By Kenneth Stepp
As I scroll through profiles on the dating site apps, I see a consistent crying out about one thing. Being real. If you aren’t real, swipe left, leave me alone, go away, etc. Or my favorite one. I’f you’re a fake I’ll know it.
Let me start with, we are all real. What “real” we are is what I believe these ladies are talking about. Being ourselves is what is needed. So many in the singles community these days have forgotten who they are. They have played a role so many times that it becomes who they believe themselves to be.
I have many friends in this sea of singles and they tell me stories about meeting people along the way. Most are women and most stories are about men. There is a theory that I believe to be true. We teach others how to treat us. I believe collectively that women have taught men how to treat women. Let me unwrap that.
I have one friend who told me about a man she met online. After a few messages they switched to talking by phone. She asked if he would like to meet for coffee. She’s a good girl and mentioned that she takes things very slow. Within two more conversations he mentioned that his meetings had to end in sex.
I could go on, the rudeness, the assumptions, the lies, etc. I’ve heard them all, or hope I have. The reason these things happen is that we have all grown comfortable playing people we are not in order to meet people or even date people. These roles aren’t really us. They are tools to manipulate others. To what end though?
If we have both been playing a role, not being genuinely who we really are, then neither one of us actually know one another. We only know the person we pretended to be to get this far. I caught myself living this out in the past. She wanted a country boy and the Kentucky voice engaged. I honestly didn’t even know I was doing it.
Many women I’ve met had perfected lines that obviously helped in the past and probably worked on me. You see, we are all human and our humanity will eventually show no matter what. My close friends hear me say that men today are broken. I believe it’s manhood that is broken. The man’s place in society has been diluted. Valor, honor, and integrity have given way to far less nobel traits.
I cannot fix anyone. I believe we have to fix ourselves. The key ingredient to that fix is self awareness. I can’t fix something that I don’t know is broken. I have been single for 8 years, last month. The man I was no longer exists because I became aware of the man I became when I became single. I was not the man my parents raised. The day this hit me I immediately took a year away from dating to correct my drift. I also need to point out that I’ve had to do this 3 times. So only 5 of the years I’ve been single was I dating.
Be yourself. Great advice but can be difficult to do after being someone you thought people would find more attractive than the real you. That first year I took off I had to find out who I really was again. It wasn’t easy. I had dark places inside me that I had to work on. Self awareness is seldom easy. But without it, the day they tell you they love you isn’t about you at all. It’s simply the character you played to bring them this far. That character won’t last. Kno that.
In my evolution to becoming me, I am still a mess, I am still very flawed, very scattered, and very lost at times. But I am me, you get what you see in front of you, not a script and prepared lines. And these broken men you meet. Give them a little grace. They are as lost as the rest of us. Most have no idea they are simply repeating the same tired lines over and over again. In the darkness of night, they can catch a glimpse of who they really are.
Take off your mask, drop the well planned lines. Show the unfiltered version of yourself to all, see who shows up. Even more importantly, see who wants to be there. The real you will be the person the right person desires. And at the end of this grand journey, that’s the only person you will care about desiring you. Stay safe my friends.