Such a strange questions. What are you looking for? It seems to be a common question that I get ask when on a date and getting to know someone. How do you answer that? I am not sure I can. I think I am a person that will know it, when I find it? There is no right answer. Depending on who you are sitting across from, the right answer is what they want to hear and I am not a mind reader. Wouldn’t that be helpful?
What are you looking for? A relationship… Zoom, burning rubber towards the door. She’s a clinger. She looking to get husbanded up. She needs someone to take care of her. Wrong answer.
What are you looking for? Something casual… She’s a slut. She only wants sex. Okay a few more drinks and let’s see if I can take her home. Wrong answer.
What are you looking for? I don’t know… She is lost. She is dwelling in the past. She is not ready to move forward. She is not over her marriage. She has baggage. Wrong answer.
There is not a right answer that does give the wrong impression in the right person’s mind. I have thought long and hard about this.
What am I looking for?
The answer is simple. I am not looking. I am dating and enjoying it. It is usually when you stop looking for something you find it. Ultimately, I am want my next great romance. The sweep me off my feet, make my toes tingle and my heart flutter romance. Do I think I am going to find that on a first date? No. Do I want to jump into a relationship immediately, no. But ultimately, yes. It’s what I want. Doesn’t everyone? It takes time and effort and energy. It takes searching and dating to get there. Just because someone may not be my next great love, does not mean that we can’t enjoy our moment in time.
People get so locked into, we either are or we are not and there is not a happy medium. We may not be today but that doesn’t mean we won’t be tomorrow. Dating is like an endless stream of awkward interviews. You sit across a table and interrogate one another, hoping to hear all the right answers and secretly wondering what is wrong with this one. When will the red flags show themselves?
We all have red flags. It’s just whether or not we show them up front or mask them until we have someone believing they do not exists. Red flags fly for everyone. If you don’t think you have a red flag or two in your pack, then you are not being honest with yourself. So, let’s be honest.
I have red flags. I am very aware of them. Let’s put them out on the table. I am dating. I am legally separated, not divorced. Reg flag. I lost my Dad 9 months ago and still struggle with it. Red flag. I talk to much. Red flag. I am not 100% sure what I want in a relationship or if I want one right now. Red flag. I can be a little unpredictable. Red flag. I have a wild streak that can be too much for some. Red flag. At least, when I meet someone, I am honest about that. I fly my red flags everywhere I go. I don’t want to lie or hide them. They are who I am. They make me, me. It is up to someone to decide if my flags are something they can deal with. And if they are not? That’s okay.
I will not be everyone’s favorite cup of tea. That doesn’t mean I was brewed wrong, they just prefer a different flavor. Some like it strong. Some like it weak. Some like mellow flavors with hints of mint. And some, some like it sweet and spicy. I am sweet and spicy. Everyone ties a dating rejection back to something lacking in themselves. That could not be more in untrue. It’s not that there is anything wrong with you, it’s that you were not right for them.
Before marriage, when I was dating, I struggled with this. I wouldn’t get ask on a second or a third date and I would get down on myself. I talked too much. I wasn’t pretty enough. Or thin enough. Or polite enough. It crushed my confidence. No, I was always enough. I just wasn’t right for them. They wanted chamomile and I am orange-cinnamon. I tried to make things happen when they were never going to and was left feeling empty. Not this time around. I know who I am and I know what I deserve and if he is not that, then why force it.
So, I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I am legally separated, dealing with the death of my Dad, raising my small boy, working full time, running a business and trying to figure it all out. It’s a lot for some. That is okay. Some are a lot for me. We just need to be honest with ourselves. Look for the red flags and decide whether or not you can live with them. Don’t try to fix them or change them. The question is, can you live with them? If not, exit stage left before you get hurt or you hurt them. No one wins when you go into a relationship saying he’s great, but…
I’ve learned a thing or two from my past. I saw red flags. I knew I couldn’t live with them but I thought that I could fix them. I would help them. That has never worked out well for me. So, here I am, 45 and dating, living my beautifully blessed, messy life. I am working to fix my own red flags, no one can do that for me. Some, I know, will always be there. They are part of me. Can you live with them? If not, please don’t try to fix me. I am not your project. I am my own work in progress.
I know that I can’t fix anyone else, nor do I want to. I have enough work to do on me. They have to climb their own pole and bring down those flags. They have to want to do it for themselves and when they don’t? Can you live with them? Make sure the answer is yes before you dive in. The water is murky and it’s hard to navigate at night. It’s hard to hold a flashlight to see when you are too busy holding it for someone else.
What happens when you try to fix someone else? You lose your light. Your path becomes unclear and you get lost along the way. You trip. You fall. You get hurt. Usually, they pick up the flashlight and keep going. And where are you left? Alone, in the dark, bandaging your wounds. Trust me, I have done it. I have been lost in someone else flags. I was tangle up and hanging on by a thread. I am so glad I found my way back to the light. It’s just me and my flashlight now and I don’t intend to put it down again. Being alone is a funny thing, it makes you examine yourself. It makes you realize where you went wrong. It shows you where you are broken. It makes you work on yourself.
So, what are you looking for? Me? I hope that one day, I will find someone that has their own flashlight and is using it to climb that pole to get rid of the red flags. Maybe, we will light the path together, but I hope they don’t expect me to do it for them. I want someone who has their own sparkle and doesn’t want to steal mine. I want someone who see’s my beautifully blessed, messy life and says, that is exactly what I want. I love that mess and want to be part of it.
I don’t want someone that says, I can clean up her messy. Nope, accept me as I am, broken and flawed, just the way God made me. I may fix my cracks but I will always have my flaws. That is what makes us all different. They are what make me, the me I want to be and the me that God intended me to be.
So, back to where I started? How do I answer that questions? What are you looking for? Nothing. I am not looking. I am waiting for it to come to me. And when it doesn’t, I will always keep my flashlight. A better question would be, what do you want? I want it all. And I will not settle for less. And while I wait for it, I will remember, in the midst of chaos, sparkle. Don’t like life dull your shine.
The Manicured Mom