We all have insecurities. Some are obvious based on how people talk…you can hear their struggle with the words they use. Other people do a good job of hiding their insecurities from view. And still others present an image of confidence so strong that it seems like they either had a perfect childhood or have found a way to deal with whatever scars may have been left behind.
Whatever the situation, I’ve come to determine that this is the hardest part of dating. You don’t know what the other person is dealing with nor they, you. The easy assumption is that we’re all well adjusted humans making our way through life without a care in the world, except that we’re alone and don’t want to be.
I’ve written a lot about my issue of feeling unworthy of love and I think I’ve made some real progress in that area. I feel like I might have rounded that corner…finally…so now what? Well this morning I was reintroduced to an insecurity that was patiently waiting for its turn to re-surface. That feeling of being a possession and not a person with real feelings. This one has been around for a while and has had several different trigger points over the years.
In high school and college I tended to date men (and I use that term loosely) that presented a tough exterior but were actually incredibly insecure. They felt empowered by their conquests. Once winning my heart…affection…attention…they would move onto the next, sometimes without bothering to tell me. As a young woman, there’s nothing worse than finding out your boyfriend is cheating on you. The result would be a broken heart and a break up. Weeks…months…sometimes years later each realized the error of their ways and would try to reconnect. Um, yah…no thanks.
As an adult, I experienced this in the form of “arm candy” (no pun intended) or as a “trophy”. It’s pretty clear that’s the case when you spend all of your time getting to know someone publicly…so everyone else can see you together. There’s little one-on-one time because you’re always surrounded with friends…coworkers…strangers. The telltale is how I’d be introduced. “This is Candy. She runs blah blah blah. She does XYZ.” It was more like a resume overview than a personal introduction. I will say that when this happens, it’s at a level that all parties can see what’s going on. No one is sneaking off or lying. The challenge is what to do about it.
I think the situation I like the least — because I’m an active participant in allowing it to happen — is when a relationship gets physical too soon. We’ve all read the warnings about allowing this to occur…about how eventually you grow to doubt the purpose of the relationship and whether it’s built on anything other than a physical attraction to one another.
Now I’m a pretty confident person. I have a strong personality and am very independent. I don’t need a man in my life. I’m not looking for someone because I need to be taken care of. My quest for love isn’t out of a “need” but rather a “want”. I want a partner. I want someone to enjoy my life with. I want someone to confide in…to grow with…to make the world a better place with. But none of that happens without trust. And how do you build trust when you question whether someone is really interested in you as a person or just passing time with you as a possession.
I think it’s a thin line…a tough call…sometimes fluctuating on a daily basis. And then there’s always the possibility that the other person doesn’t even realize what they are doing because they are caught up in some issue of their own…some insecurity that they are trying to deal with while keeping cool and calm.
I know I wrote that it doesn’t have to be this hard on Day 55, and maybe it doesn’t. But dating is comprised of two individuals experiencing the world and relationships through senses and situations unique to each person. There are bound to be misunderstandings…assumptions…frustrations…insecurities. And that will impact any relationship…however old or new.
I think insights into who someone is…who they really are behind all the niceties and first impressions…comes when the person is stressed…challenged…caught off guard. I’m not advocating for doing any of that on purpose. I just think that’s when you see someone’s true colors…they may not be the prettiest colors, but you get to see how they handle adversity…and whether they treat you as a person or a possession in the heat of the moment. I think that’s why so many of us are cautious in new relationships.
I don’t have any answers…I’m a bit of a novice to the dating scene having spent most of my life in long-term relationships. I’m trying to feel my way through it and avoid as many land mines as I can in the process. As I gather insights I’ll be sure to share…feel free to do the same. In the meantime, best of luck, people. Dating ain’t easy…just please be good to each other.
(Thanks to Shawn Petite for the image, see more at http://www.shawnpetite.com/2013/07/21/we-are-all-a-little-broken/)