I knew a woman who after a few failed relationships and some self-reflection on the men she dated in the past, decided to reach back to a man who she previously dated. She thought about their initial relationship and saw her short comings as the reason the relationship did not work out and thought if she gave it another shot, maybe they could have a good relationship the second time around. She looked the guy up on Facebook and they reconnected. Things moved quickly and before she knew it a few months past and she started realizing that he was not serious, and he wasn’t the person he portrayed himself as nor was he in a position to engage in a committed relationship. However, it was too late, she was in love. He was not the person she once knew, he had relationship trauma and was afraid to commitment. She tried to sick it out, thinking that her love would help him feel safe and he’d trust her enough to invest his heart in the relationship. Years went by and the relationship only gave the illusion that it was moving forward. After 4 years, she gave up and decided to move on. Although it was not that easy, she loved him, and they had a strong bond and strong sexually chemistry. And for another 2 years they were on again and off again. After 6 years she finally, broke free from that dysfunctional relationship, however, she walked away with a deeply broken heart and shattered self-esteem.
During a girl’s night out, she shared her story with me and what she learned from that devastating experience. She said if she had to do it all again, she would have walked away after the first weekend together. She said she knew when she asked what they were doing from his response that he was not serious, but she choose to ignore her instinct. Or at the very least given herself, time before having sex with him so that she could really get to know him. She said she only needed about 2 months, it was about that time that she started noticing the discrepancy in his actions and thoughts. She started to see that he had some emotional problems that he hadn’t dealt with like he said he had. She noticed that he was dissatisfied with his position in life, lack maturity and was not finally stable.
It is extremely difficult, after connecting sexually with someone to pull away so take your time. According to the book Love is not a game (But you should know the odds), infatuation can last up to 90 days. There is something to that Steve Harvey 90-day rule. Give yourself time to see if the person is genuinely interested in you. Give your self-time to see if they are emotionally mature enough to handle your heart and be a part of your life. Give your self-time so that they can demonstrate their character. Do they keep their agreements? Give your self-time to shake their family tree to see what sort of nuts fall out. (ok I know that is bad me, a therapist using the words nuts when describing people but that was funny I couldn’t resist). Every family has drama. No one transitions from childhood unscathed. What I mean is before your join with this person and their family see if you can deal with their level of drama. See what illness are in their family. You might have children by this person. If they have children, get to know the mother so you can be aware of what drama if any they will bring to your relationship.
Finally, give yourself time to make sure you both on are the same page when it comes to expectations. All couples start out believing they will have a good relationship. Be clear going in of your expectations for love and marriage so that you can clearly communicate them and quickly recognize when they aren’t lining up. Your relationship satisfaction will largely depend on how well what is happening matches up with what you think should be happening. Every disappointment in a relationship result from an unmet expectation. My friend was looking for a life partner with whom she could build a life with, but her boyfriend was looking for someone to have fun with while he worked on his cleaning up his life. So, he disappointed her at every turn resulting in her broken heart.
My friends, while there are no guarantees in life, giving your self-time to get to know someone before joining with them will at the very least save you some heartbreak and turmoil.