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In The Complex World Of Dating, Trial And Error Makes The Win Sweeter

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It’s funny to think that doing something wrong could actually turn out going right. If it took a million failures to show you how to be successful, could you dare say it wasn’t worth it? If the journey to find love took every twist, turn, flip and whirlwind imaginable (what some would consider a hopeless situation), wouldn’t you then know how to navigate or at least have some sort of guidance towards finding true love? I would say, yes.

There are countless definitions and scenarios to map out what “doing it wrong” actually means. So to narrow it down, I’ll tell you mine. I don’t think I was ever told or shown the proper way to date or that there are levels to it. Let’s just say I had a map with no legend or compass. But who can I blame my ignorance? Is it the verbiage of dating? Is it the unspoken contents of the word “date”? I can’t pinpoint the moment my mind connected that dating meant being exclusive. For me, it was a process of elimination that, within time, all my other options were let go and I found exclusivity with one. Somewhere in life I missed the memo. And kept missing it, literally.

I remember being upset seeing other girls texting a guy who was in my presence while hanging out. The hangout, I assumed, was a date. I also assumed that the invitation to go out meant an intimate setting. I was wrong.

But when you really sit and think about who actually teaches us this stuff, what people in your life come to mind? Are you taking notes from the stories of your elders on how they met and later became married? Are you learning through trial and error? Aunts? Sisters? Grandmas? Who’s spilling the tea on how this world of dating actually functions?

For me, I saw examples of marriage but not the journey of how they actually got there — the in-between details that make for a good plot and resolution. So, my theory of dating and marriage was missing the happy medium of how the process systematically is what it is. Date me. Like me. Marry me. Right?

I can attest that I often fall victim to instant gratification. And if you’re not willing to give it to me, I’ll get it on my own without you. My lack of patience put me in front of plenty of red lights. And by red lights, I mean situations that could have been prevented. But my ignorance prevailed. I would like to admit that I was externally groomed, but internally completely nude. I often found myself literally shaking inside, not knowing what the hell I was doing while dating. Being socially awkward doesn’t help either.

But underneath simply not understanding this dating jiggy jungle, trauma from my past had a way of swaying my decisions and actions. In essence, I wanted to be perfect for someone — their everything. I wanted to be their shoulder so they would never have a reason to leave. In carrying that weight of fabricated perfection, I felt somewhat untouchable. Who would want to leave me and why? That was a senseless idea, to say the least. Without saying too much of where this developed within my younger years, I’ll say that I craved attention and missed people who were close to me when they weren’t in my presence to give me that attention. So I spent most of my 20s searching for too much attention in places I would never find it. Can you guess why? That abundance of 24/7 attention not only doesn’t exist but is unrealistic and humanly impossible.

I’m learning now how past trauma has a way of deeming you voiceless. To the point where you may feel your voice is too small. Even questioning, who am I to deserve to be in this room? This translates into dating and relationships, as I’ll let things slide or play the backseat to keep the peace. In reality, you’re voiceless because someone from your past made you feel as if your feelings weren’t valid. Hence, dating wrong in the worst way. Because then, your subconscious thoughts are making detrimental decisions for you, when your needs and desires actually want the opposite.

Dating and potentially loving another are complex tasks. It’s not meant for the weak or unwilling. It involves some of the most humble and selfless moments we get to experience as humans. It’s endearing, intense and magical, and I adore the mere thought of it.

The moments or events we tend to do wrong only bring us closer to how we will rightfully fit into another person’s life. We don’t have to regret or apologize for those traumatic and unsettling places because they were, in fact, meant to happen. The message here is what you create from that pile of rubble. The intentional actions to follow are what you will appreciate most. It makes the journey towards true love beyond worthwhile.

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