Dating as a late bloomer

One day, last year to be specific, I realized that I was 26 years old, single, living alone in a bed and breakfast at the top of the Bukavu (DRC) mountains hiking with gorillas near a coffee plantation by volcanoes. I know what you’re thinking ‘stop bragging about your amazing nomadic life, while I’m sitting here in my boring routine life’. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the life that I live, and the thing that I have seen. However, it was then that it hit me for the first time in my life: I am now at the crisp of passing my mid twenties. I am still single, and I’ve never been in a serious relationship. Am I going to die as a cat lady? Then, I see girls who have mastered the art of getting a man to put a ring on it. I mean some of these girls are so boy crazy, they have manufactured themselves into being seen as ‘wife’ material.

So, I did what every nerd living in the 21st century does: I listened to podcasts on making yourself ‘wife’ material, I read books on understanding what men want in a woman they would commit too. Then I went through a downward spiral of convincing myself that I need to fit the mold of religious (who are often very traditional) women to make myself a ‘catch’ to men. Then, I signed up for online dating to master all of the skills that I had learned from reading books.

I’m now 27, still single, but far more at peace with my singlehood than I was last year, and decided to go back to my old self: a confident woman, who is ok with patiently waiting for the right one, and I will continue to enjoy my singlehood because its a short season that I won’t ever get back. And, who said that you have to be in a committed relationship by a certain age? But to humour you, here are things that I learned in one year, as a nerdy woman who is new to navigating the dating world:

  1. Just because we vibe well, it doesn’t mean we should be together romantically. I’m a scorpio, and really good at getting along with pretty much anyone, and all types of personalities. Hence why it’s practically impossible for people to put me in one particular box, I like it that way. Sadly, with dating, I would walk away from dates either confusing a good friendship with a love interest, or guys would email or text me love notes and in my heart, I knew I would friend zone them later. It’s ok if he’s not the one.
  2. Humans love to talk about themselves. I love to talk about myself, clearly, hence why I have a blog (lol). I quickly realized I was annoying people by making every conversation about me, or not really getting to know them. So I flipped the script, and realized that just like me, most people can talk about themselves for hours but never ask you about your day. Not cool.
  3. Looks aren’t everything, but it’s something. In my wildest dreams, my boyfriend would be a merge of Idris Alba, David Beckham, Michael B. Jordan, and age like fine wine (a.k.a George Clooney). I know what you’re thinking, girl you’re crazy, I know I am! While, I do believe that you need to be physically attracted to the person you’re dating, I quickly learned that physical appearance is what attracts you to someone, but what’s inside of them is what keeps you interested. Just to be clear, I don’t want an ugly man, personality can only take you so far.
  4. Act out of love, not fear. We are in a day and age where we’ve become so good at playing games, that it is exhausting and juvenile. I understand that having an element of mystery, and not being a stage 5 clinger (a.k.a stalker who is clingy and obsessive), is not attractive. However, if you like someone, or feel the urge to do an act of kindness for someone, do it! Don’t limit your ability to give and love others because you fear not being loved back or being perceived as desperate. If that’s the case, walk away from those who make you feel that way, and believe that the right person will reciprocate the love you give them. That’s why, I respond to a man’s text right away when I am interested, and if they don’t reciprocate for whatever reason, my life goes on. Waiting 2 hours to respond to someone so that you look ‘mysterious’, honey, you have too much time in your hands.
  5. Manifest what you want. It is so easy to go through dating and feeling like what you want in a significant other isn’t realistic, or your standards are too high. Just to be clear, those men or women who want a partner that’s extremely successful (usually financially), yet you don’t have your life together, that’s weird. However, if you are a hard worker, and want someone who shares your values, vision of life, which are often socioeconomically linked (not always), there is nothing wrong with that. Far too many people lower their standards, in hope of changing the person later on in life or mold them (a.k.a manipulation), and that’s always disastrous. If he wasn’t holding a job when you started dating because ‘he was taking 4 months to find himself’, don’t get angry at him when 2 years into the marriage, he’s still finding himself.

Dating should be fun, without pressuring yourself into it, or putting your identity in having a relationship status changed on facebook. Stay tuned for more learning, as I navigate dating, ahaha!

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