As the new year rolled in, the first thought that went through my head was “please, let the year bring closure”. Last year was all about endings, but most of them were still in transition, not yet finalised or closed. The biggest one? My divorce.
Although the process only formally started a few months ago, we have been separated for a year now. A year during which I have had to really assess my situation and the person I was. It came with lots of discoveries, and with these discoveries more goodbyes. Goodbyes to practices, people, ideas, beliefs. More goodbyes than I have ever said in my entire life.
Now, after getting used to the idea that I was getting divorced (as well as wrestling with it from a religious standpoint – I am still very much pro-marriage!) I am starting to like the idea of getting back out there, into the dating world.
I assume it has changed a good deal since I left it almost 15 years ago, but I also hold on to the fact that love is still love, and a good healthy dose of curiosity can take you far.
Because I am now thinking of starting to date again (where I will find these prospective boyfriends, I am not sure) I want to share with you the 3 things I am looking for in a new relationship. If you have been hurt before, like me, then you know that opening yourself up again can be scary. Sometimes so scary that you would rather skip it altogether, or even more dangerously – fall back into old habits or patterns as a means of protecting yourself.
To keep this from happening, I have set 3 things that I want in a new relationship – note, not in a new man, but in the sharing that will happen between us. So, if this is true for him, it must be true for me. And it must come from a place of spontaneity, it must feel natural. The moment I need to force it or feel as if I need to fake any part of me, my life, or our relationship, I must head for the door:
Cheer me on
For me in the past, the first thing I always looked for was someone who could give me security. Mostly financial, but other ways of making me feel safe also fit the bill. This has NEVER worked, and it will also never work. I now know that my security is in God, and since my favourite book in the entire Bible is Jeremiah, let me share this verse with you:
“Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them an abundance of prosperity and security.”
Prosperity and security – not in man, but in God. Instead, I want a relationship where we cheer each other on, where we support and encourage the use of our God-given talents in order to provide for ourselves, our kids, and each other. To not stand in each other’s way, to rather provide a space where the other feel safe enough to dream big, to chase those dreams, and to celebrate the wins.
I have always been a strong woman. Not only strong but loud. Jovial, easy-going, a people-person. My marriage changed all of that. I became a recluse, someone who was scared to be seen or heard. Never again. I am praying for someone who will not only challenge me but be impressed with the outcome. Someone who will always see more in me than what I see, who will encourage me to dig deeper, grow more, be more. Whether that is in learning, in living, in how I exercise or move, how I treat my kids or others, I want a relationship that gets uncomfortable in the comfort zone. Life is glorious, and I want to live it with someone. Abundantly, loud, and big and colourful. No more being scared of being seen. And no more intimidation.
Above all else, cherish me. He should look after me like the gem I am because that is how I will treat him. Cherish doesn’t mean keep from harm, it means to show affection, to nurture, to cultivate. To me, it means to underscore the good, exalt the strengths, help to minimise the bad, and navigate the weaknesses. To walk beside me, sometimes lending a hand, other times giving a push, but never walking away. And never try to convince me that there are only one way and one map that we are allowed to follow. Be equal but not the same, and celebrate those differences.
I don’t think these things are too much to ask for, nor are they too difficult or rare to find. I think if you value yourself, you should be able to attract someone who will be good for you. Or at least, that is what I am hoping and praying for. Above all else, I know God has a big stake in this game, and so He will help as far as I allow Him to. He will send someone on my path, and it will be good.
I am looking forward to it.