because it is too much damn work AND I don’t want to do it. Yes, I said it, it’s too much work and my heart isn’t in it.

A few weeks back, a friend and I had a few conversations around dating-intentional dating. She explained how she was ready to approach dating differently in 2018. She explained how she had changed her mind set to incorporate a lifestyle with more availability-socially. See her professional life keeps her pretty busy and she felt that she hadn’t made time for an active social life. She also went on to explain that she was a member of a few dating groups/platforms and that she was enjoying her conversations with nice single men. Immediately, I thought, ‘sign me up!’ I have been single for just about eight years, surely it’s time for me to ‘date intentionally’.  Now, I have been on a few dates here and there, but this dating intentionally sounded like an opportunity to get ‘IT’ right.

“I am ready for love
All of the joy and the pain
And all the time that it takes
Just to stay in your good grace
Lately I’ve been thinking
Maybe you’re not ready for me
Maybe you think I need to learn maturity
They say watch what you ask for
Cause you might receive
But if you ask me tomorrow
I’ll say the same thing”

~ India Arie, Ready for Love 

While trolling these platforms, of course I wooed, awed and even cooed at the handsome available single men. I even thought about responding in one of the many ways they encourage you to respond or communicate with ‘someone of interest’. And then nothing. I even hesitated to respond to the gentlemen that sent me a communication. Then I felt like…this is all about competition; the fight to be seen or unseen; more cleavage or less cleavage; thigh or no thigh. My final thought…this is way too much work. Afterwards, I felt compelled to just simply troll in quiet.

Then it hit me….well it wasn’t like I didn’t know it. So maybe I should say…then I was honest with myself…I am not ready to date. If I am feeling like, actively communicating with a man for an opportunity to develop a relationship is a chore, than I should admit that this is not the time for me to date.

You see when I was going through my divorce, I made a commitment to myself that I would not date until my youngest turned 18. Yes, close your mouth-I actually made it to his 18th birthday. “I wanted to be available for them”, is what I told myself. At the time, my youngest two were ages 14 and 12, and I wanted to provide the best stable environment I could in order to help them through this transition. I felt dating during that time would be a complication for them.  But what I didn’t realize at that time was that I wasn’t making that decision for them. It took me all this time, but what I realize today was that I made that decision for me.

When my divorce was final, I had been a mother for 21 years-beginning at 19-married for almost 15 years and together for almost 19. And yes, I truly love being a wife and a mother. But what I was really doing 8 years ago was preparing myself for a journey of self-love.

Mothers you get it-married or single-when parenting we somehow end up last on the list. We don’t do it with a grudge, but it simply happens. Well I was subconsciously rearranging my list-I was moving myself upward. Today, I am number one on my list and I am not ready to add someone else above me. I have not fully taken care of ME-made myself a priority. Sure, I am comfortable going out alone but there is  more to ‘self-love’ than knowing how to sit in a restaurant or movie by yourself.  This is also the time to focus on my career. While I believe a man sets the tone for the dating atmosphere I want to make sure I am coming to the table fully secure not only emotionally, but professionally and financially.  

Not saying no to the opportunity of going out on dates.  I’m simply saying that I won’t be intentionally dating. That means, I won’t be putting myself in an environment and/or a space that gives the impression that I’m open to a full, on-time, on-purpose relationship. It also means that I must be transparent and if I expose myself to an environment where someone may become interested in me, I am ready to share with them where I am in my life and who I am motivated to become and that it may take me some more time to get there. And if they wish to join me on this journey they are welcome to come along but I won’t be intentionally soliciting a ‘travel partner’.

Certainly there are times when I wish I had that special person in my life: like when I want a hug or a soft kiss on the cheek or even someone who is eager to ask about my day while waiting patiently to either share in my excitement or console me from a not so good day.  However I don’t wish to have that question produce a response that gives the impression of or an image of a woman with low self-esteem, lack of confidence, or lack of self-worth during a time where I am still growing as a woman. Because you know what will happen afterwards…..I will gather a few girls together and we will stab at the idea that he was being insensitive and inattentive to my needs all while I was too irresponsible to admit I wasn’t prepared to engage in a solid and nurturing relationship.

So today, I am celebrating all those who are front and center, properly prepared and engaged in the act of intentional dating and I am hoping they find more love than their hearts can handle. And while I long to have a special person in my life, for now, I will patiently and intentionally work on me. I will take some more time to grow emotionally, professionally and financially while continuing to love on my adult children. I will enjoy the life of a single empty nester in anticipation that 2019 will be my year for love!

~ the Breakout Mom