They Do Exist.

Dating Mistakes: I Had A Plan For My Life

Editor’s Note: This month we’re talking about dating and mistakes we’ve made. If you’ve read our mission statement, you know we’re most passionate about sharing our mistakes with one another! Our first post is by Brianna Sky Stevens. She blogs at Shine Or Set and tweets at @brianna__sky. – Lauren

I always had a plan for my life. I imagined I would find my future husband in college, get engaged after graduation, and be married a year later. It was a silly plan, but one I had seen acted out before by other couples, whether they were real or simply characters in a story or film.

I thought I found my future husband in college. He wasn’t like my past boyfriends. I guess you could say that I had a type, but something about him made me want to stray away from the usual. He seemed like the “nice” guy. It was everything any relationship starts out as: the honeymoon stage, the banter through text messages, the silly gifts given, the meeting of the parents. It was puppy love. Looking back, I don’t know if it ever grew up and turned into real love.

The arguments started before it had a chance to mature. Both incredibly stubborn people, our disagreements were heated and often left unresolved. He would selfishly shut down, leaving me to pick up the pieces. Our disagreements continued for months, which led to him using ugly words, such as “fat” or “slut.” The mental abuse eventually turned into a push or a shove.

However unhealthy it was, I couldn’t let us fail. It was my longest relationship yet, which led me to think he was the one. If he weren’t then my whole plan would go awry. I was forcing him to be what I thought I wanted, when he couldn’t be further from it. I believed that if I pretended we were happy then we would be. I let everyone else believe it too. My friends and family were blind to what was going on, only due to the charade I had worked so hard to keep up.

On the night of our breakup we were out for drinks with friends. At one point in the night I remember looking at him and thinking, “I’ve had enough.” Every bit of my insides was pulsing, just wanting to be free. I knew it was my gut talking, and I knew I had to follow it. I ended the relationship right then and there. A loud, crowded bar probably wasn’t the best place to do so, but I had to come to a breaking point.

Being fresh out of a relationship that I had once believed was it, was scary, but exciting. I was free, but I was also alone. After a little time, I stupidly thought I was ready for the next one. Deep down I knew that I wasn’t ready, but I was too scared to venture without a companion. I stupidly expected to quickly find someone else, but I didn’t realize that I had to find myself before I could find another.

This realization took a whole year of little heartaches, a whopping total of six dates, and bad judgment calls to get to. I was so busy searching for someone else, that I forgot to search for me. I do thank those little heartaches for assisting in that search. I could have done it the easier, and possibly shorter way, which would have been solely on my own.

I chose the harder and longer way, which was dating when I wasn’t ready.

Now? I have no regrets because I know who I am, what I want, and what I most definitely don’t want. I won’t expect others to change into what I want them to be. Those who have commitment fears won’t string me along. I won’t be mentally or physically abused. I will not settle because I’m fearful of being alone. I will not settle in order to fit him into “my plan.”

My mom sent me this quote in an e-mail just the other day, and it hit me hard:

“It’s kind of strange, but first you have to know what you want, defined in terms of the end result. And then you have to physically move towards it, without defining the hows. At which point, the thing you want actually starts coming to you, on its own terms, from a direction completely unexpected. Just carry on, detached from the details and timing, and perhaps act like you just couldn’t care less.”

I realize now that getting wrapped up in “the details and timing” isn’t going to get me closer to what I want. I just have to keep the “end result” in mind, and stop worrying so much about the when’s, the why’s, and the who’s.

I know that being myself will pay off, I will find someone who loves me for me, and I will be in the happiest relationship I’ve ever been in. It might not be tomorrow. It might not be next month, or next year, but eventually it will happen to happen.

The timing of it doesn’t weigh on me so heavily anymore. The most important thing is that I will be ready for it when it comes..


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11 Responses

  1. Emily

    I love this! I was in the same position a couple years ago. Marriage was my future after college and when I started to see it wasn't working that way I went searching for it. I did things I couldn't even imagine myself doing! I thought I had a bigger back bone to say no, I thought I knew who I was and I wasn't going to let others tell me anything different, turns out I was wrong. When I realized I didn't have that backbone I started to realize I wasn't exactly sure who I was or what I believed in and instead of searching for that in someone else I started searching for it in God. Of course I had to go through a few more bouts of insecurity before I finally got the picture, but the journey since that time has been incredible and I feel more confident and secure with who I am then I ever have before.

    Thank you for sharing Brianna! I loved reading your story and it was comforting to know others out there are dealing with the same things!

    October 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm

  2. Sandra

    This is good stuff! Ive done the same thing, sooo know the “I’ve had enough”! But now Ive met my happy ending – thank u God!

    October 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm

  3. Great article!! I love this, and I know a lot of other single girls who would love this and could learn from it, too! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I also have to stop dwelling on when it will happen, and be satisfied that things are going pretty well in my life now without that special someone.

    October 3, 2011 at 7:29 pm

  4. Joy

    This article didn't say Jesus one time. You should definitely be finding who you are in Christ not just who you are… just thoughts.

    October 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm

  5. So encouraged! I had the exact same plan. And now newly graduated and single—obviously my plan didn't come to fruition. For so long I was so wrapped up in finding someone. Now, that I'm focused on finding myself and healing, I am so much happier. The pressure is off. I'm excited for MY life. Thanks for sharing!

    October 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm

  6. @dewsofkeziah

    I am grateful to God that I found this blog. Thanks brianna I’ve been blessed by your experience and testimony. I’m glad to know I was the only one that had experienced such before. Like you said,”keep the “end result” in mind, and stop worrying so much about the when’s, the why’s, and the who’s.” God bless you real good. Amen.

    October 4, 2011 at 1:45 am

  7. Maddi

    Keep your mind on Jesus! Not just the 'end result'. He works that out, we just need to look to Him.

    October 4, 2011 at 1:55 am

  8. kelsey6791

    LOVE THIS. Currently going through a point in my life where I just prefer to be alone with God. It's beautiful because He's preparing me for someone perfect for me. I've learned myself, I'm learning the Lord and honestly, I don't want to be released from it anytime soon. So glad you wrote this!

    October 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm

  9. Wow.

    I completely understand this. It's easy to get so tangled up in what you want and who you want rather than understanding who you are.

    I am soo enjoying this time of singleness (even though it does get hard, let's be honest here). I know God has so many plans for me and heck, I should be finding out who I am!

    How can I let someone else know who I am if I myself do not know?

    Great post. :)

    October 5, 2011 at 9:49 pm

  10. robynmch

    Lovelovelove this. So much. Thank you for sharing.

    February 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm

  11. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I'm currently in the process of figuring who I am and what I want and God has been sending so many encouraging posts like this my way. : )

    February 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

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