I like to think that we all start out starry-eyed and innocent. When we start the process of finding our ever-after, we still believe in love and the goodness of people.
But as time goes on, the longer we stay in the game, something happens. Like a shiny new penny that has been dropped on the ground and stepped over one too many times, our optimism dulls. Our faith in others turns jaded. Our faith in ourselves erodes.
But maybe all those people who turn out to be jerks really aren’t…maybe they have just been brainwashed by the game, have accepted the nonsense as normal. Maybe they too have been exposed to the trauma caused by the game.
I was only there for a brief time but it was long enough. (And hope to never go back but that’s a whole different topic) I feel like my experiences with the games people play has altered my perspective on people. Maybe permanently. It’s hard to take people at face value. It’s hard to believe it when someone is actually into you, when you have found someone immune to the games. You have an incorrect measuring stick, so your judgment may be off.
Ghosting and bread-crumbing are the two things I experienced the most and were probably the most damaging to my perspective. (Along with unreasonable expectations, but can’t really do much about that one.)
After meeting someone wonderful, who was different and not a game player, I found myself with fear. Fear, I believed, was caused by trauma from the dating games that people play.
Many times before, people seemed to appreciate me for who I was, right up until they didn’t. Abrupt disconnections, oftentimes unpredictable, made me doubtful and cautious. The game made it difficult for me to believe the words. It made me cautious to think about the future, especially sharing it with someone else.
Even then, I have to drop my expectations and leap, despite the fear. You can’t have what you want without risk and taking chances. You can’t be in a relationship without faith.
Faith in yourself, for having discernment, for being worthy of good things.
Faith in the other person, for being truthful, for being genuine.
Faith in God for taking care of you, for bringing an answer to your prayers.
Beyond that, you just have to be patient, despite ALL your waiting. Being patient is hard, because you have already been SO patient. You are just ready to know what you want and then have it already. But it doesn’t work that way. It’s a brand new canvas each time, and you have to take your time painting that picture.
And you have to believe in the good. Surmise that maybe all those ghosting bread-crumb droppers were once like you and were burned one too many times until they numbed themselves by succumbing to the game. You have to work past your fears and accept that no one is perfect. We all come with baggage—and that doesn’t mean settling—but accepting the baggage that goes with yours.
You have to give, but not too much. You have to be vulnerable, but also not too much.
It’s a difficult balance.
It’s a scary prospect.
It can be worth it, but it might not be.
Like everything, it’s a gamble.
I prefer the adventure of a new, blooming relationship to the hustle of online dating, but its not without challenges. But for now, I hope to have no more dating stories.
Here’s to taking a leap.