Guest Blog by Shae Marie
“Love is like the sea. It’s a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.” – Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Are we naturally drawn to the seas and shores previously explored? Or are we hoping love has eroded the sharp edges and molded these shores into a different shape? Simply put, is it easier to date someone you have already dated?
Honestly, dating in today’s society is not a simple task and for me maybe double dipping as they say or as I say “swimming in my ex pool” is not such a bad idea. I have never enjoyed going through the process of getting to know someone. The sometimes awkward phone conversations of nothing but “how was your day?’, “Good”, “What are you doing?”, “Nothing”…and those awful rules made up by God knows who that says you have to wait a certain amount of time before you can call or text that person or having to pretend that you’re not really into a person just to save face in case their feelings are not mutual. The wondering “Should I wait until later to call him even though I’m dying to talk to him now?”, “Wait should I just text him instead?”, “Is it too soon for a Good Morning text?”, “Should I be more open?”, “Am I being clingy?”
These things lead me to overthinking and overthinking takes away from my ability to show my true myself. In order to fit into the box that people want to put me in or at least what I think they are trying to put me in, I find myself battling with keeping up with the “guidelines” and the mirror that is me. Nobody wants to show all their cards on the first hand, but what’s the point of gambling without the risk or reward? Because of such trends like “Friends with benefits” or ‘”Netflix and chill”, many of my peers have no idea what it feels like to be courted or taken out on an actually date without an expectation of an award for being a gentleman or a lady. As a single woman, this becomes frustrating.
“ I miss you” Sincerely with love, Ex
And then comes that “I miss you” message that sends me contemplating the things of the past. The thought of being with someone who I don’t have to get know, who I can call or text whenever I want.. Simply put, someone I don’t have to follow those idiotic rules with. And yes, I’m one of those dippers of the ex pool. Haven’t we all at some point? I know very few women who don’t get butterflies or a wide smile across their face at the mention of a certain past relationship. At the mention of his name, the mind takes us traveling down memory lane where skies seemed bluer, birds sing an endless melody, and flowers bloom but never die. As bogus as that last statement, is reminiscing about all the good times of a past relationship without remembering that an ex is an ex for a reason.
Take me and my first love. Our reason for breaking up comes with the typical his story, my story, and the real story. Though I felt it at the time and still now though I would never admit it out loud, this relationship was pivotal to the foundation of all those to come after that. This relationship came before I learned all the rules of dating or maybe I knew them and just choose to ignore them. Either way, in my late teens, I was introduced to a whirl wind love with this person. A person who I spent endless moments with simply being goofy, funny, shy, spontaneous, creative me. I was his beautifully flawed and he mines. My young 19 self had its first hit of a drug called love and kicking it or quitting it was furthest from my mind.
Here’s where it got interesting… the break up and again this comes with the typical his story, my story, and the truth. My story…. I had overdosed and it’s nothing like a women sending you messages from the man that you love promising the love that you thought was exclusively yours to someone else. Seeing the devotion that was thought to be limited to you shared with someone else. It’s nothing like a Facebook message on your birthday from an angry woman to send you into rehab. She wasn’t the first nor the last. My inbox became full of slanderous messages from various women all claiming my love so obviously unexclusive to me. From his point of view, being emotionally involved with these women was not the same as being physically involved and therefore was not cheating. He couldn’t understand or didn’t want to understand that there was no way that he could be fully invested in our relationship while entertaining other women.
I got intoxicated by the words of my love that said they were liars and crazy, while my mind played the melodies of Mr. Scott-Heron “Kick it, quit it, kick it, quit it, kick it, quit it”. He flooded my veins and stained my heart, I kicked it, and I quit it. Kicking him, my habit, was one of the hardest things. Like any addict I needed to change everything about my life in order not to relapse like blocking calls, cutting social media contact, and even changing some of the places I frequented and people I visited. Mutual friends are not always neutral friends and they are looking for things to report back. After sometime, I became clean and sober.
Then came the relapse… my first craving for my love came back through an “I miss you” message. I’m one of the few people who’s never changed their number, so getting in touch with me was easy. I had entered a happy place in my life but he just needed to know one thing to having me feening again… That I was single. I welcomed him for closure and honestly I still don’t believe that he came back for malicious intent. Your drug of choice never does, it thinks it’s there to help you and to get rid of your sickness. The habit, the feen, the sickness comes from you. The drug does exactly what it’s supposed to do which is leave needle marks to heal a broken heart. As my drug he feed me everything I needed, all the apologies and the promises for change.
Believe it or not he had changed, the person I once knew had grown into a different person. He became the ambitious and God fearing man that I knew he had the potential to be. He had established a career for himself and was better parent to his child. The rough seas I once knew had changed due to better shores and the sharp edges had smoothed. So was his changes the reason I decided to “swim in my ex pool”, partially. At the time I thought it was, but as I reflect back it was the comfortability of being with him. I never took pleasure in the dating standards of today, the “we’re not exclusive “or the “hall pass to cheat”.
The road of comfortability is easier than trying the unknown
Dating an ex is like getting a new car without having to read the manual… You already know how everything works. It was conventional in the sense that everything with us just naturally fell into place. Picking things up were they left off had a much better appeal then the pangs of the dating scene. Being around him without make up, my hair a mess, or even passing gas, all came natural because these are things that we had been through before. Going out on dates or just watching a movie at home, came with no strings, expectations, or even thoughts of either. Without any reservations, he knew how I felt about him and I knew how he felt about me.
So if I had the relationship I wanted free of the rules and restraints of the typical dating scene, why didn’t this rendezvous of my present and past weather the season? There was just too much damage done from the past that we both still carried. Even though we had countless conversations about the events that transpired between us, it was too hard to let go of the hurt and guilt. Things would start out great, but we would eventually become weighed down by past emotional baggage. Trust became unbelievably difficult especially on my part. Because of past mistakes, the trust we once had for one another had been shattered. Trying to rebuild the pieces of our relationship was incredibly difficult so we quit. Of course, we did this dance where every so often we would miss one another and send that good ole faithfully “I miss you” message.
Get up and try something new, moving forward without hesitation, never looking backwards
What is most clear is that we still very much love each other but we couldn’t live in the past. It’s easy to go back to what’s familiar rather than moving forward. I’m no longer the person I was when we first dated and he is no longer the person he was. We realize that we were addicts for our love but in order for us to continue growing, we had to live for the future and let go of the past. There are many times when I would love to fall back into my comfort zone but for now I choose to remain sober.
I truly believe we are the masters of our own destiny and I’ve decided to live unconventional and define my own rules or better yet define my own standards of dating. Who is forcing me to live by what everyone else thinks is right? I did a lot of complaining about what I didn’t like about the social norms for dating but the reality is I’m in control of my happiness and that happiness starts with whatever I decide it to be.
Follow Shae Marie on Instagram! @shaeshaymarie