By Kenneth Stepp
Everyone has a favorite game. Monopoly, baseball, football, even the lottery is a game. They all have one thing in common. Someone wins, and someone loses. Is it any wonder that our search for forever love would be any different? It appears to be a game for most. So far it has been very unbalanced. Far more losers than winners in this game. Far more losing more than they can afford to lose. And the winners are far and few between. I wonder why we do this. Love isn’t a game. And trying to find forever love certainly shouldn’t be either. I struggle with people. I know, right? It’s just that we are so hard on each other. Guys… Do you know how difficult it is for a girl to realize you used her? It’s devastating. And girls. Do you know what a blow it is to date a guy for a few weeks and then vanish? Emotionally that is. Simply be unavailable.It takes so long to get over these type of things. In some cases, they never get over it. It leaves them with walls that are so high that no one can climb them. This isn’t a game or a competition.
“You love the chase, but hate me for the runaround”
― Sara Bareilles
We do build defenses. Maybe not at first. It’s subtle really. One day we are meeting someone new, no walls, heart exposed. There’s a spark, then a flame. It’s intense and exciting. Over time it becomes mundane and time consuming for one of you. Messages returned later, less contact, less of them in general. Gradually or maybe suddenly. They have another in their life. Ot maybe more than one. Then, if you are still connected at all, you’re relegated to a friend. For a moment you were their focus. You felt you were all that mattered to them. You felt safe and secure. Your journey had ended. Forever is right there. You can touch it. Then, as if someone turned the page in a well written mystery novel. Everything changed. And it’s not like it was before they came in the first place. The sun isn’t as bright. The world is a darker place. Someone has chipped away at your trust again. Like the last time. You suck it up. ‘I’ll be ok”. But it’s different this time. It’s always different because there is a little less of you left each time this happens.
“Everybody’s damaged. It’s just a question of how badly, and whether you’re healing or still bleeding.”
― Angela N. Blount
“I love you. I love you unconditionally. I accept you, your children, your family, your career, your home, your health. I accept you totally and completely. I will love you till I breathe my last breath. You are more important than me to me. I prefer your happiness over my own and I always will”. Ladies and gentlemen. I just said I love you without code words. If you utter those three words but do not mean them in this very context. They are just words. Nothing more. Fun to say, fun to hear. But they mean absolutely nothing. I believe those three words are most of the time, pieces of the game. I will match your, I love your smile, and raise you an I love you. Can you see how absurd those words sound as a game. Many times they are just that. Parts of a game.
I write about the dating journey all the time. I’m often asked what is the most fascinating part of this quest to find forever love. My answer is always the same and is always a surprise to the person asking. What I find most fascinating is how terrible we treat one another. Deceit, lies, using someone for whatever reason, and my personal favorite… The break up. I’ve heard them all. We were doing great, they said they loved me, then they broke up by text. Or, baby, I am leaving town for a couple of weeks. Then they never hear from them again. My ex and I are giving it another try for the kids. My favorite break up is the non breakup. That’s when everything seems great and all of the sudden they blocked you from Facebook, their phone, and never speak to you again. I call it the vanishing act.
I have discovered some hard truths that I wish everyone searching in these shark infested waters would adapt as truths in their lives. We are all equal, we can all be damaged, our actions can cause others pain, and caring how we affect others takes the same energy than not caring. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. Everyone we meet has value. Just as much as us. On the website for my nonprofit I coined a phrase and put it on the front page. Everyone is as important as anyone. Live this one simple rule out. Two words sum it up best… “Be Nice”.
“Every damaged soul deserves the chance to love again.”
― Virginia Alison