What most people do not understand about relationships is this notion of people coming into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Sure, one person could come into your life and fall under all three categories, but it is important to listen to what the person is not saying before making any final decisions about their relationship status with you.
For example, there may be an initial reason why the two of you have come together. Then there may be a season of friendship that might convert to a romantic relationship, which would suggest that the relationship now falls under the category of lifetime.
The alternative would be the seasonal friendship converting to a lifetime friendship. That may be the case, but it is sometimes more likely that when there is a relationship between a man and a woman or two partners, the relationship will convert to a romantic status.
Regardless, if we understand these three categories of relationship-making, then it might be easier to discern when someone does not fall under one or more of these categories. It might be easier to detect the con, the fraud, the person who has other intentions that have nothing to do with relationship-making. But we do not always employ these strategies. We jump in too soon. We act too hastily. We delude ourselves into believing that we have something real. We stay too long. Then we get out within almost an inch of our lives.
What we do not realize with a person who does not fall under one of these categories is that the person is after life, i.e., draining the life out of you, your mind, your body, your spirit, your finances, and your soul. That person is hard to detect because like the purpose of a flower, he or she blooms just like the rest. The person presents as being like others as in being a genuine, good-natured individual, but he or she is, in fact, not like others. The person is different and represents difference but to the detriment of any individual who engages him or her.
I’m talking about the weeds we allow in our lives!
These are the weeds that we struggle to detect. These are the weeds that we water. These are the weeds that have developed such a root system that it takes a miracle just to get them out of your life. These are the weeds of drugs, criminal behavior, bad company corrupting good manners, thieves, people who kill, and anything that is contrary to living a productive, stable, and crime-free life.
This means that weeds can come in the form of a person you thought was a life-giver who turned out to be something much more destructive. If you are dealing with a weed as a person, just remember that you prepared and watered the soil in which the weed is growing and developing.
You allow the person to sleep on your couch or in your bed, and in your house; the person drives your car and spends your money; and the person has no other purpose than to be a weed. You allow this and therefore you must be the person to uproot the weed.
Even if you did not know initially that the person represented a weed in your life, the longer you keep him or her in your life, the more you walk in agreement with their purpose in the relationship, which is to suck the very life out of you and gain strength from being a weed in your life. Then, of course, the person moves on to greater levels, being a weed in other people’s lives.
These are the lessons I learned from a previous relationship in which I did not know I was dealing with a weed. I didn’t have the mindset or the capacity to detect the wrong person, so I ended up having to go through that situation to get out of it. Today, I know what a weed looks like, and I offer my thoughts within this discussion.
A weed is simply defined as a wild plant that grows in a field where it is not wanted; it grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion and injury of a desired plant or crop. In other words, weeds hinder the growth of desired plants, i.e., the ones we need in a garden.
Depending on what type of weed it is, and you can research the different varieties of weeds on your own, weeds are troublesome, and they grow where they are not wanted. Apply this definition to a person, and you will discover that you know who your weeds are. Regardless, it is not as simple as it might seem to detect a weed because the presence of weeds hinges on your behavior and your choices.
There are two behaviors, among many, that typify how we engage and entertain male and female weeds in our lives using the context of romantic relationships.
Behavior #1: Returning to Dead Things
If we examine weeds from the position of our behavior, we will discover that we have embraced weeds for a long time in our lives. Anytime you return to something for which you have survived and/or recovered, and you entertain it for however long you desire, then you are returning to dead things.
Returning to dead things is essentially going back and touching something that is no longer working, that has stopped serving you, and that is detrimental to your mind, body, and soul if you partake of it one more time! You will find yourself reasoning that it is okay to go back and touch it because after all you have some familiarity with it. It was your friend.
He or she was someone you knew, and you say to yourself, “Why can’t she come with me? What’s wrong with her? We were good friends for a long time. I’m going somewhere. Why can’t she come?” Replace the pronoun with “he” for any woman trying to bring forth an old boyfriend into a new environment, and you would have the same answer.
That answer is this: you cannot bring old habits, old patterns, and old ways of thinking into a new environment that requires development of new habits, new patterns, and new ways of thinking. This does not mean that you disrespect or dishonor tradition. That is not what I am suggesting.
You cannot bring the ways in which you handle matters with violence, for example, into an environment where the consequences for violence are higher. Just because you managed your life as a drug dealer or a burglar in your previous relationships does not mean that you can bring that same type of thinking into an environment where drug dealing and burglary are not requirements for survival.
There are different survival tools we all use, but you have to do what most people in business suggest: read the room. You have to know that what you did in a previous life, even if you made it work during that time in your life, will not work where you are now.
