Things Not to Do When Online Dating

*** Disclaimer: There is so much wrong going on in the world and my heart aches. I debated not writing a lighter post, because with children being torn from their parents’ arms, political disaster and silliness on all sides, and people dying, it seemed trivial. However, in times like this, it is sometimes good to remember that isn’t all of life. I also think there are plenty of folks who comment on these things better than I can. What I’ve learned is that as these things happen, we still eat, laugh, have heartbreak, go to work, and continue to live. And so today, I’m writing about dating. I just want you to know, we here at “A Tale…” are not oblivious and our hearts go out to the world.***

Dating is hard. Dating is hard when you live in a rural area. Online dating is also hard. Dating is extra hard when apparently no one has given you dos and don’ts of your dating profile and responding to people (in this case hetereosexual men responding to women). But never fear – I’m here to help you. So now you can’t say you were never warned.

1. Please stop taking pictures with your money fanned out on your bed or held literally as a fan. Also, taking the picture with your daughter or son having money fanned out is equally a “no.” I thought we left that on Black Planet in 2001? I can’t believe I have to say this.

2. Stop writing a long list of things you hate. This makes you seem like a terrible person.

3. Proofread. It doesn’t have to be perfect but if I’m scratching my head trying to piece a sentence into something vaguely resembling a complete thought, it’s not slang. It’s just mumble jumble.

4. Dick imprint profile pics are a “no.” Also, yes, it was me. I reported your picture.

5. When you respond, do not talk about lips or any other part of the other’s body touching yours in the first 5 messages. Actually, not in the first few days unless we mutually agreed upon that is happening/happened. But definitely not in the first 5 messages. No, I do not want to envision myself kissing you.

6. Don’t go from “hey” directly to “when am I going to meet you?” The answer is likely never at that point.

7. You should probably not have all 50 pictures in the same pose in different shirts. It’s just weird.

8. Don’t ask someone to immediately send you more pics. You legit have a whole damn catalog of pics. You’ve only said hello, I dont owe you shit.

9. If you spend the first 5 messages describing all of a person’s physical features, they begin to wonder what are your intentions. I’m just saying. Also, creepy.

10. If it is stated someone is looking for something long term, stop pretending you didn’t know that. And if you didn’t, read the profile.

11. If someone doesn’t answer you immediately, it is not ok to go off on them and how they’re ignoring you for a pretty boy, and that they’re missing out because you have a job, car, house, and you go on vacations. You obviously also have high levels of. insecurity, a temper, and crazy. *unmatch*

12. While asking questions is a great way to get to know someone, asking someone back to back to back questions, unrelated to the previous answer, and not following up, commenting, and finding common ground with answers (aka having a conversation) is jarring and feels like I’m under interrogation until you feel you’ve done enough to ask for my number.

13. Which brings me to if you ask for my number or to continue the conversation off the site and I say I’m not yet ready, you dont have the right to angrily rant at me and that doesn’t mean to do #12 in an attempt to appease me.

14. Say “hi” and then ask me “truth or dare.” I hate this with all of my soul and it causes me anxiety. Just ask me how I’m doing, what I do for work, etc.

15. Respond to all of my questions with something about meeting me today. It gets annoying. For example, Me: what was the most exciting thing today?

You: Matching with you.

Me: So sweet of you. What are you doing this holiday?

You: hopefully you are coming to see me

Me: Lol. Hmmm… idk I’d like to get to know you better first, plus I have plans.

You: You wouldn’t drop your plans for me?

Me: No. Hell no. Fuck no. I don’t know you!!!!

Ok, ok, I never say that. I usually unmatch, but you get my drift.

16. Similarly please don’t respond to my statements with completely unrelated statements.

Me: So, that about sums up what I do at work. I told you it was a little complicated.

You: I’m just thinking about how it would be to see those lips in person.

WTF?

17. Send me emojis over and over as responses. Especially looking eyes. 👀 THOSE. I love a good emoji but it is annoying when you use it in this way.

18. “Good morning/evening beautiful” has become synonymous with fuck boy when you barely know me. I didn’t write the rule. It just happened. Usually to follow is violation of several of the above.

To end on a positive note, I thought I’d end with a list of “do’s.”

1. Do put up a wide range of pics and look like you enjoy life. I love smiling pics. You’re still a man if you smile, I promise. And you’re sexier immediately to me.

2. Do fill in a bio area. I read every single one. Make it about you and what you like and not what you hate (see above).

3. I am definitely ok with a “hey, how are you?” I don’t need creative pick up lines. I don’t know when it became a crime to just say that.

4. Ask questions about things I wrote in my bio, follow up on common threads, and share info about you.

5. Write more than one word messages.

6. Compliment other parts of me that aren’t physical, i.e. “I can tell you’re really bright or caring.”

7. Talk about a passion of yours. Passion is the key to opening my heart.

8. Make appropriately placed references about Wakanda. I’ll love that.

9. If we have been going back and forth for awhile, we are both sharing info and it doesn’t seem antagonistic, whether for 20 min or 2 days, ask for my number then.

10. Ask me if it’s too late and should we continue in the morning.

11. Continue in the morning if I say yes.

12. Tell me you’re smiling as we’re talking about something non sexual, but interesting. That will make me think you really are into what I’m saying.

