Hey guys, I'm having one of those moments where I was thinking about stuff. I was thinking this would probably be a really helpful blog post and do not mind my hair. I took it out of this scrunchie and so it's extra poofy and weird. I haven't washed it in nine days, but whatever you guys are the ones that see the real Pebby, the real Liz, I guess I should say that because that's my actual name. I'm sorry, my head itches because I'm a disgusting person and I haven't washed my hair in five days. 

But anyway, this topic that I was thinking about was gratitude. And I know people associate gratitude with being thankful, but I think it's two different things. Being thankful is the same thing obviously, but it's a little bit different to me than gratitude. Gratitude is like showing reverence to the lesson that was learned. Being thankful is like having someone that you can depend on. Or being thankful that your husband or wife put gas in your car that morning. So I feel like gratitude is a little bit more of a deeper rooted attitude towards being thankful. And I wanted to talk about how being grateful towards my dating life has shaped the way that I am today and how much happier and healthier I am today versus where I was even a year ago.

If you follow me, you know that I'm divorced. I'm a single mom. I didn't have for the past six years a good solid support system. I didn't have a mom that was around a whole lot that could help. My dad is, I don't know, I haven't talked to him in 15 years. I'm not close with my siblings at all. I have friends obviously now, but they're all living their own lives. And if I happen to go out on a date or a double date, obviously I want them there with me. I don't want to ask one of my friends to babysit so that the other friend can come out with me.

It's been a hard balance. And people say, “Oh use Care.com. It's great!” Well, yes, but also I get stopped at Target. I get stopped at the mall. I get stopped whenever I go to an OSU game because people know who I am, which is awesome. I love it. Whenever you come up and say hi, that's one of my favorite things. It's a little dopamine hit, but that also makes it very hard for me to trust and find someone to watch my daughter. I'm not saying Care.com won't work, but it's just one more element that makes it hard for me to date. 

It's not like I've dated a whole lot since my divorce and I've tried. I've tried to be the person who subconsciously just wanted to be in a relationship so bad because I thought that it showed that I had worth in someone else and someone else saw my worth. Because to me, it’s knowing that I'm capable and knowing that I'm worthy and that I have talent and that I have something to bring to the table. I know all these things about myself without a doubt, look at my life. I'm a very successful 33 year old. I get that I have a lot to offer, but to me having validation from someone else was what really drove that point home. That was like the coffin and the nail for me or the nail in the coffin for me. I really wanted to have that reassurance, that validation, and just the attention that someone else would give me and possibly the verbal praise like, “Oh, you're so talented. You're so good.” I can admit that all of that stuff is still good and I still want that kind of stuff, but I don't put all of my eggs in one basket anymore. I'm able to basically make my own breakfast with those eggs, if that makes sense. I understand that just because someone else doesn't see my worth or my value doesn't mean that it's not there or that it's any less. 

So dating has taught me, like I said, I haven't dated a whole lot. After I got divorced, I immediately went into a serious relationship, super toxic, horrible, horrible experience. Oh my God, that was the biggest life changing event that I've experienced thus far because that breakup was equatable to a death. I was cheated on and it was horrible. But, oh my God, the growth that has come from that, I'm so glad that it happened because the person that I was before that happened was codependent insecure and felt worthless. I was like, basically not obsessed with him, but I loved him more than I loved myself. I gave 75% of that relationship and I was lucky if he gave me a continuous 25. So I'm glad that it happened because I learned so much about it. 

But after that I've dated on and off. And with each relationship,I've learned so many things. So we'll call this next one Boy #1, because he was the first guy that I had dated after the huge breakup, the life changing breakup that just tore me apart. So this boy lived out of town. He lived in North Carolina and that didn't work out. It took about six months for it to not work out 

With that relationship I learned that I need to date somebody who's local because they don't really get to see the real me unless they live locally. Because whenever you start out with a long distance relationship, you only show that person the best sides of you. It's basically like a performance. You don't argue, you put stuff under the rug because you have such a limited amount of time with them. You're on your best behavior basically. 

