By Ashtyn Britt
Coming to terms with one’s sexuality is, at times, a long and exhausting process. It took me many years to completely accept myself, and try to venture into the dating world. Over time, I have ended up collecting stories and lessons learned from my dating life, which I will now be sharing every month for roughly the next year. All names will be changed to protect the privacy of everyone mentioned, as they deserve anonymity and respect – no matter how bad the stories may have ended. Instead of telling these stories in chronological order, I will be telling them by order of importance of their morals.
Hello readers, it’s been a while, huh? Well, do not worry, I still have plenty of stories for you and important morals in the dating world. For instance, one that seems to in different ways pop up for me is learning to spot a deal-breaker from a mile away. There are some that are obvious differences, and some that take some time to reveal themselves. Everyone, meet Lillianne, a very funny and beautiful young woman who had so much in common it seemed too good to be true. Well, you know how the saying goes…
I met Lillianne the same place I meet most women that I find myself entangled with – online. Lillianne and I hit it off pretty quickly in messages as we worked to get to know one another. She wasn’t just beautiful, but also very sweet and seemed to have good taste. It’d been hard to find such good qualities in a woman, so I was determined to not mess this up after everything else I’d already been through so far this year.
So, Lillianne and I tried our hand at quarantine dating, meaning we would video chat for dates and talk until we felt it was safe enough to see each other in person since coronavirus is still relevant and should be taken seriously. It was quite some time since I’d found someone I felt comfortable talking to for almost seven hours at a time without finding myself the least bit bored, and it was a really nice feeling to have in my life again. By all appearances, it seemed to be the beginnings of something potentially beautiful for us both. Alas, don’t all relationships seem to start out that way?
Things didn’t get very far at all when after a couple of weeks, the idea of marriage and children happened to come up in casual conversation. Lillianne made herself clear then that she had no interest in ever having children someday, which unfortunately happens to be at the very top of my deal-breaker list. When I voiced the fact that I knew I absolutely wanted children, it became clear quickly there was quite a problem staring us in the face. Despite us both instantly seeing the major problem at hand, we both chose to put it aside for now in order to know each other better first, since we didn’t want to cut off something that seemed so good in such a surprisingly short amount of time. While deep down I knew it didn’t sit right with me, I didn’t want to think about things that were so serious when I was still just getting to know this woman.
Thankfully, Lillianne a few days later had the strength to do what I couldn’t and brought the situation back up and decided we should stop before going any further since there’s clearly no future where one of us isn’t in some way unhappy. Despite how much it hurt, I knew that she was right and we parted ways. Not long after, I made the choice to not date online again until the world was a safer place in order to avoid more issues like this. It’s given me a lot of time to reflect on my deal breakers and what standards I should hold myself and others to, rather than shove them to the side in fear of not finding someone because of them. The reality is, I want children and as much as I know very few LGBTQ+ Millennials and/or Gen Z’ers want children, that doesn’t change the fact that I do. To give up on a dream like that would affect me deeply, so I refuse to settle any longer. I am allowed to want what I want in life, and if that means I end up achieving what I want by myself, then that’s just what I have to do.
I’m telling you all of this because ultimately, we all need to have deal-breakers and respect other people’s deal-breakers. They’re there for a reason, and we will all eventually find our own person who makes us feel safe and laugh, and for some, that person may even be ourselves. Ultimately, we need to build relationships based on more than just emotions. Relationships take mutual respect, honesty, affection, trust, a lot of work and common life goals. It takes a long time to find that person, and a lot of work on ourselves along the way in order to make all the effort worth it. We all must make sure to respect our deal breakers, because they are our standards for finding the person who will grow with us, and we all deserve nothing less.