Tagged: dating

Slow and steady

I am a runner.

I have worked really hard to be able to call myself that.

I am not the fastest runner or the longest-running runner, but I am a runner. I lace up my shoes and map my routes like the best of ’em.race bib 6
In return, I get a ridiculously-low resting heart rate and big calves (hills). My resting heart rate is so low that whenever I give blood, the tech asks me if anything is wrong with me. It’s quite funny to see their reaction when I say that I run… I don’t look like a runner (besides the calves). I look like I eat too many cookies and too much ice cream.
But I am also learning to be patient (Lent, anyone?) while I run. I know that I can’t make my watch (or GPS) go any faster. I can only go as fast as I can talk my legs (and brain) into running. The corner won’t come any closer to me. I have to RUN to it. And that hill won’t get any smaller by complaining or by walking up it.
Running is the only answer.

Slow and steady. Easy pace. Keep going. Don’t quit.

These are the mantras that run through my head as I run. I also turn around (just my head) sometimes and look at how far I’ve come. Wow. I impress myself.
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So, I know slow, I know how to move slow on a running route.
But when it comes to the men in my life… I don’t know how to go slow.
So another mantra I use, in the rest of my life, is:
“Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 27:14

Last Thursday, the man in my life gave me a book.

It blew my mind. We had only gone on three dates – coffee to meet, dinner, dinner again – and he gave me a book.
A book, first of all, goes straight to my heart. I mean, you can’t buy a book without being thoughtful about the person you’re giving it to. You have to think about what they like, about who they are, about how they think.
When I saw it was a book, without knowing what book it was, he won my heart. Already!
Then I realized it was a book about Croatia! What?!
A travel book about Croatia…
let me give you some back story. His parents were both born in Croatia. He’s a first generation American, and he still goes to a Croatian Mass and is a member of a folk lore group.
When we met and he told me this, I was fascinated. He’s actually passionate about something.
So I asked him all sorts of questions about it when we met for the first time.
I gave him a hug when he gave me the book. One of those hugs where you don’t want to let go and just lay your head on his shoulder, right? One of those.
He told me later that he bought the book before we had gone out the second time.
He bought it after we had that awkward coffee date? Mind blown again. Wow.
I devoured most of the history and culture sections of the book the night he gave it to me. I am just amazed by the beauty of this country.
I am also amazed at my ability to put him and I there in a few years. Together. Married. Thinking about our kids back home, or having them with us.

WAIT. WHAT?

Married. Kids. A home. Vacation together.
Slow down, lady. What are you trying to do?
Just what I know how to do, go fast and ruin things.
In my last relationship, as I’ve shared before, I didn’t go slow. We slept together right away. We didn’t date. We didn’t get to know each other.
With Robert, I want to date. I like dating, I’ve found out after the last few weeks. I like talking to him on the phone. I like getting his “good morning” text message every day… or beating him to it.
I like thinking of date ideas and organizing our schedules. I like learning about his friends and talking about running plans. I like this. I like where we are right now.
For our most recent date, we were going into the restaurant and he reached in front of me to open the door and put his other hand on my back.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I did for those few seconds. I imagine that he’ll be the kind of guy that waits for me at the end of the pew so I can go through the Communion line in front of him.
THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT OF. COMMUNION. Of going to Mass with him.
Not of how his hands would feel on my bare skin, but of Communion. I can’t really chastise myself for thinking about that, can I? He and I have talked about going to Mass together soon, probably after Easter.
I think that most of the time my head and heart are in the right place with this relationship, I know that he wants to take it slow to and see what happens.
But there are just some things, some moments that shoot me way ahead of where we are.

He asked me, yesterday morning, if I had read any more of the Croatia book.

