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20 First Dates - Part Five

Well, hello there. It's been a while. Since the last few posts, I've taken the leap into becoming a full time member of the Real Beauty Real Women family, and it's been an amazing journey and shifted my focus for a time. Now I'm back!

There is so much to write about the journey of the 20 First Dates, and I have neglected to put it on paper. I want to be deliberate, and meditative. There will be multiple posts in the ensuing weeks focusing on relationship books, what I actually learned on the dates, nicknames, what a woman really wants (it's pretty simple), other's experiences going on the 20 First Date Challenge (yes, it's now a thing), and much more. In the meantime, here's something I've learned about myself from using the same tools I recently posted about on Facebook. Watch out! (j/k)

I love playlists and have one for about every occasion. Name a type of cuisine, and I likely have a playlist created around music that corresponds for one of my favorite activities, the dinner party. I've put together a playlist of songs that remind me of the journey of the 20 first dates, and this Robin Schulz song is one of them. At the end of the day, it's what we really want. Or at least the romantics among us.

"I wanna grow old with you Buy an RV and just travel I wanna have kids and a house, and some stress I can't handle I want a dog we can chase through the park on a Sunday Then make us a dinner for two Might be microwave entrees"

How do you pre-screen before you end up going on dates? This was a tongue in cheek question I posited on my Facebook page recently. It started something like: "Besides astrology and Love Languages, what "tools" do you use to vet dates?" What came back were very deep serious answers. And while the post was meant to be lighthearted and bring back lighthearted answers, it became very clear that LOVE is a VERY SERIOUS ISSUE. I was even taken to task for using astrology as a vetting tool by one friend. However...

Whether or not you believe in astrology, I am a Sagittarius, also known as the zodiac's optimists. And it fits me to a tee.

My friends call me the "eternal love optimist" - I constantly look through a lens of evaluating if someone would fit into my life and what that would look like, and sometimes that has meant making justifications for that person. I even do this to people I know I won't really end up dating.

It's just a thing...

Astrostyle states, "You’re the zodiac’s free spirit, a true traveler who’s comfortable on the road. Although you hate feeling tied down, you also crave a soulmate to experience the world with. You have a huge appetite for life, and your partners must share that quality. Finding someone who can keep up with your endless quest for adventure and expansion is no easy task. For this reason, many Sagittarians can be single for long periods of time. When you actually ARE in relationships, they tend to be all consuming–at least, at first."

"I hate that we only get one life Only one chance to get it right But I want to spend it by your side Tonight and every night Tonight and every night Tonight and every night

Tonight and every night Tonight and every night Tonight and every night Tonight and every night"

I've stated before I don't necessarily believe there is only ONE person for everyone.

What I have learned, however, is that there are a few key items that will help set relationships up for success.

Timing, communication, openness, and emotional intelligence/ self awareness.

These are key.

You may meet the (seemingly) PERFECT FOR YOU someone, but then realize that while they jumped all in with words, actions show they aren't ready for a true partnership or relationship. It's not that they're being inauthentic, necessarily, as they are truly being authentic to their own feelings or misgivings. It's on THEM, not YOU. By the time they come around, you should not be waiting.

"I want a chance to get mad and have fights, and then make up I wanna know where this light and this darkness will take us I wanna see just how beautiful you'll be when you're fifty So all of my friends will be jealous and dying of envy"

The other "tool" I mentioned in my Facebook post was The 5 Love Languages. I honestly discovered this book late in the game - probably because I was a young adult when I met my ex, and didn't have girlfriends who loved the self-help genre to steer me. If you haven't taken the quiz, I have found that it is a great way to learn how to listen and respond not only to potential romantic partners, but also to friends and family.

Full disclosure, mine in order are:

1. Physical Touch

2. Quality Time

3. Acts of Service

and tied for last place,

4. Receiving Gifts

5. Words of Affirmation

I have realized that my love languages mean that if I am in a relationship, or considering one, I need someone who will be not only present physically, but also show me that they care by actually spending time with me. Not too much to ask, right? I know my schedule means I'm often time challenged; however if someone I am interested in is willing to take the time to ask me out properly, I will probably make the time. In reverse, if you know about love languages and we have discussed it and you still make no consideration for mine when I try to make consideration for yours, then we will never work out. Sadly, it is NOT typical in this day and age of dating apps to think beyond self - it's so easy to hide behind an app and text messaging and never make actual, real plans. More on that in my next post :).

"I hate that we only get one life Only one chance to get it right But I want to spend it by your side Tonight and every night Tonight and every night Tonight and every night

Tonight and every night Tonight and every night"

If you meet someone who really listens, who remembers, and who acts upon what they remember, you may want to consider seeing it through. Especially if that person knows you don't have a favorite flower but you like flowers that smell pretty, and your favorite color is blue, and shows up for a 20 first date with these.

"And I got to say what's on my mind There's only so much of this precious time And I want to spend it by your side Tonight and every night Tonight and every night Tonight and every night"

If you're one of the many who are taking the 20 First Date challenge, please email me your stories, or make sure to use #20firstdates on social media so I can find you :). Until next time, dear readers.

Written by Anika Jackson. Mother, community volunteer, philanthropist, and socially conscious fashionista ambassador. VP, Strategic Partnerships, Real Beauty Real Women, and CEO of Philanthropic Fetes. Check out our latest project, Social Graces Social Club! Contact her at

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