Karen suggested that I should blog about dating. Because she knows. I’ve been leaning on her a lot lately. But I’m not writing this for her. I’m writing for me. 🙂
You know, I completely understand why people stick around in shitty relationships. Why it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to stay in love with him, even though he’s sleeping around. Why it doesn’t seem so terrible that she’s controlling. Why you might stay with him even though he hit your kid. Why one E.R. visit never seems quite as bad as everyone else makes it out to be. Why she went back to him after he choked her and slit her throat.
When I was volunteering with Victim Services, the constant thing was this question of why victims stay in shitty and abusive relationships, but I totally understand it.
I dated someone this summer. Yeah, we’re not even halfway through with the summer, but I’d like to file this relationship away as if it’s a summer romance that happened a long time ago.
My Person works with the blind. Has a kid. Is stable in life. Smart. Funny. Recently rescued a puppy.
I liked that I beat My Person at Scrabble by about 200 points every time we played. I liked that we texted throughout the day. That we held hands all the time. Lounged on the couch together while watching tv.
I liked the relationship-y things that we did.
I felt like in this particular relationship, I was making a good choice. I haven’t really had a relationship before. Most of you know that. I’ve dated a lot, but haven’t really done the long-term thing.
So I decided I need to give it a try.
And you know, My Person seemed like a pretty decent one to try with… right up until My Person broke up with me because I wasn’t ready for an overnight in Phoenix.
I know, right?
It blew my mind, because that’s the sort of thing that only happens on 90s television. 90s tv was always trying to help us be better people. Teaching us not to do drugs. Not to have an eating disorder. Not to date anyone who would pressure us to have sex.
I miss 90s tv.
My Person discarded me because I didn’t provide a pleasure My Person felt entitled to have.
When I was initially invited to go to Phoenix, it was to the tune of, “No pressure… open invitation.”
Then, when I said no, it was a week of not-so-subtle hinting and teasing and even some outright pressuring me to go.
Then, when it became clear I really meant no, My Person broke up with me. Over text.
Then texted me the next day to apologize.
Then texted me the day after that to see if I would like to get coffee to talk and to see if we can still be friends.
I get that we were only together for a month…
But it meant something to me…
People so often act nonchalant about stuff like this… like it’s no big deal and we should all be able to emotionally handle the one-month breakup oh-so-very easily.
Just for the record, it’s not easy.
It’s never easy to deal with someone discarding you.
That’s why rejection in dating feels so terrible.
Even if I ignore all of the hopes and plans for the future that never came to fruition… that day I requested off of work, because we were going to spend it together… the plans to see this or that movie, do this or that activity together…
All of those things have to be grieved, but even if I ignore everything else that hurts in breakups… there’s still, always, that terrible, terrible truth that someone else shat all over my identity.
Sure, sometimes breakups are logistics or geography… timing or incompatibility… but mostly they are a commentary on the person being dumped.
Not worth the effort unless there’s sex.
That was the commentary on Kate.
And you know what is the craziest thing ever?
I want My Person back.
Not really… but sometimes, in the stupid part of my heart that wants to go back and re-have what we had.
I’ve watched most of the women in my life stay in shitty relationships. I’ve also watched a complete stranger want to go back to him after he shot her son, choked her, beat the hell out of her, slit her throat, and cut off the tips of her fingers.
Because there is something about the way a romance impacts identity… validates identity… destroys identity… builds up… magnifies… reveals… reflects… identity.
That’s why DV victims can’t leave him. Identity.
I was proud of the choices I made in my summer fling with My Person. I did a truly spectacular job setting boundaries and paying attention to what was really going on in the relationship and why.
On day one, I was aware enough to suspect that My Person wasn’t used to hearing no. I was careful. Payed attention.
I also had a lot of fun. I allowed myself to really try. To be vulnerable. To hope. To have secrets within and about this relationship. To kiss.
Prior to this relationship, it had been more than ten years since I’d kissed anyone.
This is totally a side-beef that I have, but not kissing is one of those things that I think married people don’t get. They can’t. Some of them probably don’t have a ton of sex, but it’s impossible to explain to a married Christian how painful it is to try to “kiss dating goodbye” Joshua Harris style. And, okay, not all Christians do the no kissing thing, and I honestly wasn’t even trying not to kiss… but the Christian dating world is a bleak, bleak place. There was nobody I even wanted to kiss, nor would they have been on-board for a kis on or before the one-month mark.
And yes, I admit it, My Person is not a Christian. Had my person been a Christian, we would have talked a lot about marriage and baby-making and predestination… but we definitely wouldn’t have kissed.
Side-beef rant ended.
Yes, the correct question right now is how all of this fits into my faith. I don’t have a good answer for you. My beliefs about Who God is and how to read the Bible and what God expects from me have changed a lot. However, I’m not having a crisis of faith. As has been my habit since I was 17, God and I talk nearly every day. I read my Bible. Journal. Listen. Ask Him questions. He’s teaching me things… but I haven’t got it figured out just yet.
I will say I think I’ve learned that it takes a remarkable sense of self-worth to do the relationship thing well. Were I the type of girl who doesn’t see any value in herself, I would have gone to Phoenix and I would still be with My Person.
I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to consider others more important than myself. That’s what Jesus would do, right? That’s what the Bible legit tells us we should be doing… Phillippians 2:3. And you can qualify that ish all you want with talk about appropriate boundaries or how Paul was only telling us to be that way within the church… but Paul didn’t qualify it that way, nor do I think he meant us to only take on a humble posture like that with other Christians. And had I considered My Person more important than myself, it would have been disastrous.
On that note… I have a date with a New Person this weekend. New Person seems nice. Is interested in theology. Doesn’t drink. Doesn’t like texting. The rest will have to be discovered over time. Here’s to hoping New Person and I do better than a 90s tv breakup… over text message (which I understand didn’t exist in the 90s).