self soothing

self soothing

Today I woke feeling an intense need for alone time, out in the world, but what to do?

Only one day off remaining in the weekend and so many options on a beautiful Sunday… a hike in the mountains high on the list, but that would suck up most of the day and leave little time for this writing, equally important. A walk around a near-by reservoir, maybe, or a drive… or a coffee shop & latte then walk later on the neighborhood trail, after some writing… this is what I landed on. And here I am.

I’m feeling a bit like a hopeless case today. Caught smack dab in the middle between wanting my family back together and missing the hell out of spending time with my former lover. You can judge. I don’t care. And before you start thinking I’m heartless for saying that, let me explain: when I went through my divorce, I was surprised to find it difficult to find honest help or advice on the internet, without someone wanting to be paid.

One time I emailed a divorce therapist who sent back an obvious automated reply with typos, misspelling my first name, even, yet sure to include the hefty fee for counsel, should I take on their services.

Needless to say, that response was immediately deleted, and it was at that moment I decided if I were to create this website, I would keep it real and not let that slimy thing called shame keep me from telling the truth. This site exists for the tough, private goings-on-in-the-heart, not the everyday chitter chatter you can have with any work colleague.

I realized, while waiting in line for my latte, this need to separate from “this or that” today stems from a need to maintain a sense of me, since one end of my inner sanctum finds comfort in my family, the other my former love.

Solution seems easy enough doesn’t it. Stop talking to him, the former love. Cut the ties. Delete the apps. Oh, I’ve done that multiple times, believe me. Then reinstall the apps. And say hello and banter once again. Truth is, he feels as necessary to life in my soul as my ex-husband and family unit. So then my mind spirals into, “Why, why couldn’t we have made it work? Why did it have to be too much for us?” But then I realize again it was an impossible situation when the money wasn’t there and he wasn’t prepared or willing to meld into a unit that could take on two kids…

It’s the countless texts sent between my former love and me… the texts where conversations are fulfilling, when expectations dissolve and we allow things to be as they are, that make our relationship mind-blowingly great. 

But then it’s the never-ending exchanges where simple communication expectations breakdown that leave me feeling completely depleted and sad. Simple exchanges where he asks how I am, I answer and then don’t get a response for ample amounts of time. He has a continuous way of starting a conversation and dropping it again because of real life projects and work, which is understandable from time to time but absolutely life-sucking when it happens as frequently as it does.

The last time this happened, when he asked me how I was and I responded, only to not receive another reply for a significant amount of time, I finally flat out asked for what I want: “Hey, if someone initiates an open-ended ‘how are you,’ what do you think about staying around in the conversation to complete the exchange before moving on?” Since text is all we use, btw, to communicate…

But nooooo, the answer given back: “Or how about you learn to be patient and know I’ll respond when I can, especially with this next month’s worth of projects coming up that will be pulling me in more than ever?”

As if I don’t have responsibilities, household chores, children, exercise and work obligations… but yet I make myself available to immediately answer an exchange, if I initiated a ‘how are you.’ And the truth of it is, he always has those projects that take precedence over a simple response to a text.

I’m caught in the middle of this and although I’m still functioning alright, it hurts. I can’t be with two people at once, two people I love equally but in different ways, but real love for both just the same. One man, father of my children, willing to meet my needs as a partner, the other not willing to be tied to a texting protocol. Is it really too much to ask? Yes. And that’s why our relationship didn’t work. Because rather than meeting me half way on my connection needs, my former love thinks I’m needy and demanding.

So here I sit, typing, feeling better to share with you the imperfections of my life and grateful to at least know how to step away from it all and nurture myself, give myself what I need when others in my life can’t or won’t do the same.

“If you can’t change the circumstances, change your perspective.” ~Unknown

The author of this article, Khrystle Rea, begins by telling us we like to feel we are in control of our lives, but when it comes to relationships, there is always the other person.

She’s had a difficult relationship with her father; he’s had a hard time being present in her life, so this is the relationship she writes about in the article. Unlike her, I had a father who stuck around. Can’t imagine how hard that would be, to have a father who is MIA, but my heart goes out to those who have experienced this.

She goes on to say, “In a relationship, you can’t be the puppeteer. People have their own emotions, behaviors, actions, beliefs, scars, wounds, fears, dreams, and perspectives. They are their own person.”

Well, I found that to be true. With my former love, I was so naive, thinking just because he had amazing qualities my ex-husband didn’t have, he’d have all the amazing qualities my ex did have. Doesn’t work like that.

The author writes, “In healthy relationships there are certain expectations, like being treated well or being respected. Yet sometimes we find ourselves in relationships that don’t mirror what we anticipate to happen. We may feel hurt or used.

We cannot expect other people to treat us as we would treat them. We cannot assume anything or force change upon someone who clearly demonstrates he or she is stuck in his or her own way.

With eyes full of clarity, I am capable of changing the relationships in my life by adjusting my point of view.”

So what does this mean, to change our point of view? The author goes on to say how she was continually hurt by her father’s absence in her life, how she was living in a fantasyland, and by adjusting her point of view, she alleviated hurt in her life.

“For the protection of my emotional body,” she says, “I changed my perception from what I hoped would happen, to being open to experience whatever actually happens.”

Then she goes on to list the five steps she followed to come to peace with the type of relationship she has with her father. I highly recommend reading her five steps. She’s able to write about them candidly.

Click here to be taken to the article for the five steps.

I know one of my biggest lessons in remaining friends with my former love is learning how to accept what is. Accept him for who he is. Realize those differences are why we are friends and not lovers.

Also, to sink into the loving relationships around me that do offer a healthy “give and take,” and, most importantly, to truly love myself.