Jasmine Fox-Suliaman grew up in Denver, Colorado, and moved to Los Angeles two years ago to grow within her career (she is now our fearless Community Editor at Clique brands), relationships, and spirituality. Little did she know, her quest would lead her to a near-death experience that would push her to change her relationship with herself, others, and her spirit. Along the way she picked up boxing, yoga, and a few dating lessons that she’s sharing below.
Confession: I was a serial dater. Partially out of the necessity to meet people in a new city and partially out of the necessity to find myself. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit searching for myself in, well, someone else. And for a while, it seemed like my life was akin to a car crash, and eventually, it did manifest itself into a real one, as in me crashing my car on the actual freeway. Breakup after breakup, paired with my near-death experience, was the pain that helped me realize I needed a serious spiritual reboot. So wherever you are in your journey—single, dating, married, or whatever a relationship means for you—I’m sharing the best dating advice I've learned through experience, in the hope that my mishaps and mistakes can act as a guidebook of sorts on your journey to love, your relationships, and mostly, yourself. Of course, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I believe there’s nothing more powerful than shared experiences. My biggest takeaway from all of this is that all relationships, no matter how complicated or casual, come into our lives to unveil the lessons we need to learn. From there, it’s up to us to decide what we take with us.
Lesson #1: Define the Relationship
If you don’t know what you want, your significant other won’t either. No one wants to spend three months dating someone they found on an app only to find that they have no real intention of settling down. Trust me—I’ve done it enough. Save yourself the time and drama. Have an honest conversation with yourself about what you’re seeking from your relationships. Do you want to be friends with benefits? Great. Do you want to find your soul mate and get married? Great. Do you never want to get married? Great. Just don’t settle for less than what you really want because you’re afraid of being alone or you’re trying to appease your friends’, family’s, or society’s expectations. You’ll have a hard time finding the right relationship if you can’t be honest with yourself (or your date for that matter). Once you unveil your truth, live by it. Don’t waste your precious life with people who don’t want to meet you at your level. If the relationship doesn’t align with what you want, then take a cue from Beyoncé and say, "Boy, bye."
Lesson #2: Swipe With Caution
I’m not talking about a Google search rampage to make sure the person you’re meeting isn’t a psychopath (although that is important). What I am saying is to be aware of the type of person you’re attracting and the type of person you’re attracted to. If you want to change your dating life, you need to change your thoughts as well. Stop focusing on what you don’t like about your suitors or the fact that you’re alone on a Friday night, and instead shift your focus to the type of partner you want to meet. Additionally, you can’t have what you’re not willing to become. So if you keep meeting people who don’t align with your wants, ask yourself, Am I the type of person I'd want to meet? What does this relationship tell me about myself? And how can I become the best version of myself in my relationships moving forward? Because love isn’t about finding the perfect fairy tale—it’s about unveiling your inner royalty.
Lesson #3: Proofread Your Fairy Tale
Okay, hear me out on this. I’m not suggesting that you settle for less. What I am saying is to practice mindfulness in your relationship and don’t let your ideas of what your relationship should be and how someone should act impact it. For example, when my significant other doesn’t respond to a text, but I see them liking posts on Instagram, I bombard them with texts. In all honesty, I have this fear that if the person is on their phone and they’re not immediately responding to me, they’re no longer interested—which, I’ve learned, is far from the truth. We are all multifaceted, complicated human beings, so before you discount someone because they’re not immediately responding back to the meme you sent them or they’re reacting to a situation in a manner that you don’t like, remind yourself that their actions have nothing to do with you.
See the moment as a chance to control the only thing you can control—your reaction. Step back and analyze the root of the pain, anger, or frustration, and choose to react in a way that is aligned with the type of person you want to be and the type of relationship you want. Remember that there’s a difference between someone not responding to your meme in a timely manner and someone not being right for you, and that’s a line you have to draw for yourself. You know what’s right for you, and it’s important to be honest with yourself about what rational compromises you can make and what you’re not willing to tolerate.
Lesson #4: Pick, Collect, and Own Your Baggage
What I’ve learned through dating is that we have all gone through some form of trauma in our relationships. We can’t control the hand we’re dealt. We can’t control how we come into the world, who our parents are, how we grew up, or how others treat us. But as mentioned previously, the one thing we can always control is how we choose to react. We can choose to carry the baggage of a systematically broken family unit into our relationships, or we can break the cycle. I realized that by trying to run from the pain of my mother’s abusive relationships, I was putting myself in emotionally abusive relationships too, and they were going nowhere.
I always felt that my mother chose her relationships over ours. It was a fear that manifested itself in my adult relationships. I would obsess and often find out that the guy I wanted, wanted someone else. I’m not saying we all avoid our issues, but I’m saying that we decide how much power we’re going to allow our past and even our present experiences to hold over our future ones. So my question for you is When will your healing process begin? What beliefs, fears, or past traumas are you going to bring into your relationships? Because it might be time to leave them in the past.
Lesson #5: Heal Your Biases
It’s scientifically proven that no matter what race or gender we are, we all have biases and judgments we subconsciously place on people who aren’t like us. And that transfers into our dating lives. How many times have you not taken interest in someone because they only ticked off one thing on your “must-have” list or because they were way too different from you? Dating for me was a way to unveil my own internal biases and decide whether or not I wanted to choose the stories society and my family members placed on groups of people or not. Even though I am biracial, I was told by various figures in my life to not date African American men. For a while, like most children, I believed the viewpoints of my parents and the people around me were non-negotiable.
It wasn’t until after some self-reflection, a little space away from them (in the form of a few thousand miles), and a couple of dates that I realized I was carrying someone else’s views, fears, and negative experiences with race. I personally believe that until every person pushes past their fear of looking internally and opening themselves to different people, we will never find the love we’re craving. Unconditional love means no inhibitions, so until each individual and the collective can love one another without the judgment (regardless if they’re black, white, Latino, or anything else for that matter), then we’re nothing more than people living by conditions that inhibit their desire to love and be loved. And who wants love with conditions?