This article was originally featured in Ambition Magazine.
If you provide directions to your heart to a man who’s interested, he’ll follow them. He’s not necessarily being himself; so he can only keep up ‘the act’ for so long. Give it 4-6 months. Mr. Dating Prospect will morph into a different man: Himself. You’ll be stuck holding your heart in a to-go box.
I found myself struggling in relationship after relationship trying to adjust to the ‘real him’. It always ended in annoyance and disappointment. This went on for years. Years!
Enough was enough. No more route guidance! I shut down my romance GPS—not an easy feat for someone who loves to over communicate.
The new approach to dating required tweaks and adjustments. I had a rehearsed plan. When the next guy asked: What are you looking for? My response was: I want you to be respectful and be yourself…then, let’s see where things go.
I took the romance GPS shutdown to the next level in 2014 after a come to Jesus meeting with a trusted guy friend in mid 2013. He said, “You’ve got to stop giving us directions. We’ll follow them”. I stopped giving turn-by-turn directions to my heart. 2014 resulted in a respectable dating year. I learned the positive impact of simply asking a man to be himself.
As Oprah says, ‘Use your life as a class.’ So I took a class in managing my emotions and patience to ensure complete romance GPS shutdown entering 2015.
How can you manage your emotions and why would you want to? The quick answer is: emotions should not spearhead dating decisions. Emotions fluctuate. They impact your ability to sustain a complete romance GPS shutdown. When emotions are nominated as your sole navigator you end up in hot water—at least I do. So I tested my theory.
GPS Shutting Down
I began dating Mr. Wonderful. We looked perfect on paper—the ultimate power couple. But, we weren’t working in real life. And I know me…had I put my emotions in charge; I would’ve thought I was in love. Instead I was able to maintain a clear head. Staying true to the GPS shutdown, I asked him to be himself from day one. After 4 months, we both woke up saying I respect you a lot and I think you’re amazing, just not for me. Love it! We were both adults about it because of the solid approach—being ourselves and letting the answers unfold.
The second element involved taking a class in my own patience to ensure the romance GPS remained in shutdown mode. When we turn 30 if we haven’t been married or birthed a child, many of us go a little cuckoo. I have my basket case moments.
I notice subtleties in how 30 somethings interact with one another with the perceived ticking clock. You think it’s a female thing, but men get a little looney too. It never occurred to me that the other half experiences social pressure. I had a candid conversation with Mr. Wonderful. He proposed a hypothetical scenario of the seemingly perfect guy, then added that he was 42, never been married and no children. He asked, “With that 10 year difference and him being in his 40s, would you hesitate?” I said yes.
He added with a triumphant hand wave, “Exactly my point, it gets a little weird for us too…so in our mid 30s we realize we’ve got to step up to the plate and begin the search.” Social factors like these can goad us to booting up the romance GPS. Don’t do it!
Understanding some of the inherent challenges associated with having a 3 in the first part of your age supplicates patience be embraced. Taking the time to date someone and explore them is the best way to identify if he or she is someone you could build with in the future. Rushing is a breeding ground to skip steps, make mistakes and justify red flags.
I dated Mr. Wonderful for 4 months without pressing him for details of what are we doing and what is this. When a man wants you, there will be no doubt in your mind. The day we called it quits, I was grateful for taking a class in my own patience.
GPS Update Available
A romance GPS shutdown allows the relationship to reveal its purpose in your life. It prevents you from tripping over your emotionally driven heart strings. In my case, it was a lesson. How often do we confuse a lesson for a soulmate? This was the first time I had my romance GPS completely shut down. I felt empowered and equipped to pursue the dating relationship while keeping my focus on being the one instead of making him the one. My Mr. Right is out there; he’s just using a Thomas Guide. I’m okay with a good wait for the right one. #still_loading