It has been longer than I ever intended it to be between posts and for that I apologize. But there are times when life happens and allowing it to interfere with my personal time schedule and goals is something I will not apologize for. Not anymore at least. There was a time when being off schedule caused me anxiety producing stress because I knew I wasn’t living up to another person’s standards. If the house wasn’t clean, the laundry done, the kids showered, etc. there was no way I’d be able to enjoy spending time with my loved ones. My life became a series of task after task trying to keep all the plates in the air (or rather washed and put away) instead of enjoying the people around me, especially my children, because that’s what was expected of me. So when I was freed from the constant reminder of what I wasn’t doing well enough (read: ex-husband) I made myself a vow to stop and leave the dishes in the sink so I could listen to my son tell me his theories on how to hi-breed a person and a bird. (Yes. That was an actual conversation).
I still tend to be task driven because essentially I feel I am most valuable when I’m meeting the needs of others, so the laundry and dishes do still get done. And the kids are showered every night without fail (unless of course its a weekend night, then I may let it slip). But now there is a difference in the motivation behind these tasks and sometimes that’s all the difference needed. Now I do it because it is fulfilling to me and not because I’m trying to prove that I am good enough to meet someone else’s standard. Which means that sometimes allowing the messiness of life is more fulfilling than making sure my house is in order or that my post has been written. So no more apologizing for life’s interruptions!
In the same vein (if you stretch it) is my topic of discussion tonight: Overcoming unrealistic dating expectations.
In my last post I was pretty transparent regarding my fears about dating again. Admittedly some of these fears were the manifestation of my deep rooted insecurities, but the rest of them were based on the personal experiences of those close to me and documented statistics. For instance did you know that 67% of second, and 74% of third marriages end in divorce? And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed people I love jump into another relationship that is no different, and many times worse than, the one they just got out of. THAT was not an option for me.
So how was I going to safeguard myself from entering into another disastrous relationship? That was to become my next personal project. Naturally I made a list! (I can be quite the list maker when the mood strikes.) I included all the qualities I was looking for in a relationship. Here’s an example from an actual journal entry of my qualities wish list:
(Clearly I wanted to get the superficial traits out of the way first)
Good sense of humor/Funny
Attentive to me and my children
Has a good view of marriage
Knows his faults and is actively working on them
Accepting of my faults
Praises my strengths
Loves my children
Doesn’t want anymore children
Willing to admit when he’s wrong
Strong sense of commitment
Doesn’t have unreachable expectations
Debt free/Has financial wisdom
(There were a few qualities on my list I decided to omit at this time, but I will tell you they were all Faith related and my choice to omit them is solely to explore them at a later time.)
So it’s not like I was asking for a lot, right? I didn’t list anything about the car he drove, or the money he made or his ability to dance (Don’t laugh! The dancing ability was actually on my list prior to getting married). I just wanted a real grown up relationship with mutual respect and acceptance. AND I didn’t want to work hard for it. Either it came organically or not at all. With my list in place I couldn’t go wrong! Right?
Not so surprisingly I did not end up with everything on my list. But I got most. Thankfully I learned a long time ago that if we get everything we want we may not get exactly what we need. There are times even as adults we don’t know what is best for us. If I had gotten everything on my list I would have missed out on the love of my life! The love I thought was just made up to sell more movies and books actually does exist! That’s as good, if not better, as finding out Santa is real.
Here are some important qualities I did find in my partner. And don’t worry, my superficial wishes came true as well:
1. Lots of laughter. (He is super funny.)
2. He actually WANTS to be with me, as in spend quality time with me. I don’t have to fight for his attention.
3. He has the ability to have meaningful conversations without it leading to offense or an argument that had nothing to do with said conversation in the first place.
4. He is accepting of who I am and loves me regardless of my faults. And in turn I have acceptance for who he is and love him despite his faults (not that there are many).
5. He also self analyzes and is willing to admit his faults.
6. He has completely accepted my children and has earned their respect and love. They look up to him and he is a mentor to them.
7. He encourages me to follow my dreams and be the best me. There aren’t any unrealistic expectations for me to achieve. I’m already good enough!
I finally got the grown up relationship I always desired. Sometimes I still can’t believe it comes from a man 9 years younger than me. 🙂