Give a Little and Fear a Little Less

Q: I’ve dated 20 guys in the last year since I’ve broken it off with my ex of 4 years. Before that I was in 2 other relationships for a few years. I used to always thinking I was a relationship kind of girl. But now that I’m trying to settle down with #20, I’m beginning to realize that I was only a relationship girl because of the companionship. Now that I’m with #20, I see how terrible my relationship skills are. I’ve been dating #20 for 6 months now and I’ve already tried to call it off twice but we ended up getting together again. When we have disagreements or something bothers me, I have a hard time letting it go and just get scared of getting hurt. The other day he mentioned that my best friend was cute and I just shut down. I told him the next day I didn’t want to continue talking anymore. A few weeks after that, I contacted him and we started talking again. We just picked up where we left off. And now we’re past the million cutoffs stage of the relationship. And today he commented on how he’d like to see me dress up more. I felt rejected again and now here I am. I mean, if he really wanted me, then he’d take me as I am, right? And the other day he told me I’m stubborn and don’t listen. Again, my feelings were hurt. I mean, I’m a very independent girl with a 6 figure salary and have learned to get what I want. I’m a fighter by nature. But, I don’t want to take his advice, why should I? How in the world am I supposed to sustain this relationship when I keep getting my feelings hurt?

A: Wow, 20, really? In one year? Are you speed dating or what? I would say that’s p-i-m-p not so much as it is dating. Hey, that’s a good thing. If you can pimp, rock on. Everybody may not admit it, but to some degree, everyone has an admiration, almost envy of a pimp. I mean, from time to time, at some point in everybody’s life, getting the opposite sex’s attention is flattering. And being the pimp that you are, I’m sure you get that attention when you want from whoever you can. Enjoy it while it lasts, cause it will get old. And it sounds like it’s getting to that point for you. But although you may earned the crown for being pimp of speed dating, you need a whole other set of skills for where you’re trying to go. #20 has got you ringed in, but in order to stay there, you’re going to have to wise up and tighten ship on those relationship skills. And you need do it quickly, otherwise you’ll sink faster than the Titanic. You can’t speed off now, well, that is only if you want to lose your great catch. Here’s a few pointers.

1. Neither you nor he is perfect

That’s right, I said it. I’m not either, so don’t worry, nobody’s pointing fingers here. In fact, I’ll repeat it. Neither you nor he is perfect. You think you know, but you don’t really know. I say that because if you did know, you wouldn’t run like you do. Yeah, what you do isn’t cutting things off, it’s running away when the tough stuff comes. But, back to being perfect or not perfect, however you see it. He will hurt you. He will. It’s inevitable. Hurt, it’s there and will always be there. He’s human, superman is a fictious character. He doesn’t know everything about you and thereby he’s not always going to know what to say or what not to say to keep from hurting you. It will happen, you have to accept that reality. Otherwise, you’ll keep going through life as you have from relationship to relationship looking for something that doesn’t exist.

2. Guys are visual

Yes, indeed they are very different creatures than us women. Not bad, but different. It’s the way they’re built. They see something, they like it, and they get excited physically! Us ladies on the other hand, we see something, we like it, and then we wonder when we’re going to marry it. A little bit of an exaggeration, but my point is that they like to feast their eyes on beauty. That’s where there’s a term, ‘trophy wife’. Guys are competitive, it’s in their nature. If you’re their girl, they want to show you off (if they really like you) and say ‘look at my woman, isn’t she hot, but too bad fellas, she’s mine’. And then ‘you can’t have her’. He wants you to be the prettiest little you there is. I mean, if your man was looking a little fruffy, you’d want him to comb his hair or put on deodorant or iron his shirt. Whether you know it or not, you’re on show every time you step out with him. And you best believe if he’s looking suave, then his pretty little momma best look like a million bucks. If the guy didn’t like the way you look, he’d be gone. Period. But, he’s still there, especially after your ‘cutoffs’. In fact, he wouldn’t have ever talked to you in the first place. Be confident and secure in who you are. A little feedback never hurt anyone. And why not look your best? If you got it, flaunt it, accent it, and work it. We all could use improvements. Toughen up that skin girl.

3. Independent girls will stay independent if they don’t learn to be interdependent

Oh yeah, being independent is great to a degree. And if you’re too independent, you’ll find yourself single the rest of your life. Why? Because relationships aren’t about each person asserting their independence to be a ‘fighter’ to get what they want. You’re not in a boxing match woman, you’re in a relationship. A place where you’re supposed to learn to trust, feel secure, and build something together. You don’t have to lose your identity or become dependent on the guy. But you do have to learn to play nice, which means learning to listen. And by learning to listen I don’t mean using your ears. I mean using your heart to understand what he’s telling you about what matters to him and respecting what he has to say. You gotta hear the guy out. You’re with him cause he matters to you, so take it a step further and give him the respect to listen to his ideas, opinions, and concerns. If you listen closely, you may learn to hear that he’s most likely not saying he’s trying to hurt you. And, being stubborn, I mean, you’re stubborn enough to believe that you’re not stubborn. I mean, I’m taking him at face value, I don’t know what else is going on in the dynamic of you two. But if you are stubborn, well, you got to pick the pouty lip up and know that you’re not always going to be right. And it’s okay to compromise and let him have his way too.

In the boxing ring, your fighting spirit will give you a win after 12 rounds (maybe less if you’re a killah). But you’ll leave your opponent in the dust. Yeah, you win in the sport of boxing, but that won’t get you far in the game of love. Give a little, love a little, listen a little, be scared a little less, fight a little less, and maybe you’ll find the fountain of youth that so many others have found–the fountain of love. It’s not a bad place, but it’s hidden. It will take a lot of hard work to find, but when you find it, you’ll find a rich source to renew you day in and day out.

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