I broke up with a man who drinks too much. How do I find the right man?

Love, Confidential: You don't get better at dating by not dating.

click to enlarge How do I find the right man who doesn't have a real problem? - unsplash
How do I find the right man who doesn't have a real problem?

Dear Love, 

I ended things with a love interest on Tuesday because he drinks a lot. I can’t change him, nor will I try — and I will not accept that kind of behavior as a norm in my life. The things that I am reaffirming for myself right now are that it’s okay to feel loss and miss someone that I decided was not good for me. Nothing is black and white except death. We can both hurt and be proud of our empowering decisions. My challenge is building my self-worth and perception of desirability by others (and not sexually, I mean intellectually/emotionally/academically/career-wise/potentiality) and me NOT settling.

Looking for my Goldilocks-man. I’ve taken some advice from a friend to date someone for at least 90 days before sex gets involved. Apparently Steve Harvey wrote a book about it.

At any rate, I did that with this guy and it was a great opportunity to allow time for him to show me who he is (as much as one can in 90 days, of course). It was successful. We didn’t make it the full 90 days before my truth knew it was time to move on and my heart and body were not compromised in the meantime.

Not looking to hop back on the swipe left/right life, which leaves me wondering, how can I get back out there sanely? I'd very much like to one day find a lover I can share my self with, my truest silliest ugliest deepest full of love and peace self with.

Sincerely, Silly

You don't get better at dating by not dating, Love, Confidential explains. - unsplash
You don't get better at dating by not dating, Love, Confidential explains.

Oh, Silly.

But I don't think your diminutive is right. There's nothing silly about the search for searing, know-it-in-your-bones, life-altering love. I have tremendous respect for your vulnerability, and your desire. That said, taking the hunt too seriously IS pointless — it won't help your chances of finding it, and you won't have any fun along the way. But you brought up death, so I'm going there. You could get hit by a bus on your way to meet your next date. Don't go down worried about how to avoid pitfalls. There will be pitfalls. And this leads me to my most important declaration, dear Silly. You cannot build your sense of self-worth — no matter what the measure — on anyone's perception but your own.

Have you ever been stood up and wondered what you did wrong? This is an indication that your self-esteem is in need of review. Going back to that first analogy, maybe they were hit by errant public transit. Or maybe their ex came back on the scene. Or maybe they went to the wrong place and thought you stood them up. Even if they decided they weren't into meeting you after all, so what? As long as you know it's on them, not you, you're fine. Bonus, there's no down time wondering how you need to change. You're ready to get right back out there. I don't know why this is so hard for all of us. It is. But there's nothing to be gained through holding yourself in vague contempt until you finally get it all together. Take yourself on as many dates as needed until you realize you are your best date ever.


This brings me to the book you mentioned. I'm not sure, because I haven't read it, but I think you're referring to, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. That's just not a reality I want to live in. Be you. If you want to wait, wait! At a certain point in my years of singledom, I realized there wasn't anyone I regretted NOT sleeping with. I know exactly when it happened, too. After spending weeks pining for a guy, let's call him Kai, I discovered he was exclusively into trans women. I am not a trans woman, so we were a non-starter in the romance department. The out-of-my-hands nature of this rejection enabled me to stay friends with Kai, and thus make a great discovery. The dude was addicted to drama, and he always had a lot to go around.

I fully believed that drama was not something I wanted, but it got me worrying. Maybe I am addicted to drama. Is that why I was drawn to him?  Because we weren't sleeping together, however, I had several other interests percolating. Accordingly, I didn't take a lengthy time out to ponder this question. I kept dating, meanwhile, I could examine my relationship with Kai more objectively. I got the chance to look for the warning signs I'd ignored in my initial attraction. I learned something very interesting — there was no predictive trait. The only way to figure out if I really wanted to be in a relationship with someone was to put the work in up front.

Get this: This is not me suggesting that you avoid sex. My own example notwithstanding, I am sure there will be no deathbed wish that I had less sex. See earlier note to Have Fun Along the Way. But here's the thing: Your actual Goldilocks man will be into what you're into. You kinda can't fuck it up.

Yes, that's qualified with kinda, because of course you can. And I did. By looking for what I didn't like in men in men around the whole Kai incident, I found lots of what I didn't like. Shocking! I had to learn to look for what I did like, and this, too, came about by accident. As I suggested above, I got into the practice of taking myself on dates as an offshoot of doing The Artist's Way. I got to the point where I appreciated how I always knew the right thing to say, exactly what I wanted to do, and had the perfect amount of flexibility. When that's what I started looking for — somebody who would be at least as much fun as spending time by myself — I started meeting amazing men. But here's the most important part, I don't look back at what I did "wrong" before. I get it, you want to look at your own behavior because anything else is disempowering. Your behavior is the only thing you can even hope to change. But I'm a firm believer that you don't get better at dating by not dating. But you get to decide what's right for you. Because here's the ultimate truth, none of it will insulate you from pain. There is no such thing as light at the end of the tunnel. You are the light. And the darkness. Embrace both, or you'll only take half the journey.

Love, Confidential

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