By Lindy Earl
I have seen this too often. You may have had it happen to you or, you may have done it to someone else. No malice was intended, but feelings were probably hurt. In this world, from the moment we are born, we are looking for love and acceptance. We start with our families, and a healthy family will accept and love their members. That’s a great start.
Your first foray may have been in a church nursery, school, or just a park filled with other children. It’s so great to see little ones just accept others without thinking about why they should or shouldn’t. No thought goes into the way the others are dressed, or what they do for a living, or what they drive, or where their house is. The children are dropped into a community and simply accept it, and accept one another. Things get a little more difficult with time.
As we age and we enter the big, bad world we seek acceptance and love on a variety of levels – friendships, relationships, romance, sometimes just sex. We leave a part of ourselves behind with every person with whom we interact, and we take a part of them with us as we continue our journey. In each of the scenarios in which we partake, if we knew, going in, whether it was a short or long-term situation, and whether we would be accepted or shunned, life would be so much more simple!
Friend zoning has received a bad reputation, but in fact, the person who friend zones you is doing you a favor. They are letting you know, up front and clearly, that you are not a romantic partner for them. They will not choose you for romance. Now you know and can decide whether or not to pursue a friendship. The choice is yours. But at least they let you know!
A friend of mine is about to break up with his girlfriend. Isn’t it sad that I know she’s about to be single, before she does? In fact, I’ve known for almost a month that he’s just not that into her. Not realizing this, she is calling him and texting him and recently gave him a small gift, which he has yet to take into his house. He has no interest in her anymore but she’s clueless. My advice to him: choose her or not, but LET HER KNOW!
He says he doesn’t want to hurt her, but we all know, the entire world knows, that she will be hurt. It may hurt less the earlier it’s done. At least she can begin the healing process and move on. Tell her now, before she gets any more invested in you!
I had a guy once tell me, “If it was going to be anyone, it would be you, but . . . ” But. There’s always a but. This gentleman, after dating me for six months. has decided to remain single until he dies. Oops. Sorry. Nothing personal. It’s just better to remain alone forever rather than stay with me. Why would hearing that bother me? At least he was honest with me and cut the strings so I could begin healing and head in another direction.
In fairness to him, I don’t think he knew this about himself before we started dating. But as we discussed details of what would happen and how it would work – does he move in with me, do I move into his house, do we sell both and buy a new place, what does this mean to our children . . . I think it just became too much for him. Thus, he’s made his decision to remain single. Okay.
Choose me or not, just LET ME KNOW!
What if you have some criteria that are very important to you. I’ve done sufficient research to know that everyone has a least one wish that is really more of a rule. Maybe you’re looking for tall and rich; maybe you demand sober and employed; maybe it’s a sense of humor. It doesn’t matter. It’s your criteria and you don’t need to defend it. But, if you are dating someone who does not bring what you require, then release them. Tell them gently that it just won’t work. Let them know that you are not choosing them. Whether you choose to tell them why is up to you.
I think, especially as we have faced our divorces, only to be accepted then rejected, thus the divorce, that we are especially wary. It stands to reason! So, in your next relationship, please do everyone a favor and, as soon as you know, let them know if you are choosing them or not. They deserve to know as soon as you do, and then you can together make a decision about whether you want to continue in the relationship, or set one another free to pursue other, possibly longer term, relationships.
I truly believe that we are all seeking the same thing – love and acceptance. It means different things to different people which is one reason it’s so hard to find.
The point is, if you are just out having fun, please clearly state that. Let the other person know that this is not a long term relationship. On the other hand, if you are looking for forever, please let this be known, so they aren’t broadsided when you start talking about forever. Neither is right nor wrong. They are just what they are.
Choose them or not, just let them know.
That’s Life After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her at Ask@LindySpeaks.com to submit a question for her Advice Column or find her on Face Book and join the group, Single Again: From Devastation to Dating, on FB.