How Do I Stop Being Awkward Around The Person I Used To Date Or Around The Person They Are Dating Now? Part 1

2 Mar

standing out (Photos by Brian Hershey)

Okay here’s the reality. I have in no way mastered not being awkward. I’m not even sure the awkwardness is “supposed to” go away completely. I’m currently in the process of figuring out what it means to co-exist with someone I’ve dated in the same community when they have started dating someone else and I’m single.

I can say this, it is a lot easier when both people who used to date are dating new people.

I know that if I was dating right now, I probably wouldn’t be thinking nearly as much about this topic as I am right now.

Part of me feels really good about my circumstances because something about it feels as if I’m supposed to be here writing this. I’m at the same coffee shop where, a year ago, I was talking about dating in community with a woman in my church who was on the same page as I am. It was just the beginning of this whole process. I was learning how to grieve well, let go, and learn to survive the messyness of sacrificial love. And despite the messyness, my community has grown. I have grown. Maybe you’ve grown? Because of that, I’m not sorry to be sitting here.

being the bigger flower

Let’s backtrack so I can give a little back story.

I was immature and terrible  at breaking up and staying in community. The first time I dated someone in community, he ended up leaving the church where we both went, so I was let off the hook. I was sad about it, but mostly relieved. I felt entitled. I claimed all of our mutual friends for myself. Some of my friends questioned this but I was young and didn’t really understand breakups except for the fact that they sucked and that my pain seemed unbearable which made it the most important thing in my mind.

The next time I broke up in community I was a little older and it happened right before I moved to Washington DC for an awesome internship. I didn’t have to face the reality of the situation until four months later upon my return. That was a huge wake up call. I don’t remember the exact details except that I again tried to claim friends and they felt awkward about it. I didn’t understand that there didn’t have to be sides. It wasn’t me vs him and he wasn’t my enemy. We just both got to a place where we realized that it wasn’t going to work. We weren’t bad people, we were just bad together. But when he started bringing a girl around to all of the community activities we used to do together that all went out the window and I was totally devastated.

I took it VERY personally. I was single, he was moving on. I could not accept it. I tried to be in community with him and his new girlfriend but ultimately, I left the church for a breather and never went back. Not ideal. We later ended up reconciling and I apologized to both of them for my behavior. While we’re not  friends now, it’s not because I don’t want the best for them.  They ended up getting married but before their wedding I emailed him wishing him my best. If I saw them out and about, I probably would say hi and it would be fine. Again though, I had to go through quite a process to get to that place.

The most recent time that I broke up in community has been by far the hardest. But I’ve grown the most. This time leaving the community has not been an option. I have good, solid friends (pretty much family) that I wouldn’t want to leave. He is a leader in our community and won’t leave unless an act of God calls him away.

So I had to make a choice.

I either had to put my big girl britches on and learn how to do this gracefully OR  fight it tooth and nail and repeat my same mistakes. (This blog has been one of the ways that I’ve been able to process this.) And so we come to the awkwardness. I’m not going to sugar-coat this for you. Breaking up in community is probably one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to go through. In fact, I stayed in relationships way too long just to avoid it.

I. Hate. Breakups.

And not just mine but my friends’. My friends of friends. They just aren’t the way things are meant to be. It should be easier. But sometimes it’s just plain hard…and awkward. We’ll get into that in Part 2.

Stay tuned…

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3 Responses to “How Do I Stop Being Awkward Around The Person I Used To Date Or Around The Person They Are Dating Now? Part 1”

  1. Stacey Pierce March 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Melissa,

    I too have been dealing with a very similar situation regarding my divorce. After being married for 12 years and separated for nearly 2 more, our divorce is not yet final. We still attend the same church, and have the same community of friends. My exhusband (soon to be) has moved on and even now has a girlfriend whom he has allowed in our daughters lives. God has been so gracious to me and helped me to maintain my relationships within our community and given me the tools to build new ones out side. Those new relationships have taught me do much about myself that I would never have discovered if I was still in a marriage I was miserable in. I encourage you to keep on keeping on, you will get to where God wants you if you do not look in the rear view mirror too much…. And it will be better than any place you ever could take yourself! Blessings!

    • purpleambrosia March 2, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      Stacey,

      Thanks so much for your comment! It’s very encouraging. I really appreciate it. I have kept on keeping on as you’ve said and have even dated after all of the relationships ended. Haven’t quite found the best relationship but I keep getting closer and keep wanting to put myself out there! I know there’s more life to live and God has some great plans for me. As for now I’m just writing it all down to help those who don’t necessarily know what to do in this situation. More times than not I find that people can’t deal and leave a church they were in where they had friends and community because they think it’s “too hard” or people actually choose sides which is unfortunate for both parties. More thoughts to come! Glad you’re reading!

      Melissa

  2. Jessica March 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Big girl britches. I love you.

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