Just a little break from work and school stuff to share something I’ve been pondering the last week or so.
This pretty much applies to my single friends, but of course, anyone’s thoughts are welcome.
So…I’ve been dating for a couple of years now. If you know me, you know that the whole dating scene was pretty new to me after the divorce, right?
Let’s just say I’ve learned and continue to learn so much about myself and about my own patterns (good and bad) through this process. It’s easy to go where I am comfortable, even if comfort is not in my best interest.
If there is interest on both sides, I am learning the value in sticking with one person at least to explore each other for a time and not going on other dates during that time frame.
A dear friend and I had this conversation and I found so much significance in it. Online dating gives us the constant option to keep looking ‘for the next best thing’ and in doing so…we aren’t being present and exploring what’s right in front of us.
Why? For me, I think when I started dating, everyone just told me this is what we do…date lots of people…so I did with the exception of those two relationships. Honestly…not so fabulous.
All of that said…I have an observation. Out of the ‘sample population’ that I have dated…there have been a couple of relationships, many first dates, and a few several time dates. I think that sums it up.
Out of all of these, I can name only 3 people who have been totally honest with me. I mean honest in saying what their intentions are, whether they be a long term relationship, marriage, fun, or just sex. Three men. Not cool. (except one that was a little creepy honest and I could’ve done without that).
I get it if you aren’t sure what your intentions are…say it. I get it If you desire nothing but a sexual relationship, say it. To engage someone on this level and indicate that you want a relationship when that is not at all the truth…just a jerky thing to do. Give them an informed option.
I’m quickly losing my naivety but don’t want to become jaded in the process.
If you want to explore your relationship with someone and would like that to be something you are on the same page about, say it.
And for goodness gosh sake, if you are no longer interested, please, please, please be honest and kind and tender. Don’t just disappear. It is mean and it is cowardly.
We can all be grown up’s, right?
It just feels like dating increases the likelihood of disposability, like people are seen as objects rather than humans with a heart, emotions and a brain.
So…what’s your view? I am kinda not in the mood for jokes, I am truly seeking thoughtful feedback.
|I NOW WANT||
IN THE PAST, I’VE BEEN ATTRACTED TO
|TRUSTWORTHY||LACK OF HEALTHY EMOTION|
|KIND||LIVES BELOW ABILITIES|
|TEDDY BEAR OF A GUY||UNSTABLE FAMILY|
|THOUGHTFUL||LACK OF RESPECT FOR SELF/OTHERS|
|COMPASSIONATE||NO SPOILING ME|
|LOVING, ENGAGED W/ FAMILY||RIGID|
|SOCIALLY AWARE||BLACK AND WHITE|
|REALITY OVER PORN||THEY ‘NEED’ ME|
|CONSISTENT W/ EMOTIONS||ANGER IS DOMINANT EMOTION|
|CAN HANDLE EMOTIONS||PORN OVER REALITY|
|UNDERSTANDING||I AM NOT A PRIORITY|
|ROMANTIC||MAJOR POWER IMBALANCE|
|ATTENTIVE||NOT IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL|
|LOVES MY FAMILY||NOT AS SOCIAL|
|OPEN||STRUGGLES WITH AUTHORITY|
|RESILIENT||SUBSTANCE ABUSE/SOME DRUG OF CHOICE|
|TWINKLY EYED & SWEETLY MISCHEVIOUS||LACK OF PASSION/DRIVE|
I created this list on a whim about a year ago. A friend challenged me to write down what I want in a partner and then write what I tend to choose. I was not to think about it and just wrote what was on my heart. Pretty much the same today. Lots to ponder.
I wasn’t going to write tonight. Each time I had started to do so, I came up with nothing but feisty, unkind, passive aggressive wording, yet, here I am. Thanks to the love, prayers, positive energy and encouragement that surround me, I have decided to try to be brave and share my heart. Let’s hope I don’t regret it in the morning.
This is not a pretty post. Not at all. It’s kind of ugly and I just pray that I keep it about my experience and not someone else’s story. Whatever.
I am in the middle of learning some tough lessons. About myself, relationships, the difference between love and lust…so much. So fucking much. Lessons that I expect I ‘should’ have down by down at the ripe age of 46. I guess after being with one man for 23 years, I’m not joking when I say I am like a teenager at times and these growing pains are simply yuck.
My heart aches. Deeply. Every time I face rejection from a man, in any aspect, it’s like I bring into it a lifetime of rejection. It rapidly becomes all about everything I am not rather than about what the situation really is. Tonight, someone I am particularly fond and who has been precious (in my eyes) ‘defriended’ me on social media. Really. So familiar to what I hear my teenagers struggle with at times. I don’t even know why. It doesn’t matter. It stung and started a flood of tears that I can’t seem to stop.
An onslaught of failures, lies and struggles suck me in. Failed marriage. Poor choices. Less than. Never enough. Won’t happen. Negligent. Disorganized. Scattered. Settled for. Two faced. Fat. Broken. Messed up. Crazy. Damaged. Wounded. Stubborn. Less than, again. Optional. Disposable. Debris. Stupid. Boring. Too much. Not enough, again. Temporary. Unworthy. Plain. Short hair. Gross. Hurting. The list goes on.
Through it all, my mind keeps hearing the words of a dear friends prayer for me, along with a sermon that I have listened to numerous times lately. It’s all about the story we tell ourselves. We might tell ourselves something that is not necessarily a lie, but instead a twisted up version of the truth. It really pinged my heart because I know that I tend to live in the truth of my story instead of the truth of who God really made me to be….especially in regard to my relationships with men.
I am happily confident in my job, work hard in school, and adore my internship. I am a magnificent friend, the best Momma for my kids and try hard to fill my other roles with all the love, giving, compassion and care that I can give. Bottom line, I feel ‘good enough’ in these roles for the most part and when I don’t, I make changes accordingly. That’s one Sarah. She knows who she is and what she wants. She believes it is just as important to play hard as it is to work hard; she is not hesitant to go for what she wants.
Then…there is the Sarah who sees herself as disposable. She is seeking a real and deep love, a true connection with a gentleman that holds truth and freedom in it. She is looking for the hands that will hold her heart with love, gentleness and protection. She knows she has much to give BUT….this woman sees herself as a young girl who is overweight, awkward, painfully shy and unwanted. No matter how she ‘looks’ to others, and despite the way she works on positive changes…she mostly sees herself as someone broken, deeply lacking or undesirable. This feeling sucks. I know it’s not truth, but it ‘feels’ truthful in the moment and operating from that truth leads to a plethora of poor choices. Choices that disregard who I am at my core and what I hope for in this life. Choices that are made out of a fear of being without companionship. Choices that give a temporary band-aid to lonely feelings but absolutely do not result in long term fulfillment. Choices that are made because there is gratitude that someone desires me vs. knowing it is a privilege to have time with me.
I’m not speaking to intentional choices I make as a grown woman to participate in relationships that are fun, fulfilling in their own way and not long term. I am referring specifically to participating in relationships knowing full well that it won’t be what I want it to be, but choosing to believe I can change it to what I desire. I can BS myself like no other, but don’t worry, I speak the truth to others. So often that it gets me in trouble…not everyone wants that.
The story that I tell myself is that I will never find the love of my life, so I may as well enjoy whatever the moment offers. I will not ever be ‘the one’ to someone special, so I shall act accordingly. I’ve already had that, kind of, so God wants me to live the rest of my life alone and serving others. (I put those words to God, nothing I feel from him). I may as well go for the men who are not going to be long lasting, because in the end, they will leave. So why choose the ones I will really give my heart to? They too, will leave. Both will hurt but the latter will hurt far less. Choose the lesser of two evils, right? In the process, I am getting hurt and I am hurting others…unintentional as it may be. All of my protective forces are accomplishing nothing worth mentioning.
Who knows what of this is true and what is not? I know I am supposed to honor who I believe I am…a brave, worthy, happy, truly loved by God, whimsical, whole and surrendered woman. That is who I believe I was made to be, yet when I am engaging with men I am willing to trade that in for whatever they need me to be. That’s got to be better than what I really have to offer, right? Better even, let me serve as therapist and best friend ever, maybe even as a nurturing mom role. Ewwww. But it comes so natural.
A precious friend recently told me that “God made me and his work is always beautiful”. I love that friend and his heart. I want to believe his words. My heart agrees, it is beautiful…my brain taunts me by letting me know I’ll never measure up. But to who? How long am I going to let others opinion of me determine how I view myself. It’s ridiculous. Real stuff, but ridiculous.
I have a safety plan. Another dear friend and I have a ‘twenty year plan’. If neither of us are married at age 60, or in 20 years…we can marry each other. This is our little funny! In truth, I freak myself out. What if I die before then without experiencing the gift of a deep and abiding love with the ‘right’ man. I know…God’s timing…it’s just so hard for me to trust.
I am tired. I cannot believe I am ‘here’. There are new crinkles around my eyes and I see faint wrinkles on the delicate skin of my neck. I can’t seem to keep up with the fastness of passing time.
