When You Start to Date Someone, Do You Feel Like You Have to Prove to Them You're Not "Everyone Else"?

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seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
13,445
3,600
113
#1
Hey Everyone,

Some posts in another thread reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to bring up for a while.

When you start to date someone, do you feel like you have to spend a lot of time, energy, and money to try to prove that you're not "all the other" men or women who hurt this person before you?

I know I sure do feel this way.

As a shortcut, I'm going taking this excerpt from another post I wrote:

"With nearly every guy I meet, for the first several dates, I spend nearly all my time apologizing to him for what women have done to him in the past. I've spent countless hours listening to men tell me about women rejecting them, using them as an ATM machine, blocking them from seeing their kids, and, what I think is the most personal level of all, I have held a guy's hand on numerous occasions as he told me about the sexual abuse he suffered -- from another man.

You should have seen the letters and messages I've received from guys who have gone through hell and back, starting with their childhood (growing up as victims of pedophile stepfathers,) and now they are unsure of where to begin to find wholeness. Most believed it started with finding a woman.

This is exactly why I pay for the first date, no matter who asked. I take the check before the waitress can set it down, because I don't want a man to feel that he's just going to be used. And if I plan to take a guy somewhere for a special date (usually a theme park,) I try my very best to save up and make sure I can pay for everything so all he has to do is relax and hopefully have an amazing time. I've also helped men pay for their court expenses to be able to keep their children or gain visitation rights.

With one guy I dated, I never even got to tell him that my then-husband left for another girl until after about 3 dates because the whole time, he was telling ME about all the women who have used and rejected him throughout the years -- so yes, it most CERTAINLY happens to both genders.

One of the biggest problems I've found in dating is having to work my butt off to try to prove to a guy that I'm not the 50 girls who came before me and did all the things he's telling me about now (even if the guy has never been married; and when I try to tell him about my husband rejecting me for another girl, he acts like it doesn't count or just brushes it aside.)

So if I become interested in a guy, I already know I have start "gearing up" (emotionally and financially,) because I'm expecting that it's going to take an armory for me just to be able to try knocking on the fortress door of his heart.

Maybe one of these days, I'll find one I can break through to.

And I most certainly and definitely know that women can be the exact same way -- in fact, I have often wondered if a good percentage of dating is actually trying to prove to someone that you're not all the people whom they've encountered before.

Not everyone is like this, of course. Some people have moved past their hurts, and the rarest ones of all have never been hurt.

But it only reinforces the old saying that Love is (truly) a Battlefield."


Do the rest of you find this happening as well?

* Do you feel that you have to "prove" to someone that you're different?

* How do you go about doing that?

* How long will you put up with being "tested" or having to "prove yourself"? I was thinking of one guy in particular as I'm writing this, and it took about 6 months before he finally said, "I get it now. You're not like the others..." But oh my goodness, I was feeling like I was about at wits end.

And then I thought of the few guys I talked to (even just as friends) during my early years of recovering from some rough patches in my life who probably felt the exact same way about ME. I have tried very hard over the years to get better, but I know it's a work in progress.

How about the rest of you?

Our married friends are welcome to answer too, as I'm curious:

1. How did you get over the people who hurt you in order to give your spouse a chance?

2. How did you help your spouse get over the people who hurt them in order to give YOU a chance?

Thank you for your time!
 

Icedaisey

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
1,398
467
83
#2
For the OP. Be yourself. Whomever you date it is likely they will have a past that includes heartbreak and baggage.
That's why they're still single.

If they start to act like you're someone from their past, tell them you're not those others.
Yes, it seems obvious. But sometimes a lot of pain can make us feel like that's all there is.

Whatever the case, be yourself. Be honest.There is only one you. Don't dishonor that by pretending to be who you're not.

Living fake takes a lot of energy.
 

kinda

Senior Member
Jun 26, 2013
2,255
1,078
113
#3
"With nearly every guy I meet, for the first several dates, I spend nearly all my time apologizing to him for what women have done to him in the past. I've spent countless hours listening to men tell me about women rejecting them, using them as an ATM machine, blocking them from seeing their kids, and, what I think is the most personal level of all, I have held a guy's hand on numerous occasions as he told me about the sexual abuse he suffered -- from another man.

You should have seen the letters and messages I've received from guys who have gone through hell and back, starting with their childhood (growing up as victims of pedophile stepfathers,) and now they are unsure of where to begin to find wholeness. Most believed it started with finding a woman.

