Dating is probably one of the most annoying things I’ve ever experienced. It’s an exhausting and daunting encounter. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some great, fun, decent dates, but the things most cherished from these failed attempts at finding love are the lessons I’ve learned along the way. The Bible says to guard your heart because everything you do flows from it. As a young lady you have to protect yourself physically and emotionally from these knuckleheads because they will try you. Here are some of the ways I try to combat the foolishness.

Don’t fall in love with a fantasy

With popular hashtags like #RelationshipGoals and #BlackLove on social media, it’s easy to fall in love with the ideal of a man and a relationship before you even acquire one. One can be so engrossed in the fantasy of love and in fulfilling the longing of wanting to have someone that you begin to make poor judgments and force situations instead of letting God write your love story. It’s more than ok to have a list of your ideal mate and how you want your relationship to manifest, but it must be grounded in reality. Don’t fall in love with the optics of someone before you get to know him and start building your heart on shaky foundation. When you force the fantasy into a reality you can miss the signs that someone doesn’t fit into your life.

Check your emotions

Part of not falling in love with the fantasy and ensuring your decisions and interactions with your date are grounded in reality is to always keep your emotions in check. Romanticizing a person puts you in danger of being more susceptible and vulnerable to possible deceitful behavior because your vision and perspective are clouded. Being grounded in self-love and confidence is the key to protecting yourself. When you love yourself and know your worth and value, it’s more difficult for someone to come into your life and throw you off kilter with flowery words and empty promises. You won’t fall for the okie doke. And when things don’t work out, you won’t gauge your value by how much someone wants.

Say what you mean/Listen to what they say

You can protect your heart, avoid falling in love with the fantasy, and check your emotions by explicitly stating your expectations and listening/paying attention to what is being fed to you. Avoid reading between the lines and take a man at his word and actions. If he tells you on date one that he doesn’t want children, then he will not change his mind at date 50. You can avoid a lot of disappointment and heartache by listening and observing behavior. At the same time be direct in your communication and be clear about your expectations and don’t waver. Don’t sike yourself out and think that you are making compromises because I guarantee you a guy won’t do the same for you. God will send you someone who directly meets your needs and you won’t have to make concessions.

When dating, it’s so important to keep yourself number one. You can serve no one if your spirit is off balance. Dating is so much easier when you involve God. I wrote about that previously on this post. Don’t let any relationship be more important than your relationship with God and yourself. Don’t ever let a man break your heart and spirit. As my mama would say, I ain’t telling you something I heard but something I know.