A few months ago, I met up with an old flame for some food. I have referenced him here and there as my Mr. Big (like Sex and the City). That man that sort of flows in and out of your life like the tide except when the tide goes out your soaking wet and your hair is a mess. Yeah THAT Mr. Big! He and I dated a very long time ago and he is ten years my senior. At the time he was also a military officer awaiting retirement and going through some stuff. While we had a bad breakup on Valentine’s Day of 2009 after I pretty much caught him in bed with another woman. I have since moved on from that, forgave him and went on with my life. He is continuously amazed that I would even speak to him after that CRAZY incident.
On this particular occasion we talked about our lives, our children and the holidays. He had been on my mind and a topic of conversation with my mother as she and I discussed my “emotional unavailability” in relationships and the “emotionally unavailable” men I had dated. Mr. Big was at the top of that list and we talked about how he will more than likely settle down but will NEED someone to be very attentive to him and his needs – something of which I could not AND WILL NOT provide.
As we devoured our ceviche and I braved a blue margarita I then asked him in a joking sort of way, “So when are you getting married again?” From which he looked at me and said, “You are the second person to ask me that?” His sister had asked him the same question and I can tell as most sisters would be that she just wants to see her brother happy. I asked the question because he’s getting old and I know his creature comforts, countless women, toys and motorcycles will not satisfy him for long. So he proceeds to tell me about the person that he is dating.
(As a sidenote: I do not like to divulge details of who I am dating with anyone, especially not this man because of his age he tends to feel inadequate and the pleasure of my company is basically on his terms and for companionship. Which is the reason why we never worked out romantically.)
I just want to be with someone that will listen to me
He asks me straight out, “What is my son’s name?” I looked at him strange and then told him, “Your son’s name is CJ (name changed).” From which he replied, “See, you know my son’s name. Six years later you can tell me about my son, his girlfriend, where my son is going to college and what he’s up to.” From which he tells a tale about the woman he is dating and has been dating for a few months. He tells me she’s beautiful and sexy. He also tells me she’s fun and closer to his age and that she tells him she loves him. After dating this woman for a few months, he did what I have always known him to do, he once again put up his emotionally unavailable wall. He basically told her, “You don’t listen. You can’t even tell me my son’s name. Yet I know your son’s name and his nickname.” He didn’t tell me what she said back, but apparently he felt like this was a lack of attention to him. I had told him that maybe he should consider not holding her hostage to that one thing, by which he proceeded to tell me many other things such as almost getting into altercations at dinner due to her flirtatious nature. There is no advice I could give him except to tell him that at 43 years old, he’s a little too old to have to deal with that kind of drama and maybe he should just admit he is lonely but emotionally unavailable.
Take time to listen
As you can tell, this blog post is not about me offering advice on how to be attentive to a man, but it is about how to build relationships and communicate with people. The key is to listen and assess. Listen to the words and watch facial and body language closely. Listen to not only the message the other person is trying to convey but also to how they like to be communicated with. I have learned a lot about some things that a dating partner will deem as important and the key here is remaining genuine and attentive to learning about the other person and how they communicate. You must not however hold expectations that are too high if you are just dating. You will always be disappointed. You can set standards and gauge how a person measures up to those standards then decide for yourself if you want to continue dating or not. However, I can assure you that you need to assess whether you are giving that person another chance or not.
Now Mr. Big then proceeded to ask if I would ever do “him and I” over again. I told him that at present time No. We are way beyond that. Then he asked if I could go back in time would I do it and I said “Of course.” In my mind, I love the person that I am today and he is a big part of that – drama and all!
Here are some books I recommend on communication with your partners.
Communication Miracles for Couples by Jonathan Robinson
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Disclaimer: The above post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own.