Nov 28, 2012

On Patience

I'm not a patient person. It's probably one of my greatest flaws and it often gets the better of me.

I mean, I have patience in some regards. I can wait out a sale like nobody's business. That's not my problem. My issue is more often with things I can't control ... like people. Those shoes are always going to go on sale, eventually. But is that guy ever going to come around? That's where I have trouble.

It's not a great trait and it's always one I want to improve upon, though I'm always trying. The last month, especially, has felt like a boot camp for improving upon my patience. And the person who has been asking me to be patient seems to understand that my anxiety for it stems from something in my past.

I think that's right, though I hadn't ever really thought to put those two pieces together -- heartbreak and my fear of just sitting back to see what happens. I guess I realize now that they are connected.

In my first serious relationship, I spent seven years waiting for him to come around. He spent seven years telling me how important I was to him, saying that he loved me ... but he never committed to me. And honestly, in those seven years I wasn't worried about it. I was so confident, so sure of how he felt about me, that I was positive we were going to live happily ever after. I didn't even care that so much time was going by. I was happy, I loved him, I wasn't in a rush.

It wasn't until it finally ended, and I looked back at ALL. THOSE. YEARS. that I worried I had wasted too much time.

I think that's where it started.

Because how do you look back at seven years spent with the wrong guy, when you were so sure that he was the right guy and all you needed to do was give it time -- give him time -- and then trust your instinct to be patient again the next time?

But then I did, somehow. The Dude and I were together for three years. And what we had felt so different than what I had with that first guy, that I really thought, "ohhhh, this is what was missing." There were a lot of factors at play in that relationship and The Dude would never deny that I gave him my patience. We all know how that turned out though.

Ten years later ... and lots of patience. I try not to be one of those bitter women, burned by her past experiences, playing the victim. I try to live my life with no regrets. And I don't regret either of those relationships, because I consider each a learning experience and something that has made me more of who I am today. I'm not even one of those women in a rush to settle down, get married and have children. I really just care about being happy, and that's it.

But it's impossible to deny that a part of me isn't scared of that happening again. Of giving patience that leads to more heartbreak. It almost terrifies me.

So it's harder now, I suppose. I don't think I was always this way, because I don't think I would have survived seven years that first time around without patience. Or faith or trust or whatever you want to call it.

When someone says to me now, "Just be patient ... We have time" ... it simply takes a lot more work to quiet the part of my brain that remembers the heartache and disappointment and feeling foolish. It takes a lot more work to leave that past in the past and just see what happens. 

But I'm trying.


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4 comments:

  1. I don't know... I don't think there's anything wrong with NOT being patient, and saying to someone-- Hey you seem great, but I need to find someone who's looking for the same things as me.

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  2. Patience in a relationship.. or, outside a relationship is hard. I am a very confident woman, until I fall. Once I fall for someone and deem them worthy of my awesomeness, I think they are losing interest.

    I think it's important to know you have time to find the best thing for you, but also when you find it, that person should be so excited to be with you that they don't make you wait an unruly amount of time before they want to make sure the world know you're theirs (moving in/engagement/however you decide to make it know)!

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  3. I want to comment back to both of you, but I don't have anything profound to say. :) I think each person and each relationship is different and you prioritize what works for you at that moment in your life.

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  4. I can really relate to this post. I recently had to search within myself and admit that I sometimes have too much patience in my relationships. I was in an 8 year that I thought would result in marriage. Then a two year. And now I am coming out of a 4 year relationship with a man who I believe I found my first mature and real love with during out time. I feel that maybe its time in my next experience to walk away after a certain period. I do not think of them as wasted years but I think I should have moved on sooner. I just really thought I knew. I to be married, have children, build a life and that may mean changing my dating pattern since I am in my mid thirties. Thanks for sharing! It was nice to read that someone else was thinking about this subject recently.

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