Why would people want to date, if people have so much failure in the past?!?! Is the plan to try the same path, in hoping for a different result?

I think one of the biggest problems facing the dating world, is the stigma of woman dating older men. Why do I say, that? Well, let's face it, woman mature faster than men. If not mentally, definitely physically. You ever heard of the biological clock? Men don't really have that issue.

From my experience, woman are generally more family oriented, and men are generally more task oriented. Maybe this is a bad stereo type, but I think it holds some merit at least. Woman tend to have children in the back of their minds, it seems. While men, typically are looking for someone, that will not be to much of burden to their lives. Maybe that's wrong too, but maybe I'm right generally speaking.

I'm not looking to date, or marry, so let's get that out of the way. Just trying to share ideas, that I think are generally true. So, basically, if men date woman that are at least 7-10 younger, than they are, they will probably have a better chance of a successful relationship. Just a theory at this point.

Definitely NOT suggesting men to date underage woman, since this is against the law, or possibly morally wrong in some ways. It might be a good idea for ladies not to date until they are at least 18. I'm not the police or anyone's parent, so it's not like I'm enforcing any of this.

So, if we take an 18 year lady, and she starts dating a man who is 25. Well, the man is probably out of college, has a job, and would probably be in a much better shape, to start a long term relationship, than someone is 19, who yet to experience many of life's trials. An 18 year old lady would probably have more respect for a man, who is older, and that can be some type of a leader for her, rather than someone who just wants to cut loose.

I used to think that being single was less than, especially when everyone around seems to have tied the knot, but now I'm comfortable on being a bachelor, and wonder how people stay married. :)
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
13,445
3,600
113
#4
For the OP. Be yourself. Whomever you date it is likely they will have a past that includes heartbreak and baggage.
That's why they're still single.

If they start to act like you're someone from their past, tell them you're not those others.
Yes, it seems obvious. But sometimes a lot of pain can make us feel like that's all there is.

Whatever the case, be yourself. Be honest.There is only one you. Don't dishonor that by pretending to be who you're not.

Living fake takes a lot of energy.
Why would people want to date, if people have so much failure in the past?!?! Is the plan to try the same path, in hoping for a different result?

I think one of the biggest problems facing the dating world, is the stigma of woman dating older men. Why do I say, that? Well, let's face it, woman mature faster than men. If not mentally, definitely physically. You ever heard of the biological clock? Men don't really have that issue.

From my experience, woman are generally more family oriented, and men are generally more task oriented. Maybe this is a bad stereo type, but I think it holds some merit at least. Woman tend to have children in the back of their minds, it seems. While men, typically are looking for someone, that will not be to much of burden to their lives. Maybe that's wrong too, but maybe I'm right generally speaking.

I'm not looking to date, or marry, so let's get that out of the way. Just trying to share ideas, that I think are generally true. So, basically, if men date woman that are at least 7-10 younger, than they are, they will probably have a better chance of a successful relationship. Just a theory at this point.

Definitely NOT suggesting men to date underage woman, since this is against the law, or possibly morally wrong in some ways. It might be a good idea for ladies not to date until they are at least 18. I'm not the police or anyone's parent, so it's not like I'm enforcing any of this.

So, if we take an 18 year lady, and she starts dating a man who is 25. Well, the man is probably out of college, has a job, and would probably be in a much better shape, to start a long term relationship, than someone is 19, who yet to experience many of life's trials. An 18 year old lady would probably have more respect for a man, who is older, and that can be some type of a leader for her, rather than someone who just wants to cut loose.

I used to think that being single was less than, especially when everyone around seems to have tied the knot, but now I'm comfortable on being a bachelor, and wonder how people stay married. :)

You both make excellent points -- thank you very much for taking the time to answer!

@Icedaisey -- I'm getting to an age where I know almost everyone in my age range has some kind of baggage, often severe, so I guess I just try to brace myself, lol. And I'm sure the men feel the same way about the women they meet, especially since we women are often known for talking at length about our past relationships.

I definitely agree with you about standing your ground and always being yourself while showing understanding and compassion to the other person. I think these days it's tough on everyone involved, that's for sure.

I tell all my married/attached friends, whether male or female, If you've found someone you can get along with. PLEASE stay with them because dating is a shark tank, whether you're a guy or girl.

