Love in the fast lane

Hikers couple walking hand in hand (Maurienne, French Alps, France, Europe)Love in the fast lane… exciting and dangerous at the same time, wouldn’t you agree? I’ve written about love, some of my blogs have even become a reference for me as a point in time in which clear thought prevailed. A well written memory is valuable because it marks a moment in time, a forever captured tale, a lesson learned. This blog, I believe, is one such moment of clarity.

It’s true, I have admitted (to the horror of some) falling in love some seven times. Over the course of my life I have figured out a philosophy that works for me but scares the hell out of most, I call it Fast Tracking a Relationship. Remember it, learn it and it will save you from certain disaster in making poor long term choices. I will stand by this philosophy every time because it absolutely works as intended.

Here is some background and the first piece of information to understand Fast Tracking a Relationship. My first wife and I knew each other through our church’s college group. It was an active group and for the time, a very exciting place to be. I’d become friends with her, I’d even say very close friends. It never dawned on me to consider her as a life partner until a roommate friend of mine observed how upset she was that I’d go around flirting with the other girls on the bus during the long ride to and from the Grand Canyon on one such outing. You see, as we departed on the trip I sat with her initially but only considered that I was sitting with a friend. My buddy suggested I should start to think of her as a potential mate and not be so careless with her feelings. (I won’t go into why his observation was a value judgment about me and an effort to give me his brand moral guidance, which could fill another essay entirely.) From that point on I started to date her, after all we were such great friends, it all seems logical and even in God’s plan.

After three months I proposed to her. We planned on getting married a year later but moved it up four months on pressure from her parents because of their planned move out of state prior to our date. I reluctantly agreed, we were married sooner than planned. By all standards of measuring such things we did this the ‘right way.’ We had the blessing of everyone; all predicted a wonderful life for us.

Tragically the marriage went bad very quickly but due to religious pressures I remained in it for 15 years. How could this have happened? I married my best friend after all, not someone I didn’t know.

After my divorce in 1995 I found myself, despite being in counseling, going in and out of relationships. In the first year, I notched two more love relationships, admittedly both were rebounds but both were glorious in that I felt love for them that never existed in my first marriage ever. (If you are keeping track from my earlier admissions that’s 3 of 7 loves.) These burned hot quickly and ended as quickly, but what a ride! On the advice of my counselor I committed to NOT let my heart go to anyone for a year, minimum. This, he reasoned, would help to reground me. For the next 18 months I dated a much older woman with whom I was sure to not fall in love with. Point of fact, I was remarkable detached and managed to avoid true romantic feelings for this woman all while she made amazing efforts at winning me. She moved on, I moved on but very good friends just the same and to this day remain close.

While attending my 20th high school reunion I reconnected to a woman with whom I’d had feelings for so long ago, although we were never a couple back then. We both sought out each other’s company. First phone calls, then quick dinner dates, and finally accepting that fact something bigger was happening. This one felt really good. The chemistry was all present and we seemed to have enough common interests to ‘next level’ it all. I soon proposed and we planned to elope within about two months, her idea not mine for those of you taking notes here and I know some are. There will be a pop quiz tomorrow some time!

I broke off the engagement just days prior to our planned elopement as some critical issues had finally surfaced, deal killers of course. Neither of us could hide these things, it’s the Fast Track ya know. To the amazement of my family I asked another woman out on a date just one week later. Without any real explanation as to the ‘whys’, we hit it off. The chemistry was amazing, overpowering even. Two weeks after dating her I knew I wanted to marry her and so I proposed. She’d been avoiding marriage for the past 10 years but without hesitation she accepted my proposal and we planned a wedding date some five months out. I’d actually known this woman from church for about 8 months prior to dating her for the first time. (Ok score keepers, add two more loves to the list, 5 of 7 now.)

We married just six weeks later. My love for this woman did not waiver for seven years. Although this marriage did not endure, I don’t consider it a failure. People change. The ‘hat trick’ is to find someone that will not leave you out of whatever new direction they are moving too. Marriage, after all, is best characterized as a hand in hand adventure into the unknown with the person you trust most! It was a struggle to put the love aside but considering the details of how the marriage concluded it was the healthy thing to do. That diminished flame ended up being safely stored in a quiet room in my heart with other such loves.