I told him no, because I couldn’t afford to go and I didn’t want to get excited about a place I couldn’t go to for a while… AND I told him I felt like I was getting ahead of myself with “us.”
I think he knows what I mean.
We talked about a road trip I’m planning for myself in July. I told him I was thinking about inviting him but that it might not be a good idea.
It’s NOT a good idea for a lot of reasons:
1.  the car ride is six hours.
2. we’d be sharing a hotel room.
3. I don’t want to give up my goals for his goals.
I know that in my last relationship, I was so READY and willing to give up my goals to help with his goals.
I forgot about what I wanted to make sure he got what he wanted.
And while in a marriage, goals become “ours,” right now, I’m only a week into dating the man, and these need to stay my goals.
I’m going on a road trip in July, by myself, to see the Apostle Islands and to run a 10K. It’ll be great.
By myself.

So how am I going slowly?

I have to constantly remind myself that we are DATING. We are not engaged.
I remind myself to be STOUTHEARTED and to WAIT FOR THE LORD.
I still don’t know this man THAT WELL.
And I can enjoy this time. I get to learn more about him, I get to learn about his family and his past. I get to hold his hand and be happy when he texts me good morning.
It’s all new and happy and I want to enjoy it NOW instead of enjoying the FUTURE now.
I am also planning on weekends, sometimes, maybe once a month, that we don’t get together.
Planning retreats, more of my bucket list goals, going out with my friends.
Gardening.
Any advice on taking time to fall in love is much appreciated.
God bless.

On dating

If you’re been around this here blog for longer than a minute, you know about my previous attempt at a relationship that failed. If you want to re-live it, check out the post here.

If not, stay tuned for an update on my Catholic dating life.
First, let me tell you how I met this guy.
Online.

Shocking. Embarrassing. Crazy. Foolish.

Sure all of those things.
But also the only want I figured I could meet guys who were honestly Catholic … and in my age range. I love the old men I see at daily Mass, but they are not in my age range.
I thought online dating would be an OK way to find guys that fit my standards.
And after my last attempt at a relationship, I think it’s good to have standards. It’s good to know what I NEED a guy to have (be Catholic, be family orientated, be open to marriage and life), and it’s good to know what I’d LIKE a guy to have (college education, travel goals, limited debt or working on getting debt free).
The needs are non-negotiable. The likes are negotiable if the guy is good enough.

Contrary to what we like to tell ourselves, a lot of dating is superficial.

But that’s OK, too. We need to be physically attracted to our mates. It just makes sense.
So I set up an online dating profile on one of the free sites.
Which is scary itself. It’s free… what kind of guys are on it?
While, just like me. The guys that don’t think they should have to pay to meet people.
That’s where I was coming from, that’s how I look at it.
I screened potential candidates throughly. If they didn’t list their religion on their profile, I didn’t respond to a message they sent me.
If they answered one of the questions in a suspicious way, I wouldn’t return a message.
I also didn’t respond to people who called themselves Christian.

This may have been a too-high-standard, but I love being Catholic. I want to raise my kids Catholic.

I don’t want to have to pray for the conversion of my significant other’s soul for my whole life (or relationship like I did with my ex-boyfriend).
I know this can make a person very pious, and those prayers are heard.
BUT I want a family. A Catholic family, and so I want someone who has my back on those issues. (I’m looking at your Natural Family Planning and birth control.)
I also screened based on photos.
Guys can pick which photos they put on their profiles. Why would they choose photos of them half-naked in their bathroom? Why would they choose photos of them drunk?
I wanted photos of guys who looked like they were out doing things.
There are a surprising lot of selfies taken in cars. I don’t know why. I avoided those guys too.

How the guy answered questions was important as well.

Sex before marriage? No thanks.
Drugs? No way.
Smoking? Nope.
Why even bother? I want someone who is serious about dating to see if we’re right for marriage and then getting married.
After talking to a guy for about a week (well, texting), we met for coffee. I liked him!
He texted me the next day… and we met again for dinner Friday night.
He is all my NEEDS and LIKES: Catholic, family-orientated, open to marriage; college-educated, likes traveling, school’s getting paid for by employer).
While I haven’t gotten deep into all these topics with him, I know at least on the surface that we agree on these issues. The whole six years I was in my prior relationship, I knew that he and I didn’t not agree on these things. I thought I could pray it away. And I tried to.
News flash: it didn’t work.

