To Be or Not to Be. Is that the dating question? I think so when you have just left a relationship. Likely, whether you felt like you won or lost, you choose to leave or they sadly dumped you, or maybe it was mutual; in any case, you are in a vulnerable state. The risk many experts and perceptive daters acknowledge is that if you date too soon, then you will find yourself unhappily enmeshed with someone. Someone that brings out many of the old problems the last one had.
My rule of thumb is it takes at least two years to find yourself and the reasons why you have some destructive relationship patterns. In addition, casual dating can pull you into a relationship too quickly that is wrong for you. If you are younger and that sounds like a crazy amount of time, maybe you can work on your issues in a group. In addition to some individual counseling and within year one be ready to date again successfully. (Warning if you are a sex addict, some sex addiction groups are co-ed or otherwise, and one can find another member willing to sneak behind the curtain right after class, or during, for some naughty-naughty). Begin with individual counseling if you are a sex addict, then move to a group with the least tempting types for you.
You know that after my terrible second marriage broke after five years, I did not seriously date for nearly seven years. Then again, I was living in North Dakota where the women would find Bear Grylls (the famed British TV Adventurer) more like Little Lord Fauntleroy. No doubt, though this independence allowed me to find myself and publish my first novel.
Now, we have reached the heart of the matter, On Being. Here I am not concerned with your particular issues. Rather who are you? In addition, now I will give you my secret for keeping love: Knowing why “Your Partner Needs You”. It is a great power. If you meet that need consistently without betrayal there are not many reasons to lose that person.
Yet honestly who are you? What do you considered a real love match? So many say seek the “One”, find the Challenge that always is challenging, and Dear God do not Settle. This kinda goes against a portion of my advice. One does need to grow and mutually agreed challenges, both individually and together, are the spark. Yes, do not settle for something fake, something that will fail, and someone you do not love. Of course, lastly, in all truth, in all manner of universes and wise discernments of existences, there is no “One”. There are many “Ones” that would work equally well for a number of reasons. That should that make you happier. There is no invisible force making you search for the single needle in the global haystack. No Internet Search Engines in the world could help you with that. You are imprisoned when are seeking the “One”. Your cellblock is some childish fantasy or consumer delusion. Sorry about that.
Yet who are you? It has been a year and you found out a few more things about yourself. You already knew some of them. Perhaps you are 35 years of age, and you know you will never reach the middle of the corporate ladder, much less the top. That is okay. You make a decent wage at a job that makes you and your ma and pa proud. No amount of wizardry or career rocketry will precisely change that, though there is hope for creative acts and financial raises along the way. You never really could go to church. You just cannot stand that routine, though you do not hate God, or are unsure of him, either is fine. Your love handles will last longer than Methuselah. No big deal. You learned some susceptibilities in therapy too over the last year or two. Those self-help books spoke to you. Two things can wreck your train at this point.
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The first is you meet an Alpha Chick who thinks Ronda Rousey (the pernicious Mix Martial Arts female fighter) is a chump. This woman has some recent proximity (as if by magic… as if) to you on a regular basis, say through a work arrangement. She holds the cards though and at least fifteen years younger she is firmly five rungs up the business ladder. She laughs at a couple of your jokes. Hope Springs Eternal. She also tells you about her extreme devotion to her church community, three times a week, twice after work for two to three hours (hours when you are dead tired) and on Sunday for a full seven hours. No football watching for you, American or European style. It is still a dream in your mind. Yet you cannot get over comparing your love handles to her sculpted body from a 6-day a week workout schedule. Yes even after church she hits the gym. She is nice and never made fun of you, but be fair to yourself. She is a professional not a witch. You could spend a year fantasying about this person without making progress with matches that are more realistic. Worse, you could ask her out after two weeks and face an awkward work situation. Compatibility is the signal that you are near one of your “Ones”. You, the fictional person I made up, are not compatible with this other fictional person, equally made up. Though this can be one of the common mismatched dynamics there are at least a couple dozen out there. Often the universe will send you this sort of trick just when you think you are ready to put on your dancing shoes again.
If you had been spending your time wisely, learning about yourself. Seeing aspects concerning relations discerned from the therapy sessions. Ones that pointed out your emotional triggers. These things setting off your sex and mating alarms to full blast. These are the ones conditioned in yourself from trauma or bad life lessons. They fool you when you encounter a toxic person, or awful mismatch, who has conditioned responses clicking with yours on some or many levels. Perhaps they are a trauma survivor looking for a nice person. Maybe they are someone betrayed in love and quickly looking for another to conquer and then hurt to displace the pain. Someone who has the same vulnerabilities, bias, and rages as you do and has not worked on them. Alternatively, someone who does want to settle because they falsely think you have what they need. None of these is for you or you for them.
Is this sounding like Love Fascism? Where is the freedom and liberty for all to attain their happiness? (However, your democratic country has sold you their version of that motto). Sorry bout’ that if so. The “One” you need really likes your jokes and scores you an 8 or even 10 on the humor scale all the time. This in turn makes them rate your halitosis as merely a negative one. They get your funky style. Both your parents shared some important similarities. They have worked on themselves. They will not accept toxicity in relationship. That is their version of no compromising. They feel an instinctive trust and safety with you. You share interests. Exercise, health, community activities, money expectations, levels of nurturing, how chores feel evenly divided – these are your scales my friend on your way to Being. The test of time is the only proof in love. The acceptance of self and other is what makes a love match continue. Yet, it has to be the real selves. You know why they need you and you can keep drawing from The Never Ending Well of You, to resupply them. There will be plenty of challenges keeping your souls replenished. For instance, the search for worthy self-help books that do not make the skin curl in embarrassment for the naivety or cunning of the writer.