Should I Get Into This Relationship?

September 1, 2016 at 9:00 am


Today, I’m pulling from the archives and doing a blog post throwback.

Dear Duke,

I read the blog last week and it made me think about what I am currently facing and I was thinking maybe you could do a part 2 on just trust or not missing your blessing.

The gentleman I mentioned to you months ago and I are actually still talking. He has a lot of characteristics that are highly admirable and things I want in a man. Patient (annoyingly patient, LOL), kind, committed, honest, respectful, loves his family, unselfish, great listener, and LOVES kids! As we continue to learn more about each other, he is becoming more physically attractive as well; go figure, because I wouldn’t have believed that months ago.

The challenge is still in his spiritual maturity. In the beginning I do not think I was giving him a fair chance because he hadn’t “arrived” at a spiritual maturity level I desire. I have been by myself for a very long time and am just ready to actually step down and take the back seat. I am tired of leading in my home and desire to just follow. For once in my life I can say I WANT to submit to someone. However I have to be able to trust his leadership. I am not the type of women that will just follow/believe anything someone says to me.

With that being said, I decided to purchase the Bible on CD to give to him. This is a gesture I would do for anyone who has expressed a desire to grow in God, yet is not sure how. I know maturity does not happen overnight, yet I am impatient (character flaw). I am struggling between just letting him go to mature on his own and then seeing if we can connect again later. I am currently not dating until December anyway, but if I was open to dating him now he would be alllll in.

A part of me is saying I need to learn to be patient because I could miss out on my blessing. I have expressed to him my challenges with not trusting men to own up to their responsibilities, and he has continued to express his interest and is willing to wait for the trust to build. All my friends keep telling me not to “run him off” because he is a good man, but I don’t want to feel like I could be settling for a man who is not spiritually where I want just because he’s a good man or the one I see right now. My real blessing could still be out there or have I had such bad experiences before that I don’t know a good thing when I see it. .  ? You tell me. .. . ?

The Duke’s Response: It truly is amazing what time can do when one begins to exercise a little patience. The 1st thing to realize is that everyone has their negotiables and non-negotiables. Everyone should have standards or you are saying you don’t care what you get. Typically, a non-negotiable should be something that impacts your health or happiness. A non-negotiable is something that you know will not be a good recipe for a successful relationship if it continues. A quote that I like and have quoted before is “THE PERSON YOU MARRY IS A PRODUCT OF YOUR INTELLIGENCE.” The person you marry is a reflection of you.

With that being said, we know that people change and people can mature. There is always room and growth for that. However, I always must reiterate that there is a difference between potential and reality. Everyone has potential, but good potential is good for nothing. You should be able to see measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time. That is subjective because reasonable time for some is 1 year, for others it’s 3 months. For others it could be far less time. However, I believe everyone gets to a place when they know enough is enough and the train has reached the end of the track.

I want to remind everyone that there are 5 key ingredients a good man will possess: Spiritual, Emotional, Psychological, Financial and Physical. In other words, a man should be able to provide these 5 areas of support to a woman. Women should possess these as well, although some of the areas will look slightly different. Granted, all men do not have all 5. If God sends him, he will possess the 5 or be pretty close to getting there. I say that because in all 5 ingredients, there is always room for growth in all the areas. Financial and Physical is what too many settle for. I assure you, if the other areas are not met, the relationship will not be fruitful.

You have stated that you are impatient, but you are growing in that area because you have demonstrated some patience in this situation. At this point he is a “friend”, but you know that he is interested in a relationship. He has said that he is willing to wait and build up the trust. There is no question that he has shown that he is willing to wait because it appears that he wants to be with you.

I’m not surprised that he has become more physically attractive to you because for women specifically, I have seen the pattern where character and personality has made someone become more appealing physically. The opposite can also happen. A man can find a woman to be very attractive physically, but personality can make them become very unattractive. It goes both ways.

Now, let’s get to the meat of the matter. He is not at a level of spiritual maturity that is where you would want him to be. It sounds like he may be growing, but of course you must be careful that he is not trying to do these things just because you want it. He has to want it for himself, so you cannot spoon feed him all the time. Forced change is often destructive and backfires in the end. I can go on and on of stories of individuals who are married and stressed or worn down because their spouse is not at a spiritual maturity level suitable for them.

You must ask yourself some questions. Has he shown that he has a desire to mature? Saying it is not enough. Has he brought things up spiritually without you bringing it up 1st? On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest), based on where you believe you are spiritually, where is he spiritually? Have you seen any true growth since you both began communicating?  When someone is trying to grow, as we all should, you see it through action, not by someone pulling.

It’s also apparent that he has demonstrated enough for you to still give him a shot. The good thing is that you did not jump into a relationship just because he possessed some good qualities. You seem to be aware of your non-negotiables.

However, you must be careful as you made some strong statements. You said that you have been by yourself for a very long time and you’re ready to step down and take the back seat. You also stated that you are tired of leading in your home and desire to just follow and that for once in your life you can say you are ready to submit to someone.

So, you’ve been by yourself for a long time, so naturally you are ready to be with someone. You are clearly a single parent who had to take the full leadership role in your home. You are ready for someone who will actually help you and support you by taking some of the load off. Essentially, you have been doing it all by yourself and it would be nice to have a new team member that is as equally invested as you are. So, from the sound of things, you were not fully ready to take a step back and let someone lead until now. You are saying you don’t have to be in control of everything, which is one reason where some of your impatience has likely stemmed from. You should also be careful that because you are ready to step back and have been by yourself for a long time that you don’t make a decision based off that.

This shows me that in this process, you too are growing and maturing in areas that you were not as strong in. This man appears to be growing in the areas he is not strong in. I do stress that the spiritual aspect is the most important of all 5 ingredients, although the others matter as well.

