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Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

I find myself in an interesting situation where some close friends are going through a divorce or are considering a divorce.  Since both of these friends are men, it provides a different perspective on my divorce.

I should first say that I consider my divorce the most painful gift I have ever received.  Though I never thought we would get divorced, it was a blessing in disguise.  I don’t regret the marriage – we had a ton of great times and good memories.  In hindsight, we should have remained friends, but …

The way my marriage dissolved was a shock, and to be honest, there were a ton of questions I had that remained unanswered.  I’ve moved on with my life and those questions are no longer important, but seeing my two male friends consider divorce provides some answers.

I don’t believe a mid-life crisis is responsible for all divorces and I think “mid-life crisis” is misleading.  I think it’s more of an identity crisis and isn’t limited to any set age.  I think most people can relate to being in a position where they wonder who they are and what they are doing with life.  We think back on choices we could have made and how our lives might be different.  Too often we think back and create a different future where our life is better than it currently is, but there’s always the possibility it could be darker.

Both of my friends are in an identity crisis where they are wondering if this is the life they want and if they could be happier.  (It’s not like they are mildly unhappy, both have expressed a lot of unhappiness and frustration with their lives.)  Listening to their thoughts and complaints, I can empathize with the situation their wives are in, but I can also project some of what they are saying back on my ex.  (I’m not saying this excuses bad behavior because it doesn’t – it just allows me to see a new perspective.)

One think I know for sure is that the end of a relationship or marriage will not kill you.  It might break your heart and hurt like hell, but you survive through it – and often you find yourself happier afterward.

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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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I’ve exchanges emails with this guy, but we haven’t made any firm plans to meet. He’s expressed interest, but to be real … if he or I were really interested in one another we would have set plans to see each other again.

Also, I don’t think I am an emotionally needy woman requiring a guy to reach out to me all the time, but I do like a sense of stable connection. Email is fine, but I also like talking with the person. We aren’t making this effort either.

The easy conclusion is we both are not interested in a romantic relationship. There may be friendship potential only time will tell.

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I’m not currently dating anyone seriously; I don’t even have casual dates lined up. I’m burnt out from dating; especially on-line dating and misrepresenting profiles. My New Year’s Eve will not be spent with a date and instead with a banquet room full of strangers forcing me to venture out of my comfort zone and meet new people.

Am I lonely, yes, but I don’t want to invest time and emotion if I am not into someone or don’t see potential in the relationship. I’ve done this many times and it eventually makes me feel like crap. I begin to doubt my worthiness and value which is insane because I am intelligent, fun-loving and attractive. I know I am not a “perfect 10”, but I do have a lot going for me.

What I have noticed about being lonely, and perhaps this is a female trait, is that I think back on previous boyfriends with a bit of distortion to my memory.

There’s one boyfriend I dated a year ago who was incredibly fun and had an incredible heart and soul. He was also an incredible lover. Unfortunately, he was not good with communication and was a runner. He would distance himself whenever conflict arose. He also had a lot of family issues and drama in his life because of family. Lastly, he wasn’t financially responsible and had funky toes. (I have an anti-foot fetish so funky toes were a big deal!)

I know all of the above and can remind myself of our differences, but during certain moments when I think back I miss him and wonder if I should have stuck it out. Logically I know the answer … We made the right decision to break-up, but I do wonder if I will ever laugh like I did with him; feel as sexy as I did with him; enjoy sex as much as I did with him …

When we were together I knew we wouldn’t be a long-term relationship. We dated for about a year and I made sure I didn’t fall in love with him, but I am pretty sure I did fall in love with him in many ways. Now that time has passed it’s easy to forget why we broke up and instead only remember the good times. It’s easier to reminisce, and even perhaps fantasize, about what might have been and wonder if I will experience the connection and compatibility I had with him, minus many of the incompatibilities, within a healthier and long-term relationship.

I don’t plan on calling him and he doesn’t know about this blog. Again, logically, I know the relationship had specific deal-breakers which remain deal-breakers today. It’s just easier to over-look them because they aren’t present every day and aren’t as significant.

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I had an epiphany … It may be obvious to others as I write about it, but it’s taken me quite a while to realize.

