I listen to a few dating podcasts and have had countless conversations with friends about dating. And we have all concluded that yes—there is pee in the dating pool, to which both men and women have contributed. Men are tired of being used as EBT cards. Women are tired of being asked what they bring to a table with no legs. I’m personally tired of the inability to hold a conversation and plan a date.
But these new stages of dating make it far more complex than it needs to be. I don’t know when or who decided this breakdown was necessary, but it’s a little too much for me.
First is the Talking Stage. During this stage, you’ve exchanged numbers, built a friendship, you may have been intimate, and you’ve just kind of tested the waters.
Next is the Dating Stage. This is the point where you start to do more activities together and see each other consistently. You’re still just friends, but you have a mutual interest in each other. And you may have begun to develop deeper feelings for each other.
Now, we move on to the Dating Exclusively Stage. At this point, you’ve decided to cut off anyone else you may have been seeing and focus on each other.
Lastly comes the Relationship Stage, where you’ve made a mutual agreement to become a couple
Complications with the Stages
The Relationship Stage is where things get unnecessarily complicated for me. Talking and dating are the same thing as far as I’m concerned. When I’m dating someone, I expect to talk via phone, Facetime, text, and in person. We can go get coffee, go on a picnic, take a pottery class, or make dinner at home together. That is all still dating. And it’s perfectly fine to date multiple people at once. That’s how it should be done until you decide to start a relationship with someone.
And it’s perfectly fine to date multiple people at once."
The dating exclusively phase is just silly. Isn’t the point to find a partner? So, if you are no longer interested in anyone else, wouldn’t you naturally enter the Relationship Stage with the other person? Why are we sitting in limbo for however long, if you don’t want to talk to anyone else? That means you met the goal and found the person you want to be with. Why do we need a probationary period?
Relax and Enjoy the Journey
Dating should be fun and exciting. It’s about really getting to know someone for who they are and not who you need them to be. You may date someone and find that they aren’t the right fit as a romantic partner, but you’ve built an amazing friendship. Although friendship may not have been the goal, it’s still a beautiful journey.
So, I’ve decided to relax and enjoy the journey. I’ve learned to let my guard down and be open to love, and I’ve also learned when to walk away. My dating life this year may bring new love, new friendships, or both. Either way, I’m going to relax and enjoy the journey.
About the Author
I love warm sunny days at the beach with a cocktail, (or two) … maybe three (no one’s counting…right?). There is nothing better than a good dose of Vitamin D with the sound of the waves crashing into each other to find peace and clarity. The only other thing that brings me more joy than the ocean is make-up and skincare. Sephora is EVERYTHING! Some may call it an addiction; I say mind your business (lol). The best part of make-up is finding your style and having fun with it. I enjoy playing with every color under the rainbow with a little glitter and highlighter sprinkled in as well. As a licensed esthetician and MUA, I am committed to healthy glowing skin.
Moth or Butterfly?
In 2022, my ongoing theme has been purpose. Am I purposeful in my encounters? In my walk with Christ? In my friendships? According to Oxford Languages, purpose is defined as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” On an evening stroll on Instagram, I had one of those moments where life stops, or better yet, comes together. Having my heart and mind catechized by a recent loss in my friendship circle, hearing Jerry Flowers Jr. speak about butterflies and moths, commanded my full attention.
To back it up, I have always loved butterflies since an elementary school field trip when my Moms played hooky at work to chaperone. We went crazy for years trying to keep our butterfly bond relevant. It worked in my favor when butterfly accessories became the greatest fad. I had the butterfly hair clips, the whimsical butterfly ring, and even got a butterfly tattoo as an adult. It was that real to me. I recall in 2018 on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, I made a day of visiting the Dubai Butterfly Garden. I took advantage of all the photo opportunities at the entrance. My favorite was standing in between a set of wings with my body being the thorax and abdomen of a giant butterfly statue. The last pictures I took that day were at the entrance.
Once in the gardens, I got anxious, overwhelmed, and then I got silent. I had a true awakening in the garden. I wanted to go back to the hotel and just bathe. I was around my favorite animal, but that afternoon they became bugs, well, moths in my eyes. I smiled outwardly when asked about my experience at the garden, but internally something had changed.
Three years later after hearing Jerry Flowers Jr. share his insight on the caterpillar evolution into a moth or butterfly, I was taken back on so many levels. Having just shared with my Pops earlier in the day that I no longer communicate with a friend, my spirit was vulnerable, and I leaned into this butterfly-moth dichotomy. I did some research and learned that it’s already known whether metamorphosis will produce a butterfly or a moth at the caterpillar stage. More than that, I also learned from a team of scientists at Georgetown University that the caterpillar stage is impactful to the butterfly and moth stage.
Grasping for understanding, I let my thoughts roll. I let myself morph into the caterpillar to allow God and nature to speak to my spirit Woman. I recognized that yes, like most relationships we start compatible and crawling. We crawl together. We crawl apart. We experience life and all it throws at us. Mutually and independently. Then, the cocoon phase happens. Ugh, the cocoon phase. That literal pressure is essential for continued growth. We make it out.
Finally, we emerge, butterfly and moth. We were crawling together a minute ago, and now I can’t seem to find my friend. And I mean friend FRIEND. Since butterflies still hold a soft spot for me (plus it’s tatted on me), I metamorphosed into a butterfly—flying, trying to find my friend. Every morning I’m getting up to see if she’s near that flower, that park, hopefully near Sunday brunch. I can’t find her. She’s lost to me. I hear Mr. Flowers Jr. say, “One major difference between a moth and a butterfly is that one is nocturnal, and the other is diurnal.” And it hits me.
We don’t have a problem. We don’t have a break in communication. We have different environments with its own requirements. We can’t crawl together because we’ve outgrown that, but we can thrive in our own respects. While I was up looking for her, she was resting. And while she looks for me, my rest is just as essential.
I know that God makes no mistakes, and I was always going to be this butterfly. It provides peace knowing that while we were caterpillars, we were the best at it. And I remember and cherish our memories as caterpillars. They impacted me and I’m sure they always will. But I must fly. I can’t waste my wings trying to relive an earlier version of me that only knew how to crawl and experience life from the ground level. I now have a better view and a purpose to fly towards. I understand nothing is worse than being a moth during the day or a butterfly at night. While we come from similar beginnings, our God-given purpose has manifested. As a butterfly, the moth is my sister. We have different roles and different needs we’re both working towards. Trying to hold onto the past will only stunt our growth.
About the Author
Anita is a native of Miami, Florida. A Taurus through and through. She enjoys experiencing life first hand, which is why she is working on filling up her passport with stamps and stories to tell of each addition. As the youngest of five, family is her essence of life. She is highly motivated by the black experience and intent on being Christ-like (although, she understands she’ll fall short). Stay posted to see what she has to say and say HEYYYY NITA when you see her. ☺