Sunday, February 28, 2010

One More Success Story! (Marnie)

No, I'm not engaged, but a close friend of mine is! I'm SO excited for her! It has been a really long relationship (we are talking many years). I know it was a tough road with lots of good times and LOTS of tears. But she made it and now she's getting married! She's my age and frankly, I LOVE to hear success stories about women my age somehow finding a good man finally ready to be married. It's wonderful! It gives me hope.

As much joy as I have for her, I mourn over my own situation. I remember so many of our talks over the last 13 years we've known each other - talking about the men in our lives, our difficulty in dating and the faith it takes to just keep going. She made it! I know she hasn't any idea how she got where she is. She just kept persevering.

But what have I done in those last 13 years? I've actually come a long way. A REALLY long way! And she'll even whole-heartedly agree with me! I've attended dating workshops, read multiple dating/relationship books, made multiple goals, which has resulted in taking more risks, conquering fears, getting out of my comfort zone and dating more than I ever have. I even dated a couple of really great men for a little while.

But then I look at her relationship and realize, even after all I've accomplished, I haven't even gotten CLOSE to a relationship that would end in marriage. I just couldn't seem to get there. She's covered so much distance on a road I've never gone on - heck, I don't even know where that road starts! It's like that road is a secret freeway, and I can't find the on-ramp to a serious relationship. I keep driving up and down the street frantically searching for that on-ramp and still coming up short becoming completely lost. It's not from a lack of trying or desire. Oh, how I yearn for it! But it hasn't been my turn yet.

I think I need a GPS.

I'm not sure what's in the water lately, but she is the fourth friend in my midst to get engaged/married in 6 months, which is just unheard of in my circle of friends. It's a miracle! It's glorious! And it's just downright depressing.

Yeah, I's another test of faith. Another opportunity to decide if I'm going to trust God and keep going or spit on the ground and give up. It would be so easy to give up.

But I can't. So I'll keep trying. Trying not to be too jealous of her finally moving to another phase in her life and me being left behind to wonder and worry because I haven't even found a boyfriend yet - let alone a husband. And I'll try not to drown in the feeling that this just isn't ever going to happen for me no matter how hard I try. I've just got to fight that feeling! I can't listen to that voice in my head that speaks of my biggest fears. I just can't.

So I will just keep going forward with as much faith I can muster each day. And just like my newly engaged friend, I'll keep taking risks and be patient. And persevere. Yep, that's all you can do.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dating Contract (Marnie)

My friend gave a copy of this to me awhile back.

Although the terms on this wouldn't quite fit all my particular needs, I thought it was the most revolutionary document since the Declaration of Independence!

If it were instituted in the single world, think of the awkward, painful moments we would avoid and how much time we would save! Oh, if it were only that easy.

It's fun reading...
Happy Dating!

Dating Contract:
Upon this the ____ (day) of ________(month) _____(year), for the purpose of sanity, order and open communication, the following contractual agreement has been formulated.

Article I: Dating

For the purpose of clear communication of signals and fiscal balance, the woman will be responsible for the initiation and planning of the third date. If, at this point she isn’t very interested in the guy, then she can let the whole thing dissolve by simply not initiating the date.

If the third date is not initiated within 2 weeks of the second date, then the man should clearly assume the relationship is terminated.

Article II: Telephone Calls

At least every third “What’s up?” phone call is the responsibility of the woman. When one calls, the other should return the phone call as early as convenient, but within 24 hours.

Article III: Text Messages

No text messaging to each other unless one of the two is in church or at work; a real phone call is required. No text messaging on the date. While a phone may be taken on the date, it should be treated as if it were off or broken.

Article IV: Define the Relationship (DTR)

At date _____(date number) there will be a DTR. At the said DTR, the status of the relationship will be addressed; including the status of: “We’re dating,” boyfriend/girlfriend, and dating exclusively.

Article V: Eating

If you are hungry, eat! Eat a lot. If you are not hungry don’t order anything.

