• Kat G

Self-reflection isn't always pretty

I'll admit, despite the typical ups and downs, ghosting and general "what the f*ckness" that comes with online dating and dating in general nowadays - I've been very grateful for my dating journey post-divorce. I've learned a lot about myself, about what I want in a partner and been exposed to all kinds of new cultures, music, food and experiences. I have prided myself for my ability to find the silver linings in any date or encounter that went past phone conversations - even though they've all obviously ended at some point.

Most recently though, I found myself realizing that unlike my attempted relationships or courtships before, I was a big reason why this one wouldn't work out. Now, I'm not looking for sympathy or for my amazing tribe to gas me up and tell me "I deserve better" or any other well meaning sentiment. I am definitely aware of my worth but I think one of the most critical parts of dating when you're wanting to find a serious partner or someone to hopefully build a life with, is self-reflection. Being able to look at your own actions, how you approach situations, conversations and hardship and be able to critically look inward and say - did I handle that well?

I can honestly, [sadly] say that I did not like the answers to these questions when I was reflecting this past weekend. Instead, I found myself shockingly aware of my trauma responses and how I was falling into old patterns of communication that I thought I had overcome and outgrown. Instead of approaching a simple subject like communication with an open mind and straight forward vocalized concerns - I tippy-toed around my feelings and put the weight of the issue on myself instead of asking Jon for what I needed from him. Then when he didn't react the way I hoped, after a probably subpar attempt at clarification, I stopped trying. I shut down and emotionally all my walls went up. Now, there were other factors that caused our courtship to end but it would be a disservice to myself not to be able to learn from my mistakes.

Jon was the first man I met who was patient with my schedule, patient with my anxiety questions (which came frequently), enjoyed a multitude of the same interests as me, who I didn't feel ashamed of showing my messy house or my mom car and whom I felt comfortable showing my goofy side (which is oh so rare). I don't know if it was self-sabotage that made me fall into old habits of poor communication or if I simply haven't done as much healing as I thought I had - but I do know that I need to do more work and more self-reflection to figure out how to move forward. I want to be able to communicate healthily with whomever ends up in my life long-term.

It is evident to me now that I have more healing to do. Here's hoping I can become the kind of woman I am proud to offer up to a relationship. For now I'll be patient with myself, continue reminding myself of how far I've come and giving myself the grace I'm always telling my friends they deserve to give themselves. The rest is in God's hands.

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