Saturday, December 21, 2013

Can Single Men Be Vulnerable?

Part of me wanted to argue that all men in our culture are in a terrible catch -22, in which they are encouraged to share their feelings, to be sensitive; however, men are also expected to be tough and not cry. While I do think this is a valid point to make, I find myself considering the fact that many of these men do have the opportunity to be truly themselves with their significant other.

Where does that leave the single male?
Honestly, where does that leave me?

I find myself at a very perplexing place in my life. There are a few male friends I can confide in, whom I can be truly myself, with all my humor and seriousness, emotions and intellect; however, the vast majority of male relationships do not work this way.

Most male relationships may speak about things on the surface but do not go deep, they are more fixated on doing things, getting together for activities than sharing life, especially when it comes to expressing emotions.


I want to express my emotions.
I want to be open to someone who won’t shut me out.

So, then I should turn to female friends maybe, right? Females don’t mind sharing emotions. The only problem is that most single female friends have this giant wall up in front of them; so that when you start to open up emotionally they back off. I have seen it time and time before, whether I might be interested in a relationship or not, I feel I get close enough to a single female friend, open up, and then face the empty air between us.
There is a lot of empty space there.
Empty space filled with the void of words and emotions.
Words and emotions that are left unheard
Left unresponded to... Out there... In the void.

I suppose that leaves married female friends. But honestly, isn’t that just awkward? You can only communicate and open up so much. I don’t want to seem like I am coming onto them or trying to put a rift in their marriage. I have a few female friends who are married, but they stay pretty surface level. I always get the feeling they are less interested in my life than I am interested in their life anyway.

So where does that leave me?
Where can I express myself?

I suppose that leaves me here, writing words.

It leaves me trying online dating. It leaves me sending Facebook friend requests to new people, hoping they will respond and maybe we can connect. It leaves me trying to get male friends to open up. It leaves me trying to share with female friends hoping they won’t shut me out.

But I always have my words, blogs, pages I type and write by hand, as the thoughts and feelings flow. I suppose that is the place of my solace. In some ways seeing my blogs online, published, makes them not seem to leave me and feel they are stuck in the void. I hope in some way others will read, think, perhaps respond, and that mutual conversation will occur, not in fear or awkwardness but in understanding and connecting to one another.

So, here I am a single male, looking for ways to express all the parts and sides of myself, not all are sensitive but some parts are that way. I consider myself lacking boldness and yet I find myself pressing forward despite my reluctance. So, I will continue writing, trying to connect with others, even as messages may be left unanswered, phone calls or voicemails unreturned, and blogs left with zero comments. I have to believe I am helping someone, connecting with someone, even if it is only with myself.

~ Single Me

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dating Series 6 of 6: Follow-Up


Read Part 1: Here 

Read Part 2: Here 

Read Part 3: Here 

Read Part 4: Here 

Read Part 5: Here 

Read Part 6: Here

Dating Series Follow-Up
 
This is the last and final blog in this series. It has taken a while to come out. True, some of the reason for the delay was being sick this most of October; however, another part of it is that there are some parts of this follow-up I simply do not want to face. But lets start with some strengths.

Strengths


After writing this series I think a big strength of mine is showing emotional affection. In the past when I have liked a female I will normally express to her how I feel. Yes, my timing is not always quick; however, I think that is because I want to be sure I like someone before I truly start to pursue them. I don’t think it benefits me or the female if we rush into something.

I believe another one of my strength is that I am a much more mature person than I was in the past. In my life I try to make wise decisions, to be responsible, and to keep growing and learning. To be blunt, I think stability, responsibility, and wisdom are all good attributes in a future husband and future father.

Finally, I think I have depth. Certainly people who know me from work, church, friendship, or my writing know I have depth. All of those aspects are part of me, pieces of the whole. I am a complex individual and I do not like staying in the shallow end but diving deep into the depths of life, looking at complexities and different perspectives. To me, this is beneficial for anyone looking for a long-term relationship. I think a variety of interest keep the relationship going but also keep is from getting bored and stale. I also think it keeps both partners continually uncovering and finding new things out about the other person, for as one grows so does the other and visa-verse.

Challenges


On of my challenges (obvious to those who have read the series thus far) is encountering rejection. I think I avoid dating a lot more than I would have in the past because of the feelings of rejection. I believe when I first started dating I was very self-conscious because of my weight; however, now that I have lost one-hundred pounds, I am coming to the realization I may not be pursuing dating as much because of my fear of rejection.

I believe just like when we were children trying to figure out how to fit into culture when entering public school, how we would change things about ourselves and how we react or interact with others; I have done the same thing with dating. I feel I have put up walls in my heart and life that prevent me from being hurt, rejected, feeling pain; yet those very walls I have put up to protect myself as the very walls that now are keeping me from pushing forward.

Another challenge for me is mostly the opposite of rejection, which is being able to take risks. While being responsible is a strength I think it needs to be balanced with the ability to take risks. I need to be able to put my heart on the line again, to be willing to accept being hurt, not to say those are the only outcomes from risks but they are possibilities and probabilities along with the good. I can never get into and be in a relationship if I don’t take a risk, the first being to ask someone else out once again.

It shouldn't be this complicated…
And yet it is…
Ask anyone trying to date who isn’t merely looking for a fling.

Lastly, a challenge that might not have shown through is physical affection. I am not speaking of sex here, instead of I am speaking of putting my arm around a female, holding her hand, hugging her, and kissing. I know you are likely asking: What? You have never done that? Hugged yes, but very little, at least with people I have liked.


I feel one huge growth area for me is showing that physical affection when I am feeling an emotional connection. The reason think I have not done this in the past is that so far females have not expressed how they have felt about me until they have said we would be better as friends. I have a feeling looking back and talking to other females, that the lack of physical affection was likely a piece of that disconnect.

Therefore, while I need to take risks to ask a female out, I need to also take the risk of showing physical affection. Surely I shouldn’t rush too quickly but I think my pursuits so far as been pretty much void of physical affection. It was not that I didn’t think about holding hands, putting my arms around her, or kissing her. I did. I believe I was just uncomfortable being open in that way with someone who wasn’t expressing a reciprocal interest in me. If they reject my physical affection it may cut down on the time rejecting me takes or it may help her see how much I care about her and show her I feel more than mere friendship.

Looking back at dating,
What are your strengths and strong-points?
What are your challenges and places to grow?

