Tag Archives: online dating

Yet Another Book Rewrite (or Letting My Blog Posts Inspire Me)

I’ve written several times about the book I’ve been working on about online dating. I’ve also written about how I’ve worked on different versions because I wasn’t sure if what I had previously done was right.  I started with the book in 3 sections: guys I’ve gone out with that were decent people, guys that were horrible people whether or not I met them in real life, and the cheaters I caught. Then I decided I wanted to change that up and write the book chronologically because some of the stories only made sense when it was put into the proper timeline. I’ve been going back and forth on those two versions for a while and I never was 100% sure it was right.

I was so conflicted on which version I wanted that I had to stop working on it for a bit. Then I was inspired to work on a novel inspired by online dating (but it would be a work of fiction). I haven’t done much with the novel except doing a brief outline of what the plot points would be along with a few style ideas which are needed because of the idea I have with that book. I’m not feeling a huge push to work on it and I think I’ll probably use it for NaNoWriMo this year. I think working on a piece of fiction would be easier than something that is about my real life because I don’t have to wait to figure out what will happen next. I can make it up and I don’t have to depend on having more dates.

And I think waiting is one of the reasons I’ve been struggling with my original online dating book. I have said since I started it that I didn’t know how it would end. I would love it to end with the story of the guy I end up with, but I have no idea when that will happen and I don’t love the idea that the story needs to end like that. Not everything has to end with a happy ending and I want it to accurately represent where I am in life. Maybe when I finally finish it I will be with my forever person, but if I’m not I don’t want to feel like things are incomplete.

I stopped working on that book a little while ago although I have been adding notes about stories I wanted to include. But I haven’t felt the motivation to work because of the fear that until I know the ending that I can’t work on it. But I have inspired a little bit ago about yet another version of what this book could be and it finally doesn’t seem to require a real ending. And the inspiration kind of came from the blog posts I write about online dating.

Sometimes I do write general online dating posts on here and funny stories. But I also write about lessons that I’ve learned from the various dates and experiences I’ve had. And while I feel like the crazy stories are fun and entertaining, the lessons I’ve learned are probably so much more important. I’ve discovered so much about myself through these dating experiences. I’ve learned what I want, what I’m willing to tolerate, what I deserve, and what I believe. I know that dating isn’t always like this for people, but for me it really has been a journey in self-discovery. Even in the moments of pain and when someone breaks my heart, I am able to learn something from that experience and I want to believe that I am a better person because of those lessons.

Not every guy I was writing about in previous versions of my book are life lessons, but many of them are. Some of the guys can be grouped into one lesson and some guys have multiple lessons. But I feel like there is a great way to organize these lessons where it doesn’t require a specific pattern or even a conclusion. They can just be a collection of stories and what I learned about myself and it doesn’t need me to have a story that is about how I fell in love, got married, and had my happily ever after. It would be great to have that story, but that’s not what I feel this book needs to be about. It’s not about how I met my perfect guy, it’s about my experience dating. And having it about the lessons allows me to focus on that instead of the overall journey.

I’ve only started working on this new version, so I don’t have much done. But just getting the lessons down and connecting which guys represent which story has given me a lot of clarity about what this book could be. And I have shared the idea with a few friends and I think they agree that this is a better idea if I want to possibly publish the book. The funny and crazy stories might only connect with people who know me in real life. But life lessons should be able to connect with those outside my social circle and might be something that others would be interested in reading.

I know I have written before how I feel like I finally found what this book should be and I keep changing it. But I do feel like this is a bit different. I almost have a sense of relief and peace with the idea and feel less pressure that I don’t have to rely on what dates may happen in the future to figure out if the book is done. And even if I change things up again and decide that this is not the right version, I think this will actually benefit me quite a bit. There are still some situations I’ve been in where I haven’t figured out the lesson just yet. This will force me to look at what happened and try to see what I can learn. And those new lessons will just keep helping me become the best version of myself.

Hopefully one day this book is done and I can share it with the world. I know my dating experience isn’t necessarily the most unique, but there are people who haven’t gone through what I have gone through and I’d love to be able to share what I have learned and what I know with them.

Another Dating App Ban (or This Is What Makes Me Over Things)

Pretty much since I started online dating again, I’ve had friends ask me if I was sick of it or over the dating app thing. When I started, I answer was honestly that I was not because it was still all exciting and new to me. I hadn’t used dating apps in a while before starting up about 2 years ago and apps were very different from what I experienced before.

As time went on, the same questions came up and I was still not really over it. I had some pretty negative experiences but the positive ones still outweighed them. I wasn’t even getting frustrated with being ghosted because I think the novelty of everything was still there. Once I started working on my book, I think that helped me stay in that same mindset. All the moments that probably would have made someone else want to delete their apps became awesome stories for my book. I think having that book in mind really has helped me keep my sanity in what should be an overwhelming and potentially negative situation.

There have been plenty of things that have made me very angry with online dating. But I’ve realized most of them were situations I had happen multiple times and the first few times they were funny. The more often they happened the more annoying they became. And I experienced one of those this past weekend.

I was going on Tinder to go through my matches and message some of the guys I had been texting with. I was trying to make plans to meet for coffee with a guy so I wanted to get things planned out and ready for that evening. But when I went to the app, I got this screen.

This isn’t the first time I have been banned from Tinder. It happened after I called out a married guy on there a while ago. I know that he had to have reported me for something because right after I mentioned him being married I got banned. I’m guessing he reported me for harassment or something and then I got banned. I did some research into how to get banned and multiple guys have to report you. So maybe all the married guys I called out reported me or maybe random guys randomly reported me because they didn’t like what I was saying. It made me wonder if Tinder actually reviews these reports or not because I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

When it happened before, I immediately reached out to Tinder for an answer and all they would tell me is that I violated the terms of the app. I read those terms multiple times and I still have no clue what I did wrong. But there was no fighting it because they refused to help me. I did open a new account so I could get back online, but I lost all the matches I had on that first account.

When this happened again, it was a complete shock. The only messages I had been sending were to find out what part of LA guys lived in or to find out their schedule. There was definitely nothing I did in a message that was against the rules. I had also recently had a date with a guy that I didn’t want to see again, but nothing was said in the app or in person that would have been something I could get banned for. Tinder has not been responding to my messages trying to find out what happened and it’s so frustrating.

Having something happen like this has made me feel more over online dating than anything else. I had been putting in work to try to meet guys on the app and it was taken away with no explanation and no way to reach out to guys I was speaking to. It’s so frustrating that if I was to go back onto Tinder that I would be starting over again. I know a fresh start can be a good thing, but not when you didn’t want to have one. I felt like I had been making progress and now I’m back to the beginning.

I still have other apps that I’m on so I’m not leaving online dating, but it has made me wonder how much longer I could do this if there is a risk of this happening again. Fortunately with the apps I’m still using I know the employees review any reports and I know I’m not breaking any rules. So if guys were falsely reporting me for something, hopefully my profile wouldn’t be removed. And I am still having fun dating and I don’t know of ways to meet guys in person so I am motivated to keep going. But having a moment like this is a reminder of the fine line I’m balancing between having fun on the apps and being over them.

The Power Of My Voice (or Even More Closure)

A month ago, I wrote about how almost every month I learn something new about myself through my adventures in dating. And of course, I’ve learned another thing recently. And it is actually something I learned through the same guy I was writing about before. He is someone I was seeing on and off for a while but he is now engaged. He has continued to message me saying how he was confused and wanted to talk. While I felt like I had the closure I needed, I also couldn’t deny him the same. I know I don’t owe anything to anyone, but I can’t help it.

When we saw each other, he panicked and freaked out. He said he wanted to leave and while I didn’t want to hold him hostage I also didn’t want to lose this chance. I don’t plan on seeing him again because I have moved on and don’t care what he does with his life. He is the one who is still confused. It’s unfortunate since he is the one getting married soon, but I can’t control what he wants to do with his life. If he feels like he needs or wants to get married but is still confused about it, that’s on him. And I wanted to finally have the talk in person that we have been avoiding for a while.

He didn’t do much talking, but I did. Most of the things I said to him were things I have said to him over text. It was mainly about how he hurt me and how I have had to move on. I mentioned how I couldn’t forget what he did and how he was a coward in failing to be honest to me. I wasn’t trying to be mean or harsh, just truthful in what I felt and thought. I know it wasn’t nice and he didn’t like hearing what I had to say, but if he wasn’t going to talk about what he wanted to talk about I was going to talk about what I wanted to say.

He eventually left without saying much more than that he was sorry and that he couldn’t talk. He left very shook up by what I was saying and it surprised me to see that. I wasn’t saying things he didn’t know already. But I realized that every time he heard that from me in the past it was over text. Since he previously knew me as sweet and gentle (how I normally am in real life), maybe he was reading those messages from me with that same vibe. But hearing me say it and how strong I was being probably made him realize I wasn’t kidding before. Hearing the words come out of me most likely hit him in a different way than he had experienced before.

So much of our communication these days is over text. Not just with dating, but with work and personal stuff too. Even with my day job, I get more customers using our online chat system than phone calls. Texts are so much easier to do sometimes and they allow people to multi-task. But it also can lead to confusion since there is a lack of tone over text. While I feel like missing the tone usually leads to a text sounding worse than it really is, in this case with this guy it seems like it made it seem better. My feelings and thoughts were probably not taken seriously because my tone was missing. At least now I know that he knows exactly what I meant and if he is still confused that is completely on him. I cannot force him to be clear in what he wants, all I can do is make sure that I make myself clear. And that’s what I did.

