Sifting through the garbage

Back by popular demand. I am here to update you all on the dating life of Jen. A few weeks ago, in a moment of weakness, I downloaded the dating apps again. After finally letting go of St. Louis (sorry Cal), I found myself a mixture of bored and buzzed. So what better solution other than swiping through other bored people in the middle of a pandemic?

The reality of it all? I had to deny and reject several offers before finally, weeks later, meeting someone. But up until that moment, I really thought I was literally sifting through a landfill. See, there were guys asking me if I’d give them a blowjob on the first date (true story). And there were guys sending me unwanted dick pics with no warning.

There was also this guy who never called me despite me telling him I wouldn’t meet him without a phone call first. He was so mad when he finally realized he was going kayaking alone.

Up until this past week, I really thought I was wasting my time. It felt wrong. All this swiping and texting for what? And with what pretend free time that I don’t really have? I was feeling overwhelmed and once again just wanted to run away from it all. But then there he was.

He seemed so simple and normal at first. The conversation was easy. Then we spent 5 hours on the phone and it felt natural. We met this past week for sushi, and once again it felt normal. Have I known him for a week or longer?

It’s all new but I’ve been praying daily for God to guide my footsteps. He told me, back in November of 2016, that He has “someone better” for me. I am really hoping and praying for my someone better.

Why I’m not afraid of being single

First of all, before I dive into the topic of my dating life, I must pre-cursor with: I am completely and utterly full of joy in every aspect of my life. My career, my education (on-going), my family, my friends, and my faith. Everything literally feels like a dream. Needless to say, I have zero complaints. Except for one. My singleness. But not enough to lower my standards. Or settle for less.

See, recently someone told me I can’t afford to be picky. Maybe because I have a daughter and want another kid. Maybe because I’m not getting any younger. Maybe because it would be really nice to have someone to help me grow in all aspects of life: financially, physically, and mentally. But no where in any of that is what God wants for my life. See, it’s easy to give excuses as to why I could just settle for the next guy who swipes right on me (if I ever go back on the apps lol). Or I could start building a case to go backwards and just accept someone who doesn’t value me as much as I should be valued. But in doing any of these things, I lose myself and what brings me joy.

Why should I walk away from my joy-filled life only to check a box? And while a good, healthy partnership is way more than a box, right now without that good, healthy relationship waiting on my doorstep it is just a box to check off. And at the end of the day, I have to focus on the most important things in my life. My daughter is important, my faith is important, my well-being is important. See, I love myself and I love Jesus. And I love others. I have so much love sometimes it’s overwhelming. But no where did God say it’s ok to love those who don’t love you back. Or, rather, you can love but with boundaries.

I think these past four years since my husband left me in late 2016 I’ve struggled with my self-worth and value. See, I believed the lies the devil told me that I wasn’t worth it. I still battle these lies daily, but I know that I am beyond worth it. I know that I am powerful but not powerful enough to ruin God’s plan for my life. And so far, from what I’ve seen, it’s a glorious plan. Even if it includes me being single. I have all the love and joy I need.

I’ll leave you all with this piece of wisdom:

Three strikes, you’re out

After my last post, things took a drastic turn for the worse. I won’t lie, I was totally smitten with this Doctor moving to Boston. I am not sure if it was Harvard, or all the punny jokes, but he swept me off my feet. Unfortunately, as I was developing feelings for someone who was about to move away from me, he turned into a 14 year old over night. All of a sudden, his mom wouldn’t let him out of the house (I could see why he was moving away lol). I tried to see him, but all of the excuses came up and it made me realize I was not as important to him as he was to me.

Moral of the story: don’t fall for a guy who’s moving away and knows he’s moving away and doesn’t tell you right away. Ugh, Boston, you got me!

I literally paused my dating apps, but once he refused to hang out with me again I went back. I met the third guy, who was cool until he told me he was legally married. Three years separated and supposedly hasn’t talked to his wife in three years, but I couldn’t see past the word married. See, I dated a married guy before and you know how that ended. In total utter heartbreak. I told him there was no way I could see past this. Also what the hell was he waiting for? Aaron Burr, if you stand for nothing, what will you fall for? Like if 3 years of no communication didn’t warrant a divorce, what would? AND why the FUCK are you on a dating app if you’re married?

