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My Top Three Dating Must Haves





So, relationships. With my history, I realize I may not be the best person to give dating and relationship advice, but here I go.


There are two areas of my life I have been intensely healing over the past two and a half years and that is money and sex/romantic relationships. Today we are going to talk about the later. Growing up Mormon where you are taught that sex outside of marriage is a sin next to murder, I have had a lot to unpack as I have found myself free and dating at 50. Also, as a professional tarot card reader, I often get hired by people who want me to read cards for them so they can find out if this or that totally unavailable person who clearly isn't into them is going to change their tune and be their life partner, soul mate or twin flame--spoiler alert--nope. The truth is we all have a lot to unpack about sex and relationships.


I feel like this might be a snarky essay on some levels. Mostly because since I turned 50 something has happened and I don't have time or patience for dating people who don't have the basics of what I think it takes to bring anything to the table in a relationship. I am ethically non-monogamous and have several partners and am dating. I'm also perfectly happy on my own and I'm not in the dating world to be anyone's mom or nurse or therapist or to do someone's work for them. I step up for myself daily, so in love and dating, they step up or I step out. Period.


I have three dating must haves. No it's not a little black dress--although I have one of those. It's not a cute little purse, although I have one of those that my partners lovingly call my sex purse because I keep all the safe sex supplies in it when I go out. I once brought it to the school where one of my partners teaches. He saw it, knew what it was, and nearly fell down the stairs. Ah the power of the sex purse! Anyways, It's a list of three things I expect from any potential partner and the things they can expect from me. Here are my dating must haves:


1.) Self-Knowledge

2.) Self-Respect

3.) Courage


Self-Knowledge

So many people don't know the basics of who they really are. I can't tell you how often I've heard from partners or people I'm dating that they don't even know who they are or what they want. I don't think gender has anything to do with the ability to be self-aware, but I do think how we socialize genders has a huge impact on individual self-awareness. In general, men are trained that who they are is their job, how much time they spend at work, who loves them, who doesn't love them, their degrees and awards, their money, etc. All that is outside stuff and isn't the self. People who were socialized as female were trained that who they are is their roles as care takers, need meet-ers, and support systems for men and children, or on the other hand sexualized babies or boss bitches for men who like to have power plays with women. That isn't the self either. Self-knowledge looks like knowing who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, your desires and dreams, what makes you truly happy, what makes you truly sad, your vulnerable points, your value systems, and what you want from love and from life that comes from inside you and not outside you. It's about you and only you, not what you do for others or what you perform, or who you want to please, but just who you are. I think a lot of people don't have access to this basic inside information about themselves.


The problem with not having self-knowledge when dating is it means you have very little to offer. You can give someone money or time or any of that stuff, but if you want a genuine real connection, and you don't have a genuine real connection with yourself, you don't have anything real to give. It's like handing someone a beautiful chocolate box, and when you open it, it's empty. It's what's inside that is the point, and if you don't offer that, you aren't offering much of value.


If you have poor self-knowledge, you might find yourself trying to be what you pretend the other person wants instead of being yourself, which is a kind of deception. You might also end up feeling exhausted and resentful that they aren't content with an act that you are working so hard to please them with, but no one can be happy with just an act. Not knowing yourself, you risk shrinking your real self smaller and smaller to fit the pretend thing you imagine a partner might want. By doing that you squeeze yourself out of the relationship and there is nothing of substance left. Honestly, stop it! People pleasing instead of becoming self-aware hurts everyone involved even if you think it's being nice. It's not nice. It's self-serving and manipulative. Instead, learn who you are and be that. It might take energy work, therapy, books and podcasts. It will take time, money, consistency and commitment, but it's worth it. I promise. Again: learn who you are, and be that. Period. Then watch the quality of your relationships blossom and bloom.


Self-Respect

I get annoyed with people who are always rehashing with relish their tales of woe about bad ex partners and how awful they were. I think there are healthy times and places where that must be discussed and is part of healing, and is a very useful thing. In fact talking about it in healthy, healing spaces is necessary to help you process and move on. A person can sometimes get married to their tale of woe, though, and it becomes their identity. That's when it gets problematic. I have recently been noticing something in the dating world when ex's are brought up that annoys me equally that is on the opposite end of the same spectrum, people not being real about the evil people in their lives. To me it feels like a lack of self-respect, and I find it just as exhausting as people who are in blissful romantic relationships with their tales of woe. I hear this a lot where people who were abused or neglected or treated badly in any way consistently by ex's refuse to call the treatment they received evil. I hear people justifying it as their ex had a tough childhood and at their heart they are good, other people have it worse, and their ex just didn't understand how their behavior might affect others. I'm sorry, but they DO understand exactly what they did. They DO. They were choosing to behave in evil and abusive ways. Lots of people have tough pasts, but still choose love. Lots of people have trouble understanding exactly what they are doing, but they still choose good as best as they know how. Also, if your ex was committed to treating you like shit for years and showed no sign of lasting change or growth, they were choosing what they wanted, and what they wanted was to harm you. Have enough self-respect to look that behavior in the eye and call it what it is--evil.


