Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Goin' Courtin': Saying Yes Means Saying No

Saying yes is fantastic, and I'll get to that in another post later.

Saying no is not so fantastic.

Dating is fun. You get to meet all these new people.  They compliment you, point out all the good things about you, you have fun together, you get close with people. Relationships like that are essential to most human's well-being.

Dating is hard.  You build all these relationships, share yourself with all these people.  In the end, you're going to have to say goodbye to most of them.  No matter what people may say, sometimes you can't be just friends.

Sometimes it's all or nothing.

Sometimes it's now or never.

So we find someone for whom we want to give it all, right now and forever.

Saying yes to that feels wonderful!  There's no feeling in the world like being chosen by the one you want.

This does lead to saying to no to the others.  You're saying no to possibilities. You're saying goodbye to friends you love and care about.

And that hurts.  And you might feel angry, sad, depressed, or even guilty.

I have learned that if you are making the choice that is right for you, the choice that is in your best interest, those feelings will be temporary.

The joy and elation of choosing and being chosen always wins out.

Last week, I decided I wanted to say yes to someone.  I'll go into more detail about that later.

But saying yes to him meant saying no to all the other guys I have been dating.

The thought made me sick.

I am a very empathetic, compassionate person.  It's all too easy for me to feel what others are feeling, or to feel in anticipation what I would imagine they would feel.  Hurting all these men with whom I had grown close and cultivated relationships scared me.  I was suddenly filled with dread and doubt.  Was I making the right choice?  Was I ready to be with just one?  Saying no now would in all likelihood mean saying no forever.

But I couldn't keep them all.  And I really wanted this one.  So I had to suck it up and do it.

It was hard.

It hurt them.  It hurt me.

I took time between each one to mourn the loss of the friendship, and the loss of possibility.

Inevitably, I ended up happy again.  I remembered why I was ending things, why I had made the choice I made.  I would then spend a while with this ridiculous grin on my face before I moved on to the next ending.

Whatever happens in the future, I will always remember these men who helped me along my way, who helped me recover from my divorce and all that pain, who helped me find myself again.

You may always carry a place in your heart for those to whom you said, "No."  That's okay.  You should.  They helped you get to where you are, and become who you've become.  Never forget.  But don't get swallowed up in it.

Let yourself love.  It's the best gift you can give to the people in your past, the people in your present, and the people in your future.

Happy courtin'!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Family Pics 2012

At the end of may, the Johansens had a family reunion.  We took a LOT of family pictures.  I'm not allowed to publish any but my own family, but we had some good ones! Here are my favorites:

Alexandra and Lorelai meet

Generations... and a dog :)

Photo Shoot-Uncle couldn't resist

The best of the family pics
 I am truly blessed to have a family that looks as good on the outside as they are on the inside! XOXOXO

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Goin' Courtin': My Best Interest

Earlier this year, I decided it would be a good idea to get some counseling to help me heal from my previous marriage.  I thought I would go in, talk about my story, get some pat answers and overused advice, then maybe I'd feel better.

My counselor listened. Then she gave me a book.  The first chapter (my homework assignment) talked about honoring yourself, and acting in your own best interest.


This was akin to blasphemy to my way of thinking.  I have that kind of personality that wants to please everyone, even at the expense of me.  I had mastered it so much that I no longer thought of me at all.  Every decision was what other people thought would be best: for me, for my children, for my future.  Think about myself? You're kidding, right?


The point that really struck home to me in that chapter was that almost 100% of the time, acting in your own best interest is in everyone else's best interest, too.

Talk about a paradigm shift!  To go from thinking only of others, to thinking only of my own interests was mind-boggling.

Here's how it relates to dating.

I'm very easily persuaded.  Unless deep-rooted, or consciously kept in mind, I often forget my own opinions when presented with strongly voice opinions of others.

