I had a dream last night about liking a wonderful guy and being stuck at figuring out what to do about the relationship because he was not moving it forward.
It was a dream. It was not about my husband. The guy was an awesome match. He was either a doctor or worked in scheduling at Fedex (it was a dream remember) but was so kind and caring to everyone around him. He went the extra mile for people. And he looked at me like I was the sunshine in his world. But we weren’t officially dating. He would often refer to us as an “us” to the people around him. Sometimes he would pick up the check for the dinners we shared. Sometimes he would not. Sometimes in circles of people he made it clear I was with him. Sometimes I was off in the periphery in his world trying to be seen by him. This was all so confusing. Yes, in my dream I felt that confusion.
I felt this all in my dream. I remember feeling this for real in my single life. I remember being in this for real in my single life.
In my single life realness, these relationships never moved forward into a real relationship. But then again, I was a lot to date as I never let my role as a pastor get in the way of any relationship. And early on sometimes I brought my work briefcase on dates to try to get one more thing done. Yes, I did that and that was very unwise. I knew then that I was a lot to date.
All day long I’ve been thinking about this dream. What would my advice be now to someone who was stuck in this situation?
I’m all for a woman asking a guy out. I’m all for the woman taking the lead if necessary to define the relationship. In this scenario it is not too early to define the relationship because there clearly is one. But in this situation I understand why I just hung around this situationship and didn’t have a discussion to clarify things. The possibilities were too great. I was okay with letting the relationship grow on a more organic course. Because obviously he looked at me like I was the sunshine in his world. Obviously we were moving forward. Til we didn’t.
As I wrote in Love is Not Enough for a Relationship to be a Good Match, there are valid reasons for love not being enough for a good match. When he looks at you like you are the sunshine in his world it is safe to assume that there is some sort of version of love there. But that is not enough to move this relationship forward into the good match that you know it could be. There are valid reasons not to.
Maybe he knows that already and he is conflicted which is why he is sending the mixed messages. He knows he needs to let you go to do what God is calling for him to do next. But he doesn’t want to. Staying in this stuck space still gives him access to you and the joy he receives from you.
Maybe he doesn’t know this already but is struggling with the call on his life and is not intentionally sending you the mixed messages.
Maybe he is also trusting God to grow this relationship organically and any day now you will have some verbal clarity.
Maybe he is not even aware of your feelings. Or aware of what he is doing.
My advice all these years later is to have the conversation with him. Vulnerably expose your feelings for him. Share the story of how those feelings have grown and why you have created this story in your mind. Be specific about the confusing messages he has given you. You be the one who is brave enough to clarify.
This conversation will make you so nervous your hands will shake.
Then be ready to lose this relationship. Be ready to lose the wonder of the way he looks at you. This loss starts immediately after the conversation. The pattern of your life will have to change immediately because no longer is he going to be the center of it. You need to make those changes. Grieve. Because the loss is worth grieving.
Time is either going to bring him back to you because he is now going to have to deal with his mixed feelings, his mixed signals, his mixed life or he is going to move on and confuse the next wonderful woman he gazes at. Either way you have bravely put boundaries on your heart so that this confusing time is not dragged into months. So that this confusing time does not prevent you from meeting someone else. So that if nothing ever organically grows you are not left devastated at having lost so much time and so much emotional energy as he waltzes off into his full life without you.
It was just a dream for me. This is real for you. Be brave because this is real.
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