Thursday, April 2, 2015

Breaking News:


Breaking News:

Eden is a serial dater.

This message has been brought to you by blogland.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Er...reading.

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Hey! Have you guys heard the news? I'm a serial dater. Yup. So says a lot of people apparently. I'm cool with it though, because it's probably actually true.


BUT EDEN THAT'S ACTUALLY KIND OF REPULSIVE, NO ONE LIKES A SERIAL DATER.

Ok, so then don't date me. Problem solved! 

I do date a lot, don't I? I'm a pretty forward person and I'll ask just about anyone for their number (that's how I hooked my platonic husband you know. We had not had more than two one minute long conversations ever and I was all "you are going dancing with me!" and because she is exactly my kind of crazy she was all "yay!!").

But really though, if I talk to you once, I'm probably going to make you my friend, so if you don't want a crazy friend, then don't talk to me! But anyways, yes, so I date a lot of people because that tends to be how men and women do things around these parts when numbers are exchanged.

I was really surprised when I broke up with Philosophy Guy by how many emails I received on the topic of dating which is funny because many of you are under the impression that I'm doing it all wrong. The questions covered every dating subject under the sun but many revolved around the question "how do I know when I'm ready to date again?"

Now that's a hard question for me to answer because there really is no right or wrong time, it all comes down to when is it the right time for you? I can't say "wait three months and then you should be good to go," because every person is different.

There are however, a few guidelines that you can follow.

I have a very dear single mom friend whom I love to death. She is one of my best friends and I want nothing but the best for her, yet the way she dates just kills me. She goes from intense relationship to intense relationship and each time the relationship ends, she walks away a little less than who she used to be. A week will not even have passed before she will be in another intense relationship where she is planning out her entire future with the guy and having her daughter call him daddy. Inevitably a couple months later it will end in a fiery explosion.

During the course of these relationships I will watch her move her boundary lines in which ever direction is needed to accommodate the relationship while she is constantly setting aside what she needs in order to give her partner what he wants. At one point she was dating an alcoholic who "wasn't that bad except on the weekends," and another time it was a guy who was thinking of becoming female "but probably wasn't going to have surgery so I think it should be ok" (nothing wrong with that, but she isn't attracted to women). I love this girl, she is awesome, but she deserves better than what she is putting herself through.

I mean I'm in no position to judge her because I am somewhat of a mess myself, but that is probably what I might consider "not the most effective way to date."

So then, how do you know when you are ready to date? 

Well for starters I think it's important that you be able to answer these five questions first.


#1 Do You Know Yourself?

This seems so obvious, but for many people it's not something we even realize that we don't know; ourselves. Our lives are so entangled with those of our family, friends, and coworkers that our feelings, dreams, likes, dislikes, wants, and needs become enmeshed with those of the people around us. Do you know who you are apart from other people? Do you know what you want? Do you know what you need?

This was a hard one for me. Coming from an abusive relationship I didn't know what I wanted or needed, only what I was told I did, and because of that I jumped right into another really bad relationship right after my divorce. When that ended in it's own version of a fiery explosion, I realized that what I needed most was not a relationship, but to get to know me before I could get to know someone else.

#2 Would You Be Ok Being Alone Forever?

If you believed you were actually starving to death right this minute, you would not blink twice before you ate an old nasty sandwich instead of waiting around for someone to serve you a steak. Unfortunately for many people they confuse necessity with luxury when it comes to relationships. No one needs a relationship, at least you shouldn't. It is not the job of your partner to be all the parts of you that you can't be for yourself. Not only is that way too much pressure for them, but it creates an unhealthy level of dependence for you. If you truly don't think that you can survive without someone by your side, you will undoubtedly settle for less than what you actually deserve because you will be too scared to wait for something better. This lesson probably took me the longest to learn because society has set the expectation that people will couple up and live out their lives in relationship happiness. I went from relationship, to marriage, to relationship desperate to find someone to be with and each one ended more disastrous than the last.