Fast Tracking a Relationship. At first blush, the idea of fasting tracking something so important seems reckless; however, I disagree with that notion. I have found since embracing this idea that a faster pace make’s it tougher for a person to hide shortcomings, or quirky behavior as has occurred for me in relationships that built up slowly, over time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting a sprint to the alter, far from it, cutting to the chase with regards to intentions has helped everyone involved to become clear on the value of the relationship. I have little problem waiting to get married, it’s the build up to the decision that has always nagged me.

Even friends hide things. Ever have a circle of friends in which you tend to disclose things to the different ones in that circle? Then you discover the person you thought was your closest, dearest friend withheld sharing something with you in favor of another person. I keep this lesson in mind because once the stakes get high a friend will know how to hide things from me because I would never suspect them of doing this. This is exactly what happened while romancing my first wife. She wanted me, even at the cost of withholding ‘deal killer’ information about her. I was oblivious.

A broken romance is better than a broken marriage. While I don’t fast track each new dating relationship, I do reach a point when I can actually ‘see’ a future with them or not. If the future looks bright and chemistry exists I may choose to amp it up, Fast Tracking it at that point. The ride is amazing even if the end result is one of us jumping off. I count as some of my dearest friends those whom I’ve been on the Fast Track with because, at least for a time, we shared a vision of what the two of us could be together.

I’ve Fast Tracked two relationships since my second divorce (7 of 7 now folks), both ended without marriage of course and I consider both situations a victory for that reason. Since life is so short, isn’t it better to find out the important stuff sooner than later?

Everyone has a choice on the Fast Track, to ride or not. Ain’t love grand!

Thanks for reading this far.


28 comments for “Love in the fast lane

  1. Tim H
    April 16, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    I agree completely.

  2. ugli
    April 16, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    to love without conditions is the hardest lesson there is

  3. Tim H
    April 16, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    Lapis – All good questions. First the question of what is love, well that's subjective. I'm not sure how to answer that except with cliches, so much has been said about with love is and is not. I know that when someone the professes they love me and deliberately buffets me, that is not love. I know when someone willingly sacrifices their time, energy, resources, and emotions for my benefit then that I view as love. When my young children would reach their arms up to me as I walked in the door at the end of the day, that was love. When I am in pain emotionally enough to cry, and my partner cry's with me… just because… that is love too.

    Your second question, do you love yourself enough to remain single for the rest of your life, the question presumes that being single is a truly healthier example of life. The better question to ask is, do you love yourself enough to freely give your entire being to another? If you love yourself, you will be secure in either situation. One may be right for you, but not me. I am happier with someone.

    Third, marriage isn't important. However, it does demonstrate a clean bountry of commitment, even if those commitments over time faulter. Marriage has always 'worked', it's people that fail to perform. Find the right one and the paper is of little consequence, thus, either condition can be equally rewarding. As for being divorced many times, how is that any less painful than breakup with someone with whom you've given your heart too?

    Fourth, I'm glad you've found someone for your journy, perhaps it will be enduring, you deserve that because you are a gentle creature and free give back to others. As for lust, it's usually what draws two people together, deep abiding respect comes with time. I believe love happens when it's supposed to happen, it's"Life UnScripted"

  4. ugli
    April 16, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    The true intent of my current relationship is without ownership. I can see myself spend many years with him without getting married. Lust is fun yet it is shallow while love is deep.

  5. ugli
    April 16, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Why is marriage so important. Marriage doesn't work in our generation. My parents have been together for 52 years. I have been divorced once. Why get divorced twice. You can easily get divorced 5 times. Why ? Can you trust a woman without marriage to spend the rest of your life with you ?

  6. ugli
    April 16, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Do you love yourself enough to remain single for the rest of your life.

  7. ugli
    April 16, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    What is love?

  8. Tim H
    April 14, 2007 at 1:02 am

    Ann – I agree, David was a coin, one side sold out for God, the other conflicted and beset with the same struggles we all face.

    tseadawg – Thank you for the kind words. I have always hoped things I write could reach beyond me to touch others. That's how I've always felt about my lyrics and music too. I'm finally starting to write in this arena and have been enjoying it.

  9. tseadawg
    April 13, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    Your writing is heart felt – thank you for your energy of thoughts.

  10. unknown
    April 12, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    I disagree with Deb, in a way, regarding David. He is both a bad example (because of his sin) and a good example (because of his repentance and faith in his Redeemer). Read Psalm 51 for a wonderful prayer of repentance. I look forward to meeting David in heaven someday.

  11. Tim H
    April 11, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Wonderful, don't use him as one then.

  12. Debra ^j^
    April 11, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    David is not a good role model to live ones life after.