My precious children…lots of love and hugs from them tonight. That should be more than sufficient. Why do I long for anything more? I just do. Even in my deep gratitude, there is a constant yearning.
This is my story. I’m trying to figure out how to live in the truth of who I am…in ALL of the circumstances and with ALL of the people. I am trying to let go of the story I once helped me survive and embrace the story that is truth.
This is my honesty.
The first man…he prefers a woman with long hair. Mine is on the shortish side and even when it’s long, it’s soft and baby fine. He tells me he longs for a woman with a tight, thin body as I sit next to him thinking that no matter how hard I work out and how much weight I lose….my body will still have carried two babies and is marked with scars that mean life to me. My breasts are small, my booty flat and my tummy round. I want to hide myself but there is nowhere to hide…so I distract him with humor or kissing or listening or whatever the situation calls for and I hope he cannot feel how much I have adored him and how sad I feel in this moment.
The second man doesn’t understand how an intelligent girl like me can believe in a pie in the sky mythical being. How can someone who thinks for herself and is smart claim God and faith as her foundation. He does not have a clue what I’ve been through and really has no interest in knowing. He might never grasp that all I wanted was to show him respect for his path and how deeply I hoped he could respect my own path. He is not going to go deep into the topic. The walls are palpable. I can get up and leave or I can dive out of the discomfort and into his body. I choose the latter.
Third guy…we have met in person, because we were at the same place at the same time. We bumped into each other again on a dating site. I had heard he thought I was flirting with him. He was beautiful to look at yet I had been doing nothing but being my normal playful self. He also knew he was hot…he just had that air about him. We chatted a bit….teased about the flirting comment. Before I know it, he is inviting me to be a friend with benefits. If I just wanted eye candy, that may have served me well. Friends with benefits I am not searching for, that’s been an easy come easy go disaster. He still pops up with an out of the blue text now and then. Just not gonna happen.
Last guy, he is a dear old friend going through a divorce. He thinks it would be a great idea to ‘get together’ and he has been very explicit about what that might look like. I know the depth of his loneliness and my heart aches for him. I am not interested in being a distraction from his pain in that manner. Gotta appreciate his asking though…I guess.
Just a teeny sampling of dating life as it is right now. I’m feeling pretty down and out tonight. I did something horribly stupid to someone I value greatly and I probably won’t be forgiven. It is what it is.
I am beginning to see that I have a habit of sabotaging something with great possibility before it has a chance to happen. Just in case it doesn’t. Guess what? I am the one hurting and sitting in the shit I created. Again.
I did this to someone dear that I dated a few months ago. He cherished me. Adored me. Treated me like a gentleman treats a lady. He is also the only person that I have been 100% myself with from the beginning. He appreciated my intelligence. He encouraged my feminine energies. He laughed at my jokes and truly thought I was beautiful just the way I was. He traced my scars (both the physical and emotional) and said they were lovely reminders of the preciousness of life. He was kind. I messed that up by doing something very hurtful and although I know we are not each other’s long time person, I am incredibly thankful for the experience and forever sorry for my actions. He gave me a glimpse of what I deserve and that it is possible.
So…why, why, why do I feel more comfortable seeking out the men who I know are going to give me crumbs; see me as their back up, or just plain use me? In saying this, please realize I am no victim of anything here. With the exception of one toxic relationship, I have knowingly and willingly walked straight into, or even instigated, these types of relationships.
I seem to have a radar that tracks these men, specifically. The ones who won’t last…and although I know this, I begin the process of wondering if it can work and how it will look. EVEN THOUGH my head and heart both know better.
Lots of tears, guilt, shame and deep thoughts today. I’m really trying to identify my own actions and behaviors that are a detriment to me. I could blame others all day long but that’s useless…in the end, my unhealed stuff is what hurts me most.
A hot truth smacked me in the face this afternoon. With the exception of the one dating relationship (that very healthy one where I was absolutely cherished), there is not one person with whom I have been purely me.
This only applies to dating relationships. I don’t do this in other areas. I think I so deeply want to be accepted and loved and I’m certain no one wants me for messy me. This feels a little like desperation and the feeling makes me sick to my stomach and doesn’t at all line up with my desire to live authentically. I’m still trying to figure out who I am as a single woman, not as wife and mom.
I have contorted myself all kinds of ways just to make sure I keep the attention or approval of some guy. “Two-faced” would be painfully accurate here and getting this understanding feels like a punch in the gut.
Just in case there’s not ever a man who doesn’t think I am broken, I am striving to make sure I am going to be thin enough, pretty enough, sexual enough, fun enough, smart enough etc to please them. So far, save one precious soul, I have not been enough.
