The Definition of Love

relationship, marriage, man, woman, single, God, Bible

I heard the best definition of love: “sacrifice for the spiritual growth of one’s self and another.” So, love is all about growth. Love is also about acceptance: accepting your partner exactly as he is and not hoping to change him. Love is also unconditional. Love and abuse cannot co-exist. I haven’t been in love (even though I’ve said the words) because I never accepted any of my partners as they were, I never cared about their growth, spiritual or otherwise, and I didn’t know the meaning of unconditional. Even though I’ve been hurt alot, I realize I’ve been pretty selfish in what I wanted out of a relationship and that may have had something to do with my results.

They say whatever you want, do that. If you want to receive, give first. If you want certain qualities in a partner, embody those qualities. Love yourself first, and the world will love you back. Until very recently I wasn’t sure about the meaning of self-love and now I am beginning to understand. Do nice things for yourself and be easy on yourself. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. Don’t berate yourself. Speak to yourself the way you would want a loving parent to speak to you. Especially if your parents were neglectful or abusive, it’s important to learn to nurture yourself. I am just now learning to love myself and it feels nice!

Love addiction stems from childhood trauma

The gifted speaker in this Youtube video confirms that love addiction often occurs in people who grew up in alcoholic/drug addicted homes or with emotionally and/or physically abusive parents. My mother was alcoholic with borderline personality disorder. Love addiction often occurs in people who lived in homes where their emotional needs weren’t met. Love is the drug that attempts to fill a hole which is actually a childhood wound that needs to be examined and healed.

Shame, a film about sex addiction

Shame came out on DVD today. The film by director Steve McQueen stars Michael Fassbender as Brandon, a sex addict living in New York. I used to laugh at the idea of being addicted to sex – how ridiculous! Now I realize sex can be just like any other addiction – when you use something outside of yourself to fill a hole that only God can fill. The fellow in the movie was obsessed with sex, having daily encounters with strangers and prostitutes, consuming constant pornography both at home and at work, and masturbating several times a day at home and work. Ironically, even though he was swapping fluids with strangers, he was compulsively clean: a germophope. And fittingly for a sex addict he had no real intimacy in his life. When the opportunity came to have sex with someone he cared for he couldn’t get it up! Immediately he went and had sex with a stranger in a high-risk encounter. He was hooked on illicit sex but sex with any tenderness was impossible.

Brandon’s sister who has her own issues (perhaps alcoholism) comes to stay with him and turns his perfectly ordered life upside down. she speaks my favourite line in the film when she says to him: “We’re not bad people; we just come from a bad place.” To me, that ties into childhood traumas and how they can cause pain so deep that addictions seem the only way out.

Addicted to Love: Love Addiction

I chatted in my last post about an addiction to unavailable men. I had no idea in turning a phrase that is normally used to describe substance abuse, that I was referring to a true affliction around which many people (mostly women) have to work a 12-step program to be free. I learned that love addiction is not about true “love” but romance and attraction, that it is often characterized by an aversion to “nice” people, falling “in love” with someone you’ve met online and not in person, longing for someone who has no idea about your feelings or who will never reciprocate them (unrequited love), and other fantasy-type relationships. Basically it’s an escape from reality. I confess I have suffered in all these categories and had no idea it was a disease!

I’ve always longed for the man who will take me away from it all rather than one who will become part of my life. When people say you have to get to know someone on their home turf, meet their families, find out about their hobbies and work, that just sounded so boring. I realize that’s the fantasy aspect of the affliction. I was relieved to discover there is a name for these horrible feelings around my failed love life and a reason why I keep going back to the same types of men. It’s the insanity that Einstein talked about in doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Before I had the awareness of what I was doing, I was powerless to stop it. Now I see the reality of the situation and can learn how to change it.

