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That would be my last date before a self-imposed dating sabbatical. I had been like that for months, emotionally battered after my last relationship and closed off to connection.Looking back one year later, my brain has blotted out much of the months I spent with my ex.They were deep and perplexing, enticing since I loved a challenge.They were confident enough to break through my walls of busyness and fear, but their cocky attitudes eventually gave way to their deeply-rooted insecurities. I don’t see you with a smooth-talker, more of a legitimately good person.”I went to bed thinking about what he said, letting those seeds start to take root. Of course I wanted someone “good.” But did I actually look for that in practice, or just seek out recovering bad boys that I could rehabilitate toward some kind of “good-ish” end?I subconsciously started to recognize how exhausted I was.Historically, I’d tossed my energy at whatever my whims desired, and these characteristics—charming, confident, successful, witty—usually depleted me of my otherwise healthy self-esteem.It’s easy to get sucked in by articulate charmers, especially if you have somewhat of a “fix it” or savior complex; Even after the breakup, you want to see true change in the person. When I’d kindly but firmly decline his invitation for dinner or coffee, as I always did, he’d find ways to press buttons that made me hurt all over again.One moment, it was “you were the best girlfriend I’ve ever been with,” and the next “we were never really together.” I’d smile, tell him I wished him well, and bite back the floodgates.
I wasn’t taking late-night phone calls to argue or vent. It dawned on me that the same principle applied to my romantic relationships.
I was sitting at the prettiest date restaurant, out with a guy I’d met several days before at a mixer.
He was sweet and upbeat, talkative and seemingly driven.
I like that one of my guy friends always silently does the right thing simply for the sake of doing it, not because he’s going to get anything in return. I warm whenever he notices I am selling myself short or subtly downplaying my accomplishments.
It reminds me that I am the sum of my positives, not the essence of my last mistake.
I appreciate the way my friend Mike boosts his girlfriend Jordan's sense of independence during an incredibly busy time in her life.