We all know that couple that has been together for as long as you can remember. The kind of people who met on campus and have been together ever since; through thick and thin you might say. You have to admit that whether you are a sucker for love or not, such rare love does elicit a feeling of joy. However, for those of us still wadding our way through the muddy waters of dating, you cannot help but be a little curious. Are these relationships built to last? Can you only date one and in them find ‘the one’?
The Dating Conundrum
Dating has never been easy but dating in the modern era is like navigating a field of landmines. It is oftentimes a confusing journey and the longer you are on it, the harder it gets. There are fewer things in this life that will make you confront some deep truths about who you are like dating will. However, it does take a toll on you mentally.
I have always been somewhat of an introvert and while I have dabbled in dating here and there, the last two years have been the most significant. When COVID hit, dating was however the last thing on my mind. We were in survival mode. The pandemic brought with it a host of other problems that we had to contend with. Besides, with the lockdown and curfews, we could not see each other so dating was effectively shelved indefinitely right? Or at least I thought so.
So when I started talking to a guy right in the middle of the pandemic, I did not think much of it. He had initially reached out to ask for a work-related favour and the conversation had just taken a life of its own. It was not until I checked my phone while on one of our regular calls and realized we had just clocked 5 hours of nonstop conversation. It hit me that I was genuinely enjoying talking to a man I had never met.
It is important to note that I have never engaged in online dating. So the whole idea of talking to someone I had never met was still very new to me. I decided to give it a try. After all, what was the worst that could happen behind a phone screen right? We created our little routine where we cooked together as we chatted about the day. But something shifted. I felt like I could be more open to him. However, the change was not inspired by him. It was about me. It is like being behind a screen emboldened me.
When You Start To See The Symptoms
Then late into last year, some of the COVID restrictions were lifted in my country, Kenya. People could transverse a lot easier now. So in early December, we agreed to meet for the first time. To say that the date was awkward would be an understatement. The man that I had talked to for hours on end suddenly felt like a stranger. I felt my walls building back up again. I felt naked and I could feel myself crawling back to my safety cocoon. Needless to say, we did talk about the situation and he was quite understanding but the experience in itself reminded me of something I think I had long forgotten.
Somewhere along the way as I navigated through this murky world, I forgot what it felt like to walk tall. What do I mean? Dating can make you question things about yourself. But that is supposed to be the point. Going through these experiences introduces you to yourself. But for me, it did more than that. I let these situations cut down inches of my being; I got shorter. I wrapped myself up in bits and pieces that seemed digestible and decided I was going to release these pieces in acceptable bites throughout the relationship. Not because I wanted to. I just felt I needed to do it. I probably became so good at it I was not aware I was doing it.
On Your Way To Recovery
However, somewhere behind that phone screen, I was able to create a space where I felt safe and brave enough to walk tall again. To be who without needing to reel back the curtain. I struggled during the first face-to-face meeting because there was no hitting pause. He had an unadulterated version of me and I was suddenly very aware of that. I could not be any more grateful for the experience. It served like a really good reset button.
A vaccine is an imitation of the disease it is trying to fight. Once injected into your system, your body is left with a supply of cells that remember how to fight the infection in the future. The pandemic served as a great time to learn a thing or two even when it comes to dating. I can only hope your body created a lasting imprint to carry those lessons into the future. It can be easy to get caught up in this dating haze and lose sight of the things that matter. Trust me, I get it. All you can do is be brave enough to get there and remember to always walk tall.