Friday, September 12, 2008

Ramblings on Insecurity and Dating

I never knew how insecure I was until I once took a walk outside the mile high steel walls I built around my heart. It was safe inside the walls, or so I thought. The real jeopardy never came from the outside world; it trailed me inside of the walls because it was me. We build these walls sometimes when we get scared or after we’ve been hurt as a defense mechanism to keep the hurtful people away from the core of who we really are. The problem with that concept is that it doesn’t serve any purpose at all. We’re the ones who lead us to painful situations so when we run away to the mile high steel walls I think we’re really trying to run away from our selves.

I know that may not make sense but stay with me for a moment. So, imagine this, you find Mr. or Mrs. Right and it’s just amazing, the chemicals, the laughter, the infatuation, maybe even intimacy…all is well so you dive right in with your heart without looking where you leap. Before too long, when the chemicals fade you wake up and realize that Mr. or Mrs. Right snores or picks their teeth or laughs funny or embarrasses you or is really passive aggressive, insert your own complaint from experience right here. So, we become disillusioned, disappointed and start to come to the conclusion that that someone hurt us. Maybe we feel they’ve deceived us and we cut and run. It’s not a bad thing to cut and run. The bad thing can be what you do next.

Everyone needs to pull away and retreat a bit when pain hits. But, I challenge you to look for your own hand in your own undoing emotionally. Why? Because you can take back control and get through the pain quicker when you’ve moved out of a “poor me” and “victim/victor” mentality. If we choose a partner unworthy of us, the unworthy partner did not hurt us…we hurt us. We allowed behavior that didn’t agree with us and we had our reasons. Maybe we thought being with someone was better than being alone or maybe we have a weird concept of commitment and what people might think of us if we can’t keep a commitment. Maybe we’re hiding from other pain and a relationship serves as a worthy diversion. Maybe your partner’s issues are so strong you can hide out in their illness, disease or mental state so you don’t have to focus on your own pain. Whatever! There are a myriad of psychological reasons that make us stay. But, at some point when we discover the constructive discussions intended to resolve only result in a waste of breath, we may need to let go. Or maybe someone lets us go.

Does it hurt to leave or be left? Absolutely it does! But I’ll tell you, hiding out doesn’t help. So, I was one of those who never trusted anyone. I wanted to but couldn’t. As a result, I never let anyone all the way in. In places in my past, I realize now that I chose partners I couldn’t depend on, or couldn’t trust or were nearly right for me but not quite. When I broke it off I felt cheated and angry. I was down on love and relationships. So, after 3 divorces, I figured it was time to do something different and the next man that I met that had my respect, and believe me I was going to look very critically and close, I would be completely open, totally honest and let him all the way in. So, I met someone who commanded my respect and he still holds that today but I suddenly find my insecurity spiking. It’s hard to be open about who you are, what you think and feel. Dating can sometimes be like the complexities of game theory. It can be magical and wonderful if you play the game, the game of hiding who you are and how you feel until you are discovered. On the flip side, it can be really scary when you’re dealing openly and honestly. I decided that I would not make another man pay for the pain that’s been inflicted upon me or the pain I inflicted upon myself.

So, no game playing…when I do something stupid because of my insecurity, I admit it and I apologize and the man I’m dating may decide that’s just too much for him to deal with. And you know what? If he did, I wouldn’t be angry with him not one bit. Hurt, yes, but that hurt wouldn’t be caused by him, it would be caused by the fact that I wanted to be ready to date but wasn’t. Now, in the mean time while I work this out, I’m doing some pattern analysis on my life trying to discover the true source of my insecurity. I think I’ve found the source, and am now connecting all of the dots. I intend to heal this insecurity and go back to being the same confident persona that I’ve always been. It’s just this time, when I’m done, it will be authentic, no mask…it will be the real me. It will require some patience from my friends and the man I’m currently dating (lucky him huh?) but I will heal this and do my best not to impose it on him unreasonably.

For dating to work, you really have to be in a whole place emotionally speaking. If someone finds you on the edge of healing and they’re too good to pass up, don’t pass them up but do be completely honest and don’t hide behind past pain. If you want to find true love in your dating endeavors, you have to love yourself enough to be completely open and honest about who you are and honest with yourself about who you are spending time with. Are they really what they seem? How do you know? Time, time and time is the only way. Don’t rush, love can wait and in the mean time just be who you really are faults and all. You can’t hide who you really are on the inside…it’ll just bring you pain.

My sincerest hope is that I can learn to stay in a state of self-awareness and that self-awareness may bring me greater understanding of the same issues in the person I’m spending time with now or in the future. It’s that patience and understanding, willingness to be open and honest that creates the trust necessary to want to compromise. These are the things I’ve learned from 3 divorces and countless of other relationships and I’m by no means an expert. I’ve made so many mistakes but this one I discovered and it was a big one for me so I wanted to share it in the hopes it might save someone else from too many years of agony. So, heal yourself. Get back out there and try again and if you can’t be honest with someone, move on. If you can’t be patient and understanding while someone works through something, then move on. Be true to yourself, love yourself and never stop trying to heal and grow from every life lesson a relationship has presented you with.


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