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Lesbian Dating: Do You Have a Bad Picker?

19 Nov Posted by in • Kim Baker | Comments
Lesbian Dating: Do You Have a Bad Picker?

I used to blame my tendency to be drawn to women who were vaguely disinterested in me on my first love, a boy I met just before college. Before I knew I was a lesbian, he was my Dawson’s Creek boyfriend, innocently hanging out together one summer, dealing with the drama of dysfunctional families, not enough money for college, and general teenage angst. He seemed interested in dating me but there was always an excuse. Timing. Family stuff. Schedules. Something. Much later, I would learn that when someone wants to be with you they will, no excuses. I had to recognize that I deserve more than to be someone’s “Meh, maybe”. I’m reminded of a scene in Bridesmaids when Meghan, Melissa McCarthy’s character is wrestling with Kristen Wiig’s character, Annie, telling her to fight for her shitty life. She tells her, “You’re your problem and you’re also your solution.” As onlookers, we see that although some unfortunate things happen to Annie, at some point she creates her own downward spiral.

Here are the two biggest realizations that changed everything:

1) My problem is focus, not having a “bad picker”. Years ago, I met Anna, who seemed to fit my entire list of qualities I wanted in my next girlfriend (having made the list post heartbreak of my last breakup in the spirit of “I’m not ever dating ___again!”.) In her, I got everything on my list. I just didn’t think to include things like, “Doesn’t cheat with her ex” or “Can take responsibility for her part in arguments”. I promptly added those to my next list when Anna and I ended. And I found a woman who seemed to meet all my new list requirements. But again, I didn’t think to add, “Doesn’t have a personality disorder that includes gas-lighting me” or “Isn’t emotionally abusive”. I was so confused when that relationship fell apart too. Was I picking the wrong women because I was making the wrong lists? It finally hit me, after the long road back from the toxic relationship that it wasn’t my lists that were wrong. It was my focus. I was so worried about finding the right girl, that I completely lost sight of my responsibly to myself – being the most authentic me. By focusing on the traits of other women, I diverted my attention away from my own responsibility in the relationship – communicating my needs and feelings, taking care of me, and owning up to my part in situations. As I began to deal with myself and my old issues, I quickly realized that I was attracting different women than I had in a long time – healthy women who had worked on themselves too. Dating the right woman pushed me to deal with myself, my old stories and wounds, and natural things that come up in relationships that I wasn’t naturally skilled at – like conflict and communication.

2) What causes me to lose the most is being unaware. I once tried to deal with pain of multiple breakups by staying hyper busy. I over invested in my career and goals to the point where I moved away from my support system, worked full time, and began a doctorate degree program–all at once. I was launched into a chronic cycle of stress that buried my actual feelings so deep that when I started to crash from all the overload I was completely lost and vulnerable. I then got right into a toxic relationship. I saw the signs. I recognized them. I chose to stay numb in lieu of the idea of a “stable” relationship. And I got completely played in my worst, most toxic relationship ever. The best thing about that worst relationship is that I learned that the more conscious I am of my needs and my feelings, the less likely I am to get sucked in to dysfunction. Self-awareness is the kryptonite to toxic relationships. After 20 years of being my own problem in dating, expecting to not be a priority, ignoring my needs, and letting myself get sucked into dysfunction, I learned perhaps the most important lesson of all: by focusing on facing my own issues and staying present to whatever is happening in the moment, I am practicing self-love. And in that way, I am my own solution.

Kim Baker, author of Girls’ Guide to Healthy Dating: Between the Breakup and the Next U-Haul, is a dating columnist and writer whose writing examines healthier dating through the lens of mindfulness and self-care. Find her at www.girlsguidetohealthydating.com or join her email list by texting gg2dating to 22828, message and date rates may apply.

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