Archive for the Relationships 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.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

My Super Power: Introspection To The Point of Insanity

Posted in anxiety, Dating, dealing with ex's, intuition, Relationships on December 7, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

So, due to a triggering event, I have now replayed my last relationship in glorious Technicolor several times. I’ve gone through rage and pain and a semi-acceptance and back again. I met up with an old flame turned friend and he commented, “That relationship really fucked you up, didn’t it? ”

Yes. Yes, it did.

My brother and his wife recently purchased a new mattress to help their back pain. They decided to go with “extra-firm”. After a night of sleeping on what amounted to concrete with  thin padding over it, my brother exclaimed: “Buying that mattress made me question all of my decision making skills.”

My last relationship amounts to a really bad mattress purchase.I now question all of my decisions and wonder if I’m capable of making a good choice romantically. My faith in my intuition feels pretty fragile and risky.

I’m dating someone. He’s smart and funny and perceptive. He likes me a lot and I enjoy spending time with him. I’m also completely terrified. I’m petrified of hurting him or being hurt, so I know at times I come off as reserved and distant. I’m trying to honor my need to go slowly with realization that part of this is just fear from my past, but it’s challenging.

When I realize I’m overthinking whether or not I’m overthinking, then I start to go just a bit crazy. We’ve been dating a grand total of 6 weeks. That’s no time at all, so surely I don’t need to make some big decision. Right?

Meanwhile, the specter of my last relationship haunts me and I’m terrified of becoming D. I have no plan of stringing someone along for months just because it’s comfy and I don’t want to be alone, but there is still a tiny voice in my head chanting “Figure this out quickly so you don’t hurt him!”

Sometimes my introspection drives me a little bit bonkers.

Holding Out For My Fuck Yes

Posted in Dating, Relationships, single moms with tags , , , on September 22, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

I recently read an article that stripped away a lot of bullshit from my views of dating and relationships. Basically, all choices boil down to either a “fuck yes” or a “fuck no”. Whether it’s a casual sex relationship or a committed partner, do you feel that you can say an enthusiastic “fuck yes” to whatever decision you’re making? If not, then it should be a “fuck no”.

It’s so simple and so clear. It also means most of my relationships have been rationalized to death and should have been “fuck no’s” long before they ended.

For years I’ve struggled so much with being alone that I kept trying to talk myself into the relationship. I employed some of the following:

“No one’s perfect.”

“Life isn’t a fairytale.”

“I’m not looking for Prince Charming.”

“I’m not going to get everything I’m looking for.”

While all of those statements are true, they were also used to deal with the fact that there were serious things going on with the men I dated, deal breakers in our relationship that I was tolerating because I so desperately wanted to be loved and wanted. With several of the men I’ve been involved with, I could have said “Fuck yes” to them, warts and all, if only their behavior toward me had been different. Because it wasn’t, I should have said “Fuck no”.

I’ve most recently been dating someone I met at a Meet-up. Quiet, smart, funny, attractive: I ended up doing something I never do and asking him out after we met. He readily said yes and we went out several times. There were red flags for me: In his 40’s with no serious relationship under his belt and no kids, a very bachelor lifestyle, a possible relocation in his future and the hint of a possible addiction that heavily influences his life choices. Still…I liked him. A lot. Then further red flags developed: A jealousy issue which caused him to behave badly, some fatalistic apathy when confronted with my reaction, conflicting sentiments regarding what he actually wants from dating me and a strong confrontational/argumentative streak after a few drinks. Our last date left things verbally unresolved and with me driving away feeling conflicted. On the one hand, he’s smart and funny and cute and has the capability to be vulnerable with me about what he’s feeling. On the other…all the aforementioned red flags.

Then I read the article and I realized I was seriously over-complicating this. There’s nothing to meditate on and nothing to work through. This relationship is a “fuck no” and I don’t need to waste any more time thinking about it. If I have to talk myself into it, it’s not right.

