Ministering Angels

"They neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those what are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory."

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Unpacking the baggage of the past

By Melinda

There weren't really any red flags until I met him in person. We'd met on an Internet site. I'll go out with just about anyone once, so I gave him my phone number and told him to call. He did. And he talked. Wow, did he talk. I don't think he drew a breath in over an hour. But far be it from me to hold chattiness against a person. I can talk the ears off a person myself. So we set up a first date.

Then the red flags went up. I already knew he was divorced and had several children that lived in a different state with their mom. That's all I wanted to know for a first date. But I got the whole story of how they met, their marriage, the divorce, and a summary of the high points of the divorce decree. That ended any chance for a second date.

See, the first date is all about me. Really. In a first date, I'm making a whole bunch of decisions and judgments, and one of the biggest is if he's emotionally available for a relationship. Someone who has to describe his past relationship in detail to a comparative stranger is still too emotionally connected to that relationship to be thinking about me. Or if he is thinking about me, he's comparing me to her, which is even worse than not thinking about me at all.

Too much information about a past failed relationship makes the first date more like a therapy session than a date. If you're still that emotionally tied to the break-up, you're on the rebound and you shouldn't be dating.

Of course I want to know about his romantic past eventually, but not until I've decided I care about him enough to want to know his history. The past isn't important unless there's a chance for a future.

But that's just me, and I freely admit to being self-centered. What do you think? When do you want to hear the details that answer the question "why is a nice person like you not married?" Because we've all got a story, whether we tell it or not.



at 7/16/2005 7:52 PM Anonymous Barb said...

I have had an experience where someone gave me way too much information about his past on our first and only date. It is too bad that I did not care for him as he was my one and only secret admirer. He was a nice guy though and did not seem too emotionaly bound to his ex-wife. Well, I think it is good to wait to heal a little after a break-up, however, sometimes that can make a person mope around too much and get into depression. My brother and the woman that he was engaged to had a messy break-up just a few months from what had been a long engagement. People encouraged him to start dating right away. His ex- who was the one who broke up with him would do little things to make him think they had a chance of getting back together now and again. I do not know if he spoke of his ex on his dates. Eventually, he met his wife who he married last September.

at 7/17/2005 12:32 PM Blogger Laura said...

If your first date is really your first time spending time together, then I think it is not the place to unload baggage.

Melinda, you suggest that the reason for baggage-unloading is emotional unavailablity; I think it possible that baggage-unloaded could indicate other red flags, including immaturity, social cluelessness, and/or lack of boundaries. So even if he's not using your date conversation as therapy, he's using it as a shield to cover something else.

at 7/18/2005 2:58 AM Anonymous Barb said...

Laura, I like your comments. I agree that one should not be unloading their baggage on a first date. Those dates are supposed to be non-threatening. The word boundaries jumped out at me. I have a friend who was always telling me that I need to learn about boundaries. I never quite got it. Little by little, I have realized what he means. I felt like it was rather an insult as I am a pretty moral person. Now that I read it, I see my appalling mistakes in that area. If someone respects your boundaries, they will respect your emotional, intellectual, and physical boundaries. I really was so inhibited before email. My fingers work faster than my brain sometimes. :)

at 7/19/2005 10:36 AM Blogger Melinda said...

You know, it could have been social cluelessness. Maybe he figured that he should explain up front that he really wasn't a bad guy just because he was divorced. I don't make that assumption (there are way too many situations that end in divorce to blame anyone automatically), but I think he was a bit defensive about it.

Barb - I liked your mention of email. Email really is a nice way of saying things that need to be said, that I can be too cowardly to bring up in person.


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