Some more takeaways from my past dating history

Actions speak louder than words

That’s what one of my girlfriends told me when we were discussing G. situation at some point. She said I was to look at what he did or didn’t and completely ignore what he said. Had I followed that advice, I’d be out of the woods way earlier than I was. Actions require effort, words are easy to use. One can actually mean what they say when they do so, but if they don’t follow through, what do I care whether they were originally going to do it or were lying from the beginning? It makes no difference to me.

Don’t force love on others

There is a saying in my native language that goes ‘You cannot force someone into loving you’. All good and true – most of us realise we cannot bring other people to feel in a certain way about us.

But another statement is also true – we shouldn’t force our emotions on others. It doesn’t matter why they won’t accept them – whether they are not at the same stage yet to take them, or they are overall frustrated and don’t want any of it. Once we respect other people’s borders, we don’t want to violate them. Surprisingly enough, when we try to please the person without them providing their consent, we aren’t being altruistic or making a sacrifice – far from that. We are being selfish! We put our desire to please the other person over their own wish to accept that. For some reason we are sure they’ll want it. They’ll want our attention, they’ll want our gifts, they’ll want us to spend our energy and resources on them. Which is far from being true.

Ugly Sweater Alert

Have you ever had a granny give you an ugly sweater she made? Now think of all the feelings it brought up in you. Was excitement and joy among them? I don’t think so. Probably some gratitude laced with guilt – granny worked really hard to please you, but you think it’s the ugliest thing in the whole world! And when granny keeps pressing the topic of the horrid thing – asking you when you’re going to wear it or whether you showed it off to your friends – all you feel is annoyance and resistance. That’s because she is forcing something on you that you don’t want.

So the trick with relationships is to remember the ugly sweater effect. What you believe is of high value, may not be so to the other person. If they don’t like you enough, or not at all, all you have to offer them should be vetoed against “Do they want it or do I believe they’ll want?” If it’s the latter, don’t do it! It’s an ugly sweater alert!

The tricky part is to be able to tell the difference. And I suck at it, I must admit. I jumped to conclusions a lot in situations with G. – when he said that his X wouldn’t do this or that with him, I’d assume “Ah, he’d like to do it with a girlfriend!” – which probably was true – but then I continued “Let me tell him I’d love to do it with him!” – bang! Ugly sweater! Unless he said “I’d love to do it with you”, I should have uttered my sorries and shut up. Otherwise I am assuming that what he said implied that a. he wanted to do it with me and b. he was suggesting we’d do it. Neither was true! Duh!

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