So Friday night, you’re wondering, how did it go?

Well, first let me tell you that I was so nervous. And it’s not like me to get nervous. Yes, I’m shy, but I know how to handle myself in most situations.
I don’t know how to handle myself on dates because I never dated. It’s so weird. I have usually just “been in relationships.”
I thought about what I was going to wear for hours. I dreamed about the date. I didn’t stop thinking about the date.
…All things that aren’t that healthy.
But while I was doing that, I was also planning trips that I want to take, things I want to do, projects I need to finish up at home.
It’s like my whole life is re-starting right now. Which is weird.
I was also trolling dumb sites that profess how to snag a guy and have a successful second date and stressing myself out.
I can’t believe how many of those sites exist. It’s really startling to realize how much time we spend thinking about stuff like that.
I tired to put myself in the mindset that we’re just getting to know each other and see if we connect at all.
There’s already a physical connection there. No we didn’t kiss after we got coffee the prior weekend. But we hugged. Scandalous.

The date details

He made reservations for us. I was just blown away by this. Reservations.
And when he told me he made reservations the Thursday before the date, I freaked out a little bit. Reservations!? Yikes.
I honestly don’t even know if I’ve ever been to a restaurant with reservations…
So while I stressed about what I should wear, I really didn’t need to. The restaurant was pretty empty.
He was wearing jeans. Oh well. I had a summery dress on with a cardigan and boots. It’s not the worst thing to look nice.
So we ate. He told me he was a social liberal and fiscal conservative. What does that mean, I asked.
He said he was OK with gay marriage because he has gay friends.
Besides that being completely against Church teaching, I don’t really… care, honestly. Does that say more about me or him? I don’t know.
I agree with what the Church teaches: a marriage is a man and a woman united with Christ for life. It can’t be anything else.
But I also believe the government should be out of the “marriage game.” It makes a mockery of what should be a religious institution.

After eating, we went for a walk. It was nice out. It was nice to walk and talk.

We looped around somewhere, and then on the way back, we kissed.
After we kissed, he told me he had never kissed anyone before.
Part of me is thinking at that moment: OH NO! HE’S GOING TO BE ATTACHED TO ME FOREVER LIKE IN WEDDING CRASHERS.
The other part of me is thinking: Wow, that is so sweet. Here’s this nice, Catholic guy who does sweet things like hold doors and text me and ask nice questions and just act like a gentleman, and he’s never kissed anyone before? Wow. Lord, has he been waiting for me?
Those thoughts besides, we were not synced at all when we kissed. I don’t remember if my first kisses were like that, but I tried to help him out.
But really I just took the lead when I should have let him take the lead.
One time, we were kissing, and I reached up and grabbed his shirt. He jumped. Clear out jumped. I laughed.
I laughed a lot actually that night. He makes me want to laugh. I feel so light and happy when I’m around him.
I told him I wasn’t laughing at him. We kept kissing every block or so as we walked back to our cars. We started getting more synced.
It was great.
He walked me over to my car, where we kissed some more, just kissing, and then he asked to see me on Sunday.
Yes.

Sunday’s “date”

We talked on Saturday night (on the phone), and I asked him about abortion and birth control. Those are two issues that (among other things) came up in my last relationship.
He said he didn’t know.
OK. Then we just decided to see what we wanted to do on Sunday. It was nice having just “we’re going to do something” plans with him.
I called him after I dropped off one of my friends, around 4:30 and asked him to come over.
An hour later, he shows up at my apartment for the first time, and we leave for dinner. We eat, walk around my town for a while and go back to my apartment.
We were waiting for it to get dark so we could do some star gazing. Which I think is super romantic.
Anyway, we hung out on my couch for a while, reading my newspaper and talking. He met my cat which was nice.
We kissed a little bit, but not excessive. I don’t want it to get out of hand, and neither does he.
We went down to the lake. Looked at stars. Kissed a lot.
Found some constellations. Kissed some more. Then we went to the beach. It was nice there. So quiet.
Couldn’t really see stars because of the city lights. He started kissing me and I leaned back against a wall, and we just kept kissing… for a long time.

