“I don’t date.”
That’s my favorite line and my favorite answer to any inquiries on my love life or when a man is worried that I want more from him than he’s ready to give. I don’t date. But…that’s a lie. I do date when I decide to take a leap of faith and trust. I do date when I meet a person who seems good and whose words leave me a little breathless. I do date when I decide not to be so cynical about love. So I do date. I just date unsuccessfully.
When I say “I don’t date”, it’s a short-hand way for me to say “I’m tired of these nig…nevermind.” It’s a way for me to express my frustration at the fact that I can’t seem to get this right. At this point, after 24.5 years of life, I have a pretty decent understanding of myself and my expectations from any person in my life. I firmly believe in loving yourself first before attempting to love another. I believe in transparency and relationships built on communication and honesty. I also have high expectations that I’m not shy about sharing. I know what I have to offer and have little desire to seriously engage with a man who is unable to match that. I say all of that to day, I suck at dating.
I know myself like the back of my hand and Lord knows that I know the type of men I need to stay away from (i.e. hoes, emotionally unavailable men, men who still love their exes, men who think omitting facts isn’t technically lying, etcetera). But somehow, I love me some hoes and emotionally unavailable men. I suck at dating because I always fall for men I need to run far away from. I always give chance after chance. So rather than address that when someone didn’t ask for all of that information, it’s much easier to just say “I don’t date.”
So that’s pretty straightforward, right? I know why my love life doesn’t have too high of a success rate because of the men I invest in, right? If only. Lately, I’ve realized that there’s one more layer to why I “don’t date.”
I’m tired of being a lesson.
I’m tired of being the experiment, the woman men date right before they’re ready to get it right for another person. I would be a millionaire if I added up all of the times I’ve heard “Thank you for what you did for me” right after I see a really cute bae photo on their social media THAT IS NOT OF ME. (Side note: While I have received closure for all past situations and am happy for those couples, that shit still stings). The one that gets me is when men say “I love you” after months of being trash towards me. After months of them “figuring it out” at my emotional expense. I’m supposed to care about you loving me now that you’ve decided I’m worth your time?! Nope. Unavailable.
I never wanted to be jaded by love. I never want to be the person who steals souls for fun because I’ve given up on meeting a person who will invest in something more. Most importantly, I never want to lose hope. So maybe when I say “I don’t date,” I’m looking for a reason to prove myself wrong. I’m looking for the space to have more than casual engagements and messy love triangles. Maybe “I don’t date” is the half-truth I’m supposed to work out. Or maybe, this is the chapter of not dating and half-truths to make me feel better.
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