Edit: I wrote this in October and as of November I have messaged and got some responses back online. I am actually meeting someone for coffee next week. So here we go again. I think the truest growth in this area is not giving up, knowing your past does not have to define you or your future, and to keep bettering yourself (An example is what I have done through my weight loss).

Stay strong readers and don't give up if your single.
If you are married, keep encouraging your single friends to not give up.

~ Single Me

Image Source: 1 2 3

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dating Series 6 of 6: Meeting Others


Read Part 1: Here

Read Part 2: Here

Read Part 3: Here

Read Part 4: Here
 
Read Part 5: Here
 
 
These "interest" were so in and out of my life, that they don’t really have full stories of their own. But I still think some of the smaller encounter let us learn things and also help us to know we are still trying to move along, instead of staying stagnant.

The next two females I asked out I met at church a few years later. At the time I was no longer a part-time youth minister but instead was now working in retail and at a library, anywhere from 40-55 hours a week.

The first one was spunky but I found her extremely cute and attractive. She had a great sense of humor; however, when I tried to pursue her, she kept declining my request to hang out with lame excuses and asking me why we couldn’t just meet when our church class got together. Do I have to spell it out for you? I didn’t know her well enough to know if I really wanted to ask her out at the time. Looking back, I should have just asked her out.

Yes, my fear of rejection was all out now, making me play the hang-out game. But everything I read online told me to be suave, not let on that I was into her, and that if she liked me she would respond to be around me and if she didn’t than feelings we not, in fact, mutual. I friended her and defriended her pretty quickly on FB. Once I tried to pursue her, she was gone. So I left it at that. Goodbye spunky-cute person.

Oh how nice, someone left me a note...

The second one was also at church. I guess she had a boyfriend, but she never talked about him and I only ever saw him once, like months before I asked to hang out with her. I wasn’t really even sure if I liked her in that way, but I wanted to get to know her to find out. She did agree to hangout with me, but she refused it be anywhere near dinner-time. I guess dinner equals date, which in her eyes this was not (thanks Yoda! ha!).

Ask or Ask Not... There is No Try.

I tried to ask her out one more time and she made up some excuse, which I found out because when I asked her for a later date, she declined again and told me she didn’t like me that way. I respected the honesty and wasn’t really crushed at the rejection since I wasn’t sure if I even really liked her. I just thought it was so odd how females (at least from my experience thus far) will go so far to try to protect a guy from feeling hurt (or rather, Truth Alert: feeling bad themselves for hurting a guy by telling the truth).

So, after that I decided I was going to try online dating. I tried one site where only old ladies messaged me, which was pretty creepy. I even saw one old friend of a friend on that site, which I ignored because I wasn’t attracted to her (and that would be awkward). I then tried EHarmony. I signed on during one of their free weekends, which stunk because they don’t even let you see pictures. I ended up meeting one female who was nice, we became Facebook friends, but nothing more happened.

It's Perfect: You Want Love, I want to Money.

I pretty much hated EHarmony, because I refused to pay that much money for something that wasn’t even a guarantee. Just one month by itself cost $40. Don’t they know I am single and don’t have money? So I looked around online and signed up for OkCupid. I have probably messaged like over 100 females, some near and some far. I think I have maybe got like 8-10 responses, some of them I friended on FB and some of them just replied to tell me they were not interested. One female told me were too different and she was NOT attracted to me. I like direct, but maybe there is such a thing as "a little too direct."

Since I have moved and started a new job, I finally messaged other females on OkCupid. I got two responses, one rejection and one hi, who hasn’t replied again. I don’t really put too much stake in online dating. I really would prefer to meet someone in person, but especially with Christian females, it seems like they are pretty particular about relationships, who they go out with, and even being good friends with them usually seems to be off limits.

Honestly, I miss college and grad school. Other than church, it seems like online is my only way to meet females in my age range. Still, despite my past, I still have hope. I still think there is someone out there for me, not who completes me but who would fit with me, who I could share my life with and share her life as well.


While a lot of this may sound like a slight rage against females and women. It is not. I am sure the other side has just as many stories about their confusing and complicated relationship with men as well. The truth is it hurts, being single makes things hard, makes life confusing, confusing from a lack of something and the remembrance of all the rejections.

I think clinging onto hope is important.

Without hope I think we only fall into despair.

Have you tried online dating? What has been your experience?
What lessens have you learned from your past dating experiences?
Has your past with dating help or hinder you going forward?

~ Single Me

Images: (1) 2 (3) 4 5 6

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dating Series 5 of 6: Meeting Sandi

Read Part 1: Here

Read Part 2: Here

Read Part 3: Here

Read Part 4: Here




Dating Series 5 of 6: Meeting Sandi
Note: Names have been changed.

I really liked Sandi a lot, though sometimes her humor and taste in movies confused me. But let’s start at the beginning…

Things with Chloe happened my junior year of college, for the next few years I didn’t really have anyone I wanted to date. I also think this was when I started to be more worried about rejection. Even though the second one didn’t hurt as much as the first, I felt like putting me out there would end up having similar results.

Instead, I put my energy into doing well in college and keeping in shape. I really loved playing racquetball. I was also involved in lots of groups on campus... And I have to admit, with only one year left of college, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a relationship.

So, I waited a few years, keeping my eyes open but trying to protect myself. That is when I met Sandi. I was really taken with her from the beginning. I still remember the first time I saw her. I was in graduate school at the time, entering my second year. We both met in the winter at a mutual friend’s house who had invited her to meet some of us, since she had just started her first year at grad school. I tried to play it cool but from the moment I saw her, I wanted to get to know her. There was something about that brown-haired woman with that cute nose that drew me in... So I began my quest.

Fencing Anyone?

In the beginning it was little things, I would stop and talk to her in the hallway. I friend-ed her on Facebook, then found out she was rarely even on Facebook. Of course, right? I tried to sit near her in class or chapel. I liked being around her and we became friends. Looking back now, I think asking her out then would have been a better plan. However, I let my fear of rejection lead me, so I kept the friend thing going instead of being honest about my feelings.

Honesty can be hard.

At some point I got up the nerves to ask her for her phone number on Facebook. When she replied with her digits I was ecstatic. I literally jumped up and down while playing the song I Got Your Number by Petra. I am such a dork. That same day I got a FB friend invite from Jessy, you know, that first confusing relationship. I added her as a friend but didn’t really care to talk to her at the time. I was too excited about new possibilities to worry about the past.


Summer changed everything.

