How my perspectives on dating have changed throughout the years

When it comes to a committed relationship, I used to be the one who looked forward to it. I loved the idea of having a life partner—to love and be loved. The fact that life has forced me to be independent at such an early age certainly has an influence on this. Ok, don’t get me wrong, being independent is good. In fact, I’ve been dealing with things alone my whole life, and it shaped me into an extremely independent person. I am, indeed, very proud of it. However, I’ll admit that there were times I grew sick of it—sick of being fully dependent on myself for way too long. I mean, I’d rather have someone else carry a ten-kilogram bag of rice to the 17th floor for me! Haha. But yeah, I used to have a dream of building a happy, healthy, and loving family with someone. Things have changed, though. I buried it so deeply that I don’t even think about it anymore, but do I still believe in love? 

Well, allow me to explain.

I do. I still believe in love. I have no reason to doubt it just because it hasn’t worked for me in the past. Love is the only thing that keeps my parents-me-and-my brothers together although I was raised on survival. True love exists, but not everyone is fortunate enough to find it. I personally witnessed my younger brother’s 7-year relationship with his girlfriend before they decided to get married. They are still madly in love with each other after all these years. This is what I strive for, not what I had in the past, which was far from that, and for this, I have no one else to blame but myself.

How can it be my fault? 

Okay, our choices determine the course of our lives. Whether they are good or bad, the choices have an impact. Do I deserve it? Yeah, I do. I don’t deserve what happened, but I deserve the lesson that comes with it. Life has its own unique way of teaching us something. Whether it’s fair or not, we do deserve it. If I kept living in denial, thinking I didn’t deserve anything that happened to me, I wouldn’t learn anything from it. So yeah, it depends on how we perceive it. I began to focus on myself and my self-love journey when I adopted a positive outlook on what happened in my previous relationship. What happened was unfair, indeed, because I know I have great values, but the lesson it taught me has greatly improved me as a person, especially as a woman. Not only that, but the values that I have shown during our relationship have also improved my ex’s life over the years. In an odd way, we actually needed each other back then.

My Dating life in my 20’s.

I kind of jumped into dating quite fast, from one person to another. Not to brag here, but I was quite popular when I was in high school until my mid-’20s. Most of my friends thought that I’d marry young. I’ve dated quite a long list of guys, but I don’t think any of it was serious. I don’t even think I understood what love was back then until I was in a long-distance relationship with my ex, who lives in Greece. I was 28 at that time, and this man, Chris, taught me many things about love, loyalty, and being in a committed relationship. Even though we live about 15,000 kilometers apart, he made me feel loved. He took care of me and always made time for me, no matter how busy he was—not even once in the 2.5 years of our relationship.

People say a long-distance relationship won’t work. Personally, I would rather be in a long-distance relationship than any of the crappy relationships that we have in our society these days. A long-distance relationship was the best relationship I’ve ever had so far. The excitement once you see each other at the airport—nothing in this world can compare to that. I want to thank Chris for giving me those experiences. 

I’m glad I don’t marry young. 

When I was in my 20s, I didn’t think I had a clear idea of who I was or what I wanted. The mistakes I made in relationships, whether they were serious or not, helped me learn more about myself. At this point in my life, I’m glad that I actually spent my 20s figuring out who I am and what I want. I don’t force myself to have the same timeline as others. I live on my own timeline. To be honest, I’m someone who is against marrying young. I indeed tried to sabotage my younger brother’s wedding, because, to me, it was a mistake. He was just 24 at that time. I wanted him to enjoy his 20s. But yeah, again, we all live in our own timeline. He was 24 back then, but he was also very mature for his age. My ex was also younger than me, that’s why I never forced my ex to get married because, when I was his age, I wasn’t ready either. 

What I realized from the men I dated and men who wanna date me.

They all want to date me, but none of them want to learn about me or at least try to understand why I am the way I am. It’s not something that flatters me anymore when a man says: 

You are beautiful.

You are funny.

You are cute.

You are hot.

I’ve received all of these compliments countless times since high school. Most guys get thrilled to be with me because of my admirable qualities, not thinking I also have character flaws they must cope with; my negative emotions such as sadness, anger, anxieties, fears, jealousy, insecurities, trauma, etc., and also me as a human being that has my physical flaws; acne breakouts, gained weight, lose weight, wrinkles, hair falls, etc. It’s not as simple as it looks. Sometimes a person can be messy and ugly. When the relationship starts only because of its good qualities without any consideration for its negative ones, from there, it will go downhill from there. Furthermore, as far as I can recall, I’ve never met any men who wanted to learn about me and my past before they decided to date me.

Why does learning about the past matter? 

No one ever asks me:

“What is your childhood trauma?”

“How did you grow up?”

“What was the worst thing that ever happened to you?” 

“Do you have any health issues in the past?”

These questions matter; it matters because, when you learn about someone’s past, you will have a deeper understanding of the person. You won’t question or criticize why they are the way they are. Everything that has happened to us in the past has shaped who we are today. Many things in our lives are connected to our past, whether we realize it or not. We are quick to judge what we don’t understand; we are quick to respond based on what we see rather than what we understand about that person. It is very important to have someone who never pretends they “understand” what we went through, who never makes us re-live things, who can calm us down during our outbursts, and who loves us unconditionally.

I want someone who I can call my best friend more than a partner. 

Things are different now from when a committed relationship scared the crap out of me. I’m too comfortable with my life and what I have. Having a romantic partner is not something that I’m looking forward to, anymore. When a man flirts with me or I know he has the intention to date me, Okay, what do we do when we are scared of something? We run, right? We save ourselves. Yup. I run. The friendship is ruined, and I don’t bother to talk to him anymore. I mean, it would take someone extraordinary, remarkable, or whatever you want to call it, to win my heart at this point. For now, the closest a man can be in my life is as a best friend. In fact, it’s an honour when I start to call him my best friend because it’s the highest level I can put a man in my life. I can say that it’s not a friend zone. It’s the safe zone if that makes sense? Haha.

Maybe someday I’ll be ready to commit, but I’m very sure I won’t date anyone outside of this “best friend” zone. Being my best friend means he’s already taking his time, talking to me, and making me feel comfortable with him as a friend to the point where I can share things about my life with him. I rarely get along with men these days, but when I can be naturally funny and witty with him, I know the vibes match. Building a friendship is my main priority, and I’ll let time decide what happens after that. I don’t see the rush in having a partner. If love comes, great. I just want to take it slow and enjoy it while making sure it’s genuine. If it doesn’t, it’ll come sooner or later. 

Not all men have the privilege to be in my life even as a friend. 

Yup, as complicated as it sounds. I’m very selective with who I allow into my life even as a friend especially when it comes to men. I only engage in ongoing communication with men who I find have the same interests as me and have good qualities and principles in life, men who have a good career and are matched with me both physically and mentally. I don’t waste my time anymore talking to anyone for fun or just because I’m bored. Everything is about qualities and standards. I don’t want to lower myself to the level I did in the past only to live up to someone else’s standard of living. Nobody should let such happen in their lives. So yeah, if I like you, and I want you to be in my life, you will know, if I don’t, you also will know. Either way, life goes on. 🙂


X. Hani.


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