Thank God I can read. I am reading a wonderful little book called A Fine Romance, The passage of Courtship from Meeting to Marriage.  This book was written in the 80s, but it’s quite motivating. It describes how we experience life and relationships. 

Everything that is important takes work.  Your career, growing your money, your health, getting in shape, it all takes work. The book explains that you are conscious of all the work life takes, but are not aware of how much work it takes to be in a successful relationship. 

The writer is bloody right. When it comes to matters of the heart, I personally want my relationships to be thunder bolts and lightening.  I want it to be like a fantasy that happens in a Lifetime movie. My lover plants a gentle kiss on my mouth and my eyes shut and next minute, life cuts to me being married, living in the perfect house with the perfect life. The end.  Yeah!  Wake up.  Duh!  None of this is going to happen unless I work at it. 

Relationships takes work because the dating process takes effort. It is not just one step. You have to go through many steps: the dating process, the courting process, getting to know each other, being present with your feelings, thoughts and everything else in between.  Being confident enough go through the process of creating of partnership without getting aggravated requires you to discover what you really want in a relationship. In order to do that, you need to monitor your own behaviors.

What I discovered is there is a challenging universal structure to courtship.  In a nutshell, there are many experiences that can occur. You may one day feel ambivalent or you may have deaf stops where you only hear your own thoughts and ignore anything anyone else has to say. You also have the challenge of dealing with your own personal theories, worries, limiting beliefs and triggers, as well as a list of what your partner should and should not do. There are dramas within ourselves which relate to a complicated array of drives, feelings, expectations and assumptions. Each one determining our individual responses to love and relationships. All along the way, your self-esteem gets battered and bruised. Your confidence gets shattered and you wind up swimming in a world of unhappiness. Your feel like you are glowing one moment while in the next, you feel like an abandoned baby on the steps of a local church, not knowing what the hell happened.   

At times you feel ambivalent. One minute you dig the person and the next minute you wonder what you ever saw in them. Then back again.  Either you’re dumped or you’re dumping them out of exasperation and frustration.  One of the things to be excited about and to know is this is all a part of the relationship experience. It is normal. The important thing to remember is to build a solid foundation within yourself that is separate from the relationship. This will allow you to be like a rock that won’t be swayed by every step of the courting process. If not,  the fears of your past relationships will leach into your new relationships, whether your aware of it or not.

I had the liberty of dating a man I thought was wonderful. In the end, we did not work out. The main reason is because his old relationship filtered into my relationship with him. He may have left his last relationship but it did not leave him. How do I know that he did not truly get rid of his last relationship? He said he had the utmost disdain for his ex-live-in-girlfriend. As time went on, the same concerns and worries from his old relationship filtered into the relationship I was having with him. He had a fear of entrapment. His language was about me trapping him in a cage. He did not want to be in that same type of situation again so all relationships were scary to him. There was no opportunity for me in our relationship as his unconscious behavior made him behave as though all relationships were going to end in the same way. 

The book describes this as the fear of entrapment.  I made his anxiety worse. He feared being locked in an emotional cage. He thought when he was with a woman, he’d lose his freedom.  No matter what I said, it made no real difference.  It was over before it was even allowed to begin.

I could have felt bad about it. I could have blamed myself. But because of a healthy amount of confidence and self-esteem, I know that the end of our relationship does not mark me as a failure or a bad person. I know I can give and receive love. The end of a relationship is not a rejection of me and my worth as a person. It is not personal. It is a personal relationship but the behavior is not personal. The thing that is personal is the love I share in any relationship which I will continue to give freely.

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