This means that returning to dead things in going back and choosing an ex because you still believe that there is promise there, and you base this assumption on the idea that things are different, will only bring forth the person as a weed in your life and that person will bring forth their weeds they have not dealt with.
This is how you can tell when a person is a weed in your life under this heading is when the person does not think their weeds are weeds. Therefore, they do not think they need to address anything, let alone change any of their behaviors.
If a person has been out of prison for 10 or more years, their life should show difference and their life should show the results of their decision not to embrace a life of crime anymore. They should have kept a job the majority of those 10 years, kept a place to live consistently, and made every attempt to be a successful, contributing member of society. Creating a new life record matters. It is needed to substitute for the old. New replaces old.
However, if you see that the person 10 years out of prison still looks the same way he or she went in, then this should tell you that the person is not willing to change, that their weeds have continued to develop and thrive, and that in you inviting that person back into your life you can expect the same unproductive behavior.
If the person is not willing to change, is not inspired to change on his or her own, then there is nothing you can do. It is better that he or she initiates change on his or her own and see that change all the way through to the end before you decide to let that person back into your life.
I don’t think it is ever a good idea to go back and reengage old flames. You do not know what their life has been like over the years. Even though there is some familiarity with the person, i.e., you know the person, that still does not mean that you know the same person you met years ago, today.
Returning to dead things only exacerbates your problems, and it is likely that you have not addressed your problems if you feel the need to return to dead things. The relationship ran its course. Let it stay in the past.
This is something that my ex-partner could not do with his ex-partner, which negatively affected our relationship. However, in choosing my ex-partner, I was really returning to dead things because he was not productive, he had issues he refused to address, he did not have a provider mentality, and he desired everything but stability. He looked like what I had just exited, and I entertained the relationship unaware that I was watering a weed.
I was reaching for stability, but he was not. My past relationships with men represented instability. Therefore, I was touching something dead, i.e., dead thinking that no longer served me in my present. In fact, it hindered me, my progress, and the development of my dreams. I had to enter correction and then recovery . . . again.
Stay out of dead relationships that you know represent touching dead things. Your intuition always confirms this.
Behavior #2: False Availability
Another issue I dealt with concerning my ex-partner was his false availability. As much as I believed both him and his ex-partner that they were no longer together, they were, in fact, very much together even though they were not living in the same house or consistently with each other in any room or place. What I learned from that situation was that they were still dealing with each other because they had no true closure for their relationship.
She called him and believed he had a duty to her, and he went running to fulfill whatever false need she had to maintain a hold onto him. He was no dummy. He knew he wanted his ex, but he could not reconcile that she no longer wanted him romantically. A person can want you sexually because of what you do for him or her in the bedroom, but the person can no longer want you romantically because there is no consistency in your commitment to the relationship or to the person.
This is something my ex-partner could not understand. He thought sexual provision equated to romantic provision. He further thought that if he provided great sex, then this might give him permission to engage other women. Like some men, he didn’t see it as infidelity.
Some men have been known to say that since they provide financially, this gives them the right to cheat, as if this type of reciprocity is inherent in the relationship dynamic. “I do this for you, and you permit me to do what I want.” The problem with that logic begs the following question: Why be in a relationship or marriage anyway, if you desire to cheat? The answer to that question is that certain people do not call it cheating. They call it “doing something for me.”
Well, since you are able to do what you want as a single person, just be single. However, that is illogical for some people because they still want the benefits of marriage, i.e., stable home, cooking, cleaning, companionship, consistent sex, and somebody there.
They know that sex is available at the house, so having it outside of the house is not something that should be regulated. It’s something quick to do during times of boredom. Then that means you believe you are available as an individual while you are married. That further means that you present to your wife as unavailable in some ways but available in other ways for the marriage. This makes no sense.
You are either on the dating market or off the dating market. It is the same issue that I have with married men trying to date single women. You are either married or not married. You are either available or not available. There can be no gray area, no in between.
Just because you say you have an open marriage does not mean that it is true. You can believe anything, and it still not be true. People who come into a marriage are under the belief, not assumption, that the marriage is true, genuine, forward thinking, and stable. When you step out, this creates instability.
Therefore, false availability is dangerous because you rely on the romantic partner’s word that you are in the relationship, committed to it, and intentional about moving forward. When you keep the current relationship at arm’s length so that you can straddle the love fence, going back and forth with the ex-partner, then you create an environment that is not conducive for success.
A successful marriage is not based on social perception, finances, and material possessions. It is based on the vow that you make about “to death do us part.” A person dying out of the marriage is considered truly a successful marriage.
Divorce is failure, not success. However, that is another discussion that might have some relation to touching dead things and/or false availability. Since I have never been married or divorced, I’m not certain I want to touch on that subject. I’m not sure I have the capacity to discuss the subject matter credibly.