@kinda -- I understand why you say why bother with dating when there's so much heartache (and failure) involved. I guess I'm just kind of a glutton for punishment. :D I've taken long breaks from dating, but I guess for some reason I never truly give up hope. Dare I say I'm a bit of a romantic at heart? Maybe I'd better not go that far. :)

I think it's awesome that you've found peace with singleness and I get why you ask how people can stay married. One of the things that's helped me by leaps and bounds is meeting people who are open to being married if God wills it, but they are also content with their single lives.

As to the topic of women dating older men...

When I was growing up, older men (20-50 years older) were always trying to get me to go out with them. I was never interested. I either dated around my age range or, the biggest gap in the "older" direction was 8 years.

A peculiar thing has happened as I've gotten older myself. The workforce I'm a part of is getting younger, and I've had a few guys ask me out who were just being born when I was driving and in high school.

It's been a very odd shift, especially when the subject of leadership comes up (but not one that isn't productive, because the general conclusion is that we both recognize each other's strengths and weaknesses in different areas, and if marriage were to occur, the man is still head of the household, regardless if he's younger.)

I can say that one of the things I have come to value the most in men is practical life experience and their ability to both share it themselves and also learn from others.

Thank you both for your answers!

I'm looking forward to reading other's thoughts about their own experiences.
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
18,915
5,291
113
#5
I've never been on a date, so I have no idea. I have nothing useful to contribute to this thread.

But thank you for starting it. I will be paying attention and taking notes.

Yup, that's all I have to say. Thanks for starting it. :oops:
 

Gideon300

Well-known member
Mar 18, 2021
2,052
1,348
113
#6
Hey Everyone,

Some posts in another thread reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to bring up for a while.

When you start to date someone, do you feel like you have to spend a lot of time, energy, and money to try to prove that you're not "all the other" men or women who hurt this person before you?

I know I sure do feel this way.

As a shortcut, I'm going taking this excerpt from another post I wrote:

"With nearly every guy I meet, for the first several dates, I spend nearly all my time apologizing to him for what women have done to him in the past. I've spent countless hours listening to men tell me about women rejecting them, using them as an ATM machine, blocking them from seeing their kids, and, what I think is the most personal level of all, I have held a guy's hand on numerous occasions as he told me about the sexual abuse he suffered -- from another man.

You should have seen the letters and messages I've received from guys who have gone through hell and back, starting with their childhood (growing up as victims of pedophile stepfathers,) and now they are unsure of where to begin to find wholeness. Most believed it started with finding a woman.

This is exactly why I pay for the first date, no matter who asked. I take the check before the waitress can set it down, because I don't want a man to feel that he's just going to be used. And if I plan to take a guy somewhere for a special date (usually a theme park,) I try my very best to save up and make sure I can pay for everything so all he has to do is relax and hopefully have an amazing time. I've also helped men pay for their court expenses to be able to keep their children or gain visitation rights.

With one guy I dated, I never even got to tell him that my then-husband left for another girl until after about 3 dates because the whole time, he was telling ME about all the women who have used and rejected him throughout the years -- so yes, it most CERTAINLY happens to both genders.

One of the biggest problems I've found in dating is having to work my butt off to try to prove to a guy that I'm not the 50 girls who came before me and did all the things he's telling me about now (even if the guy has never been married; and when I try to tell him about my husband rejecting me for another girl, he acts like it doesn't count or just brushes it aside.)

So if I become interested in a guy, I already know I have start "gearing up" (emotionally and financially,) because I'm expecting that it's going to take an armory for me just to be able to try knocking on the fortress door of his heart.

Maybe one of these days, I'll find one I can break through to.

And I most certainly and definitely know that women can be the exact same way -- in fact, I have often wondered if a good percentage of dating is actually trying to prove to someone that you're not all the people whom they've encountered before.

Not everyone is like this, of course. Some people have moved past their hurts, and the rarest ones of all have never been hurt.

But it only reinforces the old saying that Love is (truly) a Battlefield."


Do the rest of you find this happening as well?

* Do you feel that you have to "prove" to someone that you're different?

* How do you go about doing that?

* How long will you put up with being "tested" or having to "prove yourself"? I was thinking of one guy in particular as I'm writing this, and it took about 6 months before he finally said, "I get it now. You're not like the others..." But oh my goodness, I was feeling like I was about at wits end.

And then I thought of the few guys I talked to (even just as friends) during my early years of recovering from some rough patches in my life who probably felt the exact same way about ME. I have tried very hard over the years to get better, but I know it's a work in progress.