Article VI: Finishing off the Night

If a guy is taking you out for a second time, then it is obvious he likes you enough that he would like to kiss you. It is realized that good things take time. The woman will make a clear and defining gesture communicating that she wants a hug, a kiss on the cheek, or Oh Baby.

Article VII: Closure

If there is any sudden change in the direction of the relationship, then honest expression of feelings, emotions and intentions should occur. There will be no leading on, mind games or wondering what in the hell is going on.

Article VIII:

Any mutually agreed clause not previously mentioned or amendments may be entered here:

I ___________(state full name), the woman in the prospective relationship do hereby acknowledge and accept the term and rules of said dating game. Dated:______

I ___________(state full name), the man of the prospective relationship do hereby witness and attest to the agreement by _________________(woman's name) and also agree to follow all rules as stated. Dated: ________

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Refuse to Act Like a Victim! (Marnie)

Why is it when we females end up liking someone we've gone out with, we suddenly lose all of our senses and scheme away on how we are going to "help" a man (or "trick," whichever you prefer) into wanting to keep us? In the old days, men approached the women and pursued them. It was up to the woman to either accept his advances or not. And when she accepted them, they ended up married within the year. Sounds so easy!

Today, it feels like we are using all our skills to get their attention, they ask us out and then we wait on baited breath to see if they ask us out again. For me it's probably because finding really great guys that actually interest me are hard to come by. So when I do meet one that I click with and I think, man, he could be a real potential, I hold on so tightly that he slips away. At least my past relationships seemed to be that way.

It's like I become the victim because he holds all the cards! He claps, and I dance - metaphorically speaking of course...

Well, no more! I caught myself playing that victim role this last week when I was talking to some girlfriends about a man who I just CAN'T figure out. Is he interested? What are his intentions? On paper we are dating - S L O W L Y - but we are still dating. Unfortunately, his actions don't appear to be more than just casual dating. Well, I have goals! And this year is no different from the last two years. I want to start a relationship and actually have it end up at the temple instead of being "over." And my pondering, contemplating and dissecting what he's doing and trying to figure out what he wants from me is just a waste of my time!

So instead, why don't I analyze our date for what I want instead of what he wants? Instead of trying to figure out what his intentions are, why don't I decide if this guy is really worth it? Sure, he's great! We have a fabulous time and I'm attracted to him. But do I really know him yet? Instead of me trying to impress him with all of my great humor and intelligence, maybe I should be deciphering him. I should be drilling him for questions of things I need to know before I can commit to a man. And if it freaks him out, away he goes! And good riddance.

The female in me hates rejection, but I need to buck up and just be ok with it. Instead of worrying IF he will call, why not worry about if he does call, what new information I'm going to glean from the evening? What do I have to lose? Nothing!

Now I'm not talking about interrogating him under a spotlight, but sometimes I think I worry too much about what they think of me, instead of what I think of them. It's time to work on some communication skills because frankly, I'm terrible at it when it comes to my associations with men. And even though he's a great catch, I have no real control over him falling in love with me. I can be on my very best cute, funny, deep behavior, but if he's not feeling it,"he's just not feeling it." (quote from Mr. Click when he broke up with me). And it really has nothing to do with me. It's just the way it goes.

So no more victim behaviors from me! Instead, I'm going to NOT take all this so personally. I'm going to enjoy myself and just try to make it a productive evening. You can tell a lot from a guy from his answers to specific questions. And I need to stop guessing how he would react to certain questions I'm too scared he'll take in the wrong way, and just ask them. Communication is essential to a long lasting relationship (at least that's what the books say) and if I can't communicate with a guy I'm going out with, he surely isn't the right guy for me.

I know, easier said than done. But if I say it out loud enough and drill it into my head - and let my girlfriends slap me across the face when I start acting like the whiny victim again - I just may be able to pull it off. Instead of thinking I have everything to lose, I'm going to BELIEVE I've got nothing to lose!

I've already said it before, I believe that God will send the right guy at the right time. I might as well be practicing for when he gets here. Who knows, maybe I'll find him sooner than I worry I will.