I suck at dating.
In my head, I know the crucial components of a great guy and a bad guy, like the secret ingredients to my best friend’s chocolate chip cookies, but that doesn’t help me any more than if she were to write down the recipe for me, hoping I wouldn’t screw it up.
If you told me before I started this single journey that the sum of the problems in dating would come down to knowing 3 key things, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
I probably still would have tried it on my own, just like I have over the past 7 years and thought the grass was greener on the other side and that people really did find their soul mates.
But at this point I don’t feel I should continue to mislead you when it comes to the truth. I share this with you because I sure didn’t learn it based on finding prince charming or because I’m presently living in a Disney movie. As a matter of fact, at 40-something, divorced, and single I’ve failed a lot when it comes to dating. I’ve lost a couple of “good” men in my life because I pushed them away, and I’ve dumped a few losers because I couldn’t see past their pain and had enough sense to recognize I would have become their next counselor trying to “fix” them.
Investing in a relationship right now, though, feels more like a chore, another responsibility, something akin to hitting the gym—I know I need to do it, but I can’t seem to find the time or desire. I am drowning a bit here, lost in a sea of work, raising a teenager who just got her drivers permit, building a new business, and still running an extremely successful salon business, so it’s hard at times, but I wouldn’t trade these things for anything. And, I do mean anything … even for a relationship.
Which, of course, isn’t the truth. Because when my clients share with me what their husbands cooked for dinner, or the vacation they recently spent in Colorado, which led to late nights relaxing with campaign and snow falling all around them while they had wild, crazy sex outside in the hot tub, I find myself wondering what I am actually sacrificing, and do I want to get better at dating and have a real relationship?
I think to myself, “Surely those couples that have a true relationship must have figured it all out, right?” You know what I’m talking about when it comes to dating – those 3 stages that finalize love.
Stage 1: The “Love bomb” – You talk on the phone till 2:00 a.m. every night till you fall asleep, live off apples and water, and bounce when you walk—kind of like you’re floating on air. Every text message sent and received is done with a smile and without a moment’s delay. You don’t even have to wait for a response, it’s like the other person holds their phone in their hand waiting for you to say something so they can hit “send” and reveal the thoughts they already typed out and decided to share with you.
The love bomb blows you up, burns you up, keeps you up at night, and everything else in your life is just a blur because the fog is so thick you can’t see the truth about what’s to come next.
I love this stage! I wish this stage lasted forever.
But, let’s be honest, what comes next?
Stage 2: The “over-evaluation” stage.
When the smoke clears, where do you find yourself? Giving up or pressing on?
At this point, it’s probably best to stop and ask yourself, “Do I want to be in a relationship with this person, and am I ready for a commitment?”
A relationship is hard work. You should know enough about the person you’re dating by now, especially after all the late-night conversations you’ve shared, and be able to determine whether or not you can sit in silence comfortably, for long periods of time instead of adding up the hours of sleep you’ve missed.
This “over-evaluation” stage comes next because that’s exactly what it makes you do … over- analyze and re-evaluate!
So, if you start getting irritated over the small things, like his words, the way he breathes, the way he stares at you, or if his being nice to you is beginning to turn you off, or you just find it a little creepy, these are red flags. You need to pay attention to them, and if the one thing that made this person so attractive to you is now the one thing that places distance between the two of you, then there’s your answer. When you start having days where you’re totally irritated or angry as hell at each other, but in the end, you hold on hoping it will go away and it doesn’t … run!
However, at this point, you both know if you’re dating the right person because you’re still laughing and believing in a relationship you both want, and regardless of the arguments or disagreements the two of you have, you work everything out and would never ignore text messages or block phone calls because you’re up for the fight of your life. You care for this person and will do whatever it takes to keep him or her in your life.
Don’t kid yourself, you both know by stage 2 to either go back to playing the game and be single or press forward into the final stage of dating, which is …
Stage 3: “True Intimacy.”
Congratulations! You made it!
You overcame your ambivalence and you have a desire to commit to this one person. You both exclusively decide you are the two to make this happen. You cannot live without this person, and you cannot live with this person. (Just kidding, that’s just me throwing in a little more humor.) The truth is, you know you want no one else but this one person to spend the rest of your life with.
During this stage you spend all your energy pleasing one another. You start dreaming about building a future together. This is where you let your guard down and become vulnerable and experience true intimacy with another person. And during this stage of dating you learn about your partner’s true character.
Their weaknesses become strengths. Their passions become your endeavors. And you understand why their faith is so strong and realize their fears were stepping-stones along a path of failure and faults that led them straight to you.
I love this blog! It’s now reaching its true potential … so, let me sum it all up for you.
As you begin to learn more about one another,what I want you to know is that relationships aren't always butterflies and unicorns, and you will have days when you are totally irritated with each other, but in the end, you both should realize that by stage 3 you love one another and are in it for the long haul.
Notice I said both.
It’s no joke when you decide to love another person. It is more than dating—it is a commitment, and you must be ready for the relationship. Most people don't have the patience to stick things out nowadays; we are incredibly selfish and self-absorbed and don’t realize that dating is an opportunity to find our soul mate.
I don’t necessarily have time for complications in my life because I am so busy, so I sacrifice. I play it safe so I don’t get hurt or rejected. I choose to be single because I believe dating sucks and people use it as an extracurricular activity, which involves getting laid and honestly, I believe most people are afraid to be alone. But I’ve also lived life and motherhood long enough to realize that everything has its season, and right now, I’m in a season where there is no room for anyone else in my life other than myself, my children, and my businesses.
It’s a season of knowing when you need a break but not being able to get one, and let’s face it, that’s because I’m really strong at building up the relationships of other people but don’t take my own advice.
For now, the best advice I have to give you is to love yourself first and the rest will fall into place.
About the blogger
Stacy Snapp-Killian is an entrepreneur, author, hairstylist, and public speaker. She holds an impressive resume as a recognized member of The Women’s Leadership Movement. She is the personal stylist for Women That Soar Media, providing services to celebrities and talent for events and televised award shows. Stacy has volunteered thousands of hours mentoring adult survivors of sexual abuse suppression, and she has empowered hundreds of men and women to share their story of sexual abuse. Through this process, she has authored two books, Be Beautiful Being You, and her most recent release, The Ten Character Commitments. She is a columnist for two magazines including The One Bride Guide and her “Sit Down with StacyK” advice column is featured in the award-winning GC Magazine. Her columns inspire adults to live their truth through her Ten Character Commitments. To find out more about Stacy, visit www.justuslove.org