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.
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.
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.
I told my new guy to never stop kissing me. I can tolerate many minor irritants if I’m constantly being kissed.
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.
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!