So I learned with that next relationship Boy #1, that I needed to have someone that was local and that I would see regularly so that he could see me in my bad moods and so that he could see what it's like to be around my daughter all the time, once we got to that point. And that he could see and experience, what I'm like in the morning and how bad my morning breath can be at times. He needed to know the real me. So I figured out with Boy #1, that I needed to date someone locally. Cool. I didn't know this about myself before because I never really dated.

Boy #2 was local but was very emotionally and mentally absent. He would be five minutes from my house and I wouldn't have seen him for probably a week. Instead of coming to see me, he would just go home and say, “Oh, I was tired.” Okay, clearly I learned with that relationship that he just wasn't that into me. I don’t want to say that these guys were beneath me because I don't think I'm above anyone else, but their alignment did not match mine. Work ethic, passion, the ability to communicate and all of those aspects about them did not match with me. 

So with that relationship with Boy #2, I learned I really need to find someone who's actually into me and who will go the extra mile and who will literally come and see me if he's five minutes away. I learned about that and a few weeks later, a few months later, I started to get over that. Cool.

Boy #3, he was the most real relationship I think I've ever had even before my marriage. Whenever I was married, I only knew Harper's dad for when we knew each other. We knew of each other in high school, we never spoke a word to each other. We reconnected five years later and we got married after three months of long distance relationships or dating. So I think I would have learned with that one that I needed to have someone local, but I didn't. You know, the universe will keep teaching you things until you finally get it. So it took Boy #2 to show me you need to date someone locally.  But anyways, what was I saying? I have ADD. 

So Boy #3, he was local. Check. He lived close. Check. He gave me attention. Check. He would drive a half hour past his work to come see me for the evening to get up at 3:00 AM to go back to work. It was insane. He was very doting. He was very affectionate. He was very nice to my daughter. He was very sweet to her. He was very supportive of her and I. The flip side of that was that I learned with this relationship, up until then, I had always assumed that I would want to date someone who had kids because I have a kid. I thought maybe, you know, it'll be like a nice little family. I guess I just figured that Harper will finally get some siblings, you know? I know it won't be perfect, but it'll be more ideal. He'll understand me more. He'll understand my life more if he has kids. 

To some extent that probably still is true. However, I found out for myself that as bad as it may seem, I'm completely honest, I don't know if I want to be around young children that aren't mine all the time. It's probably because I never get a break with my own kid. When I say I'm a single mom, I'm a single mom. It's not shared parenting. Her father is not in the picture. He sees her maybe three to four times a year so I have Harper all the time. As much as I love her and I'm obsessed with her, I don't get a break. So to add children to that mix, I found out that I'm not cut out for it. I was never mean to them by any means, but I was unhappy. I didn't like the person I became whenever I was around everybody. I was anxiety ridden. I was stressed out. I wasn't happy. I realized that it was just too much for me. It was basically sensory overload.

So with this date, or Boy #3, I learned a lot of things with this dating actually.  I learned with him that I don't want to date someone that has younger kids. Now obviously if they're older kids, that's different because they're not as needy. They don't need your attention. They're not constantly pulling at you or laying on you or wanting to be with you. And I know I sound like such a horrible person, but whatever, this is a real thing. This is why you watch my blogs because I tell you the truth. I'm not going to be like, “Oh children are a blessing from God and they're amazing and they’re so sweet.” I mean, they were sweet kids, but they weren't for me. Jordans are great shoes, but am I going to wear them? No. These kids were fantastic kids. Do I want to be around them all the time? No, I don't. I don't get a break from my own kid let alone someone else's. 

With this I found out that I might not be the prime stepmom of younger children material. Got it. I also learned that this relationship, as sweet as he was, he gave me almost, well not almost, he definitely gave me too much attention. He was extremely needy. He was like basically dating myself five years ago whenever I went through that really bad breakup. He needed my validation. He needed my attention. He needed my affirmation constantly. I'm busier now and more established and secure, and just overall, a better person now than what I've ever been.