I was at the point where we had hung out, talked on the phone, sat next to one another in class, and I walked her to her car. Sounds like we are going out, right?

I was such a fool.

One night we were hanging out at her apartment, since I lived in the dorms, watching Secret Window and Bruce Almighty. We chatted a few hours after the movies and while I was walking out I turned. I couldn’t hide it anymore; I felt too much to let it go anymore. I told her I liked her and wondered if she would like to go out on a date with me.
One of the Best Movies You've Never Seen...

She was surprised, which kind of made me surprised and confused. We had been spending so much time together, what had she expected? Do your normally act this way with friends or boyfriends?

She told me maybe, that she would get back to me.

The next day she told me yes, but it came with stipulations, which should have been a clue to me this wasn’t going to end well. I was too in the zone to figure it all out then though, but looking back it was already there.

We went out on our first date. I bought her flowers, she straitened her hair, and we went to go have Chinese food (her favorite) and saw The Incredible Hulk.

I Still Cannot Decide which is better: HULK with Jeniffer Connolly or Liv Tyler

At this point my feelings were all out. I was so excited she said yes and this was happening. However, one date doesn’t make a relationship and I knew I had to ask her out again... and that started the rub, the eventual decline of everything that had culminated.

After out first date, I shortly after asked her for a second date. She said she wanted to take things slow, to get to know me more before we had a second date. I agreed and we had about a month just hanging out with one another as friends before I started to get a little on-edge. I had been down this road before and I didn’t want to be strung along again, always near but not near.

I finally asked her what she felt for me and she said she needed time. Time. Always time, the neglect of answers, the not knowing, it all drove me nuts. I was trying to start a new semester at seminary and couldn’t process all these feelings and thoughts.

It was too confusing and I didn’t like being confused. I didn’t like all the questions flowing through my brain: Is she attracted to me? Is she stringing me along? Is she trying to spare my feelings? Will our friendship be broken? What will this mean for our circle of friends? Has she even actually told any of her friends we went on a date and have been hanging out or has this all been some big secret?

When you are a thinker, you cannot stop those questions. They WILL keep you up at night, causing you lack of sleep. She used classes as an excuse to keep blowing my question off until later, until later. Well, she finally "broke up" with me after about a month. I was crushed. I was at work in the library, checking my e-mail and Facebook when I saw her message. I started crying in the middle of work. Thankfully, no one else was around and I was able to keep myself together enough to finish my shift.

I cried that night.
I had to force myself to eat for two days.


Then I tried to figure out how to be friends with her, because she had, like all the others, said she wanted to still be friends. But what did that mean? Hadn’t all the others said that and then nothing ever came to fruition? I was so confused. She knew some of my past and how I did NOT want to be told the friend line unless it was true.


In her case, I think she wanted it to be true, but she didn’t know how to go about it either. I think it made her feel awkward to be around me. If she had told me that, it would have helped but she full-on ignored me unless we were hanging out in a group.

After a few months I knew we were not going to be together, but I also knew we were not going to be friends. I do think she tried, though I don’t feel she tried as hard as I did... and I think part me still hoped if she saw how great I was as a friend, that she might reconsider me as relationship-material.

I was wrong.
She stopped talking to me completely.
I asked for my movies back, which took two months for me to get.
Then our last connection and tie to one another was gone.

I had gone through the end of this relationship/friendship my last semester in seminary. Tried to save the friendship but finally let it go the winter/spring after graduation, as I was jobless and had a lot of time on my hands. I also moved in the same apartment complex as her after graduation (It was cheap.. what can I say). She actually lived only a few doors away from me, but the door was shut.

I deleted her from my phone...
... and then from my Facebook.

The Way is Shut...
None Shall Pass!

A few times I saw her through mutual friends, but those mutual friends moved away and so she began to fade into my past and from my memory. I think she moved a few times after that. I am still not really sure why she rejected me. We never had that conversation. So, I am still not sure whether she rejected me because she didn’t find me attractive or because she didn’t want to be that open and vulnerable to someone else at that time. One doesn't always get the luxury of answers to such questions.

Have you ever been in a relationship that ended with no reasons or goodbyes?
Why do you think it is so difficult to be friends after the failure of a relationship?
Do you think it is really ever possible to "just be friends"?

~ Single Me

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dating Series 4 of 6: Meeting Chloe

Read Part One: Here

Read Part Two: Here

Read Part Three: Here






Meeting Chloe
Note: Names have been changed.

I met Chloe when I was in the youth group. She was nice, I found her attractive, but nothing ever really happened. I guess I kind of saw her as a sister when we were both in the youth group, which made it odd once when my parents were commenting on how she was "blossoming", which really just meant her breasts’ were getting bigger. I mean, how do you react to that as a teenager? Parents… just don’t say things like that in front of your children, teenage or otherwise, its just awkward.



So the years passed and we still kept in contact. But our connection was sporadic, meaning we would chat on AIM every once in a while, but over time we started to talk on the phone once every few months. During one summer when were both home from college, we would go to this large contemporary church service at the Second Baptist Church in town. Honestly, there is nothing more attractive to me than a female worshiping next to me, talking to her about God, and hearing her sing. But I tried to keep myself cool. I had screwed things up before, so I wanted to try my best to know if she liked me before she left for the summer.

I tried a few times to see her outside of going to the worship services, and looking back now, I should have been aware that I was getting the cold shoulder. She would always make some excuse, that seemed lame, and would then tell me she had done something with her friends (or even another guy who came into town *slaps face*). I was so blind.


But I still had all these feelings for her by then. It wasn’t that I couldn’t take no, but I felt all these things and needed to get them out, so I did the worst thing you can do to someone with whom you aren’t actually going out with yet… writing them a letter. I wrote her two pages, expressing my feelings and how great a person I thought she was at the time and how much I liked her. Yes, at least I knew enough not to say love. I mean, she hadn’t gone out with me yet, so I had feelings but I wasn’t a moron. I though I was being smooth at the time. WRONG!

When the letter was finished, I got her address by being telling her I was updating my contacts. To make myself feel better, I did actually update my contacts but, of course, my real purpose was to get her address while she was away at college. I sent the letter... and waited... and waited. I felt dumb, but also satisfied I had got my feelings out. I accomplished my goal and figured, “Well I guess she didn’t feel the same, but hey... we didn’t really know one another all that well.”


