I’ve had my fair share of brief dating relationships. I’m currently engaged to be married to the man I’ve been with the longest. We’ve been together for close to four years, and the wedding is less than a year away.
I am not a dating expert, nor will I ever claim to be. But I’ve had my fair share of messed up relationships. I’ve also been able to glean wisdom from friends and family members caught in their own toxic and healthy relationships.
Recently, I was talking to a cousin about another cousin we’ve tried to help get out of her own abusive relationship, Unfortunately, she doesn’t want to leave, so we left it at that. I thought I’d write a blog about dating after our talk.
Since I’m lazy, I’m going to compile everything in a bulleted list, so I don’t have to think of a way to transition to and from each point. Here goes:
- Never ever, ever date someone just because you want to fix them. Okay. I think every woman goes through that phase where they low-key fantasize about falling in love with a bad boy and taking him away from his path of destruction and turning him into a good boy. I went through that phase, too. I dated one bad boy, and then subsequently dated another bad boy because I thought it would be so cool and romantic if I ended up taming him. Guess what? It didn’t work? If a bad boy wants to change, he has to do it himself. Don’t be a fixer, don’t be a savior.
- If he has a history of cheating, tread lightly. I guess this intertwines a bit with the bad boy point. But honestly, if you know he previously cheated on someone, you need to have a serious talk about truly being exclusive if and when you decide to indeed exclusively date each other. If he cheated on someone to start dating you, what the heck are you doing dating him, girl?! I know a girl who got cheated on early in their relationship. Despite many confrontations, the cheating happened repeatedly during the relationship with different women. The girl still ended up marrying the guy. Things didn’t get better. I’m not saying people can’t change, but I’ve noticed that men I know who have cheated before end up doing it again.
- Don’t rush. I know many women who, after a couple of months of dating, are already planning their wedding, how many kids they’re going to have, etcetera. While I do have respect for people who got engaged after months of dating, I feel like my partner and I were able to make a wiser and more informed decision when we decided to get engaged. If we had gotten engaged 6 months after we started dating, it would have been mostly because we were high on infatuation.
- Not into him? Let him go. It’s okay to go on a single date to see if there’s a spark. But, if after several dinners and outings you realize you don’t really like the guy, then stop stringing him along. I know several individuals who allowed themselves to date people they weren’t attracted to just because they liked the attention. That’s unfair. If you still want to go out because you like the company but see no romantic future, then at least be up front about it. It’s as simple as saying, “Hey, I really like hanging out with you. You’re great company. But honestly, I don’t see this going anywhere romantically.” It’ll hurt, but it will hurt significantly less versus stringing them along and leading them to believe there’s something between the two of you.
- Don’t cheat. I don’t like cheaters. I have gotten cheated on in the past, and while forgiveness was easy for me, the emotional wounds didn’t heal as fast as I thought it would. It caused me to carry a lot of baggage in the relationships that followed. Don’t cheat, and don’t allow a person to cheat on someone just to be with you.
- Don’t date someone just because you’re lonely. Or be upfront about it, if you really want to use someone just to feel better about yourself (peace!). It’s tempting to take advantage of someone when you’re lonely and they’re paying so much attention to you, but you’re really not into them. Don’t do it. It’s. Not. Fair.