As I enter into the dating world armed with the experience (some good, some not) needed to make better choices in a life partner, I am hopeful that my sons will also learn to do the same. My desire for them is to choose supportive partners that make them want to become better men, in spite of the choices they’ve seen me make. I wasn’t the best role model as they were growing up. I took a relationship hiatus a few years ago after my divorce. Not because I thought all men were the same way, but because I needed to figure out why I continually made bad choices. My picker was faulty. After much research, I learned that I fell in love with a person’s potential, not who they actually were. The problem with falling in love with potential is that it doesn’t guarantee a promise that they will see it within themselves and act on it. Some people live their entire lives without realizing they were meant for more. I almost did.
I entered into relationships under false assumptions. If the person loved me, it just made sense that they were going to work hard to ensure the relationship was successful. I thought marriage meant hard times would come and no matter what happened we would work together as a team to overcome them. Those were false expectations (I must have picked that idea up from television shows from back in the day). It’s what I would do, so I assumed they would also. The problem was, my personality was black and white and theirs wasn’t. For me, there is no point in a serious relationship at all if you aren’t willing to put in the work. You could just date whenever and whomever you wanted and have sex with any willing partner when the mood hit. No need for commitments, there are plenty of women (and men) willing to just settle for the booty call.
On my hiatus I learned the very valuable lesson of loving myself first, and to listen for cues that say run the other way. I had the habit of hearing what I wanted to hear, not what was actually said. Another mistake was ASS-U-MING someone would respond to situations in the same manner that I would have chosen. I would be shocked and angry because the response wasn’t one I would have made. Equally important was learning that just because I made a mistake, that didn’t mean I was going to pay for it the rest of my life! I had to take the message from the mess and move on!