I’ve been stuck in a relationship pattern for quite some time. My children tell me over and over again that I don’t need another “project” and time and time again, I do exactly the opposite of what I know is best, and let yet another “project” man into my life.
This is a pattern I must quit, and a pattern I must obliterate, so I never fall into it again. In order to do that, I am going to have to go at the source of why I do this. I have a couple of inklings, but I haven’t quite connected the dots. I am hoping this journey will help.
I often claim I don’t have a “type” but I do. In my ideal world, where I get what I want, my ideal man is tall, over 6 ft, strongly built, but not “Mr. Universe” built, but strength is certainly desired. I like dark hair and dark eyes. A man who does not always need to hear himself talk, but is capable of interesting and intelligent conversation. A man who loves books, and is always wanting to learn new things. A man who will read to me; travel with me. I would love to be with a man who is musical and will sing to me or play music for me. My ideal man would have a great capacity for kindness and would be generous with his time. He would have a good job, and have drive, and be completely capable of taking care of himself without feeling the need to make me his lesser partner.
My ideal, has always seemed out of reach. I’ve had men in my life that have had one or two of the qualities I desire, but rarely have I known anyone to possess more than a couple. Believing that my ideal, was the impossible, I learned to never even allow myself to hope for it. When someone would ask me what my type was, I would always say that I didn’t have one. I can see now what a cop-out that was.
I reached an epiphany a few months ago, that my life, up to this point has always been better and more fulfilling when I was on my own. Even when I was a single mother receiving little help. It was hard, but I managed and was able to make things work. It wasn’t ideal, but I got used to it. In reflection, I realized that not one man in my life left my life in better shape than when he entered it.
Whether it was emotional, financial, or physical, I have always felt diminished in my romantic relationships with men. So a few months ago, I decided that once I was free of my current situation, I would never again even think about dating another man. I don’t trust myself anymore. I recognize that I put myself and my sense of self worth in the hands of men who will not only take advantage of it, but diminish it further.
I have long known of two voices in my head that play into the choices I make. I don’t think that they are at the core though, because, even though I have unearthed them and called them out, my tendencies keep repeating, So I think there is something else that I am missing.
Here’s what I do know. My father repeated often in my teen years, that my worth lie only in the fact that I was skinny, a boy at his work would marry me, but I ‘d have to stay skinny; that I better get married early, because I would run out of chances. He also pointed out when I was about 12 or 13 that when I got knocked up, he and my mom would take care of the baby. Hence, I was rape material, but barely marriage material, and certainly not devoted love material. My brother told me that the reason no one dated me in high school was because I thought I was superior, and boys were scared of me: a message that I should lower my standards and not expect too much. He repeated that same garbage to a man I was engaged to in my 40s.
From my perspective, I didn’t have many dates in high school because I was too naive, and wholly unattractive. I wasn’t suffering from a superiority complex, my feelings about myself were quite the opposite. I had a LOT of male friends, and they all shared all their broken-heart stories with me, asked my advise, and called me “little sister”. I think I learned early on that my only desirable trait was being a helpful, eager counselor.
So, for most of my life, I liked men who liked me. I have repeated a pattern of dating men, who I didn’t find particularly physically attractive, telling myself that it didn’t matter, and basing my attractions on them having, or appearing to have one or two of my other desired traits.
Overwhelming the traits they all possessed were that they were needy, weak, angry, cruel, narcissistic, and wholly eager to take advantage of my kindness, until I couldn’t give any more, and then they became verbally and emotionally abusive.
So, here I am. Trying to get to a place where I remove the log from my eye and finally see how I got here and figure out how to release myself from this pattern and create a new life, that serves my purpose in this life. Not someone else’s purpose, but my own.