“Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz
Online dating and dating apps have revolutionized the experience of dating in recent years, and those changes continue to accelerate at a dizzying pace.
These new technologies have given rise to a brand new culture that singles never had to navigate in years past. Dating online and using dating apps is like a new “Wild West,” where there are no clear rules and anything goes.
This new culture comes with new words, of course. Some are amusing and some, not so much.
“Roaching” is a new name for a practice that’s been around for many years. Essentially, it’s a failure to define a relationship as monogamous (or otherwise) and the hurt feelings that often result.
One person believes that the relationship is progressing toward a meaningful one-on-one partnership and is blindsided when they find out that their partner has been seeing other people.
The offending party claims to be surprised that monogamy was assumed or expected because it was never openly discussed. This can seem heartless to some, myself included, but viewed objectively, it’s a valid point.
Mismatched expectations in relationships are nothing new, but regardless of the details or what new dating terms are used, the root cause is the same: the lack of open communication.
When I was searching for a partner, I often struggled to articulate what I truly wanted. I had trouble admitting, even to myself at times, that I was truly seeking marriage to someone with whom I hoped to share my life.
I found it nearly impossible to believe that there could be a man out there who would want that with me, so I avoided talking about it as much as I could. Instead, I swept it under the rug and dated anyone I found attractive.
I hoped that somehow it would all just work out. Somehow a man would end up falling in love with me and I’d be able to “sneak a relationship in the back door.” As if he wouldn’t notice.
I know that this sounds ridiculous, but that seemed to be the way it worked in the movies.
I thought that my dreams of a loving marriage were too much, overly traditional, and not feminist enough. It wasn’t what all the women’s magazines said I should be doing. In retrospect, I can see that I was actually ashamed of what I wanted.
I tried to deny my dream of finding true love, even to myself, but my heart would not be silenced.
Meanwhile, I dated prolifically and never told any of the men what I was looking for. I simply hoped that they would like me enough to somehow know what I wanted and offer it to me.
Needless to say, this did not happen and many misunderstandings ensued.
There wasn’t really a term for it then, but I was “roached” among quite a few other things. At the time, I thought those men were heartless and cruel, but now I see how I put myself in those situations by not being honest and forthright about what I was looking for.
I spent years getting my heart broken repeatedly and it took a huge toll on me. I finally decided that it was time to own up to what I really wanted because what I was doing was obviously not working.
I sat down and decided exactly what I wanted. I journaled about the life I wanted, the relationship I wanted, how I wanted to feel when I was with this person and the kind of person I wanted to be.
Then I promised myself that I would always have my own back and do everything I could to live the life I dreamed of no matter what anyone thought. I started telling the truth about what I wanted, even though it was difficult and scary and sometimes not eloquent at all.
I made myself ask the questions I wanted the answers to, even when my voice shook and I wished that the floor would swallow me up so that I could hide.
Sure, it scared some men away, but it also inspired a few of them. Including the man I married.
If you’re wondering whether or not you’re being roached, ask yourself if you’ve truly been honest with the person you’re dating about what you’re looking for. Have you had an actual conversation or have you just hinted? Do you know what your partner is seeking in a relationship? Have you asked?
If you haven’t talked about this yet, do it as soon as possible. If you’re afraid to do this, ask yourself why. Not having this conversation may seem easier in the moment, but in the long run it’s often much more painful.
It takes courage to decide what you want in life and to communicate your truth to another person. It requires strength and fortitude to create an authentic life instead of hoping that things turn out the way you want them to without any effort on your part.
You don’t have to turn your life around in a single day. You can do it one conversation at a time.
It’s like building your muscles when you work out. Over time, you’ll get stronger. Your communication skills will improve when you do this and so will your confidence.
Your relationships will improve as well. You’ll never have to worry about being roached again, because you’ll know where you stand with the people you date.
Before you know it, you will have transformed your life and your relationships forever.
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