Tuesday, July 14, 2015

On Broken Relationships and Blessings in Disguise

"Single"-- that's how I would describe all of my teen years and every single day of my 20's; I couldn't get a boyfriend to save my life. "What's wrong with me?" I thought. "I am not butt ugly; I can be funny (sometimes), I take care of myself and have good hygiene. I love the Lord and am trying to walk in obedience-- I just don't get it." And truly, I didn't. And sometimes, I still don't understand why I had that very long season of life.

However, I realize that what I thought was a curse for so many years of my life has really been one of the greatest blessings I could have been given. Sure, I dated the occassional guy who asked me out. I even got really close to being in a relatinoship with someone. His name was Nick, and he played the guitar, the piano, and led worship. Dreamy! But honestly, I wasn't super attracted to Nick. I just was kind of chasing it because I wanted a boyfriend, and on paper we were a good match. But Nick was apparently not really attracted to me either, and he told me so using excuses like "You're too good for me" and "I would feel so guilty dating you" when what he really should have said was, "I like your hot blonde friend, and I'm going to go for her." But Nick didn't tell me that;  I figured it out when my hot blonde friend came to me confused about why Nick tried to kiss her. Needless to say, that relationship plane kind of nose dived before it was even 10 feet off the ground.

At the time, I was so hurt because I didn't understand what my friend had that I didn't have. Why wasn't Nick attracted to me? This painful "almost relationship" kind of stuck with me through the better part of my 20's. I was suspicious of all guys and eventually kind of gave up hope that any guy would actually go for me.  After all, having good hygiene and being funny (sometimes) does not automatically make you a top pick.

The rest of my 20's was pretty dry after Nick, and it wasn't until I was nearly 30 that I actually had any other dates to speak of. I went on "dates," if you could call them that, with 2 different guys.  One guy was 2 hours late for coffee and told me on the first date that he didn't want anything serious but would be okay if we "made out sometimes." Ah guys-- please don't ever say this to a girl on your first date!

The other gentlemen told me that he didn't go on "dates" and then proceeded to pay for my meal and concert all while divulging way too much information about his past relationships only to end the evening by telling me that he didn't think our relationship would end in marriage. "Excuse me? -- I thought we were just hanging out. Why are you secretly vetting me for marriage?"

And so both of those dates fizzled very quickly.  I was bummed and wondering when I would ever meet someone to spend the rest of my life with, let alone make it past the first few dates.  But then along came Rob,  completely unexpected.  He walked into my life after work one day and hasn't walked out since. He was sincere, honest, and he had no problem asking me on a date and calling it that.  We went bowling and out for ice cream. On the drive home, he told me about his family and the delicious goat stew his mom prepared and that he was a huge Michael Jackson fan. And I breathed a sigh of relief-- this guy seems normal. Better than normal even. He seems cool!

And so I started dating Rob. We went on dates every week-end and made shy glances at each other at work. Rob sent me emails or texts me in the middle of the week; they were always very timely and sweet. I didn't know much about dating, but I had learned enough to know, Rob was into me. And I was slowly falling for him as well.

Rob has loved me so well that I can look back with relief and joy that things did not work out with Nick. I can laugh at the crazy dates I had with the guy who just wanted to make out sometimes (gross) or the  guy who told me I wasn't marriage material. At the time, I could only see my immediate frustration and I didn't understand why things weren't working out. I often felt forgotten by God and quite literally rejected by men. But if I had been in a relationship with either of those guys, then I wouldn't have been available when Rob came along. Furthermore, there likely would have been some messy break-ups in between.  No, God knew what he was doing all along, and I am so thankful that it was His plan and not mine that worked out.

    "If you want to Love Someone" by Jason Gray



Kristin said...

We are so hard on ourselves! Being single can be tough, especially in high school or the 20's because of peer pressure and worrying what our friends are doing. Sounds like you found a keeper!!

Portia said...

I agree with you Kristin-- we set the expectations very high for ourselves. Coming from a small, Midwest town, it was the norm for people to either marry their High School sweetheart or find someone in college. Since I didn't fit within that expectation, I felt like I was a broken model.

Rachel Addington said...

Wonderful, true story!

I like Rob. I wish the four of us could hang out and be friends.

Portia said...

Rachel-- I wish the four of us could hang out too!