my fault. It’s the advice I’ve given my best friend this week. If someone isn’t ready, it isn’t always an excuse, it can often be the truth, it has nothing to do with you. I wouldn’t have been ready this time last year without my break. I’d have continued on the self destructive path of blaming only myself and never holding these people accountable for their part.
So everyone, what this rambling post is supposed to transmit is that sometimes people are cunts. They just are. Our behaviour isn’t going to change that. If we message too quickly after a date, it’s doesn’t stop them being a prick. If they were going to ghost, they still will. We all need to stop blaming ourselves and start holding people to account. Stop being afraid to call people out for bullshit behaviour in case we come across like a ‘crazy person’. If someone can’t accept and take you as you are, then they aren’t deserving of you. That goes for everyone. A relationship is, of course, about compromise. But we would never ask someone to compromise their ethics and values, their morals. We might ask them to put the toilet seat down after they’ve used it, or sleep on a different side of the bed, but we don’t ask them to change the fundamental core of their personality. If that is to confront, then that’s you. Don’t treat a date any differently to how you would a friend or a colleague. If they run for the hills, then give them a bike so they can fuck off more quickly. It’s a brave new world out there. Let’s be brave new people.
We all need to realise that we are who we are, and the person that we end up with will love us for exactly that. They won’t try and change or alter us. They will love us as much as we love ourselves. Because you are enough. I am enough.
We Are Enough.