This moment was a long time coming, yet it doesn’t stop the flutters in your stomach. There you are, across from the man you’ve decided was better than the rest. And you’re naked. You watch him nervously as his eyes search yours and leave as they drift lower…and then back up as they settle on your eyes once more. He’s seen you. All of you. Piece by piece, you carefully removed each layer of yourself until there was nothing more to show- yet you’re fully clothed. Although you can’t help feeling anxious, you’re confident that he won’t run for the hills. You’ve accomplished the art the Slow Reveal.
Dating the men in your Starting Five is thrilling at its onset. There is rarely a dull moment and you know that any one of the men you’re dating would make a solid boyfriend. But you know that your personal Steph Curry, aka your MVP, is the one you truly want, and knowing this can be a source of excitement, terror, or a combination of the two, along with a healthy dose of doubt.
“This is amazing, this guy is great!”
“Oh I’m not too sure, I’ve picked some real losers in the past.”
“I can’t get hurt again. I just can’t!”
I thought about making this entry a lot lighter and inject more humor into it, sort of like the last entry. But that didn’t feel right for a number of reasons. For one, knowing when and how to reveal yourself to someone is no joke. And I very recently struggled with this (more than anyone would know). When you’ve been hurt before, you often have a chip on your shoulder and walls up as big as Texas. Secondly, for those of us who feel more than most, the pain of unrequited love, betrayal, dishonesty, and disrespect is enough to make some of us swear off dating forever. Lastly, the reality is that most of us have dreamt of love during the quiet moments. Amid dating and flirting and all of the fun that singleness brings- we seek something real. And that something can only be gained if we’re willing to open our hearts and minds.
When you meet that special guy, you’ll eventually have to cut off the others and make it work with your MVP. So how do we do this while also being smart about it?
The Slow Reveal ™ : The technique in which one slowly discloses their personality (specifically the quirky and odd ) traits to a potential significant other.
When you’ve been out the dating game for a while, begin dating around, and finally meet someone worthwhile, sometimes you have a desire to be straightforward and transparent. You don’t want to play games-you want to be serious. Bravo! You’ll cut through a lot of riff raff that way. But you also don’t want to scare off potential partners with your version of “transparency”. Transparency doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re an open book, fully discussing your struggles with lice and bad credit from the jump. Instead, I’ve taken it to mean that if one should broach a particular subject, you are willing to flip to the chapter in that open book.
Take the below scenario:
Attractive Potential Partner: So what happened in your last relationship because you’re too attractive and intelligent to have been single for long?
Slow Revealer: Well we’re just different people and decided it was best for our mutual happiness that we were apart. And thank you for the compliment. So what about me makes me attractive? *flirty smile with raised eyebrow*
This question is usually a death trap to the oversharer. They’ll launch into stories about crazy baby mamas, throwing bricks at cars, and sexual anecdotes. (Seriously one of the most awkward conversations/ dates I’ve had). But the slow revealer knows better. They’re an open book but they won’t divulge the exact contents of the page. When it’s early in the game, personal questions should get the Cliff’s Notes treatment: short, sweet, and to the point. And if you end on a flirty note, the topic can transition smoothly to something else. This leaves something to the imagination and room for more information as you get to know this man better. Take some time before telling him that your ex broke your heart in 10 pieces and that you had to crawl and claw your way back to healing. Trust me, I know how that goes.
I sometimes question if I’m revealing too much or not enough. For most of my life, I shared very little. People didn’t know anything about me and I prided myself on being guarded. But then I got my heart broken when I was a young whippersnapper and I thought “what the hell?!” I thought I did everything right by keeping everything to myself. The problem is that you can’t help who hurts you. You can only help how you respond to it. So I got real with myself and figured I’d share what I wanted to share and keep what I wanted to keep. It’s worked pretty well for me over the years. That’s why I don’t agree that relationships are about keeping up a lie but rather deciding who deserves to know your truth. Not everyone needs to know about your embarrassing moments or painful stories. But when you find someone who you believe does, do so carefully. Yes, even if you’ve been hurt. Yes, even if you cried yourself to sleep for a month straight after that last relationship. Yes, even if that pesky feeling of fear creeps up.
You don’t have to let that hurt go. It’s not easy and it’s insensitive to ask that of yourself or anyone else. But you do have to accept it for what it was and move away from it. We can become addicted to our sad story like addicts are to their drug of choice. When things get a little too good, we shoot up with another hit of “that time my ex hit me” or “that time I found out he cheated on me and got her pregnant” as a defense mechanism. You continue to live within the comfort of your pain.
Enough is enough.
Suppose this new guy is terrible and everything you feared comes to fruition. Now, what? You’ve lived through the hurt before and you’ll live through it again. You can’t shut out everything in an attempt to shield yourself from pain because then you’ll shut out the joy of love.
You have to have the courage to trust love one more time.
It’s always worth it.
Peace & Love,