I learned a lot during my "alone" year. I learned to be a complete person on my own, that I didn't need another person to complete me. Not only did I learn that I was capable of a lot more than I thought I was, but I learned that any relationship I was willing to take on would be for luxury purposes, not out of necessity. Only when you realize that a relationship is to compliment your life rather than complete it, are you really ready.

#3 Do You Know The Limit To What You Can Offer?

I spent years giving away parts of myself that I shouldn't have. In my marriage and the relationships immediately after I gave my partners anything they needed from me, things that I honestly couldn't afford to give them, things I wasn't able to live without. With each relationship I lost parts of myself, parts that I'll never get back.

Before getting into any relationship you need to know where your boundary lines are. You need to know how much you can give, what you are willing to give, and when you need to say "no." If you don't figure this out before you get into a relationship, there is a good chance that you might not be able to make the best choices for yourself when push comes to shove and your emotions cloud your logical thinking. If you give too much away, you will lose who you were meant to be, so until you know your limits, it's probably not the best idea to let someone else decide for you.

#4 Can You Stand Up For Yourself?

Now that last point is great, but only if coupled with this point. You need to know what you want, deserve, and expect to get, but then you also need to be able to stand up for those wants and needs! If you find yourself feeling as though you are being walked on in your friendships, career, and prior relationships, then spend a little time learning how to fight for what you want/need before you decide to share your life with someone else. If you can't advocate for yourself, then your partner may unintentionally (or intentionally) spend your relationship getting everything he wants/needs and that would not make it a very productive relationship for you.

#5 Can You Handle A Break-Up?

Relationships end, they just do. There wouldn't be so many songs about heartbreak if we all couldn't relate to how much it sucks! The thing is, if at the end of each relationship you feel absolutely destroyed, it might be time to take a break from dating. The thing about past relationships is that we should be able to learn from them and grow as people. It's natural to cycle through a few before finding one that sticks, but if they are ending in explosive and harmful ways that leave you depressed and hurt for weeks on end, something is not right. And in turn, if you are leaving destruction in your wake for the people you date, it's time to stop and reevaluate what you are doing.

So how am I different than the friend I told you about earlier? Because the relationships I'm cycling through have been pleasant. They haven't been right for me and they hurt when they ended, but they didn't destroy me or the person I was with. I didn't give away pieces that I can't get back, I wasn't left depressed for weeks when it ended, and most importantly I wasn't in a rush to fill an open slot as soon as he walked out the door.

Am I doing it right? Who knows, but at least so far I don't feel like I'm going about it wrong.

With each relationship I've had, I proceed with caution. I'm protecting my heart but taking calculated risks in order to grow as a person. While it may appear that I'm jumping from man to man, the truth of the matter is simply that I really am just a people person. I'm guarding my heart, not willing to share my body, and keeping my priorities in view. I go into it knowing what I am able and willing to offer and I haven't been pulled across my boundary lines yet. I take my time to get to know the other person while keeping the communication as open as I can. As I get to know them, I'm also learning about myself, and when the relationships have ended  (with the exception of Piano Man not my fault) they have ended respectfully and civilly. I can honestly say that I have learned an immense amount from each one and I don't regret having any of them. While there has been heartache, it's not destroying me. Furthermore, when the men have left my life and taken their companionship, they haven't taken any of me with them. I don't feel the need to suddenly fill the absence of their presence, I really am fine being uncoupled, I just enjoy getting to know people and along with my ever growing group of female friends, there are bound to be men I will date and if that dude actually never appears, well then so be it.

But finding out if you are ready to date is really only half the battle because what happens once you are in a relationship? How will you know if it's the right relationship for you? Stay tuned for part 2 next week!!

(Also before I go, what do you think of the new blog design? I thought it needed a little cheering up around here!)


If You Liked This, Read This!

"Another Few Bite The Dust"

Photo Credit numbers sign
Photo Credit Guy

35 comments:

  1. Excellent advice, Eden! I would have saved myself and a number of women a certain amount of heartache if I had asked myself some of these questions when I was a young man.

