“Celebrating 23 years of dating”, with a restorative justice perspective. Part 1.

Image from http://torontospeeddate.com

A speakers introduction included information that he was “celebrating 33 years of marriage”.  Just before that part, I was imagining myself as the speaker and what would be said about me.

If it were my speaker intro, it would include . . . celebrating 23 years of dating.  I started to grin, thinking of all the fun I’ve had in the last 23 years.  I thought briefly of being married 33 years, and all the knowledge and experience that would bring.  I decided I probably had a lot of my own knowledge and experience.  So I decided to blog about the 23 years and I came up with these 7 restorative angles at dating!

1.) Keep your eyes open.  Falling in love is exciting.  The rush caused me to often see men as holding qualities I wanted them to have.  I saw the evidence I wanted in who they were.  Keep your eyes open for who the whole partner is, be 2.)Patient and allow time to show you how your date treats the waitress or when life is frustrating.  Be patient and let your relationship grow don’t push it before you are both sure of what you have and where you would like to take it.

3.)Allow Love In. He was tall, handsome, strong and willing to be in my life.  I took my 1-year-old to his flag football game, I remember seeing him scooping her up and placing her on his shoulders.  The football field lights were on and the evening air was crisp.  It was a romantic setting.  This guy was ready to have a family and make a life with me.  I couldn’t take that.  I went with the ‘bad boy’.  Fear of love is weakness.  Running from intimacy is being chicken.  Deal with your issues.  I should have done that long before passing on men that were in love with me, just because I was afraid.

4.) Let the airline lose your luggage.  Life gives you ‘baggage’.  It’s best to keep it at a carry-on – rather than a full 5-piece set.  What if you just lost all that baggage?  What if the airline did it.  Sure your mad at first, but you get new ‘stuff’.  I’m not saying you go get a new set of ‘baggage/issues’, I’m saying you just let them go.

5.)Get better, be better Some dating self-help book cemented this in my head – trade up when dating.  The comparison was made regarding cars.  That people have a tendency to drive better cars at 30 than they did at 18.  As you move ahead in life, you can afford a better car, maybe you mature and take better care of it.  That made perfect sense to me!  Another ex-boyfriend explained it with fish, he said you don’t date carp when you are a trout.  He would label people as trout or carp.  Do you need more explanation about why he’s an ex (just kidding).  Actually, it wasn’t until he called some people we knew “bottom-feeders” that I realized he was too judgemental for me!  The point of 5 . . . grow with each new relationship.  Leave bad habits behind, heal yourself between relationships, and start new with each relationship as a better, and better person.  (Full disclosure:  this list is easier to tell you that to actually do!)

6.)Don’t keep going back I’m a relationship “recycler”.  I have been for years.  Its been one of the things I have wanted to leave behind, (see #5).  It started when I was a freak about committment.  I would run, he would want me back.  We’d get back, I would run.  This was 10 years ago.  I just did it again, broke up for 6 months, went back.  Broke up again.  See tip #2 Patience.  Wade in slowly, very slowly.  You know what you know, and a quote I used to have hanging close by and I need to post again:  When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.

7.)Hold your boundaries the creation of your “must have’s and can’t stand” list, is really important.  Don’t be so rigid you pass on a great person, but its important to know what is going to fit for you.  I am too sensitive, I can’t take a ‘meanie’.  When in a relationship I need our emotional temperature to be ‘cool’ or in good standing.  Isolation and ignoring really hurt me deeply.  Hearing “I love you” a lot, well that fits for me.  I still get weak in the knees when I think of my Latino lover, his deep brown eyes and intense way of looking deep into my soul.  Yet, we had to be done, he was a cheater.  Once I dated a guy who really just ‘went along’ regarding his career.  He wasn’t driven, motivated or concerned with professional life, he wasn’t for me.  I like men that have a purposeful drive in life.

The other boundary to hold, is remembering where your relationship is really at.  I have such an imagination, I’ve met match.com dates for coffee and left imagining my engagement ring.  One time I even got engaged and moved in, after 3 months of dating.  I then had to email my coworkers:  “Prince Charming is now Mr. Alarming”, I moved out without fully moving in!

See Part II for the restorative angles!

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