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How I Got Married part 1: The Time I Realized I was an Adrenaline-Dating Junkie

dating marriage truth


Here's one thing that happened:

I was about to turn 31 years old. I lived in a white house in the avenues downstairs from a good friend. I was currently "dating/not-dating" a 37 year-old man with two children. For various reasons, I thought our "dating/not-dating" relationship was going somewhere—that it was worth going somewhere. I knew it wasn't necessarily healthy, but I figured all that would change when x, y, and z occurred. In this case, x, y, and z consisted of him moving into his new house, Christmas happening, New Years, etc. He's divorced, I said. He's got two kids. There's just a lot going on for him.

At this same time, I received a small and curiously lovely birthday present in the mail from a guy who'd taken me out in the summer (shortly after the 37 year-old man with two children broke up with me for the first time). This guy took me out a few times, and we had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I still wanted to be sad about the break-up, and the new guy went back to school far far away.

Anyways, he was still my friend, and he'd sent me a very small, but very kind birthday present.

I had the hideousness to stand in my kitchen and tell my upstairs neighbor about the present, and that while it was beautiful—why did he send it to me? 

I'd just spent ten to fifteen minutes explaining—with rapture—all the glorious reasons why it was worth dating a guy who wasn't telling anyone we were actually going on dates.

My neighbor didn't say anything about the birthday present, or about the dating/not-dating boyfriend situation.

He just said, "You don't like guys who are interested in you do you?"

And, then after a short silence he said, "No, it disgusts you when guys are interested in you."

I immediately protested. No way! That's not true.  
I told myself that he often inappropriately psychoanalyzed people.
I reminded myself that he was not a therapist.

But, his words flipped something in my brain.

They uncovered an ugly truth.

I could remember the last time I'd dated a guy who made it easy for me to date him. But, it was a long time ago.

The truth is that I like challenges. This isn't a negative or a positive quality, but there's a part of me that loves the adrenaline in a challenge—the wondering if something is possible, the absolute stubbornness in the face of impossibility. And, while possibly positive for art projects, humanitarian projects, and life goals—adrenaline is just not a healthy way to build a relationship that leads to stability and perpetuates happiness.

Why was I dating a high-maintenance man who was maybe interested in me, but required heavy sacrifices and emotional carefulness only on my side?

I knew I didn't want that in a marriage.

Why was I actively participating in a relationship that fostered it?

These were all good questions, which I immediately pretended didn't exist.

The 37 year-old forgot my birthday. Then, a few weeks later, he broke up with me in a fast-food restaurant.

So, all winter, my neighbor's statement and my resulting questions haunted me.


I wanted to do something different.

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Anyone else out there facing ugly truths? How have facing them helped you make positive changes? 

AND/OR

How have people in your life helped you face ugly truths? Why do you think it worked? (because we all know we don't like being bossed around by other people)
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Reading List:
Stuck 
Love or Love Addiction? 
Love is Not Enough—Favorite quote: "Why do we tolerate behavior in our romantic relationships that we would never ever, ever tolerate in our friendships?"  
"Ain't Gonna Work" by the Folka Dots

3 comments:

  1. Facing and ugly truth... and changing that behavior are two different things. I have faced an ugly truth, but it is taking so long to change it.

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    Replies
    1. You're right! They are two different things. Sometimes change takes a long long long time. I love the word "practice" for this kind of change. It's less overwhelming. Every day is another shot at it. love you!

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  2. Thanks for writing honestly about ugly truths and relationships. I find myself doing this a lot as I play the broken record of "He's not the one for you, stop it!" on repeat. Love your blog!

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