Since meeting up with that guy, I have been more aware of when I send a text instead of calling or saying something in person. I know that not everyone likes to talk on the phone, but I can at least make an effort if I feel like something would be better over the phone. And some people will answer or will text if they can’t talk asking if they can call back later. I’m being extra cautious about what I text to someone and am going that extra step to call when I’m not totally sure if my tone would come across. It might be a silly thing, but realizing how little someone understood what I meant over text has made me so aware of making sure that it doesn’t happen again. It’s not about things as seriously as they were with this guy, but I’m still glad when I feel like someone knows what I’m saying and what I feel about it.

Obviously I will still do a ton of texting since that is much easier than calling and a lot of things can be said over text with no issues. But realizing the power of my voice with this one guy made me realize that I don’t appreciate that power enough and I should use it more often.

Being Hurt And Finding Closure (or Still Finding Out More About Myself Through Dating)

I feel like every month I write a post about things that I’ve learned through dating. I still find it crazy that I have learned so much about myself through how I am treated in the dating world. While I don’t use that to determine things about myself, it shows me things about myself that I might not have realized. And this just keeps happening over and over again.

I think part of why this is happening so often is because I am dating so often. When I was in my 20’s, I rarely dated. I wasn’t active on apps and I think I was probably being too picky. I would refuse a second date if I couldn’t see things going far. Now, while I’m still picky I’m also more open-minded. I will give a guy a second chance if I wasn’t sure about them. I’ve been open to meeting guys that I am not totally sure about and I’m not putting as much pressure on myself about dating as I did before.

My goal is still to find someone who I want to build a life with, but I also know that I might not know from the first date if someone has that potential. There are guys I met that I had pretty mediocre first dates with that ended up being really great guys. Sometimes there are just nerves or other factors that make the first date not the most accurate way to judge someone.

And yes, I’m having fun. I still have bad dates, but I find positives out of those dates. I would say a majority of the time I do have fun even if the particular date or guy isn’t fun.

But I have also made myself vulnerable to being hurt and have had to experience that a few times. Being hurt is not fun and I am working on figuring how to handle it better each time that it happens. I’m getting much better at dealing with being ghosted. I still hate it and think it’s so immature when guys can’t just say they don’t want to see you again, but I also realize that their decision to ghost has very little to do with me.

I’ve also had to deal with someone who hurt me much more than just ghosting me coming back into my life through texting. I am not dating them again nor do I plan to. He is engaged and has been reaching out to me to talk about some things. He has said he misses me and is confused, but that is his problem and not mine. While I do respond to his messages with honest answers, I do not reach out to him or start conversations with him. I keep telling him that he needs to discuss these issues with his fiancée and not me. He has brought up a lot of things from our past and we had some very intense texting discussion. But it has helped me find some closure.

When things ended between me and this guy, I was blindsided and couldn’t understand why. I still don’t understand a lot of what happened, but I have learned that because I didn’t give this guy an ultimatum about what we were he didn’t think I wanted to keep dating. Yes, I probably could have been more forceful about what I want, but I shouldn’t have to do that. If that is what this guy needed from me, I clearly am not the right girl for him.

In that same discussion with this guy, I came to another realization. I never thought much about the idea of need vs want for dating. But I realized this guy wants to be with someone who needs him (or at least acts like they need him). He wants someone who will be grateful for every little thing they do and he wants to feel like their life wouldn’t be what it is without him. But to me, I think wanting someone is so much stronger than needing someone. I will never need a guy to be a complete person. I want to find someone who adds to my life. I want to find someone who I want to create a life with. I want to find someone who makes my life better, but doesn’t make my life happen. If a guy is looking for a girl who needs them, then they aren’t the guy for me.

Coming to the realization of need vs want was a big one for me. After this guy told me he never knew I wanted to keep seeing him, I started to wonder what would have happened if I had been more upfront and forceful about things. Now I know that there is no way things would have worked out for us. This gave me so much closure. There is no question in my head that he was never the guy for me. Maybe if we kept seeing each other we would have dated for a while, but there is no way that we would have ended up together. I can never be the type of girl who will act like she needs someone.

I understand that never being someone who will act like they need another person might limit the guys who are interested in me. But I’m ok with that. I do not want to have to put on an act to make someone else happy. I was raised to be strong and independent. I think those are good qualities to have. And I don’t think I need to make myself less of a strong or independent person to find someone. I will find someone who loves those qualities in me and will appreciate it.

And the idea of need vs want goes both ways. I do not want to meet a guy who acts like he needs me. I want someone to want me. I want someone who also is independent and has their own life as well. I do not want my life to be all about another person nor do I want their life to be all about me.

