Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Learning from the past

What was your last major relationship like? How did it end?

To make things interesting, I've decided not to answer the questions in chronological order but just as it comes. Some are very easy, requiring a simple yes/no. I've been pondering on whether I'm going to put up the answers to all twenty questions, if I do it will be a significant breakthrough but today I'm going to talk about the lessons I have learnt from the past.

Hmm, I'm 'unique' in a way that my last major relationship was my only other relationship whether major or minor! Unique because I'm in my late twenties and even my twenty one year old sister has had more boyfriends than I have! There are quite a number of reasons why things happened that way and maybe I will share these in a future post, I've always wanted to write a post titled 'Why I am still single'! Lol! One of these was that from an early age, I had a strong conviction that relationships were designed to ultimately end in marriage, so there was no point having a boyfriend just for the sake of it but the relationship should have a purpose and as I was not ready to get married, I just didn't put myself out there.

I met AN through a mutual friend, though I didn't know it was a set up at the time. Strangely enough, I had recently turned down the friend who was doing the setting up so I thought it was quite interesting that he was fixing me up with a friend of his. I should have known something was up as he was so insistent on his 'friend' dropping me home after an outing but I can be simple like that, anyway we met and had a very interesting conversation. That was a good thing about the relationship, we were on the same page on quite a number of issues. We talked about God and faith, finance and a host of things, honestly it had been a while that I had been able to connect intellectually on that level with someone for a long time, I had my longest phone conversations with AN, talking all night about everything and nothing. I even shared my list (prayer points for husband to be) with him which was a first. I was attracted to his sense of purpose and vision, his relationship with God and his commitment to his church, he was a deacon in his church and I must say this made me really relax because I'd always prayed that my husband would be more spiritually mature than me. After most conversations, we would pray, that was a first for me!

So what happened, if he was all that and a bag of chips, why and how did it end? I would love to say he did this or he did that e.t.c. but the truth is that it takes two people to tango. Relationships start with two people and end with two people. One of the things I learnt about myself in that relationship was that under my 'nice' and 'beautiful' persona was a very stubborn girl. Now, not all stubbornness is bad but sometimes in life, we need to choose our battles carefully for we may win the battle and lose the war. I know God is working in my life and making me a more mature woman today than I was then. I felt that I wasn't good enough as myself, that he had this image of what a pastor's wife should be and while I did have some of the qualities, he was determined to mold me into that image. Now while I am very conservative, I do not like to be bound to tradition, I don't do things because it's the way it's always been done, I do it because it's the most effective way. I felt we were rushing a lot, also I was uncomfortable with the pace the physical aspects of the relationship was progressing without any corresponding depth emotionally or spiritually. I thought it would be easy as a church leader to get him to understand the reason for some of my boundaries but he felt I was being too difficult and selfish.

We began to argue about everything, we both come from large families, he said he would like to have five children, I said two. Not a big deal yeah, but it was at least to him. I've never seen myself having more than two biological children but I never knew it could raise so many issues. Then the rush, rush, rush, he wanted to get married within a year of our meeting but something in me wanted to still take things slower and get to know him better. I had no peace about the relationship, we saw each other but we weren't really a part of each other's lives, I never met his friends, he never met mine, our outings were usually one on one. I think it's important to see how your nearest and dearest interact with your nearest and dearest if you get what I mean. Love is a beautiful thing but can also make you near-sighted, your friends and family can usually see what you cannot and while they love you, they are not in love and if they are true they will tell you the truth.

After some time of prayer, I had a conversation with him and explained that I felt rushed, I didn't feel our relationship had got to the point where we should be planning a wedding and could we slow down and be friends (at least that's what I meant) but his response was that if we weren't dating there was no point having a relationship as in being friends, he wasn't looking for a 'friend' and that was it. I will confess, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when it was all over because I was beginning to feel trapped. I did send the occasional text on his birthday and Father's day (i send a text to all my male friends, single or married because they are all either dad's or prospective dads) but don't anymore. I guess if he was writing this post he would be able to give a more balanced picture but it ended because I think we were both different in some areas where we should be similar. There are some conversations you should have before even thinking about how your name sounds with his surname! We even had an argument about grandparents having pet names for the grandchildren, to me no big deal, to him, he names his children and that's that. It's not the end of the world but you should know what the deal is before you say I do.

So while he was kind and could be really tender, he wrote me some touching texts, I now know he wasn't for me, at least not the me I was then. Maybe still not the me I am now. I don't know, in relationships, flexibility is required, it can't always be my way or the high way because one day your partner will hit the road and Jack won't come back no more because Delilah has made life very comfortable for him. I know I grew from this relationship, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I know this because the issues I had with AN didn't even reach 1/100000 of what I and Mr O have seen and had and yet I am still here. Mr O always says for better, for worse. I tell him that's when you take the vows but he says no, it's from now.

I don't believe in kissing many frogs until you find your prince, your lips just end up froggy but taking your time, making the most of opportunities and really assessing because sometimes there is a prince/princess in a frog and it takes you to bring him/her out. Relationships are hard work, not for the immature at all. We've all made mistakes, done things we aren't proud of but learn from them, grow from them and keep moving. Opposites attract but never underestimate the power of being on the same page on fundamental issues. Will tackle some of the yes/no questions in next post.

Till later,



Anonymous said...

its important to learn from the past, no one likes negative experiences but when we learn what we can from it, it makes those experiences work for us.

Good u updated

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! Keep up the good work. Singles like me need honest and 'real' people to educate us. Please dont stop(even after the wedding). Take very good care of yourself and good luck with everything.

Favoured Girl said...

Interesting stuff. I like how you said you learnt a lot about yourself from that relationship, that's very good. Some people just drift from one relationship to another, without learning anything new about themselves. It's a good thing you knew to leave when you didn't have peace over the smallest things.