Sliding into his DMs as if it was home plate came with an adrenaline rush.
After giving myself a ten-minute pep talk, I wrote one line, proofread it to make sure autocorrect wouldn't embarrass me, and clicked "Send."
I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. What's the worst that could happen? He could either respond or he could simply ignore it. Either way, I was proud of myself for trying. I knew of no other way to get his attention. I'd deleted his number years prior for no real reason other than we didn't talk much and we never seemed to be at the same place at the same time anymore to bump into one another. Aware that I didn't want to play the "What If" game any longer, I took a chance. Not too long after, I saw the red icon at the bottom of my screen.
There was a message waiting to be read, hopefully from him.
My dating hiatus has taken on a life of its own. Trust me, I didn't expect it, nor wanted it to last this long (nearly 5 years), but for some reason singleness does not want to breakup with me. It has fully committed and has a hold on me. I haven't gone on a date in nearly five years and I didn't know where to start. Because I wanted to date intentionally, I thought to seek wise counsel from people that were married.
Being single has had its perks. It permitted me the time to work two jobs to pay off all of my debt. It afforded me the opportunity to make investments and put money away towards my retirement plan. Yes, I think that far ahead. I was also able to work on myself and gain a stronger relationship with God.
My 70-hour work week occupies most of my time. Yet, I don't complain when I see a check deposited into my account every week. When seeking wise counsel, I was hit with an ultimatum that I didn't see coming. "It seems like you're doing well with keeping occupied, but you don't have any room for a relationship. You'll need to drastically change your work schedule to even commit to someone. Otherwise, it wouldn't be fair to them."
The ultimatum that danced in my head immediately was, "Are you willing to scale back on your financial goals for the sake of achieving your desired relationship goals?"
Sitting back in my chair, I knew that it was true. To gain something, you had to give up something. Sometimes there isn't room for it all at the same exact time.
Was I willing to give up a guaranteed check for a dating experience that wasn't guaranteed to work in the future?
Truth is, I was tired of putting in effort and not getting back favorable results as I had done in my past. In my head, I began to do the math:
1. Date Outfit = $50
2. Gas Money for the date = $5
3. Paying my half for a quick lunch date = $15
And before I knew it, I was spending $70 on a fictious date I didn't even have. All I could think about was the money I'd be missing out on if I went and things didn't work out as I hoped or planned. What was getting the best of me? Fear. Fear was attacking me from both angles. Fear told me that I was no longer in my 20s and if I wanted to have a relationship, I needed to do it sometime soon. On the flip side, fear was telling me that if I was going to remain single for a lifetime, I was spending money and time that needed to go towards my single retirement plan.
I didn't want to have to sacrifice one for the other.
Both were important to me, but at this stage, one was more important than the other. For me, my financial stability was more important than diving back into the dating world headfirst. It didn't mean that dating was off the table, but I wasn't ready to fully invest until I saw something worth investing my extra time.
My dating hiatus showed me that I needed to approach dating differently. It couldn't be the only thing that I focused on. It wasn't healthy to obsess over it. Because I don't desire to have children, I'm not worried about my biological clock ticking. However, I would like to be in an exclusive and committed relationship with the right man. In addition, financial security with or without a partner is important to me as well.
That being said, I decided that I would devote a 90/10 rule to my work and love life.
While 90% of my time was devoted to work and church, I'd be willing to devote the other 10% to dating if an opportunity presented itself. I decided to be open to date suggestions from friends and if I had a chance encounter with an old acquaintance or someone new came about, I'd give it a chance. The catch is that I would fit it into my schedule. That means it may involve a short meeting at a local coffee shop or at a local farmer's market to just walk and talk for an hour.
Until there was evidence that showed that a dating opportunity could be worth more than an hour or two out of my already busy week, working two jobs would remain my priority.
To me, it's fair. I don't rob myself of the possibility of ever falling in love and I don't rob my financial stability for the sake of random dates that eat away at my bank account. No, we're not getting any younger and having a healthy balance is key. But we can't obsess over our love lives. It leaves room for desperation and, if we're not careful, we'll expose and uncover ourselves to the wrong people.
It could do more harm than good.
On the other hand, we can't be naïve to think that right guy will always be around the corner waiting for use when we have everything fall into line in life as we hope. It's far from the truth. I don't believe that the timing of relationships are always convenient.
I believe you can have both your relationship goals and financial goals at the same time, however, the amount of time you are willing to invest in each will differ depending on the season you're in in life.