While I will probably never be happy that this guy hurt me the way that he did, I do have to be a bit grateful for everything that happened. I still wish it ended a different way because there was no need for it to end as negatively as it did. But I also don’t know if I would have still discovered the same things about myself if it ended better. And now that I understand what type of relationship I truly want or could provide to someone else, I feel like I can put some focus on that idea. I don’t know how to put that into action just yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Still Finding New Life Lessons With Dating (or Some Skills I’m Proud Of And Some I’m Not Sure About)

It still surprises me that I’m learning new things all the time with all the adventures I have with dating. I would love to be done learning, but even if I found the person I wanted to spend my life with I feel like I would still learn new things about myself. But with dating, I seem to find new life lessons in the uncomfortable parts of life and that’s probably a good thing for me. I had 2 realizations over the past few days about dating that could potentially be beneficial for me in life.

The first one is one that I knew I needed to learn and that was how to get over feeling heartbroken or betrayed. I’ve talked about this before and said how I wished that dating rejection felt like the rejections I get with acting. For some reason, I can get over not booking a job pretty easily but I can’t get over being rejected or ghosted the same way. I never would want to learn how to get over feeling so upset over something ending or not happening, it is something I need to learn how to do.

I feel like there is only one person who has gotten close to breaking my heart. They took advantage of my openness and betrayed me and I didn’t think I would ever give them a second chance. But I did and they hurt me even more than they did the first time. I know that his rejection had very little to do with me and was a lot about issues he has, but it still brought up feelings that I don’t deal with well. While I know I am worthy of being loved, having someone close to me tell me otherwise while I was growing up is stuck in my head. And when I was rejected I immediately went to the thought that I was stupid for thinking I deserved to be treated the way I wanted. I know I didn’t deserve what I got, but it’s hard to remember that sometimes.

I shared my feelings in a dating Facebook group that I’m in and I am so grateful for the women in that group because they really helped me work out some things. And they also had amazing advice. A few people recommended the Mend app, and I decided to download it and give it a chance.

While Mend is meant for getting over a breakup, it really helped me a lot with my feelings of being betrayed. And one of the things a friend helped me realize was that my feelings also had a lot to do with me having to accept that I will not have the answers I want. And Mend went into this idea a lot too! I only did the free 7 days, but I’m debating about trying it longer because it really got me into a better mindset about rejection with dating.

And I got to experience this new mindset this past weekend when I had a second date with someone. He and I seemed to really connect and get along and things were going well. But then it was like there was a switch that went off and he immediately said he had to leave. I don’t know what happened (and I have gone over things in my head a few times to see if I can think of something), but whatever happened was something that clearly made him want to end the date. He said it had nothing to do with me, but I really don’t think I’ll be hearing from him again. I did text him since that date, but I’ve heard nothing. I’m pretty sure I’m about to be ghosted.

I hate being ghosted because if I’m not interested in seeing someone again I will tell them and not leave them wondering. But I know that not everyone is willing to be honest about that. Being ghosted sucks and there have been other guys I’ve gone out with a few times that have ghosted me and really hurt me. But this time, I don’t care as much as I did before. If he’s going to ghost me, there’s not reason I should worry about it because I don’t want to date someone who would treat anyone that way. It’s so weird to not be worried about if he will text me again or not, but I also love it since this is what I’ve wanted to figure out for so long!

While dealing with being hurt and rejected is a really good life skill to have, this other thing I figured out this weekend isn’t necessarily as good. When I started dating again a few years ago, I tolerated some really horrible dates. I didn’t want to be rude and leave a date that I was not enjoying so I suffered through them. I always want to be polite and staying through a bad date seemed like the polite thing to do.

I’ve been getting better at leaving dates that I’m not enjoying, but it’s usually because I find a good way to have an out. Either the guy will say something that is really offensive and I feel like I can walk out or I can have a reasonable excuse to leave. I know that I don’t need an excuse and I should be able to just walk out, but I haven’t gotten to that point yet.

But I did have another date recently that I was able to leave quickly even without a good excuse. I wasn’t totally sure I wanted to meet this guy, but I decided to go for it because some people just aren’t good over text. And when we met up, I immediately knew that my gut was right and this date was a waste of time. Fortunately, I usually plan first dates to be something I can easily escape like getting coffee or a drink (even though I don’t drink caffeine or alcohol). This time, I was supposed to meet him for a drink, but it was so crowded that we went for a walk instead.

We only walked about 2 blocks and it felt like miles. The date was horrible, the conversation was going nowhere, and I was just wanting to go home. When we walked past where I parked my car, I told him that my car was parked in that lot and that I needed to head home. I think he wasn’t really enjoying the date either so I didn’t have to give him an excuse, but if I needed to I would have just said I wasn’t feeling chemistry. The date only lasted 10 minutes and I was so grateful to be out of there.

I don’t know if getting out of bad dates is necessarily a good life skill, but I can see how it could be. By trying to always be polite, I’ve put myself in situations that I wanted to get out of and felt stuck in. I need to learn to stand up for myself and not be afraid to be a bit rude if I know I need to leave. It’s still a fine line between being willing to be rude to leave and learning to tolerate things I have to, but I’m getting better at finding that line.

