So I was freaking out to my roommate earlier today about how I'm completely baffled by everything about dating, especially in the early stages. This feels kind of ridiculous because I have, professionally, gone on so many dates I feel like I could seduce somebody/help someone have a great date/be a good date in my sleep, with my hands tied behind my back, while evading sharks. But the reality is, every time somebody suggests I should "become a relationship coach" I scream back, "but how, I have no clue what the fuck I'm doing!"
I recently made a list of every first date I've ever been on, not including work or group dates. It was 8. 8 first dates, fam. In over a decade of dating, I've gone on 8 first dates. Of those, 2 turned into multi-year relationships (one of which was abusive), 1 ended in me being assaulted, 2 have led to lasting friendships, and 1 I am currently 2 weeks into dating and trying hard to educate myself quickly on wtf I'm doing before I muck something up.
If I look at the primary relationships I've been in (which I am quantifying as serious things lasting over a month), 3 of them lasted ~ 4 years (and of those 3, 2 were abusive), 2 lasted a year, and then there was this recent thing with Reno Ex that got relationshippy around month 3 and then abruptly ended.
So, yeah. Here I am, having had well into the triple digits of sex partners in my lifetime, literally made tens of thousands of dollars selling being an awesome date, and having spent 4 years dating someone who would give me a performance evaluation after each of our weekly swinger dates to tell me what I did that was good and what I did that was awkward. And I have no idea what to do with dates where I am just, me, in all my raw, vulnerable, messy, awkward glory. I have no idea how to attract relationships without performance evaluations or money, or how to sustain something that isn't infused with the dramatic immediacy of the early 20's or constant conflict because I'm not living up to my partner's exacting standards.
I don't know how to be liked just as I am. And I don't know how to trust that I'm liked just as I am, or that I can be worthy of partnership when presenting myself as something honest, stripped bare of the social graces I taught myself to be a good sex worker (in this context, I am counting the swinging I did with Trevor as a form of sex work). I have trouble seeing my own value when I'm not performing.
So, I've been asked why I'm not doing relationship coaching, or writing a dating advice blog, and here's the honest truth: I don't know how. I'm still learning about this, too. And it's as heartbreaking and scary as it is for everyone else new to dating and trying to learn how to do it healthy. So I can't promise the ability to actually write anything useful, but maybe we can take this journey together, share resources, and find community in our shared vulnerability. <3