Why, mccarty, what a lovely message. I myself am definitely keeping the kettle on while out on the roof with a telescope, waiting for my very own geezer to come along.
Dear Lightbringer, thank you for that wise message today. Oh if only I'd had Cure Zone and writers like you when I was young myself.
Dear young lady,
Thank you for the background, that helps a lot!!!
And I've rewritten my message here since yesterday, in case it looked too preachy and pushy.
Here goes now.
If you started officially dating the day after Thanksgiving, that would be... well, 35 days or so. So that would be considered a new relationship. That leaves plenty of time to think about what you mentioned at the beginning, being Christians who will probably be married in a few years.
Maybe the one slightly unusual thing was how the relationship started. Sounds like he was hit very hard by losing his girlfriend. That wasn't too long ago, either. Then you showed a lot of caring about helping him weather that. So in a way your friendship was not only a refuge, it was also a way of staying connected with her, finding out what she is doing and who she is dating and such. So he has definitely been leaning on that and is expressing gratitude for your help.
I wonder whether he's had enough all-alone grief time to really work that pain out of his system. Stress-related ailments and even suicidal feelings can come up in anyone's life. Learning to sit with despair is an essential life skill. If a guy knows that he can face dark nights of loneliness, and do it even on his own, that can give him a new layer of confidence so he can face tough times up ahead for himself and his loved ones. It can also help him learn to access wisdom and support from other guys, his parents, a spiritual community, even good books.
Now a sympathetic woman is a treasure, no question. It's hard to watch someone suffer, and it's scary when they express suicidal feelings, and it's a wonderful rush to feel needed and to hear people express gratitude for that help.
There's no doubt that anything I say is biased by my concern, so consider the source. My experience, after supporting men through life crises for many years, is that every one of those men pulls himself together, thanks me for the help, and then goes full speed ahead to find a new woman: one who has never found him crying on the doorstep or seen him at his weakest. Once a man saw me as his Madonna of compassion, he was never able to feel anything romantic or to think of taking care of me. In fact, he was very eager to put those hard memories behind, including memories of my help, and to go be strong and caring for someone new.
Certainly, yes, married couples DO bear each other's burdens and support one another through even the worst life has to offer.
But first ideally they give themselves some groundwork. Emotionally, it's like a bank account that they can draw from later. Ideally the man prepares himself, recovers from old attachments, gets his head and health straight, makes some decisions about how well he can support a woman, ascertains her own goals in life, and only then approaches her to offer his company.
Yours is a very new relationship and deserves a foundation of caring and cooperation. In the first 30 days, I would like to see you with a guy who helps you look through college catalogues to choose where you would like to study. Or who carries your books home from the library while holding an umbrella to keep the rain off you. A serious guy might well take an interest in your family, too, and making a good impression on them: helping your little brother fix his bicycle, or stop on the porch to greet Grandma and let her feed him gingerbread.
You sound like a warm, compassionate soul. You deserve to be using this precious 19th year to quietly calmly set your own course among supportive mature friends.
Anyway, I will look forward to hearing how you are getting along.
I better go check my gingerbread.