Conflicted – Part IV: SELFLESSNESS

Bryan has never been one to actively pursue a relationship with me. Past boyfriends have sent me flowers at work, shown up spontaneously at my door, left notes on my car, taken me to candlelit dinners and massaged my feet. Bryan has never done any of these things, or really anything even remotely romantic in the classic sense of the word.

When I have mentioned to Bryan how long it’s been since he’s taken me on a proper date (i.e. months), his response was something akin to, “Your goal in dating is ultimately marriage, right? In marriage, do people spend more time going on fancy, contrived date nights or just living daily life together? If the goal is to build relationship, which is more relational: getting dressed up to go to elaborate dinners or doing housework together?”

Maybe he’s just not romantic. Maybe he’s just being a typical man. That’s fine. I can accept that. But for a relationship to be successful, both individuals need to be seeking to meet the needs of the other. And I have communicated my need to be wooed and courted and pursued. For a relationship to be healthy, some degree of selflessness is required by both parties. But if I want to spend time with Bryan, it tends to be on his terms and in his timing, which is usually a last-minute text when he feels like hanging out and grabbing a cup of coffee.

Servant leadership is vital to a healthy, successful, godly relationship. For a relationship to be God-honoring, both people need to approach the relationship asking not “What can you do for me?” but “What can I do for you?” But, as much as I try to bless Bryan by meeting his communicated (and anticipated) needs, I have never felt a similar effort reciprocated. 

Maybe we’re just not speaking the same love language. Bryan is spontaneous, and I am a planner. Bryan seems focused on knocking out life goals, and I am interested in connecting with someone to share life with. It’s possible Bryan behaves in a selfless manner toward me in ways I’m oblivious to.

All I know is that I can count on one hand the number of times he has offered to drive to pick me up in the past five months. He always expects me to come to him. And instead of going on proper dates, we just run errands together or cross off items on his to do list. This week, if I wanted to see him, he said I could go grocery shopping with him. As far as I can tell, he makes almost no effort to woo me or make me feel valued and cherished.

I don’t feel like a priority in Bryan’s life, and I’ve been telling myself I feel this way because he isn’t very romantic or experienced in pursuing dating relationships. But, if I’m honest with myself, the truth is probably that I don’t feel like a priority in his life because I’m not one.

Authentically Aurora

4 thoughts on “Conflicted – Part IV: SELFLESSNESS

  1. I’ve been creeping, ahem, following your blog for 6+ months. I haven’t felt the urge to comment before, but now I feel conflicted. I was intrigued by your relationship with Bryan, and truly hoped it would work out for y’all. Now, I’m not so sure. A man who doesn’t laugh or smile must be struggling with finding inner joy. I feel like if someone has joy in their heart, it spills over and out into the world. Bryan obviously seems like a Godly man, but where is the joy? The Bible tells us in Proverbs that the prospect of the righteous is joy. Paul writes in Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” A lack of joy (not to be confused with a lack of happiness) is what concerns me most about this situation. The absence of laughter, encouraging words, passion, and the desire to know and be known by loved ones…these all worry me. There is only One who knows what Bryan needs. Perhaps bring up these concerns with Bryan, talk it out, maybe take some time apart. Let him try to understand you and pursue you, if he so chooses (which is another concerning thing, lack of pursual). I’m sure you’re praying about this. I pray that you both will find peace and understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Hannah. Wow, I am so honored that you have been reading for 6+ months!!! And I’m so glad you introduced yourself. I feel like I have just found a new friend who has been quietly traveling this journey with me.

      Like you, I am concerned by his lack of joy, especially since he brands himself as a playful Type 7 (Enneagram reference there). I see so much potential in him, if he would just address whatever deeper issues are keeping him from true joy and intimacy. Of course, knowing him as I do, he would scoff at such “accusations”, no matter how gently they were stated. We are supposed to meet up tonight, and I think it will be a “make or break” kind of meeting. I’m not sure if he’ll break up with me, I’ll break up with him, or we’ll end up genuinely enjoying each other’s company.

      Prayers appreciated!


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