If someone has a history of childhood abuse or severe dysfunction, chances are, he or she will continue choosing people who perpetuate dysfunction – that is why therapy is important. Sometimes the person he or she dates will share similarities with a dysfunctional parent.
For example, if David had to parent his mother growing up, he may seek out a woman who is incapable of caring for herself. Two men I previously dated, both of whom had experienced childhood trauma, told me that I was the healthiest person they had ever dated. That was a message. When a person is comfortable in a dysfunctional relationship, he will be calm with a healthy person, but eventually sabotage things. Both men eventually self-sabotaged our relationships. People who self-sabotage feel that they don’t deserve to be happy or loved. When someone shows them love or vocalizes it, they cannot deal with the feelings. Counseling can help a person make healthier relationship choices and gain self-worth.
12. Let’s Take a Break
Certain men/women will say they need a dating break because they’re “not ready to be in a relationship or they need time to get their lives in order before continuing to date.” If these statements are true and not just an excuse to end the relationship, these people probably shouldn’t have started dating in the first place. However, many people will jump right back into the dating scene the day after they have requested a break. This means they can handle dating, just not dating you. Requesting a break doesn’t usually lead to anything more than either dating again at a later time with an eventual breakup, or a break with a soon-to-be followed break-up, but it feels more comfortable to just ask for a break.
13. The End
It’s always fascinating to observe the way a person treats someone at the end of a relationship. That person could have been the biggest mensch ever during the dating period, but when it’s over, somehow the person ending things shows you a shocking side. When ending the relationship, it’s not necessary to list everything you found wrong in the other person. You can just say that you don’t think things will work out.
What I personally don’t appreciate is closed communication during the dating period. If someone didn’t think things would work out, he should have brought up those issues while we were dating. Choosing to let issues pile up and then breaking up with someone isn’t very constructive because once it’s over, it’s over.
Second time around dating can be more than frustrating. It can feel like someone’s repeatedly taking a sledgehammer to your heart. The rejection and emotional investment involved with dating and singles events can be overwhelming.
What I have learned is that I need to give a relationship everything I’ve got because second chances are rare once a relationship ends. I’ve also learned to not tolerate disrespectful behavior. If someone is sporadic or inconsistent in his contact with me, I will bring it up. If nothing changes, I will break things off – out of respect for myself.
I once commented during a lecture that so many guys are just looking to play and not get serious. The speaker responded, “You’re not looking for a guy, you’re looking for a husband.” He was right. Making general statements about all men or women does everyone a disservice.
Those of us who have been divorced awhile often wonder why it has taken so long. I look back at how I was seven years ago when I first got divorced and see a completely different person in my mirror today. The lessons that I’ve learned about men, relationships and communication, the quality friendships I’ve built, the intimate time I’ve spent with my son, and the growth I’ve gone through are invaluable.