Then fall break came and I was at home. I saw her at church, but I didn’t say anything about the letter. I figured if she wanted to say something, she would reply. And right between Sunday school and church she asked me to talk with her for a second. She apologized for not replying, then told me while she liked me as a friend, that she didn’t like me as anything more than that at the moment. She said she still wanted to be friends, I said ok, and we hugged. Those are the only hugs I have never liked. I was sad of course, but I had kind of already put this behind me emotionally. I didn’t like being rejected but it wasn’t as bad since I didn’t know her as much as I had known Jessy.

I think I might have talked to her on the phone once more, but later I just deleted her from my phone and AIM. I was determined not to go on about this like I had previously, grieving for a whole six months. I did try to chat back and forth on Facebook a few times, but she didn’t reply. I finally just deleted her. That might sound harsh, but I don’t consider people friends, at least not presently or in the future, if we don’t actually speak or ever write to one another.


So, she has pretty much been out of my mind. Yes, every so often I would search for her on Facebook, see what I could gather from her Public, non-friend, view. A few months ago I looked and apparently she is married now. She looks happy with him. I am happy for her, but sad for myself. Not because I don’t have her or she missed out on the great me, but because I want to meet someone and be that happy at some point.

This concludes Meeting Chloe... please turn over tape for side two.

~ Single Me

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dating Series 3 of 6: Meeting Jessy

Read Part One: Here

Read Part Two: Here








Meeting Jessy
Note: Names have been changed.

This is where things got complicated...

The years passed, not much happened in high school in regards to dating. There was not anyone I was really interested in to be honest. Then I moved to college and my first semester I met a friend of my roommate named Jessy. Jessy was a very confident female, who knew she wanted to go places in life. She had a rough childhood and was working on making her life better. Jessy wanted to be a nurse, maybe even a doctor. Jessy also had a hard time with guys. She would get lost in her infatuation of them, find out they were jerks, and then the relationships would end abruptly.

Nothing really happened the first semester I was in college. Everything was too new for me and I didn’t know how interested I was until halfway through the second semester. We would chat online on AIM about life and faith. She was smart and had such a heart for God.

Toward the end of my freshmen year, I thought about asking her out... but we were both going away for the summer and it didn’t really seem all that logical to take that next step, so I decided to wait until the new school year.

Does anyone even remember AIM anymore?

And that is when things got better... and worse. We kept on chatting online late into the night when she wasn’t working and I was online. I got her number and we talked on the phone a few times.

Then one day she was excited about something and wanted to tell me. Can you guess what? Well she was working at a summer camp and fell for this guy. I played nice but I was disappointed. Here I was taking this time to know her and planning my approach when this guy just swoops in and things happened.

We still chatted online and on the phone; however, we talked less (obviously) since she now had her boyfriend. A lot of chats consisted of us talking about God and about her boyfriend. Then, right before my sophomore year, and after her job for the summer ended, it happened. She caught him with another female while she was talking to him on the phone. What a douche, right? She felt so betrayed and I did feel bad she got hurt... but finally I thought, the time is coming to make my move. I couldn't wait much longer.

When we were both back on campus, she came to meet me in the dorm lobby. I was so happy to see her, we said hi, and hugged. I still remember she was wearing a green shirt. I was so into her at the time. I knew I couldn’t keep playing the friend card. I wanted more out of our relationship. I had to let her know how I was feeling. Besides, not telling her was driving me crazy.

The next few months became a blur. We hung out once, we went to eat at Olive Garden and then saw a double feature of Men in Black 2 and Spider-Man. It was shortly after we were talking on the phone when it finally came out.

Men in Black, Killing Alien Scum On-Screen Since 1997.

She was talking about friendship and how my roommate (her old friend) didn’t talk to her that much anymore, in comparison to myself. Then it came out, that I liked her differently than he did... and bam, I think the relief I felt in telling her was great for me... but I think it was really confusing to her and became a burden on our friendship or more-than-friendship or whatever.

She thanked me for being honest, said she wanted to be friends, and she would let me know if she felt like moving our relationship from friendship to something more. The more never happened, and honestly, things got really weird.

The truth was we got a lot closer, we would talk late and meet up. I remember we would try to save a seat for the other in the chapel services… but we always seemed to miss one another. We never did wait for the other, which I think is telling looking back.

There was something missing there, something I guess I didn’t see and maybe she didn’t see. I don’t think we were ever really on the same wavelength. It seemed like I felt we were in the beginning of a relationship and she felt we were just really close friends. This lasted a while, for about two months. I didn’t feel like I was being strung along; however, the reality is I was being strung along. Now looking back, I think she liked having someone she could talk to but there was no commitment on her side and no chance of being rejected on my side, so things continued like that for a while.

We had fall break at the end of October and I was going to stay with my roommate in his town. Jessy lived really close, so I decided to ride with her there, hang out for a while, and then spend time with my roommate that weekend. Little did I know her whole family was going to be there and I was going to be invited to dinner. This seemed like more than friendship, right? I was meeting the family; yet, she introduced me as "my friend". That phrase stung and confused me.

Let's Hang Out = You Can Meet my Whole Family at the Mexican Restaurant

That weekend turned out to be the deciding factor in our friendship/relationship. We were supposed to hang out together the next day but she blew me off and then she wanted to drive back to college by herself. Signals anyone? I was getting the cold shoulder

We were back at college a week later and she would try to chat with me online. I asked her to call me on the phone and finally asked her point blank: Do you like me that way, like a boyfriend? She said she didn’t want to hurt my feelings, but I got her to finally tell me the truth: NO. Those words stung, they hurt, but I was glad to finally get a answer.

The rest of that semester and the next I was pretty depressed. I gained back all the weight I had lost my freshman year. I tried to be friends with her... but it never worked. She would ignore and not return my calls and I wouldn't stay up until 2AM to chat with her online anymore.

She told me online in a chat that she was sad things were different, but I asked her what she expected. I got the feeling she wanted a friendship on her terms only. We stopped talking, she began to fade into my memory, but I was still pretty bitter about the whole thing.

I saw her go out with some dope the next year as a junior and that was the thing that finally set me free. Later, as I reflected on this whole situation with my roommate, who was her old friend, he confessed to me that she had called him one day and told him she did, in fact, like me in that way. He was confused why she had told me otherwise.

I had always figured she wasn’t attracted to me, but maybe she didn’t want to commit, maybe she was scared. I don’t know... and now I don’t really care. I look back on this as my first real attempt at a relationship and it taught me how to stand up for myself, but also how females sometimes can and do string guys along as emotional support. I think, in some way, perhaps I was everything, ideally, that she wanted in a guy, yet either she was not truly attracted to me physically or she was scared about being with a guy who had depth.