To have a grown adult need me almost as much as my seven year old, I was like, this isn't working. And then we also were out of alignment. Our finances were not the same. Our work ethic was not the same. Again, there was nothing wrong with this person or someone not having the same alignment as me. It doesn't mean that they're a bad person or that they don't have their shit together. It just means it's as simple as that, they're out of alignment with me. It's not in alignment with what I want. So with this dating relationship, I learned so many things. That I need someone who is emotionally intelligent, someone who is busy doing their own things and doesn't wait for me to come home like a puppy waiting at the door. It was the extreme opposite of everything that I have figured out with the other guys. 

I am so grateful for all of the dating, even though it's painful. I don't want to negate the pain that comes from things not working out. And the insecurity that always pops up after something doesn't work out. The feeling of, “was it me?” or “ did I do something wrong?”  Like it had to be me because that’s such a nice guy. I found out that dating a nice guy is not enough. And it's okay to say that you want more than just a nice guy. Whenever I say, I just want a guy that treats me right or I hear people say, I just want a guy that treats me right, well, that's easy to find and you can date it. Not all guys are assholes. They're not for you. But that doesn't mean that they're an asshole. I found out that, no, I need more than that. I stopped saying I am enough and I started to believe that I am more than average and it's okay to want a relationship that's not average because anything that is average is going to be out of line with me. I wouldn't have learned all of this if I hadn't gone through the trials and tribulations and the disappointment of having one relationship fail after another.

I also put a lot of pressure on myself whenever it came to having my daughter have a father figure. I didn't have a healthy father figure growing up. He was an alcoholic. He was abusive. It was a hot mess. My childhood was a disaster, but I didn't have anybody around me saying your childhood is not average. Your childhood is not good. Your example of a father is terrible. So I didn't know all of these things coming into adulthood. I knew that the best way I could describe it was that I knew that my childhood and my relationship with my dad was not ideal. Once I went through therapy, I realized how fucked up it actually was. And then of course, you know, like a little can of worms, I was angry. I was disappointed. I was mad at my mom for not leaving him sooner and all of these things. That's why therapy is amazing. I highly recommend it. However, I wouldn't have known all of these things had I not gone through the dating process. 

Now I have such a solid group of people in my life.I have really good friends. I have a really good support system. Even though Harper doesn't have a father figure that she can look up to on a daily basis, someone who shows her how a woman should be treated, how they should show up with her every single day, I have no doubt that eventually she will see it. She's not going to see it though if I keep putting myself in a league that I don't belong in. I belong in something that's above average. If you are having a hard time finding somebody, it could be that you are putting yourself in a league that you do not belong in. And it's okay to say that. I think there's a lot of shame associated with saying “ I want more” or being embarrassed of saying “I am too good for them”. It’s not in a way that you're snooty or that you're coming from a place of being a brat. It's just being the things that I want are more than what they want. The connection that I want is more than what they're able to give. The finances! Let’s not negate the fact that financial compatibility is so important. That's one of the number one reasons why people get divorced. 

So go into your relationship thinking like me, if this person can not talk openly about their finances and be honest about it, then they're not for me because I have financial goals and I want to be able to be with someone who can meet their own financial goals, but then also help us meet our financial goals together. It's okay to say that you don't want an average relationship. It's okay to say that you don't want just the nice guy. I've dated a lot of really nice guys, but they weren't for me. 

So stepping off my pedestal here, I just wanted to check in and let you guys know about what's going on in my brain lately and why I haven't been upset anymore about when things don't work out. I'm upset for a minute. Like I said, there's always going back and being, God, I wish it would have worked out. I wish this would have been the one. But what did I learn from it? The gratitude that I've learned from these relationships, Oh my God, I've learned so much about myself and what I do and do not want and I wouldn't have been able to do that. I wouldn't be able to recognize the things about myself that I was basically ignoring before had I not gone through and dated. So I'm grateful for the men that I've dated. I'm grateful that they've shown me the things that I want and that I do not want. And I'm grateful that they showed me things about me that I don't like and that I need to work on. It's not always about them. 

So that is it! Until next time, be true to you and I'll see you soon.