Recently, I saw this meme on Facebook. I instantly shared it to the single moms group. It described my 2018 relationships in one simple sentence. Throughout the year, I found myself breaking up with people who I wasn’t in relationships with. But somehow, I experienced awkward endings. At times, I felt confused, used or guilty.

Good on Paper

This guy was good on paper. He was smart, successful and attractive. He opened doors, picked up tabs, planned romantic dates and pumped my gas. The latter scored major points. I’m usually the one driving long distances for co-parenting drop-offs, so to sit shotgun while someone took the wheel was refreshing. If you asked anyone about him, they said he was really nice. Perhaps too nice. To nice to end our relationship face-to-face. One week, he asked to date exclusively. I agreed and inquired if this was a committed relationship. I like to understand and set boundaries. He looked confused, saying we would date exclusively but not rush into anything. Then I looked confused, wondering why we wouldn’t just continue casually dating. The conversation ended with an exclusive agreement. He took me out for my birthday, gave me a present and then never called me again. A little birdie later told me he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship. I laughed. Why ask for exclusivity? My best friends said my ego was probably bruised because although he was good on paper, in real life, we weren’t good for each other. Of course, we liked each other. But didn’t like each other. There wasn’t any chemistry. But there was a sense of comfort. Especially in cuffing season, when you were content with hibernating in the house, Netflixing and chilling.

Good in Bed

This guy was good in bed. There were a lot of other things he was good at, but this selling point outshined all the rest. The chemistry between us was so strong, if you stood next to us, you would feel the spark. The intensity scared me. It caused me to put up a guard and prevent the relationship from expanding beyond the bedroom. He wanted to lay a foundation of friendship. I just wanted to lay down. I worried that he was with lots of other women, not due to low self-esteem but rather due to the lack of trust. I didn’t believe the words coming from his mouth. Funny, because he didn’t give me a reason to think he was lying. But he was like what I imagine a drug would be like. Addicting, terrifying and amazing. And that scared me.

Good in General

This guy was the opposite of the above. The guy you would ignore in high school but adore after college graduation. The nerd who gets his revenge. The one who would cook, clean and do everything in between to make his queen happy. The one who wants to build a kingdom together. When I launched a t-shirt business, he asked how he could support it, beyond buying products. When I went through a confrontational time with my daughter’s dad, he took me to dinner to vent and cuddled on the couch. I didn’t know we were dating, but he made his intentions very clear. So I jumped on board and went along for the ride. Then, I realized perhaps I was sitting in the back seat and not shotgun. It’s OK to date other people, but it looked like there was another queen in the kingdom. I’m not a pawn, so I quit the game and initiated my first ever Facebook block.

I’m not sure what 2019 will bring, but I am sure that I will start the New Year off with a clean dating slate. Dating is exhausting, but it’s a necessary evil.