Exclusively Dating: On Overcoming Dysfunctional Love

Exclusively Dating: On Overcoming Dysfunctional Love

A year ago today, I posted this on Facebook. Who would have thought that today I would be 34 days away from my wedding. More importantly, who would have thought that I had enough HEALTHY love for myself and my partner. Who would have thought that I could be whole, happy, and healthy.

It’s been a hard fought journey. And I don’t regret a single part. I hope this inspires you and empowers you.

Bees, I got something to get off my chest. Light some incense, hold space, drink some Crown, and vibe with me.

(TL;DR- I'm in love and beyond love. I've spent time this year healing 38 years of shit and I've learned how to finally love/forgive myself so that I could give/receive authentic love)

A week ago, I decided to exclusively date someone. And it’s a big damn deal as I reflect on how far I’ve come on this relationship/dating journey.

The backstory:

In high school, I didn’t date much. I went on maybe 3 dates total. Mostly, it was because I was a lesbian and not out and trying to ignore that fact by becoming super busy with student leadership (and depression and anxiety and Starbucks and cigarettes and Roseanne and avoidance). The other part of the truth is that I had become “born-again” right before I had my first girl crush and had fully bought into the idea that sex was for marriage and dating was supposed to be a trial towards marriage. My college years and twenties were spent in serious, long-term relationships. I didn’t have the “fun,” experimental, dating years. I was too focused on making every person I dated my “happily, ever after.”

The journey:

I got married a few months before my 29th birthday, and I thought I was ready. I loved my wife. I had the requisite degree, career, and salary. I was a homeowner. I was committed.

Except I didn’t know who I was or what I valued. Except I didn’t know what it meant to be wholly me. Except I didn’t know how to effectively communicate. Except I didn’t have boundaries. Except I was still co-dependent. Except I hadn’t healed from my childhood traumas. Except I didn’t know how to deal with conflict. Except I didn’t know how to navigate the subsequent traumas that happened during my marriage. Except I didn’t know how to be optimistic anymore.

So I asked for a divorce.

I spent the next few years figuring out who I was, but I still looked for forgiveness and validation through relationships. I tried to earn love. I longed to be enough.

The shift:

God saw more for me than I did for myself. Oya disrupted that cycle, and I found myself alone.

It was ugly and hard and gut-wrenching and scary. Worse than divorce. Worse than miscarriages. Worse than foreclosure. Too many days I was on auto-pilot because I was afraid of completely losing it. Too many days saw emotional breakdowns.

But Oya carried me. What is destroyed needs to be so that beauty and your highest truth can be formed.

I went into therapy. God sent a friend to live with me. I discovered yoga. I learned to date myself. I began to have a voice. I discovered that I have emotions and that acknowledging feelings isn’t a sign of weakness.

I learned that I had immense guilt and shame about my divorce, my miscarriages, my relationships, my career, my shortcomings. I learned that I was the only person I had never forgiven.

I learned to forgive myself. And then to love myself. And then to honor myself.

This past spring, I started dating in a soul-aligned way. I had the 20s I never did. I asked people out. I was asked out. I had adventures. I had coffee. I had experiences. I had pleasure. I dated multiple people. I used my voice. I let my feelings and values lead. I was ghosted. I did the ghosting. I said yes. I said no. It was delicious.

The present:

I’m dating someone exclusively. And it’s from a healthy place. From a place of joy. From a place of confidence. From a place of healing. From a place of clarity. From a place of choice. From a place of optimism. From a place of love.

This isn't just my story. It's yours too, Bee.

What has been YOUR biggest lesson from dating and relationships?

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