Tag Archives: Relationships

Hmmm – What to Call This??? Growth!

I’ve changed a LOT since 2012 and I think that it is for the better. I’ve had a lot of personal / emotional growth and I can tell when I read old journal entries. Here’s a few concepts where I have changed my position:

  • When my ex and I started admitting that we had a broken relationship I told him that I would “take better care of him.”

    I now realize that I was taking too much responsibility for his happiness / unhappiness. I’m not in charge of anyone else’s happiness. I’m in charge of my own happiness. I know that now, but it was a very difficult lesson to learn. I believe it is because I am a “giver.” I felt like if someone was struggling, I needed to give. And if they were still struggling – I needed to give MORE. And if it didn’t work – there must be something wrong with me.

  • I had the attitude that ANYthing can be fixed.

    Since some people (who suffered similar problems as my ex and I) came through it stronger on the other side, I figured we should be able to do that too. I was not accounting for the vast number of variables that made our situation different from the ones who DID make it through stronger. Add to this, several books and web sites I read basically accused couples of lack of effort if they didn’t make it through with the marriage intact. I’ve learned that sometimes the best way to fix a broken relationship is to simply let go and that there is nothing wrong with that.

  • I used to analyze my way out of trusting my instincts.

    I have pretty good instincts, actually. I can sense when someone is tense or uncomfortable. I can sense when I’m feeling uncomfortable. I might not figure out what is causing it immediately, but I can reflect for a bit and determine the source of my discomfort. And I can usually tell when something seems “fishy.” But I also suffered from low self confidence, so didn’t trust my instincts. I have learned to key in on my body signals that tell me that something is wrong and act accordingly.

  • I used to rely heavily on advice from others, even if it felt wrong to me.

    This is very related to trusting my instincts, but with a twist of asking advice from others. People mean well, but if I had listened to friends – I would be missing out on a great relationship with a man I care deeply about. I believe it is because too many people play “games” or manipulate people instead of just being honest about their feelings. My friends were giving advise based on that fact, and hinting that I should just give up on him. I sensed that this man was not playing games with me and I never really gave up on him. Ok, there was that one time that I went for about 3 or 4 weeks dating someone else, all the while thinking of my guy, but we eventually reconnected. I am happy about that.

Taking Risks for Friendship

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.

Walk All Over Me! NOT!!!

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.

You Always – You Never – You Suck

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?

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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.

The Speed of Sex

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.

When We’re Married

Went to dinner last night with my new romantic interest.  Conversation was non-stop and we were talking about kids.  I mentioned that mine are momma’s boys and would come to me for everything even if their dad was more accessible.  That somehow led to me telling him about how my ex would complain about all of the trash and mess left in the kitchen from me making a meal instead of helping me make the meal or clean up.

In response, new guy jokingly said “Well, when we’re married I expect dinner on the table and a clean house when I get home.”  I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t.  After a minute or so of continued conversation where we were both trying to ignore the elephant in the room – I said “did you just say ‘when we’re married’?”

No wedding plans yet, and maybe not ever because we’re both disillusioned with the institution of “marriage.” But it was very comforting that he’s thinking of keeping me around long term!

Degrees of Truth

The Question

Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?

My Answer

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.

Mid-Life Baggage

The question:

We all have complicated histories. When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made?

The answer:

The closer a person is to middle age, the heavier their baggage becomes.  Hence, the mid life crisis – that stage in life where couples who appear to be happy or to have it all end up divorced.  That is where I am – a middle aged divorced woman navigating a dating world she has been away from for 25 years.

I have not had any major decisions since my divorce, but I pay attention to the small signs in my new relationship that provide hints on how compatible we are.  That is the primary reason my ex and I are divorced, we weren’t really all that compatible – especially once kids were added to the mix.

Following are three areas in which my ex and I struggled and how I’m paying attention with this new guy to see if he is more compatible with me.

Communication I look for signs that my new guy can handle difficult communication.  We are in the very early stages of romance, but have at least had one small bit of conflict.  I was pleased with the way he handled it.  He let me state my frustrations (initially via texting), did not feel the need to defend himself – just listened (or read), and then when I sent a bitchy text he called me so that we could clear the air.  Not dramatically different than the way it would have gone down with ex, but ex would have defended himself or reasoned with me when all I wanted to do was state my feelings and be heard.

Family values was another area where my ex and I differed too much.  Family is important to me and I will spend time doing something with family that I may not have done on my own – just so I can be with them.  When my parents would visit, the only thing my ex wanted to do with them was eat.  Again, I am in the very early stages of the relationship with my new guy, but I look for clues in how important his relationship is with his family.  So far I’m pretty impressed.  He has no living parents, so can’t speak to that.  He seems to put emphasis on his kids, not only in spending time with them but in understanding them.

Hobbies and entertainment was an area where the ex and I struggled a bit, but not to a degree as great as the above.  Ex liked hobbies that weren’t very kid friendly and disliked things that the average kid enjoys.  Our kids love being in the water and we had a couple of different seasonal pools in the yard over the years.  Not only did ex not want to get into the pool with the kids, but he didn’t want to have ANYthing to do with the pool.  To a very extreme degree.  I look for signs that my new guy finds interests that he can share with his kids.  Some examples include: fishing, swimming, hiking, camping and many more family fun activities.

In response to Baggage Check daily prompt.

Conflict

It is unavoidable, if you want to be around other humans.  It is how conflict is handled that separates the emotionally intelligent from the emotionally disabled.  I’ve been on the emotionally disabled side for most of my life and am steadily moving into the emotionally intelligent side.

Like anyone else, I have relationship fears and sometimes those fears simmer for too long (my fault) and then boil over suddenly.  That is what happened to me last night.

New guy and I said we’d meet for dinner last night.  We’ve been texting about it since Saturday, but weren’t sure if it would be a lunch date or dinner date.  Sunday we decided it would be a dinner date, but did not set a time and pick a place.  As I mentioned yesterday, he’s not caught up on instant communication like many of us are.  He got busy with some yard chores and didn’t text me until almost 7 pm, as I was eating my dinner at home.

We texted, but it was apparent that we were both grumpy.  Him from yard work and me from waiting.  Although it wasn’t ugly, it was conflict.

Bottom line is that I’m very pleased with the way he handled it.  When it became apparent that we were both grumpy and texting was not helping, he called.  That was pretty amazing, especially considering we’ve only been dating for a week and a half.  At that rate it would have been easy for many men to just write me off as a crazy bitch!  Too much work.  Too many expectations.

But he didn’t, and I’m happy for that!

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