I am glad I have gotten better at dealing with rejection since that is something that I have wanted to work on for so long. I know that I will still struggle with it from time to time, but I am happy I have a resource I know I can turn to when I need help. And if I do continue to use Mend, perhaps I will continue to build that skill set so the next time I’m rejected I will hear those ideas louder than the voice in my head telling me I don’t deserve love or respect.

Reaching A New Audience (or Laughing At My Dating Adventures)

I’ve shared a bit about my online dating adventures on here in the past. I’ve also shared about how I am working on a book about dating and the stories that I have. I love sharing my stories because most of them are so ridiculous that I want other people to get some entertainment out of it. Or some are lessons that I’ve learned that I want to share so others don’t have to go through the same things that I have. I’ve been very open about dating and I hope that the people who read my posts about it are enjoying them.

Whether or not they are enjoying them, I know my friends see that I post about dating. So when a friend of mine saw that his friends were starting a new podcast about dating and they were looking for guests with fun stories, my friend told me about it immediately. I messaged the hosts and gave them a few different stories of things that have happened and they loved them! They asked me for my availability and I was able to record 2 episodes of their podcast this past weekend.

I don’t have a ton of information about the podcast as it hasn’t launched yet, but I promise to share it when I have it. But it is a podcast that is all about dating and the situations that people find themselves in. Each episode is about a general topic but someone might have multiple stories about that topic to share. The 2 episodes that I recorded were about cheaters and nude photos or other over the top sexual messages that I get.

I was very happy to share my stories about both topics. I was especially excited to share my stories about cheaters because they are some of my funniest stories. It’s been very easy to find out if a guy isn’t single based on information they post on their profiles. I usually can figure it out with a very quick search. The last cheater I caught didn’t have a ton of information about him in his profile, but based on his name and employer I found his employer’s Instagram account and their most recent picture was of him and his fiancé congratulating them on their engagement. Of course I called him out on it and he immediately blocked me. I have no problem with calling out guys because they should know that we are going to find out they are cheating and that it might come back to their significant other.

I also wanted to share how I used to not want to look guys up online before going out with them because I didn’t want to have to act like I didn’t know anything about them. But I learned that it was in my best interest to look them up to see if they were not single (or lying about who they are) and there is a way to do it without learning too much about them. I know other friends who have struggled with the idea of Googling a guy before a date, but I think there is a middle ground between not looking them up and stalking them online. And that middle ground allows you to confirm they are who they have told you they are.

Sharing those stories was so fun and the hosts were pretty entertained by the cheaters I’ve caught and how some guys really don’t think they are doing anything wrong. And they also had their own stories to share which I loved hearing about.

The second episode I recorded that day was about the things that guys send to me that are no necessarily appropriate. It’s shocking what some guys will send thinking that it will intrigue you and not disgust you. I don’t think there is any reason to send someone an unsolicited nude photo, and many of these guys send photos that include their face. I would never share a photo that someone sent to me, but I wonder if there are people out there who would use that photo to try to harm or blackmail them. One guy who sent a photo to me that included his face is a teacher, and I know that if someone shared that photo it could ruin his career. I’m always surprised when I get a message like that, but I guess these guys have either found one woman who it worked on or it’s never worked but they are hoping their luck with change.

And just like with the cheating stories, the hosts had a few stories to share about weird messages too. Neither of them have stories as crazy as mine, but I don’t think either of them have been doing online dating as long as I have (and for the male host, I really doubt most women send nude photos as an opening line). We tried to be sensitive and not shaming to the guys who write some of the creepy things to me, but at the same time we just couldn’t get over some of the messages I get and how creeped out we were.

I’ve only done a few podcast interviews, and with every one I feel like I talk too much. I felt the same way with these interviews, but I also knew I had so much more I could have said. I tried to write some notes before I went to the interview so I wouldn’t forget any stories and I didn’t get to share them all. But I think I might be asked back to the podcast to share stories about another topic and I would love to get to do that.

I’ve had some friends ask me how I don’t get annoyed or pessimistic about dating because I’ve had so many bad and weird stories to share. I think what keeps me sane and encourages me to keep going is having outlets to share the stories on. I love sharing them on here and writing the stories for my book. And now I’ve had the chance to share them with a new audience in a new format and I can’t wait to be able to share the links to the episodes when they are live!

Thinking About My Relationships (or Starting My 2018 Reflection)

As I mentioned yesterday in my post, I spent time on Christmas being alone and reflecting on some things. I think reflecting back on the year that was is a pretty common thing to do and I’ve been doing it more and more each year. I think having posts on here regarding goals and monthly challenges has helped me think more about what happened over the past 12 months. And I usually can put things into a single post when reflecting back. But I feel like this year had too much and I wanted to split things up. So over the next few posts, I will be doing reflections of the year that was and goal setting for the year coming up. And I’m starting with the relationships I had this year.

