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Archive for the ‘Long Distance Relationship’ Category

You’ve got to get yourself together. You’ve got stuck in a moment, and you can’t get out of it. Don’t say that later will be better. Now you’re stuck in a moment, and you can’t get out of it. And if the night runs over, and if the day won’t last, and if your way should falter along this stony pass … It’s just a moment. This time will pass.

The above is an excerpt from U2’s song Stuck In A Moment, and it’s very appropriate for the phase I am in.

If I look around I see what’s wrong in my life – personal and work. If I look to the future, I see the short-comings of the present or the demands of the present. I don’t want to look to tomorrow for a fix and instead want to know how to change my perspective now … in the moment. I don’t know how to live in the present because I feel I am always preparing for the future.

I’m stressed out because I am not sure the person I am dating is a long-term partner for me, but I am being pressured to consider moving in together within a few months. I feel trapped in a corner and am shutting down my emotions rather than exploring them.

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It Just May Be A Lunatic You’re Looking For

I started to see a therapist because of concern about how I was thinking about and approaching my relationship. How crazy is it that I think I am being crazy with a relationship in the early stages and go see a therapist to change my behavior and ways of thinking when I don’t even know what this relationship is.

The therapist is a great sounding board and brings a level of perspective that is very welcome at times and not so welcome at other times. In fact, if I were to assign scores to the sessions we have had, she has ruled against me more than she has ruled for me. She is the voice of reason telling me no to self-sabotage; not to cut-and-run; and to give this guy a break. (It’s not like I am a horror to this guy, but I can be a bit unforgiving with my thoughts at times.)

She’s the one who pointed out that most of my previous relationships, romantic and platonic, have been filled with chaos in many different ways, and this is the first normal, balanced and healthy relationships I have had. She’s warned me not to create chaos and not to high-tale it outta there.

Anyway, the other night I went out to karaoke with friends and someone sung Billy Joel’s song, You May Be Right, and the lyrics resonated with me. Here’s an excerpt:

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for
It’s too late to fight
It’s too late to change me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right
You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just might be a lunatic you’re looking for
Turn out the light
Don’t try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

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I’m learning my relationship fears are not fears that most people share with me, so this one comes as no surprise.

When do you plan a vacation with the person you are dating? Let me rephrase, is it smart to plan a vacation that will cost a couple thousand dollars per person when you aren’t sure about the future of your relationship? I don’t think we will break up tomorrow, but I don’t know about 4 months from now. I’m not that secure in the relationship or with my judgment to know this relationship will last for whatever time period.

When I think about planning a vacation together, I begin to think of the vacation as an obligation. (I’m terrible with obligations.) My mind creates these crazy scenarios of us breaking up before the vacation, but having to go together because of the money we invested even though we hate each other. There’s also the anxiety of spending a full week or more together 24 hours a day. I enjoy my space. Yes, I get lonely sometimes, but I also enjoy the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want.

I know I want to be deeply in love someday. I also know at some point I need to let go of my fears and just run with whatever emotions, hopes and dreams I might have. I’m just not there right now and so I keep building my wall.

My compromise on the vacation issue is to buy vacation insurance. (Feel free to laugh, I am.) Obviously, the man I am dating isn’t thrilled to hear my fears or my compromise, but it works for me.

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Sometimes I wonder what’s the matter with me? I have a protective strategy where I disengage and push emotions deep inside until they are almost hidden everyone – me included. I’m concerned I have turned this into more of a daily behavior than an “in case of emergency” one.

For example, I thought I was falling in love with the man I am dating. Perhaps I did, but somewhere along the way I pulled back and I don’t know what I feel. I know what I am supposed to do and say if I love this person. I also know what this person expects of me. This allows me to continue on in a muted state without much visible difference in the way I act. I don’t think this is normal. Yes, everyone has their ups and downs and every relationship does too, but this is different. I feel like a scripted character.

Here’s where the problem becomes complicated. I don’t know if I am feeling this way because I am scared of committing or if I am not into the relationship anymore. It’s hard to know when you don’t trust your judgment.

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I remain confused. I was going to say conflicted, but confused is more appropriate. Maybe overwhelmed.

