Needing vs. Wanting a Man
All my life my family had told me that I was going to be the first one married. Now, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, as they may have been joking, some more serious than others. No matter if people were serious or not, it stuck with me. After years of hearing that I was going to be the first one married, I had it engrained in my mind that I was indeed going to be the first to get married. (I am the youngest child of three, and number 6 of 7 cousins/kids in the extended family.)
The summer of my sister’s wedding, I was living alone in Florida, working at a great non-profit organization. I had no true friends in Naples, I just had the people I worked with and the people I swam with in the morning. I left the house at 5:00am every morning and came back at 6:00pm every night. I would come back to an empty house, and a lot of time to think about my failures.
I felt that I had failed my family, for not being the first one married. I felt that I had failed myself, for not being the first one married AND for the fact I wasn’t even dating anyone. I would think about my past relationships and how things may have ended differently if I would have done this…or that, or if one of us had felt something else. I questioned everything. I had failed in being the first one married and it drove me insane. The more and more I thought about it, I was digging myself into a deeper and deeper hole. It seems silly to think something so small could impact me so greatly, but it was something that I heard over and over again for years and years by different people. It seemed like I was letting everyone down, including myself.
This low point led me to do things that I typically wouldn’t (that will come later…) and it led me to many tears, many doubts and a large drop in faith. I would cry myself to sleep most nights and couldn’t console in anyone. One night, the week before the wedding, I tried going to sleep and I tossed and turned. At around 2:00am, I couldn’t take it anymore. I texted one of my friends, who was going through similar things as me and she told me to Skype her, so I did. It felt so good just to purge everything I had to her—my doubts, my failures, my losses, my temptations, my bad doings…everything. I knew that by telling her, I wasn’t going to be judged, I wasn’t going to be criticized, because I knew she was going through things as well, and I wouldn’t do those things to her. I was able to sleep well after our two and half long conversation and able to be happy at my sisters wedding.
Yes, I did believe full-heartedly that I would be the first to get married, and now here I am two years later with no boyfriend and both my siblings are either married or engaged. My cousins are mostly dating who they will marry and that hasn’t really bothered me…at least not anymore.
Everything wasn’t fine after that. Yes, for a long time of my life I was happy and enjoying being single, then came senior year. I’ll give you some background on Calvin College—the one thing I don’t like is the pressure of dating. When I entered Calvin as a freshman, one of the first things they said in orientation, was that women come here to get their “MRS” degree…that’s right, they are telling us that most people get engaged or married while in their stay at Calvin, and many of my friends did just that.
I fell to the Freshman Frenzy, when everyone sees all the ‘new fish in the sea’ and form elementary crushes, some will be the ones you will marry, some of them will break your heart further down the road, and some of them are just the elementary crushes…I was in that stage. I went rom guy to guy, having silly crushes on them, thinking about what could be in the future. Then came sophomore year, no serious crushes. Then came junior year, I was abroad for two and a half months finding myself, shaping myself in a better image, growing and learning about myself, I had no interest in a boy. However, that summer I did. The summer going into my senior year, I felt the pressure of the “Senior Scramble”, (single seniors, you gotta hurry up and find the one, or you’re not going to), and I became a member of eHarmony. It’s not one of my proudest moments, I never wanted to be that kind of woman, but after writing a paper and presenting in a Sociology class about courting, dating and hooking up, we found that every 1 in 4 relationships start online.
After being on eHarmony for a few months, I felt myself building confidence in ‘flirting’ and being a good online prospect. I was still weary about the possibilities—would they be a serial killer, a rapist, a bad person? But then I found one, a Lutheran, from Ohio who had gone to college with one of my cousins. Seemed pretty good. It blossomed and in January 2014, we started dating.
Things started happening too fast, things that should have made me back away from the relationship or ending it entirely (I did end it, but should have done it sooner). He told me he loved me too soon, he told me that in a year we’d be married and trying to have kids (this was two months into our official relationship…we’d been talking 8 months). Everything moved fast.
Looking back, and having the time to think and reflect on the situation, has made me learn that I so badly WANTED a man in my life because of the pressures of my school. I saw that my friends were mostly all dating and happy, I saw all the engagements on my Facebook newsfeed, and I saw all the love. I WANTED a man because everyone else around me already had one. I WANTED a man for all the wrong reasons.
It was from this relationship that I learned that you should never go out and try and find a man (significant other) because you want to fit in, you feel the pressures of society because a good relationship won’t come of it. It could, but the want to keep that relationship going, might blind you from an unhealthy relationship, or ‘the one’ passing by you.
What do I do know? I joke around that I need a man, so that I can stop being the only single person in our family, the one who has to sleep on the air mattress in a room, has to clean up the room that she got kicked out of to let one of the couples sleep in. I say that I need a man to help me in our family competitions so I can stop recruiting cousins as my ‘dates,’ but that’s not what I want.
I want to take a step back, roll with the punches. I want to continue praying for God to bring me ‘the one,’ I want to continue going on casual dates (if Julie every found me one), so that I am able to better know what I truly want and need in a man. I want to hang back and put my trust in God, instead of going searching for a relationship that could hurt me later down the road.
If you are in the same position as me, evaluate your life, do you pursue relationships because you WANT to fit in, or you feel you NEED someone? I want my love to be pure and not forced because of the pressures I feel in society and my family around me. I know what I NEED in a man to be happy and what I would WANT my man to have, but that’s an entirely different story.
“God surely listens, understands and knows the hopes and fears you keep in your heard. For when you trusts in His love, miracles happen!”
“God has placed you where you’re at in this very moment for a reason, remember that and trust he is working everything out!”