Last year, the man who I thought I would marry and I broke up. Why? Because he didn’t have time. My love language is time. Quality time to be exact. It’s part of Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. I learned a long time ago to not sacrifice my love language for a relationship. It doesn’t benefit me which in turn won’t benefit us.
So, on that warm day in May we had our relationship check-in and I tried to make him see that I needed more time. I respected that he worked extra hours and extra shifts because he had many people depending on him financially. Nevertheless, I needed us to get on one accord. After all, we had decided that we would marry at the end of next year.
How could that happen if we weren’t making us a priority?
The One You Choose isn’t Always the One
That conversation didn’t go as planned. See, I had imagined that he would tell me that he loves me and he understands and accepts my compromise of how we can make us a priority. I had proposed that one weekend a month be untouched. It would be ours to spend with each other. No set weekend each month, but we would have to invest in each other emotionally again. We were courting for the purpose of marriage. How could we possibly marry if we didn’t find time for each other?
With me being the one to start the conversation I had no idea that it would be the last one as a couple. He said that he couldn’t agree to that. Maybe one weekend every couple of months. I hesitated and said
Are you serious? How can we move forward with so little time?
He then decided to tell me that he didn’t know if he wanted to get married ever again or that he would be ready in the next 20 months. He said maybe in 5 years I’ll be ready. I paused. My heart broke listening to the man who I loved tell me this.
I got it. We’d both been married and divorced and he had doubts that maybe he could be a good husband. I didn’t. He was an amazing boyfriend which is why I wanted marriage to be at least 5 years after dating because of my last divorce. He understood my hesitancy. However, this was something new. This was different. He was changing the rules. I said,
My son is 10 and you’re telling me that you may want to get married in 5 years?
He simply said “yes”. I told him that wasn’t possible for me.
I explained that the longer I stayed a single mother that I was not going to bring a man into the house to play the daddy role when my son becomes a teenager. It wasn’t fair to him and my son didn’t need that. Furthermore, I told him that I wouldn’t agree to marriage until my son went away to college if we waited that long. That would mean it would be 13 years of us dating before marriage. He said “I know” and decided that we should part ways. I reluctantly agreed.
I wanted this man more than anything. However, I no longer wanted to choose the road that leads to my feelings not being validated. I did that a lot in the past and I found that it benefitted no one — especially me. Consequently, I packed up my heart and headed back into the world of being single and dating.
My Past Made Me Better
I took the next 10 months off, focused on me, my family and making sure that I was emotionally ready to allow someone back into my space. It was weird being back on the market after such a long hiatus. What things had changed? Would I recognize the “unwritten rules” of dating? Would I meet another wonderful man who loved my nerdy ways?
It was a lot and honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to it. But, it was a new year and the time to move forward was now. I needed to show up and be ready for the unexpected. As a result, I allowed myself to be open to the possibility of a relationship with the understanding that friendship was the foundation that we had to establish first.
I met a few people, reconnected with some that didn’t make the cut when I chose the last guy. That being said, what I realized was that men were funny. At least the men that hadn’t dealt with the traumas of their past relationships. Those men that were out there dating and trying to hook up and make me believe that we’re on the same path. Those men tried to make me think that my feelings were wrong when I questioned them on what they said or the behaviors they were showing me. I listened.
All Ex’s Aren’t Bad
I told one guy “We’re the sum of our past experiences. Good, bad or indifferent they shape and mold us into who we are now.” He said “Yeah, because I don’t know about the last guy you dated. He must have done you wrong since you’re acting like this”. I was stunned. I responded “He was freaking awesome! He set the bar up here and many men will never be able to match it. He was a great boyfriend and he didn’t damage me for the next man.” Of course, he closed his mouth.
In hindsight, I probably struck down his ego and I’m truly sorry about that, but I realized that I wasn’t going to let the next man try to make me seem delusional for getting to the truth of the matter when asking questions. I wasn’t going to let the next man destroy the memory of the man I had loved. Honestly, more than that… I wasn’t going to let him tell me that somehow I am damaged because of the last man. The last man I was in a relationship with didn’t damage me. He heard my spirit and loved me where I stood. He restored my faith in me.
I’m ready. To live, love and give to the next man at the right time.