And by healthy I mean attentive, communicative, and available. For both of these women, dating a healthy guy is a 180-degree change from their previous relationships. So why are these women freaking out? Why can’t they just sit back, relax, and enjoy the smooth ride?
Why does being in a healthy relationship feel as difficult and painful and frightening as an unhealthy one?
When you’ve spent your whole life dating distracted, untalkative, and unavailable guys, the healthy ones are unfamiliar, and therefore being with them can feel uncomfortable. It’s human nature to seek familiarity because it feels safe, but if your childhood was rough, then, as painful as it was, that type of unhealthy behavior is all you know.
So when the healthy guy actually stays, when he loves you without strings, when he not only is willing to talk about an issue but initiates the discussion, it feels frighteningly unfamiliar. Because when they show up for you, they ask that you show up for them. And if you haven’t learned how to do that, it’s like dropping in on an advanced salsa class: of course you’re not going to be able to do the Butterfly Spin on your first try. Or even your tenth.
The paradox of dating a healthy person is that it feels so unhealthy—at first.
A paradox, for those of you who don’t read the dictionary like it’s the latest Michael Connelly novel, is defined as “a proposition that, despite sound reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.”
But the good news is, human nature is also adaptable. It’s just a matter of giving yourself enough time to get used to healthy, so that the unfamiliar becomes familiar. I used to own a bicycle with a crooked handlebar. In order to ride in a straight line, I had to hold the handles at a 45-degree angle. Yes it looked funny, but that crookedness was what kept me from swerving into traffic or a telephone pole.
When I finally got a new bicycle with straight handles, it actually felt awkward and uncomfortable. I found myself overcompensating just to ride in a straight line. And when in more dangerous situations, I would grab for the brakes, find that my hands were not positioned correctly, and fly headfirst over the front wheel.
“Stupid bike,” I’d mutter as I picked the gravel out of my knees and twigs out of my hair. But it wasn’t the bike’s fault—the bike was in perfect condition. It was my historical relationship to my previous, broken bicycle that was messing me up. I just had to be patient enough to learn to ride this new, smooth bike.
And yes that meant taking a few tumbles along the way as I reconditioned myself, but here’s how I see it: if there is pain involved in learning how to be in a healthy situation and pain involved in staying in an unhealthy situation, I’ll take the pain with the light at the end of the tunnel any day of the week.
Selena Templeton is a blogger with JenningsWire Online Magazine. For more posts by Selena please visit here.
JenningsWire.com is created by National Publicity Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book marketing strategies to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major top city radio talk shows that broadcast to the heart of the market, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers.