Since I've been single for the past year, I've had a difficult time adapting to getting back out into the dating world. For a long time, I didn't want to be there. But eventually, I found my way back.
I put up a hell of a fight, like many people often do. But sooner or later, if you don't want to live your life alone, you've just got to suck it up and get back out there at some point.
When I became newly single, I didn't know what to say to guys who would ask me out. Should I tell them I'm emotionally unavailable, or should I say I'm just not ready to be involved with someone again? It took a while for me to come up with something to say.
I screwed up a bunch of times. I started telling them I just wasn't interested or available. Eventually, I narrowed it down to something that would make me see the potential in people. I would put a smile on my face when they asked me out, and would fire back at them, "What happened with you and your ex?" I would say this before I'd even given them an answer to their question regarding going out.
Most of the guys were stunned and thrown off to a point where they were stuttering. You see, everyone has a past.
In rare circumstances, you may get someone whose heart is full and unbroken. But usually when you date someone, you have to account for his or her past heartbreaks and loves. That's just how it goes.
The guys I met were calm and collected until I asked them that question. Then, they started running their hands through their hair, trying to come up with the words to explain what had happened.
This made me see people in a different light. It made me see that, as a society, we do a hell of a job hiding our insecurities and past mistakes. We don't bring them up. We try to shove them in the proverbial closet.
But these people, just like me, were just trying to move on from whatever happened with their exes. Whether it was their fault or not didn't really matter. Everyone was just trying to move forward.
It also made it harder for these people to lie. I think it's pretty easy to tell when someone is hurt deeply by something. You can see it in a person's eyes. By throwing a person off his or her game and asking about that kind of pain, one is able to connect more deeply.
I got a couple of good responses when I first started "dating." The typical "It just didn't work out" was popular, but so was "We were young, and the timing was just off." I could relate to everything that these people said.
It's definitely not proper etiquette to ask someone about his or her past, especially when you might not even be on your first date yet. But to hell with the rules.
I need to know what happened before I came into the picture so I know what I'm getting into. I will return the courtesy by letting you know about my history and what I've been through. While these may be difficult conversations, they need to be had.
I want to skip the "What's your favorite color?" and "Tell me about your career." I'm sure I will learn about those things eventually if things go well.
But first, I need to know what makes you hurt and what makes you upset. What makes you run your hands through your hair from nervousness?
When I tell you my story, you will get the same thing from me. You will get a tender heart, and my fingers will twirl my hair.
We all have a past. It's about time we stop denying it.
It made us who we are. In order to move on, we need to accept and express it.
Don't be afraid to ask the tough questions. You don't want to waste the other person's time or your own. I guarantee you won't regret asking.