After watching a dating show tonight and observing the diversity that is the human race, I began to think about what I’d learned from personal relationships, and I thought it was about time that I correlated this data and set about learning my lessons.
Interestingly all these discoveries are tied in some way.
First thing I discovered for myself is that there has to be a balance between the heart and the head. When I fall (hard) in love I tend to let it take me over completely. Screw taking any time to think it through, I’m just mad for it. It’s not because I’m afraid of being alone, it’s just that feeling I crave. Not the attention or affection but that connection with someone on a deep level that really draws me in. Because of this connection I don’t take any time to consider who this man I’m giving my heart to is as a person. I’m one of those “I fall for your potential” types and it’s really got me into trouble.
Also, because of this heart leading the head thing I tend to break values and morals of my own in order to fit this man into my world. For example, and this is a pretty general example, I swore to myself I’d never be with a guy who smoked. Right after my last year at high school I found myself dating someone who not only smoked, but often smoked pot. Just because of that “connection” feeling, and the love I experienced, I thought to myself well he’s not smoking while he’s around me so, what the hell?
Eventually in my other relationships I continued to ignore my own rules and did things that I later regretted. I now know that if you’re going to love hard you’ve gotta keep your head about you and distance yourself if it’s not working, regardless of the feelings.
Secondly, and probably obvious to a lot of you out there but not so much for this gal, is that a romantic relationship should not replace every other relationship in your life. Anna Faris has it right when she says different people in your life should offer different types of support and love to you. Don’t get me wrong, I want my future relationship to hold a man whom I feel is a great, supportive lover to me, but I’ve made the mistake of my significant other taking on every single roll I needed fulfilled; a mistake for both me and for the poor guy.
I suppose I should cut myself a little slack because it is hard to establish and maintain other relationships when anxiety and panic is a part of your life. Romantic relationships have that extra level about them that help your partner overlook that aspect however potential friends do not. So I suppose that’s why I’m going to bar myself from another relationship until I’ve proved to myself I can be social, hold down other sorts of relationships and social excursions.
Thirdly, I used to think I knew what I wanted in a man… that was until my most recent relationship. Preferences can change, but most of all I realise that the more you know yourself, the more you take responsibility for your own happiness and self-care, the more it challenges the relationship you think you want.
I think this comes on the coat tails of co-dependency. I wanted a man to “attach” to me, to feel “lost” without me, for me to be their whole world but when I experienced myself as more than what my mental health was allowing (through the mellow nature of Zoloft) I finally emerged as an independent woman who really wanted to enjoy life. Lo and behold once I did that, once I started putting more priority in myself and what made me happy, I attracted a man far different than the others I had dated… and I really liked it.
The great thing about these independent men is that they fall hard in love too but they respect the need for space and personal identity. The wonderful thing about falling in love from this different perspective was the lack of seriousness. Of course everyone wants an exclusive thing with someone, but I actually didn’t care what happened – I was having fun in the moment and what’s more, my priority was to myself.
This all leads nicely into making sure I’m a whole person, inside and out, before entering into another relationship but I’ll leave that for another time.