13. Use humor, not sarcasm.

What about you all? Have you encountered these things? Agree or disagree? Love to hear from you!

Tired and Overused Dating Advice None of Us Wants to Hear

You may not have noticed but us bloggers are single and have been for quite some time (some of us more single than others at various times, but for all intent and purposes, we’re all single as of this moment). And not to overstate things or brag on ourselves, but we are pretty good at being single. Like probably the best; we’re killing this shit.

So good in fact, that many people feel the need to share their fantastic dating advice to help us become better and more desirable partners. This would be great and all, but it is often unsolicited, doesn’t fit who we are all as people, assumes we aren’t good partners, is overused, unoriginal and tired AF, assumes we haven’t tried that already, ignores real issues of being single, especially as a gay, Black, single parent, woman, or busy professional person, contradictory the advice we got ten seconds ago, and did I mention UNSOLICITED – a.k.a. we didn’t ask you to solve our perceived dilemma of singlehood. And sometimes, this advice also has an underlying, and maybe even unintentional at times, undercurrent that we are not good enough as we are. And frankly, we’re kind of tired of that crap.

And so after hours of lamenting about this on our group chat (we group chat literally hours a day, like I feel like we go through our entire days together lol), we decided, you know what, we need a collaboration post, and we need one on this topic. So with no further ado, here is our first collaborative post written by all of us as a list of our “favorite (as in never say it again)” dating advice:


Just let him find you, also known as don’t look for him, he will fall in your lap, he will come when you stop looking and least expect it.

I’ve been single a long time. Never have I taken some time off from dating or working so much that a dateable man has fallen into my lap and we have began as a couple. Never have I been home, not leaving my house, engaging with anyone (which would be when I least expect it, and frankly, kind of annoyed if he showed up) and gotten married. Furthermore, I do not like the idea that I don’t get to be an active participant in my life. It’s not my style. I kinda like to be involved and it be more of a “we found each other” kind of thing. I get it, this is deeply rooted in biblical tradition – something about a man who finds a wife, finds a good thing. However, too many women I know have not found a good thing in a husband for me to not be an active participant. Perhaps “finds” is symbolic here too, like if you find a good lunch spot you’ve found a good thing. Those spots still advertise though. Also, the Bible is written in historical context and also patriarchy and also, not really my thing. Additionally, I know women who are happily married that have gone on single cruises, dating sites, speed dates, and were set up on blind dates. They did stuff. They looked for him. They found him. I have also known people who were “found” and are in terrible relationships. And what about same sex couples? Who finds who? It’s not like I’m on a safari of men anyway, looking for my right prey. But that sounds like a good idea. Where is that safari? How do I create one? Now that’s advice I could use. -Lee

I’ve been trying to be found for a year and a half now, and I’m still lost. I’ve always hated this stupid saying because even if you “let him find you” you have to put forth SOME type of effort. Like, sitting at home watching Netflix in your underwear while eating Chunky Monkey Ice Cream is going to help a man “fall into your lap”. Miss me with that. -Malc

“Where he at though?!?!” I’m a living witness that this is a load of crap. Most of the men I have interacted with have shown up “when I least expected it” or I wasn’t looking. Even my mindless swiping on Tinder was typically for kicks and giggles and not because I thought I’d find “the one” or that he would find me. I’m not one to go up and talk to a guy first. I don’t regularly put myself out there and yet men tend to show up and it still doesn’t work. Usually what people say to me is “he’s not going to find you if you stay at home knitting.” And that’s awesome because when I’m at home knitting I’m in full bum mode. I wouldn’t want to find me then either. But then people also say “no one wants a woman whose out all the time.” Which one is it people? Go out and put myself out there so he can “find me” or don’t go out and let him deliver my pizza on a Friday night.-Ashley


You should meet people in real life instead of Dating Apps

Even though I’m highly considering this, I don’t need you to tell me what to do with my life! What if I have social anxiety and hate meeting people in real life initially? What if I want to vet out these guys by texting the hell out of them and make sure they aren’t psychopaths first? What if I just want to waste time and maybe trip over the love of my life that way instead of spending money at the bar every night trying to find bae? If you want to use an app to find love, do it. If you want to find love at the bar, do that. If you want to sit around on your couch watching Netflix in your underwear eating Chunky Monkey Ice Cream, waiting for your bae to magically fall into your lap somehow out of nowhere, do it! -Malc

I second this one. And people always say “well I guess I’m just old school.” Well I guess so, Susan and Tom. I work in a female dominated space and since I date men, that makes it hard to meet people. I’ve also met some really cool people online and I don’t have to worry if they’re hiding their wedding ring in their left pocket. Also, let’s just say, online dating isn’t failing me. 🙂 -Lee

I’m not a huge fan of online dating. Mainly because I’m not a huge fan of dating period. It’s weird. Especially when it’s someone I don’t know. But since I don’t go out a lot for a number of reasons (no one to go with, no where to go, too damn tired, Mom duties, etc.) at times online dating has been used as an attempt to meet people. I actually met my ex online. What I didn’t like was the judgment I felt when I told people how we met. Screw you Susan if you think that the fact that you met Tom your second year of undergrad makes you better than me because I met my imaginary boyfriend on Tinder.-Ashley


You need to love yourself before someone else can love you.

