Dating 101: Looking Back to See Ahead

I have had a series of unfortunate dates.  I am not sure how it is that I keep meeting men who are so horrible, but I do.  In meeting men who are repulsive, you can’t help but look back at past relationships and compare the old to the new. Were my past relationships with men who were unworthy? Were they the right men at the wrong time? Am I dating the same type of man as always? It makes me wonder, if I look back, will I be able to see ahead?

Do I need to pick a different type of man? There are similarities between the men I have been involved with, but are those bad things or just things? I have had three serious relationships in the past seventeen years. All ended badly.  By badly of course I mean my heart was broken.  When a serious relationship ends, and you have a child, the heartbreak doubles because you have to mend not only your broken heart, but that of your child, who also feels the loss.

The three men I have loved since I got divorced were all Jewish, handsome, and bad boys.  One was a cheater, one was a liar, one was a cheater and a liar.  I don’t take the cheating or lying personally. Years of therapy have given me that clarity.  Jews and therapy go together like peanut butter and jelly. I am not ashamed to say I not only go to therapy, but I love it.  I don’t think I loved the wrong men. I do think I stayed with men longer than I should have.

My son, who is approaching 18, has an interesting view of these three men.  We spoke of them recently and I was fascinated by his perspective.  My first serious relationship was when my son was 9 years old.  I was engaged, and 6 weeks before our wedding he cheated on me. Turns out he cheated a lot.  He was a pilot and enjoyed a little recreational sex while he was jetting around.  He broke my heart. Turns out my son did not like him that much and was not disappointed.

He loved him because I did, not because he did.  That is a powerful.  I don’t want to be with someone who my son loves just because I do.  I dodged a bullet on that one.  I dated the 2nd man when my son was 12.  He thought he was cool, but he did not love him.  He thought of him more of a pal than anything else, and when that relationship ended he could not have cared any less.  That man was a liar in the end and I don’t  think of him in any real way now.

My son was 15 when I began dating the Englishman.  As much as I loved him, which was deep and profound, my son may have loved him more.  They were friends, confidents, partners in crime, and my son viewed him as my boyfriend, but also as a friend to him and a role model.  The end of our relationship knocked me on my ass. It also broke my son’s heart, which in turn shattered mine into a million pieces.  He was a cheater and a liar. I will never forgive him.

While I struggle to find lessons learned in past relationships, my son has learned many things.  He has seen me laugh and cry because of love. He has a view of a woman’s heart that while sad for me to face, has taught him things about himself and what he sees as acceptable behavior for a man.  He told me I don’t have to worry about a broken heart because he will always help put mine back together.  He also said he respects me as a mother and a woman.

No matter how cloudy my view of men might be, it is when I look at my own baby, that I can clearly see what it means to be a good man.   He is amazing and I love him more with each breath I take.  He is not perfect of course, and will undoubtedly break a girl’s heart at some point, but that he views my heart with respect and love touches me.  I have a remarkable child and I am proud of him, and me.  I am worthy of a wonderful man and must simply keep trying.

In the end I do need to change the type of men I date.  There is one thing the men I have loved share in common, and that is the asshole gene.  I can deal with a man being an occasional schmuck, putz, and douche. That is in their DNA.  Bless them.  I must stay away from assholes however. No good can come from dating an ass. I take my share of responsibility for relationships ending, but the blame can firmly be placed on the shoulders of an asshole.

To be fair, it takes two to tango and placing blame is not necessary, or mature.  It does make me feel better, but it is not necessary.  Relationships come and go, and one must be grateful for feeling love, not matter how long it lasts.  I will continue to date, hope, and try. More importantly, I will continue to pray.  Pray that I can avoid assholes.  They are hard to detect, and even harder to resist. I need to be brave, aware, and smart. All possible if I am keeping the faith.