Hey Loves!  It’s the weekend, so what better time than for me to discuss dating?!!! I think I heard a collective sigh and a few moans.  You can hate me now.

I was sitting here reflecting about the dates of years past, when I came to the realization

“it’s easy to date me when you’re the one who benefits.”

This mostly came about after spending the day with some friends a while back when a friend’s husband told me -”Rae, you’re too accomodating. Most men will never understand or appreciate that. You’re going to have to toughen up a bit.”  He’s a coach and coming from him, I had to think about it and he was right.  I needed to pull it together and stop trying to do all the work.

I’m jumping into it today with no holds barred.  I realized recently I no longer enjoy the dating process – so I’ve altered it.  There may be an attraction these days but there at least has to be a basis for friendship.  For the friendship to grow into love.  For the love to take a turn for romance. Even if I’m feeling all of those at once.

However, when you tend to be a giver, it’s easy for the other person to date you.  They end up not having enough to do since we’re giving all the time.  You give and give.  Then you give more. When you don’t think you can give anything else, you act on borrowed time and love and give more.  We all have the reserve. Problem is, sometimes we end up with someone who depletes it and we’re looking around.

Due to previous situations – some foreseen, others not to much, my bank is empty for loans. While I continuously love and give, it’s at a different level these days.  I give to a level and then I evaluate.

Case in point – if you’re always the one setting up dates, making calls and making the effort to see the other person – why wouldn’t they go out with you? All return with no work.  You never give them the chance to actually make a solid effort to show you if they’re interested.  So when you finally stop and look around and are wondering why they never do anything?  The first question to ask is if they were interested in you in the first place or were they interested in what you had to offer.  I often find people are more interested in what you have to offer them than what they are willing to offer you.  Better yet they aren’t often interested in you.  Not the real you.  The you who has no makeup on and has $3.00 to her name and is about to have a “pantry party” and eat directly from the pantry and the freezer.

It’s exhausting and it’s a pace that can’t be maintained.  These days, if someone is interested they have to make a solid effort to get into my space.  If not, I’m fine with the person exiting stage left.

Maybe it’s the years behind me, maybe it’s the situations I’ve had to endure these last few years. I’m over the process of having to do all the work.

No more struggle dating.

Are you too agreeable when it comes to dating?  Are you doing most of the hard work?  Do you often find yourself on the giving end?

This is a basic list of some of the lessons I have learned over my years of dating.  It’s not exhaustive.  It doesn’t and probably will not cover everything.  It will however, show a few lessons.  I’m sure I may even have to refer to this list from time to time.

Please check out Volume I of “Things My Exes Have Taught Me”  here to catch up.

Without further adieu, here is Volume II (hey, I’m rhyming now…someone call Def Poetry Jam for me):

    1. Relationship does not mean isolation or ignoring your own needs.  You’re human.  You should be able to maintain a relationship with your man/woman/significant other/dog and still be able to have hang time with your friends and family.  You should still be able to find some time to breathe even if it’s for a few minutes.  Hobbies, happy hour, family vacations and all your other hullaballoo.
    2. Never let anyone gaslight you.  If they try to make you think you’re crazy and you’re not – think again.  There is nothing wrong with a trusted second opinion.
    3. Never chase – goodbye can really be good.  See here.
    4. Never chase – allow him the room to come to you, come back to you or try to work it out.
    5. Never chase. (yes it’s here three times because it’s that damn important)
    6. There are many good men out there.  Don’t screw them over.  You could be “the next woman” at some point in your life and never want to have been what they were talking about on Single Black Male as Girlfriend Zero.  Don’t be that girl/woman/fiancée – you’ll thank yourself for it later.
    7. Read more.  Read things in their entirety.  Have some depth.  It’s important.
    8. Don’t just take someone at their word all the time.  Actions are much more important.
    9. Lip service doesn’t pay for anything.  Not even attention.
    10. I recently talked to a girlfriend of mine, she mentioned that Niecy Nash had said you have to “Date for your priorities and not your preferences.”  Nuff Said.
    11. A woman can grow to love a man.
    12. Sometimes, it pays more just to not want to “find out” if there’s “anything between us.”  Please know, everyone you have chemistry with isn’t destined to be your mate and certainly doesn’t deserve your time.
    13. Being alone can be sexy.  You’ll never have more time to work on yourself than when you’re single.  Cherish the time.
    14. Real relationships take work.  There will be fireworks and chemistry.  But the real work comes when the fireworks and chemistry die down.
    15. Choose a mate you’re willing to work with, forgive and are willing to work through things together.  Better yet, find a person who’s all of those things too.
    16. Lies matter.  If you catch a person being deceitful, lying and all that other jazz, you may have to cut them off.  It’ll save you some time.
    17. You are not a personal Jesus.  Let Jesus do the saving.
    18. Character is far more important than a bank account.  Learn to look past all the glitter & gold.
    19. Wait to have sex.  You won’t miss anything.   It will always be there.
    20. Be authentic.  If you need to cry, aren’t having a good day, are having an amazing day – learn how to be transparent with someone so they know who you really are.
    21. Let him see you without the make-up, the hair and all the extras. See #20 above re: authenticity.
    22. Know what you’re looking for.
    23. Find your yellow brick road and stay on it!  Find your red shoes & Toto and your crew and get on it.  Don’t stray, no detours. Have a plan.  And yes, I plan to get it just like this singing and dancing the whole way – join me :
    24. Be aware of who or what you’re attracting.  If you don’t like who and what is attracted to you, “you” are the common denominator and will have to do the changing.
    25. Know what you’re attracted to.  Did you know that can change as well?  Trust me on this one.
    26. Make sure you’re ready when he shows up.  Which means, you need to be your own prototype.
    27. Work on the betterment of yourself at all times.
    28. Find a mentor
    29. Pray more, talk less
    30. Listen more, talk less
    31. Watch more, talk less
    32. Do more, talk less
    33. Talk less
    34. Develop a gentle & quiet spirit, I Peter 3:4.
    35. Love yourself unconditionally through all of your mayhem, foolishness, hullaballoo and fuckery.  Your love for yourself will radiate everywhere you go.  Genuine, outright, knockdown drag out love.

    What else would you add to the list?

    I’d love to feature your lessons I haven’t covered so far.  In box me here or tweet me  @fromraewithlove with your suggestions and comments.



    P.S.  Here’s what I’m jamming to tonight – Phyllis Hyman (I miss her…) and one of my favorite songs “What you Won’t Do for Love” – is there a better combination?