Past relationships truly define how you deal with and treat a new love.
Learned behaviors can either make or break your current relationship.
I began thinking about my past 'loves' and how they shaped my idea of a healthy and happy relationship.
Not only past loves, but male influences in my life.
Where did I learn how to love? Why does my current love feel like "the one" - still?
Honesty, respect, attraction, stability, passion - these are all of the words that come to mind when I think about what a strong relationship should have.
My first "male influence" was my father. My dad is a sweet, quiet, intellectual man. He has been married to my mother for 37 years, and has stood by his wife through good times and bad. This is my father's second marriage - but he married for life. My father is a hard worker, never calls in sick unless he literally cannot get off the couch. He provides for his family, he does what is asked and he tries to keep the peace. I am blessed to have someone like him as the "rock" of our family.
Another major "male influence" in my family was my maternal grandfather. Papa was a charismatic man. Attractive, wicked sense of humor, and he spoiled me rotten. You can tell he was a bit of a "play boy" when he was younger - which always made me laugh when he told me his stories. My favorite story of him was when he was fighting in World War II, there was a period of time he was M.I.A. I even saw newspaper clippings of this. Lo and behold, he was off "partying" and to quote him.. "I do-si-doed to the bed with two fräuleins." Silly, crazy - but I was the apple of his eye.
I am blessed to have such a strong, constant influence with these two men. Two extremes, two hard working, dedicated men.
Looking back over the years, I have to admit - I never thought boys were "gross." Upon entering kindergarden, I had little "crushes" on some of the boys. In elementary school, there was one boy in particular that I thought was "soooo cute." However, I never had a boy friend through out those years.
By the time I made it to middle school, suddenly boys noticed me. I had a few "boyfriends." Those "relationships" lasted a total of 3 weeks - and back then, that was a loooong time. lol Sweet little boys, who you never got to be alone with, or go anywhere with. More of a "school" relationship.
In high school, things changed. This is where you begin learning more about how to handle yourself and interact with boys. I dated a few guys for a few months at a time. Nothing serious. We would see each other at school, maybe hang out at each other's homes, and talked on the phone. That's it. To be perfectly honest, I was what some would call a "good girl." I did not do anything in high school that was considered controversial with a boy.
There were two boys, in particular, that I dated for a long period of time in High School. Jason & Allen.
I first saw Jason in middle school and immediately "fell in love." Later - by 9th grade, we started dating. Jason was waaaaaaay too advanced in the world of relationships than I. Plus he was older. Needless to say - I learned at an early age that some boys would use a girl for some other things. Luckily, he left me - because I would not engage in certain activities. At the time - it broke it my heart. But looking back, I am one lucky girl.
Then my first "relationship" was with a boy named Allen. He and I dated for two years in high school. Sweet boy, very smart, and very motivated when it came to his future goals. Allen was an excellent influence in my life. He taught me how to truly push to do better in school, and alot about loyalty and respect. We "broke up" about two weeks after my high school graduation. Why? To move on - and grow. I am proud to report - I heard he is doing quite well, married with a child.
In college, I had another very long relationship. Brad and I met my sophmore year and began dating all the way until about one month after graduation. Brad was very smart, creative, sensitive and a kindred spirit. We were truly best friends and went through so much together. Brad "broke up" with me a few weeks after we graduated from college, to move on. We were going in different directions - and I am happy to report he is married with children and doing well.
About a year or two later I met Chris. Funny, lovable, "good ol' boy" Chris. He came from a great family, and was handy with automobiles, the garden - basically he could fix anything. He catered to all of my needs and basically wore me down - I finally decided to get married. We dated two years before we married. Unfortunately it did not last. We were at different levels of "maturity" and our interest were completely different. The reasons I married him were for stabilty and a more "normal" lifestyle. Unfortunately, I believe that he had a chemical dependancy and a wandering eye. I will stop there.
Needless to say - after 8 years of "together" we made the hardest decision to go our separate ways. We talked about divorce in July. Stuck it out. He asked for a divorce on New Year's Eve. I moved out in February. He moved to Mobile one week later. Were we divorced by March 17th, and he has since remarried and I believe he has a step child.
Then I met a wonderful man. If I could dream up my "perfect" guy - I swear to you - it is my egyptian. As a young girl, I was always attracted to the tall, dark and handsome. I love the "mediterranean" look. I was always a sucker for an accent. I love intelligent, creative men. I like a "strong" man - who will not let me run all over him (because I assure you - I tend to do that.) I wanted someone who had strong religious beliefs and appreciated art - travel - writing and had a strong desire to collect excellent works of literature. I needed someone who LOVED vampire movies, and appreciated decorating our home. I needed someone who cares about the way he looks, but is relaxed enough not to take himself too seriously.
Guess what? My egyptian fills all of those requirements. Silly stuff. But man - every thing - and let me say one more time - EVERYTHING I ever looked for I found.
Sure, nothing is perfect. What I have to take into consideration is cultural and religious differences. Of course that is tough. But I like a challenge. Man - does my mind have to stay opened to just function!
To wrap this random ramble up - the male influences in my life have made all the difference. Yes, I loved a few times and yes I lost. But it all worked out in the end. Think about it - I did not meet my egyptian until I was 34. Love can come later, and yes.. all of the things I learned from the 'influential men' in my life have helped build this relationship.
Another thing I love about this relationship - we fell for each other at an equal pace. No one person liked the other first, or more. It is equal. In other relationships, one or the other seemed to love the other person more. I did not have a tumultuous beginning where there was the "wishing and hoping." It started out strong.. and has remained strong. Yes, we hit some hard, hard moments where you wonder if it is going to last. But the reasons were simple and the lessor of man could not handle the cultural adjustment.
Who has made a difference in your life? What are the truths of your relationships? Are you where you want to be? Are you preparing yourself for what may come?
I am glad I loved and lost. Because now.. I can just love.