So where did this idea of me not loving myself come from all of a sudden? So every single person in the world hasn’t learned to love their self? I mean, I love myself so much I sit around in my underwear eating Chunky Monkey Ice Cream doing my happy dance while watching Food Network and HGTV. -Malc

I call bullshit. Loving yourself is a lifelong process. Sure. You should have some basis of self worth so you don’t go out with abusive people because you feel that’s what you deserve, but if I wait until I conquer self-love, guess I’ll marry in the afterlife. -Lee

As my co-bloggers have already said…this is bullshit. Self-love is not a destination. It is a process. I will not wake up one day and say “this is it. I have arrived. I love myself the most I ever have and the most I ever will.” The reality is there are days I wake up and I feel like the spirits of Beyoncé and Maya Angelou have entered my body in the middle of the night and I am fearless and can conquer the world. There are other days that I wake up and nothing fits, my hair is a mess, I have zits, I don’t feel good and all my insecurities are standing in front of me the entire day. Am I less deserving of the love of other people on those days? I would venture to say the opposite. It is on those days that it would be nice to have a partner who can stand between me and my insecurities and remind me that I am loved by them and that I deserve the love of myself. And then on the good days they can be my biggest hype man and gas me up so I can take on the world. Hey. But maybe I just don’t love myself enough and I’m all wrong. I’m single. What the hell do I know. –Ashley

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You should work on yourself instead of worrying about dating

I like how people think that us single folk don’t have anything going for ourselves. Like, what would make you say “work on yourself”? Are you saying I’m undateble because I have no positive attributes going on for myself? Are you saying that I’m broken? Because that’s what it sounds like. Yes I know I’m not perfect, but when you tell someone to work on themselves as an alternative to dating, you’re ultimately telling them that they are not fit for the dating pool. Bitches *Eats Chunky Monkey Ice Cream in underwear* -Malc

Ugh. Disgusting. I have been working on myself for awhile now. So now what? -Lee

What the heck do you think I do all day?!?! Okay. Maybe not all day. But a lot of my time, life, existence has been spent on self-reflection. With every failed attempt at Love I try to figure out what I did wrong and make changes accordingly. And this is bullshit because half my Facebook timeline is full of hot mess men and women in hot mess relationships so there’s that.-Ashley


Your expectations are too high.

I’m sorry, Jane, but maybe that is why you’re bored AF in your marriage or unhappy or have so much time to give me advice I never wanted. My list includes kindness, gentleness, open minded, treats me well, intelligent, has a good head on his shoulder, easy on the eyes, you know, being a human I want to spend time with and occasionally rip his clothes off. Maybe my expectations are high. But you know what Jane, so are the ones for myself. And I’d be damned if my expectations for myself are higher than with someone I am too spend some of my life with. -Lee

I don’t understand how people can tell me that MY expectations are too high. Like breh/sis, it’s MY life so yes I want to have some sort of expectations if you’re going to want to “climb this tree” (as Ashley says). And I’m sorry, but if being a decent human being (plus a few other things) is having high expectations, then I guess I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life eating my Chunky Monkey Ice Cream in my underwear. -Malc

What I love about his one is that people usually say it without actually asking me what my expectations are. My bad Jane for thinking that I deserve to be respected, appreciated, not cheated on, and treated as an equal not a possession or piece of meat. Didn’t realize I was asking for so much!-Ashley

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You should Pray on it

Sometimes I have these thoughts that what if I pray for God to send me someone, and then I meet this random person that seems remotely interested in me. So then I think it’s a gift from God and decide to make them mine, but then they end up being crazy and almost kills me or something then I think to myself, “why in the hell would God send me a crazy person?” So then I just decide not to pray on it and go back to eating my Chunky Monkey Ice Cream in my underwear. -Malc

So essentially what Malcolm said above is exactly what happened to me (minus the trying to kill me). The day before I met my ex I literally prayed “God, you know I really want someone, but if it is your will that I be single forever or in this season then I am okay with that.” And then ta-da here came this man, who was interested in me, and took me out, and treated me right (at first) and all those good things. It was like God had been waiting for me to stop fighting my singleness and trust him (and follow all this terrible advice) and only then would I be prepared to receive this man he had for me. It helped that his tinder profile said he was a God fearing man. It was confirmation. And well if this is the first time reading anything I’ve written…long story short…it was a disaster! So yea. I’ve prayed on it. Jesus knows my heart. He knows I’m not perfect. But I’m almost certain he expects some action after the prayer. I don’t think saying the right words in my head is some magic spell to make a man appear. I would have figured that out a long time ago if it was. Also, people who don’t believe in God clearly still have relationships…so…there’s that.-Ashley

My mom and church made me start praying when I was 5 years old. Sister Jane was wrong. That didn’t do anything. Of course then, the reason it has happened is because my faith isn’t deep enough. By the way Sister Jane that is a logical fallacy. If something doesn’t work, you don’t get to just to say, well it does work, but you didn’t believe enough. Also, Sister Jane, isn’t kind of weird that I spend all my time praying for a husband when children are dying in refugee campus and war zones? Other iterations of this are “wait on the Lord” “He knows best.” I don’t know, y’all know I’m agnostic and God is a woman anyway. -Lee

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You should enjoy being single while you can!

