The thing is, the cardinal rule when analyzing data is that you “let the data speak for itself.” Never make the data fit assumptions, never mess with the data to rationalize theories; but that is exactly what I did because I wanted my plan to work.
Why my plan anyway? Why can’t I just leave love to chance or God or time or whatever? I’d like to say I think my plan does leave love to all of that BUT also takes into account some sad, sorrowful truths.
#1) I’m looking for a partner to share my life with and this will be my third marriage. I am not going to be that woman with five husbands and the one I end up with won’t even be one I’m married to. This is it. I have NO margin of error.
#2) We live in a society with a 50% failure rate at marriage… that doesn’t even count broken relationships where love once was that never make it to marriage.
#3) In the evangelical Christian culture, divorce is humiliatingly higher than the overall average population.
I believe if I seek a partner the way it’s being done in our society now, the way I’ve done it before, I’m going to fail again. It needs to be different. I thought my plan was a near-perfect way to avoid the pitfalls of feeling in love and falling in love without rationally thinking it through.
I don’t want to fail at love again, I want the next time to be the last time. While I love The Middle for being able to do what I want, when I want with whom I want, I don’t want to be single and searching any longer than necessary. I don’t want to be alone. Thousands of good, kind, loving men just in my local area don’t want to be alone either. I’m a quality woman that wants the best in a relationship and so do they. There’s no point in messing around for years to find “the one” when there are literally hundreds that are suitable. I figured the best way to save time would be to be a quality casual date for guys right now and get to know several good guys at once.
My theory made sense to me... condense the men into the shortest amount of time possible, see whom I am most compatible with (knowing no one will be 100% compatible), take time to maintain my individual identity as I continue to heal, and when the time is up… see how it plays out with the most compatible guy of whomever is there, rinse and repeat, as needed until one gets me in the boat. The plan provided time, because I KNOW I’m not ready for a relationship right now, but not too much time so that I end up becoming a woman of such independence that I’m not going to want to share life with someone but will rather want them to do life my way.
I still think the intention behind my plan is good… but the execution neglected to take into consideration a trait inherent in the hearts, minds and souls of the best kind of men. I’d like to call it jealousy, and then ask any good men reading this to hang on before you defend yourself against the word. That’s one of the things I learned; good men will try not to call it what it is. Men of valor live by a code of honor and the way we throw the word jealousy around now, it is not an honorable trait. When we think of jealousy, ideas of possessive, angry, insecure, controlling jerks come to mind. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about righteous jealousy; it is so mind-blowingly different. It’s actually a beautiful thing now that I’m letting the data speak for itself. So beautiful. An honorable trait, a godly trait. One to be desired in a good man. One to be respected as I continue to date.
Let me explain this good jealousy as I’ve seen it play out over these last five months…
I’ve intentionally studied and watched men I identify as the good kind. Are they prefect? No, but they are so amazing that I am in awe at their acts of noble strength, kindness, courage, humility, service, support, protection, activism and involvement. These men, the good men of the world, know better than we women can understand, the heart of a good man and how pure it is despite the secret insecurities and mistakes they may make. They are real-life heroes as opposed to the bad guys. Bad guys are evil, vile perpetrators of bad stuff. Good men take pride in humbly, faithfully protecting our world from them, in big things like military service and small things like assessing the people around them to identify any possible threats and walking on the street side of the road to protect those they’re with.
They know they’re not perfect but they also know they make an active choice to be a good man every day. In the context of dating what I’ve observed in my, and my single lady friend’s dating adventures, and from the lives and words of others is that a good man is willing to meet and date a quality causal woman until it breaks the code of honor. What I’ve observed is that there comes a point when a man believes himself to be a suitable partner, the kind that would love and protect the woman they’re dating and something inside them can no longer be cool with quality casual. Either it must change or end because… jealousy.
They are good men, they know what they can offer and have no intention or desire to compete with anyone, who in their opinion, wouldn’t be the best option. These good men I write of are sure of what they are able to provide. It’s not insecurity; I feel like it’s the exact opposite, righteous jealousy, is assurance they are the best for me and an intolerance to be compared to someone else.
What I think I’m realizing is that good men in general appreciate the opportunity to show a woman they are dating who they are, what they do, think and feel in a non-competitive arena. Be sure of this, if they’re into a lady enough, they will, um … “fight” for their opportunity because they believe they’re the best (and it's honestly kind of humbling to be the object of that kind of desire). BUT it’s disrespectful and dishonorable of me, if I choose to identify myself as a dignified woman, to purposely put them in that position (although if they know they're the best for the lady they should fight for her if they believe she's misguided in her attentions). That’s where I screwed up.
I’m not dating losers, neither are my friends. These are good, kind, honorable, respectful men and one after another this same aversion to quality casual dating appears. The data speaks, I must listen. My plan must be, and has been altered. If I want a good man, I must give good men the opportunity to reveal themselves to me within an arena of undivided time and attention. NO that doesn’t mean I’m having a relationship! NO that doesn’t mean my plan or timeline changes except that there is only one good man I’ll be doing fun stuff with at a time. It scares me because, honestly, I think it’ll be much harder to hold my emotional and physical boundaries because, for me, familiarity breeds comfort and I’m a creature of comfort. But I think the change must happen in order to maintain my honor in the eyes of good men. So, I screwed up, I learned how beautiful righteous jealousy is, I am giving one good guy at a time undivided attention and I must now ferociously guard my heart to be sure I don't slip and fall in love but still stay the course and find rational love that makes sense.