To be a little nice, I agreed to be friends with him. But even that is iffy. He supposedly is calling a lawyer tomorrow, but I am still confused as to why he didn’t call them yesterday, or better yet three years ago.

Amidst all of this, another guy started talking to me. His profile stuck out because he used foreign words such as: He is dedicated, loyal, and loving. He was really cute and worked in a hospital. It was almost too perfect. He video called me and I agreed to meet him three days later. Right before we meet, I look up his dating profile and I realize he deactivated it. I’ve never seen this before, and it sticks out to me. We meet, and we talk, and I realize we have a lot in common. We have been through similar situations, and we have similar goals in life. He’s a year away from his PhD about to be a doctor/director of a hospital. To say he’s smart is an understatement. I won’t lie, this guy seems foreign to me. He legit wants to be with me after two dates. I deactivated my dating accounts and I’m giving him a shot. So I guess, wish us luck. I’m weary after Bright to be honest.

And the craziest part is I have two guys from a dating app who slipped through the cracks right before I met new guy who are quite upset I didn’t even give them a chance. But I am not able to date around. I am a girl who gives each guy a fair and even shot. So to the new guy and to us. Hopefully we survive Covid (I told him I want him to meet my church fam but obviously that’s not possible). I’ve been praying daily as I really do want what God wants for me. Whether it’s this guy or someone else, I am looking towards Him to guide my footsteps.

Stay tuned for more adventures in my dating life and beyond.

My adventures in dating and how I found a unicorn

Due to popular demand, I am writing this blog post late on a Sunday night in regards to my adventures in dating. This is an ongoing narrative, but thought I’d give an update in the dating life of Jen.

Some background: I have been in full-time school since June 8th, and I have a 1 year old who keeps me busy when she’s not with her sitter (about 2-3 days a week) or her dad (every other weekend). To put it simply, I don’t really have time to date. I am looking for something very specific, I actually made a list. Ideally, I want to meet and be pursued by the man God has for me. I have a very specific plan that includes marriage in the future. I will list below what I want out of the man in my life, which has guided me in my decisions towards who I date and who I say bye to.

*He’s ambitious
*He’s open-minded
*He’s intelligent
*He’s passionate
*He’s family oriented
*He’s kind and sweet to me
*He accepts me for who I am
*I must be able to learn from him
*He wants to be my closest friend
*He enjoys learning
*He loves trying new things
*He knows who he is
*He’s on his journey of finding his purpose
*His heart is pure
*His soul is raw and real

Through my experience, I tend to have very specific preferences. Ever since February of this year, I’ve been very interested and honed in on black men in the medical field. I dated a pharmacist from March to June, and I went back to the dating apps about two weeks ago. That’s when the adventure started. I was striking out on the app until last week Saturday I was inspired, drank some wine, and started swiping away. I started talking to some interesting people, video chatted with one in particular and we agreed to meet the next morning for coffee. We met, and he was super cute and really tall (6’4″) but after thinking further, I determined he wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I also, indubitably, got distracted by someone more engaging. This guy just kept texting me these awful and hilarious jokes. At first I thought he was yet another guy trying to get in my pants, but he turned out to be so much more.

After texting all day Sunday and Monday, we decide to last minute meet on Monday night. We go out for food and the connection is undeniable. I literally can’t stop laughing all night long, the next day my face hurts as I teach my lesson in my internship. He is one of the two guys I’ve ever met and felt this instant connection with. So much, I start thinking there’s something not right about the situation. My fears are confirmed on Wednesday afternoon when he texts me that he’s moving to Boston in August for the job of a lifetime: to be a doctor at Harvard University Teaching Hospital. He basically asks me if I want to move forward and try a long distance relationship (insert gasp here). Day 4. LDR. Understandably, I start thinking about the pros and cons. I actually take the next 24 hours to process things, ask others their opinions, and make a pros and cons list. The pros outweigh the cons, and I agree to continue to see him until he moves on August 3rd.

