The Destructive Habit
Prior to my relationship with Jewelz, I was the type of person who would date around and sleep around randomly. There's nothing else to do when you don't see the purpose in relationships; when your mentality is that relationships are just a here means to get sex.
I thought I wasn't capable of a true, deep love because I had ruined each of my relationships before and found myself entering into destructive relationships where I was the "other guy." I fell into the traps society had set for me, and I thought my worth was based in part on how many girls I had slept with. The more I messed around, the more my ego fed off of it.
Because I didn't see the kind of beauty a deep love could bring, I blocked myself off to it (see Devoting Too Much to Career). It wasn't a surprise then that I had resigned myself to being some kind of narcissistic plastic surgeon that would sleep around with (hopefully beautiful) women for the rest of his life (think Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man).
I found anyone with the same mentality about relationships to mess around and kill time with. Through this, I also ended up hurting girls that thought I wanted more or who thought they could change me. I justified it in my mind by telling myself that they knew what they were getting themselves into because I was generally upfront with where I was in life.
So began the cycle of endlessly swiping on Tinder, Bumble, etc. I would sleep with someone until I got bored and wanted something new, or when they would complain to me about not dedicating enough time to them, I would break it off because I decided they were too needy and didn't respect/understand the schedule I had to deal with. And so, I would move on to the next one.
Changing My Mentality
I didn't realize how empty the cycles of dating and sleeping around would make me feel on the inside. It bothered me so much that I prayed about it when I wasn't even Christian yet (see The Promise). From this began my relationship with Jewelz, but the entire year that we dated, I couldn't shake my prior mentality. As much as she seemed like an amazing girl, I didn't have the proper motivation to change my mindset, which led towards the same bad habits (I never physically cheated, but see Emotional and Psychological Cheating).
What I never actually did was take the time to sit down and reflect on what I wanted in life... what my real priorities were and what they should be. Career was obviously first for me ever since I was a little kid and everything else followed suit.
Jewelz and I had never sat down to really talk about it prior to our trip to Norway, and it was then... in the most magnificent sculpture garden in the capital of Norway, thousands of miles away from everything else in our lives, that we finally poured our hearts out. Things we had been holding back or brushing under the rug for so long came out. The main issues were go Christianity, see url timing, and trust. (Trust had always been an issue created by me in relationships.)
We decided then to take a break to figure out what we really wanted in life and whether our relationship would be able to survive what we each wanted in the long term. On the prior advice I had gotten from Darren Hardy in his book, "The Compound Effect," I decided to write down a list of what I loved about Jewelz and what I had learned from her. I knew what I felt when I was with her, but I never took the time to sort out my mind and write down what she meant to me. I also never compared that to the things I thought I wanted in a lifelong partner.
Two days (I kid you not) after deciding to take a break and writing up and reflecting on this list, I realized how much of an idiot I was for potentially letting her get away. She had shown me and given me more in a woman that I had ever hoped and dreamed for, and I was too dense and caught up in myself to realize it. All of a sudden, the little things that had bothered me before didn't matter at all. I finally admitted to myself how deeply in love I was with her.
After more reflection, I understood what my prior habits had really done to me. Dating around endlessly and sleeping with random girls always felt amazing in the moment, but afterwards, I would always find myself wanting to get rid of them. I didn't even "like" them, much less love them. Every morning after the act made me feel so incredibly empty inside, and sleeping with another girl would never fill this void.
Even more significantly, I realized that "Every moment you waste with the wrong person was a moment you weren't spending with the right person or finding the right person." This shook me to the core. I had been wasting so much of my time on people who meant nothing to me and added nothing to my life. I also added nothing to theirs in return.
This emptiness created a desire to find emotional fulfillment, so I found myself trying harder and harder to sleep with more girls in order to fill this void. Despite my efforts, that loneliness always crept back up on me. This cycle was an addiction. I never would have admitted it to myself before, but in essence, I needed to get laid (the drug) in order to fulfill my need for emotional fulfillment (the craving). However, the craving would build over time and I would need more and more of the drug (sex) to appease it. I was losing myself in the addiction.
"Every moment you waste with the wrong person was a moment you weren't spending with the right person or finding the right person."
Forming New Habits
When I realized how lost I had become and how it was still affecting my relationship with Jewelz, I decided never to sleep around again. My worth is not based on the number of girls I sleep with. I wanted to love one person as truly and deeply as I possibly could (see Unconditional Love). I didn't want to hurt any other girls or allow myself or them to get stuck in this perpetual cycle of addiction.
Following through with this decision, I permanently deleted the phone numbers of any previous girls I had flirted or slept with. I needed to remove myself from anyone who could be a temptation to lead me astray from my resolution. Sure, it would be easy to sleep around with girls I had been with before, but I know I would run the risk of falling back into my old habits, and more importantly, I run the huge risk of ruining any potentially amazing relationships that would be coming my way in the future. I would be dishonoring my relationship with Jewelz, everything I had learned from it, and how much I had grown from it. Lastly, I would be hindering myself from spending that time working on building myself into a better person, one that my future wife deserves to be with.
I date very intentionally now. I guess I can't really say that because as of 2/18/2017 when I'm writing this, I still haven't gone out with anyone yet lol. It's not totally for lack of trying, but I've been more particular about talking only to girls who have the potential to embody the characteristics of a wife that I'm looking for. She has to love Christ first. She has to be close with her family. She has to be a genuinely good person who is dedicated to bringing value to others rather than just herself.
At the same time, I am spending a lot of time trying to build my relationship with God (this should always come first, and yes, THIS is what defines your true worth a.k.a. what you mean to God because of what He did for you). You can't truly love someone else in a healthy way until you first learn to be okay by yourself and love yourself for who you are. I am continuing to build my relationship with my family and friends, and I am exploring new ways to serve in ministry and mission work. I figure somewhere along the way according to His plan and His timing, God will have me bump into the love of my life. I pray that I've become every bit the man she deserves by then.
Being self-centered about anything is the surest way to kill any lasting joy you may have had in it. I got into relationships early in life only to get something out of them rather than to give fully to someone else.
The first step towards change requires you to sit down and reflect on your values and what you want long term. This will shape your mentality. Be careful what you use to shape this mindset because you may very well choose the WRONG thing. From what I know to be true in my life now, God's Word (i.e. Scripture/what Jesus said) is the surest way to know that you are shaping your mindset correctly.
Your mindset on marriage will then determine your decision every time you are tempted. Offered a one night stand? Turn it down because it does not match with your long term goals. The more you turn it down, the easier it gets every single time. Eventually, it becomes an ingrained habit where you don't even consider it an option in your life anymore because you are so focused on finding a high quality person to build your life with. Good luck and God bless.
I have full faith that these habits will lead me to my "Pepper."