People who justify or enable people's evil behavior might be trying to be nice or to be the good guy or to have empathy for someone's difficult plight, and it might be the faun trauma response, but all it's doing is showing disrespect for yourself and lack of self-love. If you were treated bad, the first one who needs to acknowledge it and make the changes necessary to have enough self-respect to heal and move on is you. Maybe you will feel mean or cruel to call evil evil, but the real cruelty is dishonoring, invalidating, devaluing and diminishing your own real painful and traumatic experiences. If you don't have enough self-respect to do as Polonius in Hamlet says, "to thine own self be true," then you can never be fully true to anyone else either.


Have enough self respect to say no. Have enough self respect to call bullshit when you see it. Have enough self respect to be real about how things feel. Have enough self respect to do something about it. Have enough self respect to be seen as the bad guy, the apostate, the heathen, the sinner, the abuser if necessary by those that are invested in your lack of self respect. Stand up, stand tall, call good good and evil evil, and accept nothing but respect from others and yourself. It can be a journey to get there, but that's okay, too. Then, when you are ready and healed enough, have enough self respect to leave the story behind and create something new and healthier for you and your new bad ass, self-assured self. Hell yea!


Courage

Recently I was in Tokyo and I got a tattoo in a parlor in the basement of a Shinjuku strip club. It was one of the most fun nights we had on our trip. I told some people and a few said that they don't have any tattoos because they are afraid it will hurt. It did hurt. It hurt a lot. There are some hilarious photos of me and my partners cringing while getting our tattoos that make me giggle. Several of my tattoos that I've gotten over the years hurt like hell, but they were worth it and I was okay with the pain for the pay off. It got me thinking how many things in my life I have done even if I was scared, and I was surprised to see that most things of value in my life I did scared.


I have anxiety. I have PTSD. I get scared. I'm scared of spiders. I'm scared of flying. I'm scared of taking leaps and risks. I'm scared of uncomfortable confrontations. I'm scared of the dentist--and my mom's a dentist for heaven sakes! I'm scared of more things than I can mention. But if there is a pay off or a good life lesson or something of value to me, I'll always do it anyways. I used to think I was chicken because I was scared of so many things. Now I think I have courage because I am scared of so many things and most of the time, I just do them anyways. I am often surprised though, how much fear holds people back, and how many people don't have the courage to do the things they want to do. In my dating life, if someone doesn't have the guts to do what will move them forward and make them happy, they aren't for me.


Courage is sexy. Courage is hot. One of my partners once said that what he respects most about me is that he's seen me shaking with fear and then doing the thing anyways and being glad I did. He said he thinks many people walk around their lives dead, but I refuse to be dead in my life. He is mostly right. I was dead for many years in that faith and in my old life, but that is for another post. I'm alive now and I refuse to be otherwise until I'm actually dead. It has taken a lot of work to get here, though. I want people in my life who also value taking leaps and risks, and who brazenly up level their lives even if they are scared.


If there is something you want to do in your life that you know would be good for you and you are scared, do it anyways. I mean it. Do it anyways. If you need permission, consider this your permission. Have the guts to take the risks and leaps and shake things up for your good. Have the guts to work on yourself and do the big healing and shadow work. Have the guts to write your book and travel to that place. Have the guts to go to that party and talk to that person. Have the guts to step out of that faith tradition and bad job to something that works better for you. Have the guts to live your life. It's so short in the grand scheme of things. You'll never regret doing the things you want to do, you'll only regret not doing them, and letting fear hold you back. Have courage, do the stuff that scares you, and be a bigger, better and more whole person for it. So that is my dating advice. You might have to go to another blog to get lipstick recommendations or concert venue schedules, and I won't necessarily tell you what to pack in a little black sex purse, but I will tell you that whatever kind of healthy relationship you are looking for, making sure you have enough self knowledge, self respect, and courage will set you up for some rich relationship days ahead. You are going to do great swiping right on yourself and your life!














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