I grew up with mental illness in my family. My mother is bipolar with a strong mean streak. She has extreme mood swings with her highs and lows cycling quickly along with narcissism, depression & highly tuned manipulative skills.

As a child I was powerless to act and instead learned I had to accept her behavior and deal as best I could. This means I learned to stifle my needs, silence my inner voice and tolerate, even accept, the unacceptable.
Why am I sharing this information? One, my blog is anonymous; two, this is why Tornado Dating exists. When I learned to accept the above behavior from my mom I believed I should accept it from others. It didn’t appear odd or out of the norm because it was my everyday life.

This isn’t a pity party. I’ve learned I don’t have to deal with my mom and her crazy behaviors. As an adult I can remove myself from the situation. This realization was slow in coming, but was liberating once realized. The same applies to dating. I can remove myself from situations where behavior is unacceptable … and I have.

What I need is to listen to my inner voice earlier and leave a situation sooner rather than later. This won’t end my Tornado Dating experiences, but does provide me with a sense of empowerment.
If you are struggling with dating, take a look at yourself and key family relationships you have struggled with or watched struggle. (We learn by watching too!) This isn’t a magic bullet approach, but a first step in a better direction.

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Love at first is exciting and blinding—to the past as well as to the future. But that’s because it’s not really love; it’s lust. Real love consists of negotiating crises together, nurturing the partnership, and feeling safe amid the ups and downs.

Great questions to ask yourself:

1.    The most difficult feelings for me to show are __________________________.

2.    I don’t show people I’m ______ because I’m frightened that _____.

Why did I include the above? Because … we all hold on to fears and non-beneficial ideals that hinder us in our pursuit of happiness and joyous moments.

Ideals make us believe perfection is only achieved when there are no flaws instead of realizing flaws are a component of perfection. False ideals lend us to believe we need to consume more and devalue our experiences.

Fears also hinder our experiences and perspectives. Fear of failing, fear of judgment, fear of heart-break … fear is endless if you allow it to be.

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I’ve talked about Divorcing Guy needing a transitioning girl or two and I think it is only fair I talk about my transition guy.

I want to very clearly say he was a wonderful person and I will always love and appreciate him. We were very different in so many ways, but clicked in so many others.

Ironically, I met my transition guy while out on a work event. There was a day function that led to a team dinner and then team-building activities. One of those activities was shooting pool. That is where I ran into and met my transition guy. (Because he does mean so much to me, I don’t like referring to him as transition guy, but I also don’t want to identify anyone by name.)

There was a crazy energy match between us almost instantly. We got into a bantering conversation and had many laughs as well. He was funny and very polite. I had to rejoin my work-group so we exchanged numbers and made tentative plans to go out another time.

We went out on a few casual dates and had a blast each time. He was surprisingly considerate and complimentary. (Keep in mind I was in the process of a divorce. I had already severed the marriage logically, but was waiting on the legal confirmation and the emotional processing.) One thing I really appreciated was he not only opened doors for me when we went somewhere, but he also would open my car door for me. I had never had anyone open and close my car door for me. (It felt odd at first.)

He was attempting to start his own massage practice combining massage with Reiki as he was also a Reiki Master. Until his practice was established, he worked as a managing caterer for a high-end hotel/venue in the area. His working hours were crazy and he lived an hour and a half away in average traffic, but we managed to see each other often.

I realized how wonderful he was and how much I cared for him when he planned an outing to see a lunar eclipse. I had brought up the idea of going out away from the city in order to get the best view of the eclipse, but didn’t make any specific plans as to where we would go. I just figured we would drive out somewhere, stay for a bit and drive back. Instead, it was the most authentically romantic gesture.

He ended up picking me up in a pick-up truck, which he had never driven before, and said he packed a few things for us. I didn’t question it and we headed off. We drove out into a more rural area and he begins to “set-up”. He had pulled his guest mattress out of his house and had it in the back of the truck along with blankets and pillows. He also packed a cooler with wine, cheese, crackers and grapes. His idea was we could create a “chaise lounge” and we could enjoy each other’s company and the eclipse. It wasn’t luxurious, but it was an incredibly nice gesture and an amazing night.

