We don’t usually think of people in our lives as our teachers, but they are. This is true for our dates too.
So the man with whom you are emailing, talking to on the phone, or meeting in person has a lesson for you. Sometimes the lesson is simple: “Remember to review the man’s profile before talking on the phone.” Or sometimes it is more significant: “Be sure to ask if he’s married or seeing others at the beginning of the communication.”
But the most important lessons the date-cum-teacher has for you are insights into yourself. Your teacher can generate insights that would be much harder to come to by yourself. Often, however, these lessons are hard-won, after frustration, strife, disappointment, and sometimes heartache. We don’t seem to get the same quality and quantity of lessons from our teachers who induce happiness, joy and laughter. It’s too bad that pleasant lessons don’t seem as impactful as the ones learned through angst.
When things are going well in any relationship, we tend to enjoy the flow and not examine what’s working so well. However, when the relationship has challenges as well as joys, the tests are not only of your patience but of your willingness to step back and look at what is causing your upset. Think of the small misunderstandings as pop quizzes and the bigger issues as midterm exams. How you respond to these will determine if you pass or fail in the relationship.
You can get angry at your teacher for giving you such hard tests, or you can rejoice that you are given this opportunity to learn. Many people say they want a relationship to be easy, just as some want an effortless class or instructor. But many know that they will learn little if it is a cinch and they skate by. They purposefully take course topics or with teachers they know will challenge their thinking and skills, as they will be much better in the long term for stretching themselves. But it will take great focus and effort to get a passing grade.
Sometimes the class is too hard and you lose interest. You then get another gift — knowledge that since you aren’t interested enough to do the hard work, you should drop the course. The same is true for the man. If you aren’t interested in focusing and doing the work to get an A in the relationship, best to just drop out. No use frustrating both the teacher and the pupil.
A frustration in the relationship course is that the curriculum is nebulous. The course work is unclear, you have to guess what’s necessary to pass the course and how extra credit is earned.
In relationships, you must be conscious that you are both the teacher to each other as well as the pupil. So when something frustrating happens and one of you gets upset, step back and ask, “What lesson is my teacher giving me?”