Tag Archives: relationships

We Attract Who We Think We’re Worth

20 Sep

I read a blog post yesterday that said, when it comes to dating, we attract who we think we are worth.  That’s definitely true.  As I read, I was nodding along.  The title is Who You Date Is a Function of Your Self-Esteem.  Absolutely correct.

I likely would have said that Tony was “out of my league” ten years, five years, one year, or even six months ago.  He’s intelligent, handsome, sweet, attentive, successful, amazing in bed, responsible, wonderfully quirky, hilarious, gentlemanly, quick-witted, and more.  He has a way with words, he’s in touch with himself and his emotions, and he’s genuine.  He is the true definition of “the total package.”  He’s got everything a girl could ever dream of and then some.  Seriously.

The old version of me would have been intimidated by that.  I probably wouldn’t have given the five star “nudge” because I would have been positive that he couldn’t possibly be into me.   I would have been shocked and maybe even skeptical when/if I got a message from him.  I certainly wouldn’t have had the confidence to engage and interact with him the way that I did.

That’s not to say that my personality or taste have changed lately.  I’ve always been the person I am, for the most part.  Certainly, I have grown over the years, especially emotionally.  However, my sense of humor, natural intelligence, honesty, caring nature, talents, and even body haven’t changed that much in the last decade.  I’m pretty much the same me I’ve always been, with added maturity, insight, and confidence.

I have also always been attracted to the qualities that Tony possesses.  Who wouldn’t be?  I just never thought I would get someone like that.  Or that I deserved to.

Reading that, even after coming to the realization on my own, is painful.  I knew great people existed with all of the qualities I admired and desired.  I simply thought none of them would ever want me.  I was sure that I would have to make concessions when it came to a partner.

woman-low-self-esteemSo certain, in fact, that I didn’t even let myself desire someone who had it all.  A man like that might catch my eye for a second, then I’d mentally move right by.  If he happened to be married or with a girlfriend, I would compare myself to that woman and confirm in my head all the ways I fell short: I wasn’t as pretty, thin, interesting, social, charming, graceful, etc.

If a man like that appeared to be single, or I heard he was through the grapevine somehow, I convinced myself there was no possibility that he could ever be attracted to someone like me.  It was often a self-fulfilling prophesy.  If we did get a chance to interact, my reserved, insecure communication and failure to show any interest would ensure I wasn’t noticed or he was discouraged from making a move.

Even if a “total package” man engaged me in a way that could be construed as flirting, I was positive that he was just being nice to pass the time until someone better, more interesting, or more attractive came along.  A man like that rarely pursues someone with no self-confidence, especially someone who doesn’t seem interested.  So my behavior reinforced my beliefs.

As I matured and became more comfortable with myself, I did let my personality out to play more. I learned to be a pretend extrovert and engage with a variety of people. I was always far more confident and comfortable with people who were “less than” in some way, though. I would rather be a big fish in a little pond than feel like a small one in a big pond. The same concept applied to my relationships… I was drawn to “projects.”  Those were the type of people that I felt confident being myself around.

That’s not what I really needed, though.  Not that I ever sat down to consider what that was.  I was more concerned about being everything my partner needed.  I rarely stopped to ask myself what I was getting or if I was fulfilled.  After all, if you’ve already decided that you’ll have to settle, it’s not surprising or even that disappointing when you do.  I told myself that things were good enough, or as good as I could expect. I thought that I was happy enough, or even if I wasn’t that I could get there if I just worked a little harder at fixing things.

When I finally realized that it WASN’T good enough, I WASN’T happy, I DIDN’T have to settle, and I SHOULD think about my needs, it was a revolutionary shift in perspective.  It changed the way I carried myself.  It changed the way I interacted with people. It changed the way I thought about dating and men.

During my Librarian Bob phase, I went out with eight men, if I recall correctly. Two got to date #2. None got past that point.  I went on dates with a loser, an asshole, and a liar.  I went on a date with a fireman who posed for a smoking hot calendar picture, which I saved to drool over even after I declined a second date (for several reasons).  I went on dates with men who were nice enough, seemed to have a lot going for them, and were into me.  Any of those men might have been someone I ended up in a relationship with before, when my self-esteem was virtually non-existent.  My realization left me asking if any of them were what I wanted.  The answer was no.

Those “no’s” helped me define what a “yes” would look like.  I actually sat down and contemplated my needs.   I also began to realize the things that I had to bring to the table.  The eight men I went on dates with were a small portion of the number of interested candidates.  While that was surprising at first, I began to step back and look at myself through other people’s eyes.  I was selling myself short and limiting my own happiness.

I’m not doing that anymore, and happiness is fantastic.  So is attracting the kind of person who is really worthy of me.

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One Woman’s Online Dating Experience

27 Aug

My friends, including fellow blogger Bennie, have inspired me to try online dating again.   My experiences likely are far different from his, as the two of us recently discussed.  While I have come across many excellent dating blogs, I think my experiences may make for some interesting posts.

I went out with friends on Saturday evening.  It was just a fun girl’s night at a beach bar with a live band.  We discussed many things, dating included.  All three of them are currently dabbling in online dating.  I tried it for a month or so back in February/March, and found it overwhelming.  I wasn’t quite ready to be dating, honestly, and it required more of a time commitment than I was expecting.

Over dinner we had shared pretty amusing stories from the online dating scene.  Some were horrendous, but they had a few positive things to say.  At some point in the night, when we were moving from the first establishment to another due to the strong wind off of the ocean, I reactivated my OkCupid account.  The conversations from the evening sparked something in me, and I realized that I’m in a much different place now than I was even a few months back.

