The Cycle of Dating
A dear friend once told me "God will teach you the same lessons over and over until you learn them" and this is how I realized my own dating cycle. I also learned that we can choose the cycle we want to be a part of. When you learn your lesson your cycle changes and you are given a new test. You level up but you always must learn the next set of lessons.
I just celebrated a year of being single. A full year of no committed relationship, no plus ones, no set dates, and no one to call my own. Now that I am reflecting back on this past year I have put together the stages of the cycle of dating, at least in my experience.
Stage One... The FUNERAL. After ending a relationship, we are in this in denial stage. Is it really over? It's like losing a loved one and the first few days still waiting for their call or them to walk through the door because in your mind you still haven't accepted the fact that they are gone.
Then when it sets in that this is over you stay positive and dress up and push yourself out the door. You are in a new level of denial. Now you act as though it doesn’t bother you. You go about your day with that ball of emotions in your throat. You don't eat as you have suppressed all feelings. You don't hear anything as the voice in your head is louder than anyone speaking to you. And you sure don't smile, as you are a zombie and don't know what is going on in the outside world.
Then there is that defying moment. Either someone asks you a nerve wrecking question or a song comes on that triggers a memory. And you break down. You cry and you accept the fate that this relationship is really over. You might cry because you miss them, you might cry because you still love them, or you might cry because the fear of being alone hits you. You allow yourself to feel what you have been avoiding. Darkness takes over and you let go of any bit of energy you had. Personally, I once spent a full week in bed. That was my younger years when I had very little responsibilities, but now even spending an evening in bed crying is part of the purge as we have so much going on that to stop life to mourn for that bit is a big deal.
The mourning stage comes and goes for a while. Some days are better than others but then there is that one day that you wake up and feel the warmth of the sun. You reach for your phone and make plans. You put on makeup and step out with a different outlook. This is the RESURRECTION. You've survived. High Five! Now you reinvent yourself. New outfit or a new hair cut but you are ready for the next step. Don't be surprised if that guy you have been mourning reaches out. They tend to do that the day you feel bomb and you might relapse and reply but for this story let’s keep going. Ignore the call and enjoy your life. You are strong. "New phone, who dis?!"
You are now ready to step back into the dating scene. WELCOME says all the DMs and missed texts in your phone. Your single homegirl is happy to have her wing (wo)man back and you are just happy to have a conversation with a new guy. Aww how naive! Then you meet someone while out, you join a dating app, or you get put on to your friends mans homeboy. But they all have one thing in common... They ain't shit! This stage is the Fuck Boy Era. The universe throws at you various types of "ain't shit guys" to see if you've learned from you past relationships. You don't see the signs and you might slip up because you are horny and need to let off that steam. But you clearly know this is nothing long term. During my own "Fuck Boy Era" I met the guy with the girlfriend he denies until she called me, the guy that was on tinder then posts on IG his girlfriend, and the guy with the baby on the way. Oh let's not forget the cutey that is bad ass fuck but only knows your number after 1am. Fun huh?! Now let’s not put down Fuck Boy Era. It makes the group chat with your girls POPPIN'. Your Thirsty Thursdays night outs interesting as they all texting you and you just going through your mind like NO WAY! You learn grass hopper. You finally learned to know who is good for you.
After my cycle of Fuck Boy Era, I joined the hilarious yet admirable trend of celibacy. Yes, I tried to be celibate and I was serious about it. I was productive as hell during this time. I did so much for myself once the idea of not wanting or caring for a man was out my head. I did a lot of reflecting and I did a lot of self-care. It was much needed time. BUT that only lasted two week. What?! What do you want me to say... good dick came on knocking :).
Despite the short term, this stage was beneficial. I learned to not let boys and emotions get to me and impair me from progressing and being productive. I made sure I kept working out, to stick to my projects, and always do a self-care ritual each week. I recommend this to everyone. Take a break. Regroup and reflect once again on how the dating scene has changed since you last was in it. If you don't how can you realize the difference and what you have learned.
Next is learning to be patient. It's the moment before the next relationship. You have no idea when is going to happen and if this is the one but be patient and trust that whatever is in the horizon is meant for you. This stage feels like being on a ledge. You might want to jump into the deep end of the past or that rope of hope that keeps you sitting on the ledge focusing on the light. Be hopeful and don’t let go of your lessons.
As for me and my stages of dating, I am in the place where I know from here on it is up to me to level up or continue the cycle. I have reflected a lot on my past relationships and the learnings of dating in the past year. I think when the next opportunity of a relationship comes along I might be smart enough to level up. Now I am working on overcoming some fears I have realize I have from my past. I am in the learning and allowing the universe to take its course stage.
Dating and its cycles... It is an adventurous and fun cycle but you just don't want to get stuck.