You said that you are not dating until December anyway. I’m not sure that has anything to do with the price of tea in China. That is irrelevant. I’m sure you made the decision not to date until December for one or more reasons. It doesn’t matter if you choose to wait until next December, that will not change what you have to work on or what he has to work on. That also does not mean that things could not drastically change by December. I’m not opposed to “dating” diets, but in this case, you’re not dating based on your perception, but you are still in the company of a man and entertaining the possibility of something more. So, that is a big difference from no one being around at all and you’re on this dating fast. That’s like someone saying I’m fasting from food, but I will eat if I get real hungry. You get my point about the whole not dating until December.

You must also be sure that you are clear in your delivery and actions that you are not leading him on. It sounds like you are doing well. However, your words must line up with your actions. I’m sure you both talk on the phone enough and perhaps have gone out a few times because that is how you are able to see all these qualities he possesses. What I’m saying is that you can be telling him that you don’t want a relationship with your mouth, but your actions give him hope. Just be careful because this is how people feel mislead. It happens to both men and women.

You must also be careful on how much you are sharing. Don’t give him your entire blueprint. It’s evident that he knows you have trust issues because you said it. Anyone can adjust their antenna to what you say. I’m not saying this is what he is doing, but I’m saying it is still possible. Communication is important, but you both are not in a “relationship” as you alluded to, yet you are having relationship type conversations. So, the bottom line is, you are actually dating without the title.

You’re still learning more about each other. You’re just in between. The full commitment is not there. If you told him tomorrow that you were talking to someone else, it would upset him. If he told you the same, you may say it doesn’t bother you perhaps. Perhaps it will make you feel some kind of way about it. I believe it would be the latter. There is still some type of commitment here that is part of the non verbal communication. You both have committed to getting to know each other. You’re not entertaining anyone else right now, and it sounds like he is not either. This is normal because everyone who transitions to a relationship must go from getting to know each other and building some type of friendship first and feelings get involved.

The bottom line is you are entertaining the possibility because he has said he is willing to wait. If the possibility was off the table, all this progress would not have been made. Yes, you would have bought the bible on cd for anyone, but this is still an investment in him that you’re making. We won’t over spiritualize it. You bought the cd because you want to help him mature if he’s serious. Of course, he has to build that relationship with God for himself. Nonetheless, you are still investing in the possibility since this appears to be the only lacking component.

You got past his looks, so he has done enough and shown enough to make you more attracted to him. So, now the decision must come. Do you let him go off into his own world and “mature?” Or do you continue to be friends with him to see if he matures? Truthfully, in this case it is not as complex as you’re making it. You’re over thinking it.

As of right now, he is not where you are comfortable to be in a relationship with. Hence, you have not entered a relationship. However, he has shown enough to where you have not cut him off as you were fully prepared to do at the beginning. Why? Because you actually like him now and some feelings have been formed.

I say this time and time again, just because a man or a woman is good to you does not mean they are good for you. Just because he is a good man does not make him the 1 for you. You should never settle. THE VERY AREA YOU WINK AT IS THE VERY AREA YOU ARE SAYING YOU ARE OK WITH IF IT NEVER CHANGES!

Clearly, spiritual maturity is vital. The level of spiritual maturity one person needs the other to have is solely dependent upon where they are spiritually.

Here’s a simple formula. If you have to think about if you’re settling, than you probably are. Granted, the whole issue of thinking there may be someone better out there is something many struggle with. Many also struggle with the idea of what if I don’t find someone who is better for me? Those questions are resolved when you’re with the person who causes those questions to flee or when you have reached a level of love for them where those questions are silenced. I hear what some of you are thinking. I know that people settle all the time because of “love.” That’s another story for another day.

Another sign that this is more than just a friendship is the whole concept of letting him go. Let’s be real, you have feelings for him as well. You just don’t want to jump in because of his spiritual maturity. I take my hat off to you for not settling and jumping in a relationship just because you were tired of being alone and wanted someone there. You stuck to your standards, even though this is a good man who apparently is also ok with the idea of potentially being a father figure to your kids or taking the full role as father, as I don’t know the dynamics of your household. It sounds like he is willing to make some sacrifices, as do you.

However, you cannot and should not bend on this. This does not mean cut him off. This also does not mean jump into a relationship. Ultimately, he is missing a key component. Nonetheless, he has also shown that he is willing to grow.

Guess what? You are not fully healed yourself. So, this is just as much about you as it is about him. You don’t need to jump into a relationship at this moment for more than just where he’s lacking, but also where you’re lacking. You still have trust issues and still have not been fully healed or set free from your bad experiences. The key is you recognize it, and that’s where healing begins. I’m sure you are further along than were you were because you said you’re ready to step back and let a man lead. You are impatient and he exercises patience. You said he was annoyingly patient, perhaps it seems that way because you are annoyingly impatient ?

I understand that experience makes us wiser and less apt to put up with foolishness. Maybe this will help you learn to trust again, and it still does not make him the 1 for you. Maybe this will help him get to the place of spiritual maturity he needs to be to for himself, but it does not make you the 1 for him.

It’s far too soon to tell because there are other issues on the table to work through. If he can handle remaining friends and see where this may lead and you can handle it as well, then continue to build the friendship and keep the boundaries. I’m telling you right now that it is not easy. The moment you cross the friendship boundary (and you both should discuss those boundaries), is the moment you will open up an entire new can of worms that will change the dynamics of the friendship.

So, I say give it some time to see how things go. I mean, you’re not dating until December anyway right (wink, wink). That was a joke. You haven’t presented anything else for me to suggest to just part ways altogether. However, stay true to your standards. No one wants their time to be wasted on either side.

As always, remember that you are Single For 1. That is all for now.

Your Relationship Advisor,

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