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A couple weeks ago online dating decided to deliver to me a handsome man with a sense of humor. For our first date we enjoyed a sushi dinner and exchanged text messages afterwards—him sharing that he’d love to see me again and me sharing that I’d like that. The following night was movie night complete with wine, pizza, laughter, kissing (a few of my favorite delicious things!) and an invitation to join him at a friend’s pre-Fourth of July party the next day. It seemed I was finally on my way to something good. Connection. Chemistry. Potential.

Fast forward a week later. His foot had stepped off the gas pedal and basically, it felt like he had slammed on the brakes, bringing everything to a screeching halt. What happened?

In a nutshell, he isn’t sure of what he wants and though he thought he was ready for dating, he realized that he really isn’t. He isn’t able to commit 100% and didn’t want to lead me on.

The responses that swarmed in my head ranged from, “Then why the f*** did you bother in the first place” and “It’s your loss” to “But why not just back off a bit rather than completely cutting the cord?”

It was obvious that my initial ideas for a response were whispers from my past—a place where I had been hurt by other men and the wall I had built wanted to protect me from more hurt and disappointment.

Admittedly, there was a small part of me that wanted to try to convince him not to go, to just take some time to think it all through rather than completely walk away. That was the old me—the young woman who would do anything to cling on to something out of fear of being alone.

Instead, I responded with truth and vulnerability and shared that it was unfortunate as it seemed there was something good between us, and further added that I enjoyed the connection we had shared and wished him well.

Thankfully, the old me continues to fade away. The new woman that has emerged is one of confidence who loves herself enough to know that settling for less than she deserves will never get her what she truly wants from a relationship.

Settling for Less

The old me would have tried to convince him not to end our connection. She would have settled for spending less time with him to give him some space in hopes of winning him over. She would have suffered in silence to not lose him. The new me has accepted that he is not ready to embrace the possibility of a relationship as I am. I cannot settle for less than I deserve, which is a man who is capable of giving to me everything that I have to offer him.

Clinging on to False Hope

The old me would have clung on to false hope. Hope that he may change his mind because of the connection that we shared. Hope that I could convince him that we should give it more of a try. The new me appreciates that we shared a connection, albeit brief, acknowledging that I learned a little more about myself. I took a risk in getting to know someone new, which is a huge step forward in the right direction.

Facing My Fears

Had I known things would end so quickly would I have still gone through with dating him? Absolutely. Our connection meant the opportunity to face my fears. It meant further breaking down my walls and opening my heart even more. It meant building resilience and practicing the hard lessons I’ve learned throughout my journey, and being presented with the opportunity to stay true to myself.

Is it hard? Of course, but had I allowed the old me to have her way, I would have been welcoming the potential for something unfulfilling—the very cycle I’ve fought hard to break myself free from. I now love myself enough to know that I want and deserve so much more.

My wish for you is to love yourself enough to never, ever settle for less than you deserve.