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Target Practice

So. As many of us have, I do my best not to take social media seriously or to give the reckless things that people say any more light than it deserves. I take it all with a grain of salt and remember that folks have a tendency to get brave and a bit loose with their filters behind the computer screen. But, every now and again, I will happen upon a status or comment that just sends shock waves through me. Well, today was one of those days. I was scrolling around my timeline, when I decided to venture onto the page of a person in my people you may know section. It was a young guy, maybe late 20s, no kids (apparently), and presumably single. After a few moments of looking at his page, I read a status that said "I just saw where a single mom of 4 said that she doesn't want to date a man with kids. Lady, if you don't sit down and take what you can get!" Wow, was all that I could say! Then, under that post, another male stated "For real! Easy target practice, though! LOL!" I sat and stared at the screen for a bit as I processed the meaning of these two statements about a population of people that I am very much a part of. I closed the app and proceeded on with my morning routine. But, as the day went on, those words refused to leave me and I realized how hurtful it is to know that some men think of single mothers in this light.

It is quite demeaning to say that because a woman has children, she is not entitled to setting the standards that she is seeking in a potential partner. I mean, does bringing life into this world seriously mean lowering a woman to a level that she has to lay down her standards and take whatever scraps may be availed to her at the bottom of the barrel? Does a single mother not have the right to expect to be loved by a partner who will fit the expectations that she needs to have in order to be fulfilled in that relationship? And easy target??!! My gosh....those two words almost made me jump through the phone! LOL. The gall, the audacity, the toxicity that it takes to make a statement like that is just disgusting. To know that there are people who prey on those who "appear" to be in an already vulnerable position in regards to relationships is gut wrenching. As a single mother who is trying to delve back into the dating world to allow my life partner to find me, that statement makes me just want to curl back up into my shell and stay put for safe keeping. Yes, I know that folks say things for shock value and entertainment on these apps, but my daddy always told me "there is a little truth behind each lie and a joke is just the truth wrapped in a smile". Reading this made me ponder my own dating experiences since becoming a mother. Is it possible that maybe some of the persons I have entertained thought that I would be an easy target, a vulnerable piece of prey, that they could take advantage of then leave me with more wounds than they found me with? Did they not stay because they realized that I am not at all what they expected (because I hear that from guys more than I can stomach)? How is one supposed to meet their match and, at the same time, protect themselves from those with this mindset?

Discernment. It has often been said that a woman knows. That we have this innate ability to just feel it in our spirits when something is not right or isn't right for us. I think it is a beautiful gift that God has given us for the purpose of protection. But, how often do we ignore that feeling when it hits us? How often do we excuse the red flags because a person seems to fit all the other check boxes? How often do we tell ourselves that we are being too picky? Or, better yet, how often do we allow another person to tell us that we expect too much and need to lower our standards? Now, I'm not saying that we need build a 50 foot wall with a mote and guard gators around our hearts. But, we do have to protect our hearts. And we need to do that by knowing who we are and what we stand for and not letting anyone shake that ground from underneath us. We also have to trust ourselves and our discernment. I can tell you that for every guy I have gone on a date with and it didn't work out, there was something in me that caused it to end. Part of that is because I have learned that when I get a feeling about someone, I need to address it head on. Usually, when I do that, they exit stage left and blame it on me in some way. LOL. I have been told that my biological clock is ticking and I need to let things happen organically because I ask what someone expects from this situation. I have been told that I am too self-centered and too busy because I have made it clear that I am not sleeping with someone and that my children come first until I am married. I have even been ghosted after allowing someone to visit my home (which I never do) and then informing him that dating me will not mean a constant stint of netflix and chill moments.

At one point, I took serious offense when things didn't work out and that gut feeling proved to be correct. Now, I realize that none of them, not one, was meant for me. Now, I am eternally grateful for discernment in my dating life. Now, I don't hesitate to listen to myself about the vibes that someone is giving me and the patterns that they are showing me. Maya Angelou stated "when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time". Ladies, this dating game is tricky. There are some folks out there who really do look at us as 'easy targets' and who will use us for target practice....if we allow them. Protect yourselves at all costs! Listen to your gut! Trust yourself! Pray about him and let the Holy Spirit guide you! And most of all, if he shows you who he is, believe him!

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