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Blank Space: Dating Doesn’t Always Go Down In Flames

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The truth is that all of my dating relationships so far have gone down in flames. I’m no dating expert. I’d rather hide away, reading a book in my bedroom than give a guy a chance when it probably won’t work out any way. I’m basically like a cat lady, except with books…I’m on my way to being a really great book lady.

Oftentimes, even when I recognize healthy, I can’t do healthy. I clam up, freak out, hide away and basically do anything to mess things up before anyone else can beat me to it. It’s just how I roll.

When I’d rather stay comfortable by hiding out and when I’ve never experienced a relationship that hasn’t gone down in flames, why in the world am I sitting here proclaiming just the opposite?

Well…some small part of me still believes it’s true. There’s a small part hidden behind a couple walls and bruises and scars, where the tiniest sliver of hope remains. I just can’t bring myself to believe it will always go down in flames.

I believe this because of another belief of mine: redemption is in everything. That there is a redeeming factor in even the worst of circumstances.

Sometimes that’s really comforting because it means I believe that the worst experiences still come with a redeeming quality, and that makes me feel like there’s a reason for the bad stuff in life. Other times it’s not at all comforting because I’d just like something to work out instead of requiring me to search for the good in a situation.

Anyway, that’s why I think dating doesn’t always go down in flames. Because with every hello and goodbye there are new lessons learned, truths experienced and lies uncovered. The bruises and scars leave us with a deeper understanding of what it is we hope for.

With every date I’ve gone on and relationship I’ve been in, I’ve learned something. Most often I’ve uncovered another layer of truth showing me that I’m worthy of being treated well, that I’m allowed to have needs and that it’s better to bravely walk forward than stand paralyzed in fear. These are some truths that relate to me personally; maybe you’ve learned or are learning different lessons (let me know the lessons you’ve learned in the comments below!).

So, to the guy who admitted his motivation for asking me out was my lips…thank you for that gut-cringy feeling that helped me know I’m not just a body and for giving me the confirmation I needed to politely say “no” when you asked me out for a second date.

To the guy who dated me only when it was really convenient for you, thanks for eventually leaving me in the dust and letting me learn to stand back up on my own two feet without your assistance. I needed that.

To the guy who it turns out had some pretty big skeletons in your closet, thanks for teaching me first-hand why I will never again date for potential. Thanks for teaching me that I’m nobody’s superhero. Thanks for letting me experience the very real truth that a leap of faith is worth the risk of falling.

These experiences are a part of a bigger story that has me dreaming of possibilities. The possibility of someone who’ll match me emotionally and spiritually. The possibility of a relationship woven together with honesty and kindness and hope. The possibility of someone with little regard for the opinions of others. The possibility of a relationship that’s “a sign of love to this broken and sinful world” (Book of Common Prayer). The possibility of a relationship where I can be appreciated for who I am rather than who I’m “supposed” to be.

The heat really just refines us, after all.

Rarely does anything simply go down in flames. No…the fire tests, takes some out of the game and refines. Ultimately, it prepares us to be molded and shaped into something, for something, far greater than before.

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