How about the rest of you?

Our married friends are welcome to answer too, as I'm curious:

1. How did you get over the people who hurt you in order to give your spouse a chance?

2. How did you help your spouse get over the people who hurt them in order to give YOU a chance?

Thank you for your time!
For Christians, this should never arise. One of the fundamentals of the gospel is forgiveness for those who have offended us. The closer the relationship, the deeper the wounds that can arise. I can testify that it is possible, and in fact, mandatory, to forgive those who have hurt us.

I was married for 9 years. I had children 8 and 6 when the we broke up. After about a year, my ex wife disappeared. My last sight of my kids was as they got into a stranger's car, not even allowed to say goodbye. My ex told me that I'd never see them again. It had already been a fraught breakup.

How do you deal with that? Lord Jesus says that we must forgive from our hearts. It's one thing to say, "I forgive you," while inwardly cursing them. It's another entirely to be able to treat that person as if they'd never done anything wrong. That's real forgiveness.

I was blessed to have a friend who helped me through some of the darkest days of my life. He wrote an article that explains how he came to forgive a woman who took everything off him. https://www.christianlife.org.au/can-you-forgive-from-your-heart

The principles work. By a miracle, I met my ex wife and my son 15 years later. My daughter met met me a couple of weeks later. There was no hostility on my part, no accusations, no, "how could you?" My heart was at rest. It was like bumping into someone I knew a long time ago. It is possible and no Christian should live in unforgiveness. It is a blight and a curse.
 

kinda

Senior Member
Jun 26, 2013
2,255
1,078
113
#7
For Christians, this should never arise. One of the fundamentals of the gospel is forgiveness for those who have offended us. The closer the relationship, the deeper the wounds that can arise. I can testify that it is possible, and in fact, mandatory, to forgive those who have hurt us.

I was married for 9 years. I had children 8 and 6 when the we broke up. After about a year, my ex wife disappeared. My last sight of my kids was as they got into a stranger's car, not even allowed to say goodbye. My ex told me that I'd never see them again. It had already been a fraught breakup.

How do you deal with that? Lord Jesus says that we must forgive from our hearts. It's one thing to say, "I forgive you," while inwardly cursing them. It's another entirely to be able to treat that person as if they'd never done anything wrong. That's real forgiveness.

I was blessed to have a friend who helped me through some of the darkest days of my life. He wrote an article that explains how he came to forgive a woman who took everything off him. https://www.christianlife.org.au/can-you-forgive-from-your-heart

The principles work. By a miracle, I met my ex wife and my son 15 years later. My daughter met met me a couple of weeks later. There was no hostility on my part, no accusations, no, "how could you?" My heart was at rest. It was like bumping into someone I knew a long time ago. It is possible and no Christian should live in unforgiveness. It is a blight and a curse.

Can I ask why didn't you call the police, if your kids were kidnapped? I think both your ex and the stranger in the car would be in a mess, if you did that.
 

Joy4N8cher

Active member
Jul 8, 2020
172
129
43
#8
Hey Everyone,

"With nearly every guy I meet, for the first several dates, I spend nearly all my time apologizing to him for what women have done to him in the past.
Not everyone is like this, of course. Some people have moved past their hurts, and the rarest ones of all have never been hurt.

But it only reinforces the old saying that Love is (truly) a Battlefield."

Thank you for your time!
Thank you for sharing so honestly what it has looked like for you out in the relational world. It sounds exhausting and heart wrenching and expensive. I do feel like the responsibility for all of this hurt that you have heard about sure does need to be owned by the ones who have so brutally hurt these individuals. I also think that as one who has been hurt... there so often are deep seated reasons why that person feels they can't get out of a damaging and abusive relationship. Most people have a rough road ahead to make a brave decision like that. When you try to prove yourself trustworthy, have you felt like that in other situations that don't relate to dating, or is it more specific to that scenario?

