You’ve waited for so long to be in a relationship… finally, someone comes along but why does it feel like you are giving all of you when they are only giving half of them???
This happens to many of us! We are so eager to jump into a relationship, do so much work to keep it, and in the end you still feel empty and lonely. Why??? There are different reasons… maybe you feel like your biological-clock is ticking; maybe it’s family that’s pushing you to be married or to give them grand-kids; shoot, maybe you are just bored (that was me). Whatever the reasons, if you are giving more into the relationship then the other person, it usually ends in some type of heartbreak.
Dan was a very sweet and caring guy but he just had too many issues he couldn’t shake. Truth be told, he wasn’t my “typical” type. He was… let’s say, a lot (not little) rough around the edges. However, I think that’s what attracted me to him. He was my total opposite so he must complement me- right?! Furthermore, I can help him by softening him up some, educate him so that he would move further in life… YEP… he would be my project! I could fix him and make him better. That was the problem, I was looking for project work instead of waiting for God to send me the completed proposal.
Have a Partner, NOT a Project
If the person is coming to the table with issues such as… emotional baggage, no job, not-a-good-enough job, doesn’t have a good relationship with their family or kids, have been in and out of relationships… those are signs that they still have some maturing to do. Moreover maybe it’s the opposite… they have a job but they have been in the same position for many years or maybe they will spend time with you but it’s on their time.
Either way, do you find yourself putting forth effort and energy trying to get them better but spending less time doing the things you want to do? That’s what happened to me. While Dan had great work ethic, almost every week there was an issue. For instance, he and a co-worker got into an argument so their boss took them both off the project and he didn’t get paid for that week. Then I give him a lecture on being more responsible. This incident also caused him not to have enough money for the trip (which BTW, I planned). Ultimately, I wound up paying for it b/c I really wanted to go.
Am I His Girlfriend or His Mother?
Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last long but to stay in it as long as I did, I let my heart lead instead of my head. I saw the signs but I ignored them b/c I felt needed, wanted, valued… where in my marriage, I felt my opinion didn’t matter. Yes Dan would get into trouble but at least he would take time to listen so that I can help him. He was the project I needed b/c I felt bored. Noooooo! A relationship shouldn’t be about “fixing” someone. It should be about both of you helping each other in hopes of growing closer. In my story, I was starting to become resentful and honestly, losing respect for Dan. It was best to end it early before the relationship became worse.
Don’t Give so Much
Why do you feel like you have to buy her so many gifts in the beginning? Why are you doing most of the planning for your outings and he isn’t contributing his creativity? Those activities will get old quick. What’s happening is, you are trying to fill a void which keeps getting deeper. For example, you are buying gifts b/c you want the person to like you. In the end, they like what you bring to the table- not you.
You are doing all the planning for dates… hmmmm- that means there is a sense of loneliness. Therefore, if YOU are planning the outings then at least one of you is trying to spend time with the other. Guess what… I did both. I planned the trip with Dan and I wound up paying for it! In the end, it left him always looking to me to bail him out of jams. I even believe, he liked me giving him lectures b/c it meant I was giving him more attention.
Help Each Other
- You may say: “My man won’t take the initiative to plan an outing.” Okay, have you given him any ideas? If you show him once or take an evening where you both talk about what you both like to do and express that you like surprises, who knows… the next night on the town is ALL on him- planning and all!
- You may say: “My girl keeps asking me to pay for her to get her hair done or wants me to buy her clothes. I’m the man, I need to take care of her.” Okay but if you two just started dating and she is already asking you for these items- that is a sign. She is either becoming to dependent on you, wants to take advantage of your spending or she needs help budgeting. Why don’t you show her how to budget. In addition, showing tough love may have to be an option. You can say “why don’t you give me some ideas of what you want and I’ll look into surprising you one day.”
What Have I Learned
- Read the signs: If most of your conversations are talking about their issues and the person is continually asking for advice on how to improve —> they are not looking for an intimate relationship, they are looking for counselor.
- You Get as much as you Give: It’s 50/50—> he pays for dinner the first time, you offer to pay the next time. If he doesn’t, cool… you offered but then you offer again another time. Don’t assume he has to pay for every outing.
- Don’t overwhelm yourself or them: Cater your conversations on things you like to do and ask questions. For instance, if you like to travel- ask her if she does. If she says yes, ask her how does she go about planning her trips and would she feel comfortable planning one for you two one day? People appreciate you being upfront and transparent; it helps them trust you more.