the BLOG of stuart mcdonald

Don’t Be Like Me: Part 3 of 3: My Lesson
July 12, 2009, 11:18 pm
Filed under: My Life..., Relationships | Tags: , , , , , ,

I was asked the other day, “How did you get into this situation?” That a great question. I think faults were made on both parts, but I’d be a fool to walk away from this situation without having learned anything. I don’t know that I learned anything I hadn’t already known. Rather the things already known were strongly reinforced.

How can you avoid making the same mistakes I did?

Know your intentions. Figure out what you want from the relationship. Don’t let the other person’s desires influence you. What do YOU want? Do you want a friendship? Do you want a dating relationship? Are you looking for a wife? A recreation buddy? Do you even know? I didn’t know. I should have thought about it far before I did. Once I figured it out & evaluated whether she could fill the role, we were so far down the wrong path it hurt to go backwards.

Intentions can change. There may be a situation where 2 friends are hanging out, having a good time with no strings (or intentions) attached and they suddenly “catch” feelings for each other.  Feelings can develop over time and that’s fine. The foundation of any relationship must be friendship. Which is where my next point comes in…

Clarify your direction.
How can two people walk together unless they agree upon a direction? Once you understand what you’re looking for in the relationship, you need to express your feelings to the other person and find out if they’re mutual. This is one of the hardest things to do in a relationship because it forces you into a place of vulnerability. When you put your feelings in the open, laying everything on the table, you set yourself up both for acceptance and for rejection.

Whether the feelings and direction are mutual or not, you’ll be glad you had the conversation. In one case, the feelings weren’t reciprocated and I can say I have never felt more thankful after having that conversation! Why? There are no more assumptions. There’s no more wondering what are they’re thinking: Do they like me? What if I say this? Do that? It’s all been laid on the table, processed, discussed, and dealt with. During the discussions, it’s important to do the last thing:

Respect your partner. It’s critical to see the other person’s point of view. Take time to listen and process what is being said. Repeat it back to them so they know you’re paying attention.

When you have an argument, disagreement, intense fellowship, or whatever you call it, make sure you don’t tell the other person what they feel. This is one time you want to put “I” first. Tell them how you feel about the situation and let them respond. It takes honesty and openness to share your feelings instead of dictating what they should have done. It can be very disarming and fosters mutual trust in the relationship. Talk about feelings, not actions. Don’t attack them. Always make personal statements like: “I felt… because/when you…”

It is incredibly important to be up front and honest. Not only with yourself and how you are feeling, but with the other person in the relationship. Being honest and open is not always painless. Sometimes it can be rather painful at first, yet over time it heals hurts instead of creating new ones.



2 Comments so far
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Great lesson… one that we can all learn from. Thanks for sharing Stuart.

Comment by Barroness

I think that the following comment describes me too perfectly: “maybe it’s because I’m scared to commit to the wrong thing so I don’t give anything a chance.”

Ouch!!! It hurts, but I thank you.

Comment by Juanita

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