I know we're all a mess, but if a person is that distrusting, and has that many open wounds, might they all be 'nopes' for you? These people seem to all need incredible healing, and most likely getting in a relationship could be a way to dodge some of that pain and feel better quicker than that beautiful agonizing process deserves. I see you like Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb.... that's not it.... that's not it.... that's not it.... until you and your man finally meet. (can you see the lightbulb right here?) I would want to see him owning his own responsibilities, letting you take responsibility for your stuff, and you together walking through life supporting each other, messing up together, forgiving one another, learning and exploring. You said..."Not everyone is like this" YES!! I just have to believe there are people out there who have done the hard work of healing with Jesus... and are still in process, but who are healthy(ier).
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
13,445
3,600
113
#9
For Christians, this should never arise. One of the fundamentals of the gospel is forgiveness for those who have offended us. The closer the relationship, the deeper the wounds that can arise. I can testify that it is possible, and in fact, mandatory, to forgive those who have hurt us.

I was married for 9 years. I had children 8 and 6 when the we broke up. After about a year, my ex wife disappeared. My last sight of my kids was as they got into a stranger's car, not even allowed to say goodbye. My ex told me that I'd never see them again. It had already been a fraught breakup.

How do you deal with that? Lord Jesus says that we must forgive from our hearts. It's one thing to say, "I forgive you," while inwardly cursing them. It's another entirely to be able to treat that person as if they'd never done anything wrong. That's real forgiveness.

I was blessed to have a friend who helped me through some of the darkest days of my life. He wrote an article that explains how he came to forgive a woman who took everything off him. https://www.christianlife.org.au/can-you-forgive-from-your-heart

The principles work. By a miracle, I met my ex wife and my son 15 years later. My daughter met met me a couple of weeks later. There was no hostility on my part, no accusations, no, "how could you?" My heart was at rest. It was like bumping into someone I knew a long time ago. It is possible and no Christian should live in unforgiveness. It is a blight and a curse.
Can I ask why didn't you call the police, if your kids were kidnapped? I think both your ex and the stranger in the car would be in a mess, if you did that.
Gideon, I am so sorry that this happened to you.

The ability to forgive to that capacity is truly a gift from God.

I am wondering the same thing as Kinda -- were the authorities ever involved? Did the courts somehow take away all your visitation rights? If I had kids and my ex told me I'd never see them again, I would have called the police immediately, but maybe there was nothing they could do in that particular situation? I'm hoping you will share more of the story, if it's not too personal.

I'm so sorry for all the suffering you must have gone through and may God bless you and your family.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
13,707
4,854
113
#10
well there is only one of me (not a twin) so, short answer not really.

But not really thought about it much cos not dating anybody, and when I do its to go out for fun. If I dont really like someone Im not really obliged to see them again thats how dates work for me. And if they dont like me I dont force them to see me again either.

Dont really have to 'prove' anything just accept people for who they really are. Why would I compare a guy with another I dated before (that they might not even have known or met?) they are all completely different people.
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
13,445
3,600
113
#11
Thank you for sharing so honestly what it has looked like for you out in the relational world. It sounds exhausting and heart wrenching and expensive. I do feel like the responsibility for all of this hurt that you have heard about sure does need to be owned by the ones who have so brutally hurt these individuals. I also think that as one who has been hurt... there so often are deep seated reasons why that person feels they can't get out of a damaging and abusive relationship. Most people have a rough road ahead to make a brave decision like that. When you try to prove yourself trustworthy, have you felt like that in other situations that don't relate to dating, or is it more specific to that scenario?

I know we're all a mess, but if a person is that distrusting, and has that many open wounds, might they all be 'nopes' for you? These people seem to all need incredible healing, and most likely getting in a relationship could be a way to dodge some of that pain and feel better quicker than that beautiful agonizing process deserves. I see you like Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb.... that's not it.... that's not it.... that's not it.... until you and your man finally meet. (can you see the lightbulb right here?) I would want to see him owning his own responsibilities, letting you take responsibility for your stuff, and you together walking through life supporting each other, messing up together, forgiving one another, learning and exploring. You said..."Not everyone is like this" YES!! I just have to believe there are people out there who have done the hard work of healing with Jesus... and are still in process, but who are healthy(ier).
Hi Joy!

This is excellent advice and I love the Thomas Edison analogy -- thank you.

For whatever reason, I've always tended to attract very broken people and I always felt honored that they would be willing to tell me about their lives, sometimes to the nth degree. It took a very long time to sort out some of the things you are rightly pointing out -- that something crucial is for each person to own up to their responsibilities (including me when determining if it's time to walk away.)

Thank you for your insights, you really got me thinking. I can see a bit of a pattern in some of my friendships as well. I'd say it's been within that last 5 years or so that I've really tried to work at being around people who are a few steps further down the road to healing.

I always struggle with the feeling of not wanting to leave someone behind, because I've often felt this way, too.

