Archive for the love Category

Sisterhood and Bravery

Posted in intuition, love, Relationships, self-esteem with tags , , , , , , , on April 10, 2016 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

This week has been so different from how I’d planned it. After all, a week with no children and no work is a rare occurrence, so I was imagining between my plans and the plans with my lover, it would be a week of relaxation and bliss.

Instead, it’s been a week of processing and grieving. The silver lining is it was a week free from my usual responsibilities, so I was able to attend to my own emotional and physical needs.

That punched-in-the-stomach shock and grief has softened to an ache, although the anger is still strong. I’ve had time to look back over 15 months and place conversations and interactions into context and it makes me want to smash things. I’ve also realized that beneath all of that there is a thread of shame…how did I not see the truth? Why did I believe excuses and misdirection? How could he not love me? Was I not worthy of love? Did I not inspire love? The trigger effect of finding out the truth shook me. All the insecurities and fears I’ve struggled with for over a decade reared their ugly heads and I immediately called a therapist and made an appointment, because I had brief thoughts of “I can’t do this again. I can’t deal with this pain. I’m not strong enough.”

Fuck. That.

I CAN do this. I have to get through the heartbreak and anger and to the other side, but I refuse to let this leave me emotionally devastated and feeling like I did something wrong by falling in love with someone.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty I can take away from this. It’s the same basic message–trust my instincts. Don’t allow red flags to be explained away, rationalized or covered up. Speak my truth, even if it means giving up something I desire.

I’m brave and strong. It takes courage to love someone and not everyone is capable of it. I loved and I expressed that love, bravely and honestly. Instead of feeling shame that I loved someone and it didn’t work out (again), at least I took the risk of loving. I took the risk of being vulnerable. I opened myself up and I WILL NOT take on the guilt of his actions by thinking they somehow reflect on my worth. That’s on him.

I know he cared for me. I wish he hadn’t made the choices he did. But those are about him, not me. I will miss him like hell, no matter how angry I am, but one of the things that I believed about our relationship, that it was honest and open, wasn’t true. Trust is broken and trust was very much something that was required to make things work the way they did. This is the first time, ever, that a relationship has ended and I feel no compulsion to go back to him or try to make it work. Not because I don’t still love him. Not because I don’t think about him or miss him. But because the discovery crumbled the foundation and broke what was special.

And this week…thank god for the women in my life. My mother, who talked me through some of the pain and has continued to be there for me all week. My best friend, who listened to me stumble through the story, spilling out my sadness and rage without ever once saying “I told you so” and who made me laugh at the ludicrousness of the situation. My dear sister-in-law who said all the right things.  Other female friends who were angry along with me and muttered curses on aspects of his physical being that made me laugh through my tears. All of the women in my life who had my back and were a support to me this week as I struggled my way through the worst of it, who wrapped the mantle of sisterhood around me and helped to prop me up. They knew the things to say that none of the guys in my life–father, brother, friends–would know to say.

Thank you for being my sisters. Thank you for being part of my life.

Tonight my children come home and tomorrow I go back to work. This week of crying as I needed to and being able to take care of myself will allow me to put on a brave face and face life as I return to my normal schedule and responsibilities. I know in time this pain will continue to ease. I know eventually I’ll be able to forgive him and move on, hopefully finding someone new when I’m ready.

Because I’m brave enough and strong enough to be willing to love and risk and be vulnerable, even after heartbreak.

 

 

 

 

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To Those Who Let Me Go: A Post of Gratitude

Posted in Dating, intuition, love, objectifying women, Parenting, parenting after divorce, Relationships, self-esteem, self-improvement, single moms with tags , , , on May 29, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Last night, as I was putting my youngest child to bed, she looked at me and said: “Mommy, I know why you haven’t found the right person yet. It’s because every man who has met you so far knows down deep he isn’t worthy of you, so he has to let you go. When you meet someone whose mind is open, who’s worthy of you, then it will be the right person and he won’t let you go. All those other guys were just saving you pain because they knew they weren’t worthy of your love.”

Sometimes my children humble me and I feel like the child listening to their wisdom.

