Life is change. Growth is optional. ~Anonymous
The value of the early dating period was obviously a time to get to know one another. It also established the rules and expectations of how you treat one another. You learned what the other person would tolerate? And what you were willing to tolerate? Looking back also gives a good barometer of whether or not you stood up for yourself or if you were the one typically calling the shots.
Logically speaking, it makes sense to look at what worked for one relationship and carry it over to the next. Conversely, what did not work, should obviously be eliminated. How many of us have taken the time or the ruthless honesty it would require to determine the pluses and minuses that showed up during a relationship?
Here are a list of questions you might ask yourself: (Again, journal about your answers, and give yourself permission to write more than one or two word answers. Do some deep soul searching.)
- How well did I maintain my own integrity about my personal likes and dislikes? In other words, how many times did I say, “Oh, I don’t care,” when in reality you cared a lot, but you did not want to come across as being demanding?
- On the other hand, how often did you insist on having things your way?
- What were their idiosyncrasies that drove you crazy by the time you separated?
- What were your quirks – the things that drove your partner crazy, not initially, but certainly by the time you separated. Do you think these are legitimate complaints? And if so, are they changeable?
- What did they do that you appreciated most, and what did you do for them?
- What do you wish they had done more of? And what could you have done more o.?
- Finally, what is your love language?
Gary Chapman wrote The 5 Love Language: The Secret to Love That Lasts in which he explains the five key ways that we give and receive expressions of love. All of us have one or two of these that communicate caring more than the others. Here are the 5 basic love languages. Which one speaks to you?
- Attention – This involves quality time together with the other person focusing on you at least part of the time. Perhaps, you enjoy going to a movie together, but you also want to spend part of the evening talking about it.
- Acts of Service – These can be big or small deeds. An older gentleman I knew had a lovely way of expressing his love for his bride of forty+ years. He made sure her car was always full of gas. She never thought about checking the gas tank because he always took care of it. When she was on a trip without him and ran out of gas, they were both devastated. She had no idea how to pump her own gas, and he felt like a failure even though it would have been impossible for him to be there and do it for her.
- Giving Gifts – Gift giving is probably the most widely thought of way to express love, and some people are naturally great gift givers. They thoughtful pick out the perfect item based on taste and interests. If you are a great gift giver, I suspect you are also someone who appreciates the perfect gift.
- Appreciation – This is the person who loves to be appreciated for what they have done or who they are – their talents, their appearance, their own acts of love. Again, someone who is appreciative likely enjoys being appreciated.
- Physical touch – You may immediately think of sex for physical touch, but it also includes hugs, kisses, or simply holding hands. Some people are very responsive to physical touch – both giving and receiving contact with another.
Consider your love language(s) and journal about how much you gave or received in the way that communicates love to you.
Our second date turned into a marathon kissing session, which I have to admit was more about me trying to physically keep up with his ardor than a natural response. I ended up with beard-burn and when I mentioned it in an email, he said “it was surely worth.” To him or to me? Throughout his early emails, every sentence starts with I, and in hindsight I now see an overriding narcissism that I could not see when I was entrenched in the relationship.
Conclusions: Physical touch was much more his love language than mine. His egocentric behavior was one of those things I initially overlooked and then became a huge thorn in my side.
At a gathering in my home with two of my girl friends, we were playing cards and one of them said something negative about dating. To which Rael responded, “I would never ask you for a date.” How insulting, yet I passed it off as “just him.” Later I would come to realize why such an insulting remark actually endeared me to him, rather than repulsed me as it should have.
Conclusion: You may be scratching your head about someone begin attracted to someone who was rude to their friend. His rude behavior was identical to my father’s, but I never felt like my dad loved me. So there you go, a classic case of the daughter marrying her father, which I did.
Lest you think that Rael had no redeeming qualities, he sent a dozen roses in a variety of colors to my house the day after our marathon kissing session. He was generous with his time and with flattery. All of these aspects of him drew me to him. His emails were charming and bordered on infatuation from the very beginning. It was no wonder I fell for him – hook line, and sinker. He was custom made for me – both the negative as well as the positive qualities.
Conclusion: My love language is attention, which I got from Rael – initially at least.
Do some soul searching on what worked and what did not work at the beginning of your relationship. What drew you to him, and what were the things that you eventually came to hate?
I am currently using Too Much Gold to Flush as a Crowdfunding project called Empowerment through Education. The intent of this project is to help women who have sought refuge in domestic abuse shelters. Through it I am creating college funds and supplying copies of Too Much Gold to Flush. You can donate to the General Donation, which will be split among all the shelters in this campaign. Or, if you are interested in donating to a particular shelter, click here and then scroll down the page and choose a shelter. Once you donate, you will be asked if you want a tax receipt. Click here to see all the shelters in this campaign.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
Never dull your shine for someone else. ~Tyra Bank