Monday, March 7, 2011

Emily says: Tell yourself the pressure is Off!

Emily: Greetings group! Hope you all had a great weekend! Welcome to tonight's talk on boundaries in dating. I'm here to help you with your dating questions so whoever wants to go first....

Chatter: Are there any signs to watch for if a guy is involved in pornography?

Emily: Great question but unfortunately that isn't something that can be easily is something that comes to light often in relationships but can be a very delicate thing to discuss, especially in dating. Do you have a concern about a possible potential boyfriend/girlfriend being involved in pornography or are you looking to safeguard from it in the future?

Chatter: I have a friend who accused her boyfriend of staring at beautiful women so it made me wonder?

Emily: Yeah, that is something that many guys, if not most, have struggled with some time during their life. However, looking at a girl is not an indicator that he is struggling with pornography and by being accused so quickly, that doesn't create an environment for future honesty with this type of struggle. Many girlfriends and wives will try to detect pornography in their loved ones life and help them through it, however, I suggest this being something to keep accountable with other men. Just as other women would talk with each other about their struggles, I believe that accountability in this area is best done when with other men and male mentors.

Chatter: he denies that he looks with disrespect.

Emily: While he might deny looking, there might be cause for concern based on her response. A look is very subjective so she doesn't have much to go on in that respect however she can pray for him and encourage him to meet with other males and mentors to not only keep a pulse on this but other issues that become struggles can be discussed in a male accountability group where they can openly and honestly discuss what their sins struggles are and encourage one another....a girlfriend cannot do this (or at least it isn't very healthy for her to be in this role.
I hope that this is helping to make sense of the situation...I wouldn't use a certain look/glance he gave as evidence but I would use that situation as a catalyst to encourage accountability since men need to be walking alongside other men as they authentically and humbly work through their issues and become more Christ like as future husbands and leaders. Does this help?

Chatter: yes. thank you. I will keep praying. It is my brother.

Emily: Yes, be praying for him and remember that more than being "called out" by someone, you can pray for him. The Holy Spirit is the greatest change agent in his life and all of ours as well :)

Chatter: How long after death should you begin to date or even look to date?

Emily: Good this death of a boyfriend or husband? And how long was the relationship?

Chatter: Husband died, 32 years of marriage.. married right out of high school.

Emily: Wow, I'm so sorry to hear this! How long ago was his passing?

Chatter: Nov. 2007. He was 53 years old.

Emily: More than looking at the time that has passed since his death, I look at the grief work that was done after the loss. In 5 months after a loss, some people are able to heal more than others do in 5 or 10 years if they don't grieve, seek help, and process through the loss.

Chatter: I attended a grief support group for over a year and "graduated," that's what they call it anyway.. but is was my choice to graduate. I felt like I was ready to move on because I was feeling like I didn't want to cry anymore I wanted to move on.

Emily: Ok, that is good information to know....if you are going to a group and feel that you have benefited and are able to move on, then it sounds like you are ready to begin the dating process. I would however be aware that some "grief stuff" might come up during the dating process and I would encourage you to even plan on that occurring. When you are meeting many new people and are making new bonds, it will be natural and normal for you to compare them to your former husband. However, I would encourage you to think about what you have enjoyed after each interaction with these new men. You might realize that while they are not your former husband, they might have attributes that you never recognized liking.

Chatter: is there any way to tell if someone else is ready to move on? I have met a guy who lost his wife 2 years ago this past Jan. Just not sure if that is long enough. He only attended a grief group for short time. Just wondering if there are signs to look for.

Emily: I wish that there were signs for everything but unfortunately there aren't. However, I would encourage you to look at the grief process (attending and growing in a grief group, counseling, etc) as the indicator of being able to move forward and not the time since the loss. That is so significant because if he has done his grief work, he will be able to enter into a relationship with you successfully.

Chatter: I am having a hard time with being single and I don't want to jump into something too fast.

Emily: That makes sense and you are wise to pace yourself. The wonderful thing about Cache is that you don't have to rush into can take your time online and at the community events.

Chatter: I guess I am just really struggling with the "singles scene" and I really don't want to date alot of different guys..

Emily: You can spend one on one time with these new potentials while telling yourself that you will take your time as you test whether or not you are ready for dating again. I would encourage you and everyone else tonight to tell yourself every day "THE Pressure Is Off" So many times singles put pressure on themselves to find that person immediately but we must remember that God is the author of your love life and your future! It is important to be active in your dating life but also know that if you aren't ready to go out with so many people, you can put things on hold or pace yourself by meeting one person at a time online. There is no "right" way to find a husband or wife but I would suggest that you look at the options that work best for where you are right now and actively try them might be surprised at what works for you and how you are open to new people!

Chatter: The waiting and dating thing is sooooo hard! I communicated with someone for a month, we met, we had fun and now he's realized that he just doesn't have time to date with all his commitments of family, work and church. I thought it was a nice way of saying maybe he wasn't interested in me, but ..

Chatter: I talked with a guy who I thought was "the one" for almost a year. we went out several times.. and he decided he just doesn't want a relationship. I think that is why it is so hard to be single.

Emily: thanks for your feedback....sounds like you were really looking forward to getting to know him but he ended up not committing? It is difficult for singles to find a great match but it happens through trial and error (some error is more painful though than other times). I would encourage you all to think after situations such as those described, "what did I learn about myself from this situation?" "what character traits did he/she exhibit earlier on that might have been indicators that he/she wasn't ready to commit?" "what things do I want to be looking for in the future so that I don't get hurt after spending time together for a long time and then find out there isn't a commitment"?

Chatter: In my case he was giving mixed signals... and I was taking them all in. but only concentrating on the commit signals not the uncommitted ones.

Chatter: I think he was telling me the truth, because I found myself kind of waiting around for him. do you think I should contact him at all or wait and see if he contacts me? I'm still a little old fashioned but uncomfortable being too forward.

Emily: Sometimes individuals want to see the commit signals and filter out all the non commit signals. This is why honesty is so important...with yourself and with him.
I would encourage you all to discuss with your future boyfriends/girlfriends to say "I want to make sure that we are on the same page and while I don't know the future for either of us, I can say for myself that I'm seeing a future for this relationship." "If you don't see that as part of your path, please let me know so that we can honor one another and not prolong a painful situation." "I'd rather you be honest with me, even if it will hurt me, instead of keeping in a relationship that doesn't feel like a long term fit." These are several ways that you can discuss your concerns and be up front with the other person. It is very direct but I would suggest being direct at the front end versus delaying later...and more painful.

Chatter: How soon do you think these questions should be asked?

Emily: I would say after a month or two but no sooner. However, you can say that you are not wanting to "play around" from the beginning...not on your first call/conversation but during the first few dates. There is a way that you can say it so that it isn't awkward but caring.

Chatter: That's great info--thank you!

Emily: For sure, glad to help :) Dating is scary stuff but being honest and open is very helpful! Remember, that every good and perfect gift comes from your heavenly Father who cares for you! Trust Him and look to His love as you open yourself up to love relationships here on earth.

Sharing relationship advice is very important at Cache' Connections. Mark your calendar for Expert Emily's next chat on 4/3/11 at 7:30 pm CST.

~ Linda
Cache' Connections

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