Today was the first day that I said, thought or wrote it without tears streaming down my face.
Every single time I talked about it in the past I cried.
And yet today for the first time I admitted that for me the idea of finding a man who loves me romantically and who cares for me and values me for who I am, the way I am, is something that I struggle to believe.
Oh I believe romantic love is possible for everyone else, but for some reason I doubt it for myself.
Every single time I think about finding a good guy who will treat me well I immediately go into doubt.
And with that in mind I have decided that it is time that I take a time out to have myself a bit of single time.
Ultimately my single time will consist of me purposely choosing to be alone and enhancing my relationship with myself and God before I go back out into the dating world.
I struggled with this decision for quite some time because…well…. I want a guy to come into my life and prove me wrong sooner rather than later.
And I also wanted to make sure that I wasn’t taking a time out due to fear or bitterness.
It isn’t my goal to put up walls to keep people out.
Once I affirmed that I wasn’t giving up on the idea of love I reach the decision that if a man is meant to come into my life and love me for who I am then he will come when my hiatus from dating is over.
So you want to know what happened after I decided to stop dating and have some single time?
- I immediately ran into a handsome gentleman (I think life has a way of testing us to see if we genuinely mean what we say whenever we talk about making a change).
- Upon deciding to let life know that I was indeed sticking to my decision and waiting until I was no longer looking for a man to validate me before I dated again I instantly felt empty inside and had an overwhelming urge to eat in order to feel full.
There it was that empty feeling that I previously wrote about!
You know, the one that causes me to engage in emotionally overeating.
This time it came because I was experiencing fear as I started accepting the gravity of my decision to purposely choose to undergo a year of not seeking a man to give me a stamp of approval.
So why was I so afraid?
Yep you guessed it…. Because it meant I am going to have be my own self the stamp of approval!
I am going to have to do what I advise others to do….. I am going to have to do the work of loving me.
So what did I do when I swallowed the thought of having to face my fears?
How exactly did I handle it?
I can tell you how I handled it!
I walked to the grocery store and I bought a bag of clementines and a gallon of water.
I decided to fill myself up with fiber and clear fluid in an attempt to find a healthier alternative to gorging on something unhealthy.
I wish I could tell you that I didn’t eat and I was able to do something else to distract me but nope I ate.
I am glad that I made a healthier eating option and I have chosen not to beat myself up for still using eating as a coping mechanism especially since it was a better food choice that would provide actual nutrition.
But then a couple of hours went by and I thought about the concept of not dating and yep you guessed it…. the urge to eat came back again.
But this time I didn’t care to have a drink of water or to eat another clementine.
I tried to convince myself mind, body and soul that even if I don’t ever have a healthy romantic relationship that I would be okay.
Yeah well that pep talk pretty much ended with me walking to the nearest restaurant and ordering a medium fry and a chocolate chip cookie.
I ate the cookie despite not being hungry.
Okay that isn’t entirely true…
I engulfed the cookie.
Then I proceeded to eat the fries.
After I had a few of the fries that had fallen to the bottom of the bag I sat and thought about what I was doing to myself.
Not only was I not hungry, I was actually full so why was I eating?
I was eating because I felt emotional pain and I wanted to distract myself from it like I had previously done many times before.
I thought about my actions and I gave my fries away to my coworkers and I sat there with my thoughts.
I sat there and I realized that if it takes a month, a year, a decade or a lifetime I have to reach a point where I stop expecting someone to fill the void that I have within me.
And I also refuse to keep eating my pain.
I have to accept that it is not fair to the men I date for me to come to them looking for them to love me whole. First and foremost it is impossible for them to do so. Also, it’s actually my job not theirs.
I am being lazy and I want them to do the work and then I get heartbroken when they fail. When they fail to do the impossible I feel rejected.
But of course I feel they reject me – I reject me.
When I go on a date I try to play it cool.
I think just be yourself, if he doesn’t like you it’s okay – just be you.
That is always a great start.
I come to the interaction being my authentic self.
I try my best to refrain from being anything else.
But then what happens….
If I decide I like him then I go home and become anxious and the subsequent dates are not as smooth as the first.
I start wondering if he is going to like me flaws and all.
I go from cool, calm and collected to entering a realm of fear anticipating that if he is a good guy that he won’t love me or that he will simply be a jerk. I don’t give myself room for in between. I have convinced myself that I either attract jerks who love mistreating me or nice guys who don’t want to treat me at all.
I spend so much time thinking about if he will like me that I forget to make sure this is a quality person and to keep seeing if this is a person that has shown himself worthy of a place in my heart and I just start wondering if he is going to hurt me.