After my last dating run-in, these were words I badly needed to hear and imprint upon my mind and heart. My former boss, with whom I am still good friends, recently said that he planned to give a memo to my new boss letting them know their highest priority needed to be building up my confidence…in all areas of my life. My first tendency, in almost everything, is to doubt myself. What did I do wrong? What could I have done to change things?

My last date did several things that were unacceptable. Despite having let him know I didn’t plan to sleep with him that night, he was super aggressive and at one point said, “Are you going to make me beg to fuck you?” When he stood from the couch and pulled me up with him, I gently and playfully said, “Sit back down.” To which he responded with barely concealed irritation: “Don’t tell me to sit. I’m not a dog.” Finally, trying to defuse what was becoming a tense situation while he attempted to move our physical relationship to the next level (despite my having said “No” several times), I informed him I was on my period and that it definitely wouldn’t be happening that night. He very seriously asked, “Well, haven’t you ever had sex on your period?”

As I documented in my last blog, I agreed to a third date (more on that later), which he then canceled within days, abruptly ,and with what would have been no explanation if I hadn’t asked outright. The man who had gone on and on about how intelligent, interesting, deep, funny, beautiful and sexy I was, abruptly lost interest after I wouldn’t sleep with him. Especially when he implied he’d found someone else who would by stating “I’ve gone on a date with someone else and I think I want to pursue that before you and I go further.” Complete and total 180, within 2 days.

First of all: I’m sad that I agreed to a third date. I’m sad that I’ve grown in so many ways, but have not yet grown into a woman who feels powerful enough to recognize when disrespect, rather than desire and devotion, is what’s being offered. I feel sad that the thought of being wanted, even by someone I’m not certain I want, still makes me feel like I am “more” than being alone. I once again have to look into my own personal mirror and realize that passiveness and desire to avoid confrontation is a problem that’s led to some heartbreaking situations; it’s still present, despite my efforts to rise up, speak my truths and stand my ground. I’ll fight for what I believe is right. I’ll fight for the sake of others. Apparently, fighting for myself is something I still need to master. I know that eventually my intuition and courage would have risen and I’d have listened to them enough to have not tolerated the situation indefinitely, but my first response is still one that honors the other person more than me. That absolutely has to change. It breaks my heart that my first internal question, after the boorish behavior of my date, was to wonder why he didn’t want me. My go-to feeling is one of shame and lack of worth, which creates a cycle in which I’m always grasping at someone else who can make me feel worthy, which means I’m then willing to accept things that SHOULD be unacceptable.

Second, my beautiful, precious child who loves me so much, has helped to inspire me toward a deeper awareness of all these thought patterns. This man didn’t cancel our date because I’m not enough; he canceled because he’s not. He’s not enough to inspire my trust or love and he’s not man enough to build my admiration. Instead of feeling like I’m unworthy, I need to feel grateful that he released me at a time when I didn’t see myself (or him) with enough clarity to make a decision that was in my best interest. I need to feel empowered to fight for myself, to love myself and to hold out for someone who really sees me. Not just someone who wants to “fuck” me, whether I am ready for that step or not, and who’ll leave for the first woman who doesn’t tell him no. I need to stay strong and realize that I am complete and worthy on my own.

So today, I’m trying to feel a sense of gratitude for all those men who released me from their lives, even when I didn’t understand why. Perhaps it is that on some level, they realized they couldn’t be the man I needed them to be, rather than it being an expression of my lack of worth. I’m going to try to have gratitude that in those moments when I felt lonely and weak and couldn’t reach clarity, something moved them to let me go. Because one day there will be a man who really sees me. He’ll see I’m often serious and introspective, but that I’m easily pulled into silly fun and I’m quick to laugh. He’ll recognize that my tranquility and ability to intellectualize situations masks strong and powerful emotions and he’ll think my passion is sexy. He’ll know that one of my greatest gifts and weaknesses is my ability give completely and deeply, but he won’t take advantage of it by always putting his own needs above mine. He’ll appreciate my sensuality, without feeling entitled to my sexuality unless I’m ready to share it. He won’t be perfect, because I’m certainly not. But he’ll be perfect for me.

I’m lonely, but I will work on believing in and trusting myself and not settling. I will choose to believe my daughter who holds my face in her hands and says, “Mommy, I don’t know why you’re not married again. It seems like every man in the world would be in love with you. You’re the most beautiful, wonderful, loving person I know and I love you so much.”

With someone like that on my side, how can I possibly lose hope?

In memory of a victorious, beautiful spirit: “To those who have given up on love: I say, “Trust life a little bit.” ~ Maya Angelous

I Am My Own Valentine (And It’s Pretty Frickin’ Awesome)

Posted in Dating, depression, love, self-esteem, self-improvement, Valentine's Day with tags , , , , on February 14, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Valentine’s Day.

The day in which couples feel pressured to prove their love with chocolate, flowers, lingerie and any number of trinkets and material goods. The holiday that makes singles cringe in shame that they have failed to secure someone who will buy them a Hallmark card and a box of truffles.

I’ve always thought Valentine’s Day was kind of sweet and kind of ridiculous. Traditionally, I get my children cards, chocolates and a stuffed animal and they give me small, homemade gifts. I’ve received Valentines from two people in my entire life, one being my ex-husband and one was a man I dated for 10 weeks who ended up stalking me for 4 months after I ended things. With everyone else…either we opted to not celebrate it, the timing was off, or we broke up before the holiday arrived. The last two years I was, each time, recovering from deep heartbreak (which is what happens when you’re stupid enough to get back together with someone repeatedly, after they’ve shown they can’t be trusted with your heart). And…I was sad. I let myself feel rejected and unloved and unworthy. I cried and moped and sunk further into the depression I was in.

This year, I decided to fully embrace the day and all that it is supposed to represent. I’m done with feeling like I’ve somehow failed or am inferior to those who’ve managed to stay coupled, just because I haven’t met someone who really rocks my world for longer than a few months or a year. I’m through with thinking the relationships that didn’t work out, the men who had too much baggage to love,  or those who didn’t love me enough to even treat me with respect and courtesy are about my failings as a human being. I’m far from perfect, but I am a shining, beautiful, worthy woman. I believe one day I will meet a kind, strong man who will be brave enough to love, healthy enough to be with me, who will be thrilled to have me by his side. If somehow that man and I never cross paths, I will STILL be that shining, beautiful worthy woman.

So today I haven’t shied away from love or talk of love. Why should I? Love is a beautiful experience and I’ve had it, lost it and look forward to finding it again. I booked myself a massage and enjoyed the sensuous pleasure of having someone touch me with warm, strong hands. I bought a drink at a coffee shop and browsed row upon row of books. I bought flowers; bright, happy flowers in shades of spring and sun and some beautiful, lacy underwear and perfume in my favorite fragrance. I’ve got a bath bomb that will release essential oils and flower petals into my hot bath later, during which I will enjoy a new novel and a glass of red wine. Afterwards I will get out, smelling and feeling delicious, and make a chocolate soufflé for one and settle in for a romantic comedy. I’ve got a playlist of love songs in the background. I may cry at some point, because the rich surfeit of my emotions sometimes spills over into tears. And that’s okay too. Crying is healthy and cleansing and sometimes is about feelings things very strongly, rather than just about feeling sad.

I am my own Valentine and while I love loving someone else, there’s something pretty awesome about loving myself.

Finding the Gratitude

Posted in Dating, intuition, love, Relationships with tags , , on November 28, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

It’s the eve of Thanksgiving and I always like to reflect on the wonderful things I have or have had in my life. It’s so easy to focus on the negative–the things I don’t have or the people who have hurt me in the past. So much of this blog is about processing all the shit. Frankly, there’s been a lot of shit in the past decade. For tonight, I’d like to just think of the good things. So tonight I’m going to take a walk down memory lane with my relationships, focusing only on the good from each one. I’m going to focus on both something I loved about the relationship and a life lesson I took away as a result of it.

From my ex-husband I took away two beautiful, brilliant, amazing kids. I will always be grateful that out of the love I once had for him, my two favorite things in life came into existence. From our relationship, I learned that it’s better to leave no matter how impossible the leaving seems, or you risk becoming someone you don’t recognize. I also learned that no matter what my own insecurities might be, to never let them hang out with a partner. It’s not sexy or attractive to look to your partner for your own self-esteem. I learned to start looking for my own.

From Z, the man I loved right after my marriage ended, I will always love the humor we shared. I love the deep thoughtfulness he brought to our conversations. I love that he loved me, even if it wasn’t enough in the end.  I also got my first lesson in not pretending something is enough, just so you won’t have to say goodbye.

L gave me a flirty sort of fun that made me think I might have found “the one”, at least for a couple of months. I loved how tender and protective he could be sometimes. There were many, many times that even after our breakup, he made me feel as though I had someone who cared enough about me that I could call and say “I need you to be there for me.” He was my second lesson in the failure of pretending something is enough when it’s not, just so I wouldn’t lose him. Maybe with enough lessons, I’ll learn! I also learned that if something went wrong the first time, a second or third time of trying is probably not going to make it right.

I had to spend more time thinking about D, to try to remember the good. Tonight is the two year anniversary of our first breakup. Interestingly enough, the good from the relationship is also tied to what it taught me. D was the first man with whom I saw the hope of a lasting relationship, who seemed to progress the relationship to a committed level that appeared as though it could go the distance. That was, briefly, a reassurance I’d badly needed. The life lesson came from learning that when it feels like a man is barely contributing to the relationship, it signals something that shouldn’t be ignored, no matter what excuse he gives for why he can’t give more. People put time and effort into what they value, yet I rarely felt valued. The life lesson is to not settle for something mediocre when you know you want and deserve more, out of a desperate desire to have someone willing to love and stay with you. If you don’t feel loved and desired, what’s the point? I also got a reminder in why trying to make things work multiple times, when the person broke your heart the first time, is a very bad idea. The gratitude comes in having the pain finally eased to where it doesn’t feel crippling and in knowing I learned so much about what I don’t want the next time.

With J, my barely born relationship, there were many things to love and feel gratitude for. I am grateful for the feeling of radiant joy I felt during the two months we were together; it was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. I’m grateful for the easy physical affection he always established; he was quick to hold my hand, put his arms around me or kiss me at times when it wasn’t just about trying to get me in bad. In fact, walking hand-in-hand with him is the memory that comes to mind for me first. Well…after the sex! I am grateful for the fun and child-like joy I experienced on every date with him. I’m grateful for the deep sexuality that he brought out in me that managed, ironically enough, to feel healthy in a way some of my others have not. In the end, the life lesson I learned was to trust my intuition. Listen to the voice within that tells me when loving someone, although tempting, is a really bad idea.

In my life right now I have many things to be grateful for:

My children, with whom I share a deep bond of love. They are amazing and wonderful, even in the times when they drive me bonkers. They’ve made me a better person and I can only hope I’ll help them grow into better people.

A job that I enjoy and that I’m fairly good at, that also means something besides just a paycheck. It’s not every person who can find fulfillment and meaning in their work, outside of just making a living. I’ve found it.

A cozy little cottage home that shelters us. A car that still runs well. That all our basic physical needs are met and many, many beyond that. That on the Maslow hierarchy of needs, I’m at the top and have the luxury to sit here and ponder my life and the meaning of it.

I’m healthy. That the medical issue my youngest child has is treatable and that between her father and I, we can afford treatment that keeps her symptoms mostly at bay, most of the time.

That I have a community of friends and family to help be a support system for myself and my children. That I have some dear friends in whom I confide the secrets of my soul, whom I trust to keep them safe.

For everyone tonight and into the holiday weekend, I wish you joy and peace. I hope the list of good things in your life outweighs the bad. We all have our burdens to bear and sometimes they feel very heavy. May your burdens feel lightened by the grace of the good.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Power of Intuition

Posted in Dating, intuition, love, online dating, Relationships, self-improvement with tags , , , , on November 24, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

I’ve always had a gift for reading people. Since I was young, I could size people up quickly. I could hear inflections in their voice, see quick glimpses of expression and observe subtle body language that seemed to elude a lot of other people. I could strongly sense if someone was friend or foe and a lot of things in-between.

There have, however, been two gaping holes in the power of my intuition throughout my life. One is the desire to have people be other than what they are and the belief that if I simply give someone enough of a chance, they can overcome the first impression that I receive from them. The second, hinging strongly upon the first, is my tendency to completely ignore my intuition when it comes to men that I’m interested in.

This was recently proven to me quite effectively in a benign sort of way. I met a man, an attractive man who ended up asking me out. He was very quiet throughout most of the social gathering and mainly stared at me. If I got a quick image at one point during our evening, as he sat placidly eating a large slice of cheesecake, of a brown-eyed cow chewing his cud, I chastised myself for my mean judgment and deemed him “reserved”. Yet…our subsequent three dates that followed would prove that “reserved” can also mean “quiet” or even “boring”. He would primarily sit, throughout the date, staring at me with nothing to say. I carried almost the entire conversation and he would speak only when prompted. At one point, when asked pointedly why he was staring at me without speaking, he volunteered: “You’re just so pretty to look at.” He gave enough interesting information on the first date that I determined there must be more beneath the surface, just waiting to come out if given enough time. Nope. After two more dates, it was more boring and awkward than ever. I quickly grew tired of being an ornament that he gazed at without speaking.

My most recent attempt at a relationship with J followed much the same path. Our email and phone conversations left me with an impression of someone who was slightly off, but after repeated attempts to woo me into a date, I acquiesced. Upon meeting him, my initial judgment was of someone who had a difficult time responding appropriately to social and emotional cues, seemed to nearly burn with  frenetic intensity and who had a significant amount of emotional damage. Yet…I told myself not to judge him by his childhood and his former addictions. Lust and a tender heart toward the little, abandoned boy he once was had me muting those voices in my head that said: “Run”. So I stayed, fell, and found out the hard way just how correct my intuition about him was.

I’ve had to admit that even D, as I approach the two year anniversary of the first time he emotionally gutted me, rubbed my intuition the wrong way upon our initial date. As he strutted toward me across the restaurant, finger pointed towards me in triumphant pleasure over a practical joke he played before he even met me face-to-face, my first thought was “Schmucky, insincere frat-boy turned yuppy with a strong streak of mean”. Instead of heeding that intuition, which I would receive tiny glimpses of again and again throughout our nearly 19 month arc, I let myself come to see his other good qualities and fell in love. If I’d simply walked away after that first date, I could have saved myself a lot of heartbreak and angst.

Yet therein lies my dilemma: No human being is ever only one thing. D did prove to be schmucky, insincere and to have a strong streak of meanness. He could also be unconventional, loving and tender. J was a person who had spent a lifetime running from his emotional damage and thus, couldn’t understand the emotional cues of others because of his addictions. Yet he was also intelligent, deep and exciting.

My glitch lies in always wanting to see the best qualities of another person. I’ve always believe that was the right thing to do, the loving thing to do. Yet I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy doing it. After all, the man who beats his wife so badly she ends up in the hospital didn’t win her, initially, with his abuse. He won her with his good qualities, with the best part of himself. In the end, though, if she’d listened to the voice that told her he seemed to fly off the handle easily or needed to control others a bit too much, perhaps she could have avoided that hospital trip altogether.

How would my life have been different if I’d listened to my intuition from the very first moment I met someone? Is being judgmental a bad thing or a good thing? Or does it depend on the individual doing the judging? I’ve always been able to sort out the surface from the interior pretty easily, so perhaps it’s easier to trust my gut. When do you temper a poor first impression with the ability to give people a second chance? These are some of the questions I’m having to ponder. According to my therapist, I need to be more judgmental. I’ve also realized my initial first impressions have always been right, I’ve simply ignored them. Yet… something about the concept of being judgmental troubles me.

Where is the boundary between acceptance and judgment?