old habits die hard… or not at all

old habits die hard… or not at all

Hear ye, hear ye! One and all! This is epic what I’m about to tell you.

6 years ago, when my ex-lover and I first got together, we would have a situation where I would text him something sweet like, “have a good day,” and sometimes it would take hours before receiving a reply.

How do you think I handled it? Yup, I’d stew over it, wonder how he could be so insensitive. And so, hours later, usually, when there wasn’t a reply, I’d text him while feeling quite pissed off. I’d say something like, “Where are you? How can you not reply to my good morning? To which he’d respond something defensive or rude. Our texting patterns were an ongoing problem with us. He just seemed so insensitive.

Okay, fast forward y-e-a-r-s later, and now we’re friends who rarely text. But at least we remained friends. One day recently I woke up to a short text from him, where he asked me a question, and I answered the question then said, “hope it’s a great day!” To which, once again, I received crickets… all day.

How many thoughts do you think I had? Yup, a ton of them. Everything from even as friends he’s pulling this, to how can he be so rude, to this is the last time I’m dealing with his shit. So, by the end of the night, after I’d had time to talk to a girlfriend about it, I sent him a straight forward, non-emotional, friendly text, and I asked him if, going forward, one of us says “have a good day” the other person makes a point to say “you too” after reading the first text, and that’s the end of it. No more hurt feelings, that simple.

I wasn’t sure if he’d get mad, laugh, or think I was ridiculous. And guess what? I didn’t care. I felt that if I couldn’t be honest about how I needed us to handle that type of situation in a specific way, then we didn’t need to text at all anymore. Period.

His answer to my text: “Had a very rare mega oversleep day and read your text the second I woke up and then was off and running immediately, so it just slipped my mind you had even said that. If that happens, another text a bit later saying HEY, YOU OK? would be awesome too. Then you’d get two responses back. Hope it’s a great day on your side today!”

I was like, wow! What a nice response! I’d finally gotten to the place where I could text what I needed nicely, even though I was frustrated. And he got to the place where he could answer my request for handling the situation differently in the future nicely! No more drama! Done! And we celebrated our communication success! It was a milestone.

And then after thinking about it more I realized the patterns didn’t change at all. After 6 years of this type of thing going on, it didn’t change AT ALL. He did the same type of thing, woke up, read my text and was off and running without a quick response. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lived through this scenario with him. And it was far worse emotionally for me when we were together because I’d left my husband for him, was going through a divorce, had kids to raise and everything else, yet he’d do this type of thing and I’d feel so abandoned!

When this happened this time, I didn’t feel abandoned, just pissed and like he was insensitive. After reading his reason for not responding, I realized he was just feeling behind on his day, which happens a lot with his mindset. Being an entrepreneur definitely contributes to that. Being self-employed isn’t easy in that regard. But still, it’s a pattern in his behavior. How hard would it be to lie in his bed for ten more seconds and type a simple “you too!” Especially when it’s caused us so much angst in the past. Ten more seconds to type that would have made a difference in my day, and it’s tempting to think I’m just not important enough to him to type two little words before starting his day. The fact things like this couldn’t change along the way definitely contributed to why we are strictly friends now.

So, bottom line here peeps—all my complaining about this type of thing happening, and it happened AGAIN! But the way in which we handled it was completely different, which was great. Of course I wish it wouldn’t happen in the first place… and I realize his solution was for ME to send a follow up text asking if he’s okay rather than HIM thinking maybe next time he can just take a minute, stop reacting out of habit by immediately jumping out of bed, and send a two word text before starting his “already-behind” day.

I’ve realized “it is what it is” and “we are who we are,” and he has no intention of changing in this area and never has.

The success came in how we communicated our viewpoints nicely! I’ll take that as a definite win.

According to this article, we need four steps to change a habit for good. I will highlight the main points of the aricle and provide a link at the end so you can read it all.