It was good.

He is a great kisser.
And the way we were angled, I could tell we were both… well. Turned on. So I pushed him a way a little bit and just laid my head on his chest. We were both breathing really hard.
I had no idea kissing could be like that. I told him, even though I wasn’t a virgin, I wanted to wait until I get married… and he wants to wait, too.
And he said he’d tell me if we move too fast. And he did. While I had my head on his chest, he said we should slow down a little bit.
Which is just great, that we’re on the same page.
I told him that we should end the night, and when he drove me home he couldn’t come inside again.

He still walked me to the door.

It was late, but I perused some blogs about chastity and dating, and I think I’m going to talk to him about it when we meet up next weekend.

I definitely don’t think we should be spending so much time kissing, even if it is just kissing. That doesn’t mean I think we should give it up entirely, but if we hug and kiss when we meet for the date, and then when we say goodbye, I think that will be OK.
On to more dating adventures… I’m not sure when we’re getting together again. He’s going to call this week. Can’t wait.
God bless.

Friday Quick Takes, on life

— 1 — 

I have fallen from posting on this blog again. I’m not here with this list to make any promises, either.
I just want you to know that I think about it… sometimes… and I think about posts to write… sometimes. Mostly I’m focusing on getting out of debt (student loans!) and checking off some of those things on my 28 by 28 list.

— 2 —

Lent has been going OK for me. I don’t know if I’m more patient or not.
I know I got super frustrated at work earlier this week, and now the coworker that frustrated was geared to is mostly not talking to me. I said ‘God bless you’ after he sneezed yesterday and he said ‘Sure.’ OK…
I have been keeping the meat free Friday fast, but I do that all year.
I get get to Mass on Monday morning. I need to get to confession soon.

— 3 —

This weekend one of my friends is hosting a ‘chat and chew’ cookie exchange. Except we’re not exchanging cookies. We’re just bringing 2 dozen to the nursing home in town and keeping 1 dozen for the party.
She’s setting me up with a guy there…which relates to my next Quick Take.

— 4 —

Tonight is my second date with someone new!
We met last weekend for coffee. It was great. Besides being awkward because we were just meeting, it went great. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m excited.
Tonight should be great, too. At least I hope.
He’s Catholic, and when we were setting the plans for dinner, he said the restaurant has an “extensive seafood selection” or something cute. It just makes me happy that he’s serious about his faith.
I don’t know if we’re going to keep dating or what, but it’s fun to be out there.

— 5 —

My car is going to the repair shop next Friday morning… $160 later I’ll have a new wheel hub bearing or something.
Also, yesterday when I was walking around my car I saw one of my tires was ridiciously low on air. I put the gage on it…. 7 PSI. I’m not joking. 7. They’re supposed to be at 30 or so. 7.
Jeez. No wonder I’ve been getting pretty poor gas mileage. I guess I need to be more diligent about checking them. The rest of the tires were in the low 20s, but 7.

— 6 —

Back to the date.
I’m both nervous and excited. I have no idea what I’m doing.
Before this, I’ve just kind of “fallen into” relationships and never dated. I know that I need to take this slow… but how?
I’ve had a friend tell me to just make it a conscious decision about everything involving the guy. Meaning, don’t text him constantly, don’t think about him constantly, don’t wait for him to text me.
Basically, keep the rest of my life full of things to do.
But I’m just so excited!