I’ve already picked up new habits, like do not give more than I get hoping he will reciprocate. Actions speak louder than words (pay attention to what he does, not what he says). Stand by your boundaries (I started giving out my landline so he doesn’t have the option to text). I always laughed at the title of the book by Robin Norwood, “Women Who Love Too Much” but now it turns out I am one of them. I have to read this book to discover what is going on with me!

It also turns out that fearfully abstaining from sex as I have is a form of anorexia – withholding from yourself the thing you want out of fear that you will binge if you have even a little bit. It’s an unhealthy form of self-control. That doesn’t change my desire to remain celibate but it does give me something to consider. If you avoid something out of fear, that is markedly different than staying away while you engage in self-reflection and personal growth. I plan to get going on the latter!

Are you attracted to unavailable men?

I have been away for a while and am touched to return to many lovely comments on my last post in which I wrote I have met a compatible man: one who has all the qualities I desire and who makes me feel like no one else. I have been working on myself relentlessly over the past year-and-a-half because I know that being your best and most authentic self is the way to attract someone worthwhile (and, hey, it’s the only way to be regardless of your intention).

After all my work, I attracted in a man who is everything I wanted – I dreamed him and he came true.

Although I adore him, I believe this man is unavailable. Do you know what I mean by unavailable? He may be married. He may be a workaholic. He may be a CIA agent. Whatever the reason, he has failed to call me on more than one occasion and then apologized after about an “emergency” that prevented him from connecting at the promised time. The first time was taking a colleague to the hospital and the second was unspecified. I sense red flags and my newly-honed intuition is saying ‘stop’.

I’ve learned over the past year or so that if something unfortunate happens to me I must have had something to do with it. What is my part in this situation? I believe, lovely readers, that I was enjoying the feelings I was experiencing so much that I did not ask the questions I needed to ask and I ignored the red flags that would indicate this man is taken….either by another woman or his high-achieving job (perhaps both).

I’ve also learned (from this experience specifically) that actions speak louder than words. I was in love with the things he was saying to me and the way he made me feel, but in reality, his actions did not back those up. He is still contacting me and I am still remaining open…but I’m also open to other men and know that I must stand by my boundaries and stay true to my new standards: no unavailable men and no secrets.

Entering new relationship territory

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I’m not about to give you one of those apologies and excuses about my busy life which drives me nuts on other blogs. The reason I haven’t posted is that I may be entering into a relationship and I’m afraid to say the words out loud. We’ve known each other for two months and have just decided not to date other people. This is not a stretch for me as I had been on a total of two dates before meeting him but it does mean I stop looking for dates which is a big step for me. I found myself comparing other guys to this one anyway and they consistently came up short. He just seems like a really good fit and possesses all the qualities I had been hoping for but thought I would never find. I have never received a text message from this man.

He knows I am waiting for marriage to have intercourse or oral sex and he is okay with that. When I asked “how will I ever say no to you?” he said he would not even try because we’ve made an agreement. That is another thing I thought I would never find: a man who is willing to wait. I thought I might end up alone and join a nunnery or something and that was actually okay with me. I’m at the point where I would rather be alone than compromise my boundaries. If I have to lose myself to keep someone else, that person is not worth having.

I’ve worked hard to restore my virtue (abstaining 18 months now) and my friend jokes that I am a born-again virgin. I like that and I am going to keep working to keep my virtue intact. I understand not everyone understands my need to stay celibate till I’m married but I do and that’s what matters. And now the work might be avoiding a pleasure that is so readily available to me with someone I care for and might eventually love. I have learned the greater satisfaction that comes with delaying gratification and not giving in to every whim and desire just because “I wanna”. I’m also encouraged by the fact that my new fella is down with the whole idea. “Imagine the anticipation,” he said. “It’s exciting.”

