Monday, June 28, 2010

A resumption of dating

It has been more than a year since my soon-to-be ex left.  It has been some time since I posted on here last.  After the breakup in April of someone I was dating I took a haitus from blogging and from dating.  I was sufficiantly distracted by work and taking a climbing class and was content doing so.  I do care about others and I think the breakup affected me as well.  I do care about people, but there was also a realization that I am somewhat alone and not ready to date until my marital situation has changed.  One could argue that we are never truly alone, we just need to seek out others who are in similar situations.  This is true, but I feel in a sort of "no-mans-land".  I feel that I am somewhat unique in this world, whether that is a good thing or not and if I truly am can certainly questioned, but that is the order of things right now.  By and large it is a good thing because it gives me an opportunity to see who I am and where I want to be.

To explain this notion of isolation a bit more I will say that I am forbidden from dating within my church until my divorce is final.  This means that I am forbidden from dating those who have a similar appreciation for moral character, or that have a similar value for family upbringing, or that are able to find the joy in faith in God and how that permeates into the world around us.  Yes, there are many of other faiths who have similar characteristics, however I am Mormon and sometimes other faiths don't conincide well.  More importantly, however, I shouldn't be serious about dating until my probation during this separation has past.

However, one of the things that has been on my mind since the beginning of this separation has been the notion that I may not want to marry someone of my faith.  In previous posts I have mentioned about the Black and White Mind and the MBS model.  I will use these concepts to explain my rationale.  Most Mormon women whom I have met are quite cheeful and happy, positive attributes to be sure, however they lack a certain understanding of the world around us.  They fail to see the world in the color that it is and tend to view the world in a more black and white perspective.  I fought against that view for most of my marriage.  While I do enjoy debating this concept with others it has no place in a marriage, we need to both see the world for what it is; value and strive to adhere to the law, while showing grace towards ourselves and those around us.

My church leaders speak often of principals we should adhere to and how we should live our lives.  Good council to be sure, however needs to be taken in balance and with current circumstances.  There is a lot of pressure to live a certain way, which isn't a bad thing if understood and balanced.  On the financial side they speak of having sufficiently large families, the woman staying at home, paying tithing, fulfilling church callings, and giving additional funds to the needy.  These are important things that every family should strive for.  No one in their right mind would argue against the merits of mothers staying at home.  Most people on this earth love money, for with it we can obtain or do many things that make us happy.  This love, however, can be cancerous and consume the soul if not placed in check.  Therefore tithing and giving to others helps keep the love of money from exceeding our love of family or ourselves, so this is a good thing as well.  Fulfilling our church callings elevates who we are by giving us the opportunity to serve.  The problem, however, is in balance.  We should not give money if we are going in debt doing so, nor should we serve church callings if our family suffers.  While we shouldn't spend money on things we do not need, we do want to spend time with our family and not be too far out of alignment with society that we feel poor.  It is balance that we must seek.  Many women of my faith are very devout, they love God and the joy that is brought by living the law, and hope for the promises of etermal companionship that are givin if they are faithful.  Rightfully so, they give their time and resources to the church, as do the men.  So, while these women (and men) are happy, cheeful, and love the law they begin to see the world through a black and white lense.  Why should someone else be happier than they when they live to the letter of the law?  Likewise I have seen, and fear, a sense of entitlement for love and affection because of their adherence to the law.  For most in the church it is not the understanding that is of value, but simply adhering to the law.  Their life is the law and their love is the church which has nurtured them through the years.  Likewise, many, if not most by my observation, have neglected their Mind and Body in this love of the church and thus their lives are out of balance.  They often choose to follow the words that resonate most with them and neglect the others; hence the strain at a gnat and swallow the elephant metaphore.  For these women I have no attraction to nor will I find myself in a serious relationship with and they exist in abundance.

I do know that I am being stereotypical.  There are those in my faith who keep their lives in balance between Mind, Body, and Spirit and who see the world for what it is, instead of how they want it to be.  Who love the law, but see the weeknesses of man (and women) and afford grace towards themselves and others.  Who have self-confidence, yet maintain a state of humility and a constant desire to improve in all areas.  Yes, someone is out there to be sure, however I have yet to see them in the church.  But, I have not been afforded the opportunity to play the single scene either, so my view is small.