Yes, yes. Because I’ve just been miserable eating Chunky Monkey Ice Cream in my underwear this whole time. And that may sound miserable to you, but the way my Introvertedness and Anti-Socialness is set up… -Malc

I know I write about being single a lot. And I’m sure it’s easy to confuse that with me being miserable that I’m single. But I’m not. I was, however, miserable in my last relationship so the next one will definitely be one that does not destroy the peace I have while single. So even though I’m not out partying every night and even though I don’t have a boyfriend, I do enjoy my life (and my late night texting 😉) so yea…there’s that!-Ashley

What does this even mean, Susan??? I am living my best life and I want to live my best life with someone else too. Is this a terrible, terrible thing? Trust me I’ve thought long and hard about sharing my bed with someone (he better like it cold) and having to share my cereal. I’m ok with it. Perhaps, you should have thought more about enjoying your singledom. I, on the other hand, will not subscribe to the fact that my life will be miserable after getting with someone, and so my only alternative is to be unhappy. Perhaps that is why marriages don’t work, because we make it sound like your life is ending. How about some advice like “enjoy your life while you have it, regardless if partnered or not,” because spoiler alert, we all die. -Lee


You need to put yourself out there…but not too much.

So I hinted at this earlier. People really like giving confusing advice. Just let him find you. You can’t stay in all the time. You need to go out more. But don’t go out to much because a man doesn’t want a woman whose in the club all the time. Don’t be such a prude but be modest. Then they suggest some really terrible ideas of where to meet someone. “You like to read go to the bookstore.” Okay I also like to sleep how do you suggest I find a man doing that?!?! And also, there are women who go out every weekend and they have a man. And there are women who never go out and they have a man. So I’m not sure what the secret going out to staying in ratio is. That would actually be helpful advice if you know it!-Ashley

So, I’m not supposed to try, but I am supposed to try? What the hell am I supposed to do? Can someone fucking tell me? I don’t understand. Is online dating putting myself out there or too out there? Where is “there?” Cause I’m with Ashley, the bookstore never works. Only in Hallmark movies. Everything works in Hallmark movies actually. Maybe Susan and Tom, you thought I lived in a Hallmark movie? -Lee

Contradictory statements are null and void… -Malc

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You need to try something different

This one kind of goes along with the your expectations are too high part. But with a slight twist. Usually it’s in reference to whatever my “type” is. You want to know why my type has been up until this point…wrong…that’s it. I just struggle to believe that all people who look a certain way, or like certain things, or believe certain things are all the same. Because people have all sorts of stereotypes about light skinned women and I don’t usually fit them. So I try not to judge people. And then there’s also this assumption that I’m only interested in someone because they look a certain way and that’s just annoying. –Ashley

I’ve tried all the different. That isn’t the solution. Stop telling me to do that. -LeAnna

Try something different? Why? What do you mean? What is “different” exactly? I’m attracted to personality, so I don’t think trying something “different” would work in this scenario. I think that would slightly be considered settling, right? I’ve dated all types of different people physically, so if you mean try something different in that aspect, I already have, and we’re still in Singleville. I refuse to try something different in regards to personality as those are my expectations. Sorry that I have a type and I would like to find someone who falls in line with that. -Malc


But you have your daughter that should be enough

So this one only fits me but I think my fellow bloggers may be able to fill in the daughter with something else (career, friends, family etc.) The frustration here is that 1. you’re assuming I’m not grateful for my child and 2. A parent-child relationship is vastly different from a romantic partner relationship. I shouldn’t have to explain the differences but I’ll make this point. I am my child’s main source of support (emotional, mental, financial, physical health, educational etc.). She 100% relies on me. She, however, is not mine. I can not collapse in to her at the end of a long stressful day. I can’t cry on her shoulder when I feel overwhelmed or like a failure. I can’t go out and have a drink or dance or Netflix and chill or any other date options there may be. These are things that a partner would provide. But I think it makes people uncomfortable when I am honest and say that sometimes I get lonely, even though I have a child and live with my parents.-Ashley

Ashley! You are so right I can fill in this in with something else. Common things people tell me are “but you have a career and degrees.” Anyone who knows me, knows me that my career is basically an extension of myself. And yet, somehow, it doesn’t manage to hold me while I’m crying at night, imagine that. My career is so important to me. I try to be the best version of myself and my identity is definitely wrapped up in it. But I know all too well, that on my deathbed, I won’t be asking for my career or thinking I should have spent more time there. I hope to be reaching or thinking of the one I love. Lee

Nothing will ever replace the tender touch of another human being that you are romantic with and understands you on an emotional level. Sorry, but no career, money, etc will ever be able to replace that, in my opinion. Chunky Monkey Ice Cream comes close, but apparently I’m not supposed to have that type of relationship with food. -Malc


You’re too *fill in the blank.*

Speaking of career, the other advice I often get is maybe you should be less career focused, passionate, intelligent, smart, as this is intimidating and doesn’t allow a man to be a man. I am usually stunned at this point. Sooooo, I spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to get where I am, give my heart and soul to my job, have spent all this time “working on myself” to “love myself more (see above advice)” and now, I’m supposed to play small for a potential mate?? I’m really confused here. Shouldn’t he want to see me as I am, and I him, and we both decide this is who I can spend my life with and choose? I am not dumbing or silencing myself for anyone. -Lee

Ahhhh yes. The dreaded too much….! Leanna and I have discussed this a lot. I think for me I’m usually too quiet, too reserved, to introverted, too obsessed with Harry Potter. I used to get too intimidating a lot. Not sure if that’s changed or people just don’t say it anymore. But whatever it is that people say I am too much of and should become less of to get a man to them I say…men should stop be too chicken shit if me being me is intimidating!! – Ashley

I’ve learned that I will always be too much of something to mostly everyone, and I just hope to find the one person who doesn’t mind my extraness in said something that they can look past it and love me for it. And if I’m too much for you, then you’re not enough for me.  That’s when I can walk around confidently and comfortably in my underwear, eating my Chunky Monkey Ice Cream, alone and “too much”. -Malc

Here’s a peom that sums up this issue perfectly.


