5 minute read

Intentional Dating, Abstinence and Self-Romance Could Bring You the Happiness You Long

Written by Ebony Jordan

I decided to abstain from sex beginning Fall 2018. It started out as a pact between me and a guy I was briefly involved with, and what I call, a no-strings-attached type of situation. Coming from a place of full transparency, we made this pact after I experienced a minor pregnancy scare -- in actuality my cycle just started a few days late. However, we were both impacted by this situation enough to decide that the act of sex, with someone you aren’t serious with (even though I was pretty serious about him), could be risky and lead to unplanned pregnancy (or worse) if you aren’t careful. So we concluded that we were better off without it. Eventually, we parted ways, but I decided to continue this pact I made to myself by remaining abstinent. Now, I am eight months into this lifestyle change and I am happy with my decision. It has brought me clarity and helped me become more confident.

ABSTAINING FROM SEX

My perspective on love and dating has completely changed. For instance, my relationship goals have taken a back seat to my personal-life goals. Education and career, health and wellness, and parenting goals are at the forefront of my mind, and my level of self-worth tops the charts. Basically, I have my priorities on straight as the saying goes.

To be honest, I used to consider myself a victim of singlehood. I would feel lonely and wonder why nobody wanted to make me their number one. I used to think that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t educated enough, pretty enough, well-dressed enough, fit enough, and the list would go on. In hindsight, I was walking around measuring my worth to the label of girlfriend, thinking that since I wasn’t someone’s girlfriend, then I wasn’t anything. How sad is that?

At the time I decided to honor my pact of practicing abstinence, I thought that most men probably wouldn’t be interested in a woman who wasn’t putting out. For this reason, I became very selective about the men I date. For example, I am interested in a man who has self-control and shares my same values about sex and waiting to be intimate instead of rushing into a physical relationship. I want to partner with a man who respects his body like a temple and isn’t willing to give it to just anybody. Last but not least, I’m looking for a man who wants to build an energetic and intellectual connection based off of our commonalities and, most of all, a man who can embrace our differences.

My mind, body and spirit are perfectly aligned and on the same wavelength as a result of intentionally abstaining from sex. Abstinence has brought me mental clarity and a strong sense of focus. I no longer feel scattered, misused, or unworthy when I do give dating a chance. I’m now able to approach dating from a very healthy sense of self-awareness. Knowing what I want and don’t want makes me feel very confident. In fact, if it doesn’t work out the way I hoped, I’m able to move on with ease knowing that the right guy, who possess the traits I’m looking for, does exist.

I am happy to say that singlehood has taken on a new definition over the past eight months. At this present moment, singlehood means freedom, self-fulfillment, conscious control over my body, and dating with intention. I feel liberated, empowered, and sexy in an untouchable, ‘look but don’t touch,’ kind of way.

DATING WITH INTENTION AND SELF-ROMANCE

Let’s dig into this idea of dating with intention, or intentional dating. I define intentional dating as being selective of who you choose to share your romantic energy with based on what you want your romantic life to consist of. During a counseling session with my therapist, I shared that I sometimes don’t enjoy dating because my prospects almost always attempt to make plans with me spontaneously -- without giving me advanced notice. As a mother and a busy woman in general, it’s hard to just drop what I’m doing to go meet up and hang out. Dealing with this type of scenario, more often than not, has led to some insecurities like thinking that maybe dating isn’t for mothers, which sounds absurd now that I think of it. My therapist gave me some very simple, yet profound advice, she suggested that I date single fathers. Single fathers will be more understanding of my lifestyle as a single parent since they are one themselves. As I let her advice resonate within me, I began analyzing my dating history. For example, I noticed that when a man tells me he has a child or children I tend to feel a sense of relief.

I’m now focused on dating men who value their body, respect and cherish me for the woman that I am, and who have children of their own. These specifics will assist me in being faithful to my resolve of being abstinent as well as help me from feeling bad when I decline spontaneous invitations from men who don’t consider my children or my schedule when trying to make plans with me. Before therapy, I would think that by declining an invite, I was limiting myself from finding a partner. However, I know what I deserve, so I am comfortable with it.

As my range of men who I am willing to date gets smaller and more specific, I no longer have the desire to wait for someone to come along and sweep me off my feet or bring romance into my life. I have this newfound patience in the love department. Knowing what you want also means you need to know who you are. There is no better way to learn about yourself and become more self-aware than to spend quality time with yourself. Selfdating is so much fun because you don’t wait around for a partner to enjoy life.

I’ve come to find that by embodying the qualities you wish to attract in your life partner, you help to eliminate unwanted feelings regarding love and romance. Have you heard the saying ‘as within, so without?’ It means that your outer world directly reflects your inner world. Let me explain further, what do we do when it’s time to go on a date? We prepare for it by grooming ourselves, dressing up and getting all dolled up. Well, let me ask you, why wait for a romantic partner to indulge in all of the glitz and glam that comes with being a woman? Personally, dolling myself up makes me feel good on the inside. Plus, it makes me feel like I slayed the day. In the past, I used to wait until a guy gave me a reason, now I do it for me to remind myself that every day is a special day, especially if I say it is. I don’t wait around anymore; if I want a beautiful bouquet of flowers to brighten up the room, I will buy them. If I want to go watch a new release at the movie theater, then I don’t wait to be asked, I just go and enjoy the film. My all-time favorite ‘me date’ is when I take myself out to eat at my favorite restaurant and have a cocktail or a glass of wine. I find that even cleaning your bedroom so it’s spotless can make you feel good, as well as taking a nice bubble bath with a beautiful bath bomb and giving your skin extra special care post bath, topped with your silkiest gown will make you feel sexy, beautiful, and worthy of love. This is what it looks like to date yourself and add romance to your life. Self-dating is a gentle reminder that you are capable of providing yourself with everything you want and need in life.

Now, when that glorious day comes along and you meet ‘the one,’ you will be more than prepared to give love and receive it. You will also be able to easily voice what you like and don’t like. As a matter of fact, your radiance will astound your new partner and will be the reason they were attracted to you in the first place. They will be a bonus addition to the wonderful life you have intentionally created for yourself, and if the relationship just so happens to not work out and you separate, they will not be able to take any of that fulfillment away from you because you cultivated it.

These are the reasons I think intentional dating coupled with self-romance are a great recipe for living a happy life as a single person. They leave you open to receiving love, while building your confidence and strengthening your self-worth.