I prepare myself to be hurt.
I anticipate that he will let me down.
Before I even get to know him I make the assumption that he will be overwhelmed by the complexity of my life and that we won’t connect.
I forget all about trying to determine if I like him and become afraid that he won’t like me.
So ultimately I was dating for the wrong reasons. Therefore, I decided to stop dating until I am at a place where I can date for the right reasons.
I want to be an emotionally healthy romantic partner and currently I am not in a place where I can offer someone that because I lack self confidence.
While I truly believe that I love myself far more today than I have in my entire life. I also know that I love myself enough to admit that I have some childhood demons that I need to battle before I choose to date again.
Doesn’t mean I won’t maintain or form relationships with men, but it does mean that at the present time I will not be pursuing one of a romantic nature.
I want to fall in love with me and once I have done that then I can share me with someone else.
The fact that I felt the urge to engage in emotional eating at the thought of having to do the work of loving myself without the safety net of trying to find a guy to do it for me was my signal that I definitely need to stop dating.
If there is indeed someone out there for me (and I have a feeling in my soul that there is) I think I owe it to him to work on becoming my best self so I can add to his life rather than detract from it. Especially since that is what I would like for him to do for me.
In my mind I am thinking a year hiatus should be sufficient.
A part of me is excited to the discover the woman I am when I am unafraid to love and be loved.
But then there is a part of me that is scared to take a time out because there really are a lot of nice attractive guys out there and a lot can happen in a year.
I have decided that God knows that I have purposed in my heart to take a year to love myself and deepen my relationship with Him. I have enough faith to believe that I will not miss out on any life altering relationships in that time frame.
God has already seen my story and He knew I was going to take a break from dating before He formed me in my mother’s womb. If I really believe God is all knowing and all seeing and that He has a good plan for my life which includes giving me the desires of my heart then I can believe that I won’t miss out on my opportunity for a healthy relationship all because I am making the deliberate decision to take the time to love on myself and to enhance my relationship with my Creator.
I acknowledge that I am not at a healthy place when it comes to why I seek romantic male companionship and therefore even if a suitable partner came along now my lack of self worth would most likely cause me to sabotage the relationship.
It is for this reason that I have decided to work on my emotional, physical and spiritual well being, focus on being a better mother to my beautiful children, nourishing my relationships with family and friends, and focusing on my career.
I have never been one who is afraid to do things on my own. I go to the movies, out to dinner, for walks and all sorts of activities alone quite frequently.
So being physically alone is not my fear for I am quite used to it.
No, my fear is more so because I am afraid that I will always have to do everything alone because no man will ever want to do any of those activities with me out of sincere love for me as a human being (as opposed to because he views me as a sexual object).
That is an unhealthy and untrue thought.
I have never been able to go from one romantic relationship immediately into another.
I always need time to think and heal between relationships.
And so I decided that I am breaking up with the relationship that I previously had with myself. A relationship of self loathing and purposely choosing to take some single time and get to know myself in a whole new way.
I want to grow to be confident that the woman who I am is lovable and that a man would be happy to be with me.
I would like to genuinely believe that I will be enough for someone, and in order to do that I have to become enough for me.
I have to step away from this scarcity mentality that it is hard to find a good relationship partner. Otherwise it will make it hard for me to spend this year focusing on loving me because I will constantly be in fear that I will be missing an opportunity to be with a great guy each time I turn a guy down for a date over the next year.
I have to do this for me.
This is my route to self discovery, self awareness and self love.
I understand that everyone has to do what they have to do the way they have to do it. I considered the get back on the horse method to dating but I know that after things don’t work out in the romance department I become an emotional mess. I battle the false thought that something is inherently wrong with me and totally throw logic out the window.
So I am going to take a step back and just be.
Could a man walk into my life and love me right now? – Absolutely.
But I am not ready to date and I love me enough to put my relationship with myself above all others.
Please do whatever you need to do to love yourself. If it means spending time alone with yourself – do that. If it means letting people in your life – do that. We all have to do things the way we need to do them. I don’t think there is one set way to self love. Yet, I do encourage you to find your way.
In the meantime I will be blogging regularly as I become more aware of the greatness that I am. The words I write I want to believe them mind, body and soul.
The truth is that the reason why the tears don’t flow when I talk about finding someone who will love me for me is because I for the first time ever am daring to believe that I will find a special someone more than I believe I won’t.
I am going to prepare myself for a healthy relationship partner by becoming one myself.
© Renata Pittman, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.