I have to admit something to all of you. You might have assumed from this blog that I have not been in a relationship for a long time. That is not really true. I have been in a relationship for a while now.
My relationship is with a little blog called the sexy celibate. And it has become a very dysfunctional relationship.
It started out with risk and mystery, like many relationships. I wrote my first post, thinking “Not that many people will read this, but at least it will be a great way to get my thoughts and angst down on paper.”
But on the inside I really wanted people to read it.
There was risk involved from the very first word I wrote down. It was kind of scary. I was putting myself out there. People might read my intimate thoughts and be changed. Or they might reject me. I might get three hits a day, two of which were my mother. If that happened, I would wonder if I was not a good writer and if the book I was writing would ever be read.
I put up my first post and was surprised that soon after, people were reading my words and even having discussions about what I was writing. It was strangely like when you have a crush on someone. After the initial risk of putting yourself out there, you start realizing that maybe that person likes you back, and that is a very exciting thought.
Around January, some crazy internet explosion happened and I had almost 6000 hits in one day with my article called What Married People Wish Single People Knew (about 20 times more than my average.) The romance and exhilaration of the throes of first love were upon me now. I was in a real relationship. “Lots of people are reading my blog! People like me! They are asking me for dating advice even though I’ve only dated a handful of people in my entire life and secretly know almost nothing about dating! I have purpose! I am valuable! I am loved!”
As in many relationships, after the initial infatuation was wearing off, dysfunction started to happen. I began to wait for comments like a high school girl waits by the phone for her crush to call her. That’s not good.
My roommate had a friend from out of town over. She said “I don’t meant to seem to seem star struck but I really love your blog. I have practically fallen out of my chair laughing at work reading it.”
Instead of feeling flattered, do you know what my first thought was? “Oh man, I am in my pajamas and have no make up on, and she’s going to go home and tell people ‘I met that sexy celibate chick and I don’t know why she calls herself sexy. She looks pretty plain to me.'”
The rest of the day, I felt insecure because everything I said felt awkward and not very clever. I thought “dang it, she’s going to go home and say ‘that sexy celibate girl is super bland in real life.'”
Slowly and surely, things started to change. The six thousand hits day was a rarity, and my numbers began to go down and down. “Wait!” I thought “Don’t you still love me? Don’t you still want to read my brilliant thoughts? Maybe I’m not that brilliant. Maybe I’m not even very wise.”
I had a harder and harder time writing posts, feeling like if I wasn’t clever, I wouldn’t be liked. Feeling like I might be a disappointment. I started to realize that “The Removal of the Projections.” was happening.
My long time counselor has a theory that when you are in love, you not only project your best self for the person to see, you also project an your ideal person onto your partner. What you see in them is not completely realistic.
Then a season called the removal of the projections happens. Your projection of yourself comes down, and your projection towards the other person is removed as well. There is a lot of control during that period, as both partners want to keep the projections up and continue believing in the figments in their head. They don’t want to see the weakness in their partner or in themselves.
It is much safer to go through the removal of the projections stage when you are dating than after you get married. If you have gone through that stage before you get married, you are more confident that your spouse will stay committed to you because you know that they love you for who you are, not for your projection. (This is another reason to not put marriage pressure on dating too fast, as I will talk about in one of my next posts.)
One of the biggest lies I have believed in my life is that people like me at first- are drawn to my music or my teaching or my personality-but once they get to know me, once the projections come down, they are disappointed. It has especially seemed to be true with almost every romantic relationship I’ve been in.
I have had to replace that lie with truth. When I hear in my head that people won’t like me once I get to know me, I say “People love me more the more they get to know me. I bring good things to people’s lives. If I get married, I will greatly enrich that person’s life.”
I have also had to tell myself that those relationships didn’t fail simply because I wasn’t valuable. They failed because it wasn’t a good match.
Sometimes you have to intentionally replace lies with the truth in order to stay sane.
So dear readers, now you know the truth. I am not always clever. I am not always wise. I am just as clueless as most of you when it comes to love. The projections come down, and really I am just a normal person.
But then I remember one of the reasons I love God so much. He loves me whether or not I am clever or wise. He thinks I’m beautiful even when I am in my PJs with no makeup on. I would be infinitely valuable even if I was in a car accident and was a vegetable my whole life.
Even if people are disappointed with me at times, God always sees me beautiful.
I hope you stay committed to me and my blog even if I am not always clever and wise. I hope you don’t break up with me.
But if you do, I will be okay. Even when projections come down, I am valuable. I am loved. I am precious to my Creator’s heart.
Believing that battles all of my insecurities. I no longer rely on my partner or my friends or my readers to give me value. That takes pressure off my relationships and brings freedom and life.
I am valuable. That is the truth. And it is a truth that no one can take away from me.