Thirty, Single, and Sassy (Part 2): Guest Post by Leah Barterian

You can find Part One HERE.

9

When Your Boaz Turns out to Be a Dumbaz

The year was 2011.

She was at the best time in her life. She had met her man and things had finally worked out for them to be together. They married. Together, they had two kind-of-beautiful-children (because all children are beautiful, right? Wrong.). She was at the top of the world. She was adored, effortless, a mom, a wife, and everything seemed to be falling into place.

Then something happened. News made way back to her that her husband, who in my opinion wasn’t that cute anyways, had cheated on her with an (OF COURSE) less beautiful woman. I mean, that doesn’t matter, but it kinda does when you’re the one that’s been cheated on. There’s this sort of “soothing balm” that comes with knowing that the person they cheated with looks like a llama who wandered in the rain for 12 days. I digress. Anyway, she watched her world crumble. She watched the man; the man who had completed her in every way possible, walk out of her life. She was left alone, trying to figure life out. It was devastating for all of us.

Of course you all know who I’m talking about and I will never forget the moment when I heard that Marc Anthony cheated on Jennifer Lopez. We (yes we…unite with me on this) will never forgive him for that. I felt like I had personally been cheated on and I was so angry with him. Why? Well, for three simple reasons:

1. Jennifer Lopez, a.k.a. JLO, a.k.a. “Jenny from the Block” is the most beautiful woman in the world and I will happily and vigorously debate anyone who tells me differently.

2. Jennifer Lopez, a.k.a. JLO, a.k.a. “Jenny from the Block” is an absolute delight to be around and I don’t care what any magazine says or what TMZ says, she is a ray of sunshine. And no, to answer your snarky question, I haven’t actually met her. And I don’t need to. I know this to be true in my heart of hearts.

3. Jennifer Lopez, a.k.a. JLO a.k.a., “Jenny from the Block” is the best mom in the world. If I were a man, she is the only person that I would want to mother my children. Besides, of course, me as a woman. How I’m not married, I don’t know.

So there we have it. Last time I chatted with all of you on-the-line, it was about being the woman that a Boaz would be proud to have. And now we deal with the all too often realized scenario of “Wow…he’s kind of an idiot.” Now ladies, this goes both ways, so if you’re a man reading this don’t assume that this is a man-bashing session. Anyone can be an idiot if they try hard enough, so you are not exempt from this simply because of your sex.

When I was asked to do a follow up post, I didn’t want it to be a feel good one. I don’t know; it’s not like I don’t enjoy feeling good. I just think there are so many posts for women out there that are very thin and toned – you know, that perfect bun on top of her head that is completely unachievable, and in my opinion a hair piece, kind of posts. And there she is, sitting on a bed in wool socks, surrounded by all white furniture, of course wood flooring, and natural lighting. She also has scones on her bed which is ridiculous because that woman is undoubtedly “gluten free” and everybody knows there aren’t good gluten free scones in the world. Well let me tell you, if that woman exists, she is really boring because anyone who is fun doesn’t have all white furniture.

Also, I want to pose the question of does she have a job? Because all she seems to do is browse Pinterest in bed with her adorable bun and organic coffee. We hate her. And I didn’t want to be her in this post. Heck, I don’t even want to be friends with her. I will never be the woman that’s like “Let me share with you 10 ways to simplify your life: Number one, make all of your jam from home.” Like what the frick? I don’t have time to separate my whites from my darks much less make jam. In fact, I kind of rotate between the same 4 outfits. Watch me closely. You’ll notice this.

So, I say all of this to say that I want to be honest with everyone today. Sometimes life is really messy and not in an I-just- ate-this-delicious-cinnamon-roll-and-my-hands-are-so-messy kind of messy. More like, I-am-shaped-like-a-cinnamon-roll-somebody-please-love-me-I-beg-you kind of messy. It’s okay to admit that we aren’t perfect. In fact, it’s downright amazing to admit that.

Unfortunately, especially for women, we live in a culture where we are constantly trying to outdo each other. We’re knitting, organic-ing, deglutenizing (a word I just made up), buying fresh flowers everyday to post on instagram, etc. And this is all done to show everyone how in control we are. We are striving for control in every aspect and so it’s really tough when the one thing that you thought was a “sure thing” turns out to be a “messy thing.” 

So what do you do? What do you do when your Boaz turns out to be a dumbaz? Or a Lazyaz? Or a Cheatingaz? What do you do when the person that you placed all of your hope in and all of your trust in turns out to be the absolute wrong person for you?

Well first things first, you cry. A lot. That’s normal. Don’t feel dumb for that. Honestly, don’t ever feel dumb for being moved emotionally by life. I am an emotional person and I despise when people ask me, “Why are you crying?” I usually respond with, “Why are you not?” You should try that; it makes people really uncomfortable (one of my most favorite things to do).

But honestly, you will be hurt. Even if you’re the one who ended it, hurt feelings are inevitable. Taking it personally – that will happen. Second guessing every single decision you’ve ever made in your entire life is also pretty standard. Another completely normal thing and one of my personal faves is playing the “what if” game. “What if I hadn’t gone out that night? I would have never met him and I would have never loved him and I would have never gained 10 pounds and I would have never grew out my hair and I would have never watched 10 Nicholas Sparks movies in a row.”

