Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Plus Size and Dating: I'm Grateful for my Break-Up


Yes, you read that right. I'm grateful for my break-up. Why? Because I learned a lot from it. I want to share my story (its long so bear with me) in hopes of helping someone become more confident, discover their self-worth, be more open-minded and to never settle for less than you deserve. THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE FOR EVERYONE.
February 2014 I had hit rock bottom. I sat in an Extended Stay hotel room staring at the guy I had been dating for 3 weeks who lived at this hotel because his criminal record made it hard for him to find a real apartment…yeaaaaa let that sink in.  WHY AM I HERE? I am soooo much better than this. I broke up with him the next day and vowed he'd be the last loser I'd ever date. My entire 20s had played out exactly like that. I would date guys I knew good and damn well I should not have been dating. Most had criminal records, no ambition, no future...the complete opposite of me, but they were attractive and they paid me attention and I was sick of being alone. However, my self-worth never allowed me to date them longer than a couple of months. Usually they would F up so bad that I cut them off or I would have the WHY AM I HERE moment and leave them. Only 2 seemingly decent guys in my adult life had made it passed the 2 month mark and they both broke my heart into a million pieces.
So, in early February when I had hit rock bottom I decided to take a break from dating. I had done more dating in the last 2 years than I had in my whole life and emotionally I was done. These men weren’t shit and I was tired of all the games, the tears and the foolishness. I closed out all of my online dating profiles and just focused on me. My mom kept telling me “when you've given up that's when he'll come along”. I just rolled my eyes. I was so over all these clich├ęs everyone was throwing at me.

Valentine’s Day was depressing as usual. To my surprise, I got a Happy Valentine’s Day text from a guy who I'll call “Jim”. It was out of the blue and it made me smile. I had met Jim on Facebook (I know right?) in August 2013. We were both in a dating group and he sent me a private message. We hit it off and even talked on the phone a few times. But, he lived in Phoenix, AZ and I live in North Carolina so I paid him no mind. Even though I immediately felt a connection with him I wrote him off. He'd call me sometimes and most of the time I wouldn't answer. He'd tell me to call him sometime and I wouldn't. I refused to develop feelings for someone so far away, fearing the outcome. My mom kept saying distance means nothing and to give him a chance.  Again, I rolled my eyes at her and my response was "ain't nobody going to Phoenix". Her response…you never know, you need to keep an open mind.
Palm Trees in Phoenix
After that text we kept in touch more frequently. Sometime in March he called me and we talked for a long time. He called me the next day and before I knew it we had talked every day for a week. From that point on things just began to fall into place. I loved our conversations; we had so much in common it was scary at times. He was different from any guy I had ever talked to…meaning he wasn’t an asshole and actually had something going for him (no criminal record!).
My 1st In-N-Out Burger (Phoenix)

I found out I had to go to San Jose for work in April, and as luck would have it my original flight to Cali got canceled. I had to fly out the next day on the only flight available and it had an hour layover in Phoenix (what are the odds right?). He met me at the airport and even though we only had about 30 min to hang out, it was great. As luck would have it again, I had to go to a conference for work in May and this time I was able to go to one in Phoenix. I was going to be there for 5 days. We had continued to talk every day in between seeing each other and I had developed an emotional connection with him. We had a great time in Phoenix, aside from it being John Blaze hot (dry heat my ass). When I got back, I received an opportunity to work a conference in Las Vegas in June. He met me there and stayed for the weekend and we had a great time.

