Here's my truth moment. I have an 11 year old and up until recently, I never dated. For various reasons, I put anything resembling a love life on hold. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't join a nunnery but instead decided that life was less complicated if I just focused on my career and my boy. After all, isn't that what all self-sacrificing single moms are supposed to do?
Short answer, hell no! So after some convincing and realizing that before I blinked #myguyshii would be a teenager with his own dating experiences, I told myself there was no time like the present. Being out of the game for over a decade, I must admit I am flustered. Things have changed so much... Is it acceptable to go Dutch? Does this independent woman foot the bill? How long should you wait to call between calls? How soon is too soon to start dating exclusively? With all of these questions whirling around in my head and getting advice from a trusted few, the best advice that I got about dating was actually from the most unsuspecting individual...my little human.
1) Just Go With It: One thing I love about Shii is his love of spontaneity. In his world anything goes, in mine not so much. Seeing him just go whichever way the wind blows has helped me apply that thought to dating. As a person who has to plan everything to a tee, taking a page out of Shii's book has allowed me to loosen up, enjoy the experience and let my hair down so to speak. With dating, especially in the beginning it's best to just take things as they come along so that there is not so much pressure from either party. It's also allowed me to just get to know people without it being heavy or forced.
2)Consistency is EVERYTHING: My son needs consistency for our mother-son dynamic to work. I see how having a level of consistency is not only necessary but fulfilling. In my opinion, the people that I have really found a connection with have been the ones that I have developed some type of consistent routine with. Whether it be calls or texts or even making our availability to one another clear from the jump; it has helped keep my interest up and I am fully aware of the expectations.
3)Say what's on your mind: Sometimes navigating through these new waters has me holding my tongue on a lot of things so as to not come across as too opinionated, picky, etc. But after having a recent tête-a-tête with Shii, I find that he always respectfully speaks his mind, even if you don't like it. Being that of an introverted extrovert, I find it difficult to be upfront about things at times. But in dating, you have to be. Especially when you are learning someone new and vice versa. If you don't set boundaries and expectations, things can go off the rails should they move forward. Which leads us to #4...
4)Take your ball and play somewhere else: The whole purpose of dating is to find a suitable mate right? Then why do we waste so much time accepting people's bad behaviour and coasting along in relationship that truthfully don't serve us? Most young kids, well mine at least, have no qualms about taking their ball and finding someone else to play with if things aren’t going the way they want them to. I've taken a page out of his book. No matter what level my relationship is at (even casual dating), if I am honest and direct and the relationship is not giving me what I need, I'm out! It saves a lot of wasted time, possible heartache and probably even garners me some respect for keeping it real.
5)Always have fun: It's easy to get so laser-focused on the idea of dating that you could get wound up. Getting fixated on trying to be the perfect version of yourself can sometimes translate to being dull as a doorknob. You don't want your suitor to think that they would have more fun watching paint dry. I know that it can be hard regardless of how long one's been out of the dating game; still it's important to have fun and allow your personality to shine. In the words of my soon-to-be tween, "I'm a Shii and my job is to have fun." He wholeheartedly believes that; and when it comes to me and dating, so should I.
So there you have it. Unbeknownst to him he has given me some true wisdom about the basics of dating. And truthfully, they have actually helped me more than I realized. Sure the more complicated nuisances are way more than child's play; but for now the tips work for me. Do you have any suggestions on how to navigate the dating scene?