    One question I have on your list is about #3, where you talk about having given away parts of yourself that you cannot ever get back. Short of giving away an internal organ, like a kidney, I'm not clear on what something like that would be. Everything I can think of that you could give away in a relationship is something you could eventually recover, given enough time. I'm a big believer in the possibility that redemption is available to any of us, at any time. So even if you gave away something like your self respect, or crossed some personal boundary, it seems like eventually you could regain these things.

    I would hate for someone to think that they were beyond redemption, even if they had made a lot of really bad relationship decisions. Tomorrow is always a new day, with the opportunity to grow into a new, better, person.

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    1. I do think that in some instances you give away things you can't get back. You give away your innocence, your ability to trust easily, parts of your body you wished you hadn't shared, and the list goes on. Nothing is irreparable, but some things you simply can't get back. You may learn to manage them, trust easier, relax a bit, but no, I don't think you can always get everything back and for larger things, it's a slippery slope where your chances of "a full recovery" get smaller and smaller.

      But with that being said, this whole blog is about emotional redemption so I would never say all is lost :)

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    2. Depends on how you look at the things that happened in your life.

      Is that really "giving away" things though? What you described sounds like learning experiences i.e. you're not losing a part of you, you're gaining new skills

      eg "losing your innocence" = gaining a more realistic perspective by realizing everything isn't sunshine and rainbows

      "losing your ability to trust easily" = gaining the ability to spot abusers and people who take liberties with your good nature

      "losing parts of your body you wish you hadn't shared" = learning about your body and knowing what you like, what satisfies you etc. This of course applies to (consensual) sex not rape.

      Sex with a virgin sucks, they don't know what they want or what they're doing. Best sex I've had is with a girl who knows what she likes and isn't afraid to let me know about it lol


      And about faith in people/relationships: you can gain that back when you meet a guy that actually gives a fuck about you, doesn't beat you, doesn't emotionally torture you, doesn't rape you, doesn't run for the hills when he realizes that he has to 100% accept your kids etc etc.

      Most guys don't do that stupid shit, but it's not enough for someone to tell you that, you need to experience the love and compassion of an actual male firsthand.

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  2. Oh, and I like the new design. Very easy to read!

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    1. Thanks! I woke up this morning and the colors were like, BLINDING, so I think I'm going to play around with it some more. I really need to get a custom header made, like the title and a logo, but that will just be added to the list of everything else I need to do haha.

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  3. I have to say, I don't really like the blog design. It just looks like things were mashed together willy-nilly. The fonts are very conflicting and they clash.

    And the chevron background! I'm blind!
    Just kidding. :)

    But if you like it, it's your blog, Eden!

    Also, a question: how do you handle the emotional stress of loving somebody who dates in such self-destructive ways? My best friend is self-destructive and it honestly kills me. I've even considered ending the friendship completely so that I don't have to watch her become an alcoholic drug & sex addict. How do I stop letting it affect me so much?

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    1. Ha, I woke up this morning, looked at the yellow and was like AHHH. TOO BRIGHT! It definitely looked different this morning than it did at midnight...

      I'm going to be playing around with it over the next week or so, so keep your suggestions coming! The layout itself is the same as it was before, and it will probably have to stay that was only bc I do have so many things that I need to get on the page.

      Unfortunately as I've learned, there isn't much you can do when it comes to destructive friends dating. It comes back to the post "some people have to learn the hardway." You can offer gentle advice when asked, have an "i love you and this is why Im worried conversation," but you cannot force and you cannot be outright judgmental. It just doesn't work and will only push her away :( It's a tough spot to be in for sure, so make sure you don't let yourself get taken away with her problems. Set boundaries on how much you are willing and able to offer, and don't go beyone them. If you haven't read the post I just referenced, check it out. I don't know why links don't work in comments just just google the blog name and the post title and it should come up.

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  4. Your friend sounds like she might be a dangerous mother to be around. (I know of another woman who cycled through intense relationships, who had also dated a transvestite. She was a bit crazy and an abusive parent.) Is anyone checking up on her kid?