I’ve been dating the same man for almost 6 months now and struggle more and more each day. I don’t struggle because he doesn’t like and I don’t struggle because I don’t like him. It’s the exact opposite. Caring about this man creates a level of vulnerability I am not comfortable with.

I should step back and say this is the first time I am in a significant relationship with someone who wasn’t a close friend for a while. I did date two other men, at different times, for about eight months or more each, but I knew those relationships weren’t going anywhere. I wasn’t in a place emotionally to get emotionally invested and so I haven’t had to face these challenges before.

All relationships are tricky for me. I grew up in an unstable household where there was mental illness and substance abuse. Along with the mental illness there was also emotional abuse. I learned early on to control my emotions and especially my expectations so that I wouldn’t get hurt. I learned to ignore my wants and needs because it was easier to ignore them than to deal with a fight. I became a fixer and learning to blend into the background at the same time.

Now I am finding it hard to express strong wants and take the risk of exposing vulnerability. Emotion and anticipation were weapons wielded against you, so it was best to remain protective or guarded. This is my default coping mechanism. My subconscious works overtime thinking of ways to protect myself in the future that I am not living in the moment and enjoying the current experiences of new relationship.

I’m trying to change my default coping mechanism, but know it will take baby steps.

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I’m not quite as confused today as I was a year ago or even a few months ago, but I am still confused when it comes to dating and relationships.

The first issue I am facing is a no-drama, healthy relationship. Most people will read this and think I am crazy, but remember my crazy family, upbringing and even previous marriage. The man I am currently involved with is drama-free, attentive, mature and considerate. He’s not perfect, but I don’t want perfect.

What I wasn’t expecting was a feeling of “boriness”. Coming from a drama-ridden and chaotic perspective, healthy and drama free can feel boring. We laugh and enjoy spending time together, but there’s not that adrenalin rush that comes with crisis. While I LOVE the no-drama and healthy aspect of dating this man, it is different from what I am used to and I have to put in effort to change my perceptions.

Although I know there are a bunch of similarities between myself and the man I am dating, I am wondering which differences are big enough to create concern or discord. For example, he’s a process and needs to think about things before responding. There are times when I will ask him about something from his childhood and he will say he needs to think about it and get back to me. I’m completely the opposite and can jump quickly between topics and recall memories or throw out random thoughts. My thoughts may not mean anything to else, but my processing time is quick.

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I had an odd experience this weekend I am still trying to process and understand but will admit to being bothered and concerned about it.

Let me start with my past … I’ve written about my divorce, but not one of the biggest reasons behind it. I discovered my husband at the time was having a long-term affair. The discovery was devastating and him blaming me cut deeply, but overall, the discovery was freeing. It was the catalyst I needed to decide the marriage was over.

It took me a long time to resolve my feelings of not being worthy enough and it takes a conscious effort to not judge other men by my ex-husband’s actions. Unfortunately, in limiting my emotional exposure over the past few years while attempting to date, I found myself involved with men where the above pattern was repeated. It was as if I surrounded myself with men who wouldn’t value me so I wouldn’t be as hurt when they didn’t because I expected it. I finally reached a point where I know I deserve more. There’s risk in believing and trusting in someone, but I don’t want to miss out on the wonderful experiences because I’m hindering my emotions.

The man I am now dating has a similar history with his ex-wife where she was involved in a long-term affair. He too has struggled with leaving his past behind him and had some deep wounds to heal. I thought those wounds were healed until this weekend.

My date got drunk, not intentionally, but he was definitely drunk and regressed into an insecure and scared place in his head. He asked an indelicate question during an intimate moment. Essentially, he asked if I would have the same feelings if I was intimate with someone else.

I was shocked, hurt, sympathetic and worried by his question and need to hear me validate my feelings for him. The next day I brought up his question and my concerns, and although he said he only has a small insecurity or fear I don’t know that I believe him.

I’m worried he needs me to emotionally invest in him – not want, but need. Needing someone to emotionally invest and reassure you of their intentions or their feelings for you isn’t healthy. Although he hasn’t expressed jealousy, I know I can’t be with someone who is jealous or doesn’t believe in my words or displays of affection.