We spend Thursday night, and Saturday night together. I meet his friends Saturday night and have a great night with him and them in the city (both downtown and in Lakeview). We both are currently in the same mindset that we will take things one day at a time. I won’t lie, I already looked at flights to Boston and texted my bestie Joyce who lives in Boston to tell her I want to come (pending covid status).

Someone tell me to wake up. This guy is too great but is it only because he’s moving away? Has anyone been in a long distance relationship? Did it work out? Or no?

Picture of me attached. I refuse to take a picture of us because there is no us unless we somehow weather the storm of the impending distance between us.

On to the next! To be continued…

October = Change

For most of my adult life, the month of October (and the season of Fall in general) has brought change for most years than I can remember. In this post, I’m going to go over some of the biggest changes I went through and how they’ve shaped me into the person I am today.

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The year was 2007. This was the year I dumped my first long-term boyfriend. The actual break up didn’t happen until mid-November (right before Thanksgiving) but I initiated a break during the month of October in hopes that maybe we could mend things. But really, things were beyond repair. To be completely honest, I was in major denial since my ex never fully trusted me. Reading my emails, searching through old chat histories. He was on the hunt for any hint that I was unfaithful. Even when he found nothing, he just kept looking. And I just kept telling myself things would get better. I’m very thankful for the Fall of 2007 when I finally took a stand for myself and walked away from a toxic relationship.

The year was 2008. It took me a year to finally build up the guts to consider dating again. And I went in swinging. Asked a guy for his number that I met at a Young Adults (20s) Ministry, then called him 2 days later and asked him out. We went on several dates over the next few weeks. But after about a month or so, he took me to get coffee and basically dumped me. This was the year that I learned that I couldn’t always get my way.

The year was 2009. I told my close friends and my parents that I was dating a married man. Needless to say, no one took this well. My good friend went so far as to take away my phone until I promised her I’d end things. My mom yelled at me for what felt like weeks, maybe months. I had to even face HIS mom, who was somehow even worse. This was the year I decided to break all the rules.

The year was 2010. The married guy I was still dating was now divorced. This was the year I learned that divorces take a long time and a lot of money, especially when there’s an angry spouse involved.

The year was 2013. I married who I thought was my soulmate. This was his second marriage, but he told me everything was different. He said we were meant to be. He had never felt so sure, and I was right there with him. I loved him unconditionally and saw myself spending the rest of my life with him. This was the year that I learned that I loved planning weddings. After planning my own, I briefly considered becoming a wedding planner. Still wouldn’t mind this job one day, so it’s still on the table haha.

The year was 2014. My parents announce they’re moving to Pryor, Oklahoma. My dad got a job at Google and my mom will benefit with the amazing health benefits offered by Google. My dad recommends my husband to take his job that he’s leaving in Chicago. I start a new job as well, and finally make closer to what I’m worth (actually using my Master’s degree for the first time). Finally, my husband and I aren’t living paycheck to paycheck. This was the year I learned prayers do get answered, even if some of them aren’t exactly what you imagine.

The year was 2015. I ran my first half-marathon. My parents announce they’re moving back to Chicago. My mom’s health turns for the worst once they move back and she’s gone faster than anyone could’ve guessed. This was the year I learned that life is too short.

The year was 2016. My husband decides to fight for me for most of October, cancels our anniversary trip to Hawaii and moves out of our house the week of his birthday. My entire world comes crashing down. Soon enough I figure out everything that happened, especially since he refuses to meet with me in person due to guilt and shame. This was the year I learned that no person on Earth is worth losing your shit over. I even graciously didn’t destroy any of his things he left behind (which was everything). I’m very thankful I had an amazing therapist who helped me through the divorce.

The year was 2017. I ran the Chicago Marathon, my first full marathon. I trained hard and I raised enough money to provide clean water to 26.2 kids in Africa. Ok, actually 27 since it’s hard to cut kids into little pieces. This was the year I learned the most about myself. I invested in myself and my spiritual life. I’m very grateful for the change in 2017.