I mean…I’ve been enough to be a friend with benefits (again, my choice to walk into), but not enough to enter into something healthy with. And those ugly tapes are loud. If I were thinner, richer, louder, bigger boobed, not shy, blue eyed…whatever fits. I type and I ask myself how in the world I could expect someone to cherish the real me when I have turned myself inside out to be someone else for them.
I feel so sad and ashamed. Desperate. Icky. A little unhopeful and maybe even a little scared.
Also, I feel that the way I’ve behaved at times, someone is going to not get my heart and instead view me as the crazy chick. Since I was raised by a mentally ill person, that terrifies me.
A wise person just asked me two hard questions. “How would life look if I decided that I was not somebody who had to be settled for?” and “How would my dating life look if I decided you weren’t going to settle for anybody who didn’t want me exactly as I am?” .
I have often said I will not settle (I call bullshit on myself). Never have I considered this perspective. I absolutely believe if someone is dating me they must be settling for me. That helps me rationalize that when someone better comes along, they will move on and that is to be expected.
Settle for someone who didn’t want me exactly as I am? What else would I do? I can be an expert chameleon as long as it means I am pleasing someone. It is horribly yuck to admit that.
“Becoming all God sees you as begins with the courage to let go of all He doesn’t”…my list of the doesn’t(s) feels everlasting. I’m so tired of putting myself in situations where I feel less than. I do it. I choose the opposite of what I desire because I know I will get that. Ewww.
My heart hurts. Learning to fully love myself is so super hard when I am trying to be someone else that ‘he’ might like better.
There’s got to be something better than this.
This post doesn’t want to happen. This post is resisting moving from head to heart in every way. This post knows it contains some deep potential for growth. Hands on the keyboard, my fingers tap out whatever is inside of me, initially unedited. I am assured that this is a post that must be written. It is difficult to know where to begin when one is spinning in a multitude of directions. Gut, heart and brain are in the midst of great conflict and soul keeps saying, “keep going, keep going, keep going”. The internal struggle isn’t new. What’s new, is is being able to grasp that not being exactly where I want to be is okay, I just am where I am. Honestly, sometimes that pisses me off, but that’s all part of being where I’m supposed to be too.
A memory that I had written one year ago today popped up on my Facebook timeline. No accidents, God’s timing deserves a mic drop, again.
“There is an adventurous 19 year old girl inside of me that really just wants to come out and play. There is also a 45 year old wounded but wise grown up in me who speaks a tiny bit louder that that frivolous 19 year old girl. There is always that “good girl” mentality deep in my heart, even when I am trying to drown her out. Honestly, she’s a little ‘over-concerned’ with image. The thing is, they’ve all been struggling and arguing and have finally decided that they can meet in the middle and explore life. I wonder what this is going to look like?”
A year later…what does it look like? Here’s what I’ve come to learn in the past year about Sarah, the woman. She delights in being playful, yet she craves deep connection and reverent solitude too. She still has wounds, old and new. The martini glass looking patch over the hole in her heart is something that makes her acutely familiar with the healing process. She knows that sealing some old wounds with healthy protection is the best way to heal. She sometimes forgets that this is a very rare situation, because generally, the best path to healing is to stay open, yielding and aware rather than placing a seal over a wound. Besides, although she can’t see that martini glass patch without special examination, she still knows it is there. She is strong, and she is fragile.
She has pieces of every experience of every age inside of her…from birth to right now, a 46 year old woman. She is a mosaic. She spends a good amount of time trying to figure out how all of those pieces fit together to create the masterpiece God made her to be. (This would suggest she still has trouble believing that she already is God’s masterpiece). She still goes to that good girl mentality in an instant, especially when she is afraid she has hurt another. She finds herself slowly transitioning more to who she was made to be and in the midst of that, she fights to separate from living as some other human created her to be. This is one of the most difficult things she has ever done, for in separating, she could be a wound inflictor. In her heart, she struggles to believe that she can’t hurt the dead. She only enjoys joyful magic these days, not black magic thinking…which is exactly what that is. When she deals with this, an image of a five year old blond girl, feeling ashamed of what she did to offend (but not sure what that was) pops into her heart. It’s such a helpless feeling that overcomes her. So, she is likely to try and please even those who are not worthy of her heart. Danger zone.
She is emotionally aware of others, sometimes too much so. She still idealizes, sometimes seeing what she wants to see rather than what is reality. Then, when she is disappointed, it’s because she trusts she will never be good enough to have the deepest desires of her heart. She is learning that life really does begin out of her comfort zone and that she firmly resists anyone who tries to put her in a box. That’s a funny thing to figure out when she still wants to please. Anais Nin once said, “I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.” Heart affirmation.
