They say that hindsight is 20/20. For the most part, that is the case, but in some situations, people tend to go around and around in circles. I was one of those people. I made the same mistakes over and over and over when it came to men and dating. I don’t buy into the whole “she didn’t have her father around” excuse either, because my parents have been married for 33 years, and I am such a daddy’s girl.
I do believe that all children need their fathers in their lives, but I don’t believe that the father’s presence automatically means that a girl will make the best decisions when it comes to choosing her mate. I went through the I like the bad boy phase and the Oh, he’s so intelligent and deep phase and the He’s so nice phase.
Under the surface, however, the guys were all eerily similar in the way that they treated me, and there were similarities even in the way that the relationships ended. I finally sat down and reflected on my past relationships. I can’t speak for the guys, but on my end, I was able to come up with some pretty insightful reasons as to why those relationships never worked, and why I felt that my self-esteem was being chipped away during each relationship. Check out my list below. I’d love to know if you can relate.
I lowered the bar.
I had a list of about 10 things that I wanted in a man, and as I entered my twenties and a couple of years went by without receiving any marriage proposals, I started to cross some things off of my list and allowed other guys to make it through the screening process. I lowered my standards, with the reasoning that I would spend some time with the right now guy, until the right guy came along. It wasn’t long before I had forgotten about the things I actually wanted, and I started accepting whatever came my way.
I was a doormat.
For some reason, I allowed guys to walk all over me. I would clear my schedule and put my life on hold, hoping that the guy I was interested in would want to spend time with me. When he called, I would run to his side. When he didn’t call, I would sit by the phone, or use my friends as time fillers, until he did call. The dates I had seen on TV, I believed they only happened that way on TV. Guys would send a text, and I would get up and drive to them. They didn’t open doors, and more than half of the time, they didn’t pay for our meals. I am perfectly fine with the times changing, but I believe all girls want to hold on to some traditional ways. Chivalry will never be frowned upon in my book.
I doubled dipped.
I despised being alone. I despised it so much so that I allowed myself to get sucked back into an unhealthy situation just to avoid being by myself. I couldn’t fathom the idea of not having anything to do on a weekend. Because I didn’t want to be single (and even further away from my goal of becoming a bride), I decided to ignore all of the reasons that we broke up to begin with, and I went back a second time.
I didn’t spend time alone.
I never took the time to reflect on my relationships and to figure out what was going wrong in all of those failed situations. I wish that I would have spent some time with myself to improve the quality of my life. Then, maybe I would have made better choices and spent less time in dead end relationships.
I accepted the “no label” label.
Some guys just don’t want to commit, but they want all of the “goods” that come with commitment. Some of the guys I dated were no different. They pursued me, and once they finally had my attention, they put up the “I’m not ready for a relationship right now” brick wall. Even though I wasn’t okay with this arrangement, I agreed to it, thinking that I could somehow cause them to change their minds. The only time, though, that their minds were changed was when I was already on my way out of the “relationship”.
I was the chameleon.
Whenever I dated a guy, I would find out what his idea of the perfect woman was, and I became that. I wanted him to think of me as perfect. Instead of being who I truly was, I worked hard to be who he wanted me to be. That way, I was sure to make him fall in love with me (or so I thought). Especially, if he was one of the no label guys, I was determined to flip him into a relationship kind of guy.
I concealed the ‘S’ on my chest.
I grew up in a church that taught me women are to be submissive to men. The pastor meant that wives should be submissive to their husbands, but because I viewed dating as a prerequisite to marriage, I practiced being submissive to my boyfriends. I gave all of my power to those men. If I made more money than he did, I would downplay my job. If he didn’t have any money when we went out, I would give him my credit card so that when the waiter/waitress brought the check to the table and set it in front of him, he wouldn’t feel so bad. I would pretend not to know some things and ask him, so that he could feel intelligent. I pretended that my dreams and accomplishments weren’t very important, so that he wouldn’t feel bad about his job, underachievement, or lack of education. Had I known then what I know now, I would have walked away the moment I felt that he wasn’t empowering me to be all that I had the potential to be.
Did you see yourself anywhere in there? I know I’m not totally alone here. If you’re single and on the dating scene, I strongly encourage you to love yourself more than I did when I was dating. Take some time for yourself to learn who you are and what you really want. Then, don’t let up on it! You deserve what you want and nothing less.