“50 Ways?” (Post #10) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower
Just how do you break off a relationship with a woman who you’ve been dating? Whad’ya do if you need to say goodbye? And what’s the most respectful way? Being a widower, and a victim of an annulled marriage, I certainly had unresolved emotional issues which caused me to say “goodbye” much too frequently. Even though I’ve had frequent ‘field experiences’, I can’t say that I’d recommend ANY techniques which I’ve used. But here are a few random cases and what I learned from each.
CASE J: After ‘Jill’ and I went our separate ways, every whip-stitch, ‘Jill’ would contact me with an innocent email with what appeared to be a sincere unrelated question (like “I’m having lots of car problems. What car would you recommend that I buy…”) Naïve as I was, I replied. Another bonehead decision of mine! That led to more conversation, more disagreement, and ultimately more heartaches.
WHAT I LEARNED: I think I enjoyed my ego being ‘stroked’ by the attention of any woman – so I guess I hated to go ‘cold turkey’. I learned that if you’re going to break up with someone, DON’T DO IT HALF. Otherwise, your heartstrings will just end up being frayed, and so will hers.
CASE P: ‘Polly’ claimed she loved me. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel anything towards her. Believe me, I gave it my best shot, dating her for about 2 months. She really WAS a special woman – but I guess I was in a post-annulment ‘funk’ at the time. When I informed her I was saying ‘goodbye’ for the last time, she balked. “I’m willing to fight to keep what we’ve had!” she threatened. She didn’t live far away, so that comment made me nervous. I had no idea what she was going to do. She continued to communicate (via text, email, and US mail), but this time, I responded to NOTHING. Hey, she even came to my house, so I made sure I wasn’t home. She finally ‘gave up’ a couple of months later.
WHAT I LEARNED: The advice I received from a counselor friend of mine worked. “Break off ALL contact with her – NOW!”
CASE B: It didn’t take me long to say ‘goodbye’ to ‘Barb’. We communicated via email and telephone, and finally set up our first date. You might think I fabricated this ‘goodbye’ – but it was the truth. I said: “’Barb’, I really don’t think I should see you again . . . ‘cause you remind me SO MUCH of my mother.” She really DID LOOK like a younger ‘edition’ of my mom, SOUNDED like her, and showed similar ‘MANNERISMS’. It truly was eerie. By the end of the evening, I felt so haunted, I couldn’t wait to say goodbye!
WHAT I LEARNED: Don’t delay the inevitable. If you know there are some unique qualities that are INTOLERABLE, don’t delay. The longer you wait to bid her ‘adieu’, the greater expectations SHE will have for the relationship, and the HARDER it WILL be for you to offer that ‘Goodbye’.
CASE F: ‘Fanny’ was someone I never wanted to leave. And yet, I knew it was dangerous to continue dating her. There were too many differences in our faith-walks. Ah . . . but she was so attractive. I never wanted to admit it, but her values really were quite different than mine. Ah . . . but the chemistry was so strong. Well, you can guess the struggle that I experienced. I knew what I WANTED, and yet I KNEW what I SHOULD do – and that was to say “Goodbye”. (After all, this woman’s pseudonym is ‘Fanny’ for a good reason)
WHAT I LEARNED: when you put everything on the scales, if physical attraction to the woman outweighs her values, faith, and interests, PRAY! I knew what to do – but my hormones were in constant battle with my conscience.
The disciples of Jesus couldn’t cast out the demon in Mark, Chapter 9. Out of frustration, they asked Jesus why they failed. His response: “This kind can come out only by prayer.” In my experience, if my glands are battling my brain, my brain will lose. It will take the power of God to win this war. PRAY. Stop, drop, and pray! You won’t be able to do it by yourself. And pray without ceasing . . . not just a one-time ‘drive-through’ type prayer. There’s no question our Heavenly Father can answer a one-time prayer, but OUR willpower to resist this form of temptation only gets stronger each time we offer this prayer.
Just as Paul Simon sang, there must be ’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover’, in my experience, each one is painful for both you and the woman you’ve been dating. I cringed each time I initiated that ‘goodbye’. Guess there are two ways to avoid that disappointment: don’t date; OR only date who you WILL marry! Right now, I don’t like either of those options.
Now that you’ve finished reading this post, I’m sure you have some thoughts on this topic, and I’d love to know what they are. Feel free to post your comments, whether you disagree or agree with what I’ve learned. I’d be indebted to learn from your thoughts and experiences too!