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7 Tips To Navigate The Dating Scene While Celibate

Advice from someone nearly five years in on how to keep your legs closed and your heart open.

Dating

Without a doubt, celibacy was the best decision I've ever made. I gave far too much of myself in my last relationship, and when it started to deteriorate I made a promise that moving forward, I wouldn't compromise my morals for a man again. I walked into my relationship happy, and eager to have sex with a man I loved, but I walked out broken using my body as a means to keep us together when I knew years before, it was time to leave.

Ultimately, taking sex off the table altogether was the only way I knew I'd keep my word because I'd be setting boundaries with the next man from the door.

But the beautiful thing about celibacy is that it's taught me so much more than just how to abstain from sex and toxic men. It's brought me closer to God, given me immense self-control, confidence, and it's allowed me to tap into talents inside myself; I never knew I had. What hasn't come as easy in the journey is dating. Because let's be real, your dating pool decreases significantly and the ability to stay strong requires discipline. What's great though about what being celibate in 2020, is that it's slowly is becoming a lifestyle that's embraced in the mainstream with celebrity couples such as Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, Ciara and Russell Wilson, and Chance The Rapper and Kirsten Corley. Even television shows are joining in by displaying characters like Nia from Lena Waithe's Twenties, David from Boomerang, and real-life couples discussing their journey on the hit TV show Black Love Doc.

So if you're considering celibacy, or you're celibate by force thanks to Rona, keep these tips in mind to help you tap into some self-control and, withstand your new normal.

1. Know your triggers.

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Most people who are celibate will tell you to be mindful of what you watch and listen to, and they're right, but you should also ask yourself what triggers you specifically. Masturbation and watching porn are a no for me (because it was important for me to completely surrender to the process), but I can have drinks at the club with my girls, listen to R&B music (in moderation), and not be tempted at all. But dating a man who's consistent, baby, that can trigger me to want to be all in, and sex is the closest you can be with someone. Realizing what would cause me to go from playing "My Goodies" to "Body Party" helped me navigate those moments with men much easier because I was prepared.

2. When it gets hard, remember your why. 

Sexual frustration is a real thing, and it can get to you if you aren't reminding yourself of the long-term goal. There are days where I want to just say forget this and have sex, but then I had to be real and ask myself, "Is sex worth me compromising what I know is important to me?" While it might seem like a moment to give in to something that feels good, you'll soon realize that it's actually self-sabotage, and you learn to avoid those moments because you see them from afar off. And because my celibacy is rooted in Christianity, I remember what my life looked like when I wasn't listening to God, and it didn't result in happiness.

3. Once you know you really like someone, tell them.

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The question of when do you tell someone you're celibate is always something people who are new to this lifestyle ask me. The answer is there is no perfect time, but I'd say that once you know you're really interested, be upfront with them. It's a scary conversation to have because the reality is they may not be up for the challenge, but you don't need every person you meet to be open to celibacy - you need the one person that's for you to be on board.

4. Get an accountability partner(s) you can be vulnerable with.

Whenever I meet someone new, I make sure that I talk with my godsister and my best friend more than ever. They remind me of my triggers, give me the advice to stay committed, and if I get a little too close to a man, they call me out on it. It's also important to mention that both of these women aren't celibate, they just love me enough to support my decisions (I say that because many people feel like you need celibate friends and, while it's good to have them, your friends should support your journey period.)

5. Be prepared to get ghosted.

This journey is not for everyone so more often than not; you'll find that men will ghost you. My first year of celibacy, there was a guy trying to date me and I wasn't ready at all, but he was so persistent I gave it a shot. The second he found out I was celibate, that man was Casper; but it was a valuable lesson for me, and it gave me thick skin. Ultimately you don't want to spend years of your life with someone that has no intentions on marrying you so, while it hurts at first, getting ghosted is actually a good thing. Now when men run, I get excited because all that means is I'm one step closer to meeting the man that thinks I'm worthy of waiting for - my husband.

6. Read 'The Wait'.

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The Wait, a book written by Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin on their celibacy journey, was the cheat sheet I needed to understand what this life would entail. If I'm honest, it's the reason why I'm celibate as it came out around the time I decided I would really change my life. The book covered everything I needed to know from controlling sexual urges, bouncing back if you slip up, discovering your purpose before marriage, healing from past relationship trauma; it was one of the best books I've ever read. What I loved most about it was they addressed celibacy from the perspective of a woman and a man.

7. Once things get serious, establish boundaries with your partner.

Once you meet someone willing to wait with you, you'll need to establish rules and specify what works for the two of you. Some couples don't go over each other's houses past a certain time, avoid the bedroom, or refrain from kissing each other in certain areas. Ultimately only you and your partner know what gets you hot and bothered, so once you're committed to being together, you need to be honest about what you need in order to make abstaining work.

Bonus: Celebrate the self-control you've tapped into.

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Celibacy has taught me that if I can control my sexual desires, there's nothing I can't do. Establishing discipline in my sex life has allowed me to better decide what I eat, who I spend my time with, and what I work toward because my mindset is different. This lifestyle isn't easy, but the benefits are rewarding and, if you're focused, there's nothing you can't accomplish, including finding the love of your life.

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