What relationship was the most complicated for you?
What are some complications you have had in your past relationships?

~ Single Me

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dating Series 2 of 6: Meeting CJ

Read Part One: Here

MEETING CJ:
Note: Names have been changed.







I met CJ in the eighth grade at church. She was fun, spunky, always so full of life, vibrancy, and had a great sense of humor. I still remember one time when the youth group was going watch a movie and the female’s vote won own over the guys, so we all had to watch "Sense and Sensibility". How highly democratic of us, right? Neither CJ nor I were thrilled with the choice so while the other females rejoiced and men bemoaned, we sat and talked.

Why anyone would choose one over the other is beyond me...

We did become pretty close. Did I mention that she was a sophomore and I was in eighth grade? I imagine if she was younger or I was older we might have gone out, but because I was in middle school and she was in high school it just didn’t really work (and the irony is plenty of female friends did go out with older guys, so maybe it was an excuse).

I remember there were times when, coming back from a youth group event or just relaxing, she would lay her head on my shoulder or rest it on my lap. Even though I was young, I enjoyed the feeling of someone being that comfortable with me and feeling that connection. I really was a little annoyed when the sponsor would tell her to sit up. I mean, it wasn’t like we were making out. It was nice. I liked feeling wanted. I liked physical affection from a female who wasn’t a family member.

As with all good things, after a few years CJ moved and I had no way to contact her. She moved a few times, family financial issues I think, and I never had her information to connect with her though phone calls or letters.

Looking back now, I think maybe she had clung onto me because I was a male figure who listened, cared for her, and didn’t "want" anything sexual from her. See, she lived with her older sister and mother who was divorced and single, her father being out of the picture completely.

Yes, I was attracted to her and if things were different I would have dated her (or at least tried), but I think I was a male who might have filled some of the emptiness she felt from her father being absent in her life.

I hadn’t heard of through of her for years until I spoke with her again online. She is now married and has wonderful family. She is also a bit more conservative than me, which is funny to me considering she always had a more outgoing and spunky personality than myself. People surprise you like that I suppose.

Have you ever felt like you were being used emotionally?
Have you ever dated someone older or younger than you?
What happened?

~ Single Me

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Dating Series 1 of 6: Meeting Joy

Over the last few years as I have written on this blog, I have opened up and been vulnerable about parts of myself that I had kept hidden for so long. Before that time, I did want to write about being single for a while but I felt like my thoughts, complaints, and struggles were less important than everyone else (Everyone being those married and who have children). Everyone always seemed to think being single was great, that I was single by choice, and those who have known me well have never really understood how I am still single. In fact, when I meet people in person, sometimes they are surprised to find out I am single. They say I seem too mature and responsible to be single. Is that a compliment or critique? I don’t really know.

One thing I have not yet expressed, beneath all of my more general thoughts are the dating stories of how I got to where I find myself currently. How am I single and thirty? Well, to really understand one would have to start off at the beginning, right?

http://genesischurchorlando.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Genesis.jpg

So, think of all those flashback images on TV shows and I will take you back to my beginning and then we will progress through a series of blog entries coming out through the next month.

MEETING JOY:
Note: Names have been changed.

Joy was the first female I ever liked or felt the least bit of interest in when I was younger. I was in sixth grade when I met Joy and hadn’t really found any girls attractive, well… since my crush in second grade. However, with her there was something deeper than just thinking she looked good, that I was physically attracted to her. I saw plenty of attractive girls while I was at school. There was something about Joy that made me feel different.

I first met Joy while we were in the same sixth grade Sunday School class. She had blonde hair and a gorgeous smile. My dad played the piano and my mother worked in the nursery, so on Sundays we would sit together in one of the front pews of the church and talk. We were truly friends and I never really thought of the potential for anything more at the time. Honestly, I just liked being around her.

Slowly into our seventh and eight grade year Joy began to come to church less and less. I missed her when she was gone. I would sometimes call her on the phone. I always was anxious because one of her parents would pick up the phone first (ha!). Slowly, Joy stopped coming to church. She was once so full of the joy of God, but over time that joy seemed to fade. She started going out with guys in high school while she was in middle school. Later, when we were in high school, she was on the school dance team. She became popular and I... was a nerd who sung in the choir (gotta love being in the choir).

I connected with Joy again years later through Facebook. We are friends. We don’t chat much really... but I am happy to say in the last few years she found a great guy, got married, and is once again active in the church. It warms my heart to see one who was lost, come back into the body of Christ. For a while she was searching for something, but I think in the last few years she found her joy once again.

Who was the first person you ever liked?
How old were you? What happened?

More to come...

~ Single Me

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Psychology of (my) Weight Loss

I am nearing 15 Lbs to my next goal weight, 225. Once I reach 225, I will have lost 100 LBS (I plan to do a VBlog when that happens). It is kind of hard for me to believe I have lost that much and also hard for me to believe I ever gained that much... and will still have some more to loose.

Since my move, I have felt so out of it, yes it is the move but as I near this goal, I find I am not sure exactly who I am. Let me explain, I know who I am inside: Kind. Friendly. Sarcastic. Witty. But who am I on the outside? For so long I have been overweight. I first knew I was overweight in middle school when I was 135 Lbs. Then through high school and college, I continued to gain.

While at first this new-found weight loss was (and still is) good, because I could see the results and felt healthier, now I have to deal with the psychological aspect of figuring out who I am as this person with less weight. Am I more attractive? Am I fat or skinny? My clothes currently do not fit me but the next size doesn’t fit me either... That is a odd place to be. Even my clothing doesn’t have a place to fit me right now.

Also, I am really losing a great excuse to not pursue dating now. When I had the weight it was a barrier I despised, but I would always come to the conclusion I was rejected based on my weight. I could use weight as an excuse, not only when I wouldn't risk the pursuit a female but I also used it as a way to narrow down her rejection to my weight and not to myself. Perhaps if she was rejecting me as a person, that would have hurt me even more deeply.

I took a picture of me in the mirror the other day with my shirt off. I will post it here, not because I am showing off but also not exactly because I am hideous. I took it and share it to show that there is a place I think between fat and skinny, a place where you are looking better but still not quite there. But where is there? I am not quite sure how to define myself now.


