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Tuesday, March 24

Casualty Of War

Two different men. Different upbringings. Different swaggers. Different dreams. Different priorities. Same outcome.

I’ll start by saying that both of them were fine, intelligent, charismatic, God-fearing gentlemen. And in my dealings with them, I convinced myself twice that I knew who I was going to marry. But the outcome of each situation has led me to be more caution with this thought.

The first guy grew up in a conservative, two parent home with traditional values of spirituality and family instilled in him. After college, he pursued his dream of securing a career in sports, and we began dealing with each other a few years after he started on his path. I liked him. He liked me, and we could both see our friendship growing. I should pause here to mention that he had recently gotten out of a year-long relationship with another female close to when we started talking. But the more we talked, the deeper our friendship grew and began to evolve into something more. Things were looking good.

But then things changed when he reached the detour sign posted on his path. His sports career came to an untimely end, and he was left jobless and wondering what to do next. As you can imagine, his ego and self-esteem were deflated. I wanted to be there for him because I perfectly understood what it was like for a person to get a taste of his/her dream only to have it taken away. I tried to keep him encouraged and help him understand that there are multiple portals to realizing a dream, not just one. So even though this particular path didn’t get him to his destination, it didn’t mean that the detoured path wouldn’t. So he job searched, made contacts, interviewed and followed up for months. But nothing led to a job. Consequently, his confidence and sense of purpose fell to the floor as he considered how he would eat and pay his bills.

As his mood changed, the days between our conversations increased and the length of time spent talking decreased. After multiple weeks of this, I grew tired of what our relationship had transformed into and started noticing other changes that left me wondering. Something told me that less time spent with me meant more time spent somewhere else, and I suspected that he had turned to his ex-girlfriend for comfort. Through my own private investigation, my suspicion was confirmed. He was back with his ex-girlfriend, and I had become a casualty.

The second guy grew up without the closeness or support of either parent, so he drew closer to God for understanding and protection. Since he was a teenager, it had basically been him and God. Alone. Much of what our parents are supposed to teach us, he learned from friends and books. This guy possessed so much will and determination to make something of himself that he did. He worked multiple jobs to put himself through college, and while it took him six years to graduate, he graduated nonetheless. And that’s why I was attracted to him. I had known this guy for years, but we reconnected only recently. And after a few conversations, I thought God had revealed to me why the first guy didn’t work out. I felt like we could talk about anything. It didn’t matter if conversations were shallow or deep, we never lost the vibe.

What we began to build, however, crumbled only a short time after we started digging. Dialogue between us began to reveal that he had not completely healed from his past. What his parents, family and ex-girlfriends either did or didn’t do to or for him created walls that he wasn’t quite ready to let down. In conversations he would say that he was over it, but in fact he wasn’t. He derived his identity from his drama-filled past, which obscured his perception of who he really is. He often made comments about how behind he felt in life due to obstacles from his past. And whether he realized it or not, he looked to me to pay the debts of women from his previous relationships. I would soon learn that he became defensive when I asked him what I would consider to be basic-getting-to-know-you questions. He always felt that they were underhanded attempts to pass judgment on him (because others had judged him for most of his life). One of the last conversations we had ended this way.

Even though I provided something different than most of the women he had dealt with, he didn’t treat me any differently because his conditioned mind wouldn’t let him. So, after our brief dealings with each other, he went back into his shell, and I had once again become a casualty.

There are, in fact, several factors that led to each outcome, but one theme was present in both situations that I want to point out. When you decide to deal with a man in his trial and error stage, you will certainly become a casualty of the war he’s waging within. The fact of the matter is, when a man is unhappy with himself, he can’t be happy with you. I also want to point out that both of these men left me to return to the past. The way the mind works is that it always adheres to the known. Even if the known is painful, at least it’s familiar. I do think that a strong foundation with a person can sustain you through periods like the ones mentioned. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to build this with either guy.

I was pretty upset about the way both of these situations ended, so I called an old ex to get his perspective on things, and he gave me some great advice. He said, “Candace, don’t take it personal. You’re not to blame for the way things ended. You just have to keep meeting people and continue moving forward.”

So to all my beautiful goddesses out there, if you become a casualty of war, simply accept it, brush your shoulder off and keep it moving.


Anonymous said...

what about the third guy?

Candace Avont said...

The third guys is someone I dated a looonnnggg time ago.....I don't think it's an option that either of us has reconsidered.

Kaya Cassan said...

We could have co-wrote this one! Your article was so enlightening. After my "dissing," I quickly plowed head first into my hobbies and pretty much got over him within a few weeks. I was no casualty though. I was his loss. - Kaya Cassan