#216 – Learn From My Experience
I was going through some old notes this week and came across one that I had written almost exactly a year ago. A short-term relationship was coming to an end this time last year and I captured some thoughts that I had planned to share with the woman I was dating. In many ways it was a very good relationship. In other ways I just knew it wasn’t going to last no matter what I did.
Here are the notes and a general description of what I was thinking at the time. Hopefully this will help some of you when you have to deal with similar situations.
I want someone that can make a decision!
It always a frustration for me to be with someone that has a difficult time making up their mind. I’m not just talking about what to have for dinner. I’m talking about us! If you don’t make a decision, I will, and it may not be the decision you would make.
I have an ex-wife that struggled with making decisions. What seemed simple and logical to me was a long drawn out process for her. Now, I understand that people process information in different ways and at different paces. Eventually though, you need to make a decision. If you can’t…or won’t, you leave me little choice, so I’ll make it for you based on my reasoning skills and the facts at hand.
Like my ex, this woman struggled with making a decision. It wasn’t until the day we broke up that she finally realized that she had made a decision about us.
I don’t want to be a sex toy.
Yes, there are women out there that love sex as much as men do. And like most women, I don’t want to be someone’s play thing. Sounds crazy, I know. The reality for me is that I want more than just a physical relationship. I want to have intellectual, spiritual and emotional connections as well.
At times through this brief encounter, passions would run deep. We were never physically intimate but, we were about as close as you could get. After each encounter with her, there was a sense of emptiness for both of us. There seemed to be something missing.
Or, maybe it was out shared connection to God and the near violation of our morals and values.
I don’t want to be made to feel guilty about how I pray or how I spend my time with God.
I’ve run into this situation a couple of times in my life. Some people have a an amazingly deep spiritual life which is usually a healthy, good thing. And then there are those that eat, breathe and sleep their religion. That’s not me. Yes, I am a Christian with a strong faith in God. I’m also human. I recognize that I am not perfect in any way, shape or form.
The problem I have with ultra-religious people is that they want and expect everyone around them to have the same spiritual foundation and practices that they do. They have a part of their day carved out for prayer and Bible study. The rest of their day is spent thinking about God, additional prayer, and a significant amount of time spent in spiritual conversation.
Mind you, I’m not saying ANY of this is wrong. I’m just saying it’s not how I operate. I usually spend some time each day reading a chapter in the Bible. I’m not a Biblical scholar by any means. However, I’m reasonably equipped to hold a conversation about it. My reading also opens me to new understandings or interpretations of certain passages when a pastor talks about them.
When it comes to prayer, I find myself talking to God off and on throughout the day. I have no specific set time or pattern except maybe at night as I’m giving thanks for my day.
I want someone that is ready willing and able to commit to a relationship.
When I start to date someone, I’m always looking forward to seeing if this has the possibility of being a long-term relationship. If she’s not looking for the same thing, the relationship is a non-starter for me. Obviously it takes a little time to ferret out whether this person has the potential to be relationship worthy.
If there seems to be a good possibility then I will generally move ahead. The problem stems when one party isn’t emotionally healthy enough to commit to a long-term relationship. There are so many ways for someone to not be emotionally healthy and far beyond the scope of this article.
Suffice it to say that this woman was struggling with commitment for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, her previous marriage was not great. Even though her husband had past away several years ago, she was still gun shy when it came to relationships. So often it is so hard to break through their tough outer shell that it becomes nearly impossible to form a deep meaningful relationship.
I don’t want to have to answer the same question over and over.
Have you ever been with someone that continued to ask the same basic question over and over again? It seems that no matter how you answer the question, they just don’t understand your answer or they don’t like it.
This can be terribly frustrating. I tried to answer her questions to the best of my ability and as in depth as possible. I even started to rephrase my answers in hopes that using different words would help her understand. In the end, I had to ask; “How do you want me to answer that question? I’ve answered it several times already but apparently not to your satisfaction. What am I missing?” She would look at me with a more or less blank stare.
No more interrogations.
This is one of the most brutal and unnecessary forms of getting to know someone. There is rarely anything worse than having someone break out a written list of questions and start rattling them off. If you want to get to know someone and you have specific questions, keep them in your head. If you must right them down, don’t ask them all at once. Dating is not, and never should be, an interrogation!
This was hugely frustrating for me because this woman’s questions were basically the same each time. Though they may have been worded differently they were the same underlying question.
If you want to put someone in a truly defensive position, break out a list of questions. This won’t get you far and it will more than likely drive your potential mate away.
I want someone that is not afraid to spend time with me.
This may sound a bit strange and you’re probably thinking Rick, why would someone be afraid to spend time with you? That’s a great question. Mostly it comes from a lack of self-confidence or self-esteem. For example, someone that has made several poor relationship decisions in the past may have problems getting to know another person. They no longer trust their own judgement.
This then leads to shorter than planned dates because she all of a sudden feels uncomfortable and is not trusting her feelings.
Because this woman and I had such a strong chemistry, something she didn’t have with her late husband, she was afraid of her feelings. She was very unfamiliar with these new feelings and they scared her. I was patient with her, letting her try to work through these feelings.
Her uncertainty never really diminished and because of our different spiritual practices she made the decision that we were not a great match. I was completely on board with that decision. In fact, if she hadn’t made it that day, I would have.
It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible to live with high levels of uncertainty in any relationship. If you’re not sure your mate loves you and if they’re uncertain about your feelings, there’s a problem.
Do I wish this relationship could have worked out? Absolutely! She had some great qualities like her natural sailing ability, a sense of adventure, and her bubbly personality. In the end, the negatives outweighed the positives.
It’s always disappointing when you invest even a couple of months in someone and you discover she/he isn’t the right one. It can be frustrating and disheartening. In the end, we all have to go on. You have a choice. Get frustrated and stop dating or recognize that you’re one step closer to finding your lifetime love. The search for my extraordinary mate continues.
I hope you enjoyed today’s topic. If you have questions or suggestions for other topics, please send them to Rick@RickSoetebier.com.
Have a great and blessed day!
Thank you for sharing. It is good to reflect at the end of a relationship. It is beneficial in the closure process of one relationship and allowing yourself to be open to another. Yes, dating can be discouraging, but so is learning to walk. You just have to pick yourself up, brush off the dirt, and give it another shot.
Thank you for sharing Your personal experiences, and wisdom you’ve gained from your past relationships. I believe you will find the love of your life one day when you least expect it.
As for me 🙂 my story has finish yet either:)
You’re very welcome Teresa. I’m glad you enjoyed this blog.
Thank you Georgia. There is still so much more to come. We just have to be patient.
Is a relationship more difficult the older we get, or are we more aware of what we want from a relationship and the qualities we desire in a mate that seem more difficult to find? Let’s face it, a relationship takes two. And we all realize, YOU cannot control another individuals thoughts, actions, or words. Nor, do we come with an owners manual.
I wish true love to each single person who desires a GREAT RELATIONSHIP!
Hi Sheri. Thanks for your question. In my opinion, relationships are always difficult when you’re not with the right person. There are always a handful of people that just seem to fall into the right relationship from the very beginning. As for the rest of us, we struggle in our search. We get distracted by some great qualities in the people we date, all the while ignoring the red flags. Only when the infatuation and raging hormones have settled down are we able to recognize the relationship for what it really is…the wrong one. That’s why creating, and paying attention to, a Must Have List is so important to stay focused on what’s really important to you. It allows you to step back from infatuation and start recognizing red flags quickly. I hope this helps. Have a great and blessed week!