Apparently, there are many articles (I put some at the end of this blog) written by/about people who face this problem. People suggest this is why one should lose weight slowly over time, because you have more time to adapt to a new image of yourself. Perhaps this has been heightened for me since I an nearing such a great benchmark. While it is a great thing, it is also a milestone to a huge change. If I keep on this route, soon I won’t be obese anymore. Being (morbidly) obese has been a part of who I am for over a decade and overweight since middle school, which in total about 18 years of my life.

Honestly, healthy is a very new thing for me, not just the eating better or exercise, but looking better and feeling better. While it is great it is also odd. Sometimes I get looks from females and I am not sure what they mean. For so long females ignored me or seemed to look past me, so I am not sure if it is interest or if not being fat just makes people more likely to see me as a human being instead of a lazy person who just consumes mass quantities of food.

As I continue to lose weight, I continue to wonder who I am and who am I becoming; yet isn’t this always the question? Whether I am losing weight or not, are not we not always asking who we were, who we are, and who are we becoming? As a person, I want to better myself. As a Christian I want to glorify God. As a man, I want to become dating, marriage, and father material. And while all of these are different areas, they are not completely separate from each other either.

So, here are some questions for us to grapple: Who are you becoming? Who do you want to be and what are you doing to achieve your goals? Are you setting any goals? Are they achievable and realistic? The Psychology of Weight Loss is also The Psychology of Change... And when change happens, big or small, it means adjusting our actions and reactions, our perceptions and challenging self to move forward, even when we are not sure about the end result.

~ Single Me

Related Links:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/31489881/ns/health-womens_health/t/phantom-fat-can-linger-after-weight-loss/
http://www.daveywaveyfitness.com/weightloss-tips/still-see-my-fat-self-in-the-mirror
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5309302

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Blog About Anxiety

I remember when I was a kid, not a care in the world. I remember going day by day, those days seemed to last forever. I felt happy. I had little worry; at least that is how it all seems in retrospect. I remember sometimes I wanted to grow up, figuring I would really enjoy being able to make all my own decisions. The truth is my lack of decision-making, while annoying at times, was what protecting me from the outside. So long as I was a child or teen, I was still protected from the larger world of the adult. Making no money, I had things provided and paid no bills. Having no car, I never had to worry about getting lost or getting in an accident.

The odd thing is I never thought I really had anxiety, yet as I have grown older I've had to fight against it as the year’s have progressed. Yes, I have learned to see the signs, to be aware, and work on fighting it; however, it is something that comes up, a feeling inside, intense and sudden, of a fear or worry, even if it is unfounded or unreasonable.

I have anxiety over driving, especially anywhere that is different or new. I have anxiety in a large crowd of people. I have anxiety that I will get into an accident or that someone will judge me based on something I say or that is taken in the wrong way. I am afraid of getting fired from my job, perhaps for doing something I didn’t even know or understand. I get anxious checking my mail, that I might get jury duty before my job benefits start. I get anxious that I will get something in the mail saying I owe more money, maybe my electric bill went up or my student loans decide to start charging me obscene amounts that I cannot afford.

I get anxious and worried that I will never find anyone to date or marry... and that because of this I will never be a father... Ever. I get anxious about being so far from family and friends, so the last few months I have tried not to think about the actual distance. I sometimes get anxious about my weight, though I am losing, sometimes I feel I am putting in so much effort and seeing very little or no results... and this anxiety makes me just want to forget being healthy and just eat horribly (Thank goodness I give in much less to that voice than I did a while back).

I get anxious that all my friends from the past will forget me or be bored with me. I get anxious because I want to talk to everyone, but talking takes energy because I talk all day to others at my job, so after work I really do not want to talk to anyone at all. I get anxious calling and talking to new people on the phone. I get anxious the first few times I try to initiate a friendship, and extremely nervous if I want to pursue someone in a relationship.

All of these things whirl around in my head... not all the time, but at times throughout the day or the week. I am pretty good at keeping it hidden, because anxiety, worry, and fear mean weakness... and when you are a male living on your own, weakness is not attractive, not to potential friends, mates, or anyone else. I have to shape up. Welcome to real world. The real world is tough. There is no crying in baseball and all that jazz

"A League of Their Own" movie reference anyone?

Sometimes I just want to get away from it all, to go somewhere quiet, where the noise goes down or is calm, where the birds sing sweetly, the trees rustle, and a stream of water is going in the distance. When my anxiety comes I think of that place, so much peace, I breathe in and out, remind myself that all these things I am doing are moving me forward as a person, making me better, stronger, and ultimately are helping me fulfill my purpose in glorifying God with my life. Those thoughts give me peace, give me rest, help me to relax and continue to persevere and push forward.

http://www.vacation-rental-hawaii.com/JadeLillyPad_files/8-river.jpg

What anxieties/worries/fears have you had in the past?
Which ones do you have today?

What are ways you cope?
What things bring you peace, rest, or hope?

~ Single Me

Friday, July 12, 2013

Does True Love Wait?

For those who grew up in the 90's and early 2000's (and even still today), you might remember a thing called "True Love Waits". I was thinking about this earlier today, still being single at 30, and how most of us in the church are taught how sexual intimacy between a man and women is for marriage. I also thought about how statically today people do not get married until their mid to late twenties. So, if you are 13-19, that means you are looking at roughly ten years of being pure and not having sex. It means having to control your urges, control lust, control your emotions, and stick with Christ. Right?

I would like to suggest that true love does not wait, true love takes action. No, I don’t mean sexual action. I am talking about not being passive with knowing another. Men are told to control urges and seek out women. Females are told to look pretty and wait on men. But is that the end of the story? Are we only meant to know one another in a sexual way? Is there no type of intimacy between males and female except having physical intimacy, controlling lust, or waiting endlessly for that emotional connection?

I believe teaching youth about true love could gain a lot by teaching them about what real friendship is between one another, not just male to male or female to female but male to female and female to male as well. Teaching males and females that they can be friends without always having to only think about lust, sex, or remaining pure.

But what about their hormones? But what are we teaching them? When we separate them we are teaching them that sex, intimacy, the opposite sex, and friendship is bad, evil, and horrible. We are also teaching our children that they cannot be trusted to control themselves, that they are forever at the whim of their hormones and emotions. I think this teaching and separation actually achieves the opposite of what was intended.

How would I change things? Looking back now after being single for so long, I would not just have married people teaching about purity in churches. Sure they can tell you how great it is to wait and reap the benefits; however, they cannot really relate to how it feels to wait, especially to wait for how long some of those teens are going to try/have to wait.

