People feel like men get over this easier than women, but we hurt, too.
I wanted someone I could tell my secrets to. I wanted to be emotionally naked and have a relationship that defied odds. I wanted a relationship where I could communicate without having to speak words but rather could look into each other's eyes and know what's going on. And I still do want all of that. I just can't accomplish this with just anybody. I'm not going to be in a relationship with anyone who's really not ready to accept all of the issues that come with dating a single minister.

by Neil Brown

Hey: I suppose that you should know that I'm not mad at you. Although some others may be, I'm not one of them. I'm still praying for you. I'm still thinking of you with warm thoughts. But you should know I waited for you once to come around, twice isn't going to happen. Can we still be friends? I don't know... Things were left in such disarray that I don't know if I want to attempt to sort out pieces. How this chapter closed was difficult and while I'm sure you meant well and had good intentions, I feel a bit taken advantage of. Almost used, if you will. I know it was never your intention for me to feel this way, and I don't think you had planned the events surrounding our split. But can we be friends? I really don't know.

I guess a part of me still only wants us to be dating, and perhaps more. How unusual, a man ready for commitment. Please don't take this as sarcastic, it's not meant to be but, I am being real with you. And if I were talking to you directly, I would have the calmest tone in my voice. I'm not bitter. I'm not obsessing. I'm not trippin'. I'm not screaming and I'm sure not crying about it. I've moved on and had to do it without you.

How I was treated, the whole thing, between the phone calls and emails and barely hearing from you make it difficult to want to be friends. Now understand that I do have enough home training and sense to be cordial in public and not mistreat you or embarrass you in any way. I wonít ignore you and leave you hanging, but hopefully you understand that I wonít be initiating conversation. I wonít be following you around. I wonít be trying to ask you to movies and dinner and trying to hang out. The biggest part of me is what I tried to give you, my heart. Either you didnít want it or werenít ready for it. At the end of the day, no big deal. I want your hopes and dreams to be realized. I want your adjustments to go smoothly and I wish you success.

Being a minister isn't easy.

Being called into ministry alone is even tougher. What does he mean *alone*? I mean without a significant other. Please, for a moment, forget that Volume 2 of my "Confession" series is about privacy. I want to purge as much of this as I can to make the minister real to you. What I mean by alone is dating in a serious relationship or even married. I would rather have been called, chosen, selected, if you will, with a mate already by my side, but that didn't happen. And so I'm open to dating and, as I have stated in a previous confession, I do date, but I really don't talk about it with others. In fact, most people I've dated either seriously or as luck would have later, casually, will tell you that I prefer keeping things on the down low not because I'm creeping but because I want to get to know them before really going public. I figure, let the congregants and community know gradually as they 'happen' to see us at the movies or at Walmart or something. I'm not denying you, but protecting you.

Why is it that dating a minister is a prize in the eyes of some? I don't want to be your trophy. And sure don't want you telling people that you've "landed" a minister. Besides, most of these types of folks are after popularity and good seating in a packed sanctuary so they can be seen on a front pew. Or they like to have their name called in public places and say their preachers' name in public out loud. They are after preferential treatment. Seating at the head table. Questions about where they get their clothes and shoes from. Is he a good kisser and stuff like that. I'm not saying they're a gold digger, but women, most especially, seem to think that we make a lot of money [editor falls out of chair laughing]. Not true unless you're the pastor. Sorry ladies, leave it alone; this is not a get rich quick scheme. And the same goes for men who just want to tarnish the image of some attractive female minister in order to make her look lonely and desperate. So the question would come then, Reverend, what are you looking for in a mate?

Well, I'm not so sure I know anymore. Can I, at least, have one who really is saved and spiritual? Look, I recognize who I am in my community so I don't want this to come off like I'm conceited or something. But I know that I'm well known where I live and in a couple of other cities in the state. It's difficult for me to go almost anywhere and NOT see either someone I know or someone who knows me. Being a youth worker and a well-known choir director ensures this. So, whomever I choose to date needs to know that there are going to be times that I get ambushed while shopping. It is not uncommon that people will walk up to me in department stores asking for prayer or guidance. Some of them want to gossip. Some really are concerned about how I am doing personally, so that's real cool. But, at the end of the day, I want a last call of the day.

What's a last call of the day? This is just what it sounds like, the last call of the day. Since I'm not married I want to hear a sweet voice on the other end of the phone that soothes my day. I've spent all day fighting at work, and probably most of the evening fighting with family or church folk. Someone who makes up cute little names to call me. Someone who doesn't have to look at the caller ID to know my voice either in panic or distress, or times of great calm or pure excitement. I want their voice to be the last thing I hear before my head hits the pillow. The conversation where you really have nothing to say and they understand or even when theyíve had the worst day and I'm able to make it all better. The mate who really laughs at my stupid jokes. The person who's able to tell how much I like them without my having to remind them every 5 to 10 seconds. The person who is secure in themselves and tenacious about their thing. The one who's willing to share their life and has dreams and aspirations of their own. That's so sexy to me! To know that you see something and will go after it whether you get it or not.

I want the one who's cool with a stroll in the moonlight and comfortable being with me even when I'm silent, but wants to hold my hand anyway. Does a mate like this exist anywhere?

Don't Fix Me Up

Now understand that this doesn't give anyone license to try to fix me up, set me up, hook me up or even look me up. I can do that myself, thank you very much. No Iím not accepting applications and Iím not looking for potential prospects. I am waiting for God to send me who He wants me to have and Iím further praying that I will recognize the one when they step onto center stage. I donít need you in church, I need the church in you. I need you to have a real relationship with Christ and I need you to not trip on who I am in my neighborhood. You canít be jealous. You canít be a little kid. You canít still be living in high school drama.

Now I know everybody's going, ďwhy is this on the site?Ē Because I got my heart broken. I guess people feel like men get over this easier than women, but we hurt, too. Now let me swiftly move to be clear about this. I am over this, but why not talk about it, I've talked about everything else. My broken heart, without going into detail, is really a tale of two ships that passed each other, winked, had a bit of a fling and moved on. But I wanted more.

Have you ever wanted to be vulnerable to another person? To put your life in someone else's hands and hope you don't become a burden? I wanted someone I could tell my secrets to. I wanted to be emotionally naked and have a relationship that defied odds. I wanted a relationship where I could communicate without having to speak words but rather could look into each other's eyes and know what's going on. And I still do want all of that. I just can't do it with one particular person and I suppose that's what hurt the most; that we couldn't make it work.

I have to consider the fact that I'm not going to be in a relationship with anyone who's really not ready to accept all of the issues that come with dating a single minister. I'm sure that there are some who think that I'm believing my own hype. Whatever...you know I'm right and that press has nothing to do with it.

My faith has been something to lean on during so difficult a time as this. Yes, my faith in the God I serve has been sustaining me. And yes, I know that someone is out there that will be a perfect match for my craziness. So I feel fulfilled regardless of my circumstance. I'm not irritated. I'm not fussy. I'm not angry anymore.

I'm not hurting.
I'm not ashamed either.

Sometimes being heartbroken just solidifies who you are. It doesn't mean that you cannot make a relationship work. It doesn't mean that you should question what's wrong within you. Sometimes I think it means that the love you have to give is really meant for someone else. And you can't look at one more bad experience from a point of view that suggests you may not be relationship material because I am. I know that the love I have is genuine and authentic. So, the real deal is being able to know that giving love is a gift and that receiving love is one as well. And when these two things come together, God is glorified.

Neil M. Brown
25 June 2006
holla@neilbrown.org
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