    Read Deuteronomy 28.


  13. Tim H
    April 11, 2007 at 11:31 am

    Tom, thanks for the background information. Some of the things we own does not mean we must cease doing them. I own the fact that I love music, it is a 'rush' for me to write and sing and create. I have no intention of stopping it either. Video games aren't bad when handled with care, no more then having a class of wine is, unless of course it consumes you. You know this, I'm only saying to acknowing it here.

  14. Tom West â„¢
    April 11, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Tim, I totally agree with you. You said:
    "Merely understanding a shortcoming does not prevent you from repeating it."

    I myself am a recovering video game addict. I know the negative effects it has had on my life, and yet I have been chemically dependent on it for so long that it is taking several attempts to keep it out of my life. As another wise 360 friend told me, I have to stop persecuting myself for having the addiction and simply love the addiction as part of myself. It will then no longer hold my attention, and that program in the brain will disassemble.

    Drug and alcohol addiction are the most socially recognized from of addiction. Anything in our lives that we need over and over in order to get a biochemical rush from is an addiction. For me, video games has been one of them. For many people, it is "love" and relationships. For others, their body's image. Anything that consumes your attention is something that must be observed, experienced, and owned as wisdom. You know you own it when it no longer holds interest for you or generates an emotional response.

  15. Tim H
    April 11, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Sherri – Since posting this blog I've heard from a few others that, like you, have some variation of this same theme that they've worked out for themselves in the area of romance. As you have said, some relationships are only meant to be for a short time, others longs, and still others enduring. If we are supposed to find and be with one person then I am convince God will honor that.

    Debra – Your theology is off just a wee bit. Perhaps you should take a look at a pivotal phrase and reconsider it, "Only then will He do for us…" God blesses whomever He decides to bless, earning his blessing is impossible since David killed, murdered and slept around, yet he is said to be a man after God's own heart. God blessed him because of his heart, not his actions.

    Tom – Thanks for the feedback Tom. You’ve offered a lot of information that I will review. One line I agree with you on is, “Once a person, place, thing, time, or event no longer controls you emotionally, you have owned that experience…” The remaining portion of that passage is debatable since I could be an utter fool with no concept or care for wisdom, you assume I’ve resolved the issues wisely. Merely understanding a shortcoming does not prevent you from repeating it. The will to not fall into destructive patterns where they once ruled is an ongoing battle, ask any drug addiction or alcoholic.

    Rose – One point of clarification regarding the 18 month relationship I refer too. A book could be written about that 18 months in my life, thus, in a blog I can only provide the broad strokes of situations. Prior to engaging in the dating relationship with this woman I was clear about what was going on in my life, even to the point of clarity regard emotional attachments. She was 12 years old than me, a strong ultra feminist woman that was willing to challenge me and my beliefs each time she observed inconsistencies. She has admitted that I was a trophy boyfriend (hey!!! Don’t laugh so hard, it could happen!). The fact that later in the relationship she wanted and hoped for more represents a change in the ‘ground rules’ of our seeing each other. I didn’t make my break from her in a timely fashion, another lesson learned. The reason I am on good terms with her is that we were both clear about our situations for the most part. She was more the teacher and I the student for much of that period in my life.

    One last point of discussion, you say “Finding your true love takes time, and work, and patience…” Finding ones true love may or may not take time, some find them quickly. Why must it be work? That is rhetorical. Any time I’ve had to struggle in the beginning of a relationship is was always a precursor of things to come. If I’m married, I endeavor to be flexible and changeable for my wife, if I am in the dating phase then I conclude I have not found the right one if I must compromise before we’ve even really gotten out of the gate. Further, all I can tell “right away” is that I’m drawn to someone or not.

    Debra – Putting aside pride is always good advice.

  16. Debra ^j^
    April 11, 2007 at 7:43 am

    PS: God wants you serving Him, Tim, with all your wonderful gifted talents. Seek God first, and everything else will fall into place…I promise you!

  17. Debra ^j^
    April 11, 2007 at 7:39 am

    I hope you can put aside your pride and humble yourself, Tim, and "listen" to the wisdom of people like Tom and Rose above.

    We are made in God's image. God resides in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. This is basic 101 Bible study…you know this stuff.

    The greatest source that God uses to speak to us is through people! The quiet voice of God that speaks to us in our own minds is just that, too silent to hear with all our own loud rambling self talk going on constently. That is until we learn to control our thoughts and meditate/listen to God's voice within. So the greatest source for hearing God speak to us is through the images of God…ordinary people. People you would lest expect to have the answer you are seeking…even if you do not realize you need to hear it!

