friendship

Lessons From the Past

This past couple weeks of my life has been very interesting to say the least. I thought I was being punked at one point and was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out at any minute. Within one week of my life, I had spoken to almost every ex-boyfriend I ever had. I really didn’t realize that it was happening back to back that week. For the most part, I don’t dislike any of my exes. There was something that attracted me to them at one point in my life. I know how to get along and be cordial even to the ones that hurt me deeply. Now there maybe one or two that I also did some damage to their hearts. I am not innocent.

This week gave me an opportunity to really do some introspection and look at myself in all these different relationships. I had some huge realizations to say the least. I am big on being accountable to my part in the relationship. It is my pet peeve for individuals who refuse to be accountable for their actions and try to project their feelings on to another person. I am at a different stage in my life than I was even earlier this year. Some of my perspectives have changed and some have broadened. I was encountering challenges that were actually helped through some of these conversations. I had to face truths and some realities that some of the relationships in my life weren’t what it appeared to be. Some simple truths were discovered that gave closure where I was certain there were no cracks to get in the door.

I said all of that to say this. Be thankful for the relationships that didn’t work in your life. Each one taught you valuable lessons that helped get you where you are today. I learned so many lessons. It helped me also realize why there may be certain things I am not tolerable of today in relationships. I remember I had this silly mindset in one of my relationships. I just knew that I was helping him become a better man for the next woman. I knew already in my heart that it wasn’t going to end the way we both expected.

I think I held on at some point because of all that I had already invested. I thought I deserved to see a harvest on my investment and not let someone else benefit from the seeds I had sown.  I also had other people around me that still had hope that we would still make it because of our friendship. Truth is we are supposed to help each other to become better in relationships. So don’t be silly like I was and stay in something I know wasn’t going to yield happiness. At the end of the day each person I dated, I wanted them to be truly happy even if it wasn’t with me.  Your past relationships has helped prepared you for the ONE whenever you encounter them. When you meet that one, you will be thankful that every other relationship in your life didn’t work out how you thought it should.

♥ Tara Middleton

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The Layaway Plan

Dating, courting, whatever term you chose to use, has become quite interesting these days. It can all seem so complicated, especially when there seem to be so many rules in the game of dating. Who should call who first? How long should you wait? Do you take turns setting up dates or wait on each other? I have gotten plenty of those questions, but I want to skate past this today. I get many questions all coming down to “How do I know they are serious?” I often refer to what I call “The Layaway Plan”.

Let me break this down. Almost everyone has gone shopping for something a handful of times. Layaway programs were created to allow customers to lay claim to items they desire by investing usually at least 10% of an item.  If you are still searching for other items and you aren’t sure if you are going to find exactly what you are looking for, you can make sure no one else claims the others you in which you are interested. If they don’t find anything better, then they have a time frame in which they can fully complete their purchase. Sometimes you decide you find something better and let go of the items on layaway. Many of us date with this method whether we identify it or not.

Let’s say I find a guy in whom I am intrigued, but I am not quite sure whether it is exactly what I want. He may have some characteristics or traits, but I am not sure. There may be another guy that comes along that may have exactly what I think it is in which I am looking. Of course, I don’t want to miss out on this guy. So, I have to invest just enough to keep him occupied or intrigued. I may call him, text him, and spend time with him. I’m just making sure I do enough that I can keep some of the other prospects away from him. That way I am not missing out on what could be potentially be a great thing or my person.

Some of you aren’t even going to be real and admit that you have done that or if it currently identifies with you. I realize that you have to date in order to find love. Now you do have to know what it is you want or looking for in order to find it. I could stop right there. No commercials just yet though.  Some of you want to put people on layaway for free. You make no kind of investment, but expect them to be there when you get back. That is hilarious to me. You may even start other layaway plans while still searching for what you want. Some of you are on layaway and don’t even realize it because she or he makes you feel special. You don’t even realize that they are only investing in the minimum to keep you off the market. They know someone will come and want to fully invest in you. They may not be ready to fully commit for whatever reason or excuse.

One thing that people tend to forget while still shopping at times is that the layaway plan has a limit. There is an expiration written into the policy. Most layaway plans don’t exceed over 90 days. You have 90 days to make a decision on whether you are willing to make the investment to make the full purchase. I was reminded tonight that during holidays an extension is often given now so you may get 120 days. That is not the norm. If I am not willing to fully invest, then I can’t string a man along. Let’s be honest. Most of us really know within that time frame whether we can see something progressing from that relationship. Now there can be several different factors that cause us to hold on past this point. It can be comfort, fear of missing out, fear of the unknown, fear of causing hurt, selfishness, etc. For the sake of time I won’t elaborate on those in this post. I will hit that another time.

I personally held on to some relationships or friendships because I was comfortable with the familiarity. It was easier not to start over and learn someone else new. I told myself that we had a really great friendship and isn’t that a great foundation for a great marriage? Now don’t get me wrong, it can be. Sometimes we are in denial. Some of us had great friendships only because we didn’t do anything to rock the boat. You don’t want to be rude or hurt feelings. Some of my greatest friendships are with people who don’t mind hurting my feelings. I thought that if I stuck it out it would change and marriage would evolve eventually. We would get on the same page. There is potential. Truth be told, I saw red flags along the way that pointed me to an end. I knew it was time to let it go and I held on anyway. I caused more hurt by lingering than by letting them go. I had to ask myself was I keeping the other person from finding their person because I hadn’t let them go. I loved them enough that I wanted them to be truly happy even if it wasn’t with me.

If you aren’t going to invest, then let them go. I hear people tell me that they are going to entertain one person, until someone else comes along that catches their attention. Here is the problem with that. It usually doesn’t work that way. If you really want to experience love and happiness with an individual, you must be willing to be vulnerable. Let me say it again another way. The level at which you chose to stop being vulnerable, is the level of happiness and love you can experience.  I know it doesn’t feel great being vulnerable. Who wants the feeling of thinking they can be hurt?

They are so many different scenarios of how this layaway plan can play out. I will touch on more of these soon.  As for now, don’t be someone’s expired layaway plan. If someone hasn’t made the investment yet, don’t think you aren’t worth it. Don’t use this to measure your worth. Maybe that person is just not your person. Someone will come who will be ready to fully invest when it’s time and see the treasure you are.  Don’t leave people on layaway once you know you have no intention of making the full investment.