The word safe would be hard to define if you grew up with abuse and alcoholism, if you didn’t have parents, or you were rocked in a crib by a nurse, once, every four hours. In fact, safe may become “what you know” and not what makes you feel secure, especially in personal relationships. This substitution happens so many times with people who have had trauma in their past. They pick partners who mirror their past, instead of calm the fears of the past.
I have to ask myself the important questions about anyone I date, especially in the first month of dating:
1.) Are you truly happy, or are you trying to make sure someone else is happy?
2.) When this person leaves, do you feel safe in the departure?
3.) Is this someone who nurtures the best in you?
4.) Is this a person who brings out my anxiousness, because of his/her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Addiction, fears, mismanaged time, and a myriad of other small problems that cover up, but not settle, your anxiety?
Recently, I dated a man who was simply stunning to look at. He was loving, kind, compassionate, and seemed spiritual, as well. However, as we got to know each other (about a month into the budding relationship), I noticed signs that maybe I was being drawn into something that could make me slip into my own addiction: Anxious Attachment. One issue, for certain, that stuck out was that he was five years sober. Though five years is great, this doesn’t mean that his issues about addiction were resolved. In fact, it may mean that he is only beginning to work on his problems. This seemed to be the case with this man.
In the past, I have described Anxious Attachment disorder as resulting from the inability or unreliability of one or more of the parents to attach securely as a child. The result is an insecure feeling when the child gets involved with the opposite disorder or in any relationship that pushes that insecure button. So, in dating this man, I realized that I had begun to do what no one should ever do in relationship: I began to placate his many issues by trying to solve them and be a healthy helper.
When I asked the questions from above, I had to be very honest with myself. I was way more interested in “not hurting him or making his problems worsen” than I was trying to find a compatible partner. And, to be honest, I was more interested in thinking about what this man would look like on my arm, than I was thinking about how he felt in my heart.
We have to test the waters of relationship slowly. We can’t jump in headfirst and expect to get a proper perspective. This is why we date, initially. We need to see if character and poise accompany the person to whom we have an initial attraction. If problems start too soon, you will need that space to make a secure decision about whether to continue.
If you are a gay man or woman, you may want to direct your gaze to my newest blog: Uncommon Gay Spiritual Warrior. This blog is an extension of my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/UncommonGaySpiritualWarrior/) and group meetings about the rare combination of spirituality and “being gay” defines the most important part of us, even in relationship. Join me at: http://uncommongayspiritualwarrior.blogspot.com/.
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