I know many people think of relationships as romantic and dating ones. That wasn’t what came to my mind originally, but it is a part of what happened. And since it is the smaller portion of the relationships I wanted to reflect on, I’m going to start with those.

I continued my crazy journey of online dating this year. I would have loved to have ended this journey during the year, but that wasn’t the case for me. Fortunately, even though I had a ton of bad dates, they were bad dates that were funny. I left so many dates filled with stories to tell my friends about how bad the date was, but I was telling them with a smile on my face. I also learned to be a bit pickier about who I met in person and how to stand up for myself better so I think that the idiots and creeps I encountered online were easier to deal with. I didn’t hesitate to end a conversation that made me second guess things even if it was going fine before that moment. I also set the new rule/restriction that I didn’t give out my phone number until I met someone in person. Somehow that seemed to help me filter out guys I met and I didn’t have to worry about the scammers getting my number.

But while most of the relationships I had with guys this year weren’t bad, there were some situations that hurt me. I felt betrayed by some guys and that’s not easy to get over. I tried to think about how I didn’t do anything wrong and it didn’t really have to do with me, but that’s not the easiest thing to keep in mind. But as the year went on I got better about dealing with it and it is hurting a bit less each time I feel hurt or blindsided. I don’t necessarily want that feeling to go away completely since I do want to still keep my heart open to the possibility of meeting someone amazing. And when your heart is open you are at risk for feeling hurt.

I’m still staying as active as I can with online dating and trying to be more thoughtful about staying active and trying to get beyond messaging on the app and going out for a drink or something with the guys I meet on there. And while that didn’t result in me meeting anyone incredible this past year, I am trying to stay optimistic that doing it again for the coming year will bring better results.

While finding a romantic relationship is important to me, while reflecting back on the year I realized that I had the biggest and best gains in my relationships with my friends. I thought from time to time that I might be a bad friend and I let some friendships drop for one reason or another. But when I thought about it more over the past few days, I discovered that while I might have turned some friends into acquaintances the friendships I kept grew so much stronger.

Building and strengthening friendships can come out of the good times, but I had so much growth out of the more difficult times. When my friend told me he wanted to kill himself and I was able to convince him on the phone to go to a hospital, I had to be ok with the idea that my friend might want to end his friendship with me. I am so grateful that not only did they want to stay friends but I feel like our friendship has grown quite a bit. We have been able to be more open and honest with each other and that is incredible. I was worried about telling my friend things in our friendship that were hard on me, but they listened to me and we were able to fix things and make our friendship even more mutually beneficial than it ever has been.

I’ve had multiple friends go through the end of romantic relationships this year and their breakups weirdly brought us closer. I think when they thought about having to date again, they came to me asking for my advice and stories about online dating. I don’t want to scare anyone off, but I was honest and shared my tips and how I stay safe. And putting that honesty out there helped to make my friendships with those people more honest in other ways too.

But of course, I was also able to build my friendships from fun things that I do in my life too. Even just going to a movie with a friend gives time for us to talk one to one without the distractions of other people trying to get our attention. Having those 15-20 minutes before a movies starts can be better than 3-4 hours at a party where there are so many other people. I’ve been trying to be better about doing fun things with other people instead of just going alone so I have those chances to talk to someone and have a real catching up talk.

I thought this past year was really a year of me being selfish. There were several monthly challenges that were all about me and putting myself first and I thought that meant some of my relationships would not be able to grow. It was such a nice surprise for me when I was reflecting back and realized that I was wrong with that assumption and that I really did have growth with my friends over the past year.

Yet Another Life Lesson From Dating (or Finding Power When Not In Control)

I don’t know why I’m learning so many life lessons from dating. Maybe it’s because that’s the main thing in my life that hasn’t been a part of it for as long so I’m discovering new things all the time. Maybe it’s because that’s the place I’m out of my comfort zone the most and that is pushing me to change and set my standards. Or maybe it’s just random and doesn’t mean anything. Whatever it is, I just keep learning more as I date. I am ready to find someone amazing and not keep learning from dating, but that’s not what seems to be in the cards for me right now.

Every so often, I feel like guys from my past come back into my life for some reason. These always happen in groups so when one guy from my past comes back into my life, I know it’s just a matter of time before another one comes along. And that has happened in the past week for me. One guy is just someone I lost contact with and it was nice to reconnect with him. Our communication was always through the app and when my account got banned I lost my conversation with him. So when we rematched and were able to start talking again, it was nice. Hopefully I’ll get to see him again soon and see if we still have fun.