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    1. She is an amazing mother. While I absolutely hate the way she dates and I would be lying if I said I hadn't also expressed concern for her daughters views on this situation, she is far from what anyone would call abusive. She dates, A LOT, and while that many relationships are not good for her daughter, she does always put her daughter first (which is sometimes the reason they end so quickly). Parents all over the world are struggling with different issues that will undoubtedly effect their kids, but it doesn't make them unfit parents.

      Trust me, I hope she is able to recognize and work through her issues soon, not only for her sake but also her daughters, but in the meantime her daughter couldn't be anymore loved :)

      I appreciate your concern though!

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  5. New dress on the blog!! I like the fonts, and the background....But I personally prefer a bit more contrast. Still, like the above said...Your blog! It's not like I'm not gonna read it or something.

    Now on to more serious things. THIS POST IS AMAZING. I absolutely and wholeheartedly agree with each one of the questions you pose. I'm going through my alone time myself, and I've thought long and hard and carefully about each of those things. I think they are really the keys to finding happiness with anyone else.

    I did like Stephen's question, though. I'd be curious to hear your response.

    As always....HUGS!

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    1. Haha, ok so I have one vote for too bright and one for too bland. You guys aren't making this easy on me.

      I posted my response above!

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  6. The page looks great. There are some color schemes and designs that seem to encourage readers to stick around and read on, and this is definitely like that.

    People seem to feel compelled to be in a relationship. I do not, and it feels like there's nothing wrong with that. Maybe someday...

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    1. Thanks!!

      And there is nothing wrong with being an awesome party of one. :) Sometimes you are just so amazing that you don't need anyone else! Haha!

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  7. I am OK with the new design but I think some tweaking will make it work better. Real helpful there I know! Ha! I haven't commented in a while and do not want to bring up negativity here - since it seems to be popping up everywhere - but just wanted to say that it was nice to read this positive and wise post - this is what I consider your normal outlook to be like, Eden, and I am glad to hear this voice.

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    1. Yes, lots of tweaking to do!! It's like when you move into a house and have to keep rearranging the furniture until it looks *just* right. :)

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post and I loved reading your sweet words. Thank you :)

      Also glad to know you are still here!

      *hugs*

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  8. I am one who went from one abusive relationship to another. I was 42 and had been married 6 times. Each one took more and more of me. It is so very sad. I am now 55 now I and have remained single and do not date anyone. I still can not trust myself and fully believe my picker is permanently broken. I live in fear from the last marriage as he tried to kill me and still might if he was to find me. I would love to think that a total recovery was possible but it has not happened as of yet. I am so happy to have found your blog. It has really helped me in more ways then you could ever imagine! Thank you so very much Eden for sharing your life with us. The Lord is using your life experience to help others so it was not for nothing! - Michele

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    1. Aw girly, I wish I could give you a big hug right now. I'm so sorry that you've had such a rough time in the relationship world. The fact that you can acknowledge that you aren't good at picking the right men is a HUGE step, I'm so proud of you!! I'm not sure if a total recovery is possible, only because I think we are all a little bit changed by our past circumstances, but "normal" comes in so many beautiful forms that I'll settle for happy and safe, and I wish the same for you :)

      *Big hugs!!*

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    2. Thank you so much for helping me to see that I have made a little progress. I too wish that we could be friends but I understand the need for anonymous names so much more then I would like to admit! I know that I will never be in another relationship and have made peace with that decision about 8 years ago. I am more then okay with being alone and truly feel like the worst feeling in the world is being somewhere you are not welcomed! My life has been feeling that way for way to long and I will never go through it again! Your Internet Wing Sister! Michele

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    3. You are very right, I would rather be alone than with someone and hurt. Feel free to email me anytime, I have lots of friends from this blog, we can chat anytime :)

      Don't ever forget how much progress you've made. You aren't where you were and that is not to be discounted!!

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  9. I don't have much to say about dating, since I can count the number of people I've dated on one hand, but I do like the new blog layout :)

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    1. How funny, and thanks!! I need to get a header made. Anyone have any recommendations on how to get a design made?

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  10. I liked your old blog design! Red reminded me of passion, fire, shame like your title, and love. Change is good though!