BTW, here’s some Chunky Monkey for Malcolm.

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What is Intimacy?

I am plagued by a deep desire for intimacy and connection within all of my relationships and friendships. I call this a plague because often people are not taught to be intimate and vulnerable with one other, and particularly in heterosexual romantic partnerships and so it feels like a curse most of the time.** While I’ve had success with intimacy with my female friends, men, on the other hand, continue to be a challenge.

When I say intimacy, I am not describing something that necessarily is sexual. I am describing the gentle way in which we lean into one another for support, care, and safety. I am describing the desire to know someone beyond their outer shell and take the time to understand someone from their perspective. I am describing curiosity, and genuine love for another human being, because you can see their light that connects them to you. I am describing empathy, placing yourself in their shoes and relaying to them, that you too are human. I am talking about soft kisses on foreheads and lips, arm caresses with no expectation, and soothing hugs. I suppose this is an emotional type of intimacy.

It seems to me, at least in my experiences, intimacy is often a second hand thought or something expected to be a by-product of everything except vulnerability, and often, derived from sex. My experience has been that sex alone rarely leads to intimacy; that intimacy is intentional, requires more work, and requires a certain aspect of emotional availability and maturity than sex. This quote speaks to me about that.

“It’s easy to take your clothes off and have sex; people do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them in your spirit, thoughts, fears, future, hopes, and dreams – that’s being naked.”

We aren’t truly naked enough with each other and yet, we want and expect others to be physically naked with us. We do this often with false promises of true nakedness that never comes; “Let’s see where this goes” or “go with the flow.” Sex itself is just sex, and perhaps in some circumstances, a gateway to intimacy, but it has never been that for me. Perhaps it is the way my brain has been wired – part genetics, partly influenced by trauma – but to trust someone who has only seen me physically, but does not make an effort to know my spiritually and mentally (and I’m not talking about religion here, I’m talking about my inner being), is near impossible for me.

I have never had sex with someone that I felt intimately connected to in my adult life. Sure, I’ve loved them. But I did not feel the intimate connection that allows sex to transcend the physical and become something supernatural. I have never had a man try to get know me, understand my intricacies and apply that to how he loved and cared for me, both in practice and in sex. In turn, I have never felt 100% safe with a partner. I am admitting this now, but it is painful and weird to say that out loud and to the world. And I know that the key to this is a deeper level of intimacy. But how do we even go about building this? Does this even exist?

I wrote a post recently about the love I crave and I think within that are many metaphors describing what my ideal relationship; freedom, independence, interdependence, passion, and also intimacy. I once had a garden and although a lot of work, it never felt that way, because I loved the work it took to tend to it. I felt connected to it. I spent time looking at it, admiring it, learning about it, and trying to listen to what it was that it was saying that it needed. I gave it quite a bit of my attention and enjoyed sitting with it quietly. It also made me laugh and we had hiccups here and there, and we recovered together. Growing a garden is a very intimate affair, whether you know it or not. And truly committing to a relationship also requires this (and likely more) great deal of intimacy – at least for someone like me.

I wish that we could learn more about what it means to be intimate with one another and not to shy away from it. I wish we could see that some of us need safety and intimacy to thrive, and understand how that contributes to an invaluable amount of love. And for some of us, that fertile ground of intimacy and safety, can lead to the best sex, and even more worthwhile, love of your life. That every time you say, we can’t be more emotionally intimate because we just met, and yet expect someone to disrobe for you and be fully present for sex, in some ways you diminish the ways that sex can be intimate, that each time I try to tell you something about me or is core to my life, and you quickly switch to asking me about the color of my panties or sexual fantasy, to every time you kiss or touch me with only an intention to have sexual relations, that you create more distance, that you get further from your goal, that I mentally dismiss you, and for some of us, you may even make us feel used or detached.

I am not sure I can convince many of you of this. We live in hook up and fast paced culture that seems to often place higher value on pace and quantity, and well, sex feels good. I am not saying that every encounter should or ought to be intimate, that there is no place for hookups and one night stands (trust me, there are places and reasons for this), but rather, I am offering that should we ever want anything more substantial, we have to become more substantial. I’m saying connection still matters. I’m also offering to those who feel like me, that they are too deep, too introspective, too intimate, that you are not alone. I’m offering to all my many clients who have struggled with meaningless encounter after another, that I understand.

I do not know if I will find this intimacy in a romantic relationship. If not, I don’t know if I can ever fully commit to a person romantically. I may have to be content in my close friend circle that provides me emotional intimacy without any conditions. I consider myself lucky to have that. I cannot imagine how some people go through life without it. To me, it seems like a zombie or a shell of a life, not fully realized. I hope for you all, that you find intimacy.

