Though I’ve been married for 5 years, I sometimes look back at my dating life, skipping down memory lane with equal parts fondness and disgust. It was the best of times and the worst of times, but if I could go back and do anything differently, would I?
Sure, there are the givens like “I wouldn’t have given him my number” or “I would have left much earlier than I did,” but there are a few other notable things I would have done differently to improve my dating life. Here are three.
1) I would have dated more for fun.
I didn’t take advantage of enough opportunities to just date for the hell of it without wondering if connections were going to evolve into something deeper. Perhaps the issue was timing. When I did date for fun, the other party had a tendency to want more and things got awkward quick. If I could go back, I’d jump at the chance for more random dates, enjoying meeting new people and having new experiences without thinking too much about the future.
2) I would have gone for mine.
There were times when I was far too passive in my dating life. I’d be waiting for someone to make the first move so that I wouldn’t look too thirsty, then when they took too long or didn’t move at all, I’d get frustrated. Whether that was the action to make a casual relationship exclusive, or simply to let someone know they’re invited to a meeting in my bedroom—shout out to Silk fans!—there were a number of instances where I should have followed my instincts and just gone for it. Looking back, I would have taken the plunge to make my desires and intentions known and get what I wanted out of dating.
3) I would have handled things differently when I found out I was “the other woman.”
There was one relationship that I actually started with the impression of just being for fun. He and I lived in different cities, so it was simply a good time whenever either of us was in the other’s hometown. Summer came and went and as we moved into the fall and winter—still very connected—it seemed like this might be going somewhere.
My “maiden” name is also the name of a nearby city, so whenever he’d call and say, “Babe, I’m gonna come down to ___________ next weekend to see you,” I’d say “Boy, you so silly. That’s my last name! You keep mixing it up!” Little did I know, he had a long-term girlfriend who lived in said city. He’d take one weekend to visit me, one to visit her and her and I would unknowingly visit his city on alternating weekends. I didn’t find it suspicious that he kept naming the wrong city because it was close and it was my last name, so I figured he got the associations muddled.
When I found out about his girlfriend, I simply ghosted him. I didn’t call him, didn’t answer his calls, removed him from social media, just…poof. The problem with that was I still carried the pain of being deceived and stewed over the “why” without confronting him about it. He eventually realized why I disappeared and dropped me a line attempting to apologize. I felt a bit of satisfaction at seemingly causing him distress by dropping him, but I carried too much unresolved stuff in the aftermath. If I could have done it all again, I think I would have confronted him to see how that worked out for me instead.
The interesting thing about reminiscing is seeing how these personal evolutions have manifested in me now, even though I’m off the market. The self-awareness has been refreshing, but it came a bit too late for me to have some different dating experiences. For those of you still in the dating game, it’s not too late for you! Take some inventory of how you’ve handled certain things in the past and if you see an area to make a change, do it! If a long-term relationship is your end goal, have the most dating fun you can before you make a commitment. You’ll thank yourself later.
Bee Quammie is a freelance writer, blogger, and media commentator. Find her across all social media platforms at @beequammie, and learn more about her work via her site www.beequammie.com.