What I Learned During Lent

For those who don’t know me outside of the interwebs, I’m not the most religious person in the world. However, just because I have a strained relationship with God and religion doesn’t mean we don’t talk or connect from time to time. So in the spirit of that, I participate in Lent every year.

For those who are unfamiliar with Lent, it’s where you give up something you like or do a lot from Ash Wednesday to about either the Thursday before Easter or Easter Eve.

Last year’s was a disaster. I tried to give up cursing, but for those six weeks I transformed into a sailor.

This year I decided to give up dating. Yes, dating. I felt like I was becoming a serial dater. If things didn’t work out with one dude, I was onto the next one. I felt like if I kept it up I was going to give Taylor Swift a run for her money. (And for you jerks out there, I wasn’t very physical with a lot of them because things never progressed that far.)

Lent was just the push I needed to stop, regroup, and figure out what would happen after it was all over. Overall, it was a smooth ride and I learned a lot.

Almost immediately after I decided I wasn’t going to date anyone, I was tested. Two guys I used to like and dated a few times had both broke up with their girlfriends and hit me up. Both are fairly nice boys, but not being able to date them and just talking to them more as “friends” made me realize that both these boys weren’t coming to me with the purest of intentions. Yes, I am a good woman, but if they really found me to be the best thing since sliced bread they would have committed to being with me in the first place. In the end, I probably would have just been a rebound, picking up the pieces, until they were confident enough to chase after another girl and leave me high and dry.

I could be wrong. After all, we all make mistakes. Sometimes we throw away good things and not realize it. Sometimes it takes awhile to realize who and what we really want out of life. However, there comes a point where it seems like you’re picking up an old toy off a shelf.

I don’t want to be an old toy or a rebound girl. I’m all for second chances, but after the third or fourth time of going through a cycle, you really start to look like a dumb asshole.

Speaking of dumb assholes, it felt really good not to put up with any of them! I know there’s a lot of good guys out there, but there are also a lot of shitty ones. When you immediately jump into dating someone, in most cases, they’re on their best behavior. When you make it clear to someone that you just want to be friends and see where it goes from there, you can see a person’s true colors shine through better.

If what their purely interested in is buttering you up to get to your lady parts, then this won’t fly. They’ll make themselves scarce when you try to hang out or talk. They’ll whine and complain about how they want to “get closer to you” but can’t. (Because holding someone’s hand and making out REALLY makes you know the depths of another person’s soul.) Eventually they’ll disappear. A bunch of time and energy saved.

Not dating also helped me strengthen my skills at setting boundaries and saying no. No matter how much some people tried to plead their case, I stood firm and said no. Either you’re my friend right now or you’re nothing at all. I don’t want to hold hands. I don’t want you to kiss me. I don’t want you to give me a massage. I just want to hang out and get to know you. I want to find out if dating you or pursuing a relationship is even worth it.

It’s strange. I almost forgot what it was like to just hang out with someone as a friend. For example,  I REALLY wanted to see Warm Bodies so I asked one of my homeboys to go with me. It was a little awkward/weird going to the movies with a boy that I was strictly friends with, but it was really fun. It was nice to not have to worry about being pretty or witty or sitting in an uncomfortable position the whole movie because he wants to maintain some kind of bodily contact.

Right now I don’t plan on jumping back into the dating game. I think I’m going to get know the guy a little better first before we jump into anything.

Yay personal growth!

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