Every since I can remember, I have settled.
But not in everything. When it comes to my education, my career, the way I live, I go for the absolute best. But, when it comes to relationships, I find myself giving a whole lot and falling flat on my face each time.
I have terrible taste in men.
Just typing that sentence made me gag a little bit, but it also made me feel a little bit better. I’ve finally gotten to a place where I can admit it, and like one of my friends told me, admitting it proves that I’m strong enough to stop settling for mediocrity in love.
It’s always the same story with just a few differences: I meet a guy, and he seems perfect. Then he doesn’t seem perfect, but I dive right in because he’s right there, and I deserve a relationship. Then those red flags that damn near blinded me begin to suffocate the life out of me. Then I block his number and try my best to move on and not fall for another him.
Yeah, I know that no man is perfect, and I also know that I am not perfect. Because I know this, I settle for things that I know will hurt me in the future. I know that he’s lying, that I’m not the only one, and the biggest one: I know that I deserve better. But I fall into the trap of “at least I got a man” and his blatant foolishness becomes worth ignoring. Well, not anymore.
I have paid the price of settling for mediocrity too many times over, and let me tell you, the payout is not worth the investment. I’m not saying that I won’t get hurt again (Lord knows I hope I don’t.) What I am saying is that I am choosing to recognize my worth, flaws and all, and I will not let another man, no matter how beautiful his beard or how chocolatey his skin, fool me into settling for what I know I don’t deserve.
Waiting is hard, and I’m at an age where I want to be in a relationship and ultimately a wife to the man made specifically for me. But when I weigh the options — waiting or hurting — I’d rather wait and love me like only I can, so that when he does show himself he doesn’t have to fight my past or beg for the love that he also deserves and that I really do want to give.
I recognize my part in all of this; it took me a very long time to see myself as valuable. I settled because I believed that mediocrity was all that I deserved. I settled because I believed that that piece of a man, with all of his foolishness, was what I was supposed to have. Now, I know better. Now I understand a few things.
Even though a majority of my exes are hell-bent heathens, they served their purpose. I learned something extremely valuable from each and every one of them, whether it was how to slash a tire (kidding — maybe) or how to communicate effectively. I learned what I need in a partner, and what I am capable of withstanding. I learned my limits, and I now have the willpower to not be pushed beyond them. I learned that I would rather say “goodbye” than “one more chance.” I learned that falling doesn’t make me foolish, and crying doesn’t make me weak. I learned who I am, and my defining moments didn’t — and won’t — need a man to make them.
When the time comes, he’ll show up. And my prayer now is not that God sends him my way, but that God prepares me for him, and him for me, so that neither of us miss our miracle for the mediocre.