— 7 —

Lastly, a skirt update.
I haven’t been doing it like I wanted to. At best, I get 2 skirts a week.
As the weather warms up, I’m going to re-dedicate myself to this “cause,” and even start looking for more skirts. With my car repair bill and other stuff coming up, I can’t afford a wardrobe overhaul right now. Soon, though.
At least when it’s summer, I won’t have to worry about matching my tights to my skirt and boots or whatever.
Speaking of boots. I think this is the summer I’m finally going to buy a pair of cowboy boots. I’ve wanted a pair for a long time. Now’s the time to do it. If the budget works out.
 

Have a great weekend!
God bless.

Read posts from lovely lady bloggers at Conversion Diary!

5 ways to move on

I haven’t been the best at moving on.

I was with my ex-boyfriend for nearly six years. It was hard to leave, even when I knew it was the right thing, the thing that God had been calling me to do for a long time.
I’m still hurting, still lonely, still clawing my own heart out, and I want to share more personal things on this blog, but while the pain is so fresh and new, I just wanted to post this list.
These are five things that have somewhat, kind of, barely, a little bit helped me “move on.”

1. “Jesus, I trust in you.”

     One of my first nights alone, I was washing some dishes and I started crying. I remember just nearly-kneeling (my knees were bent, and my head was down and my hand was holding on to the counter), and just saying “Jesus, I trust in you, Jesus, I trust in you, Jesus, I trust in you.”
     There’s something calming about the repetition, something calming about Christ holding my hand, something calming about being able to trust someone.

2. Fill your life with people and experiences.

     Not food! Not things! This is not the time to eat yourself into a food coma or drain your savings.
     If you do that, you’re only going to feel worse about yourself.
     Things (or food) can not bring you happiness. Remind yourself of that.
     Instead, invite your friends over for game night or drinks or coffee. Go for walks. Start a 10K running program (this is what I did).
     Set a goal of something, anything.
     Go on a road trip. Just a few miles. To a lake or a hiking path. Go somewhere.
     These don’t have to be new experiences. You just have to go and do without the other person that used to be in every part of your life.

3. Go to Mass!

     Mass will bring you peace. Enjoy it.
     Talk to people while you’re there. Sing the songs. Hold hands, if your parish does that during the Our Father.
     Smile at everyone. “Fake it until you make it,” in the happiness department.
     If you can go to daily Mass, do it. There is something great about a pious, beautiful quiet Mass during the week. It’s a refresher.
     Better yet, spend some  time in Adoration. Bring your Bible. Bring your Rosary. Talk to God about your pain.
     He cares. “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. He will Never allow the righteous to be shaken.” -Psalms 55:22
 

4. Avoid thinking about the break up and trying to figure out what went wrong.

     In my case, I sort of knew the break up was coming. I was growing more and more orthodox in my beliefs, and I wasn’t communicating that. My Ex-boyfriend wasn’t talking to me about his goals, either. My heart of hearts knew.
     After the break up, I tried to figure out, for a while, how I could have changed things.
     But no, it isn’t going to help. We weren’t meant to be together, and that’s OK. I learned a lot, I loved a lot, and it hurts a lot.
     Pain and sacrifice are a part of life. I know that God will provide.
     It doesn’t make sense to dwell on the past. As soon as you can, start planning something for the future, something to look forward to.

5. Don’t jump back into the dating game.

     Again, I did this wrong. I signed up for a free online dating site and started talking to two guys.
     What a mistake. MISTAKE.
     I wasn’t ready. My heart is still hurting. My soul is still healing. My head is still reeling. It’s not the time to try to find someone else.
     It may never be the time.
     I don’t have a magic formula for when is the right time to start looking. My mom, my friends, everyone, says you’ll find someone when you aren’t expecting.
     Except, when you think your vocation is married life, you are always expecting. (Right?)
     So take some time to be yourself, by yourself. Take some time with the Lord, as often as you can, and just enjoy life.
     It isn’t too late, regardless of how old you are. Honestly. It’s not to late. God has a plan. God knows. Just trust in his ways.
Just some things to think about while you’re in pain.
God bless!