Good Girl Chronicles

No Thank U, Next: The Ex Regret

Ariane Grande’s song ‘Thank U, Next’ is an anthem for women who have learned that sometimes ex loves are not always meant to be our forever, but can teach us valuable lessons. The beautiful kicker in the song is when Ariana realizes the best person she learned love from is herself. The catchy hook of ‘Thank U, Next’ seems to empower you the more and more you sing it. Each time you recite the chorus it as if saying you are over your ex, you believe that there will be a next chapter in love, and you have moved on.

But, for some of us single women ‘Thank U, Next’ doesn’t speak directly to our plight. Some of us have dated a bunch of train wrecks who have wasted our time, energy, and emotions. And, unfortunately the lessons we learn from these dudes are so brutal it makes us never want to try again. No, there is no NEXT here.

Here is a look at some of the train wrecks in love I wish I could have avoided. I have written about a few of these men in former blogs.

A Fling with Mr. City Hall
Ah, City Hall was so handsome. He wore fresh suits, his beard was always groomed, and I loved that he was a little bit hood. I should have paid attention to that last part. I met this Latin love at Richmond City Hall where I was trying to fight a parking ticket. Hence his nickname. When I met City Hall I was more overweight than I am now. And, I was trying to piece my life back together after spending two years in a deep depression. The thought of a man ever finding me attractive seemed unthinkable. So when I slide him my number and he called back it made me feel seen.

PAUSE! MESSAGE: Women please hear me when I say this. If you do not yet love yourself, This is not the time slide numbers, slide into DM’s, slide off a dress. Take the time to learn yourself. Find out what makes you happy on your own. If you seek love and wholeness in a person or something outside of yourself you are setting yourself up for failure. This is the hardest lesson I learned from City Hall. For three months, I willing let City Hall use me. And, maybe a big part of me was using him too. Our escapades felt sexy, adventurous, and movie-like. But really I was just a broken, insecure woman looking for validation in the arms of a man.

City Hall once told me that he never trusted women because this hot model looking chick cheated on him and broke his heart. For a moment I thought there was a really warm, sweet guy under his gangsta exterior. There wasn’t.

When I was realized I was side piece, I cursed him out and things got scary. He threatened to find where I lived, told me he always carried a gun, and even created fake social media accounts to write hateful things about me. Yeah, it turned ugly quick.

I wish I loved myself more back then.

The Model
Any of you have that one friend who said she found the love of her life on Tinder? Well I do. She’s a successful career woman, and somehow landed a seemingly normal, successful, wholesome man on Tinder. It gave me a glimmer of hope.

After signing up for the app and swiping a few times, I thought maybe my friend and I were in two different universes. The Tinder I got was full of lonely Navy men looking for one night stands, men who wanted pictures of bare feet, and pictures of my underwear. What app was my friend using?

Why did I stay on Tinder with all these creepy men? There was something intoxicating about smoking, hot men swiping to see me. When I started using Tinder I felt super ugly and unattractive so whenever a handsome man and I had a match it sent adrenaline down my spine.

I met a young Navy guy this way. He was five years my junior, with chiseled six pack abs, soft brown curly hair, soft lips, and hands. Our relationship was purely physical. There were no dates, or good morning texts. But we talked about our faith journeys. We stayed up late nights watching old episodes of Flavor Flava’s reality tv show.  He wanted to model after the Navy but he only 5’2 and super self conscience. When I was homeless he let me come his apartment to shower, and sleep. And there were moments I thought we’d have this Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher affair. But a relationship built on nothing meaningful isn’t strong enough to deal when the going gets tough.

One night I had an anxiety attack so scary I called the ambulance and spent the night in the hospital. When I pleaded for him to come sit with in the ER, he refused, and called me crazy, and psychotic.

I could have done without that also.

The Boston Bear
After too many hot messes like City Hall and The Model I decided I needed to take a break from all dating apps. For a year I focused on myself, I joined a church, I started working out, and I found a job at a hotel at the Oceanfront. At work, I heard a rumor that a squeaky, clean white guy from Boston had a crush on me. The first few times I laughed and rolled my eyes. What did this square white boy want to do with a woman like me? I had done things and seen things I’m sure he never could imagine. I scoped out his Facebook page, more than anything else I saw innocence. I saw pictures of a former Navy boy who didn’t like the spotlight. In all his pictures he was somehow in the back, almost like a ‘Where’s Waldo’ kind of things. He was easy not to notice. It was cute. All of the men I had messed with up until that point were cocky, bravado kind of men. Men who only used charm to get what they wanted from you. The Boston Bear’s innocence was endearing and rare for a man in his thirties. It was refreshing, and the primary reason I reached out to him. I was drawn to his innocence. He never mustered the courage to message me or even speak to me the few times we passed each other at work. It was a far cry from the men who flatly asked for sex after first dinner dates, or a few swipes on a social media app. And, somehow the fact that this innocent man liked me made me feel worthy of that kind of attention.

MESSAGE: It should not have mattered who the Boston Bear was. I should have known I was worthy of a gentleman, an honorable man. It didn’t matter that I had some bad deeds in my past or sins I was atoning for. Everyone person deserves to be treated with respect. I did not see this when I started dating The Boston Bear and I believe it’s a big reason I ignored so many signs that we were not meant to be together.

Before long this sweet, innocent man invited me to live in his home, and use his car. His innocence also allowed me to ignore so many, many red flags. His finances were in disarray and he spent money recklessly. He seemed to salivate on work place drama and gossip. He had no clear plan for achieving his goals. God to him was a genie who gave blessings after a few prayers. But,  I wasn’t completely straight with him either. I always kept my real self at arms length because I didn’t think he could handle it. The messy me, the homeless me, the broken me, the depressed me, the regretful me, I was careful to never show those parts.I tried to play the role I thought he needed. I cleaned. I cooked. I made his bed. I prayed for him, invited him to church. After three months our differences became more apparent. I decided I no longer wanted to be dependent on a man for shelter and decided to start looking for places to live. Then it all fell apart. With a text he told me he’d need me to move out sooner than I anticipated. It ended with my all of my belongings put outside his apartment locked door, him me to my now former co-workers.

MESSAGE: Don’t ever look for something in someone else that you need to heal in yourself. I was sad about losing my innocence. I was sad about the things I did to survive as a homeless woman and somehow felt I could be restored by loving a seemingly wholesome man. I desired it so much I let it blind me to the fact that Boston Bear and I were not equally matched. But, I can see now in hindsight I was not the only one who went in with impure intentions. The Boston Bear loved showing me off, loved that he had landed a curvy black woman, loved coming home to a woman taking care of things. His father had a smoking hot black woman on his arm too, and I think dating me was in some ways trying to emulate his father. Neither of us were in positions to love. We were two unsure people trying to find comfort and foundation in someone else.

Maybe Ariana Grande is right —- the first relationship we have to honor is the one to ourselves. We have to make the choice to love ourselves, be patient with our hearts, gentle with the words to say about ourselves, and and accepting of our mistakes. As I have learned if we don’t have the love for ourselves nailed no other love will work. Here’s to loving me first in the New Year.

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