A day or so ago, I stumbled upon this blog post on Facebook, titled, “I Refused to be Exclusive Until He Proposed“, with a subtitle of: “Why one woman didn’t want to be anyone’s girlfriend.”
Now, for a rather “traditional” girl like myself, I read the title and was like.. Girl bye. How do you expect to become someone’s wife without being their girlfriend first? Yet, upon reading the short and to-the-point post, I surprisingly agreed and am highly considering adopting a similar practice when considering my own dating life.
*shrugs* Hear me out folks..
Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be married. From making my Barbies wed one another during play time, to the multiple boards on Pinterest about all things wedding, to binge watching Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. Marriage is something you could consider a #goal for me.
Turning 23 in less than a month, my biological clock is going bonkers reminding me that I am still not married or close to marriage. Oh, I probably should mention that I always wanted to be married fairly young (this is very relative, but for the sake of generally speaking, let’s just go with “young”). When I was in high school, I swore that I would be married by the time I was a junior/senior or nearly out of college.
Yet, with age, heartbreak, and life experiences, I have since pushed back that “ideal age” to 25/26. And truthfully, it’s not like I am out of time or haggard by any means, so that’s not the purpose of this post. When it (marriage) is meant to happen it will happen. While I am not necessarily a religious being, I do trust timing. The universe is aligning me with certain experiences and individuals for a reason. I am working on embracing that process.
Ultimately, these experiences are making me a better person and subsequently, one day wife.
Nevertheless, the point of this post, is more so about avoiding disappointment.
List most, I’ve had my fair share of disappointment when it comes to dating, and I think I have finally pinpointed why that is: marriage. I entered into relationships or flings with the goal of marriage, and I think a lot of people do this.
Is it wrong? Not necessarily. But will it sometimes end in disappointment or heartbreak? Yes. Hell yes. I had a list of “requirements” that I sought out in a man and didn’t give one the time of day if he didn’t align with majority of the things that I desired. With said list and being fairly “picky” with my time, every man I dealt with was one that at some point I considered to be “hubby material” – this is laughable in hindsight, as none of the men in my past are ones that I would want to spend the rest of my life with now. That’s growth for ya. Anyways, some were stronger candidates than others, but all candidates nonetheless.
Yet, time and time again, those candidates disappointed me, for various reasons. Whether they weren’t ready to commit, or feared distance. It didn’t work out and I was back at square one, heartbroken and disappointed. How does one avoid this? Much like test driving cars you have to try a few before out find the right fit. Well, that’s a poor analogy for me, because I bought the first car I test drove. *Chuckles* But seriously, how do you find a life partner without committing entirely to one beforehand?
Aha! And that’s where we get to the point of the aforementioned blog post (I Refused to be Exclusive Until He Proposed). You don’t have to entirely commit to one person.
“So when Chris asked me to be his girlfriend, I refused. I told him I really liked him, but I didn’t want to be exclusive. I would continue dating him while also spending time with other men. And if things started to get serious with someone else, I would let him know — but I made sure he understood I didn’t plan on being any man’s girlfriend, so he didn’t think my refusal was just about him. My philosophy: May the best man win.
Lo and behold, the best man did win — and he turned out to be Chris.
After nine months of seeing me, Chris got down on one knee with the most gorgeous diamond and sapphire ring I’d ever seen and told me he couldn’t imagine his life without me. Today, we’re blissfully married and have been blessed with a healthy baby boy. I have everything I ever wanted.”
While we are spared great detail in the exert above, the method in which she dated made a lot of sense to me. I reflected on previous relationships and I thought about how much of myself I poured into one person for them to essentially chuck the deuces and leave or cheat. The abrupt endings did something not only to my heart, but my confidence. I began to question myself and my worth, often asking myself, “Why am I not enough?”. In my mind I was doing all I could to prove that I was a worthy partner and one day wife, but these men just weren’t seeing it or realized after they had broken my heart.
Does this style of dating hold people accountable, does it spare heartache and disappointment, does it challenge people to be more intentional? I can’t say for certain, that likely varies based on the individual and to what extent they take this. Yet, what I can say is this style of dating is relatively empowering and allows people (especially women) to not be afraid to have expectations and not settle just because someone is giving you a little attention.
Your time, your energy, your peace, and your love is valuable.
Moreover, I think what struck me most about the blog post was that she wasn’t afraid to take the lead in her wants. I think, as women, we can sometimes withhold sharing our wants or “list of requirements”, fearing that potential partners will move on to the next or see us as wanting too much, but if that is the case then I’d challenge that it is not meant to be. The right one will step up to the plate, the right one will see your light and value, and most importantly the right one will put a ring on it!
Heartbreak sucks, and is seemingly inevitable for some of us. Just remember, that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Love you first. Love all of you.
From there, everything else will fall into place.