Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chat Recaps: When to have the DTR talk?

DTR = define the relationship.

Today's blog includes recaps and highlights from Tuesday night's live chat with "Expert Emily" Shupert, a therapist from Atlanta, GA. As a Christian single herself, Emily's favorite angle on dating is boundaries. Click here to read more about Emily's practice.

Emily: Hey friends! Welcome to tonight's chat on dating and boundaries! As people join tonight, the floor is open to whoever has questions...glad to help!

Chatter: I have one - at what point in the dating relationship is it appropriate to bring up the "where is this relationship going" talk?

Emily: right after your introductions, just kidding! I'd suggest you discuss after several dates. It depends on the person though because some individuals will have that conversation 5 dates into the relationship while others will wait til 2 months or later. There isn't a "right" time but I do think that it is important to be able to have that conversation, especially if you are not into the other person but you can see that they are falling for you...helps everyone pace the relationship better.

Chatter: I recently left a relationship where I was cheated on..i've tried to let go.. but the hurt feelings still emerge when I see the other woman, places that my boyfriend and I used to go to, etc...what can I do to truly "let go"?

Emily: wow, I am sorry to hear this! First off, before anything else that you can "do" you need to grieve. Many times we say "oh, you are better without him" or "he is missing out" or whatever else to find comfort however before you can let go, you must take time to grieve. Grief isn't bashing the other person but being sad, feeling the pain, and admitting the loss of what was, could have been, etc. It is important to not camp out in grief for a long time but it is imperative that you honor your grief before going further. In the grief process, I encourage you to write a letter to him but don't send it....tell him how it hurt you and what you wished would have happened.

Chatter: I don't feel impaired by what happened, its just certain places/things evoke feelings that I know I shouldn't feel (anger).

Emily: It is important for you to have closure so that the more you see those places, the less they will impact you. Time will certainly heal but you can also give yourself closure to let him go and the places will have less significance too.

Chatter: He didn't deserve you. You deserve someone who respects you!

Emily: Writing out what you wanted and how you were you have been healing and are moving on but still hurt sometimes when you are reminded of the past can all be included.

Chatter: I apologized to the other woman and I did feel peace after doing that, but it is hard to still see her and think about what they did.

Emily: I'd encourage you to not send the letter but devote it to God. I know it might sound silly but offer it to Him and ask Him to give you the healing as He offers you growth during this process. Ask Him to offer you ways to make new memories around other places, offer distraction when you see the other woman, and be fully overwhelmed by His love for you.

Chatter: Great advice, Emily!

Emily: We can't truly get "over it" before going in and through our pain. By honoring it through our grief, we can move forward in new relationships without as much emotional baggage. Sometimes we think we are "over" someone but we haven't fully grieved so we go into another relationship and we throw our insecurities and past hurts onto the other person. It isn't fair to you or the other person so do your work now so that you don't have to see it recycled in another relationship down the road.

Chatter: It's good to forgive the person too. It's not 'letting them off the hook', as God will take care of things later. It's 'letting go', so a person doesn't become bitter.

Emily: Yes, it is very important to forgive and that comes with time as the Lord heals. It is important to be aware of what you are forgiving...not simply saying "I forgive you" but for being more specific. Not necessarily needing to be done with the person but in your heart with the Lord.

Chatter: Wow thanks..i guess this just means that I need to use this as an opportunity to better the only relationship that matters .. which is my relationship with God.

Chatter: can be a one-sided forgiveness.

Emily: Sometimes getting the other person to be available to forgive them can be even more can go into a situation where they aren't "safe" to listen and can't be supportive of your need to forgive/find closure.

Emily: Good for you (Chatter) for getting back in the dating world after ending a recent relationship...hope you find some great resources and new friends on cache!

Chatter: I already have...cache is awesome. I went to the Coffee Event in Barrington today.

Chatter: So did I - it was a fun event.

Emily: Good for you guys! I think that there are amazing resources available through cache....not only online matching but also through the local events where you can meet other singles in a social and relaxed setting.

Chatter: Plus...Linda and Kim pray for us, care about us, and mentor's a very nice service to be a part of!

Emily: Exactly, I don't know of any other program that offers such unique and personalized services. Truly one of a kind!

Chatter: Oh, and I'm sure Expert Emily cares for us too....that's why she's!

Chatter: Emily, how would you deal with a distant relationship at the start? go into with idea of distance separation?

Emily: Great question. I think that we serve a really big God and sometimes we cancel people out because we think that the details will be too much. I believe that distance can be a big issue but if God desires you to be together, He will orchestrate things to work out. Can you tell me a little bit more? I want to make sure I understand the question completely, thanks!

Chatter: no real guidelines for question was thinking of just general, for instance I live in Illinois and you in atlanta, would be long distance, probably as (Chatter) says would be hard to see us coming together.

Emily: Even if a date is a total bust, I encourage people to think about what they learned about themselves in the situation. If you can walk away with 3 things you learned more about yourself in a dating situation, you have greatly benefited!

Chatter: Yes, it's good to learn from dates. I've been on several this year, and they've each taught me some things.

Emily, is it good to have a list to sort through people if it knocks off most people or better to expand list?

Emily: Yes, it is good to have a way to filter for sure! I would encourage you not to make the list sooo specific that you aren't able to date anyone short of them being perfect but making a list based on what you need (spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, etc). It is important to be aware of what things are Most important and make that your "must haves" and the things that are not helpful at all are the "can't stands." Come up with 5 on each and those are the biggest filters to work through.

Chatter: I understand, thanks, hard to get to know some of those without dating. Just a problem is am opposed to drinking and smoking, tends to filter a lot out quickly.

Emily: Good, keep that list and then share it with your friends so that you can have some built in accountability.

Chatter: have done that as well, done a lot of reading on cache.

Emily: sometimes we think someone is amazing and we let the list go because "he/she is just so amazing" but we let those big items go when we go ga-ga for someone new :) List items might be: view of work (hard working, apathetic, etc), perspective on finances/materialism, spiritual beliefs, values, etc. I would say that these are all after being assured that they are a Christian whose life is being transformed by Him daily...not just going to church on Easter :)

Sharing relationship advice is very important at Cache' Connections. Check the Scheduled Events for more chats coming up!

~ Linda
Cache' Connections


Anonymous said...

Can you please advise what "DTR" is? Thanks!

Linda said...

"define the relationship"

Sorry about that,