When I got back home with no more trips lined up to see him, anxiety and panic set-in. What now? I began to think of all the reasons not to move forward with him. None of them were valid reasons, but I justified them so I wouldn’t have to deal with the possibility of being hurt. I didn’t really want to end it with him, but I couldn’t bear the thought of him breaking it off with me or telling me he didn’t want anything serious, so I broke it off and blamed it on the distance. I could’ve made the distance work. I have plenty of friends with happy endings from long distance relationships. But, I found every excuse for why I shouldn’t try to make it work, because it was safer and easier that way. It was as if I was telling myself I didn't deserve to be happy.
When we finally had the dreaded “talk” I wondered if I was making a mistake. I'd finally found a man that I had been praying to find for years; God moved mountains for us to have the experiences that we had and here I was throwing it all away. WTF is wrong with me? Then Jim said the words that finalized everything, “I realized that I really don’t want any more kids”. I literally felt my heart breaking and it took everything in me not to start balling my eyes out. There was my answer. I want a child, he doesn’t, this really is the end. Our luck had finally run out, and on Friday the 13th no less. I’ve cried every day since the day he left Vegas until yesterday. I withdrew from everyone and everything, I tried to avoid anything and everything that reminded me of him (of course the guy sitting next to me on my flight home was wearing the same cologne he wears UGH), my excitement for the Bruno Mars concert turned to dread for fear of bursting out into tears (I only cried during 2 songs for the record), I deleted Facebook on my phone, I removed myself from the group in which we met, and I became a shell of myself.
Many people wouldn’t understand why I was so devastated over something that lasted less than 4 months. 
CONFESSION: I am 31 years old and I had NEVER been in love before, not even close, until now.
For the first time in my life I allowed myself to fall for someone, to let my guard down and to be more vulnerable. For the first time in my life, I met someone who was worth me falling for. And to think I almost didn’t give him a chance. Not only was I hesitant about the distance at first, but on paper he didn’t fit my criteria. A guy never got a chance with me if he was older than 40, had more than one kid or if he had a kid over the age of 6. He is 42 and has a 21 year old daughter. I didn’t find out those things until after I already liked him. I believe we met on Facebook for a reason, because if I had met him on any other site, I would have missed out on the best dating experience of my life so far.

Almost every guy I’d ever dated up to that point had made me feel like shit. Backhanded comments like I was pretty for a dark skin girl, I would be pretty if I lost 20 pounds, I didn’t look as good with my real hair. Jim was the first guy to appreciate me as I was. He loved dark skin women. He loved my curves. He loved my natural hair. For the first time I felt like I was enough as I was and someone wanted me as I am.
But, I remained confused about why we were put together and things fell into place so well only for it to dissolve so quickly. Yesterday I had an epiphany while talking to Jim. I realized why we had been put together: so that I could finally learn to love myself as I am, so that I could become more confident, so that I could see what it’s like to have a really good man who treated me the way I am supposed to be treated and to never go backwards and settle for less ever again. (and I got a good friend out of it).
I'm finally OK with everything and no more tears have been shed (#progress). 
I said allllllllll that to say:
  • BE WHO YOU ARE. No matter who you are, what you look like YOU ARE ENOUGH
  • Continue to improve yourself, but DO YOU BOO. Be open to a variety of men (or women) and experiences. You never know where a simple email or hello can go.  
  • Try not to overthink it, just let it flow naturally and be open to all outcomes. Even if it doesn’t work out, you will probably learn something from it.   
  • If you are single and becoming discouraged, there ARE good men left. If you are out there settling for less than you deserve STOP IT NOW. Hold yourself to high standards and the right man for you will fall in line with them and appreciate you as you are. 
  • You don’t have to wear a ton of make-up, get weaves, dress in tight clothes, lose weight, none of that. Trust and believe that there is a man out there for you who loves ALL of you. If you want to do those things, make sure you are doing it FOR YOU and no one else. You have to love you first or you won’t be ready to receive a good man’s love when he comes along.

Do you have a dating story? Do you have advice for how to love yourself? How did you get to be confident? I’d love to hear from you!

4 comments:

  1. Love this, T. Love every word. Xoxoxoxo.

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  2. Love it! Love the lesson and that you've gotten a friend from all of this. I've struggled with many of the same issues and being 32 and from the South, I'm already considered an old maid, and out of time. As a mentor to single parents, I hear so many women settle for whatever they can get because of the desire for adult companionship, or help with financial struggles. And guess what -- it never works! Thank you for your transparency. It has truly brightened my evening, although I am saddened to hear that you've been up there crying :(
    LYLAS!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story. Thank you for the support!

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