The other guy is a guy that I didn’t have as nice of an ending with. I’m not going to go into specifics with it because it doesn’t matter, but we ended on a bad note and I figured I would never hear from him again nor did I want to. But he reached out to me, we talked a bit, and I don’t have as many negative feelings toward him. But he is seeing someone else right now and I am not going to be the other woman or someone he sees on the side. I understand that when you date someone, if you haven’t said you were exclusive that you should assume you aren’t the only person they are seeing. But if you have an understanding that you are exclusive with someone, seeing someone else is cheating.

I told him that I am not willing to be a secret or someone he cheats with. If he wants to go out with me again, then the person he is seeing now needs to know that they aren’t exclusive. My understanding is that she believes that they are, so he would need to have a real conversation about how he wants to be able to see other people. I don’t necessarily want to be with someone who is serious with someone else, even if they have an open relationship. But if he wants to try seeing me again to see if we could be together again, the only way to do that is if all parties involved know that they aren’t exclusive.

I let him know this and told him it is his choice. If he wants to see me again, he knows what I require. If he doesn’t want to have to have that talk, then he and I won’t see each other again. If he doesn’t want to have the talk but still wants to see me, it’s too bad. I’m not willing to do that. I guess it’s kind of an ultimatum, but I really didn’t see it that way. I saw it as setting my standards and letting him decide what he wants to do.

I was sharing this story with a friend of mine after I told this guy what options he had, and I was having a bit of a tough time explaining why I felt so powerful in what I did. I have no clue what the next step will be as the guy has to make the next choice. But I feel completely in control and have no regrets. My friend and I were talking around the idea and I was just trying to find the words to express what I was feeling.

The idea of “the ball is in his court” kept coming to my mind, but that didn’t seem right. That makes it feel like he has the power and the choice of what is next and that was not how I felt. So I came up with the idea of “the ball is in his court, but I was the one who served it to him there”. That felt perfect to me. Yes, he has the choice in what he wants to do next. But I am the one who presented the choices to him and there is no other option than those. If he doesn’t want to pick one, then we won’t see each other and that is fine with me. I am not going to go against my standards and I feel very secure and comfortable in that idea.

So many things were so clear to me once I came up with that idea. Even when I am not the one deciding the next step, that doesn’t mean I have to be powerless or helpless. I have ways to find power even in situations that I don’t completely control. After that idea was said out loud to my friend, a huge weight felt like it was lifted off of me. I don’t care as much about what this guy will decide next anymore. While it would be nice to see him again and see what we could be, I don’t want to see him if it isn’t in a situation I’m comfortable with.

I don’t know how I can apply this new mindset to other things in my life, but I want to figure it out. I know that rethinking when I have power and control is important and can be used in so many other situations I find myself in. I guess I just have to naturally let those situations find me and remember this idea so I can apply it in the moment.

NaNoWriMo Take 2 (or Still Working On The Same Book)

It’s November and just like last year I’m going to participate in National Novel Writing Month! Last year was the first year I did it and I used the month to work on my book on online dating. It was a great way for me to work on a project that seemed so overwhelming and scary. There is a goal to write a certain number of words over the course of the month, but I knew that I didn’t want to hold myself to that because this book is an ever-changing thing.

I got a lot done last year during NaNoWriMo and continued to work on my book every so often since then. I do try to add stories or at least notes after I have a date that I know needs to be in the book. I haven’t been working on it as seriously as I probably should have, but I also don’t feel a rush to finish it. I still wonder what the end or lesson of the book should be. I know it doesn’t need to end in something significant, but until I feel like I know what I want the reading to think at the end of the book I don’t know if it will ever be done.

Even though I haven’t been working on it that much, I know that I probably should have done more since many of my dates over the past 6 months haven’t really been written about beyond the notes I made. And for what feels like the millionth time, I have changed what I want the book to be like. I have gone back to my original plan to have each story a standalone story and to split the book up into good dates, bad dates (or just horrible guys online), and the cheaters I have encountered. I feel like it is a good way to organize things and makes the book more of a collection of stories versus something that needs a clear beginning, middle, and end.

I don’t know if NaNoWriMo is supposed to be for working on the same book year after year, but that’s what I’m using it for. When you sign up for the challenge each year, you are supposed to announce the book you are working on. I didn’t see an option to say that you are still working on the same book from the year before, so I named my book something that represents what’s happening for me.

I’m not planning on doing the different events that are happening during this month, so I’m not too concerned about if I am supposed to be working on the same book. And when I registered this year and it asked me to update my word count, I did put down how many words the book currently is at. So I look much more accomplished than I really am. But I am using this month as a tracking device for me. I love the idea of working with others to accomplish a goal, but I don’t think doing different challenges or trying to win swag for various reasons is right for me with what I’m trying to do. If I had a novel that I had an outline and grand idea for, maybe it would be different. But since this is the story of something that is currently happening to me, it’s not really fitting into getting it all done this month.

