Originally Written April 2, 2018
One of the things I did and found so rewarding was to start praying for this guy. I have never really done that with a relationship, but in fairness I wasn’t a committed Christian until the last few years. In the interm when this guy wasn’t really talking to me, I was praying for him. The day he contacted me again I was actually crying in prayer over him about the time he messaged me. I saw this as a sign. In reality I think it was God shaking His head and realizing I was going to have to learn the hard way to stay away from things He was trying to keep me away from. I realized this guy had been hurt before and I made a promise to God if He would let us have another go at this, I would do better. See I honestly believed I had been “too hard” on this guy before when he wouldn’t answer me about anything or let me get to know him. I promised God I would show him unconditional love. Despite how this ended for me, I highly recommend praying for whoever you are dating or for God to lead you to who you are supposed to date; just be sure you are listening to His answer.
Several weeks into this trying to text thing when I would ask him to hang out and he would disappear off the face of the earth and then I would get mad and write him a scathing text and he would reappear and we’d make up, he pulled this line on me: Are you going to keep flipping out on me all the time? Well crap, I wasn’t doing that unconditional love thing very well after all. It wasn’t right the way he was acting; I’m not saying it was. I had committed to accepting that he was going to have some problems and I was going to be understanding through them and put up with them. And I wasn’t. I was torn here. I was asking for some basic respect that he wasn’t giving me, yet was convinced if I could just show unconditional love to him he would do that because he was scared I was going to hurt him more and I had to show him I wasn’t going to. I vowed I wasn’t yelling at this guy again. If I had a problem I was going to very respectfully tell him about it without flipping out.
And I successfully managed to do this. Those tough Fridays of ghosting, zombieing, and bread-crumbing, I wrote things like ok I am going to back off because I don’t want to nag and you’re not answering me, hey not flipping out but it really upsets me when you won’t answer me, or the more blunt one of hey I’m mad you are doing this cause it doesn’t feel great, can we talk. I am generally a hopeless Disney story romance girl so this wasn’t hard or out of character in the least for me, but I made sure I took time to plan sweet things through the week for him. When I knew he was having a bad day or was going to have a busy day I found some meme or sweet thing to send him for encouragement. When he said bad things about himself I was reassuring and wanted to be there for him. When he had something coming up I let him know I was proud of him and that I knew he was going to do a great job. What hurt was he had also described himself as a hopeless romantic, and still does on his dating profile ladies!, but he never did any of these things for me and I was starved for them. When he parroted back that he was proud to know me one day my starved heart grabbed it and held on tight. The biggest let down was Valentine’s Day. I was waiting for that hopeless romantic to send me a card, send me some me some sweet text, or dare I hope he’d even send me flowers? LOL I spent two hours the day before picking out a card for him that didn’t say I love you because we hadn’t said that, that had a penguin on it because he said that was his favorite animal and that was one of the limited pieces of information I had gotten out of him, and writing the perfect message on it. It took me all afternoon to even get him to open it and then he basically said thank you and that was it. Wow that stung, but stupid me, I was off to show him I wasn’t going to hurt him, dismissed it, and marched on.
I’ve tried to brush up on reading about relationships and from a Christian book I read that both people should give 100% but accept the other partner may not be able to give 100% at any given moment. I like that concept. I accepted that he couldn’t give 100% and tried to give 100% regardless. This brings me to the rise of something I’ve seen a lot of; and to be clear I’m not sure it’s a bad thing. I have seen countless guys on dating sites that say they have been hurt and they are hoping there’s a good girl left in the world. Guys have been taught they shouldn’t express their feelings and be hurt. I think that’s unrealistic and I’m glad these guys are admitting they have been hurt…for that matter destroying the myth that men don’t even have feelings. What concerns me is that for both men and women we should be healed from those crummy past relationships before we try to date again. We can learn the lessons and carry them into the next relationship, but we should be past emotional despair before we can move forward. Right after the “break up” with this guy he posted his dating profile that said women don’t really want a good man, PROVE ME WRONG. A relationship can’t be built on proving anyone wrong. I also take issue with the good guy part, but that’s another post. There’s a neat term called triangulation. Basically, in my case, this guy saw himself as a victim because of whatever past he’s dealt with. The new girl is the “Good Guy” and he is looking for them to save him. When they can’t, they become the “Bad Guy” and he discards them in a very painful way because they have hurt him by not saving him. No one is ever going to save you except yourself. And if you haven’t “saved yourself” you shouldn’t be looking at relationships.
So let’s look at what I learned from this. First, I always knew I couldn’t save anyone but I thought unconditional love for someone would help them save themselves. In my religion, we love like Jesus loved. I still want to have that love for anyone in my life. It’s not a bad thing. Everyone deserves unconditional love, but the only one whose unconditional love can help someone save themselves is God and I’m not Him. I shouldn’t have to prove to anyone I’m not a horrible person to get them to want a relationship with me and that’s what I was doing. I played right into the triangulation game. Second, I learned that if someone is struggling that much I need to back away. I might really like them, but they will not be able to like me back in a healthy way while they are dealing with these things. I should only allow myself to “fall” if the other person is an engaged participant in the falling process. Next, and I can’t repeat this enough, don’t get ahead of yourself and invest more of yourself in a relationship before the other person is investing. And last, sometimes people will say things, knowingly or not, that make you feel like you’ve done something wrong. In this case, Are you going to keep flipping out on me all the time made me feel like I was the problem. I wasn’t. The problem was he wasn’t treating me very well and I was trying to get him to respect me. I wish I had evaluated how I was feeling as much as I evaluated how he was feeling because I would have acted differently. A hurt person will probably be more respectful of how they treat someone because they have been hurt. Instead he was giving himself permission to treat me poorly because I had to prove I was worth being treated well. I shouldn’t have to prove that to anyone. It’s ok to have your guard up but to purposefully treat someone badly until they earn being treated well is rather warped. Pay attention to your intuition and your feelings about the situation. Look at them accurately and with an unbiased view to discern what is going on and don’t act until you have an accurate view of what is going on so you don’t give anyone permission to lower your worth.