Step 1. Mindfulness: being aware of the present moment

Step 2. Train your mind, train your behavior. The author gives the following example:

Situation-Thought-Feeling-Behavior

Situation – I have a meeting.

Thought – I don’t like this meeting.

Feeling – Anger, frustration, anxiety

Behavior – I go to the meeting but feel agitated and checked out the whole time. I to to the vending machine right after the meeting and get a sugary fatty snack food. Now I have a habit.

Step 3. Implement a new rewarding routine

Situation – I have a meeting.

Thought – I don’t like this meeting, but I know it’s important for me to be there.

Feeling – Ease, contentment

Behavior – I go to the meeting with an attitude of receptivity. I also make a plan to go for a walk afterward as a reward.

We change our habits by changing our routine to a new rewarding one.

4. Create a Compassionate Action Plan

Research from Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion shows that when we have a critical thought, our nervous system goes into fight/flight/freeze and from this place we can only respond from our reptilian brain (we are in survival mode). From a place of fight/flight/freeze we are unable to see the bigger picture, be creative or compassionate toward the perceived stressor. Criticism makes us feel more anxious, more depressed, and more afraid of failure.

The author of the article tells us she believes the antidote to criticism and greatest motivator is compassion.

Wow, this last step is really intriguing to me because, first of all, I’m a big believer in being compassionate with ourselves, and it took me a long time to realize my ex-lover’s choice to not send me a quick two-word text before getting out of bed is because he overslept and was already feeling behind on his day. Which means he was feeling self-critical. Instead of being compassionate with himself and me, he quickly read the text, probably feeling a bit shitty for having slept so late, and he hurried out of bed, completely forgetting he’d seen the text at all. A more compassionate response, to both him and me, would be, in my opinion, to take ten seconds for a two-word text.

To read the article, on how to change a habit, in its entirety, click here!

 

sucked dry

sucked dry

Sometimes we stay in a relationship to the point we’re sucked dry. Is it that we’re too needy or the other is too insensitive?

A recent podcast I listened to (Do You F*cking Mind podcast, episode 42, hosted by Alexis Fernandez), made the point we shouldn’t rely on our partner to have our needs met. I love this podcast, but I have to wonder about this comment. I mean, if her guy continuously walked through the door and treated her in a way in which her needs weren’t met, eventually, she’d move on.

But she makes a good point in saying the best kind of love flows from being secure within ourselves.  So it’s a mix of both— being sensitive to one another but also taking responsibility for our emotional health. It’s a tricky thing, balancing the needs of another with our own.

My ex lover rarely wanted to meet my needs. I was the one sending cards, or a letter, or a sweet note, or feeling sentimental, or asking for more tenderness, or saying I was sorry, yada, yada, yada. I can count on one hand the times he apologized to me. It really would have helped; instead he seemed to think conflicts were almost always my fault.

I was always looking for that one little action on his end that would tell me he loved me. This grew worse once we moved into a friendship. Now I see why: I made the mistake of ex sex, and that bonding, mixed with a looser commitment, resulted in even less of my needs met but more neediness. Toxic mix.

I was always looking for more tenderness, more validation in our friendship. I was the one considering his feelings, even in friendship, far more than he considered mine. Like a bone dry water well in the middle of a dried up field, I’d lower my bucket into the depths, only to pull the bucket up empty… again. No real affection or validation sent my way from him. I was always longing for more.

It’s so clear to me now, I should have left long before I did. When someone ignores your needs for that long, somehow you begin to believe it’s your fault, you’re wanting too much. Now I see I was used and he was selfish.

I’ve moved forward with my ex-husband and we’ve reconciled, which, of course, in my ex-lover’s mind, is lame, weak, needy and whatever else unhealthy. So the validation I craved from my ex-lover is never going to be there, no matter what, because now I’m with my ex-husband, the last person my ex-lover thinks I should be with. But what does he know about it? He wasn’t able to bend and meet needs in a relationship. Obviously, I reconciled because many needs are being met with my ex-husband. I know it’s not a typical solution, to reconcile with the ex-husband, but so far it’s been the right move for me.