    People's biggest downfall in life is the need to control their life. It is all an illusion. The biggest blessing people can learn in life is to let go and let God.

    And the answer to learning to love yourself is to first learn to love God. Once you are right with God, love God and He resides in your heart through the Holy Spirit, then you will learn to love yourself and your neighbor as yourself.

    You know the two Greatest commandments, Tim…Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    Love always,

  18. Rose J.
    April 11, 2007 at 7:59 am

    Absolutely not. I don't think we should stop looking for a life partner altogether if that is what our heart desires. I never said the Bible told us to love ourselves, I think that the concept is a sound and valid one. I don't believe a life partner will "complete" me but I do believe he will complement me. We should all feel "complete" with ourselves as individuals first. If I have a life partner, I see it as me being an excellent main dish, and my life partner being the equally important second course and dessert too! And I hope he sees me in the same way! But in itself, the main dish is nutritionally sustaining, and if it's delicious too, that is enough to live and be happy and satisfied, that is if we decide that the main dish is a whole meal in itself. I have questions myself? Why did you date the older woman for 18 months? You said you remained "detached," and you dated her knowing you would not fall in love with her but she fell for you and tried to win you over? Why did you let this go on knowing she had more feelings for you than you did her? I don't think this was fair to this woman. Even though in the end you remained close and are still friends with her, I think this type of dating is a bit selfish. Get angry with me if you want, but I think you did it more for you than for her. When your counselor said to not let your heart go to anyone for a year minimum, I don't think he meant to continue in a relatinship where the other heart might be potentially hurt. When you knew she had much deeper feelings for you, you should have ended it sooner. It seems as if fast tracking now, is your way of possibly avoiding these type of situations, but still, something to me feels missing from finding your love or life partner in this way. Finding your true love takes time, and work, and patience, and while you feel you can tell right away whether someone is "it' or not, you may potentially be dismissing the "one" prematurely, and to me that is a greater loss than anything else.

  19. Tom West â„¢
    April 11, 2007 at 8:51 am

    I agree with Debra's comment about focusing on God, but with one major difference. When you focus on God, focus on discovering who God really is. God is not jealous, and God is not "up there" in heaven.

    All of the people that come into our life are reflections to us of our own thoughts and attitudes. I'm sure if Tim thought about each of these romatic relationships, he would find that each of these women filled a need that he perceived he had emotionally, physically, mentally, or otherwise. Emotions are chemicals in the body, generated in the pituitary and other glands and sent to all the cells in the body. We all become addicted to these chemicals, and we seek out people, places, things, times, and events that give us more of the same chemicals. We search for these things to fill "holes" in ourselves so we can be complete. This is an illusion, as we are already complete.

    To break the addiction, you have to disconnect from those emotions and observe your actions. There is your personality, the program in the brain that has been running your life, and then there is the true you underneath – the silent observer. Once you find your observer, you can observe your own emotional reactions to what happens to you and realize that you've been allowing them to control you. Once a person, place, thing, time, or event no longer controls you emotionally, you have owned that experience and turned it into wisdom. You free yourself from repeating it over and over again.

    The ultimate love in this world is love for yourself, for your body is the temple in which God resides. Your brain is the instrument through which God observes himself. When you leave the commonly accepted views of God behind and stop persecuting yourself, you begin to trust your own mind and discover the unseen miraculous in everyone and everything. Once you discover self-love, you begin to love everything and everyone in the world, and it is at that point that a romantic relationship will be sublime.

  20. Debra ^j^
    April 10, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    People are self-centered. The Bible talks about Loving God first and then He will provide ALL our needs. God is our source for everything we desire in our life. Yet, He is a jealous God and He wants our FULL attention and wants us to do for Him. Thy will be done, not mine. Only then will He do for us beyond our imagination. But we are unwilling to give up control. The lesson is to stop focusing on oursleves and focus on God and then He will provide our life partner in His time.
    Love & Light! from a "would-be spiritual leader." 😉

  21. Oregoncelt
    April 10, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    I have to be honest here, I have been a fast tracker for sometime and I enjoy the ride, I do tell the person upfront my dating technique, it is not intended to hurt anyone, and I get a better perspective of what the other person is looking for. Having been the one who has given my heart so many times, it is nice to know up front if the other person is just looking for friendship, merely a piece of the sherri pie, if they hate women, or are seeking a long term relationship. Sure they can lie about any of the above, but experience is on my side and I will know (just a little sooner). Spiritually I just pray that God keeps me safe while I am out there dating, because it is a jungle out there and I don't see Tarzan swinging from my vine yet!

