LDS Singles

Thriving and Growing as an LDS Single


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Unstuck

Part II of Two.  Go here for Part I, Stuck.

Review from before, some of the ways we can get “stuck in our ways”:

  1. We become too particular
  2. We’re unwilling to compromise on things that don’t matter that much
  3. Afraid of change, even if we don’t like where we are, and sometimes because we do, because it’s hard to believe it could get better
  4. Afraid of the sacrifices involved in friendships, dating, and marriage
  5. We always hang out with the same people, when finding the right person for us may require branching out
  6. It’s hard to believe that finding a new way of doing things may be the right answer for us

*Before I go on, though, I thought my friend Bob brought up another very important point.  I knew Bob in college.  Bob always had a lot of friends, but like so many, didn’t end up married until his late thirties.  Again, like so many, he wondered what he was doing wrong.  The answer to his prayers (that he gave me permission to share) was that he would find someone in time, and that he needed to be patient.

Although none of us is perfect, it us unfortunately true that even those who want to get married the most and pray and strive to do their best will sometimes just have to wait.  This situation could also fill volumes.  But we also shouldn’t give up and give in to fear and turn into hermits.  Striving to “not be stuck” in our social, professional, and family lives can fill that time and bring us a lot more happiness than I think we realize.  Progressing in whatever areas are available for us to progress in are always positives when we do them in wisdom and order.

Carol Tuttle, one of my favorite authors on relationships and an expert on how different personalities view the world, has written several books on how four basic different types of people often do things, based on the ancient Chinese “elements” of air, water, fire, and earth.  She calls these Types 1,2,3, and 4.  I’ll leave it up to you to check out one of her books and figure out which element you think you may “lead” with, but here I relate some of her advice on the four main ways that people get “stuck” in life.

She teaches these  about people being “stuck” in general, but I realized the other night while I was pondering this blog entry that they also apply quite well to dating. You may use them as either! Most people probably do these things so often, it becomes an ingrained habit that they don’t recognize in themselves. In order to know which one of these you may be doing, you need to be honest with yourself. You can find videos that explain these more thoroughly on YouTube. (Do a search for “Carol Tuttle” and “stuck”. Which of these do you think applies to you?

1. Loves the “idea” of new possibilities so much that they create excuses about moving on or trying something new.
2. You worry so much about what might be or could be or could go wrong, that you don’t make a decision. These could either be big or small decisions about dating or relationships. Or you’re continually “gathering details” about what kind of person you might need, or analyzing situations, and never move on.
3. Your life is so busy and full of things that you don’t stop and take time to meditate on what is most important, or what you could be doing better in your dating life or in making yourself a better companion. In other words, by rushing around and doing “more,” you’re actually settling for less.
4. You’re so busy critiquing possible matches from the get go that you don’t investigate further what might be good possibilities, or you’re too picky all around. This reminds me of a quote someone mentioned in Sunday School recently: “Go and do, don’t sit and stew.”

Ways of becoming “unstuck.”
1. Try new things
2. Consider new people
3. Consider what patterns you fall into with all your relationships, and not just in dating.
4. If #2 above applies to you, try working smarter, not harder.
5. Consider again if you may be too picky. If your friends and family will be honest with you about this, try taking their advice. Remember, “a date is only a date.”


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STUCK

Part 1 of 2
Stuck in Your Ways?”
So, while I said that I would do this blog, to the best of my ability, “with great love and not too much criticism,” that did not mean that “with love” meant I would not include the blunt and occasionally uncomfortable. I think this site would do very little good without it. But what does “not too much criticism mean?” For a general audience, I think it means just that: remember that any opinions contained herein, whether from me, the people I interview, or guest posters, is just that: *general.* It is for pondering, and for deciding, “does that apply to me?” And if so, “how much?” None of us is here to do anything but our best. And all of us is in need of improvement.

So, will improvement mean that we’ll magically lose all our problems and find the spouse of our dreams tomorrow? Of course not. But we could make another step in the “right” direction, spouse or no spouse.

One thing I notice when talking to friends who are single, or friends who are married and are looking back on their single days, is that there is quite the variety of opinions as to why each of us, (or even more fun) those OTHER people are still single. Since we can’t contain anywhere near all of that or a part of that in one post, it will bring us to this first question.

My first semester back at school after my mission, my best friend and our 25 year old roommate were musing on what it means to get “older than about 24” and how it makes one “stuck in your ways” and how they didn’t want it to happen to them, or to someone they might marry. It wasn’t something I’d ever heard before, so I was intrigued. My own parents were 32 and 25 when they married, and I had no idea if they had felt that way, “way back” in 1960 when they got married. I ended up getting married at 24, and when I found myself divorced at 32, somehow I remembered that conversation and wondered if the other singles my age that I met were going to be “stuck in their ways.” Now, even though my divorce was 8 years ago, I’m still not sure of that answer. So here are the answers I got from friends with more experience being single under their belts than I have:

photo by Miguel Angel Pasalodos: "Walking in Circles"

photo by Miguel Angel Pasalodos: “Walking in Circles”

 

(Some names have been changed by request)

Discussion with Jenny, Emily, Bruce, and Mark:

Q: What does it mean to be stuck in your ways?

(For this discussion, we will answer generally much of the time)

All three: It’s understandable to get somewhat stuck in your ways, because as you get older, you want to be able to settle into what works for you. When you’re young you’re naive, but as you get older, you get to choose what you think is best. The problem is when you get married and the other person has a way of doing things that works just as well, and you need to accept that it’s not the “wrong” way and that you may have to adjust.

Q: Do you think married people get stuck in their ways, too?

Group: Yes! But at least they get to get “stuck in their ways” together, in similar ways.

Q: So what is the bad side of getting stuck in your ways?

Emily: you can become too particular.

Jenny: unwilling to compromise.

All: It’s easy to get “comfy,” and even if you want to get married, change is scary.

Q: do you think people in our ward are stuck in their ways?

All: yes. (And everyone agreed that we’re all stuck in our ways in some way or another.)

Mark: cliques can be a problem (all nod heads) but I don’t think we have much of that in our ward.

Emily: yes, and people get comfortable with those they already know, so it’s understandable. But I think in our ward people do try to get to know each other.

Me (insert): so maybe the problem with cliques is if people are afraid of getting to know others, how will they ever get married?

I also talked with my friend Katrina, who often has interesting and fun things to say. First, these are the things we came up with:

What does being s.i.y.w., in different ways, do to a person?

• Afraid to move on
• Too used to being single
• Keeps dating the same kind of people over and over again (will devote another blog post to this one later!)
• Would rather avoid pain, so is thus more content to stay where one is
• Keeps trying the same thing (definition of insanity)

And then Katrina added this one, which I had not thought of:

• Keeps blaming one’s current situation on everyone else (this comes in all degrees)
*OR*
• Keeps blaming oneself on past problems not of one’s own creating (abuse, etc.) and is afraid to move on

What can we do about it? More next time in “Part II of ‘STUCK,’ or ‘How to get unstuck.