What I Wish I Knew About Dating Before I Turned 24

What I Wish I knew about dating before I turned 24. Black fashion blogger wearing gray fringe top and black skinnies with black boots.

Dating is fun, they say. Date before you marry, they say. Men will flock to you, they say. I've heard it all before. I hate to admit this, but I was a serial dater as a teenage AKA high school. I started college still wasting time dating with my high school boyfriend then spent a year with my 1 and only real life boyfriend post-high school. We broke up after the homecoming football game senior year and I've been single ever since. So yeah, that sums up my dating life. I've "talked" to a few guys since then, wasting time mostly. Now that the stage is set, let's get into what the heck I wish I knew about dating before I turned 24.

I'm just too much for you (and that's okay)
Breakups suck? Yes. I wish I knew that a man telling me that I was too much to handle meant I needed to run in the opposite direction. If a man says, "You're too much or too emotional" then he's NOT the one. God wouldn't send you a man who is going to reject you or discredit your feelings. This is a tough pill to swallow and something I've struggled with during break ups. I tried to tone down who I was, share less or become small to fit into "his" box for lack of better terms and that is unhealthy. You should never have to dull your light and self-worth to be deemed worth. Bump that and move onto the next. 

Never go back
Leave the past exactly where it is... behind you. I know, I know you miss the good times, cuddles and falling asleep on Facetime like you're 16 year olds but sis you've gotta let it go. As beautiful as those memories are, don't forget the confusion and lonely nights. If you are meant to be with someone then you will be with them without any question. I don't believe that love is all sunshine and rainbows, but I know for sure that God is not the author of confusion and love comes from God. To be honest, you'll never find what you "used to have" by going backward. You can try to rebuild with someone and create a new story, but the past is dead and gone. Move forward.

If someone wants to leave, let them go
Sis, if he wants to bounce then tell him "Boy bye!" You deserve true, everlasting love with 1 man who cherishes you. I always thought that breakups were a reflection of how terrible I was or something that I did wrong, but as I get older I've come to realize that I have poor dating habits. As a serial dater, I've dated "the same man" more than once. Not saying that my exes are terrible people because they aren't but they were terrible mates for me and somewhere deep in my heart I knew that from the jump, but the fear of being alone helped me ignore red flags. Don't make my mistake. If he wants to leave then 9/10 times his mind is made up and he probably has a backup plan. Don't let him use for sex and companionship once its over. You deserver better than that even if it means dating yourself.

Family matters
I wish I listened to my family more. Mama usually knows best rather you want to admit that or not. Bring bae around your family and friends. Ask your parents, closest friends, Pastor and more importantly God if this person is for you. I have been guilty of ignoring the people around me because of my pride and infatuation with a potential mate and those situations never work in my favor. Sometimes we overlook toxic qualities because we're tired of being alone. I wish I knew that people who love me are here to lead me and look out for me instead of thinking that they were out to hurt me. I'm hard head so it takes me learning things for myself in most cases to get it right, but when it comes to dating I've learned to listen to wise counsel.

It's okay to be alone
Exhale. I still struggle with this one because Facebook is full of proposals, weddings and baby showers everyday. But Paul (Bible) tells us to content no matter what state we find ourselves. Sure it takes time and practice but contentment and happiness in singleness will make all the difference when a good man comes along. You want to be a whole woman when dating, not seeking validation through deeds. Jesus already died on the cross for you, what more do you need? That was rhetorical because quite honestly although I know this I still have dating apps on my phone and flirt on occasion. Stares, likes and DMs bump my confidence like the next person, but my self-esteem and self-worth can't be found in those things and neither can yours.

That settles it. That's pretty much everything I wish I knew about dating before I turned 24. Do you have any dating tips? Please share them below because I'm thirsty to hear more. Don't forget to follow me on twitter @thejasminediane! Peace.

LifestyleJasmine Cooper