I have always said that I don't regret any relationships. Each one is a learning experience. However, often a person will be conditioned to have certain reactions if they've experienced repeated behavior. For example, after having two boyfriends in a row be unfaithful to me, it was hard to trust anyone I was dating. One of the guys had even told me after I discovered he was sleeping with his ex - "I didn't lie to you, I just withheld information". So after that I started questioning more than I needed to in following relationships, which of course was detrimental.
Ironically enough, it took dating someone who had one of the most steadfast daily routines to break me of that habit. You could set a watch by Jeff, from the time he got up to his arrival home from the bar he worked in, which included late night movies and crossword puzzles. Although we didn't have much of a physical or even romantic relationship, he was someone who was so open and honest that it was easy to relax and learn to trust someone again. I have no problem with men I date having friendships with past loves and lovers. Frankly, I think it is a good sign if someone is on good terms with their exes.
So what's my latest issue?
Needlessly stressing about whether anyone can have more of a place for me than an afterthought, something of greater importance. I've repeatedly let myself get emotionally attached to Jason, things will be comfortable, and then inevitably there will be another woman that he wants to date as well. I feel pretty confident that I won't repeat this mistake again with him, as I made it very clear to both him AND myself that I deserve more. He still harbors an emotional attachment to his previous girlfriend and a physical involvement with another girl (who I like very much). I told him at the beginning of September that I can't go through the motions of a domestic relationship especially when it's only an illusion. As a woman, I want to be made to feel special and exclusive.
Now I find myself hesitant to become attached to another. There's been some hurt in the past, and I think I've got myself worried in general about being reassured that I'm respected and that I can trust not to be passed over. As I've said before, rejection is tough, whether it's a short relationship or a broken marriage - it's just to what degree and how long it takes to recover from it. I'm optimistic with my present situation in that time has hopefully matured both of us enough to communicate well. As my sister just reminded me, a strong friendship is a key foundation to a good and healthy relationship - although she's said this because she's trying to fix me up with a pastor we both know! As nice as he is, and a couple of other guys that've been calling me up, I really only have time and energy to date one person at a time. Not to mention two of them are over 15 years younger than me. Not what I'm looking for. I want to spend my one on one time with a delightfully witty, intelligent, attractive, sexy MAN - is that too much to expect?
When it all comes down to it, I know that I have ultimate responsibility for the way I feel and the way that I am treated. I think I've stumbled a little here and there, but am determined to be the best person I can be and recognize healthy behavior. As long as I can keep my PMS hormones in check, I think I won't make anyone's life TOO miserable that want to be a part of it, on whatever level. :P