**I have a hunch from discussions with my friends that this may be true in other types of partnerships as well, but I can only authentically speak from my experience, which romantically have been heterosexual. I’m interested in how this differs for others though!.

I Finally Understand the Relationship I Crave

I first encountered this question with one of my favorite therapists. She asked me, “LeAnna, what kind of relationship do you want?” And said, for her, “it would be like my favorite pair of blue jeans, worn in, comfortable, and comforting.”  I thought that was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard and so, I tried that on for fit. It was a delightful notion, but didn’t quite fit what was the relationship that would be best for me. Yet and still, I continued for years to wrestle with that question.

I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately. And today, I came into the realization of what the relationship is that I crave. I am looking for a relationship that allows me to be the wildflower or wild fruit I have always been. Some people call me a free spirit, some an exception, some weird, some zesty or wistful, and others throw their hands up in exasperation as they do not know WHAT I am. I think I am a wild fruit with many branches, stems, and odd fruit, that does not wish to be confined or defined. I am not meant to be a fenced in flower, I am not a dainty rose, I am not flowers that grow in neat rows that bare no fruit but are stunning, and I am not a weed to be plucked. And I need a relationship that is a garden large enough to allow me to grow as I please.

This relationship would not try to confine me, would give me the space to sprawl my long greenery all over the dirt, grow over any fences, destroy fences that stunt my growth, and tends to me with the tender loving kindness that gardeners use to tend to their bounty. Providing nurturing and support when necessary, but never critical or blaming when the bounty does not reach their expectations, and instead thrilled with what it blooms in its own unique space, admiring its unexpected colors or fruits.

A love that is careful when entering the garden to not stomp or destroy the wild flowers of my being, but not too careful as it understands that as a wild fruit, I am capable of a persisting in the worst conditions, but am better when provided the best conditions. A love that respects my ever persisting and fierce life force, but understands that even the wildest among us needs sustenance.  A love that possesses the understanding  that a garden that wilts needs water, love, nurture, and sunshine, rather than criticism, neglect, or coldness. Who understands that a wilted garden does not have to die, but can thrive when shown a little tenderness, and often comes back tenfold in its produce.

I crave a love that understands that my roots run deeper, wider, and across spans of a universe that they cannot see, and yet, takes the time to study and learn how a wild flower like me can produce sweet fruit, and puts each new tidbit of knowledge into practice. A love that understands that wild flowers cannot be tamed or controlled, they can only be nurtured and loved. And that in return for your understanding, I will reward this love with the sweetest fruits, sustenance for his vitamin deprived heart, and a beauty that has little to do with physical appearance, but the very essence of what it means to live. My fruit is versatile, can be used to cure the ailing of broken hearts and to nourish the sickest of men – if only allowed to be wild and free, with a gentle guard of protection and a tender form of care.

My perfect relationship is a garden, and I, the wildflower. The gardener and I take care of nourishing one another, never expecting each other to be any one other than we are. He would love me to grow into the most magnificent part of myself, never worrying about if I outgrow or shine him, as we both will know, the flower is a direct reflection of his care, nurture, and ability to allow me to be a wild flower. While his health, resilience, and stature is a direct reflection of my ability to provide him with the nourishment of my fruit.

This is what I crave.

“The Fuckboy Back-Out”

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The Fuckboy Back-Out: When someone declares that they are not “looking for anything serious” but then proceeds to have a somewhat intimate and sometimes exclusive type of relationship with another party. Only to declare that they weren’t looking for anything serious to begin with once feelings become involved. 

I’ve been guilty of doing the fuckboy back-out. Maybe not in the case of the exact description above, but I have done it.  I’ve had some sort of connection with someone, but then realized that it was something I didn’t want to be in, so I decided to end things.  Details are unimportant at this time however, anyway you put it, I’m guilty.  I don’t feel great about it and I’ve even apologized about it.  I know that I have fuckboy tendencies. My blogger friends here at ATOTC remind me about it all the time.  I’ve learned from my past and hope to never be a fuckboy of this caliber ever again.

I still have some things to work on. lol

But with that said…

Stop playing with my fucking emotions!

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Don’t tell me that you are not looking for anything serious after I tell you I’m interested in meeting someone long-term and then ask come home with me after meeting you (OK so this is probably all initially my fault anyways)

BUT…

Don’t lay in my bed for hours kissing and cuddling the next morning if you aren’t looking for anything serious.

Don’t text me asking me out on a Brunch date two days later if you aren’t looking for anything serious.

Don’t text me upset that I didn’t invite you to dinner when I tell you I’m having one of your favorite meals if you aren’t looking for anything serious.

As a matter of fact…Don’t text me like you enjoy talking to me all the time if you aren’t looking for anything serious. We ain’t friends.

Don’t ask me out to dinner if you aren’t looking for anything serious.

Don’t come over to my house, cuddle under my blanket, and fall asleep watching TV if you aren’t looking for anything serious.

Don’t ask to stay at my house because you are about to go on a long trip for work if you aren’t looking for anything serious.

I am NOT here to be your convenient boyfriend.  No, you CAN NOT have your cake and eat it too.