The year was 2018. I recently found out I was unexpectedly pregnant. While I wasn’t officially dating the father of my baby, I had let myself have deep feelings for him. Despite all the things going on, I was still too scared of rejection to really talk to him about how I felt. Lucky me, he decided to move on without really talking to me. I also decided to get baptized. I felt like it was extra-special since I was pregnant with Aria. This was the year I learned that while not everything is in my control, God is still on my side helping me be strong to face every challenge. This was the year I learned that I had to be strong and independent because now a baby was going to need me. I’m very humbled by the experience of being pregnant and single.

The year is 2019. And while I have a baby now, I am wondering what this October will bring. Hopefully good changes. Some things really aren’t much different from last fall, but definitely not pregnant this time.

What types of changes have you seen in your life? Do you see them in the fall like I do?

A dating dare

The year was 2005. I was coming up on the end of my first year of college. And what a year it had been! I started the year out homesick only to do a 180 and find myself not wanting to head home for the summer. After a short-lived long-distance relationship and a failed attempt at dating a fellow freshman, I was going into a long summer in the suburbs very, very single. And my good friend Polina was facing a very similar situation, just home to her was a bit further away in Korea. So she had a genius plan! Whoever could get a boyfriend for the summer (summer fling, anyone) would win the bet. I think it was something silly like 5 dollars and/or bragging rights. But it lit a fire under my butt.

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And that was a fire I very much needed. A push off a long-term obsessively ridiculous love for someone I had never met. Ask me another time about that one. But what happened next wasn’t exactly what I expected. I signed up for a free dating site (I was a poor college student who had just finally picked up a summer job!) and within days was inundated with messages from nearly every eligible man near Chicago (and Bloomington???). After carefully weeding out the very noticeable weirdos, I settled on meeting three guys who seemed the most interesting (or least creepy however you’d like to see it).

I liked the first guy. Actually, almost so much that I nearly considered calling off the other two. But there was two things that kinda threw me off about him that I noticed on the first date. And while they weren’t deal-breakers, I didn’t want to torture myself over the long, hot summer with someone I’d have to settle for just to win a bet. So I met the other two guys.

The second guy was awful. The red flags were burning from the beginning, but by the time I decided to call off the date it was too late. So I actually had my guy friend join us on our date, making it more of a casual hangout session. He still tried to kiss me at the end of the night, which didn’t happen. The third guy caught my eye, and on the second date I fell in love with… his mom. Fast forward, I cut things off with the first guy and third guy asks me to be his girlfriend halfway through summer. I win the dare, I win the bragging rights, and I get to hang out with a pretty stellar guy.

His family is great, and actually one of the first examples I witness firsthand where step families get along and mesh well together. He has a step-brother in California, an older brother his mom had during her first marriage. Her first husband moved on and had another family of his own, and all of them are friends. So original marriage, divorced but remained friends. I didn’t know this level of forgiveness and friendship existed. And it was beautiful.

I liked the guy too, but I think a part of me just grinned and bared it for the gloating rights. I also expected him to dump me and move on once we turned into a long distance relationship. The main reason for that thought was that the only other girlfriend he had was someone who lived a few blocks from him. I was already pushing it being about 25 minutes away, I doubted he would survive with me being 2.5 hours away. But once back at school, he proved me wrong. We worked something out and ended up seeing each other every 3 weeks.

What was supposed to be a summer fling, ended up lasting 2 years and 4 months, y’all. My point is, never label something until you know all the details. I learned the hard way to not just write someone off as a fling. Actually, that might be why to this day I still try to imagine myself being with whoever I’m dating for much longer than just that moment. It tends to get me in trouble. Thanks to the summer dating dare, I now try to see if Mr. Joe could be Mr. Brice (obviously he would take my name bc it is superior lol).

This has bitten me in the butt a few times, most noticeably recently when my mind was about 5 million light-years ahead imagining things actually working out with someone only to have him not even give me a chance and choose someone else. So maybe I have to work on balance. Not just write someone off as a fling but also stop imagining myself walking down the aisle in a white dress with them. At least make it a cool color!

Dating and the reason I’m taking a break

“Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”
― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City

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To channel Candace, I leaped head-first into the dating scene after the divorce in 2017 with the idea that I could find someone worthy and willing to be my boyfriend. See as it had been 7+ years since I was last in the dating scene, I was oh-so-wrong. The closest I got was a guy too emotionally devolved to ever come close to being in a healthy relationship let alone healthy enough being alone. After dealing with him for several months, I finally let go and decided to move on in early 2018.

