As you enter into the New Year, put your heart in the hands of our Lord. Forgive yourselves for the questionable decisions you have made in the past. And, if you are currently in a relationship, ask yourself this question:
Am I a priority in his life or just an option?
Trial and Error
I just received an email from a girl who paid me a compliment which made me chuckle a bit. She said, “I never learned all these gems you seem to know intuitively when it comes to with dealing with men and finding the one.”
Oh boy, there is nothing intuitive about the “gems” that I share on this blog. Each and every gem has been obtained by trial and error. Mostly error. 🙂 I am sharing them with you not because I believe that you will avoid the heartache that these errors bring on, but instead so that you will be able to connect the dots and self-correct when you do err.
If I have painted a picture here of my dating life that makes it seem that this was all “intuitive” (which means “known automatically”), then I owe you an apology. Out of all the letters I receive from you, my readers, there has been nothing that surprises me. I share anecdotes in these private correspondences which I don’t share publicly on the blog because they are sort of embarrassing! I hope my responses ooze with compassion as well as the message that you are completely normal in your desire to be loved. And, that your ‘errors’ are nothing new.
So, back to the question: Am I a priority in his life or just an option?
5 Years ~ Ugh
Let me begin by telling a story. I didn’t even include this particular aspect of my life in my book because it represents to me such foolishness on my part. I still look back and wonder why I stayed in this relationship as long as I did. The only thing I can come up with was that I did not have any other options. Or so I thought. Who knows how my life would have transpired had I asked myself the above question and then acted on the wisdom the answer would have revealed.
I cringe as I type but here it goes. I started dating a guy when I was 25. Let’s call him John. The final breakup happened when I was almost 30. There were approximately 5 break ups that happened in those 5 years. Now, keep in mind that I was away from my faith and I was not living a Sacramental life in Christ. I was seeking God, but on my own terms. I had a couple of control issues that I was working through which started in college and lingered through my 20’s. Staying in the relationship with John only deepened the crevices where these control issues ran through my head and my heart.
The break up pattern looked like this: He chased me. I agreed to reconcile. He treated me like an option. I would get mad. I would break up. He contacted me and used his charm to convince me to give it another try. Wash, rinse, repeat.
He Loved Me, But Not Enough
We met in college when we were both dating other people. His break up and my break up happened around the same time and presto, we began to date. He was living about an hour away and back then long distance phone calls cost money. I felt special that he would call me but it did not feel like he called me often enough.
We would also see each other on the weekends. But, not every weekend. Interestingly, I knew his family really well but he had only met my family a couple of times. His family lived in the same town as I did so it was convenient to include me in that aspect of his life. But, there were times when he would visit his family and not even let me know he was in town. Ouch. Time to break up.
I Was Not A Priority
My commitment to Chastity was severely tested. But, it was also a very effective litmus test. I knew deep down that marriage was the only thing that could justify such an intimate act. I knew that if I had shared that with him and he had not married me in the end, there would be hell to pay. Mostly towards myself.
During this time, I watch others meet and marry. I could see a marked difference. I could see that I was being treated as an option and not a priority. And, it made me mad. So, I would point this out to John. He would act hurt/confused that what he was offering me was not enough. But I knew that he knew I was right.
There were all sorts of excuses: the distance, his job, his career, his immaturity. Looking back, he was kind of immature but it is interesting that the girl he dated after me somehow cured this immaturity. He made her a priority and he married her.
This unhealthy relationship really did a number on me. I continued to date other guys after John but it took several years for the Lord to heal me. I don’t blame John. I blame myself.
But, the errors resulted in gems. After John, I could easily spot when I was being treated as just an option by the guys I was dating. I was able to connect the dots and self-correct.
It was not until I met Gregg that I realized what being made a priority looks and feels like. There were no excuses. There were no disappointments. Each potential opportunity to spend time together was capitalized upon. And, these opportunities required a plane and taking leave from work. There was nothing convenient about that.
Gregg never tired of calling me. He loved talking to me on the phone because he loved my voice. I met his family and he met mine. I met his friends and he met mine. He was proud to have me as his girlfriend. He displayed the maturity required to move things toward marriage. He sacrificed his life to join it to mine.
So, I encourage you to ask yourself this question about your current relationship: Are you a priority or just an option? If you are just an option, break up and don’t look back. Don’t delay your opportunity to be treated like a priority by the right man. Don’t tie up your heart on a man who could take you or leave you. Keep your heart free so that the Lord can move in your life and so that you can follow His will. Keep your emotions holy so as to not deepen the crevices of anger, mistrust, self-blame and disappointment.
Allow Him to turn your errors into Gems!
God love you and bless you!
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I got married almost 7 months ago & there are many signs that I am an option & I we have grown apart alot cause he puts up walls & blocks me out & says its cause of his past. Can you tell me the difference between a priority and an option in marriage. I am also 4 months pregnant now. Thank you
Wow, this happened to me, too. The man I dated after this break-up with a man I was not a priority for, I married. Through dating the man who became my future husband, I saw how badly I had been treated before. I wish that I had read an article like this to help me know in the moment that my previous relationship was not going anywhere, and that I was worth being treated better. Thanks for writing this!
Thank you for sharing your story, AM-B! God bless you and your husband! Cindy
Such Beautiful Words. Thank you so much for your kind inspiration. God bless you 🙂
Thank you, Bri! Praise be to God. I have added you to my Divine Mercy Chaplet prayer list. God bless, Cindy