Katrina is a writer with a particular passion for encouraging people in their relationship journeys. After being happily married for many years, midlife saw her unexpectedly and unwillingly divorced and launched back onto the dating scene. She describes her own step-by-step forays into the adventure of relationships in her blog, 'Part Two of Your (Love) Life'.
A bishop once said, “Your family are God’s gift to you.” A playwright once said, “Your friends are God’s way of apologising for your family.” I must admit at different times in my life I have felt both are true. Whatever your past experience of family life and family relationships — whether it’s been positive, negative, mixed, or barely there — when it comes to romantic relationships, it’s wise to think about the family factor: yours and your partner’s.
An Ancient Greek myth tells of a young man who lost all his chances of love and happiness. Why? Because he caught sight of his own reflection in a pool of water and fell in love with himself, never bothering to look away from his reflection into the eyes of a potential life-partner. This is the legend of Narcissus, from which we derive ‘narcissism’. So how can a story about an Ancient Greek relate to our romantic relationships today? It’s because sometimes in our dating life we have a drive, unconscious or not, to focus too heavily on what in the HR world is called ‘Mini-Me Syndrome’.
Remember Lot’s wife? The story in Genesis about the woman who looked back at a burning city and apparently became a ‘pillar of salt’? I’ve always felt sympathy for her. Who isn’t tempted to look back? And maybe even go back to the old and familiar?
But her story can be read as a psychological truth about life and relationships: looking back and revisiting a previous relationship can leave you stuck. While it’s true that sometimes old connections can be positively revisited — if the issue was bad timing, for example — it’s been my experience that new connections are the ones with more potential. But, why?
Having a fulfilling social and dating life has been a bit challenging lately, hasn’t it? If you are anything like me you might be feeling slightly out of practice when it comes to interacting with new people. This is where being part of the online community gives you a great advantage. When face-to-face dates might not be possible or difficult to arrange, your screen means you can still meet new faces and chat, whether it’s via messaging, emails, phone calls, or video dates. Or maybe you’re able to meet in person, over a coffee or on a walk, and want to know how to develop your connection. Here are a few suggestions for early conversations with someone new.
There is a saying: ‘It was an overnight success after 20 years’ hard work.’ Sometimes dating can feel like that. Are things taking a bit longer than you thought? Sometimes you go through seasons of not getting messages or replies, or not going on dates. Maybe you begin to feel downhearted about this whole looking-for-love thing. Dating discouragement is real!
“Another one bites the dust!” a friend commented after her daughter’s romance broke up. She wasn’t being unsympathetic, it was just that with her mature wisdom she was confident that ‘another one’, a more permanent one, would come along in due course. Her daughter could have been experiencing it very differently. Not interested in ‘another one’ when she felt as though she had just lost ‘The One’. Grief at the end of a promising relationship. Lost expectations. Hurt self-esteem. It can feel almost as though our personal relationship with ourselves has been affected.
‘To everything there is a season,’ the classic Sixties rock number goes (though the Bible got there first in Ecclesiastes 3), and so it is with your dating life. There will be times of fallowness, like winter, when romantic life appears dormant. Don’t be discouraged. During winter a lot happens below the surface so that new life takes root and then blossoms into relationship possibilities when spring comes. Here are some suggestions for making a fallow time fruitful.