Listen, the “what-ifs” are stupid. There are dumb people EVERYWHERE. You can’t avoid them. So don’t play that game.

So as you may have guessed, with me being so wonderful and charming, I have had a few relationships in my life. Some ended good, some ended bad, some I’m not sure if they actually ever officially ended, so I might still have like 3 boyfriends. I’m not here to bash any of them. Honestly, I liked them for a reason and for most of them that reason was not because I was drunk. I’ve dated a handful of really great, strong, handsome, funny, talented men. In the same way, I am all of those things, plus more. So how did it not work out? How am I not married? How did we fall out of love or like or lust or whatever we were in?

I think for years we have greatly overcomplicated this answer, when in all actuality, the answer is pretty plain and boring, doesn’t involve another woman, another country, a “Caitlyn Jenner kinda story” or even something remotely interesting. The answer? It didn’t work because well, we didn’t work together. We worked for a time, but not for a lifetime. “But WHYYYYY,” we ask ourselves and our friends via group text. And my response is always the same:

Will knowing the “why” help the “what now?

So many of us claim to need closure, but what is closure besides wanting him to realize how dumb he was for screwing things up with you? Will spending 50 years analyzing every text, tweet, look, and his mom’s Facebook really help you move forward? We claim it does, but it doesn’t. It keeps us in the grip of something that no longer exists. Think about that statement for a second.

How many of us are still living in a relationship that ended weeks, months, years ago?

I know that my practicality can come across as harshness, but I promise you, I have had my heart shattered. Like blown into bits, absolutely and completely ripped from my chest and scattered to hungry wolves kinda breakups. I know how hard it is to move on, so my words aren’t coming from a place of complacency mixed with a get-over-it attitude. They’re coming from experience.

There was one guy in particular – we’ll call him Alex, simply because he might be reading this and I want all of my exes to be wondering if it’s them who I loved long after things ended. It ended badly and I realized how much I cared for him much too late. This was incredibly hard. I felt at fault because I had let him walk away from me. But today, with a level head and some minor medication (kidding), I look at it much differently.

What if love is just this never-ending journey, and every person that comes and goes is just propelling us that much closer to the love that God intended us to have?

What if he was just a pit stop, meant to teach me something, meant to show me something, meant to keep me going? As women, when we lose something, we take it personally. Very, very personally. But what if we can come to the realization that it’s not personal? When will we realize that sometimes, when something doesn’t work, it’s not about us or about them, but more about the fact that it wasn’t supposed to work?

Have we ever stopped to consider that the very rejection that we face can be God’s protection? Maybe, just maybe, things don’t work out for a reason that’s a lot bigger than you. Think about the rejection in your life: maybe it’s at work, with friends, with an upcoming job, your family, your boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse. What if those relationships, opportunities, or advancements are falling through because it’s the absolute worst thing for you?

Knowing this doesn’t really make it easier. It doesn’t take away the pain, frustration, hurt, betrayal, insecurity, or feelings or abandonment. But it does give you something that can and will carry you through, if you let it.

Hope.

Hope is a beautiful thing because it makes it appearance at the darkest of times. It’s kind of like when you’re stuck in a mall with your friend who loves the mall (we all have one) for like 3 hours, and just when you thought you were going to die, you see a sign for a Cinnabon. That’s hope. Right when life has reared it’s ugly head, hope swoops in and goes all Gandalf on it (YOU SHALL NOT PASS!), stopping life dead in its tracks, and allowing you some time to get a head start. Hope is the thing that keeps us going, keeps us waiting, keeps us anticipating. Hope is the cure-all. Bad things happen, but we hope for better things.

So yeah, he’s an idiot. Or you’re an idiot. Or everyone is an idiot. Not me…I’m not an idiot. (That’s why I get asked to guest write on blogs). But, at the end of the day don’t we owe it to ourselves to say, “There’s something better. That’s why this didn’t work.” It’s not a blow to him or a blow to you, but more an acceptance of you being that much closer to what God has. When you look at it like that, not only is it easier to stomach, but it’s downright exciting.

I don’t claim to know all things, but I do know a lot of things. And this is what I know: It didn’t work out with the men in my life not because they were idiots or I was too young, but simply because it’s not what was best for me. And in the same way, I wasn’t the best for them. It’s that simple. I don’t want good, y’all, I want best. My past boyfriends deserve the best just as much as I do. So start looking at rejection like this: it just didn’t fit. It’s an ill-fitting sweater. Take it off, fold it up, and find one that does fit. Because not only will it fit, but it will be comfortable, it will compliment you, and it will be the very thing you’ve been waiting and looking for (Are we still talking about men here? I don’t know.)

So what do you do when your Boaz turns out to be a dumbaz?

Be vulnerable. Be honest. Don’t be afraid to cry for an appropriate amount of time. But don’t lose hope. Don’t lose the thing that makes you YOU. Don’t spend years living in the past. Stop looking for happiness in the place that you lost it. There are millions of places where happiness lives, just waiting for you.

Go find it.

10Leah Barterian works as the Youth Program Director at Grace Christian Church in Metro Detroit, Michigan. She is extremely passionate about singleness, purity, and instilling purpose in others. She loves baked cheetos, puppies, nature, and twitter. She inexplicably hates green beans and black beans. Follow Leah on Twitter and Instagram @Leahbarterian.

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