Sometimes I’m not comfortable just being myself. But I’ve made a deal with myself recently to do that. I still have thoughts like, “is this what everyone else would do, say, or think?” But I’m getting over it quicker and quicker. I’m much more at peace in my head. More than I’ve been my whole life.
Almost started dating a married man, who happens to be a sex offender. But I used my handy dandy subscription to Instant Checkmate to look up his name. No one listed for that name, but we had been texting so I looked him up by his phone number. He tried to tell me that the text with his last name didn’t come through correctly. I decided to do a “premium” report on him for an extra $19.99 because of the inconsistencies. That is when I discovered he had a sexual misconduct of the 1st degree when he was 19, against a 12 yr old girl. Right about that time he admitted he is married and said he’d leave me alone.
This totally freaked me out. I’ve been crying on & off for the past hour. Blocked him on my cell, on the dating site, and sent the dating site the info that he is married and a sex offender. Funny how he’s not all smiles and cute in his picture for the sex offender record.
Building and maintaining friendships is an area where I’ve struggled, particularly while married. Once the ex and I decided to divorce, I knew it was time to make some friends. Thanks to meetup.com, that was not too difficult to get going. I found a wonderful group of age 35+ girls who regularly get together – minimum of twice a month.
But that is not all that it takes to become friends with someone. And that is what I needed and still need.
Saturday afternoon I discovered that a winery date with this group, that was originally scheduled for Sunday, was moved 1 week out. I really wanted to spend some time out of the house and particularly wanted to do it with female friends. I did something that I’ve only done once before – and that happened only 1 week previous to Sunday.
I put a Facebook post out there and tagged several local women asking them if they’d like to hang out with me Sunday. As it turned out, everyone already had plans. The nice part was that most indicated that they would like to be thought of the next time something came up.
Even though I still ended up spending the day at home, mostly alone – I am happy that I took the risk of putting myself out there with the possibility of being rejected. In the long run, I wasn’t rejected at all.
I took some time off to think (a.k.a. – wallow in self pity). Really, I did both. I wallowed for a bit, then I thought, wallowed some more, thought and then experienced some personal growth.
I am the type of person who is giving and willing to go with the flow of people around me. I’m a follower, not a leader. There’s not really a problem with these characteristics, unless a person lacks the ability to STOP the behavior when someone is taking advantage. That was me. I didn’t know how to prevent someone from taking advantage of me.
In many relationships, a pattern is formed pretty early where one person gets their way the majority of the time. It’s not that they’re self centered or rude, it is just that their partner never stopped the pattern – for whatever reason. Their partner never spoke up about their own needs. As time goes on, the person who rarely gets their way might get frustrated when he/she really has something important that they want to have go their way.
I believe that I’ve made progress over the last week in #1) recognizing a negative pattern I fall into in my relationships and #2) speaking up about my feelings in regards to the situation. Not just walking away from the problem and hope it gets better magically.
Speaking up about my needs and feelings will help to prevent people walking all over me, even when they don’t specifically intend to do it. Since I realized my pattern and understood what to do about it, I’ve felt an emotional burden lift. Then after I spoke to the individual I was having a problem with, I felt even better. No idea if the problem will go away, but at least I didn’t just ignore it in hopes it would magically go away.
I was thinking to a time several years ago when my ex and I had one of our rare fights. I don’t remember the details, but our oldest son was very young and in trouble. The ex went overboard with yelling and in my mind “instilling fear” into the child. I was angry because I always moderately feared my dad and did not want my kids to fear their dad. Our voices were raised and my ex passionately declared (breaking my heart) that he is OK with the kids being afraid of him. Said he was always afraid of his dad and therefore minded and behaved properly.
I’ve been thinking about this for a week or more now. Mulling it over in my head, trying to figure out how this affected me as a child and how it could affect my kids if ex had continued on the fear path. Thankfully the ex did not continue on the fear path.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion. A fearful person believes that something dangerous is likely to happen. He or she feels something or someone may cause pain – and in my opinion it could be physical OR emotional pain.
In my case, the pain was emotional. I was never good enough. I didn’t do anything right. I was stupid.
I didn’t fully work through my confidence problems until I was in my 40s. I did some initial work on it in my early adult years, but truthfully it was mostly due to situational luck. It was not an intentional effort for improvement until I became a parent and realized I had a special needs child.
Back to the situation with my ex. I believe that he was suffering from an all to common parental misperception. I think that what he really wanted was respect – not fear. When you respect someone, you respond positively to their requests because you know they are capable and trustworthy. When you respect someone, you feel you are able to trust them not to cause you pain or unpleasantness. You are more likely to comply with their requests because you trust and admire them because they are proven their worthiness.
I choose to build respect in all of my relationships, especially with my kids. I want my kids to be able to rely on me because of my proven abilities, qualities, and achievements where they are concerned.
