Lorelle’s Blog Challange: Worst Relationship Mistake
There are so many relationships I look back on, now that I’m married to the most wonderful woman on the face of the earth, and I shake my head and think to myself, “What were you thinking?” Much like the previous sentence, my previous relationships were great attempts to make something into very big meaningful things that really were just small things that happened to be in my life at that time. I guess I should preference the rest of this post by saying that I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. So as I look back on my past relationships I tend to see all the things I learned about myself, and I chuckle. This post could very easily become a remake of “40 lines for 40 women,” but I will spare my readers that very bad idea (besides, that’s copywrited material and the RIAA might come after me for it).
I’m a young man of less than 30 ( at least for the next year and 1 month) so almost all of my very bad relationship mistakes were made in my latter High School days and early College days. You see, the mistake that I kept making over and over was that I thought I had to be in a relationship to be complete. Unless I was with someone, anyone, I knew that I was OK. Wrap this up in a blanket I like to all “Knight in Shining Armor Syndrome” and you get a very interesting mix. In order to be OK I had to be with a girl who needed me, who I could rescue from [insert lame thing here]. I dated a girl long distance because she needed someone who she could talk to outside of her small town life. I dated a girl who’s Mom had suffered burns to 70% of her body in a gas explosion that resulted from the Northridge Earth Quake (I live in California, the ground shakes). I dated a girl who had just moved to my High School and knew no one at all. And, I think the biggest mistake of all, I dated a girl who’s father enjoyed talking to me about philosophy even though he was a very resolute atheist and I was a biblical studies undergrad. I was not until I spent a few years on my own, being very bitter that I was able to connect the dots for myself.
The funny thing was that in order to realize that I had to be comfortable with who I was on my own, I had to be on my own for a few years. I did not date for a while, and spent a lot of time pining after the girl that I thought I was going to marry but ended up leaving alone in a Starbucks after she told me that she did not think I was marriage material (Maybe I’ll actually post that one in a blog entry). As you can imagine, that kind of a bursting of one’s bubble can be a really kick in the groin to one’s view on life in general. So I spent the next year trying to figure out what I had failed to do, because there had to be something that I had done wrong that convinced her I was not marriage material. I had a good job, I was dependable, and we like so many of the same things. She completed me in a way I could not complete myself.
And once I saw those words on a page I had written in a journal, the pen I was writing with stopped and I stared at those words for a good long while.
My wife is the most important thing in my life and there is nothing I would not do for her. But I did have a life before I met my wife. I did have a life before I started dating my wife. I do not need my wife in order to have a life. Now, I will be the first to admit that my life is so much better, more fulfilled, and happier, with my wife in it. Yet, while my wife does complete me in a way that nothing else in this world can, I am a person who can function on my own. We have different interests, different friends and different ways of showing each other love. And we celebrate our differences! Before I realized that I do not need anyone to complete me, I was always trying to be what I thought the person I was in relationship with needed me to be. Now, I know that my wife needs me to be me.
And that took a while to get used to as we were dating. I mean, I would try to be this thing I was not and she would call me on it. I was so worked up at times, trying read between the lines of everything she said, looking for the hidden code to clue me in on how I was supposed to be her Knight, her helper. With a lot of loving care, and few hits over the head with a 2×4, I finally realized that she loved me for who I was, not who I thought she wanted me to be.
So…all of that to come to the real mistake that I made in almost every relationship I had before I met my wife: I thought I had to be something when all I needed to be was myself.
Kind of deep hu?