Thank you for the reminder that none of us is God (it's His job to heal people, not ours,) and that it's ok to look out for ourselves, too.
 

G00WZ

Senior Member
May 16, 2014
1,120
364
83
35
#12
I don't it would seem like im trying to sell myself and i have never really been desperate or lacking enough to be jumping through hoops to prove myself for a specific person.(not saying that what you did was desperate or lacking though)
I already believe in myself so i really don't see the point in trying to convince someone of what i already know about myself, when i was in the whole bf/gf thing i would only be with the ones who actually would affirm what i already knew. My motto while dating was basically " i might like you but i really don't need you". It's always been my belief that if i start needing people that my own value of self will go out the window. So in short i basically just show up doing what i do, having fun inviting people to the party while trying to prove nothing.

As a rule though i wouldn't date women who had all kinds of holes in their heart, especially ones who spend a lot of time talking about negative things that happened in the past with men, reason being is they are probably going to be more of a burden than an asset to me. I have already learned from past mistakes that when you play the role of a hero more than likely you will end up having a hero's death, especially if im trying to "fix" a broken heart or trying to "prove" to them that im worthy of them or something. But that's just me though doing whatever, seeking no approval and playing by different sets of rules :whistle:.
 

JohnDB

Well-known member
Jan 16, 2021
1,790
930
113
#13
Hey Everyone,

Some posts in another thread reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to bring up for a while.

When you start to date someone, do you feel like you have to spend a lot of time, energy, and money to try to prove that you're not "all the other" men or women who hurt this person before you?

I know I sure do feel this way.

As a shortcut, I'm going taking this excerpt from another post I wrote:

"With nearly every guy I meet, for the first several dates, I spend nearly all my time apologizing to him for what women have done to him in the past. I've spent countless hours listening to men tell me about women rejecting them, using them as an ATM machine, blocking them from seeing their kids, and, what I think is the most personal level of all, I have held a guy's hand on numerous occasions as he told me about the sexual abuse he suffered -- from another man.

You should have seen the letters and messages I've received from guys who have gone through hell and back, starting with their childhood (growing up as victims of pedophile stepfathers,) and now they are unsure of where to begin to find wholeness. Most believed it started with finding a woman.

This is exactly why I pay for the first date, no matter who asked. I take the check before the waitress can set it down, because I don't want a man to feel that he's just going to be used. And if I plan to take a guy somewhere for a special date (usually a theme park,) I try my very best to save up and make sure I can pay for everything so all he has to do is relax and hopefully have an amazing time. I've also helped men pay for their court expenses to be able to keep their children or gain visitation rights.

With one guy I dated, I never even got to tell him that my then-husband left for another girl until after about 3 dates because the whole time, he was telling ME about all the women who have used and rejected him throughout the years -- so yes, it most CERTAINLY happens to both genders.

One of the biggest problems I've found in dating is having to work my butt off to try to prove to a guy that I'm not the 50 girls who came before me and did all the things he's telling me about now (even if the guy has never been married; and when I try to tell him about my husband rejecting me for another girl, he acts like it doesn't count or just brushes it aside.)

So if I become interested in a guy, I already know I have start "gearing up" (emotionally and financially,) because I'm expecting that it's going to take an armory for me just to be able to try knocking on the fortress door of his heart.

Maybe one of these days, I'll find one I can break through to.

And I most certainly and definitely know that women can be the exact same way -- in fact, I have often wondered if a good percentage of dating is actually trying to prove to someone that you're not all the people whom they've encountered before.

Not everyone is like this, of course. Some people have moved past their hurts, and the rarest ones of all have never been hurt.

But it only reinforces the old saying that Love is (truly) a Battlefield."


Do the rest of you find this happening as well?

* Do you feel that you have to "prove" to someone that you're different?

* How do you go about doing that?

* How long will you put up with being "tested" or having to "prove yourself"? I was thinking of one guy in particular as I'm writing this, and it took about 6 months before he finally said, "I get it now. You're not like the others..." But oh my goodness, I was feeling like I was about at wits end.

And then I thought of the few guys I talked to (even just as friends) during my early years of recovering from some rough patches in my life who probably felt the exact same way about ME. I have tried very hard over the years to get better, but I know it's a work in progress.

How about the rest of you?