  22. Tim H
    April 10, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    Donna – Nice to have you as a friend now. I make every effort to remain friendly with former loves. If I saw something in them once to love it doesn't seem right to completely sever the tie. Even my last marriage that ended badly, we talk again and keep it all in perspective.

    Debra – As you have said in your response you do not have a good example of what a good relationship looks and feels like, so why be unkind in your comments? In an ideal world two people find each other and the question of whom will wake up beside you in the mornings is forever settled. Obviously neither one of us has settled that question.

    Rose B – Thanks for commenting. Let me ask a question, if a person never truly figures out how to love themselves as God would have them, do they cease looking for a life partner altogether? And how come it is that most people will acknowledge they were never truly complete until their "soul mate" came along? Let's face it, we're all trying to figure it out. The Bible has nothing to say about loving ourselves before we find someone, only that we should be equally yoked. Last I checked not many equally yoked people roaming around the halls of Yahoo 360, but would-be spiritual leaders seem to flourish.

  23. Rose J.
    April 10, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    I agree with Debra, it's about loving yourself first. I would ask myself, am I the person I want to be? It starts from within and the latter works itself out, and if it doesn't you are a person who is comfortable in his/her own skin. Confident, loving, and secure. The person someone may or may not fall in love with. But at least you live life for God and yourself, and if it's meant to be, you find that love you desire.

  24. Debra ^j^
    April 10, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Hmmm…obviously none of those seven were, like Eve suggested, true love or you would not be writing such a blog to justify your theory…you would be with your true love!

    I think people, especially men, confuse love with lust. Some people are addicted to the adreline rush of "falling in love" or the chemistry beginnings. Thus, they skip along merrily from one love "rush" to the next, sometimes leaving broken hearts in their path. This builds up a tower of unresolved feelings and the need for forgiveness in your past.

    Others are just plain SCARED to move beyond the initially chemistry high to the "meat" of a relationship, so find an excuse to end things and not even venture into the arena of developing trust, communication, intimacy, etc., as those things do not "feel" good and are hard work.

    Yes, relationships and learning how to love another person is hard work! Anything worth the price of gold will take a commitment, compromise, adjustment, change, and Work!

    I think there are some people who have little to no experience of what REAL love is, so they make up stories to make it be okay that they have some "failures" and still are searching for the ONE using all kinds of techniques to discover if they are meant to be together forever!

    I am one of those people that does not have a good example of what a GOOD Relationship looks and feels like. For me, I have found it best to BECOME the person I want to spend my life with and then ALLOW God to lead me to that person while I live my life. Takes a lot of pressure of my need to look good to the world and be okay about living as a single person who loves herself and others as herself.

    But, hey, if this "fast tracking" is working for you GREAT! It seems to me that it is not…maybe give God a try instead…hmmm?


  25. Donna
    April 10, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    An interesting way at looking at things, It's good to be honest enough with youself and that other person to admit it when it isn't right to stay together, so often people stay together way past the time that they should out of fear of hurting the other person's feelings, nobody wants to be the bad guy. That you stay friends with teh women you have been in love with speaks volumes about your character .

  26. Tim H
    April 10, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Eve – As I said in the blog, I don't 'Fast Track' until I start to envision a future with someone. To some extent it could be the idea of love, I agree. I think most would agree that if you don't have chemistry, that intangible zing, the relationship will never survive anyway. You can in fact HAVE the zing, have feelings of love and decide in the long run it's best left as a pleasant part of your past. Fast Tracking puts pressure on a person quickly, you see the best and the worst I've found. Again, it's not a sprint to the alter, just the decision to plan one together. Sometimes the pieces don't really fit in the end. You are correct in that regard.

    Sunny – Yes I'm sentimental and romantic, but not a hopeless one. That would be my mom, she's the hopeless romantic in the family. LOL

  27. Sunny Bee
    April 10, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    You are sentimental person…..and you will have everlasting love one day…I am sure of it!

  28. ****
    April 10, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Interesting theory. I am glad you found sonething that works for you. I can't help but ask, though,…with this "fast track" in mind—is it that one actually falls in love—or that they fall in love with the IDEA of love? Then, as time reveals the reality of the relationship—one comes to the realization that it may not have actually been true love at all.

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