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This would be the second time in less than a year, that I’ve dealt with this.   I meet someone, they don’t want anything serious, but I’m invited to places, I go. We have fun.  I’m taking them places.  We’re laughing and having a good time.  I tell them I like them. He responds back with “I like you too”. But then he starts to make subtle comments about how he’s single and isn’t really looking for anything.

But that’s only if I’m lucky.

Most guys that are guilty of the fuckboy back-out make no mention of how they want to be single.  This is so they can keep riding the wave and then say “I never said that” or “I was just having fun” or “Why are you assuming things” or whatever the hell other excuse they can use because they never specifically stated anything.

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But for the ones that do continue to conveniently remind me, I know what they’re doing.  They’re saying this just to “check” me.  Ohhh yeah, that’s right.  You don’t want me to be your boyfriend, but you’re such a good guy.  How can I deny you that you want to still hang out with me and have “fun”.

And you know what? My dumb ass sticks with it.

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And I KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON. THE. WHOLE. TIME. But my dumb ass brain operates terribly when it comes to feelings. All of that dopamine and bullshit in my head that the science people be talking about makes me forget my name sometimes.  I’m an emotional guy (as most of you know), but these type of moments tend to cater to my “throw caution to the wind” attitude, so all I be thinking is “who cares if this isn’t going to be a thing, I’m enjoying myself!”.

I’m Over it!

Done!

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I’ve finally learned from my past fuck ups. Fuck your “I’m not looking for anything”. That’s your cop out.  Your official “Fuckboy Back-Out”.  Because, how is it that you want to spend all of your time with me; You spend money on me; I spend money on you; And you don’t want to be “exclusive”? Why? Because you want to fuck around?  You can’t handle having a title? You think being in a relationship is lame? Fine. If you want to do that, do that. But when it’s all said and done, leave my space because I’d rather spend money on my damn self.

At this point I should know better. And I think I do, actually.  I’ve finally learned to bow out gracefully when the signs are there.  And you best be sure, I know these signs now.  So when you want to go to dinner, then stop by my place afterwards then decide to spend the night.  That’s going to be a no.  When you text me, asking me what I’m doing because you’re “bored”.  Bored better mean “horny at the moment and I’ll be on my way afterwards”.  Because from now on, there ain’t no cuddling shit going on around here.  Those are reserved.

Because I’m a master cuddler.  Sorry, but not sorry that you’ll be missing out.

 

I am Tired Of Dating: Stop Screwing With People’s Emotions… And By People, I Mean Me!

This is a vent post. A wake up call to everyone out there fucking with everyone’s emotions. A comforting blanket for those crying and feeling alone and rejected by dating. A warrior call to those with strength to fuck shit up.

I am so fucking tired of people, and specific to my situation, straight men, doing whatever the hell they want with no repercussions while dating. They come in with no intention of caring for another, and perpetuate as if they may be capable, only to leave women, my friends, me, feeling confused, emotionally drained, defeated, and lately, in my case, pissed. And I’M OVER IT.

Yes, yes. I know. I should be invincible, not allow others to define my emotions, and basically be this woman who knows her worth and moves on unscathed. I do not know what super hero movie you think I’m from, but let me tell you one thing, knowing my worth has nothing to do with the feelings of despair and isolation you feel when people treat you like shit. I may be able to move on at some point and carry my head high, but if you are able to move on unscathed, please bestow your super hero powers on me. Me, I’m simply human and trying to keep myself sane.

For instance, the 5 past first dates I have had scheduled, have all flaked on me. Some have done the disappearing act on the day of. You know, nowhere to be found, number doesn’t work, and you never hear from them again. Luckily, you usually see this coming 24 hours in advance, feel crappy, order take in and/or wine, and stay home crying and texting your group chat about what is wrong with you.

The other type of flake is the set a date, be excited, text you less than 24 hours in advance, so you think it is going to happen. You buy a whole new fucking outfit, and he disappears about 12 hours before. You usually don’t show up for this one either, but this one hurts more and then next damn day, he has an excuse about his ____ dying, his house flooded, or in my situation, a car accident (in which I later learned happened waaaay before our date, he got ibuprofen for a “back injury,”and could totally have taken 2 seconds to text me he wasn’t going to make it). I’m (and you are) a nice person though, so you excuse that.

The last way to get flaked on (or in my situation, at least) is the worst. A guy who has committed one of the above offenses, shows up again and reschedules. He changes the venue an hour or two before to another city and you show up. And he never shows up, calls, or texts. AFTER being the car accident guy on the last date…

Screeeeeech. W. T. ENTIRE. F.

This one usually leads to drinking a lot at said bar meet up spot, trying not to cry, and lots of friends supporting you. But for me, this also lead to days of self doubt, internal warfare, and anger. Lots of it. You see, this came after all these failed attempts at first dates, from guys who seemed interested in me, and I don’t care what anyone tries to convince me otherwise, that shit HURT.

