Dater X: My Relationship Goal For The New Year Is To Be Secure With Me

In my last post, I shared with you a comprehensive list of guys I’ve dated, slept with, or come in contact with over the last year, and the lessons I learned from each. Some of them were men I’d met only once or twice, and others were guys who I actually had feelings for, but looking at that list — I mean REALLY taking a hard look at the amount of men who entered my life in 2014 — is upsetting to me. On one hand, I tell myself that I put myself out there, continued to get back on the horse when love didn’t go my way and that I faced the dating world with resilience. On the other hand, I look at that list and wonder why not even one guy stuck around. Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that, in the new year, I need to be more secure with me. I need to feel confident in my decisions and know that mistakes, successes and failures are all my own.

When I say that I need to be “more secure with me,” I mean that both as a single woman and partnered up in a relationship. Writing Dater X has given me the ability to talk about my life with a sea of strangers who week-after-week, offer me advice, support, criticism and, overall, have taught me that I need to be true to MYSELF. While I’m grateful that so many of you are invested in my love life and want to see me happy, consider my position: one where your every move, every action and word is interpreted and thrown back at you with advice or criticism I wouldn’t change a thing about what I’ve shared with you all, but I guess what I’m trying to say it that it can be hard being Dater X.

A few months ago, I reached a point where I started worrying so much about what the commenters on this column would say, think and want me to do about certain relationship problems, that I began to actually consider those things while handling situations in real life. I started second guessing myself with this weird idea of WWDXCD? (What Would Dater X Commenters Do?) If I tell him this, what will they think? If I reach out to him, will they judge me? What happens if I give so-and-so another shot? It’s unnerving to know that after being so vulnerable in sharing my personal stories, I’ve allowed myself to feel so influenced by you, the very same people who have encouraged me to follow my heart. Something I’ve been told time and time again by Dater X commenters is that I need to be confident with myself; I need to follow my gut and heart and know who I am as a person before I give myself to someone else. So in 2015, I vow to listen to me, myself and I. I am finally taking the advice you’ve given me — even if that means tuning some of you out on occasion.

I started writing this column knowing damn well who I was and what I wanted and deserved when it came to love. A year later, I still know who I am, what I want and what I deserve. The only difference is that I’m less confident making decisions about my relationship, knowing that behind every corner, there’s someone telling me I should have done it differently. Put yourself in my shoes and think about what it might be like confiding in the world about your heartbreak, and then having those people, whom you’ve grown very fond of, telling you that you must be insecure, bossy, needy or immature. I’m well aware of my turnover rate, trust me, so reminding me that I can’t hold down a man is kinda unnecessary. When it comes to relationships, I haven’t always done the right thing. Has anyone? Nobody is perfect, everybody makes mistakes and snap judgments, and I happen to be guilty of all of the above. Dating is hard — but it’s even harder when you know that everything you do, even when you do follow your gut and heart, might not be the right thing in someone else’s eyes. What I see as dating, someone else might see as “not being able to be alone.” What I see as giving someone a second shot, others may see as “neediness.” What I see as fun, amazing sex, some see as a lie, because “you can’t always be having amazing sex.” I can’t expect you to always agree with my decisions or my characterizations of certain interactions, but I can be secure in them myself. The best way I know how to do that is to stop listening to other people about what I should and should not do. This way, I will KNOW that my relationships from here on out— whether they last or not— are a product of my own decision-making, without influence from others.

I will reiterate what many of you have pointed out: I am young. I am in my late-twenties, which by no means makes me a dating expert. But like anything else in this world, practice makes perfect. Every time I go from one guy to the next, I have hope that the next guy might be “the one,” and I take the lessons that I’ve learned in life so far, and apply them as best as I can to those romances. Sure, coming to certain conclusions on my own might take a while, but I’m willing to take the time and really learn for myself, instead of listening to other peoples’ interpretations of wrong and right. Call me naive, stupid or unrealistic, but I’d much rather be young and single and hopeful than young and single and defeated. In 2015, I want to make sure I stay that way. Yes, I will sometimes ask for advice, or turn to close friends whose opinions I trust, but ultimately I’m going to make decisions that I want to make — not the decisions that I feel pressured to make because I am putting myself out there to be judged. I will allow and expect the judgement, but I will not entertain it. I will be confident in my choices knowing they are MY choices. I will make mistakes — probably lots of them — but they will be my mistakes. Instead of listening to someone week after week tell me “that’s why you’re single,” I will do some self-reflection and figure out why I’m single on my own. If it’s just because I haven’t met the right person yet, or if I’m doing anything to get in the way of finding love. We are, after all, our own toughest critics. I am a strong, fun, talented, creative, and confident woman who deserves to feel that way every day— not just every day aside from the Wednesdays when Dater X is published. I’m taking your advice, everyone. I’m going to be me, and I am going to be confident in who I am and in the choices I make … even if some of you might consider them stupid.

In a nutshell, I want to make 2015 the year I’m secure with myself. I will tackle each day with the confidence of Taylor Swift, the grace of Kate Middleton and the self-assuredness of Kanye West, but with the knowledge that underneath it all, I am most powerful — and most attractive — when I trust and love myself.