Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Additional Suitors and The One that Stuck

Since I never fully committed to the surgeon we kept things open and I kept dating.

Amongst the guys I met was one who talked so wildly with his hands that I found it off-putting. Now I'm a girl that often talks with her hands. I emote, I gesticulate, I'm emotional; I'm Italian, that's what we do. But this was almost to the point of being aggressive. I was so side-tracked, focusing on his hand not accidentally smacking me in the face as he talked to me, that I could barely follow the conversation. Interestingly enough, the conversation was great, what I could catch of it. I think he admitted later that he was nervous and this was why he was so frantic. In the end, my instincts said no.

I met another guy who I thought seemed great. He was very intelligent, potentially normal, successful, and had lots of interesting hobbies and interests. He loved to garden, take care of his home, and cook for family and friends. I liked him -- on paper. In practice, however, he fell flat, and I didn't listen to my instinct which was telling me that it was not a good fit and because of that I gave it one more date. You see, after the first date I knew there wasn't much there between us but I thought, "Give the guy a shot. You may me missing something really amazing about him." So we went out for a second date and I remember sitting there as I was trying to ignite the conversation and have a good time, and thought to myself, "Nope, I'm not missing a thing." After the second date, that was it.


During most of this I was still dating the surgeon and I started to realize a few things about him. I realized that when he told me he was falling for me, he may not have been falling for me exactly. He barely knew me. How could he know I might be "the one?" I think it was because I fit the bill for him in terms of what he was looking for in a wife, but all on the surface. To him I was attractive, smart, responsible, and creative. (Yes, that's me.) I guess that's what he was looking for. But he didn't really know me beyond that and I never got the feeling that I could know him any better either. After a few weeks our conversations began to fall flat and although we talked all the time, we never talked about who we were as people and what we really wanted from our lives. When I tried to dig deeper I began to see that his life was consumed by his career, as challenging as it was, and without his job he didn't have much to share with me. He didn't have time for anything else but his work and that's not what I was looking for. I was looking for something more shared. I wanted someone who was as interested in their own life (outside of work) as I had become interested in mine.

You see, after my ex and I broke up, I took the time to think about myself again. I realized that I had put so many things that I used to care about aside and had focused only my relationship and what I was going to do about it, as well as the biggies like school and work. My life didn't have lots of hobbies, interests, or anything that I really loved anymore. And so after the break-up, I worked on all of that, developing my interests in running, blogging and writing, playing with make-up, photography, making new friends, cultivating a new home, and basically trying to creating a better life for myself. And if there was going to be a guy in my life, I wanted someone who was invested in themselves too. With the surgeon, I could tell that he didn't have time for that. I mean, let's face it, he had a very challenging and rewarding job and it's understandable that he had little free time. I understood that, its just not what I wanted to be a part of. I knew the pitfalls of only focusing on your relationship and not yourself. I had been there, done that. In some way, it reminded me of my ex.

Now hear me out, my ex was not a surgeon, in fact he really didn't have much of a "real job" in the traditional sense, he was a full-time musician. He spent all his time focused on his job, every ounce of free time he had was always directed to his goal of "making it." I totally accepted that and encouraged it, but he could never just stroll around a museum with me for no good reason or lay around the house on a Sunday. Every minute of every day was spent cultivating his career. So perhaps I saw the surgeon like this, someone who has to spend all of their time developing their career and nothing else. Yes, I know surgeon is the opposite of musician, but they share something. Each career choice takes a person's full-time focus to achieve it, and any time spent not working on that career could feel like a waste of time.

I imagined that any relationship I would become a part of was going to be something different. I wanted someone who had a good job, but not one that took all his free-time to achieve success in. I wanted someone with interests and hobbies that he could share with me and who could have his own life outside of our relationship. This was really important to me, because, like I said, I knew the danger of having your relationship be your sole focus. Of course, I wanted to be the most important person to the man I was with, but I wanted him to have a fulfilling life outside of me too -- because that's ultimately what I wanted for myself.

I think in the end, this was really beneficial for me. I practiced how to listen to myself, voice what I felt was important and take care of myself without being swayed by what someone else wanted. I was able to see the red flags for what they were and decided how to deal with them. This was a pretty big accomplishment for me at the time, knowing that I'm someone who hates to disappoint people and often gives in when pushed.

And with all of that in mind, with my life back on track, my confidence at an all time high, and my goals clear and focused, I went on a date with someone new on June 1, 2010. As I drove home from the date my instincts told me that I had just met someone special. Two days later, I broke up with the surgeon and moved into a new relationship.

I then spent the next 18 months in my first serious relationship (after my ex). It started with a great love and shared admiration and then somehow, much to my surprise, a lot of the confidence, happiness, and strength that I had gained eventually faded over time -- and on December 28, 2011 the relationship ended.

So bear with me, it's time to explain just what happened and try to understand why it happened so that it hopefully doesn't happen again. You see, I'm willing to bet that some of the same things that happened to me as I navigated my way through my first serious relationship after a serious break-up has probably happened to other people. Hopefully, telling this story can be helpful to not just me but to anyone else out there who can identify with it. Because, as always, its good to know that you're not alone, Dear Readers.


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