But even though my goals aren’t to challenge other people or to hit certain word counts, I do still have goals for this month. I do want to finish the stories of the guys I have gone out with that I know I will not be seeing again. Most of those are guys I went out with once or twice and I have no plans to communicate with them again. But there are still some stories that have not ended because things are still happening or changing, so with those stories I can’t really finish them. But I can make sure that those stories are as up to date as possible. I know that as things continue to change that I might have to edit my story, but I’d rather edit a story than have to write it all just because things aren’t over. And those changing stories are really just a small percentage. There are maybe 4 or 5 that I don’t think are totally over (not all of them are guys I’m still seeing, but their stories haven’t ended), and I have dozens of stories that are over. So those few can’t be an excuse for me to not work on the others.

I think the first time I did NaNoWriMo, I had much higher hopes for what I would be able to accomplish based on what other friends have done. But I’ve learned that my story isn’t the same as everyone else’s and I can’t stress to hit the targets that others are doing. I just need to be as consistent as possible and know that I am making progress. And maybe during this month I will find something out that makes me realize I have a way to end my story, but that’s not what I’m expecting to happen. But it would be nice to feel like this story is done and I can finish it.

But as long as I go out with guys that end up being super ridiculous stories, I’m going to write about them. Even if I never do anything with this book, I want to have these stories written down and saved. I might use them for a laugh in the future or inspiration for a script or another project. But I still think that one day turning this journey into a book would be a really fun thing to do and I’m keeping an open mind about it all!

Staying Strong And Having Standards (or Still Learning From Dating)

So many of the changes I’ve made in my life over the past few years seem to come from things I’ve dealt with in online dating. I’ve questioned if it’s a good thing that I’m discovering so much about myself through dating and how men see me, but I’m starting to think it’s a good thing. This isn’t just about dating, but dating makes it a different environment. I’ve always been a people pleaser, but I’ve notice that this can also allow for people to walk over me. And this wasn’t as clear to me before as it has become after a guy treated me that way. So I’m just thinking that dating has given me a new perspective to view behaviors in my life and how I react to them.

I do still have things to work on and those issues are much clearer to me now, but I feel like I have become a much more confident person recently once I stopped worrying as much about what men think of me. I’ve allowed myself to be rude when it was warranted. I never would have done that before because I didn’t want someone to think I wasn’t kind or nice. But there are times where it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks because you need to do what is going to give you the answers or life you need. I still won’t be mean out of nowhere and I do hesitate to reject a guy when I’m questioning some things. I will always err on the side of being nice, but when I need to stand up for myself I will do so.

I’ve had a few chances to do that this past week, both with guys that I had gone out with about a year ago. It’s weird how guys from my past seem to reach out around the same time, but it has happened that way more than once. With these guys, things ended for different reasons so while my feelings about them were both something I questioned I still had different feelings.

For one guy, it didn’t end that well. It doesn’t matter why it ended, but it was something that made me mad and I held on to that feeling longer than I should have. He reached out to me to say how he missed me and wanted to see me again. And I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I was willing to see him even though he didn’t treat me that well before. But of course, even before I could see him he ended up treating me with the same lack of respect that he had before. I did allow it last year and I guess he thought he could still treat me the same way. But I called him out on the behavior and I didn’t see him. If he reaches out to me again, I would love to say I would ignore him but I honestly don’t know. It seems like some people are harder to kick out of your life than others.

The second guy was someone who I went out with a few times. Things ended because we were in different places in our lives. He had a bit of an issue with follow through when making plans, which annoyed me, but nothing was that bad. It ended, but it didn’t feel like it was for any reason other than I didn’t want to waste my time if I wasn’t feeling totally certain about him. And with that feeling, someone could change my mind because the things that didn’t work are things that could easily be fixed.

With this guy, I was very clear about my stance on what I am looking for and that if he didn’t want the same I didn’t want to waste time. He said he wanted the same and we made plans to see each other. And based on all my past experience I shouldn’t have been surprised when again he lacked the follow through for making plans. And I’m more than happy to call him out on it if he reaches out again. If someone wants to date me, they have to make plans and do those. Or if they need to reschedule they need to let me know. They can’t just say that we will be seeing each other after work on a certain day and then never make plans even after I text to ask what we are doing. This is something that can be changed, but I also know that I can’t go into something wanting someone to change. They need to want the change for themselves.

In the past, I would be terrified to let either of these guys out of my life or to stand strong on what I want and what I deserve. I would have felt lucky that anyone was interested in me and would be doing whatever it takes to not be too much work for them to want to be with. I would not allow myself to have my own standards and conform to theirs because I wouldn’t feel like I had the right to want something different. This has been a very tough thing for me to overcome because I had heard that I didn’t deserve it for so many years. But I’m so glad that the automatic thinking that was in my head for a majority of my life is starting to chip away.

I have no clue if I will give either of these guys another chance, but I know for sure that if I do allow them one I will continue to be strong in what I want and deserve.