The more I think about it, my life is pretty good on my own. I’d really enjoy having someone I could enjoy a relationship with, but at this point, it’s going to have to be a “fuck yes” for me to be enthusiastic about it. I’m not shutting down and I’m still open to meeting someone, because I DON’T need perfection or Prince Charming. I’m just not willing to give up what I have for something that is less.

I’m going to keep holding out for my “Fuck yes”.

Ambivalent Daters

Posted in Dating, Relationships with tags , , on July 1, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Lately I’ve been running into something which, while not new, still confuses the hell out of me every time it happens.

Men who say they want to date, but don’t really want to date. Men who make a big deal out of being interested, only to let the ball drop before the game even begins. Men who go to the trouble to seek out the opposite sex, but then can’t be troubled to put forth any effort.

Ambivalent daters are a part of dating culture I fail to understand.

Case in point #1:

A guy who circled “yes” to me during a speed dating event and took every opportunity to talk to me outside of our allotted six minutes. When I actually contact him because we chose each other, I get an email stating that yes, we should “hang out”. He elaborates that if I don’t live too far out, perhaps he can even put forth the effort to drive to where I live. Be still my heart! Upon finding out my location, he puts forth the possibility that we can just get some alcohol to bring to my house and he can crash there.

Uhm…what?

I squash the idea immediately, receiving a cocky response afterwards of “Do you actually think you can resist my charm?”

Yes. I do. When I pointedly ask him if he’s looking for anything more than a hook-up, his reply goes something like this:

“No, I’m a player who has an over-inflated sense of ego, despite the fact that I attended an event entitled “Speed Dating” not “Speed Hook-up”. I’ll try to look like I’m not a douchebag man-child by telling you I just don’t want to rush into a relationship (although I certainly want to rush into your pants), but what I’m really hoping is that I can sleep with you with minimal effort and then I’ll probably never call you again.”

I might be paraphrasing.

Case in point #2:

There was a guy who was at both speed dating events I attended. He marked “yes” to me both times. The first time we talked about getting together and then he flaked out. This time he tells me he’s busy, but could probably get together the next weekend. Today I received an email from him saying he’s “maybe” available on a specific evening. So far, despite his initial interest, I’m not exactly feeling like he’s excited about getting together. Which leaves me feeling less than enthused as well.

Case in point #3:

Sexy owner of a restaurant flirted and made a distinct point of making sure to get my number. I gave it and commented, “I hope you’ll use it.” He said, “Oh, I definitely will.” Considering that was a week ago and I’ve not heard from him, I’m wondering what exactly he’s using it for. Lottery numbers? Why bother to seek me out and get my number at all?

It’s hard enough to make dating and relationships work when everyone is being honest about their intentions. When there are people who don’t know what they want or can’t be clear about their motivations, the waters get murky as a swamp. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s such a simple phrase, but one that seems exceedingly hard for some people to carry out.

Ambivalent daters: Make up your mind!

 

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

Melancholy Mermaid

Posted in anxiety, depression, parenting after divorce, Relationships, self-esteem, self-improvement with tags , , , on April 4, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Seven years ago, I took what would prove to be a momentous trip. In the middle of a deep depression, the collapse of my marriage and the unrelenting arguments between my husband and myself, I knew I had to get a breather. Feeling like I had failed at everything in my life and not really wanting to live, I made plans to head to the beach, alone. This meant leaving my husband and my very young children, driving cross country, and being alone for the longest period of time in my entire life.  I’d only ever spent the night away on my own once before. To leave everyone behind for 10 whole days while I tried to recover from a nervous breakdown and decide what the hell I needed to do to pick up the broken pieces of my life was terrifying. I drove straight through without stopping, arrived at my beachfront condo, then celebrated my 33rd birthday alone the next night.

The ocean has always called to me and if I spend too long away from it, I start to feel edgy. My soul feels soothed in a very profound way when I hear the waves and feel the sand between my toes. In some ways, the solitude was exactly what I needed to heal. In other ways, it was extremely dangerous for me to be by myself. I didn’t feel enthusiasm for life. I thought of my marriage and I felt profound sorrow and hopelessness. My husband didn’t love me and I was pretty certain he hadn’t loved me in quite a long time, despite the fact that he was “making the best of it”. I’d made horrible choices that haunted me, but that I couldn’t escape from. I felt like I’d failed as a parent and wondered if my children would be better off without me. I’d never felt so alone and I’d never been so close to the brink of saying “fuck it” and giving up completely.

After an aborted suicide by drowning that is almost comical when narrated, I realized I didn’t really want to live but wasn’t sure I wanted to die.  Probably the less said about the trip, the better. I survived it, my husband and children joined me after 10 days. After pleading and begging my husband to stay with us for the remainder of the time, he refused and left to go back home, an abandonment which would set the tone for the future. When I returned home, scarred from my experiences and feeling fragile, I knew I needed safety first and that didn’t involve hours and hours of verbal sparring. So I asked for a trial separation, just to give us a space between interactions to retreat to…which turned into a permanent separation.

I’ve been to the beach location since then, but always in the company of other family members. When I decided to return this year, I was excited at the thought of a week away and the thought of being near the ocean. I hadn’t counted on the nearly crippling anxiety that would begin to plague me as I got closer to the trip. Memories, incredibly painful memories, began to surface and I struggled with the thought of going. I had fleeting moments where I wondered if it was a good idea, then I thought I was being ridiculous and tried to just take a deep breath. I wasn’t the same person and my life wasn’t the same.

Driving toward my destination, as my children were engrossed in their own activities to pass the time, my mind returned over and over to the past. I found tears streaming down my face and my anxiety returning. What was I thinking? I should have picked a different location. I shouldn’t have even attempted to come to this place again without support, distractions, a way to distance myself from everything that had happened 7 years earlier.

Yet as we drew closer, at the first sight of the water, I felt something in my chest ease. The excitement of my children and the scent of the ocean water buoyed my spirits. As our days have passed here, I’ve been mostly fine. A few stray moments here and there were I’ve had a hard time not getting bogged down by the memories, but I’ve mainly felt happy and relaxed. I feel like I’ve reclaimed this place I’ve been coming to since I was a child. The bad memories aren’t banished, but they haven’t completely ruined the experience for me. This has been a wonderful time with my children.

I have felt some sorrow thinking of what it could be like if seven years ago, my husband hadn’t chosen to leave when I’d asked him to stay with us, be a family with us for the rest of the week. I can’t help but muse about what would have happened if he’d taken me by the hand and said, “I love you and I want our family and I’m willing to be here while we figure it out.” He didn’t and it’s hard to know what effect that would have had. Given our current relationship, I certainly can’t even picture a life with him now, nor do I want one. Still, that’s the thing about choices: Each one means a different path in the road and a different possible outcome.

I’ve spent a lifetime believing that if I feel a moment of sadness it invalidates all the joy and it’s impossible for those two emotions to live side-by-side. For me, that’s simply not true. I feel intense joy that I’m here in this moment with my children. I feel wonderful that I can hear the ocean when I walk on the beach at night, that the stars shine so brightly overhead. I love lazing around with them and doing whatever we want, whether its going for night time swims or playing Guitar Hero in an arcade.

At the same time, I feel sadness it’s just me that’s here with them. I feel lonely. If I allow myself to slip out of the present moment, I feel regrets about the past and worry for the future. I feel a desire to not go back to my “real” life, which has seemed to involve a lot of stress. I intensely want a partner at some moments and feel unhappy I haven’ met someone I want around long term. Then at other moments I wonder if I really want to give up my freedom. I can recognize that being here alone with my children creates some loneliness. I can also realize a partner might not want to play Guitar Hero in an arcade, go for night time swims and then drink hot chocolate, or do any of the other things we think are great. I realize a relationship would mean conforming to another person’s agenda and desires. Right now, neither being completely alone or being in a marriage or partnership, with all that entails, sounds quite right. Still, I’d like to try starting things off with someone wonderful and see where it goes!

