Until, one day, I didn’t. Until I stopped.
Until I realized that most men are actually… amazing. Most men truly want to care for a woman, want to have a real, loving relationship that is a haven and an inspiration and a safe place for both. Most of us want all of that. I realized that there are a majority of men who are brave enough to lay down these stupid weapons of Mass Dating Destruction; who are courageous enough to love openly and truly. So I did too.
There’s an idea that the hurt comes from the game; from dating, from love even. So changing the way you play makes sense as a tactic of self-preservation. But the thing is that love doesn’t hurt. Rejection, loneliness, self-doubt, and loss hurt. Love doesn’t, connection doesn’t, intimacy doesn’t. By trying to protect ourselves from those things happening again in the future, we’re actually preventing ourselves from really connecting with people.
In the midst of this battlefield, I laid down my arms. I opened my heart, and I trusted men. I let myself be vulnerable, I shared my true feelings, I was my honest to goodness weirdo self, right from the start. And the facade of the fickle dating-game-player washed quickly away; I didn’t have to stop myself from falling for the guy who was insincere; I was able to see him truly and so, I had no interest in him. It is possible to learn who we can trust and who is being deceptive. There’s nothing wrong with being honest about your fears, or taking it slow. Ultimately, this is about being honest… which involves being vulnerable. Which is what I did.
And I found my partner. I found the man who was brave enough to be with me, as I am, as he is, in this crazy world, every day. Who is afraid to love and does it anyway, with his entire person, courageously and fully, every fucking minute, and who is so much better for it and who has helped me become better, too.
Winning at Love, sex, and / or Dating… By Choosing Not to Play
A guy recently said to me that he would love to find a woman he could take seriously; then he could stop playing the game and actually get the prize he’s looking for, that most of us are looking for: honest-to-goodness intimacy. Real, actual love.
As long as he keeps playing the game, That. Will. Never. Happen. Because when you approach someone as an opponent, as an adversary, they cannot love you, and you can never love them. When you approach someone as an adversary, you don’t see their flaws as treasures to be kept safe from the world; you see them as advantages to be taken. You don’t hold them in their success and failure, on their good and bad days; you hold them at an emotional distance. You don’t sacrifice for their happiness. You sacrifice their happiness for yours.
Instead, open your heart. It’s scary, but it is worth it. Dating doesn’t have to be a game.
When we stop seeing it that way, it’s no longer about who loses.
It’s about finding someone you can team up with, so everyone wins.
From the heart, Kathryn