Our married friends are welcome to answer too, as I'm curious:

1. How did you get over the people who hurt you in order to give your spouse a chance?

2. How did you help your spouse get over the people who hurt them in order to give YOU a chance?

Thank you for your time!
When people begin dating they each put out "tokens" of themselves.

Things that they have that are seen as positive attributes they bring to the relationship...and it can be a myriad of things. Attractive appearance, money, witty remarks or stories, careers, or various talents.

And when dating these tokens are usually given up to the other person to induce attraction.
I had a lot of them to use and did. (Except for money... didn't have a lot of that)
And they usually did the trick for completely distracting the women I was dating. But...none of those relationships worked out now did they?

So...which one did I marry?
The one who actually listened and paid attention to who I was and ignored the tokens of me. She wasn't interested in my tokens...she was interested in me. She didn't care that I was a chef and could cook gourmet meals or that I also was an electrician or that I could do any number of "handy things" or tell witty stories. She was enamored by who I was and not what I was.

Completely different from every relationship I had previously. I, of course knew who she was/is...I always paid attention to that without thinking about it. How she talked about others and the stories she told. The stories she didn't tell are just as important as the ones she does.

You can't prove a negative... and you don't need to. If you spend all your time proving that you aren't someone else you are missing the point of dating...the other person isn't ready for a relationship.

You can ask to slow the relationship between you two down...that's fair. Especially if you need to think about what you have learned about the other person. But you don't have to prove that you are not a gold digger or something else negative...just be you and find out who the person you are dating is.
Because at the end of the day...looks, money, careers, talents or whatever tokens the other person has doesn't really matter.

And if I was to meet up with a woman friend with a couple of cups of Starbucks and had one made especially for her....if she began digging through her purse to give me money for it...I'd be hurt she didn't accept a gift. Meaning to me she's trying to keep me at arms length.
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
13,445
3,600
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#14
You can't prove a negative... and you don't need to. If you spend all your time proving that you aren't someone else you are missing the point of dating...the other person isn't ready for a relationship.

You can ask to slow the relationship between you two down...that's fair. Especially if you need to think about what you have learned about the other person. But you don't have to prove that you are not a gold digger or something else negative...just be you and find out who the person you are dating is.
Because at the end of the day...looks, money, careers, talents or whatever tokens the other person has doesn't really matter.

And if I was to meet up with a woman friend with a couple of cups of Starbucks and had one made especially for her....if she began digging through her purse to give me money for it...I'd be hurt she didn't accept a gift. Meaning to me she's trying to keep me at arms length.
I really liked this statement: "You can't prove a negative."

So John, I have to ask -- you obviously had multiple talents that would attract a woman (cooking, professional career, etc.) but your wife didn't really pay any attention to that. Or rather, I'm sure those things WERE impressive to her, but she saw something beyond that.

Did the other women pay more attention to your talents than you?

What did she say she liked about you that went beyond the things you could do?
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
13,445
3,600
113
#15
My motto while dating was basically " i might like you but i really don't need you". It's always been my belief that if i start needing people that my own value of self will go out the window. So in short i basically just show up doing what i do, having fun inviting people to the party while trying to prove nothing.

As a rule though i wouldn't date women who had all kinds of holes in their heart, especially ones who spend a lot of time talking about negative things that happened in the past with men, reason being is they are probably going to be more of a burden than an asset to me. I have already learned from past mistakes that when you play the role of a hero more than likely you will end up having a hero's death, especially if im trying to "fix" a broken heart or trying to "prove" to them that im worthy of them or something. But that's just me though doing whatever, seeking no approval and playing by different sets of rules :whistle:.

This is a really interesting point, when so many people in the world today are looking to be needed.

What do you think a relationship looks like when two people like each other but don't need each other? I'm not asking that in criticism at all -- I'm just trying to picture how that would go.

Or maybe society in general is too hooked on the idea of someone needing us?

I also liked what you said about how playing the hero leads to a hero's death. I think many of us get caught up in trying to rescue, or at least trying to improve someones life, and you are spot-on -- a part of ourselves dies in the process.

Very intriguing insights.
 

EmilyNats

Senior Member
Jul 28, 2016
1,367
181
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#16
I never really "dated" until I got to know my now-husband pretty well. Fortunately, the few guys that showed any interest in me were always pretty good Christian guys who understood where I was coming from. Whenever it seemed like they were trying to "get to know me" as more than a friend, I let them know that I was not particularly interested in it, but we could talk and see where it went. I saved so much friggen time. And best of all, since there were no strings attached or emotions embedded, we are all still good friends. There's none of that weird awkwardness that often occurs. They were great guys who are/will be great husbands, just not for me.