And I cannot tell you how many times a man has started dating me and proceeded to fall in love immediately, only to be followed by the need to convince me we're meant to be together.  I have mentioned before how I have been seeing casually several men at a time.  Twice in the last three months, I have had 3-5 different men telling me we're meant to be together.  Now, I don't know of any religion, and certainly not mine, that allows polyandry here on earth or in heaven, so I knew they couldn't all be right.  But they were all so sure!!!  I knew I had to make a decision.  But which one?

I found myself talking about it in terms of how I could help them.  "I could be an example to him, his strength."  "He needs support." "He needs a mother for his kids."

Or I thought about what lessons I would be teaching my children: Marry in the temple, give second chances, there are exceptions, etc.

What I needed to think about, at least a little, was myself.  How do I feel when I'm with him? How do I feel when we're apart?  What personality traits are important to have? Which traits should I avoid?

As I asked myself these questions, I was finally able to sort through these men who all claimed me as theirs and decide on one I wanted to claim for myself.  I could see how I wasn't really what they needed or wanted.  I could see that they would be better with someone else.  I could see how my choice was also the best for my kids.

And I felt peace.

And I felt hope.

And I felt love.

It was and will be hard to break up with the others, but acting in my own best interest truly is best for everyone in the end.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Goin' Courtin': Mormon Dating Game, or Kissing: What Does It Mean?

Apparently, we Mormons date differently than a lot of the rest of the world.

Specifically when it comes to kissing.

I was surprised to hear that this was a Mormon phenomenon.  Feel free to comment below and enlighten me if I get it wrong, or back me up if I'm right.

What does kissing mean to you?

When I was dating the first time around, kissing meant we were going to be exclusive if we weren't already.  It was almost an implied, "We're boyfriend/girlfriend now."

And this, I'm told, is how the rest of the world works.  We'll call it Way 1.

I haven't necessarily operated that way this time around.  (I sort of canvassed this already in general in my post, Relationship Girl Vs. Dating Girl.)  Working against my own background, I sometimes feel like a... woman of loose morals.

But let's face it.

Kissing is fun.

It's exhilarating.

It can also be dangerous.

This seems to be the norm, however.  I only date within my religion, so I can't vouch for how it is in any other scene.  However, it seems to be part of the determination process to try kissing out.  We'll call this Way 2.

Where's the line, then?  Is it a certain number of kisses? Length? Depth?  How many guys/girls are you allowed to be kissing?  I know some who give out kisses like candy at a parade.  I know some that don't kiss until they get married. And there is everything inbetween.

I don't really and truly have an answer to these questions, and it may just be that it's wholly individual.

What happens when someone who works Way 1 meets someone who works Way 2?  Which way wins?  Can a relationship work between them?

Again, I don't have the answers. I sure would like to know though!

Happy courtin'!

P.S.  So what do you think?  How do you work?  Have you tried both ways?  Share with us your wisdom and experiences.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Goin' Courtin': Addictive

A man told me once that I was addictive.

I was feeling cheeky and replied, Yes, I know. Or something like that.

He responded with, "You knew?? You could have WARNED me!!"

And I said, Where's the fun in that?

Then I started thinking. (A dangerous pastime, I know.)

I started wondering if this was something I needed to worry about, or try to control. (Because I'm a minor league control freak. It's what I do.)  Should I restrict myself somehow, so people are less likely to get addicted to me?  What would that look like?

I know what it would look like. The reason for becoming what I had become was different than this approach would be, but it would end the same.  I did it to myself in my previous marriage.

I would stop flirting with guys, and stop talking with anybody about anything fun, interesting, or personal.  I would stop trying to look good.  I would stop going out.

I would die.

Then I realized, I can't change myself to save other people.  Just like any drug, I am just being who I am.  If that makes me addictive to some people, then so be it.  I am not responsible for their choice to love me, or become addicted to me, or anything of the sort, and trying to take that responsibility would destroy this lovely person I've finally rediscovered after two years of searching.  And doing it knowingly would be all kinds of wrong, like murder almost.

So I did something completely out of character.  I stopped trying to save everybody else.  I let it go.

I'm free to be who I am, no worries.

I'm addictive?