But my luck in dating has been non-existent. While I’ve had fun, I can tell you that every guy I liked in 2018 ended up ghosting me or rejecting me. And the best date of the entire year? Let me tell you about it.

There was this guy, a regular at the gym where I was working. From the moment I saw him, I thought he was cute. Tall, muscular, and luscious hair. But it wasn’t until we talked and I learned that he was from a town most people wouldn’t know but that I was all too familiar with it that we connected. Several weeks later, I gather up the guts to finally ask for his digits. We agree to go out for coffee on a Saturday afternoon. We meet and talk for several hours, until the coffee shop closes and kicks us out. I head home to walk my dog, but can’t get him off my mind. I somehow convince him to meet up with me again, later on that night for a drink. We meet and have some margaritas, and then head back to his place which just so happens to be within walking distance. When we get there, he shows me around and puts a record on after showing me his collection. He’s an old soul and somehow his points increase.

His room-mate comes home and makes a joke about interrupting something sexual, and the guy laughs and closes the door. But then things get serious, and he tells me that he has to be honest with me. Despite having an amazing day, he’s not looking for anything serious or to even date right now. Despite this not being what I wanted to hear, I was glad for his honesty. And had no regrets, since it was by far one of the best days I had in a long while.

And at least he didn’t ghost me. We’re actually still friends. It’s pretty awesome actually. He’s pretty awesome, and I’m glad I met him. But I’m going to take it as a sign, 2018 wasn’t the year for me to find the right guy, and to start off 2019 I decided to take a break from the dating scene. Deleted all the dating apps (ok I was only on one) and successfully ignoring all the dingbats asking me out. What’s it about pregnant chicks and guys wanting to date them? Is that a thing?

Anyways, so far 2019 has been way better. Feels like a weight lifted off my chest. And I know when the timing’s right, the right guy for me will walk into my life. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my time spent with my real soulmates: my girlfriends. 🙂

Late night thoughts

I have a theory. Or maybe a few of them. All relating to people and their behaviors. This is probably one of the latest blog posts I’ve ever done, but I wanted to write this week and didn’t have time until now.

scale-403585_1920There’s an article I read recently about this amazing couple that lost all this weight together. Like nearly 400 pounds between the two of them over the last two years. I can’t even make this up, it’s like two completely different couples. This story got me thinking about relationships and how they can literally build you up and push you forward, or knock you down and hold you back. This is an extreme case of the former. It’s like together they pushed each other to be healthier and to take back their lives.

Ideal relationships

This is the ideal relationship. We all want someone who will love us no matter what, but will also push us to be better than who we were yesterday. Settling is for dirt; people are meant to grow and evolve throughout their entire life. If we end up settling, we may miss an opportunity because we may not even get to that level to open that door. In my previous relationship, I thought I was with someone who was supportive no matter what. It wasn’t until I wanted to go back to school did I realize that he was holding me back from my goals and dreams.

Unhealthy relationships

Then you have the relationships that knock you down. “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!” (The Room). You know, the ones where your partner tells you you’re fat or you’re boring. And somehow, despite all the weight you lose, you’re never good enough. In a way, they can push you to do better, but you’re only trying to do better because the person who’s supposed to be on your team is tearing you down. And you want to prove them wrong. Pretty sure this is unbelievably unhealthy. And if you’re in this type of relationship, the one where your significant other is extremely selfish, please do yourself a favor and leave it. You can do so much better.

Are you in a healthy, ideal relationship? Is your guy or gal willing to support you and push you forward all while loving you no matter what?

What not to say after the first Hello

This past weekend I was out and about much more than I normally am since I had a few extra days off and no marathon to train for. Also, the weather could not be more perfect. I took advantage and explored many areas of the city. I got to see many lights on trees, sip some hot cider at Christkindlmarket, and I even visited my old stompin’ grounds Holiday Club to dance the night away to 80’s hits. While out and about, I also got to meet a few new friendly faces. One in particular struck me as extra-odd and has inspired me to write a little bit about what not to say when you first meet someone.

