I’m dating for the first time in awhile. Actually, for the first time ever. When I was drinking, my idea of dating was getting wasted at parties, hooking up with someone, then when the hook ups happened more then once…I had a boyfriend. Sometimes the relationship was real. Sometimes it was delusional, existing solely in my head.
Sobriety has helped me figure out who I am by figuring out who I’m not. I’m no longer a girl who believes that she deserves to be treated like shit. My insecurities allowed men to walk all over me. I tolerated being ignored, cheated on, and abused – physically and emotionally. It was “better than being alone”. I finally like who I am, so I demand respect from anyone I allow into my life and anyone I choose to keep in my life.
I’m no longer the girl who disguises “I’m upset” with “I don’t care”. When did “not caring” become the default dating behavior? He hasn’t texted me in three days. I don’t care. He made out with so and so last night. I don’t care. He said he doesn’t want to see me anymore. I don’t care. This mentality is BS. I care. I’m proud to care. If you don’t want to date a woman who cares, don’t date me.
I’m no longer the girl who pretends to like a band just because he’s into them. Though I’m grateful that a delusional past relationship got me into 311, my intention wasn’t so pure. He’ll like me more if I know everything about Nick Hexum!!! He’ll love me AND 311!!! I lacked confidence in many of my own interests so I chose to become obsessed with his. There’s a big difference between genuine interest in your partner’s passions and letting their interests supersede your own. Now I know that I no longer have to fake enthusiasm…or orgasms.
It feels good to realize that I’m not that girl anymore. I’m now the woman who proudly states what I’m looking for when I’m on a date. I tell men that I’m not here for a hook up, that I’m looking for something real and I want to have children eventually. After stating what I want, we either go our separate ways or go on another date. This self awareness has completely changed the dating game for me. I’ve found that simple communication can prevent a lot of (but not all) potential heartache. I’ve also found that this approach works for dating in general in New York City. Sober or not, New Yorkers don’t want to waste their time.
Unapologetically be myself, speak my truth, and ask for what I want…what a concept! Logically, I knew said concept in the back of my mind but I didn’t know how to apply it when I was busy hating myself. The missing key was realizing that I truly deserve love – both from myself and from others.
Copy Editor: Tracey Stubbs of Creative Pension
Photographer: Robert Reise Photography
Photo Location: Fort Tryon Park
This article was written during one of Pamela Des Barres‘s writing workshops. The prompt was “write about something that’s good in your life”.