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    1. Aw thanks, that's pretty much what I was going for before lol! Glad it came across that way!! I'm still working on it, this will definitely be a work in progress and I'm thankful for all your input!! Keep it coming!

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  11. To anonymous above me, I agree about the old colors! I liked the old design better than this one, but Blogger offers a variety of attractive templates and advanced customizations. Eden, do you know how to get into Blogger's Template options and Advanced customizations? There are many template designs and customizable colors, backgrounds, and fonts to choose from. I don't think you need a header specially designed for you, you just need a different template design, complemented by advanced customizations which Blogger has built in. I have to give a thumbs down to this one, (sorry) but if you need help with Blogger how-to's just holler.

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    1. I replied to your lower post before this one, so look there first :)

      Yes, this is a custom template so I have the ability to change quit a bit, I'm just not sure I know what I'm aiming for yet!!

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  12. You need a warm color palette for your blog for reasons Anonymous above me mentioned. This one is cold in background design and colors, which doesn't seem to suit your message. Don't be mad. You asked and these colors you have now are from the cold color palette. :-)

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    1. No not mad at all!! I WANT your opinions! I was starting to feel like my old blog design was... heavy. Like it didn't reflect the humor and light heartedness, just the abuse. I think of red when I think abuse, so I was trying to get away from that a bit but maybe I went to "cool."

      Back to the drawing board ;)

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  13. I guess it's also important to ask what you want out of dating. Is it more casual ie for hookups, is it just to socialize and meet interesting people or is it something that could lead to a long-term relationship/building a new family for yourself and your kids?

    Can't just presume all single moms want a new daddy for their kids, some just need a sexual outlet like all human beings do.


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    1. True, but I think many of these questions can be applied to each dating scenerio also. Even just flings tend to have emotions involved for a lot of women. If the self esteem and solid foundation of self isn't there, you are much more likely to fall prey to a negative situation, ya know?

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  14. Sister in ChristApril 5, 2015 at 5:48 AM

    Hi Eden,

    I feel abnormal most of the time because I have never dated anyone within my two+ decades of living on planet Earth.
    I know why, though -- it's because I have a fear of men. Even sitting next to a stranger can be a anxiety-inducing situation because my assumption that the person is male - scares me. Most of the time, however, the stranger turns out to be a female and I realize how scarred my mind is. Last year I finally told myself I would allow myself to fall in love, and though it hasn't happened yet, I'm really excited (for once)!

    It doesn't help that I'm pretty much oblivious to when someone is flirting with me...but my obliviousness has helped me from being lured into the trap of being used by players (haha).

    stranger that I don't want to date: so, can I get your number?
    me: sure! let's call each other! we're friends now!!

    Yea, just some personal insight into my life. I still feel like a lemon among roses, but that is just the brainwashing we all go through (in society) roaring its ugly head.

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    1. Sister in ChristApril 5, 2015 at 6:07 AM

      For clarification purposes, "stranger that I don't want to date" is the equivalent of "guy I thought just wanted to be my friend" LOLS

      p.s. this was intended to be a reply, but somehow turned into a new comment. I remember pressing the "reply" button, so I'm somewhat confused. lol! xD

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  15. Sister in ChristApril 5, 2015 at 6:03 AM

    For clarification purposes, "stranger that I don't want to date" is the equivalent of "guy I thought just wanted to be my friend" LOLS

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  16. robert fulghrum (of everything I need to know, i learned in kindergarten fame) says in his book "true love" states in the preface that, "all love ends in pain, either you break up or someone eventually dies".

    if you love, eventually you're going to hurt, its the price of admission.

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    1. Truth. But when that love is real, it's worth the bullshit that comes with it

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  17. Sister in ChristApril 7, 2015 at 2:10 AM

    I read your post in a jiffy last time, but I do like the new layout, btw! The last one was really great, too! The only recommendation is toning down the brightness. You can also look into "transparency" options for customization, but I'm not sure if blogspot allows that type of option.

    Good luck and go with whatever is comfy to you!! :)

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