What do you choose?
In response to OLW for today.
In my head I am screaming at Neo (click the link to find out who Neo is), “you suck at returning texts.” But what good would it do to say that to him?Embed from Getty Images
It would do NO good. It is an accusation and will put him on the defensive. Ultimately, it will not convey to him how I feel when he goes silent. It will not bring understanding or intimacy between us. It may make him run for the hills.
I do need to talk to him about it though, because it is disconcerting to receive silence. I know WHY he goes silent and I’m OK with that. I also understand that this issue may go away or be diminished once he gets a medical problem taken care of later this month. But for now, the silence is killing me. I want to let him know how I feel about it and request that he not go completely silent.
So instead of flinging “you suck at returning texts” at him (which my amygdala wants me to do); I will instead use my pre-frontal cortex to tell him:
- When I don’t receive a return text until Tuesday morning for the four texts I send on Monday, I feel like there is a lack of interest.
- I feel like maybe you are playing cat and mouse with me.
- I feel like I’m being tricked.
- I feel like I’m failing at a mind game where the winner sends the fewest texts, but just enough to make the other person want to keep texting.
- I feel like I should just wait until I receive a response from my last text before I send another, but that feels like playing a mind game. And that is NOT my style.
Neo, instead of going completely silent on me, could you send me a quick text to let me know you are not feeling good and can’t text or talk just now? I will respect that and not be upset. Getting a brief text or call like that will alleviate my fears and help me to look forward to communicating with you when you ARE feeling better.
I’ve been talking with my new guy about my relationship with my ex – the way it was that led us to divorce – and that prompted me to go back through my journal. My journal is basically a collection of posts from my CafeMom days and older blogs – most of which were never publicized.
I found an entry regarding Emotional Connection, which is something that my ex and I tried to improve. I wrote:
I want to be able to go to my husband and receive understanding, not get problem solving. It is OK to get some problem solving, but AFTER receiving some sympathy and understanding. When something is on my mind (good or bad), I want to be able to talk to him about it and have him interact with me.
Emotional connection to me is being able to share my feelings in the hopes that I will be understood. It is very different from asking for advice or help, but may lead to talking about what to do in a situation. I need to stress that I would need be the one to lead the conversation in that direction. My primary focus is to be heard and understood.
WARNING, if you know me personally and don’t want to know ANYthing about my views on sex, then please skip this post. I use my writing as a method of thinking through who I was, who I am, and who I want to be and this time it happens to be about sex.
I was thinking about this last night, as I was trying to sleep. I move fast in relationships and always have. When the ex and I first started having serious relationship issues and divorce was a possibility, I was worried that I would revert to my old ways. My old ways were to have sex as soon as possible – not because I really wanted to, but because it was my disillusioned way of hooking the guy. Sometimes it worked, as was the case with my ex.
In other words, I was having sex for all the wrong reasons and sometimes I didn’t feel good about myself because of it. I didn’t work through those feelings until 2012, while the ex and I were going through our most difficult time.
I am very happy that I was able to work through it. Now that I am dating, I know that when I decide to have sex with someone it will be for the right reasons for ME. It may not match someone else’s idea of the right reasons, which is their problem, not mine. It will be right for me!
I am a much stronger woman now than I was in my teens and early adulthood. I am more confident. I know what I’m worth. I don’t need to hook him or anyone. I know when I am ready for more intimacy. This is incredibly freeing for me, more so than I could ever describe with words. It is allowing me to be who I really am with my new guy: intellectually, emotionally, and sexually. It is allowing me to be free with him and enjoy our experiences more than I ever imagined.
Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?
Honesty is the best policy for most matters. The degree of importance for the given situation determines the degree of honesty required. Higher importance means higher honesty. The difficult part is that this can vary between people and vary based on the current mood of a relationship. One always needs to be aware of where their relationship is at a given moment so that the level of honesty can be adjusted accordingly.
Low Degree of Honesty
A low degree of honesty is only for trivial matters, matters that have no impact on the quality of the relationship. For example, if you are getting ready to go to dinner with your partner and they are wearing one of their favorite shirts that you don’t particularly like – suck it up and don’t tell the truth. It serves no purpose. It is not important and will only add negativity to the evening.
High Degree of Honesty
A high degree of honesty is for anything that is NOT trivial to you or to the person you are in the relationship with. These matters will have a higher degree of impact on the relationship. An example, a coworker begins to flirt with you. You are not entirely sure you are being flirted with, but it feels like it. No matter how the flirting makes you feel (you may like it, or you may be uncomfortable), tell your partner IMMEDIATELY. Even if you are not sure that it is flirting. Also, tell your partner everything about the situation, including how it made you feel. Don’t leave any gray areas that will come back and bite you in the butt.
In response to Daily Prompt Truth or Dare.