an ode to online....the things you learn in the dating world

let it be known: i have been dating. online. THREE YEARS AGO, i would not have had the balls to tell anyone that - actually, i woudln't have even thought about putting my name and picture on any site anywhere for fear of someone seeing it and outing me as 'online' - a status that most definitely i was TERRIFIED of being associated with. TWO YEARS AGO, i more or less wore the 'i'm online, i'm rad, i'm gonna be findin' me a boyfriend right quick' tshirt and was quick to tell anyone how i was leaping into the dating pool - quick to share juuuuust in case they might, again, see me online and beat me to the punch of telling other people. again, blokcing mechanism. and, a loud one. ONE YEAR AGO, i had a lingering profile and was actively waiting for someone, anyone, to knock on my proverbial dating-door (ie: message me with a witty note that might spark an interest because, gosh knows, i was all to caught up in being 'busy' to take a stand for what i really wanted in a man and make a real effort to attract that....)

since then, you'll be relieved (maybe not as much as I am) to know that my outlook has shifted from the 'hell no!' to the 'hallelujah online!' to the 'meh' to a very healthy place - of curiosity, connection and confidence. most of the time. haha.

and so, in this seemingly life-long experience i have recently reflected on a couple things i have learned and feel compelled to share. because, there is a 'silver lining of learning' and opportunity for reflection around every date - even the ones where the sweet man wears corduroy pants and a Metallica t-shirt.

learning point #1. you get out what you put in. for every 'dang, still no messages', i could only look to how actively - or inactively - i was involving myself in the process. trend in the jess-life is when busy-ness gets the best of me,  my me-life gets the worst of me. the times i had the most fun on dates and met the most interesting people were the times i spent time being interested - and connecting with people that i was inspired by.  good reminder in how to be present to what i want and not auto-pilot my way through life.

learning point #2. i've got a good gut - and it's time to listen to it. that weird pitty feeling in my stomach when something doesn't sound right or something in a profile rubs me the wrong way? LISTEN to it. stop forcing a conversation if all signs point to 'run the other way - don't even stop at the front door to get your shoes!!' - and trust what i know and how i know i want to be engaged. #nuffsaid

learning point #3. life repeats itself, if you let it. goes hand in hand with trusting my gut. when i feel myself not being really 'me' to catch someone's attention - i need to stop. not only am i repeating a bad habit and trying to 'fit a mold' - i'm not valuing mine or their time - which ends up in one too many coffee dates (and normally it truly is just one) and a feeling of 'womp womp' upon departure. i'm moreso me in every interaction now than ever - and have to remember in every split-second-of-doubt to be me, in every moment. all ways, always.

i might be done with the online thing for now - and know that these wee lessons-on-life apply as much in the off-line-love-life - if not moreso. practice, practice, practice.....right?

#workinprogress.