I would also teach the reality that some may fail but there is grace and forgiveness. This may seem like a free license to sin but it is not, instead it is trying to let them know that they can fall but try again. I think a lot of teenagers figure once they have had sex (lost their virginity), though they may regret it, why wait anymore. If the church talked more openly about this and allowed safe spaces for confession, it would go along way into letting teenagers and young adults know God loves them despite the fact that they fall.

Honestly, I would change the whole way these subjects are taught in church. Usually the males and females are separated. I would suggest the first session be separated but then ongoing sessions be switched between co-ed and segregated. I believe it would benefit boys and girls to hear from those who are single, those married, and also from one another. How was someone used in a relationship? What is going on with one another beyond their gender? What are their likes and dislikes? What I am proposing that instead of trying to control them from (not) having sex, you introduce them and have them become friends, or even better, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Being single I have gained so many sisters in the faith. I decided I could be friends with them. Not all have agreed to friendship but I think my life is more fulfilled having the input of those female friends who are in my life. Through these friendships I am able to connect, to go deep into life with females emotionally and spiritually in intimate ways without our relationship having to be solely based on a dating relationship, marriage, and physical attraction/intimacy.

So, I don’t think true love waits, I think it takes action. I think true love makes friendships with those of the opposite gender. I think that true love values the other gender as a whole person, not merely an object for physical or sexual gratification alone.

Lastly, I think true love takes action when you find someone and that connection is more than friendship and then you both choose to pursue the journey of going into a deeper relationship through dating, perhaps later marriage, and the intimacy to match that level of commitment.

~ Single Me

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cravings and Hunger

What really makes us hungry? Why at times are we content with what we eat and other times consumed with the idea to consume more and more? Before my move I had worked out for 1.5 years and had been eating really well. However, since this move my system has gone into some kind of consume food craze. I didn’t really feel I ate all that much while I was on the road, but yes... Most of it was junk food. There just isn’t a good way to eat healthy on the road. I think I did eat an apple one day, ha!

But the last few weeks have been really tough for me. I have been doing ok during the day but at night while sitting and watching Netflix, I've just been hungry and will go get something. I have also been going to get fast food about once a week. Now, I was at a place before the move that I didn’t even crave fast food. I guess that is once happen when you eat it again, you begin to crave it, and crave it in excess.

As far as being hungry at night, I know a lot of it has to do with boredom. When I am keeping myself busy, though working out or writing, I am usually not hungry... but I get still and then the craving comes (and it so difficult to sit with your stomach growling).

Hopefully, within one to three weeks my stomach will go back to being small again. Even though my working out is going well, anyone who knows about good health can tell you that if you eat poorly, you will never lose weight. You can exercise all day and night, but it all you eat is pizza, cheese, and pasta... well, you are not going to lose weight.

And I want to leave with a thought for us to ponder, for me and for you reading this. Why do we crave certain things? What makes us hungry for them? And finally, why do we so often not crave God the same way we crave food or relationships or video games or being entertained or a myriad of other things?

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
- Psalm 42:1-2

I do not think we really GET this verse.
At least I often think "I" at least do not fully GET this verse.

~ Single Me

Sunday, June 23, 2013

New Job: Week One

Well, this last week has been really good. I am working at a hospital that is split between two places. Currently, I am training at the smaller campus and that is the place I am gong to be doing most of my ministry and work as Chaplain.

I think the first day on campus was the most difficult, just trying to take in so much information. Along with all the information is trying to understand spatially where I am at, as well as where everything is at on campus. By day three I pretty much had all the key places down.

I was excited that I got to see patients by day three. I was a little rusty but things were good. I have already had some more serious visits, which I really enjoy. I do the Morning Prayer and go to the morning meeting in intensive care on the mornings when I am scheduled to come in early.

I also went to a wonderful church this morning, thanks to a friend of a friend. I still have three more to go and visit, but I could really go back to the one I worshiped at today. The people were warm and inviting. In both Sunday school and the worship time someone came up, introduced themselves, and sat with me.

Well, that’s about it for this update I guess. I've been writing more lately to keep everyone updated, so the quality might be less than stellar. I think I do well with about a blog or two a month. When I do more than that, it just kind of seems blah to me.

Well, my first on-call happens tomorrow. So, hopefully it is calm night because I have to work the next day (just kind of the schedule here), but being a smaller hospital, calls aren’t really all that expected... so we will see.

~ Single Me

Friday, June 14, 2013

Adjusting to Buffalo

Well it finally happened. I finally cried this morning. I was fixing my bed frame last night and my back started to hurt. Sometimes that happens, but exercising has helped it to hurt a lot less lately. Well, I woke up at about 5:30 this morning, because well, that’s when the sun comes up here in the summer apparently. I started looking up automotive repair places online, cause well, my power steering fluid is leaking and I need a new pump. My back just kept hurting. Is it the new chair I bought? Maybe the new mattress set? I don’t know. I still need a haircut, to go by the DMV too. Then it all started to hit me.

I guess I made it longer before I cried here than any other move I have made so far. When I moved to college I had a roommate to talk to; however, when I moved to grad school, to my own apartment, and then to my residency... Well, I was living by myself. I can’t really explain how it feels to people who have never lived alone. Yes, it is great to have my own place... and I'm glad I don’t have roommates... but it is hard not having anyone I know here. I go through this every time I move. It isn’t just the adjusting to a new place, finding all the places you need to know and go to and get stuff done. For me it is the time it takes to find a new group of people around you.

As an introvert I do make friendships but it takes me time, so in a move it a while before I make friends and who knows if any will even be good or great or best friends. I have to keep reminding myself that not everything has to be done now. But its hard, I want to be comfortable. I want to have all my books in bookshelves and I want all my comfy furniture now. I don’t want to wait. I feel like I am in a state of Limbo. I guess I want to nest, which includes furniture, having stuff in order, finding friends, getting use to my job, and finding a church here.

I guess this morning it all kind caught up and hit me. On the other hand, it has taken me about a week before this hit me. Usually, it only takes me one or two nights, so I guess I am improving over time and all the moves I have had to do in the past. Actually, even typing this out is now making me feel better. Maybe today I will just get a haircut and go see Superman (if there are any tickets).

Maybe I will worry about my power steering pump and the DMV later. As far as my mattress is concerned, for now I’m putting my air mattress on top of my new one. I think I am going to have to go to a mattress store and get a thicker mattress. I think that will help since I am a little bigger and have back problems sometimes. I don’t think the cheap and thin mattress I got is going to cut it for me.