Then when I did finally find someone to go to the next level of a relationship with, we were already comfortable with each other and confident that things were going to work out for us.
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
18,915
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#17
This is a really interesting point, when so many people in the world today are looking to be needed.

What do you think a relationship looks like when two people like each other but don't need each other? I'm not asking that in criticism at all -- I'm just trying to picture how that would go.

Or maybe society in general is too hooked on the idea of someone needing us?

I also liked what you said about how playing the hero leads to a hero's death. I think many of us get caught up in trying to rescue, or at least trying to improve someones life, and you are spot-on -- a part of ourselves dies in the process.

Very intriguing insights.
I know a few couples like that. People who don't exactly need each other, could get along okay without each other, but acknowledge that their lives are better with each other.

If one dies the other is always sad but never distraught. There is no expression of "how will I live without this person?" The remaining person's life still goes on because it was not completely tied up in the spouse's identity.

Someday I hope to find a lady like that. One who doesn't depend on my existence, but does think her life is improved by my presence. Being responsible for somebody who thought she would not be able to live without me would be a responsibility I don't think I could take.
 

JohnDB

Well-known member
Jan 16, 2021
1,790
930
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#18
I really liked this statement: "You can't prove a negative."

So John, I have to ask -- you obviously had multiple talents that would attract a woman (cooking, professional career, etc.) but your wife didn't really pay any attention to that. Or rather, I'm sure those things WERE impressive to her, but she saw something beyond that.

Did the other women pay more attention to your talents than you?

What did she say she liked about you that went beyond the things you could do?
Of course the other women paid attention to the tokens of me rather than me...
When you pay attention to the stuff someone has rather than the person themselves you don't really understand their wants, desires, fears, and driving motivations. You guess incorrectly about what they will do or what they want. IE I don't want a wife who can compete with me in the kitchen...but that doesn't mean that I won't appreciate her efforts to cook for me. The effort she puts into making me a nice meal because she knows that I will be hungry tells me exactly what I want to hear. The quality of her cooking talents can be awful (but edible and safe to eat)...but her efforts to provide and thinking of me says more. (I'm capable of anything you see in the nicest restaurants in the world... nobody can cook like I can except for those guys...but I'm not a jerk either so I will say "it's good" no matter what)

If I'm running around in the heat mowing her lawn and she walks out with a nice glass of iced tea...oh baby I'm in love!

But when she knows ahead of time what I will like...or what I probably will say...and absolutely agrees with me...that's awesome!

But what "sealed the deal" with my wife was my dedication to following God. I'm not just a claimed follower or exhibitionist follower by a rigid set of showy rules...but a realistic follower with an identity that isn't subject to change, emotions, or feelings. An internal moral compass that is pointed straight at God.

God does give gifts and is generous with them...the ultimate gift being eternal life. But that ultimate gift requires something more than lip service and rule following. It requires a real relationship and knowing what He is really like personality wise. That's not easy for most people to understand. God IS a person and personable. And my wife loves my relationship with him.
God can (and has) given someone millions of dollars just because they were kind to someone He loved and it helped them straighten out when they needed it the most. But He never gave the loved one that kind of cash...He gave himself instead...

But back to the point about "needing" someone...
I don't need my wife nor does she need me. But we do lean on each other and depend on each other a lot.

She gets in where she fits in. I don't ask or suggest...she is capable and able to find herself a way to help me...and I do the exact same thing for her when it's her turn to shine.

I cook a LOT of stuff for Christmas. Gingerbread houses, cookies, and chocolate truffles. The list of ingredients I need for the holidays coming up is a mile long and elaborate. She gets the things and I put them together. She budgets the money and I spend it... she also coordinates what I need when, packaging and distribution. She makes what I can do become "able to do" and beyond awesome. Together we ROCK! I've seen the same thing with other awesome couples. They just help each other where they can. Not even a question about it. They just want to because they can and can see a way to help. Even if it's just being a cheerleader.
 

G00WZ

Senior Member
May 16, 2014
1,120
364
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#19
Or maybe society in general is too hooked on the idea of someone needing us?
It is, society is mostly focused around the concept of lack, need, and seeking for things outside of ourselves rather than focusing on what we already have by teaching people about adding to things and other people so that we might have what we desire.