Monday, May 26, 2014

Lessons Learned in Online Dating

If you follow my blog, you know that I began the online dating scene April 10th, 2014.  

A big step for me.  Something that both is intriguing, very fun and exciting at the same time as being scary, creating challenges and forcing me to work past my fears!!! 

The last few weeks have been a time for me to work through so many things from beliefs I have had about men and dating vs to actually experience the reality of men and dating.  I have made choices or done things that I would do different if the same scenario played out again.  Not choices I regret, not things that are wrong, just little things that later you think you could have done or said differently.  But isn't this life?  Isn't that why we get to live out our days learning from the choices we make and doing things better next time?  

I already have learned some incredible things about myself and about men.  And I am sure I will learn more!

  • No matter how hard it is to tell your story, or the results of an incredulous look on the guys face or to see him choking on a glass of water when you share details, you can't keep back the truth and you need to know if they will accept you for who you are.
  • A guy is more apt to be bold and tell you what he thinks of you via text than in words, but it doesn't mean they won't.
  • The main thing a guy wants to know upfront is if you find him attractive.  They don't get that attraction for a girl goes beyond how handsome you are and that what wins her heart is more than your looks.  
  • Don't be shocked when the six profile pictures aren't enough to intrigue them and when you won't share more, you know their true intentions.
  • The gut instincts you have about a person are there for a reason and if you second guess yourself or tell yourself you are overthinking it/reading between the lines too hard/not getting a clue, you will see these reasons display themselves in an even bigger proportion and it probably won't be any easier to deal with, only harder.  Be true to your intuition and attentive to the signs, they are there for a reason.  Either way, you will get another chance to know for sure if you were or if you weren't correct in your gut instincts.  A true message you need to get will present itself more than once.
  • The chance of a guy wanting you to kiss him before you think he will or you are ready, is very high.
  • The saying, out of the mouth the heart speaks, is applicable to guys too.
  • To observe a man in his interactions with his friends, the waitress, or his kids, tells you a bunch about his communication style, how patient he is and what makes him frustrated, whether he puts you first or himself, whether he can roll with the things that happen, and what he can/will laugh at.  Make the most of these encounters because you might only get one date to learn all you can!
  • Sometimes it only takes one date to know if there is potential with a person.  Sometimes it takes more than one to know.
  • Guys are not used to someone being generous and loving.  It's fun to be different and let them experience something they need and want.
  • Guys do a much better job than us gals do at saying no and doing what they want.  They do much better at staying focused on one thing and following through, not feeling like they have to say yes to everyone and everything.  They create time and space for themselves with no regrets.  The lessons I have learned by observing, listening and taking their admonishment to me in this area has been phenomenal.  I have been told Misty, can you imagine what your life would be like if you had a man in your world, helping you to set boundaries and achieve what you desire?  I have never, but I now have a glimpse of what that might be like.
  • Guys tend to not be planners.  They live in the moment and will plan when that moment arrives.  This has been a huge adjustment for me.  I don't know if it is training, personality, or preferences (or all of the above) but I am learning to live for today and let things just happen.
  • No matter how many walls you have built up, how much fear you have, what past experiences you have had with relationships, there is always an opportunity to take your life and make a change when you allow God to show you how to do that.
  • There are no words for the depths of a human relationship and connection that God designed.  The results of relationships built on a foundation of love, acceptance, and trust are amazing.
  • The greatest thing you can do in a relationship is to just listen.
  • No matter the outcome of a date, kindness matters.  No matter what your reasons are for the two of you not being a fit, kindness matters.  
  • All relationships are not created equal, but if you show up authentic, real, open, honest, create trust, be respectful, and communicate, you will have no regrets.  When you stay committed to these principles, you will learn and develop your relationship skills beyond what you thought you already had achieved.

I have begun to realize that the involvement in learning to get to know a man and letting one into my personal space, to see my heart, to get to know me, to receive their compliments and words of affection, to let myself be hugged and touched, to allow them to think I am dang cute and not be adverse to this attention, to be comfortable alone in their presence, to be willing to share my story even if it means they won't accept me, is all going to be a key in moving past my fears and allowing myself to be loved which will be part of healing from my past...and allowing me to live life at a deeper level with love.  Something I never dreamed I would want but something I have come to believe I need more than anything else.

Part of me wonders how hard this is going to be, but the deepest part of me knows that the most rewarding work is the stuff that is the most difficult.  You don't get to move through to healing without pain.  You don't get to experience health without addressing the issues that don't create a body of health, and this includes mentally, physically, spiritually and yes, emotionally.  

I have been out with 5 guys in the 8 weeks since my first date.  Of those 5 guys, I have been out with one guy twice and one guy four times, however there is only 1 guy still in the picture.  I have achieved exactly what I set out to do in creating an online dating profile and for now, I will be taking a break.  I want to learn what I can from these relationship experiences, knowing that each of them were brought into my path for a purpose that was perfect for me, lessons and experiences I needed as a part of this phase in my life.  I want to reflect and continue to grow me and prepare me to be the person that God wants me to be for whatever my life holds next.  I pray that God continues to lead and guide me in all aspects of this and that I will be willing to take a relationship further with a man if this is what he has planned for me in my life, when and if someone wants that role in my life.  If not, I still will be grateful for what each of these guys have helped me to do.  They each have played a part in moving me further on in my journey and I pray that I have done the same for them.

As always, I covet your prayers for me in this courageous journey we each must live.  The choice is yours today...go live courageously!

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