*Warning: adult language ahead
My last serious relationship was almost six years ago.
I spent the majority of my 20s with a man who, from the moment we met, had claimed my heart.
It was ecstasy. I offered my heart and he smiled as he took it in his hands. His eyes said, “I like this heart. I’ll love and cherish this heart.” That fairytale didn’t find its happily ever after, but it found something greater.
When it ended and we finally put our egos and the pain that comes with an ending aside, it developed and grew into a bond that ties us like family. Our souls are forever intertwined and there is never a question of how fluid our love is. I was his “Fuck Yes!” woman.
These last six years, I have played the dating game.
At times I have been front and centre, giving it my proverbial all. At other times, I have been nursing a scraped knee on the bench, wondering if the game will ever end. Most of my encounters have been superficial at best but some have knocked the wind right out of my chest. I can’t deny that I have met some pretty phenomenal men.
There was the guy who sat with me in the sun for five solid hours till our throats burnt from conversation and dehydration. There was the guy who dared me to streak down the beach at night with him. There was the guy who took me to a trampoline park and did a back flip with so much enthusiasm he sprained his ankle, and we spent the rest of our date getting it checked by the professionals. There was the guy who watched “The Little Mermaid” with me, right to the end, because he knew it was one of my favourites. He even sang some of “Part of your World.”
Sadly, the common factor of all of my dating experiences is that I am almost always, the “Fuck No!” woman. It took longer for me to figure this out in some situations than in others. I sat down in the grey areas and analysed almost everything.
He clearly enjoyed my company but he said he’s not ready for a relationship? He messages me all the time but he just wants to see where this goes? My personal favourite: let’s just have fun! None of these men had smiled and taken my heart in their hands when I offered it.
I developed the dreaded and often quite ugly “jaded single woman” mindset. I blamed their gender and soothed my ego. Just like a man to do this! You would be surprised at how often I have had this conversation with other single women I know, ad nauseam. It doesn’t come from a place of authenticity. It comes solely from the ego and its bruises.
This began to eat at my faith. I am love’s cheerleader. I am her groupie, her biggest fan and here I found myself wondering if love was dead. That is a dramatic statement, but once that mindset takes hold it leads to so many moments of deep frustration and self-berating.
It took meeting a man who instantaneously friend-zoned me to realise what I was doing wrong. In his own clarity, he gave me clarity. I was his “Fuck No!” woman, but I was his “Fuck Yes!” friend. This isn’t a new concept. I felt like I was reliving “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
I was entertaining the grey area. I have been entertaining the grey area for the last six years.
I had been connecting with men on a human level and thinking that every dating experience I had might lead to the one who would claim me. I was unequivocally the “Fuck No!” woman in each of these situations, trying to turn it around. In doing that, I was slowly but surely chipping away at my own faith until all I had left was a tiny jar of it—and I was clinging to it for dear life.
I wasn’t tired of men being men. I wasn’t tired of dating. I wasn’t tired of keeping my heart open. I wasn’t an incomplete person. I wasn’t being rejected. I wasn’t always the “Fuck No!” woman.
I was failing to let go.
The situation was black and white and I had painted it grey.
Once I came to this realisation, I couldn’t help but wonder how much time I had wasted on that which is not serving me. Regret is a wasted emotion but sometimes we need to see it, sit with it, frown at its ugly face and make peace with it for the sake of our own awareness. The “negative” emotions of fear, regret, pain, rejection are all there to wake us up, despite our distaste for them.
I’m not saying that the bitter taste of being the “Fuck No!” woman time and time again has left my mouth yet, but I can say next time I put myself in a dating situation it will be with renewed clarity and a restocked arsenal of faith.
I won’t dilly-dally in the what ifs, ands or buts. There is no room for maybe, only “Fuck Yes!” or “Fuck No!” And who knows when I will come across smiling eyes and a “Fuck Yes!”
Until then, I’ll leave a little room for the unexpected while I cultivate more faith and leave my heart as it has always been: wide open.
Author: Amanda Van Graan
Image: Abigail Keenan/ Unsplash
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren