Disclaimer: Reader beware, this is just an opinion piece from my personal experiences. I am not a professional, any advice or opinion is solely my own and not meant to be a direction to anyone who may be having the same problem/experiences. My purpose in doing this is to 1. Vent, 2. Maybe even inspire discussion, 3. See if the response could encourage a future blog, or who knows? See if I can capture people’s interest as a writer, 4.To gain personal perspective by thinking and writing it out, 5. Maybe have someone think about things in their own lives from these happenings, and 6. Have I mentioned to vent?
Names have been omitted of persons referenced in this piece out of respect. Though a bit miffed and irritated at the time, I hold no ill will toward anyone.
My apologies to hockey fans for this injection of humour into my piece.. But has anyone ever seen that joke picture of the skeleton in the Maple Leafs jersey sitting in a chair with the sign that says “Maple Leafs fan waiting to win the cup”? Dress that skeleton in some boots, tight jeans, and a pretty top, and you got me “waiting for prince charming”.
A whole, entire decade of dating/relationships, “the excitement!” you must think…”She must’ve met some really cool people” more of you may think… “Oh my God, that would be terrible” others may think.. But you know what? I have met some pretty cool people, I’ve had some great (and not so great experiences), and I’ve come out the other side of it with lessons in learning about myself and also new questions to ask and seek answers to in this crazy thing we call life. I’m still learning, and hey if I start a blog from this first attempt at writing, you can follow my learning 😉
Most people I have spoken to about the challenges I’ve went through in the past ten or so years have all given me the same ballpark of responses: of looking at me in dumbstruck awe, or “I’m glad I don’t have to do the dating thing, I’d have no clue how it works these days”, “I don’t understand”, “better you than me”, or, my personal favourite “you could write a book”… Have I mentioned the majority of my friends that I have spoken to about this are older, married with children, or in a relationship? That’s right, I’m the single girl in my world full of couples (essentially).
So in my talking to people, I’ve heard every dating recommendation out there, and also, because I am who I am (always thirsting for knowledge and an avid reader), I think I’ve read a good portion of the books on the market about “how to attract the one”.
Dating/relationship adage #1.. You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.
Done! Easy enough, right? No! But I learned… I thought I was an alright enough person; I liked me, I was good to those around me and always treated people how I wanted to be treated. Surely this should equate to loving one’s self, right? No…
Loving yourself is allowing others to treat you as you should be treated. I learned this lesson the hard way, and got to build up my self esteem and sense of self worth in the process after having what I thought I did have torn down.
Cusping on my 20s, I was with a man who all but worshiped me when we met. Dates, compliments, looks, talent, humour; he was what a young woman would’ve thought was the whole package as first impressions go..Then slowly things changed, even so simply as starting to always be late when we had plans. Then it progressed to the phrases that provided him the reassurances that I guess he needed; “we’re meant to be together”, a nice sweet sounding statement turned into, “you know, I’m the only one that would have you”. Little by little, with missed dates, insults, and demands, the relationship became this unhealthy controlling mess. Next thing I know, arguments and disagreements become physical, and I became one of those women that went work with bruises saying “oh, clumsy me, I fell”. Being younger, I let this go on longer than it should have, until a very dear friend helped me break this pattern and get away. I learned I had to look out for # 1, me! And it was NEVER ok to be put down, controlled, or abused. He didn’t like that much when I came to this realization. But, a restraining order and parental intervention later, I moved on.
Excellent! One bad experience, one lesson learned. I like myself now, I know I shouldn’t be put down or abused. This means I love myself, right? Self love, and grasping your own self worth can have many different aspects to it.. More to it I found out…
In my early 20s, I reconnected with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a few years. He remembered the little things I liked, and little trivial details about me, revealing he always “had a crush on me” throughout the years (much to the chagrin of the ex wife he accumulated in those past few years). We started dating, things went swimmingly. I met his friends and family, they accepted me. I love me, people were starting to see why, and they loved me too! Then he started to get a little odd at times, moody, unsatisfied with “where he was in life”, and even sad. Then he started using drugs to cope and “take the edge off” as he put it to me at times. I couldn’t have that, I loved this person, they needed MY help. I was NEEDED. He didn’t want to help himself though. Diagnosed with clinical depression, he did everything to the opposite of what a doctor suggested. The mood swings he endured started to take aim at me. Yelling, name calling, threats of ending the relationship, and throwing things; surely these were things that someone who loved themselves wouldn’t put up with? I stayed longer. He needed me. Can you guess where this is going? Another lesson in self esteem, another form of low self esteem and lack of self confidence is the need to be needed. Co-dependence is a horrid thing, and it doesn’t only exist on the leaning party. There are some of us who are totally strong and don’t NEED anyone to be complete, but we feel that we need to be needed to be complete (the other side of co-dependence, the “needee” if you will, instead of the “needer”… yes I know these aren’t real terms, but you get my point). Because I wasn’t the “needer” I thought my self esteem was good, but this isn’t the case, it was just another insecurity that I needed someone else to justify my worthiness. I met someone else later on that needed to be needed to, but will touch on that later (it’s a different dynamic when you recognize your former self in someone else).
Challenge number one, overcome! I love me, truly I do. I know my self worth, I know I’m a good person, I am independent, and I have a pretty good idea of what I deserve in a relationship. It took my early 20s, and a divorce to get to this point…. I have my own goals that don’t hinge around having a partner, I appreciate my friends and family and the close bonds/relationships that I do have in my life, and continue to nurture them.
With this out of the way “Mr. Right” should be banging down my door, sweeping me off my feet, and taking me to my “happy ever after”…Right???????
More challenges and life to come………….
But in closing of my first reflection, I’m still smiling and remembering: so far in life, I have a 100% success rate of surviving unpleasant times. Also, I have learned how to be happy with myself, do you know that many still cannot claim that? It may not serve as a victory in the dating/relationship world for me yet, but it’s my own personal victory J
If you’ve made it this far, I wouldn’t mind hearing an opinion on if such a topic is worth blogging about? I am tempted to create a blog on dating, relationships, life, and human behaviour.. Maybe with a little fun thrown in here and there…Let me know what you think!