For most of my life, I was never confident about relationships with men. I can’t say I got along with my father very well. I didn’t understand him or feel close to him. I wanted to have satisfying conversations with him, but for me, they fell short.
In high school, I observed boys from afar. I didn’t speak to them unless required to, and felt embarrassed around them. They made me nervous. For relief, I associated mostly with girlfriends, studied a lot and worked on the family farm. I wasn’t allowed to attend social events or dances at school, so I didn’t date until college. There, things changed. I enjoyed being around them more, but I can’t say I felt comfortable. I didn’t understand them, but did the best I could. And I know that this is how many of us navigate (and try to make sense of) our relationships with the opposite sex.
Straight out of college, I jumped into my first marriage. Eventually had a total of four marriages. In addition, there were a few significant relationships, and one of them gave me my daughter. My last relationship of seventeen years began wonderfully and then went the way of all others (down the drain) and we almost parted. But I committed myself to learning about myself and turned things around. WE found our happy place again and spent many good years together after that. In 2017, Eric passed away from cancer.
Getting a man never seemed to be a problem for me. However, keeping a man, getting along with a man, or creating a growing, expanding, deepening relationship with a man was not something I excelled at until my relationship with Eric fell in a heap about four years into our time together.
In retrospect, I can see that my pattern was to find a good man and slowly take him off his game until he became confused, weak, or angry. When he lost his confidence, he didn’t like himself, and didn’t like me.
And guess what? I also didn’t like him and didn’t like me. Things ended in a mess and I would move on. I’d go find a new man, start over, and hope for the best.
When the student is ready, the teachers appear. When things with Eric fell apart, I reached out. I changed. I grew. I took responsibility.
Within one month, things got much better. Within 3 months I felt hope that I could sustain the positive momentum. After about 6 months, I thought, “Wow. This is amazing. Same guy. “Different” girl. And a new life for both of us.”
Things turned around. Eric was encouraged, and I was elated. He was back to being confident and fun, and we were having fun together again. We learned from each other, and grew together. I found that to have a better relationship with Eric required changes from me. Contrary to popular opinion, it takes one person to change a relationship.