The problem with dating outside of the church is that I am a member of the church and a good guy for the most part.  All of the women I have dated are looking for someone who has less values than I have.  They are looking for someone who drinks and has sex fairly early in a relationship, sometimes even the first date.  Someone who is willing to go in and out of relationships as needs and desires change.  I do not fit into this scene very well, even though I may want to.  I do drink on occasion now to make my date feel comfortable.  Drinking an occasional beer hasn't been a horrible thing since I acquired a taste before I became religious.  The problem is with who I am; I am a nice guy who positively contributes to society.  I love kids, family, serving others, the outdoors, and the arts.  I work out regularly and am educated.  I stay away from drinking (up until recently), pornography, television, coffee, or sodas with caffein.  I cook and enjoy wholesome food.  I am, by most accounts, a wholesome person all the way through.  I am a Boy Scout for lack of a better definition.  The women who I am finding myself attracted to outside of the church are somewhat sceptical of who I am.  There is an apprehention which I think is due to the fact that there is relatively little wrong with me in the general sense.  I have a hypothesis for this; I am self-sufficent in a great many ways and my psychological well-being is generally one of those.  Many women, however, are hard wired to be nurturers.  They often want something to heal and fix, such as the men in their lives, and in so doing they tend to fall in love with them.  They work hard in all areas of their life to make the man happy to feel loved.  However, after years have passed, they realize that the man they wanted to fix is unfixable, and often the situation is worse.  The effort they put into the relationship has not yielded any returns.  They want a better man, someone who will love them and is worthy of their love, but to have that love they need another project, another man they can nurture and elevate.  One, perhaps, that is not so far lost, but one that needs their help nonetheless; to overcome some mental state of misery.  Their affirmation of love is derived from being needed; perhaps from simply cooking meals on a daily basis, to keeping the house tidy, to perhaps even ironing the mans shirts on a weekly basis.  In one way or another the successful relationships that I have seen in my life there was that daily affirmation of need by the man.  Even my father, who showed very litte emotion, was dependent upon my step mother for ironing his shirts, cooking his meals, and sending him off to work sometimes at 2AM with a lunchpale in his hands.  Even while she was a school teacher during their marriage this ritual took place.  She felt needed.  They were married for 25 years before he passed away.  My ex's parents; she cooks and keeps the house tidy.  She was the primary bread winner before their retirement, though he worked in the reserves.  He watches television mostly while she does a lions share of the work.  He does mow the lawn and fix the house or car, but mostly he watches television.  They are of the same faith as I.  The husband needs the wife.  My grandfather had the same relationship and my uncle.  All of these had successful marriages in which they were both happy.

After writing this I think, perhaps, I am missing the boat here.  I need to learn a thing or two.  My desire for perfection and self-sufficiency would prevent the opportunity for someone to realize their inner desire to serve and establish that love.  Perhaps my desire for a wholesome relationship should supercede my desire for perfection, for is there such a thing?  Perhaps I am seeking someone who wants to serve me instead of a desire for being self-sufficient, for in such relationships there is dependency.  Or perhaps I am completely jaded by being with someone who was entirely stubborn and prided herself on refusing to even iron a shirt.

I try fairly hard to keep my life in balance; this has been ingrained within me at some point in my life.  For me to be happy in a relationship, and for my future companion to be happy, a similar balance in life must be appreciated.  There must be a care about physical appearance and health (which is a balancing act in itself), who is successful in their career, who has a love of learning and is curious about the world we live in, who enjoys outdoor activities, who is not consumed by religion, but loves at least a moral code of conduct if not God, who loves and serves their children (if they have them) and family.  I find myself distinctly attracted to women who have struggled in their lives, have overcome, and are confident in who they are.  A diamond in the rough so to speak.  Or, if I can paraphrase from a line in the movie Mulan; the flower which blooms in adversity is rarest and most beautiful.  Perhaps Mormonism is not the place where I belong to find this, perhaps it is.  My journey ahead is long, however when I do find someone who meets this criteria will I be prepared to take advantage of it?  Will I have fallen so far in my quest that I will no longer be worthy of such a person?  Or will someone find me emotionally desireable because I have fallen and am able to recover from that miserable state that consumes so many of us?

That is it for now.  I have written much in this post.  It has given my more to ponder and write in future posts.  I truly enjoy my children.  I am grateful for my 11yo son right now who is mowing the lawn while I finish this and prepare information for my lawyer.