Why men pull away

relationship, marriage, wife, husband

One of my men (my favourite because he seems to read my mind and know exactly what I want) pulled away for a few days. I did not hear from him for 5 days and I was disappointed, but my skin is thickened so I sloughed it off and moved on. As these things happen, as soon as I had forgotten about him he got in touch. I was shocked to see his email in which he wrote that he feels I am the woman for him and he would like to take our relationship to the next level. He said he wanted to talk to me that night and we spoke for 2 hours as he asked me about what I want in a relationship and what he would give me. We spoke again on the phone for 2 hours the next night. (He is travelling for work).

I remembered hearing this is what men do – pull away right before they decide to get serious. Of course, I had never experienced it because I never gave anyone enough breathing room to let that happen! When he called, he was surprised to hear “a smile in my voice” and I said, “Well, I’m happy to hear from you!” Before I probably would have tore a strip out of him and possibly ruined a chance to get to know a guy who could be a compatible partner. All out of my own pride and controlling expectations of the way a man should behave.

I read somewhere about embracing the surprises in life, that you don’t have to always know the outcome, what’s going to happen and when, and that’s they way I want to be with this man. He wants to know the real me, communicates authentically, and he cares about whether I get enough sleep, whether my children are having their needs met, and how I am feeling. He is constantly asking about me and I am so happy to bask in that attention that I forget to ask about him. I am being a little bit selfish and he seems to like that. He accepts the fact that I’m not having sex (oral or otherwise) until marriage and says he will support me in that.

I am going on a date tonight with the athlete who had to cancel last week but I will be thinking of my man. For now, I am taking things day by day but I feel I have found someone very compatible with me.

Ephesians 5:31

I found the following image on Facebook and thought, “This is what I want?” (question mark intended)

Bible, God, Christianity, spirituality, marriage, relationship, single woman

Online dating and The Bible

relationship, dating, marriage, husband, wife, single woman, online, internet

It’s funny I wrote a post called “How 5 becomes 1” recently because I think the title has come to fruition already! I’m not sure if I am a particularly good man repellent, or this is a normal weeding out process. It’s also possible 2 men are still standing because one said he is in town next weekend and would like to see me. Maybe he’ll call, who knows? Are my expectations too high? Is it weird of me to think a man will be in touch every couple of days if he is interested? Anyway, one of them is and maybe that’s the way it’s meant to be. Like I’ve been saying… you only need one.

My Match.com subscription is expiring on February 2 after 3 months. I decided to let it go due to my abysmal track record with them. But this morning I received a promising match in my email and when I ‘winked’ he replied instantly. He is a passionate man who describes himself as a humanitarian, bold but not arrogant, educated. The only minus so far is that he’s not athletic but, hey, I could probably overlook that if other values line up with mine.

I have to say this match came in immediately after I dedicated an hour to reading the Bible and meditating on what I read. That doesn’t mean this man is a gift from God necessarily, but when I focus on God, good things seem to enter into my life instantly and effortlessly.

My dating life: is God having a laugh?

I am beginning to wonder if the time is still not right for me to be in a relationship. Or maybe God has a few more lessons for me to learn before I get there. I scheduled a second date with the guy I saw last week…I say ‘guy’ because I can’t call him a man – he’s a boy, young and a bit self-involved, but nice enough, so I want to give him three dates before I make any decision about him. He was at a tournament (he’s an athlete playing at the top tier of his game) so we were to go to a movie when he returned. He kept me up to date throughout the day which was thoughtful and they ended up going the whole distance, winning all their games, so I was happy for him.

Sadly, he didn’t make it back as the weather became very bad and they had to stop and stay for the night. He was extremely apologetic and it was out of his control but I just can’t help feeling that my dating life is getting ridiculous, that God is having a good laugh. I refuse to feel sorry for myself, but I am bewildered by my bad luck.

The other fellow I was interested in stopped talking to me because I expressed my need for him to contact me when he said he would. I waited until he had failed three times to fulfill his intention to call at a certain time and I was clear but certainly not mean in my email. I haven’t heard from him since. I suppose this is a weeding out process and as my friend says “This dating game is not for the faint of heart.” I’m developing a thick skin and I’m not sure if I like that.