A few months later, we went on a road trip to visit a few wineries in the area and our trip and intentions derailed! The first night we went out to dinner and then later to a bar and drank way too much. While speaking with another couple in the bar I said something he misunderstood but hurt him deeply. I was explaining what he did and he thought I was mocking him. I wasn’t.

He worked his ass off. I have never met anyone who worked as hard as he did. It was heart-warming and heart-breaking. His family had a lot of drama and took advantage of him constantly asking for money. He never said no even if it made his life more difficult. It’s a double-fault situation where he felt he could never win though he didn’t really complain about it. The demands from his family made pursuing and achieving his dream of a massage practice much more difficult. Anyway, I digress.

We decided to head back to our hotel room and began to argue on the way home. The argument turned into a heated fight. We should have stopped and waited to talk the next day given we were both drunk, but we didn’t and the situation escalated.

After an hour of yelling I got sick. I don’t handle yelling well at all and though I know alcohol definitely contributed to me getting sick so did the emotional upheaval. He followed me into the bathroom and while still arguing also tended to me rubbing my back and holding my hair.

Then my world abruptly paused. I lost a breath and thought, “holy shit, what now?!?!”

As we were arguing I hear him say he loves me … “Dammit <insert my name>, I love you. I freaking love you, don’t you get that?”

I get sick again and just want to rewind the night. The panic of hearing those words gave me some clarity to not pursue that line of conversation right then and there. I apologized for hurting his feelings and explained how proud I was of him and I was only trying to explain what he did. I wasn’t mocking him and wouldn’t. Eventually, we went to bed.

The next morning I woke up knowing a difficult conversation was ahead. I didn’t know how to initiate the conversation and knew there wasn’t going to be the perfect moment to start the conversation. I inhaled and took a giant leap and brought up his proclamation of love.

I knew he was deeply hurt the night before by misunderstanding my intentions. I also knew where some of the pain in thinking I thought less of him came from. It wasn’t a shock when he brushed off his comments about love. He told me he loves everyone, but the only person he is in love with is himself. It’s a pretty shallow and lame comment, but I understood it was a defensive posturing. I should have pursued the conversation but I didn’t. I chalk it up to being scared and also not knowing how to have these healthy conversations. The conversation was let go and the issue never brought up again. In hindsight, this is when we both put up emotional boundaries. We loved one another without being in love. The perfect dysfunctional but greatly needed relationship.

— Here’s where I struggle about how open to be. Guess I’ll take the plunge —

You probably assumed already we had progressed into a sexual relationship. We had and it was and is an amazing and spiritual journey. He was exactly what I needed to regain a sense of sexiness and desirability. He complimented me and taught me how to let go, live and enjoy. He introduced me to Reiki, reinforced my pursuit of positive thinking, taught me how to enjoy, allowed me to enjoy, guided me in breathing techniques and introduced tantric sex. His “wisdom” was shared with my roommate who then shared the wisdom with her then boyfriend and now fiancé. (I think my transition guy definitely deserves some of the credit there. In fact, I remember him cheering on my friend’s now fiancé to go for their first kiss!)

I joked he sounded like Christopher Walken when he talked and told him about the SNL Cowbell Skit. (One of my absolute favorite TV moments.) He went out and bought a cowbell and surprised me one night. It was quite a surprise because he jumped on the bed naked ringing the cowbell and dancing. It was the silliest and funniest thing. I loved how free he was and gained some personal freedom and confidence from him.

While we were seeing each other I had surgery and had a pretty big incision making me a bit self-conscious. I was scared to be naked with him and terrified to be naked with him and have the lights on. He amazed me once again and told me the incision was a beauty mark. I think I cried.

Although he was amazing and we had amazing fun together, we both knew we weren’t life partners for various reasons. We agreed we would tell each other if we met someone we wanted to date. He ended up meeting someone and our relationship ended. From what I last heard, his relationship progressed to an engagement and I hope that he has a life full of love and happiness because he is truly a beautiful person.

I don’t think I have met anyone with a heart as kind and deep as his. I am grateful to him on a level I can’t express. He helped me pull emotional pieces of myself back together and feel attractive, sexy and desirable. Although I would tell him how very special he was, I hope that is the one take-away he had from our time together.

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