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I now know there were two dominant influences that caused me to clench my fist.The first was the fact I was trying to use women to heal old wounds, and the second was the false assumption I could be made complete by any of these women in the first place.Because I know which pillow is mine and which pillow is hers, I hold Betsy loosely. I’m responsible for my own health and happiness, and I’m responsible to ask what I want in a relationship and to try to make the middle pillow comfortable and safe for her, but that’s it.Of course we will stand and make promises to each other at our wedding but even then, even with a spouse, I’ve come to believe a person’s love for you can’t grow unless you hold that person loosely. Unlike every other girl I’ve dated, I’ve never wondered where Betsy was or who she was with.I’ve never looked at her phone, and I’ve never looked at her Facebook page.Her life is her life and mine is mine and what we have together is a relationship. I don’t want you to misunderstand me: I love Betsy more than any woman I’ve ever met and I believe I always will. There is a famous scene in the movie in which Jerry Maguire tells Dorothy Boyd that she completes him.That scene was all the rage back then and couples everywhere were saying it to each other in coffee shops and bars. But now that I’m older and smarter, I have a new name for it: codependency.
And even after I heard it defined, I didn’t realize I struggled with it myself, but I did. Codependency happens when too much of your sense of validation or security comes from somebody else.
Now that I know what it is, I can spot it pretty easily.
If somebody obsesses over whether another person likes them or returns an e-mail or whatever, it’s a symptom of codependency, though a mild one.
She stopped the session and asked me why I spent so much time wondering what other people were thinking. “Just ask yourself if you’re happy and what you want in a relationship and that’s it.
What’s going on in other people’s minds is none of your business.” Suddenly I felt like a Peeping Tom of the soul, going through the neighborhood looking in the windows of people’s souls wondering what they were doing in there.