I’ve realized how I’m different when it comes to dating. Being a child of divorce, and my relationship experiences, has made me involuntary. I put a wall up from the beginning—a strong wall that will prepare me for the worst. I hate showing vulnerability, and I second guess my instincts—making them invalid and untrustworthy. Pretty much if you don’t jump in with both feet my Spidey sense starts tingling, but too much too soon is terrifying. The most fear-provoking thing I have learned is that anyone can leave you. You can be happy, be yourself, and comfortable; and your relationship can still break. I compensate my fear of the unknown with relishing my independence and acting fearless—but I am not. My friends think I am strong, but only because I hide my weakness. I know what I want. I want to love unconditionally. I want to take care of someone who takes care of me. I want to hang on to the flame, even when I ought to move on forever. I want happiness. The thing about children of divorce is they won’t give their hearts away easily, but we will be more caring and considerate towards your flaws—making emotionally unavailable men a target.
The red flags are there but you choose to ignore them. He tells you he has “baggage” or wants to take things slow. You can never make fixed plans. He rarely shares anything about his past and shuts down when you get overly personal. He flatters you nonstop but then disappears—suddenly unable to text back for hours with no explanation. He breaks his own promises for future plans—making his promises empty. The signs are clear, but being a child of divorce means you see the positive aspect in the worst situations, and you will make excuses for him. This is wrong. Women like this—like me—need to keep in mind that men value women who value themselves—yes! How does it translate if we give them all of ourselves while they give their bare minimum? You need to make clear you’ll accept nothing less than everything—and is that not ultimately what you want?
In these circumstances I always do the same thing. I hang on. I blame his indecisions on my insecurities. I tell myself to live in the moment and to take risks. I remind myself of my own emotional restrictions. I think about what’s best for him, rather then also considering what’s best for me. “I wouldn’t be dating anyone else anyways, so why not stick with it.” I set myself up for disaster and heartache, and justify it with being compassionate. E.U. men will come on strong, then retreat, sometimes leaving you feeling confused. He might seem secretive, or vague, which is the perfect opportunity to clarify your intensions and practice communicating. Now try to see it from his perspective: If they communicate to you, in no uncertain terms, that they’re interested in you but are not looking for anything serious, and you choose to proceed; they see that as a green light to continue being the great guy they’ve always been. That means they will be charming, and make you laugh. They will text you thoughtful good morning and good night messages. They will do everything in their power to make sure you have a good time when you’re out, and please you sexually. Why? Because a good man takes pride in making a woman happy while in his company.
My only advice for you is push past it. Ask the tough questions before you stress yourself out mentally. “I want us to be exclusive—what are your thoughts?” “I am ready to commit to a relationship—is that something you’re interested in?” If the answer is unclear then ask yourself if you’re getting what you need from the relationship? This will be hard because you hate being exposed, and have a fear of abandonment. The need to be loved and accepted for who you are can be your greatest fault, and asset. Accept his limitations, but also accept your own. Don’t ignore the signs, and listen to his actual words. As a child of divorce, we tend to ignore words because we listen to actions. You’ve learnt from a young age that it’s not the thought that counts, but the showing up and being there that matters. If you don’t pay attention, then you can only blame yourself. If you are really unsure, or struggling, then set a time limit. How long are you willing to wait before you fall to the point of no return?—love.
Child of Divorce Woman: It’s okay to say no sometimes. Remember the most important person you have to please is yourself.
Emotionally Unavailable Man: It’s okay to take some time out of life to focus on you. Everything else will find you later.
Either way, it’s okay to be a little selfish, but put yourself in their shoes and empathise.
Photo Credit and fellow blogger: