Monday, May 2, 2011
Chat recaps: After 3 years he said he doesn't love me anymore ...
Here are the highlights from last night's monthly chat led by "Expert Emily" Shupert, a relationship therapist from Atlanta, GA:
Chatter: why do so many guys find it so hard to risk asking a woman out for a date?
Emily: Great question, are you asking for why it's hard for you or why it's been hard in the past?
Chatter: It's still hard for me. After all, it shouldn't be the decision of a lifetime...or is it?
Emily: It is a big decision but asking on a date is different from marriage. Many singles make a huge focus on the first date and asking out because they put the weight of the wrong marriage on them.
Chatter: weight of the wrong marriage? please elaborate!
Emily: Yes, it takes a lot of courage to ask someone out and when rejection occurs, it is easy to shut down for future dating. However, just because someone or some people have said "no" it doesn't mean that everyone will in the future. The difficult thing is that when you are asking future folks out, you need to have worked through your fear of rejection since that might be projected onto the new date. Many times we take our fears from past rejection and we put that between us and those who might be possible dating options. They don't stand a chance if we are still walking around and feeling the pain of past rejection.
Chatter: if I see a lady in a singles group, but once or twice a month, and only get to speak with her a few minutes, and I don't feel I know her well enough to ask her on a date, is this ever going to go anywhere????
Emily: Great question! I think that it Can go somewhere but only if something changes.... meaning she or you take initiative to go out. What about this..."I've really enjoyed talking with you in this class but would love to know more about your story, faith, etc. Would you be interested in grabbing lunch or something after church next week?"
Chatter: should men consider women who are not at all in the ball park of what we are hoping for? I don't mean just looks. If I'm athletic, and she's a couch potato, am I correct in avoiding such women? What a dull life, I'm in shape, and she is constantly sickly, tired and with no energy...
Emily: while the phrase that you probably hear in dating is "opposites attract" its actually a myth to some extent....you can have opposites for sure but successful couples do need to have similarities in key areas such as finances, work, faith, etc. or it will be a big area of contention. So, while you might be very active and someone else doesn't get off the couch, I don't know if they are for sure not a match for you but it might be difficult to spend time together when your "leisure time" will be different from hers.
Chatter: what do you do when you love someone and they don't love you back?
Emily: Great question...is this in a dating relationship? marriage?
Chatter: dating relationship.
Emily: So challenging, I'm sorry to hear! How long did it take until he told you/you found out?
Chatter: my suggestion would be to cut your losses & move on. despite the initial heart ache & grieving process better to know than long investment of time "hoping for them to change their mind."
Emily: did you tell him that you loved him and he told you he loved you? I'm curious because 3 years is a long time, did he say "I'm not in love with you anymore" or that he never was in love with you?
Chatter: he said He never was in love with me, but I don't believe it or I'm naive.
Emily: Oh no! So painful! I look at love as not merely a word that we see in Hollywood movies tossed around but a verb that is displayed in actions. Love is caring for someone and the fruit of it is seen in an honesty, respect for your emotions, and an authenticity that is seen throughout the relationship. Many individuals say that they love someone but they can easily fall in and out of love...love is a verb that is displayed on a continual basis...not someone that comes/goes. Yes, love can increase and chemistry can increase but love is seen as a constant and if you see him/her respecting the other person, putting his/her needs first, envying others, etc then love isn't present.
Chatter: I just feel as if I have wasted 3 years thinking that this relationship would lead to something deeper, but honestly I feel used.
Chatter: sometimes in our heart we really know that it's exactly as it is on the surface but still hope that it will be different so we hang around. I have a friend who hung around for 10 years waiting for the man to ask her to marry him.
Emily: I'm so sorry to hear about this but I'd encourage you to look at the situation and consider what you learned. God is "green" in our pain...he recycles everything! For His glory and your good!
Chatter: it's a learning opportunity take time to learn about yourself & know better what your needs & expectations are from the get go so next time you won't invest 3 years. These conversations should start long before that.
Emily: Yes, after a 3 year relationship, I'd encourage anyone to take a break and do some counseling to find out where the holes were and how to not make the same path for the future....even if it was unfortunate, it is always an opportunity for growth!
Chatter: single and lonely is sad...married and lonely is tragic.
Emily: Yes, nothing is more lonely than being alone in a marriage that is unhealthy! It takes two whole people to make a marriage work...no one can complete someone else, that isn't another person's job nor is it possible. Taking time to develop yourself is the biggest investment you can make in your future! If you stay single and lonely, you will become married and lonely because you didn't take an opportunity to develop yourself. You can use this time to develop and grow and then enter into a healthy relationship.
Chatter: Emily that's true i think most of us so much hate that lonely feeling we don't want to give it time to pass but it does.
Emily: yes, very true! I love books, counseling, and sermons that can help you become the person God intended...spend time with Him as well, let Him meet you in your place of woundedness and loneliness and see how He is able to meet you there!
Lonely can bring us in to solitude with ourselves and our heavenly father or it can bring us into feeling like a victim and feeling sorry for ourselves....same beginning but different outcomes.
Chatter: At what point should finances be discussed? going steady or engaged? some women I know are trying to figure out how much $$$ I make by what kind of job I hold, they are very nosey about what I do for a living, then they ask where I live, so they can figure out what kind of neighborhood I can afford.
Emily: It's something that you can see and observe easily on a consistent basis...actions speak louder than words. So, while you might not know about past or current debt, seeing how he/she deals with money can be a great answer. In addition, I'd encourage you to talk about money before ever going towards the alter. I do pre-marriage counseling with people who are in love but don't have a similar stance on money...it can be late in the game to talk about money in the engagement period. Plus, folks are usually so smitten during that time that they down play some big deal breakers such as money issues, in laws, etc. I'd encourage you to discuss money once the relationship is defined and stable. Don't talk about it on the first date but definitely don't talk about it after the wedding :) Last comment though, I'd encourage you and your date to discuss over books like Dave Ramsey's money makeover book, Crown Ministries materials, etc as they talk about $ issues and behaviors in a Christian perspective.
Chatter: Good advice!
Emily: So, the next question I believe was in regards to dating someone and he doesn't let others know? He flirts with other women or he doesn't let them know you are dating...is that correct?
Emily: Well, I'd encourage you to be very honest with him. I don't encourage "you make me feel" because no one can make us feel anything without us giving them permission. However, their actions can influence us. I'd encourage your showing him what is happening and how you are feeling. i.e. "when I see girls flirt with you, I have a difficult time feeling secure in our relationship. I'd like to feel secure in our relationship but I also want to hear your thoughts as we work towards a possible ways to go forward.
Chatter: That sounds good.
Emily: If he says, "you're crazy, that's not what I am doing" then I'd encourage you to not argue...but say how you feel and own your responses...someone who loves you might not always agree with everything you do but that's ok, he needs to respect you and honor you!
Ok folks, it's almost time. I hope you guys have had a wonderful evening and it's been a pleasure chatting with each and every one of you :) Great feedback and comments...feel free to keep chatting! I've got to jet to prep for sessions tomorrow but continue to converse and gain insights from one another.. wise crowd tonight :)
Join Emily on Sunday night, June 5th at 7:30 pm CST for her next chat based on Boundaries in Dating. Emily is passionate about helping Christian singles make better choices so that they will be healthy daters that can progress into healthy marriages that are pleasing to God.