I’m also hurting from dating for many other reasons. I’m very annoyed with guys who want to date me but take no initiative, even if I lay it on the table and state my interest. I’m tired of everyone all the way up to 42 years damn old, not ready to settle down and are looking for “fun,” and come to wreck my life on dating sites despite my clear statement I’m looking for a long term relationship. I’m tired of their audacity to even become remotely upset, when I point that out. I’m tired of men who open up parts of me, only to disappear. Tired of men lying about simple shit, and when I call them out on it, play stupid and switch it back on me, leaving me no choice but to ignore their dumb “looking eyes” emojis when they try to pop up. In fact, I’m tired of the pop ups, please go away and I hate those damn “looking eyes.” I am tired if you flirting endlessly with me all night, hiding your left hand or not wearing your ring, only to tell me hours later that you’re married. I am tired of you realizing too late, I was the one who got away. I’m tired of broken promises strewn on the floor, like shattered glass – seemingly magnificent, but painful.

I’m tired of cisgender, heterosexual men setting the standards and rules of dating and being a woman, that if I don’t follow, rebel, or question, then I’m the crazy one.

Mostly, I’m tired. And I feel an uprising within me that grows stronger everyday. Men, particularly, black men, I love you, but you need to do fucking better. Because I am hearing the warrior call in all areas of my life, and I’m tired and ready for battle.

Dating is the worst…Confirmed

I’ve been pondering on if I should post this.  I wrote it about a month ago.  I just felt like if I stopped talking about Dating, then I’d get over it. HA! This is a follow up to the blog post Dating is the worst….Kind of…  (No this isn’t a solicitation to be hooked up with anyone. You know who you are! LOL) This will most likely be my last post like this about dating. Mostly because it’s a new year, and I’m trying to be a better me.

At the time that I wrote “Dating is the worst…Kind of…” I was just kind of in the middle of this in-and-out thing with someone and wasn’t really sure what things were between me and that person.  It was a great time, and I had fun, but after a while I starting thinking “hey, this is a good thing!” (You already know where this is going).  At the time I was “going with the flow”, like everyone always suggests. “If something is there then let it happen naturally” they say.  Sure, but how long do you have to wait before something starts to “happen naturally”?  At what certain point do you get tired of “going with the flow” after flowing for months and for some people, years?  It should go without saying that when feelings start to be involved, then that’s where things need to be looked at closer. And someone is always going to catch feelings…

I guess that’s where I fucked up.

As a pretty emotional person, I tend to let my feels get the best of me at times (a lot of times). And that’s not necessarily a bad thing but I do end up in bad situations a lot due to it.  In most cases, it’s when I feel like I need to throw caution to the wind due to being an over-thinker (Which is a terrible method and I’m trying to get back to my “fuck it all” ways; Even though I’ve officially embraced my “I got time” nature…I’m a little confused on things currently in this department).

*Sigh*

I probably should have posted this sooner…

But I didn’t.  I thought I was over it.  And at the time I wrote this, I was still holding on for some dumb reason. We all know that not letting go only turns you into a angry, bitter, stalker.  And for some time, I was that person.  Angry at the fact that I let myself get into this position again.  Bitter at the fact that they continued to live life as if I barely even existed, and stalker because social media just makes it so easy; So I’m hoping for this to be my ultimate “let go” moment of this situation.

Dating is such a difficult process.  Without even realizing it, it’s something that can determine the trajectory of the rest of your life.  Just think, all it takes is one day to meet your future spouse. One person, a stranger even, could be the one you end up spending the rest of your life with.  Just one day.  I recently started thinking this way, and it let me to date a little more critically.  I used to date carelessly; Ok, lets be honest.  I used to hook up and then decide if they were viable candidates to spend the rest of my life with (a terrible business model).  It’s a trap I’ve been setting myself up for for YEARS and now I’m finally realizing it.  In my aforementioned post, this was literally my example of how I dated, and why I thought it was the worst.  But dating that way is cake compared to actually DATING someone.  It was easy back then but now, you get too involved and your emotions are all fucked afterwards.

Ever since starting “The Tinder Experiment”,  I’ve worked on changing my whole philosophy on dating because, to be frank; Just because the sex is good doesn’t mean that’s who I should be laying beside for the rest of my life.

So back then, dating was only the worst… “Kind of…” because I would feel like crap, but then pick myself back up by the bootstraps, download a hookup app and start searching for the next adventure and I would be fine.  But in my current situation, where I’ve actually started investing time in getting to know people on a more intimate level, dating actually gets difficult.  Yeah, sometimes things don’t work out, and that’s normal, but I’m talking about the times where you’re genuinely getting to know someone. You start getting to know them and enjoying time with that person and then it ends abruptly. And it just hurts like hell.  Because instead of just looking for your next fuck, you feel drained, hopeless at times because you’ve showed so much of yourself to this person for nothing.  It’s disheartening, and really damaging, honestly.

I blame the hook up apps…

But, actually, I blame myself.  I blame myself for a lot of different reasons that are too lengthy to list here, but I do.

I haven’t seriously talked to many people since. Well, I did, but things fell off.  I guess at this point it’s obvious that things fell off because of my previous experience.  I’m slightly scared, sure.  And it might sound like I’m complaining or whining, and maybe I am.  It’s just a part of the process.

So again, no, I’m not looking for encouraging words, or for you to hook me up with anyone (Tina! lol).  Reason being is because after going through so many dating situations, you start the think that you are the problem, and then you feel a little hopeless for a while, and then you don’t want to let anyone in, and you always think in your head that Karma is a bitch, and ultimately, you’re just tired.  Because who’s ready to exert that much time and energy into someone again already?   So to the guys I’ve talked to recently; I’m working on it, but…now you know.

So yeah, Dating is the worst…for now…