I’ve started this blog post a dozen different times. I’ve alluded here that I’m dating, and it feels weird to talk about here – so personal – but when have I ever shied away from that?!
I started dating again several months ago and the first couple of dates were rough for me. I have no idea what the guys thought, but I felt TOTALLY off my game. Totally weird and out of place. Heck, I hadn’t been on a first date in more than 9 years and a LOT has changed in almost a decade.
Someone recently asked me if I ever thought about swearing men all together and I quickly replied, “No.” I have a passion and a heart for marriage, and although I’ve been burned, I have a desire to get remarried. I won’t let my past keep me from seeing redemption in this area of my life.
So what does that mean? It means I have to be brave and actually start dating again. It’s the means to an end and no, it’s definitely not my favorite thing.
What have I learned so far? I’ve learned that I have learned a LOT in the past few years when it comes to relationships, reading people and knowing what I want and need. Having spent countless hours in counseling and reading dozens of relationship books, I have learned to spot warning signs early on. I’ve also learned how to spot someone who’s really showing up and being themselves. It’s refreshing and so out of the norm.
Dating isn’t all terrible, don’t get me wrong. I have been on some really fun dates and being pursued feels like I’m waking up from a deep sleep or like a flower that’s blooming again. Being cherished, adored and noticed for the first time in a long time feels so hopeful. It’s so affirming. It feels like I can see a future ahead of me.
Not just because all I want in life is to be married or that I get all my worth from a man, but because dating again is moving forward. It’s making progress. It’s learning from past mistakes and falling forward.
It’s all a process, and I’m still learning. But I’m excited. I feel like I’m 16 years old again dating and having boys pick me up at my parent’s house. (Really, that’s happened since I’m living here still.)
So yes, I’m dating. Specifically, I’m dating one person that feels nice. It feels nice to be in relationship again, but it’s also truly terrifying. I have to push through all the fear of failure and the terrible lies running through my head: What if this doesn’t work out? What if this person turns out to be totally different than you thought? What if I remain single forever? Are my expectations ridiculous? Is my life as a single mom and baggage and circumstances TOO MUCH for one man?
Dating is about relinquishing control. Until I started dating again – and specifically letting someone pursue me – I didn’t realize how much I like to be in control. (Those who know me are laughing.) Being pursued, letting someone else take the lead and set the pace is so hard. I want to make things happen. My normal cruising speed is fast-paced, so anything that’s not that feels odd. But it’s a good odd. We’re taking it slow, which given everything that I’ve gone through seems completely opposite, but also really wise and safe.
Who knows where this will lead, but dating again feels very hopeful and optimistic. I feel very good about that.
I’m releasing myself from the pressure to have it all “figured out.” Who knows if the man I’m dating is “The One” (does that even exist??) for me but for right now he is good for me.
But even if I spend the rest of my life as a single mama, I know that I will be happy and content as our little family of two. I trust that God knows the desires of my heart and am trusting His will, whatever it is.
p.s. He definitely opens my car door and walks me to the door… he’s very chivalrous like that. Swoon.