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Full length of young African American couple walking in the park and communicating.

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“I think you are soooo beautiful and would love to get the chance to know you. Let’s exchange numbers; but you can only call me between the hours of 7am and 4pm. After 4…ummmm…I got a situation and she’s home after 4.”

Let me tell you, I’ve never pressed the back button as hard as I did that day. I politely excused myself and left him looking crazy like he sounded. But unfortunately, that seems to be the norm and challenge of attempting to date in these times. Have we gotten too relaxed with dating? Are there rules to dating? Heck, what is dating???

According to the Urban Dictionary, dating is when a man/woman goes out with another individual or many different people to configure compatibility. not having any clear commitment. it may be as short as a week or for many years. NO RELATIONSHIP! But even while dating , what is one to do or even think?

I can say that dating has been a bit of a challenge. I have encountered the liars and the cheaters….the rude and the clingy. I’ve been told I’m too independent; and I’ve also been told I’m perfect. So, what exactly is the problem and dynamic that’s making dating more stressful than a long day at work? I began to think about the top reasons why dating goes left. While I can’t speak for others, I can say that times have changed and the meaning behind dating has lessened.

One part of dating that has changed is the idea of honesty and transparency. Sure, social media and dating apps has replaced that “little black book” that used to be back in the day; which has

allowed one to have candidates all over the place. But is that healthy, or is it simply, “I’m dating to get to know people”? Do you let the person you’re dating know what’s going on to prevent any future issues or remain under the confidential pretenses? I recall a conversation I had with someone who was extremely transparent about their dating life, where they were going and what all they did. It turned into a slight debate because while I understood the need for transparency, it can also be a turn off to someone that you are trying to reel into your dating pool. It ended with me declining his advances- not simply because of his level of transparency. I just did not want to follow the same pipeline of dates that he was taking his other women on and bragging about it to others. Let some things remain a mystery until you’ve figured out what you’re going to do!

Happy young black couple on sunny summer day in park

Source: Susan Chiang / Getty

Expectations can also be a factor in why dating goes left. Sure, after 4 or so dates, one would think, “Hey, I’m in there!” Which can lead to feelings, the sense of a relationship (especially if sex has occurred, you’ve met parents/family, etc.). But when you find out that you’re still in the dating zone, it can really cause the dynamic to shift. There’s the expectation that you’re officially together as a couple once the above mentioned has occurred- yet, the main question hasn’t been asked- Are we together or nah? Let’s go with the latter: Nah. Then, oh boy. You’ve got a problem. Back to square one you go. But is it easy after you’ve pretty much served as the significant other?

Lastly, society has started to condition us to want the body styles that we see in reality show segments. Being a natural person without all the enhancements is no longer desired as much as it used to be. So for those of us that may not have an LA Fitness body; or have 1.5 million followers on Instagram, the pickings are slim! So what is one to do?

Hence, the title of this article. If you ever remember playing outside, you could hear the girls loudly yelling “Jump In, Jump Out…Introduce Yourself”; followed by a whole speech of their

name and what they like. That’s the best way to sum up this game called dating. It’s fun, but challenging. You learn a lot about people and you learn a lot about yourself. You also find yourself asking, “What do I want in a person”? But to be honest….as a good friend helped me to see; the real question should be, “What DON’T I want in a person?”

So… what would your answer be?

Here’s to dating in 2019!

Words by: Teri Noble