I’ve been learning a lot lately regarding facing head-on the things that intimidate me. I’ve realized that fearing conflict and difficult conversations suck more joy out of my life than actually having the difficult conversation.
I’d say the most difficult thing I’ve done lately is re-entering the online dating world. I took some time to process the ending of my last relationship and focus on what’s important to me. School is going well and I have a good grasp on what I need to do for my future career. I had my grandfather take pictures of me at a local park. I ordered a special dress that I love and got to dress up. After taking the photos, I picked which ones I liked best and made my profile. Taking photos was a good confidence boost. It was nice to have someone take nice photos of m, and being a family member I trusted made the experience better. I’ve been back in the online dating game for about a week and while I haven’t gone on any in-person dates, I’m finally having decent conversations, so here’s an update on what’s happened this week.
For starters, I’ve always dated guys who were younger than me. This is the first time I’m specifically dating those who are my age or older. I think this has led to better quality conversations and the men knowing what they want. I will say there have been some interesting conversations that I didn’t know what to make of. There was one guy, we’ll call Mitchell, who ghosted me after we had what I thought was a pretty good conversation. Being ghosted is annoying but if he couldn’t handle me over text, he didn’t deserve to meet me in person, because I know I’m a lot of fun. There was another gentleman who we can call Daniel. I asked him what he’s learned from past relationships. I was expecting some general lessons such as the importance of good communication, the qualities he needs in a partner or other anecdotes regarding personal growth. Instead, I was treated to quite the story. He proceeded to tell me how his ex had ended the relationship after he’d bought a customized relationship. He then told me that he buried the ring in his mother’s backyard and refused to talk to me for the rest of the evening. We’re still chatting but it’s felt forced and awkward ever since. He gives very short answers, he doesn’t seem to want to have an in-depth conversation. I do wish to.. unmatch him but I’m also wondering how long I give him before I stop dealing with him refusing to be known most slightly. The last sub-stellar conversation was with a gentleman who insulted my educational journey by insinuating my second bachelor’s degree is a waste of time. That was prompt unmatch.
Another lesson I’m learning is the importance of patience. I get frustrated that I’m not in my chosen career path yet. I’m about eight months from finishing my second bachelor’s in healthcare management. I’m about a third of the way through my data analytics certificate but I want to speed everything up and get to where I want to go right now. I have to focus on the progress I’ve already made and lean into what I can control. My hope in sharing this process is to help people on the spectrum feel comfortable dating if it’s something they want to do but don’t have the confidence yet to attempt. My self-esteem used to be quite poor and I was sure that no one would want someone who was neurodivergent and who’d struggled with significant mental health issues. I’ve come to learn that it’s not the challenges you’ve overcome that is important, it’s how one responds to those challenges and grows as a person. I now know my worth and believe I deserve someone who treats me well and treats me well. I feel like I’m ready for a long-term relationship that could go the distance. Patience has never been my strength but it has gotten a lot better the older I’ve gotten.
What has surprised me about re-entering the dating world is how it really confirmed and made me face that my prior relationship is over. Completing the grieving process has been healing and centering. I look forward to meeting new people and experiencing new things. More to come in the future regarding my dating adventures.
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