April 30, 2020

To the Men I Date: These are the Things I Wish you Knew.

With social distancing as part of our current life experience, dating just became an opportunity for emotional intimacy to grow in a really healthy way.

For those who’ve chosen online dating to meet people, well, it can feel distant, callused, and lacking depth and authentic connection.

Choosing a person to connect with is almost solely based on “looks.” Swipe left, right, like, match, unmatch…sigh—the emptiness. 

This is personal, and especially for anyone who has ever felt the ickiness of objectification and deeply desired trust, safety, depth, and much more. Perhaps female-identified individuals will relate, and if that doesn’t describe you, talk with a feminine person, compassionately listen, ask meaningful questions, and learn of her experience. And please, be a considerate and conscientious ally. 

Fresh out of a long-term relationship last year, I wasn’t completely ready to jump into a new relationship—just yet. I wanted to begin exploring. Just dip my toe in the water, as I wasn’t in a hurry.

I started by diving into my intentions. I asked myself frequently:

Why do I want to date? How do I want to show up for myself through this process? Why do I want a relationship? What do I want to co-create?

How would I like to show up in a relationship? What are my needs? What patterns, dynamics, attachment issues, and conditioning do I need to address and work through to end some repetitive unhealthy patterns? What traumas are still harbored internally that needed attention, care, and healing?

How will dating affect my young daughter, and what will I be modeling for her?” Her safety is number one on my list.

The past several years included a midlife plot twist of divorce. Followed by another long-term relationship that was absolutely life-changing.

I was left with heartbreak, PTSD, and a lack of trust that have taken a lot of work to unravel and heal. I can now say that am grateful for these teachers in my life. I never knew how resilient I could be.

When I started dating again, I felt a little awkward and uncomfortable being approached, so last fall I joined the fascinating experiment of online dating. Since the swipe-and-scroll are based on looks, I immediately felt like a piece of _______—fill in the blank with whatever fun food of your choice depending on your mood at the moment.

Heart, deflated. It felt like a waste of time. I kept saying to myself far too many times, “Muggles!” (Thank you, J.K. Rowling.)

Then I felt compassion for both them and myself because I recognized how judgy I was. They were just being who they are. Clearly, we were not a match. Can’t a matchmaker just make me a match?

So, after several months of experimenting with dating and not meeting my person, I felt vulnerable, raw, and interested in a deeper conscious connection, the possibility of partnership, meaningful, loving, fully present, beyond space and time sacred sex.

Below are some of my thought bubbles. My intention is to spark ideas for conscious and more meaningful conversations.

Ask yourself, is what you’re saying to the other person eliciting trust? Are your actions and follow-through helping the person you’re desiring to feel safe, and that you’re reliable? Are you being fully honest with yourself and the other about what you want and your intentions?

I hope this is of benefit by inspiring more depth, intimacy, and authenticity in your interactions with others, now and always:

Don’t call me beautiful. It feels like an empty compliment. In my youth, the incessant monitoring of how I looked, what I ate, how much I exercised, what I wore, how I behaved, and—dear God—if I even fit in. My inner dialogue used to play on repeat: less than, not lovable, not good enough. Exhausting.

I want to be seen for more than my outward appearance. I want to feel like you’re curious about all of me. Not just this face or this body I was born with—which at times have felt like a blessing and a curse, attracting unwanted attention, abuse, and physical pain.

I’m not here for your pleasure—unless I want to be, and it’s consensual. I no longer accept relationships that lack purpose and reciprocity.

Help me to feel safe with you; allow yourself to be vulnerable with me.

What do you think about how I think? How do you see me show up? What is it about me that moves or inspires you?

I want to feel respected and acknowledged for my efforts to mindfully choose to be a better human being. I am not perfect. I’m doing my best to embrace my perfect imperfections.

You see, our society isn’t set up for women to fully accept ourselves—unapologetically, as we are.

But, we can dress up, do our hair, and put makeup on. But to develop self-awareness, reframe negative beliefs, and overcome traumas—that takes some serious intentional work.

Compliment me on my ideas, creativity, wit, intelligence, courage, boldness, strength, wisdom, resilience, values, feisty sass, dorkiness, and my big, open, loving heart.

Did you even notice my badassery? How much of a f*cking geek I am, and all of my little quirks? 

It would feel so good to hear you tell me that you see me working so hard to be a positive role model for my daughter. Tell me how that makes you feel.

It is really important to me to raise a kind, emotionally intelligent, culturally aware, honest, responsible, fun-loving, accepting, and compassionate human being with integrity.

I need to feel seen, heard, and felt. Sometimes I can feel tender, fragile, and weak. Sometimes I need help and to be held. I am a person, and I want to feel like I matter. 

Please do not underestimate your ability to just be there. Sometimes, that’s all I need.

I crave depth, intimacy, and authenticity. Challenge me, inspire me, and support me in pursuing my dreams. Invite me to shine my light brighter. Encourage me to let my inner child out to play, and please, come play with me.

Call me beautiful if that includes all of me, unconditionally, inside and out—the good, bad, and indifferent.

Allow yourself to feel the love radiating out from my heart and the depths of my passion.

Connect with me in this one precious moment. Meet me—as I will fully meet you, on a soul level, where we all meet as one.

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