So…sadness and joy. Perhaps living betwixt them is the work I’m learning to do. Mindfulness. Being present. The recognition that feelings are just feelings and come and go.

For tonight, I’ll stand outside and look at the waves and listen to that rhythm that calls to my soul. I’ll check on my sleeping children one last time before I go to bed. Then I’ll wake and see what the day brings us. I’m sure for at least one more day, it will bring us sun, sand, water, giggles, some sibling fights and seafood. I’m going to try to not worry about what tomorrow brings. I’ll face that tomorrow.

The Ebb and Flow of Feelings

Posted in anxiety, depression, Parenting, Relationships, self-esteem, self-improvement on March 5, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

So, just a few weeks ago I posted this wonderful blog about how much better I’ve been doing and how many moments of pure joy I’ve experienced lately. I even waxed poetic…something about stringing together the moments of joy into a necklace to light my way into dark days. Or some nonsense like that.

I wish my necklace had a few more moments on it.

I am trying to keep in mind that life and emotions are an ebb and flow and it’s easy to get trapped into thinking “I feel like shit today, so my life must be shit”. Or thinking that things are so wonderful and beautiful we’re surprised when things change on what feels like  a whim. Life, and feelings, are so fluid and transitory. But boy, it sure doesn’t feel that way when the dark times hit.

The last two weeks have been a big, steaming pile of crap. There was crap before, but I was managing to handle it. The extra crap, on top of the normal crap, is starting to wear me down.

My ceiling still has a hole in it, although at least an insurance adjuster is finally going to come and see if I can get it fixed ($750 deductible out of pocket). My car has to go in for work ($1027 out of pocket). I’m now sleeping, hopefully very temporarily, in my children’s bedroom in a family bed. Every night. I love them, but it’s starting to get to me. I’m cold all the time and I’ve almost lost all motivation to live except for in front of my heater or under a blanket. The realization (prompted by my father) that I hadn’t changed my furnace filter in years may, hopefully, lead to a warmer house. I had a horrific stomach bug for a week, yet had to drag myself to work because of drama. I’ve had ongoing drama with THEY WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED and it has really started to get old and wear on my spirit. I decided to get brave and ask someone out with whom there was a flirtation, only to be told that he had a “reputation” he had to uphold during his pending divorce and that he probably couldn’t be seen around town with me, but since I was cute he’d totally be up for a “make-out session” at his house. Hmmm…I think that only works if I hate myself. Since I don’t, I declined. I wondered if he might be a douchebag before I asked him out for a drink, but I didn’t expect such complete confirmation so quickly. My children have been at each other’s throats and my parenting has felt like it mainly consists of mediation lately. My workouts the last two weeks have been almost nonexistent and yesterday, when I worked out, I thought I might die. Today I’m so sore I can barely move.

And rolling around it all is the anger that is still percolating about my blog and the invasion that happened. I’ve had a lot of thoughts around ethics and what responsibility a writer has when discussing another person, even one whom they don’t specifically name. I’ll probably get around to that at a future date.  Yet I’m very much feeling like my blog is tainted, much as I did when D informed me he’d been reading it. Again, I can’t stop people from reading if I choose to publish it on the internet. But the strong feeling of ickiness and violation is persisting. I’ve had a promise the blog will never again be read by THEY WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED, but I heard that just last week and had it proven to me very quickly it wasn’t true.

So, I’m trying to take some deep breaths and remember these emotions are transitory. Life could change within a few minutes. Breathe through the bad times and don’t get too comfortable in the great times. Change is inevitable and I have to look for the beauty in every moment and accept it when things suck. Life isn’t out to get me, it’s just the journey.

Breathing in, breathing out…trying to be mindful and in the present moment. Crying when I need to cry and laughing when I need to laugh. Waiting for the sunshine and warmth to return and lend some cheer to what has felt like the long, hard winter. Only a few weeks until spring…