So, here is an update. People have been asking me and I've just been preoccupied with getting stuff done or trying to relax. Good thing is I have been eating better and exercising again. The bad thing is I can’t seem to do both of those in the same day, ha ha. I will get back to it again soon. I really want to lose the weight. Ok, so that is my update. Not as engaging a read as the last one but oh well, writing is like that sometimes.

~ Single Me

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Almost to Buffalo

There is an odd feeling your last week of work. Your last day. The last few hours. You look around and feel as if everything is old, as if you have already moved beyond your surroundings but are going through the motions and waiting for the new thing to actually take place, to finally come to fruition.

On the eve of moving, to a new place and job, doubts always enter my mind. I wonder if my apartment will really be there. I wonder if my position will be cancelled and I will be totally and utterly confused and robbed of all that time and money.

I think about all the possibilities, all the wonder and new things. Some of them excite me but some of them honestly frighten me. I sometimes feel like a scared little boy. I feel small and out of place in the big world, in this big system in which I am only one small person trying to conquer and make it on his own.

Other times I feel large. I feel as if I am taking on something so large, and in doing so, I am becoming something larger as well, something greater myself. Perhaps, someone greater than myself. That with each step, each taking of a new risk, I am learning more, becoming more than I was and more of what I hope to be in the future.

I am on a journey, and don't most journeys have good and bad, excitement and fear? All of my feelings are all jumbled up. Yet, I can't always be feeling because I have to think, have to plan, to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible to save myself any grief, to make this a hopefully enjoyable experience.

I haven't been sleeping as well or working out as much lately. I have been packing, fixing my car, and getting my apartment cleaned for the move. In four days and I am out of my current apartment. In five days from this town. It is all so new. All so different. Buffalo is so many miles away from everything and everyone I have ever known. I can't imagine what missionaries go through leaving the country. At least I will still be in the states and speaking English.

I know this was the right decision, but with my personality as an introvert this change will take some time to adjust to, as all changes take time for myself. However, God has blessed me and I have grown more as I have taken every step the last few years. I am glad I made this choice and am making this move, but it doesn't mean I am 100% comfortable.

Something I have learned about God and Faith is that you don't grow when you are comfortable, you either become stagnant or regress. However, when we are challenged, when we take risks, when we push further than ourselves, than the people we are currently (or were in the past) and more-so into the person we wish to become... Well, that is the place where radical shifts in growth and in our thought process take place.

So, to those who know me personally, please pray. Pray that He who started a good work in me is faithful to complete it... and that I will continue to work hard and challenge myself, not only for Christ and His Kingdom but also to grow myself personally and professionally.

I also pray for those of you who are reading this and pondering what God has for you next. Ponder no longer.

You know that thing that makes you uncomfortable, that idea that makes you squirm? You know those types of people you don't like too much? You know that thing that you want to do yet keep putting off? Well, odds are that is where God is working in you and you are holding yourself and your potential back.

I pray you push forward. I pray you become uncomfortable. Perhaps if we were more uncomfortable there would be less poverty and war. Perhaps if we were uncomfortable, we would ask people to put down their smart phones and talk to us one-on-one over a cup of coffee.

Blessings to you my friends and readers, single and married alike.
May you follow God with all your heart, soul, and mind..
And may you love your neighbor as yourself

Single Me

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Men Who Cheat And Neglect

There is something I have wanted to write about for a while now, except I really could not find the words to express my discontent. For years now I have watched as female friends, close and acquaintances, have men treat them poorly. My guess is in the beginning these men charm them, spending their time and money, making females feel loved and worthwhile. However, as the relationship moves on in time, they begin to show their selfish intent and needs, whether it is merely desiring someone to have sex, do chores, or raise the children.

These men seem to be very individualistic and I cannot express how much it frustrates, annoys, and angers me that they would throw away a good relationship, relationships with such beautiful, enjoyable, intellectually stimulating, and humorous females. Here are the two main ways I see these men messing up their lives, relationships, and marriages.

(1) Cheating: From what I understand, men who cheat have a tendency to go on in an affair until they are caught. My understanding in this is that problems existed in the relationship and instead of working on good communication, trying to work on compromises and solutions, these men decide to look elsewhere for fresh meat. They are enamored with the idea of a new woman and new relationship. To quote a movie I watched once, "All new things eventually become old". Let that truth sink in a moment... The truth is these men will never be satisfied and the sad thing is they do not know this and neither do the females to whom they date or show affection.

As a single person, it really aggravates me that some men are not satisfied with one relationship but have to go looking for more and more. Yes, people have problems, but cheating will only make things worse, much worse, and unless both people get counseling (Together for couples counseling OR the man for why he cheats and the female for why she falls for such men) nothing will be resolved and the cycle is likely to continue.

(2) Neglect: Can I just say, men, I know some of you like video games, but when you spend so much time playing video games that you neglect your wife. I mean.. Are you kidding me? Do you really prefer a video game to your wife? I have known and seen some of your wives and there is no way I would neglect them for video games. You want challenge in your life? Try a real life challenge of being in a loving and challenging relationship with your wife, where you push one another to be better people. Try a relationship where you and your wife share interests and expand your life, becoming well-rounded individuals.

I know it is not only video games, sometimes it is work. If you have a work that requires you to work so much you are not at home and can be with your wife or kids (or are to exhausted to be with them) you need to look for another job. Yes, short-term this will make you very busy, but your family will appreciate that you are now busy trying to make more space and time for your relationships into the future, that you treasure and value your family, not merely seeing them as wall paintings in your home as you pass by each morning and night.

I know in the ministry this is a big one, because churches many times overwork their ministers. Sit down with your church and let them know you need boundaries for your family and your own sake. If you get fired for not being available, you might state at your resignation or firing that you would not neglect your family for your work, even if it was God's work.

Finally, if you would rather be working than be at home with your significant other, that is a whole other issue. It would be good to actually go home, work on better communication, and perhaps seek counseling as well.

I know I am a single guy saying these things and some men may say I don’t understand. I do understand relationships are complex and can become increasingly complicated over time. However, what I can say is that I hear the crying and hurting and yearning of females I know for men to truly be men, not because they are muscular or like sports or enjoy hunting, but because they know how to make commitments, take responsibility, and be a good boyfriend, fiance, or husband.

~ Daniel