names have been omitted or changed in this post
Wearing grey lounge pants and a faded navy t-shirt I sat propped against two oversized Ralph Lauren pillows in the four poster king sized bed. The laptop was balanced on my lap over the dove white down comforter and I glanced at the time. Almost one o'clock in the morning. Beside me was a tube of Argan Oil Peppermint scented hand lotion… I was addicted to the scent of peppermint… I overbought peppermint Chapstick during the holidays when they released them especially for Christmas… so I'd have enough to last the whole year. The strong scent of peppermint filled the room and made me more alert at the late hour it was. While others slept I nestled in the cocoon of my bed and typed into the wee hours but it made me happy. My mind traveled to the conversation I'd had earlier that evening with my mother regarding my recent breakup…
"It was not a good match. I could see things… you two were not going to be good long term. You need space to do your own thing… that's one of your biggest things and he wanted all your time… he had nothing else going on. He's fifty… I had suggested you maybe date someone older, yes… but I didn't mean someone who didn't match your energy level. You are a go-getter, you want to get things done… you'd ask him what he did all day and he'd reply he hadn't done anything but hang around the house. He may not have had to work but because he wasn't working he expected every second of your time. That doesn't work for you. He was too needy. You were pushing him further out in your day to get some balance and I knew it was only a matter of time before you snapped at him because then he kept pushing for more." She told me.
I nodded "No, I see all that… I completely agree." I'd told her.
My brain is like a million tabs on a computer open at all times and with ADHD thoughts randomly pop in like movie highlights jockeying for attention and competing... my memory is unreal when it comes to some tiny detail twenty years ago... but ask me what I ate for dinner last night and it's a fog. Mulling over my recent relationship and the issues in it, my thoughts traveled to the night he'd suggested we watch Good Will Hunting. As the movie began playing he asked "What's the name of the girl in this?" I'd glanced at him and spoke "Minnie Driver." It's funny how we correlate certain things with specific people. Jeremy. We saw it when it was released in 1997 and I hadn't watched it since. When the scene played where Minnie Driver's character tries on the different glasses... she's beautiful... she's being goofy and laughing... completely at ease with herself. Jeremy had laughed appreciatively, turned to me sitting on his right and said: "What an awesome woman." She wore a tiara and a glowing rudolph nose. Matt Damon's character looks at her like she's the cutest thing he's ever freaking seen. Then they go get cheeseburgers I think.
I'd winced for years at that memory. His words. I couldn't be that at the time for him. I couldn't be myself. I couldn't share myself. I couldn't open up. I lived in constant fear of being rejected. What if I opened up and he didn't like my past? What if he didn't like what I couldn't change or undo? What if he didn't want to take on my baggage? What if he couldn't love me that much? I felt so much angst and fear. What if he walked away? And in the end what we fear ends up happening. We lose chances when we don't take that risk of putting ourselves out there and surrendering to vulnerability.
1. Free To Be Me With You
If your thing is having your independence and freedom to "do your thing" some folks would say stay single or don't be so selfish. But the thing is it's vital to find someone who also has their own thing going on and "gets it"... hopefully there is a natural flow of each person doing their own thing and then coming together to share in that whether it's exercise, hobbies, etc. (Otherwise one person may end up feeling smothered and the other one jipped). Hopefully there is a partnership that gives space and yet supports one another's goals and dreams. An unhealthy person will never encourage you to follow your goals and dreams... like a caged bird you are kept from flying. Like an accessory to their goals yours will typically be seen as a competition to their ego.
2. Be Confident And Surrender To Vulnerability
Only you know deep down how you feel about someone. Only you know what they tell you in those private moments you have together... those wounds they endured in their childhood and are brave enough to tell you in the darkness of their familiar space. Only you know how you feel when they share the innermost painful things they have dealt with... the affection you have for them, the love that swells inside you for them and how you want to kiss away all their hurts and make it better... how their pain tugs at your heartstrings. You close your eyes and realize looking back you failed. You failed to share how you felt when they were oh so beautifully brave to open up to you... and yet you couldn't do the same for them. Like a thief you withheld. Of all things you kept love hidden away like a sweet but hoarded trinket in your pocket. You held back and didn't tell him that whenever he was walking toward you his smile was the loveliest sight to ever see... comparable to Christmas Day. Live in the moment and speak up... because it's all you may get... it will be over all too soon and your chance will be much too late.
3. Be The Light Not The Darkness
When we truly love someone we want them to be the best they can be... we love who they are in the now of course... but we also see the viability of their dreams and encourage them to go after them. We delight in their passions, their God- given gifts and press them to utilize them. But if you feel like you've become a lesser person of who you were... if you feel squashed, trapped, devoid of passion for life, if you feel like you've become a diminished version of you... or worse if you lay in bed at night wracked with guilt and a torn heart due to this person pulling at you like a puppet on strings toward isolation, misery, pain, manipulation and sin... it's time to reassess. It's time to face the brutal truth; this person may not be good for you... are you merely not making yourself a priority in a healthy relationship or is your partner leading you down a path that is not for your best self or health? If it's the first one it's time to make changes and love yourself while loving them too. If it's the latter it's likely time to cut the cord and move on.
4. Promises Of Love Followed Through
When someone loves you and hears of the pain you've been through (we've all been through pain, loss, grief to some extent) it should affect them; they will want to make you feel loved and for you to never question their love for you. No one is perfect and grace and should be given... but not as excuses for bad behavior. If they try to tell you they would treat you better like in the Shawn Mendes song... if they keep clicking their tongue and shaking their head at what a jerk your ex was yet coupled with promises of how "they will/would treat you better" watch the actions. If they compare themselves to your ex and then screw up in the exact same ways like cheating, leaving you hanging when you need help, making sexist comments, etc, the relationship is taking the same path as before merely with a different person, a different face. They (he or she) may try to spout how "they are different" in a good way... but words are cheap.
5. In A Warning Is A Blessing
If you're being advised that the person you're dating isn't good for you don't fall into that mind-stupid trap of: "Oh, they must be jealous. They are trying to get them for themselves." No. Most people aren't going to go to that much effort and today many people are pretty hesitant to "get involved" even if and when it's truly warranted and they need to. So if someone is telling you the person you're dating is bad news, take heed and believe them. Maybe the red flags continue to pop up that this person is not good for you as you pray for discernment and guidance from God. Regardless, consider these things a blessing and be thankful you narrowly missed something terrible. It's always better for us to stand on our own two feet alone than to be linked arm in arm with someone who is leading us down a path of destruction.
Dare to get the love you want... dare to not rush but wait for nothing less... dare to be bold for Christ and realize you are worth oh so much in His eyes and deserve a love that is a blessing not a blight... dare to ask Him for someone good for you and for you to bless... dare to recognize love and acknowledge you have it... dare to tell he or she you know exactly what you have and dare to love them because tomorrow isn't promised.