According to this article, our core needs are non negotiable.

Successful relationships come down to basic questions about our core needs:

  • What do I need in a relationship in order to feel loved, happy, fulfilled, and secure?
  • What do you need in a relationship to feel the same?
  • Are you willing to meet my needs in this relationship?
  • Am I willing to meet yours?

Basically, this article reiterates what I’ve felt to be true! If someone is important enough to you, if you want your relationship to succeed, then you try to meet that person’s emotional needs.

It’s a quick read but a good one! Click here to read the article!

Of course we can’t expect our partner to fulfill our every emotional need. And it makes us a stronger person when we soothe ourselves instead of relying on someone else. But like everything else in life there’s got to be balance.

Read this next article written by Sheri Stritof on soothing our own needs while being mindful of our partner’s.

the distance

the distance

I was married almost fifteen years when I met the man I left the marriage for, and pursuing a new relationship with this man began in the midst of swirling turmoil. Add my two kids to the mix and now we’re talking compounded angst, failed expectations, and disappointment when trying to build something solid with this new person. 

I’d considered it an advantage that he didn’t have kids and hadn’t been married, due to his desire to pursue creative passions and projects; yet, when it came down to real life set-up, I found I needed someone who could be more engaged with the daily kid and life routine. And if that weren’t possible, at least more engaged with helping take care of our needs as a couple, with meals or other necessities. And he did try, but to me it was a drop in the bucket called NEED.

Because this man was struggling financially with his creative start-up projects, the money wasn’t there to add cushion to all of life’s staggering blows. And his focus was usually on getting the money, and because of his struggle, I many times felt like what I needed in the relationship wasn’t given, and he felt misunderstood and pressured by me. His frustration and uncertainty many times morphed into criticizing me. And I’d criticized him, too— plenty.

Little did I know it then, but we didn’t have a chance in hell. And hell is definitely where we were most days. I look back at that couple now and feel such a sense of compassion. We had so many wonderful elements in place— the kind of elements that seemed to really matter, like outlook on life, purpose, higher calling, all of that higher consciousness stuff. But what we found is that even with our mutual passion to live out our lives’ purpose, the most important elements of alignment weren’t there! How could this be?

I’d focused so much on the things my new partner and I had together (things I’d been missing in my former marriage), I didn’t keep a clear head about the fact my new partner and I needed to be financially solvent as individuals. This isn’t easy to do when you’ve been a stay-at-home mom for twelve years; I relied on the fact that the money in the bank account and other investments from my ex-husband’s job would pull me through, which is understandable, given I hadn’t been working out of the home, but finding a good job first—before making any big life changes—would have been much smarter.

Before you make any kind of major move forward with another person, make sure you both have the means by which to keep yourselves and your life financially sound. Yes, there is something to be said for blind faith, but not when it comes to money. Even if you have dreams of creating something new together, make sure you both already have the means to keep yourselves and your children afloat, so you don’t become an additional burden to one another.

Today’s resource is an article I read quite some time ago, and the solid advice still holds up. I will put the bullet points below, but please click the link to read the full article because it is GOLD.

1. Decide You Want It More Than You Are Afraid of It

2. Create a Series of Steps that Will Get You Where You Want to Go

3. Commit Now that You Will Live Beneath Your Means for the Rest of Your Life

4. Block Out the Spendthrifts in Your Life

5. Always Keep Your Career or Business Moving Forward

6. Vow to Always Save Money – No Matter What Your Income Is

7. Insulating Yourself in the Short Run – Creating a Safety Net

8. Invest Everything Above That

9. Invest No Matter What the Market is Doing

10. Diversify Your Investments

11. Diversify Your Income Sources Too

12. Shield as Much Income from Taxes as Possible

13. Get Out and Stay Out of Debt

14. Make Sure You Have Enough Insurance Coverage

15. Commit to Focusing on Your Goal Regularly