A Pizza Roadmap to Dating

Oftentimes, my friends from Houston ask me, “Jen, how is it that you’re still single?”. They find it hard to believe that a “nice” and “smart” girl like myself is single in a city full of options such as Los Angeles. I used to ask myself that same question, but now I don’t. I’ve reach a point in my life where I’ve let go of all the doubts and questions that come with dating in your 20s. Instead, I started to look back on my past experiences for lessons learned, prepared myself by reading up on the subject, and surrendered. Letting go has surprisingly been so liberating.

Some people say that that success comes to those who are prepared, and I would agree. Writing about my past dating experiences and writing about myself has help me validate my own wants and needs. In doing so, I came up with a list. A roadmap of things I’ve come to terms with and have agreed with myself to be mindful of when out there dating. To make it a little fun, I made a pizza analogy out of it, which I’ve listed below.

The Crust: Without a solid crust, there is no pizza. So, making myself genuienly happy instead of making dating the center of my life, has become my focus, my foundation. I started by being honest with myself about my flaws and shortcoming. Additionally, I decided to shed all pretense, in order to encourage others to do the same. My hope is that it will eventually lead to more honest and fulfilling relationships. Focusing on myself has helped me realize I need to set time aside to build on my character by adding new hobbies to my day such as rock climbing, cooking, reading and writing.

Extra Saucy: I now also question the type of guys I’m dating. In order better understand who I want as a partner, I make it a point to ask myself what qualities I enjoy most from each guy and why I find those qualities so appealing. Just like tomatoe sauce, this topic can be very fluid, and so I took it a step further and wrote down specific qualities, values and characteristics I want in a partner such as the following:

He must…

  1. Live free of others expectations and live for himself.
  2. Be honest about his fears.
  3. Be in touch with his innerself, his invisible self, his subconscious mind at all times.
  4. Be a mindful of others and his surroundings.
  5. Like to read.
  6. Have his own goals and be committed to them as he is committed to me.
  7. Give himself freely and openly while being sexual.
  8. Have positive, helpful men in his life, who will challenge him.
  9. Be willing to take risks.
  10. Be resilient and not fold when I’m testing him.
  11. Be able to lead and not always follow me.
  12. Value feminine energy….to list a few!

The Cheese: Ah, the cheese! What good is having just the crust and sauce, if you don’t have cheese? At the very least you can have a cheese pizza with the cheese in the picture. The same concept applies to dating. Even though I now understand how to make myself genuinely happy and know what I want in a partner, I also understand that in order to have a relationship worth having, I need to know how to also build a genuine connection. So, when on a date with a guy, I make sure I’m being respectful by providing them my undivided attention. My focus is always on my date and not my phone, allowing myself to be completely present. Most importantly, I’ve learned to check myself to make sure I’m being completely honest in my responses and reactions.

Pepperoni: Almost everyone I know goes crazy about pepperoni. They prioritize it over all other toppings. I say go for it! Life is short, so why not enjoy it? Dating should be exactly that, FUN! Instead of taking every aspect of dating so serious, I now focus on the fun aspects of it like learning about other peoples’s cultures, being introduced to new foods and hobbies, and expanding my network.

Onions: Everyone knows that cutting an onion can be painful and being rejected is no different. Eventhough I love a modest amount of onions on my pizza, I don’t enjoy being rejected. Nothing can be worse than sharing yourself with someone only to be taken for granted or not accepted. Unfortunately, I’m no stranger to rejection. I also will admit that learning not to take things personally has been my number one challenge. However, I now recognize that it’s not necessary a personal failure on my part, but that instead that person may be rejecting me for superficial reasons out of my control such as they prefer blondes to brunettes. Truthfully, I’m thankful for the times I’ve been rejected , because it taught me how to gracefully pick myself up. I created little rituals and hobbies that help me get through the various emotional phases and bring me back to my beautiful, happy self. As much as I hate it, rejection is an inevitable part of dating, so being resilient is key. I can’t stress that enough.

Red Peppers: Paying attention to how I feel while being out on dates is really important to me. If I start to feel insecure or undervalued, I know it’s probably time to let that person go. In addition to these feelings, I look out for potential triggers or red flags such as the following:

  1. Controlling behavior — The person becomes too needy and starts to try to manipulate the relationship.
  2. Verbal communication is off — If my date doesn’t have an open and consistent dialogue, I will take that as a lack of interest and commitment. Additionally, if a person spends too much time on their phone when out on a date with me, I will take that as a lack of respect.
  3. The relationship is dependent on alcohol and/or other people — If the communication and connection is off when there is no alcohol around or other people, then it will become apparent to me that there is no real chemistry between us both.

Now, almost instinctively, I either moved away or gravitated towards guys that displayed certain behaviors.

Banana Peppers: When it comes to having banana peppers in my pizza, I have serious trust issues, because they often forget to add them. My pizza isn’t complete without them, so I always check my pizza before I leave. Similarly, if someone has been previously betrayed or has some type of insecure attachment bond, it probably means they are not ready to trust people let alone date. I steer clear from those people.

Olives: I couldn’t come up with something clever to say about this topping. :( BUT, olives are also a must have topping for me. Most people could careless about olives, but I love them.

One Delicious Pepperoni Pizza w/Toppings: Finding the right person is just the beginning of the journey. Moving from a casual relationship into an intimate one requires nurturing. Although nothing is perfect, I know that by investing in the right person, communicating openly, and being open to change, I will be closer to being rewarded with a relationship that I will find oh-so fulfilling.

I hope that this Pizza Roadmap will help lead you to the perfect pizza partner. ❤ May you all share many, many pizzas together. I know, can I be anymore cheesy? (;

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