After mindlessly throwing myself back into the dating pool in the immediate aftermath of the breakup, I decided to stop after that date in late July 2015.First dates left me feeling hollow, bored, and out of touch. Not because I was still bleeding from the months of emotional manipulation, but because I’d slowly cauterized myself to emotions at all.I appreciate the way my friend Mike boosts his girlfriend Jordan's sense of independence during an incredibly busy time in her life.I like the way my best friend’s boyfriend makes an effort to engage in her life, with her friends and her interests.Maybe relationships weren’t about fixing a person at all. So with the dawn of 2016, I actually started to think about what I needed in a relationship—not what I wanted or was instantly drawn toward, but the qualities that would make me feel safe and supported.I looked for times I felt that way, or saw authentically supportive gestures in real life.
Although I was technically there, I couldn’t force myself to actually show up for that date.
I was sitting at the prettiest date restaurant, out with a guy I’d met several days before at a mixer.
He was sweet and upbeat, talkative and seemingly driven.
These men would retreat often, pushing me away, before returning with more promises about the kind of guy they were, sprinkling pretty words all over my tattered heart. Only I defined and chose my type, my type did not choose me, and I had the power to turn the tides. It also dawned on me that I hadn’t been called upon to “solve” any of their problems.
I believed them, because there wasn’t another option; their behavior was all I knew, and everything I was conditioned to cope with. These friends built me up, and they never packed drama.They were deep and perplexing, enticing since I loved a challenge.