Just about everything I thought I knew has been shaken.
Looking past the exterior to see him.
It happened again. I allowed my emotions to get the best of me. Although I’d promised myself that I would be more understanding, patient, and objective this time around, I failed. My expectations were set extremely high, so it was easy for him to disappoint.
These thoughts raced through my mind as I replayed all that’s taken place between him and me. Although this is an all-too familiar scenario, I pride myself on the fact that I’ve become faster at recognizing the signs and taking steps to rectify the situation.
In the past, I didn’t pay too much attention to him and his feelings. Selfishly, I was more concerned about my own feelings and all the areas where he fell short. Now, at 30+, I’ve matured and fully recognize that he is not the tough Adonis fairy tales make him out to be. No, he is tender and fragile. He is insecure and feels the pressure when he cannot provide for himself or those he loves. He questions whether he truly makes me happy. He fears losing me.
There are many other attributes I can add to the list, but I think the point is crystal clear. Men are not emotionless creatures. Although they aren’t as expressive as many of us women are, they have feelings, too. They withdraw when we yell and bicker. They retreat when we question their manhood. They cower when we express our doubts about their abilities to succeed.
If I’m honest, I probably didn’t start allowing myself to see these things about men until I was across the country living and working without friends or family nearby. At the time, the relationship seemed like it was good. However, things quickly took a turn as his true colors began to show. Fellow navigator, abuse comes in many forms. I knew it was unhealthy when the light that shined so brightly within me reduced to a tiny flickering flame ready to go out. I thank God for His unfailing love and the prayer warriors He placed in my path until that time. What seemed like the end of me miraculously transformed into a world of possibilities. I thought I’d reached the end of my rope, but God had other plans.
Selfishly, I was more concerned about my own feelings and all the areas where he fell short.— Ethleen Sawyerr
Why did I go on that seemingly random tangent? It’s to simply show that I found myself in a place where I could honestly say that I questioned men and their intentions. As a result, I guarded my heart tightly and vowed to keep potential suitors at a distance for years. That is, until one man entered the picture. He was kind, charming, and genuinely interested in knowing me. We spoke for hours about everything under the sun, yet it seemed like there was always something more to learn.
We had a special bond that I cherished dearly, but we were only friends. In fact, neither of us dared to approach the topic of asking whether we could be more. That was fine by me because a genuine friendship was about all I could handle in the beginning. However, in the midst of learning more about each other, feelings began to develop. Miscommunication happened often as we navigated our friendship, but we always seemed to get right back on track.
The situation referenced when the post began surrounded our biggest argument. This was the one where things could have ended for good. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t care so much about what went down with any man because the walls around my heart would just go back up. But, for some strange reason, this time was different. I was different.
There was something about him that made me want to fight. I couldn’t figure it out, and I couldn’t let him go. He was not the wealthiest, funniest, or most intelligent man I had ever encountered in life. But, regardless of these things, he genuinely cared about my well-being, was hardworking, and made time for me. There was just one thing: he was not mine. Well, he was just a friend.
Friends. That’s what we agreed we were. Of course, the depth of the relationship went beyond the surface. We’d gotten past talking about our favorite meals, hobbies, and future goals. This was new territory because the feelings were strong, but I was initially unwilling to take the risk and deep dive into a relationship.
Fellow navigator, have you ever been in this type of situation? Think back to the moment you realized you actually could spend forever with that one man. What brought you to that point? Did you allow past hurts to keep you from new possibilities? Tell me about it!