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Posts Tagged ‘Dating Advice & Tips’

I’ve been emotionally unavailable. I thought I was in a position where I could open up and love a potential life partner, but I wasn’t. I was able to develop deep feelings and perhaps love that person, but I wasn’t able to open up and let go of my defenses. I think I just might be ready now.

I can’t blame the guys I was dating for the relationships not working out – many shouldn’t have worked out! Some were amazing experiences I think I was supposed to have in life. Others were a testament to what I have learned since my divorce about myself … how early experiences shaped my thinking and behaviors; how family dynamics created learned dysfunction; how I created barriers that led to repeated experiences and how I have to take chances in order to live a fulfilling life.

I have the power in my life to create a healthy life with a healthy relationship. The first step is knowing I deserve it! The second step is allowing myself to take chances – emotional chances where I open up and don’t create an invisible safety net. I won’t lose myself in the people I date and I know I can survive if the relationship doesn’t work.

Now I need to make a decision; do I stay in the city I live in now or do I move elsewhere. I can’t open myself up to a relationship before I answer this question. I have a small network of incredible people I call friends and that will be difficult, not impossible, to recreate elsewhere.

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I’m not sure why this thought hit me today, but I am glad it did. I realized that I would tell a friend to move on and end whatever relationship she was in if he/she were experiencing the same “dating woes” I am.

I’m a firm believer that if someone is interested in you they will make the time to see you. Lately, this belief has been over-shadowed by phone calls and text messages. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see someone investing an effort to connect, but there should be a warning bell if that’s all there is. You have to spend time with a person to really get to know them and figure out if you are compatible.

If the person you are getting to know or seeing doesn’t value your time and doesn’t make opportunities to see you, he/she won’t in the future either. The getting-to-know-you phase and honeymoon phases are when people are on their best behaviors, so if your needs are met now they probably never will be.

It’s great to give people the benefit of doubt, but there is a cut-off point where you have to be real with yourself and realize hope is not going to turn into reality.

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This is a brief post where I rant about flakey behavior. I’m not a needy person and I’m not demanding either, but I do think you should treat people with respect and consideration. I get that things happen and “life” can get in the way sometimes. Sometimes plans have to be changed because you just can’t make them. It isn’t a big deal until there’s a strong recurring pattern of not showing up and making excuses.

I used to accept a string of excuses and explain away flakey behavior. (Notice the past tense there?) No more. We all deserve equal consideration. There is no one out there that is so great that their needs always trump everyone else’s.

So, to the self-absorbed, self-important, self-centered or those who are simply unaware, we’re not a match. I don’t want to waste my time waiting when I could be spending it laughing and making great memories with people I care about and who care about me.

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I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself and to remember “the basics”. The basics include believing I am worthy of love and learning to trust in order to love authentically again. I often find myself going through the motions I know are expected of me. It’s an odd thing to question your motive and feelings. After a while you simply become disconnected and numb.

Here are a few reminders I am working on:

  • I am worthy of healthy love. Although not perfect, I have a lot to offer a partner including emotional support, humor and loyalty.
  • I can only guard my heart so much before I miss out on life experiences. I have to take a chance if I want to experience something wonderful
  • Others are responsible for protecting their heart. I will move forward with honesty and sincerity, but it’s up to my potential partner to express their needs and wants.
  • I can only control how I react to situations. I’ve learned you only know so much about a person. If they want to hide something they can and the only way for you to find out it to play private detective. I don’t intend to be with anyone I have to spy on. Honesty is too important to me. I also need to appreciate the small day-to-day joys that occur and leave the non-stop worrying behind.
  • I can allow myself to be sad, but I can’t allow myself to wallow in sadness.
  • Sometimes you just have to proceed with life regardless of if you have any control or not over what happens next.
  • The above are struggles for me – some I struggle with more than others. I sometimes wonder how other people make it look so easy and then I remind myself that they were either taught healthy coping skills or learned those skills themselves. I can learn these skills too, but it takes time and practice. I won’t nail everything out of the gate, but as long as I continue to try, acknowledge when I fall short of my goals and forgive myself when I fall short of my goals, I will be just fine.

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    There’s no right or wrong to a must-have, but I do believe they evolve as you do. I feel that I have grown in many ways and need to clarify a couple of my must haves that I posted last year. For one, I know I want the person I am dating to appreciate and cherish me. I know I am not perfect, but I want my partner to appreciate me for all that I am and all that I am not. Also, my partner must be authentically interested in me; not my potential.

    • Honest with good character
    • Loves to laugh
    • Mature, but enjoys life
    • Follows through on things started
    • Financially responsible
    • Appreciates/cherishes me as-is
    • He must be authentically interested in me
    • Challenges me in supportive way to be the best person I can be

    What I haven’t stated clearly is my list of deal-breakers. I think my deal-breakers are implied by my list of must-haves, but there shouldn’t be any doubt in this area.

    • A current addiction or substance abuse problem
    • Self-centered or selfish approach to life
    • Doesn’t have a passion for travel
    • Unwilling to communicate and share experiences, thoughts and emotions
    • Financially irresponsible
    • Doesn’t follow through on obligations or promises
    • Bad hygiene

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    I’m learning my relationship fears are not fears that most people share with me, so this one comes as no surprise.

    When do you plan a vacation with the person you are dating? Let me rephrase, is it smart to plan a vacation that will cost a couple thousand dollars per person when you aren’t sure about the future of your relationship? I don’t think we will break up tomorrow, but I don’t know about 4 months from now. I’m not that secure in the relationship or with my judgment to know this relationship will last for whatever time period.

    When I think about planning a vacation together, I begin to think of the vacation as an obligation. (I’m terrible with obligations.) My mind creates these crazy scenarios of us breaking up before the vacation, but having to go together because of the money we invested even though we hate each other. There’s also the anxiety of spending a full week or more together 24 hours a day. I enjoy my space. Yes, I get lonely sometimes, but I also enjoy the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want.

    I know I want to be deeply in love someday. I also know at some point I need to let go of my fears and just run with whatever emotions, hopes and dreams I might have. I’m just not there right now and so I keep building my wall.

    My compromise on the vacation issue is to buy vacation insurance. (Feel free to laugh, I am.) Obviously, the man I am dating isn’t thrilled to hear my fears or my compromise, but it works for me.

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    I remain confused. I was going to say conflicted, but confused is more appropriate. Maybe overwhelmed.

    I’ve been dating the same man for almost 6 months now and struggle more and more each day. I don’t struggle because he doesn’t like and I don’t struggle because I don’t like him. It’s the exact opposite. Caring about this man creates a level of vulnerability I am not comfortable with.

    I should step back and say this is the first time I am in a significant relationship with someone who wasn’t a close friend for a while. I did date two other men, at different times, for about eight months or more each, but I knew those relationships weren’t going anywhere. I wasn’t in a place emotionally to get emotionally invested and so I haven’t had to face these challenges before.

    All relationships are tricky for me. I grew up in an unstable household where there was mental illness and substance abuse. Along with the mental illness there was also emotional abuse. I learned early on to control my emotions and especially my expectations so that I wouldn’t get hurt. I learned to ignore my wants and needs because it was easier to ignore them than to deal with a fight. I became a fixer and learning to blend into the background at the same time.

    Now I am finding it hard to express strong wants and take the risk of exposing vulnerability. Emotion and anticipation were weapons wielded against you, so it was best to remain protective or guarded. This is my default coping mechanism. My subconscious works overtime thinking of ways to protect myself in the future that I am not living in the moment and enjoying the current experiences of new relationship.

    I’m trying to change my default coping mechanism, but know it will take baby steps.

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