I’m talking we literally just met, face to face, for the first time. He introduces himself, I already forgot his name, and he starts telling me about what he does and asks me the same. Everything’s fine and dandy, I love talking about what I studied in school or what jobs I have. And I enjoy learning about other people as well; I enjoy networking and growing my social circle. Oh that’s a cool job, I say. I hear that’s a great company to work for.

Then he drops the bomb

The songs didn’t stop playing, the dancing continued on around us, but I took a double look at this guy. What did you just say? You’ve never kissed anyone before? You’re a virgin? How old are you? And why are you telling me this? Of all things, to a perfect stranger.

But then again maybe it’s how he weeds people out. Perhaps there will be one person out of a hundred or a few hundred who’d be like “OH me too!” Okay, maybe more like one out of a few thousand. I know because I’ve been in his shoes. Or close. I was a virgin for a long time (many years), and I also was waiting for marriage (yes, that’s what he told me). But I don’t think I walked around at a bar telling people that. It’s just not a topic that comes to mind when I first meet someone. I’m thinking that’s something that shouldn’t be addressed until you establish and both agree on dating exclusively. Not sure if he thought there was a chance of dating or not, but whatever chance there was burned up once he told me that.

And me, being the ultra-honest female I am, gave him some pointers and feedback afterwards. I told him in the future to keep the facts of his sex life private upon first meeting someone. No one needs to know your entire life story after saying hi at a bar or in a social setting. Not sure he appreciated the feedback, but I told him I was trying to help him out. For the next time he meets a beautiful woman. 😉

You’re welcome!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard upon meeting someone new? I know this doesn’t just go one-way, and that it can be applied to men and women alike.

Relationships and compromise

Because without compromise no relationship would ever work out, today we are going to talk about how much of yourself you truly have to give up to make that “perfect” or (in reality) not so perfect relationship actually work. This is a perk of my always-thinking (read: overthinking) mind and also has been inspired by other people in my life who have opened up to me in regards to their relationships.

Self Love

A lot of us, as humans, are selfish. At the end of the day, we only have ourselves to rely on and love. And self-love is very important! Actually, if you don’t love yourself you won’t be able to properly love someone else. It is nearly impossible. So the very first thing you must learn to do is love and respect yourself. Without that, the relationship will consume you. You know, that “perfect” relationship with the “perfect” guy or girl. It will chew you up and spit you back out. It will destroy you, if you let it. But defend yourself with the proper mindset and it will help you grow and become a better version of yourself.

But on the other side of the same token, if you’re too selfish and focused on yourself that relationship will shrivel up and die. And you’ll be left with just yourself again, wondering what went wrong since you seemed to be doing fine the entire time.

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You have to find the right balance between yourself and your significant other. You have to compromise the right amount, and spend the right amount of time together (growing together) but also still have time for yourself and your hobbies/passions. And sometimes those passions and hobbies will overlap, but you still have to have your own interests so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the other person. As humans, it is important that we feel a few things as listed below.

  • Unique. We want to feel special, like there is no one else like us.
  • Loved. We want to feel wanted by others, their love validates us that we are lovable.
  • Strong/Independent. We don’t want to feel weak or that we have to depend on someone else to live our lives the way we want to.

But what about me?

With all this in mind, there will be sacrifices and compromises that we will have to make to be with someone. While the idea of there being “the one” perfect person for us is nice, it isn’t true. Instead of hoping/waiting for the perfect person to fit ever so perfectly into your life, you should create a list or two to help narrow down your choices (plenty of fish) so that you can find someone to work towards having a healthy relationship with. The lists that I created that have helped me are the two below:

  1. A list of ten deal-breakers. If the guy I’m dating doesn’t meet all ten, I move on.
  2. A list of red flags. Everyone has luggage, no one is perfect, but after going through my marriage, my husband cheating/living a double life, and my divorce I learned which red flags I won’t accept. If these pop up, bye felicia.

Are you in a healthy relationship? One that helps you be a better person? If not, perhaps you should make these lists and re-assess that relationship and what you’re looking for in a significant other. Feel free to comment below your deal breakers or any red flags that make you leave. And let me know if you’d be interested in my lists I’ve created for my next relationship.

Orange you glad I met ya?