I've learned a lot of lessons from being in a relationship to now being single for almost a year. My dad was right (he always is). Healing takes time.
Getting over that relationship took time.
We get so use to being with one person and when they aren't there to talk to it's... weird. I have found myself again these past 11 months. People continue to tell me all the time how happier I look and it's nice to know that my happiness is seen. There is no secret to my newly found joy other than the fact that I am following the path that God has set for me. I was beyond scared of being a single mom and with the good Lord's help here I am doing the dang thing. The truth is that I don't need a man to complete me. My daughter makes me whole and she is all that I need. God knew where life would take me and He gave me her to have a forever best friend. Those of you who don't have kids, that's fine. Find something that brings out the best in you and that you can find inspiration in and run with it. With three little things called faith, patience, and determination you can find your happiness.
Having some guy to talk to is fine, but don't talk to them just to fill the void of someone else. You have to be ready for a relationship or it will never work out. Jumping from one relationship to the next isn't healthy. Find out what it's like to be independent. You'll surprise yourself by how it makes you feel. More importantly, you just need time to heal. Time to figure out what you want, what went wrong in your past relationships, and time to be the best you that you can be. I've said it once and I'll say it again: you have to love yourself first before you can love someone else. The brokenness that you feel after a break-up is something that you have to face on your own. The crying at 2 a.m. wondering what went wrong, to eating at the old restaurant that y'all use to go to all the time, or even seeing mutual friends and hearing "where is so-n-so?" Those aren't things that you can just cover up or hide in the back of your mind. You have the face the break-up head on.
It's okay to miss that person from time to time. Just remember that there is someone better for you out in the world. Someone who will love you because of your flaws and not just because you're 'pretty'. Find someone who loves the way you spat out random things in the middle of conversation, how you can't ever pick out a restaurant even though you've drove by every place in town, and how you hog the remote and make him binge watch One Tree Hill. You'll know when it's real. Above all just find a guy who is in it for you. We're at the age where we don't want to date just to 'date'. I don't know if this is just me, but I'm looking to build to the next level. If you can't see a long-term future with him then move on. Never, ever forget your worth. And whatever you do please never settle just because you're lonely. It's easy to get frustrated from seeing happy couples around you, but your time will come on its own. Your own love story will indeed be your favorite.
I remember waking up one morning and just thinking "I'm ready for love again" (which wasn't long ago). Now, I don't mean wife someone up next week love, but ready for the idea of love. This means being ready to let someone in if they are the right one. Up until that day I wasn't ready for a relationship. And to be perfectly honest I still don't think that I'm fully prepared to be with someone. For me to seriously be ready to date again will probably be a while from now. I think it has just took me this long to be mentally prepared to have someone else by my side. The most important part is that I didn't have that feeling because I was talking to a guy that I wanted to date. I woke up and knew that my heart was ready for love because of the peace that I had within myself and I believe in the fact that someone is out there for me. Whatever you do, please don't try and date until you have those feelings as well. You have to be for sure about yourself until you can focus on somebody else.
So, when you're sure that you're sure that you're really sure here are a few pointers:
1. Pray for your future husband.
2. Do not, I repeat, do NOT blow up your crushes phone. I know that he's cute and makes you laugh, but please give that boy some space. Especially if you two don't work it won't feel like an actual break-up. You don't wan to come off as needy.
3. If he wants to go out with his friends and you can't go... let him. You should let him do what he wants and he should let you do the same. It's called trust.
4. Don't go and social media stalk him. I'm sure you'll find him 'liking' other girls photos just like you 'like' other guys photos too.
5. Try and take it slow, especially if you're not sure about him. Ladies, I am talking about sex. Don't undress yourself on the second date and then be mad when he stops talking to you. There is a reason why things that are meant for the bedroom is for married couples.
6. Don't start tagging him in stuff or posting y'all's pictures on social media until you've gotten to know each other really well. There's not need to have to explain to your Aunt Betty over Thanksgiving dinner why you and Jim Bob didn't work out.
7. Don't get mad and cut him off over something that can be worked out. If he's showing complete interest in you and then does something that ticks you off ask yourself if it's really worth the argument. Don't let a good man go because you're too stubborn.
8. STOP PLAYING GAMES! Guys do it, but us girls do too. If you can tell he's doing something that will make you mad on purpose don't try to one up him to "show him who's boss". Nobody has time for games. Stop it so you're not wasting his time and yours.
9. Be straight up with him. If you're not interested, tell him. If you're seeing other people, tell him. If you're just wanting someone to hang out with and take things slow, tell him. If you like the boy, please tell him. Don't keep him questioning 'what y'all are'! Guys: this is for y'all too!
10. Make sure you are ready for a relationship 150%.
11. Do not blame him for the damage that your ex caused.
12. Follow your heart and trust your instincts. If he's the one you'll know it. If he's showing you sides of him that you don't like he won't change. And more importantly don't try to get him to change.
13. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck... it's a duck. So, if he looks like a duckboy, talks like a duckboy, and even acts like a duckboy... HE'S A DUCKBOY! Walk away. Actually no, don't walk RUN as fast as you can!
*Above photo is by Bridget Gates, Owner of Goldygates Photography