This is a big red flag for me and I am trying to not over-react or disengage just yet. I haven’t processed it all and really don’t know what to think.

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Ever have the experience where you’re dating someone and are enjoying it only to hit a plateau and wonder what the hell you are doing and why? I typically hit this point three weeks into a relationship … typically. I’m dating someone who lives a few hours from me and I think the distance between us, and the limited time spent together, delayed the blah.

For those who don’t know or understand what the blah is, it is a pivotal phase where I figure out if the effort invested in dating someone is worth it. I will do pro and con comparisons and even look for issues and characteristics I don’t like. (Sometimes the thought process is much less logical.) It’s almost as though I am looking for a reason to not like the person.

The blah doesn’t last long as the relationship fizzles or I decide to suck it up and continue in the relationship. Continuing in the relationship doesn’t mean I resolve to become highly involved with the other person or enter a committed relationship. Instead, it’s knowing what my needs/wants are and recognizing there’ good and bad associated with dating anyone.

This leads me to another question I struggle with … when are you settling versus recognizing when a behavior, characteristic or whatever isn’t as important as you thought it was?

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First, let me explain what the “relationship thing” is. I am exclusively dating a wonderful man, Tim, and I love him, but I feel a bit caged and uncomfortable. I’m not sure if these are normal feelings or experiences and have tons of thoughts and “what ifs” running through my head.

Tim has casually brought up the topic of him dating with his two children to gauge their reaction. Surprisingly, the kids have been amazingly open, interested and supportive. In fact, last week they asked my name and a bunch of other questions including when we will all meet. This blew my mind. While Tim and I talked about me meeting his children as a future to-do, I’m not sure I am ready to meet his children. How do you know when the time is right?

I’m not sure I am ready to be in a committed relationship. I care very deeply for this man, but feel he cares more than I do. I know one of my coping mechanisms is to pull back or disengage and so this is one reason my emotions aren’t on par with his. What I can’t say is if this is the only reason.

I’m scared he sees me as someone I am not and am worried if I can live up to this ideal. I’m also worried about meeting his children and then us breaking up. I know it’s his responsibility to protect his children, but I don’t want to be the person to hurt them.
Is it typical for one person in a relationship to love the other more? Is this a bad thing regardless? Maybe it’s just a difference in defining emotions and love.

There’s also the finance worries. My ex wasn’t financially responsible and I know this is an issue for me. I was reminded about how irresponsible my ex was just a few weeks ago when a collection agency called me about his student loan. Anyways, financial responsibility is huge for me. I have a good job and make a good salary, and I don’t want to support someone financially because they can’t manage their money.

I think Tim is financially responsible, but am not sure. He only has one-month of emergency savings and this bothers me a lot! There are several reasons why this may be the case, but I don’t really know the details. I do know he bought a home recently and remodeled much of it. (This wasn’t just a cosmetic remodel and involved quite a bit of work.) He could very well consider his home his emergency fund or retirement plan although this is a risky assumption.

We’ve talked about finances a bit, but there’s obviously a lot more we need to talk about. How deeply do you dive into these topics and then when in a relationship? I honestly don’t know. I didn’t have these conversations with my ex (a good indication why he’s an ex) and don’t know what’s appropriate when.

These are just a few struggles. Trust me, there are more. My boundaries are definitely being tested.

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I’ve found myself exclusively dating a wonderful man, Tim. How wonderful is he? Well, for starters I haven’t given him an alias or nickname and I have introduced him to friends. Both of these are significant as I tend to use nicknames when talking about men I am dating and keep them compartmentalized in my life. Yes, a therapist would have a lot to say on both of these, but it is what it is or was what it was.

It’s been hard to write a new blog posting because I don’t know exactly how to process and talk about the relationship I find myself in. I don’t want to be the constantly “chipper and happy I’m dating someone cliché.” The thought makes me cringe.
I’m not one who gets swooped up in love and romance, but here I am swooped up.

I’ve had my moments of panic and I’ve had moments of disconnect. I’m testing personal boundaries and am scared, but I realize I have to take some chances, believe in my judgment and believe in Tim.

ARGHHHHH! There are so many thoughts swirling in my head and I don’t know how to write them out. I’ll try to sort some of them out and make a post in a few days.

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