Two of the major solutions for understanding the weed gathering process are uprooting self-destructive behaviors and closing out the relationship.
Solution #1: Uproot
To uproot is to pull the weed out of the ground. If you have any personal experience with tending a garden, you realize that pulling the weed that you see on top of the soil is not pulling the weed at the root, which requires a certain gardening tool if you desire to be effective.
You can always mow your weeds as you mow your grass, but this only creates difficulty for you when you decide that the weed must come up. The more water you spray on to the grass, the more likely the weed will drink that water and continue to grow, hindering the processes of the other plants. You must use the right weed gardening tool to get at the root of the problem and uproot the weed.
This means that you are not merely uprooting the weed literally. You are addressing your behavior. You are your own worst enemy. Your behavior dictates when and how long a person will remain in your life. If a weed is in your life, then you want that person there.
If you have been discussing with a partner that he or she needs to get a job, and the person makes no attempt to do anything to earn money if getting a job is still a problem, then that person will eventually become a weed in your life, and this will make you complicit with your own self-destruction. You cannot yell at the person. You must yell at yourself.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who is a weed in my life?
- How have I let that person become a weed in my life?
- What is my contribution to the person being a weed in my life?
- How do I resolve this weed in my life by examining my behavior?
It begins and ends with you. Once you understand how you make decisions, then this will help you begin the process of addressing your decision-making. At the very heart of life is decision-making and what you do with your decisions.
Solution #2: Closure
Closure is the key to eradicating weeds in your life. Going back and touching dead things and relying on the lie that a person is available are two strategies that will keep you entertaining weeds. The first thing you must consider is your ego.
If you are dealing with a partner who will not leave his ex-partner alone, and you believe you can do better for “your man,” then you are letting your ego get in the way. You believe you are a better solution to your man’s problems than the man recognizing that he has a problem and needing to fix it. You usurp his free will and exercise your free will to change his life and make it better.
However, you are really trying to make his life better for you. “If only he would get himself together” is one statement you might make because you want to further the relationship along on your timeline. “If only she would just serve me” is another statement you might make because you want the woman to represent some ideal wife. At some point, you may need to consider closing out the relationship because it no longer functions how you initially perceived it should function.
People change, and you must accept the fact that the person you used to know is no longer the person right for the job. It is not always about finding the right person or your soul mate. Sometimes it is about finding the right person for the job, the one who understands marriage and relationship-making.
Of course, connection matters and whether you can trust the person also matters. Regardless, going back and touching something that no longer works will affect how you conduct yourself going forward.
Close out relationships that no longer serve you before they become weeds that hinder your progress.
Here are two important lessons I learned from my previous relationship.
Lesson #1: I never had him.
A very important first lesson from the previous relationship I learned was that in my ex-partner going back and forth with his ex-partner, I never had him the whole time. All that time I invested into the relationship, i.e., mind, body, soul, faith, and finances, did not mean anything at all.
He never changed his thinking or his belief system about stepping in and out of relationships. He cheated on me with her, and he cheated on her with me, and all that time I thought I was in relationship with him. There was never any indication of commitment, nor was there any indication of intent.
You can be with someone five, 10, or 15 years and not actually be moving forward. It is just a false forward, and you could have been available for the right person in real life, not in fantasy, if you had listened and waited. People reveal a lot about themselves if you do not say a word! We need to have more conversations than engage sexually. If we do, we will be able to discern better that person’s thinking, their conduct, their behavior, and their overall belief system.
Lesson #2: Better to invest in commitment.
The last lesson I learned is that it is better to wait and invest in a commitment than in a moment. We give more to moments and to momentary things than we do to relationships that reflect a commitment. A person can live with you for years and still not be committed to you.
Commitment requires a declaration.
If you desire to marry, then remaining in a live-in situation will not encourage a commitment. The person is living with you but may not still be committed to the relationship. You know this to be true because a man will live unmarried with a woman for 10 years, break up with her, and then marry some other woman within six months. That means you invested all that time believing that you were going forward only to discover that you were living in setback the whole time.
It never hurts to wait. It is better to wait than water weeds that can take over your life indefinitely until you recognize their nature and begin to uproot them. This applies to the people you entertain simply because you think you can manage them as weeds. You cannot manage weeds. You must uproot them.
In summary, close out all relationships that represent weeds in your life.
Thank you for reading.
Regina Y. Favors, Owner/Operator
The Regina Y. Favors Website
The vision of the website is to be the preferred online curriculum you need for life recovery.
Your feedback is appreciated.
One thought on “Watering Weeds: Lessons Learned from a Previous Relationship”