She is building her prayer life and learning to trust God fully with her heart. This is a process in every way. She often asks herself how she will trust the right man with her heart if she won’t trust God with her heart. She doesn’t know the answer; she does recognize the significance of this question. Her prayers are very different, her tears flow freely and her laughter is genuine and without apology. Seeking God’s heart and strengthening her faith are constant forgings; and part of this is searching deeply for her own grown-up understanding of God and the Bible. She has come a long way from believing that God was a big guy in the sky waiting to strike her down for any minor offense, with a long way to go still. She is learning to seek Him as Father and friend. She has many people who have come into her lives with polar opposite thoughts on God. She listens, she prays, and she seeks intimacy with Him above anyone’s opinion. The conversations grow her, and hopefully grows them but in the end, she knows she wants to honor what is between she and God above all else.
She is raising her kiddos and absorbing hard truths. As caller number two pointed out, those kiddos are pretty much raised and she can’t go back and change what she may have broken. She can only do better with what she knows. She loves them fiercely and wants to be enough, and she often feels insufficient to do this job without their father in the house. This is tough. She enjoys (usually) dating and is wary of how any man would impact the lives of her children. She also knows that coming from a beautifully blended family that the good possibilities are beyond her imagination, she reminds herself that her fairytale dream is not going to happen, ever. She wonders how she can reframe her fairytale. Speaking of dating, she investigates her gravitations in this area with fierce curiosity. She notices that if there were a scale with a man on each end and one in the middle, she drifts toward the middle.
Man on the left talks about men who are Godly leaders are but doesn’t live that way, the only place he is giving is in bed, is manipulative, super smart in a ‘take note of everything so I can use it against her’ way, selfish, temperamental, impulsive, bad boy imaged, gas lights, lashes out, lies, is not faithful, treats her less than and is still yummy smelling and gives great kisses and hugs. She knows he is not good for her in any way, but this tells herself this must be how love really is. After all, it is volatile just like her grandparents were. There’s no inbetween, its either on or off but she holds all the power to heal him, to heal them. This makes her feel validated and important. She has someone or something to save. She is someone else with this man. She is wild and passionate in the beginning and then she is broken.
The man in the middle….he smells fabulous, usually hot, gives great kisses and hugs, sweet, gentle, kind of smart but not really a deep conversationalist, wants to be pursued, drops bread crumbs but just not ready or not wanting to be with her…does want her as a back up just in case. Whew! She wants him badly, he is likely not going to happen but she spends way too much time fawning over him and feeling a false sense of relief every time he calls or texts. She knows he is unavailable, either emotionally, spiritually or in some manner and she chooses to believe that he is ‘good enough’ because she never will be fully worthy of man on the right. This man gets her very best, she pulls out all the stops to keep him engaged. She works harder for his attention than he ever will for hers.
Man on the right is strikingly handsome to her, good, kind, tender, wise, compassionate, loving, funny, Godly. smells delicious, gives great hugs and kisses and wants her best; even above his own. He is intelligent, witty, and has big hands that are gentle. He is trustworthy, holds her heart in his hands with care and has eyes only for her. Their souls know each other, he is beyond what she has dreamed. He might even be special enough to meet her family, friends and fur babies. She considers him fondly and worries that he is too good to be real. All at once, she is afraid and she is intrigued. She is cautious and inquisitive about the extraordinary pull she feels toward him. She does not know how to recieve or whether to trust his kindness, so with every fiber of her being she focuses on the present moment and not on the what if’s. A new kind of hard.
In each of these scenarios, she is torn. She doesn’t know who to trust and ultimately, it’s herself that she doesn’t trust. She knows. She is working hard to trust. She is trying hard to own her story while believing that she is worthy of the best God could bring. She likes to refer to the hard things in life being much like a bear hunt, “can’t go over it, can’t go under it…guess you gotta go through it.” She has a beautiful imagination and in her relationships can use this to create unreal scenarios or to destroy something before it happens. She has a protective reason for this. Control prevents chaos and for someone who grew up with emotional chaos, creating safety in this manner is the logical, albeit not always healthy, thing to do.
She is definitely work in progress, in every area. This is okay. She shares openly many of her thoughts, but there are still many secrets inside of her. They aren’t intentional secrets, but precious things that she doesn’t want to give away to the world for their dissection and judgement. Some things are meant to be precious gifts from God in her own heart. She doesn’t want to risk those things being torn apart because they are part of what pieces her together.
There she is…one year later. Lots of life to live, tons of growing to do and more contentment than she remembers feeling in forever.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” – Psalm 34:4-6