OkCupid was my favorite dating website when I was experimenting with them earlier this year.  Why?  Well, I personally like it for the neat matching algorithm and the nearly endless supply of random questions available.  I can get a pretty good idea of someone’s personality, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses by simply comparing answers and gauging the content and consistency of the responses.  I will admit that answering those questions can become a bit addicting.  I have answered more than 700.  See?  That tells people who look at my profile a great deal about me already – some good and some bad.

OkCupid also allows me to rate people on the site, take personality tests (including the MBTI!), bookmark people, and of course send messages.  Here is where my experience as a woman diverges from a man’s experience.  I reactivated my account Saturday evening.  By Sunday evening I had received somewhere around 183 messages.  Four times that amount or more had viewed my profile.  I stopped even keeping track after that point.  Each time you login it shows you the number of people who have viewed your profile since the last time you were online.  My numbers are consistently in the 90 to 100+ range, even after just a few hours of being away.  I know part of that is the “new profile syndrome,” as people flood over to check out the fresh meat.

The first time around I felt compelled to answer most messages (minus the clearly douchey ones).  No wonder I was overwhelmed.  As my therapist said, it’s good for the ego.  But boy can it be time consuming.  This time around, I’m being much more selective in who I choose to respond to.

I have felt guilty a time or two for not answering someone with a well-crafted or thought-out initial contact who I didn’t feel attraction toward.  However, I have rationalized that I am saving us time, effort, energy, and further hurt feelings by not leading anyone on.  The initial messages often include lists of questions, which I don’t want to spend time answering when I know that it’s not going to work for me.  Initially, I thought that was shallow.  After several unsuccessful dates with men I had already figured out I wasn’t compatible with (the first time around), I realized it’s just a sound policy not to try to force things.  This has given me a chance to face my people-pleaser nature head-on and practice saying “No,” even just to myself.

I intended to write more, and maybe share a particularly good experience that I just had, but I’m far too tired to at the moment.  Work has been especially hectic, brutal, and time consuming lately.  Too many meetings and all-day ride alongs and customer meet and greets leave this introvert spent.  Although I enjoy being busy, the level of social interaction and stress has left me wanting to just crawl in bed and do nothing as soon as I get home.  I haven’t been doing that, but I may as well be for as much use as I am when and as much as I get accomplished.  Especially after last week, which was the last week of my business law class and included a final exam and writing two papers.

I also have one other piece of news that probably deserves it’s own post.  I’m feeling entirely too lazy to do that, though.  So here it is:  The courthouse lost my divorce papers.  You heard that correctly.  Lost them.  So now we have to start again from the point where Chris signs the divorce decree because they need an original copy.  Lovely, isn’t it?  I just had to laugh because that is my life…

Love or Need?

24 Jul

I am a member of a few forums and discussion boards.  On one of them a woman posted for support on making a decision about her current boyfriend.  She described him and his behavior in such a way that I wanted to personally rescue her from this mooching loser.  At one point she said that he “provides no support and rarely cares about my needs.”  The only positive I heard her say was that she knows he will always love her.

That got me thinking…  I asked her if she really meant “love,” though, or “need?”  The behavior she described – not going to work, smoking a lot of pot to the detriment of her health (she has asthma), cheating, not pitching in around the house, and ignoring her expressed needs – were not loving at all.  When she left for a few days, he was full of promises and apologies and declarations of undying love.  But real love cares about your needs and provide you with support.  Someone who is mooching just needs you around. It might feel good at first, especially when you confuse it with love, but it gets old pretty quickly.

I have been guilty of confusing feeling NEEDED with being LOVED.  That’s a trap.  Those two things are not the same.  I poured everything I had into my husband and then some because he “needed me to.”  I let his neediness feed my ego. I don’t know another way to put it… It felt great being able to give him support, love,and understanding, to rub his feet, and do his laundry.  To try to “help” him, finance his dreams, give him a “leg up.”  It made me feel successful, generous, kind, smart, and loved.

I was all of those things except loved by him.  Being taken advantage of didn’t make any of those things more or less true.  It just made me drained.  Because I gave and gave and gave and got nothing in return except his “love.”  A “love” that lied, cheated, did drugs, ran up my bills, and contributed nothing except his ability to cook and wash the dishes.  Hey, that’s more than some people get from their partners, right?  I convinced myself to settle because he “loved me so much.”

Bullshit!  He just needed me. He wanted my money, my house, my foot rubs, my stability, my kindness, and to show me off on his arm.  He wanted a narcissistic supply, which I stupidly continued providing to him.  Even as I pulled away, demanded more, “forced” him into therapy (he only went to prolong his free ride, lying the entire time), got upset, and threatened to kick him out, he kept getting what he wanted… My attention, my emotional involvement, and more time to drive my car around and sleep in my bed.

Yeah… Exhausting to say the least. When you give everything and don’t get anything in return it makes you tired in a way you can’t describe if you haven’t been there.  Parasites eventually sap all of your energy.

Again, that’s not love.  Feeling wanted or needed can certainly give off a little high.  It doesn’t last, though.  And it certainly is not the same as being loved.  In the future I don’t just want to be needed or wanted.  I want to be loved.  Cared for.  Put first.  Acknowledged.  Supported.  Treated with respect.  Gifted with honesty.  Noticed.  Appreciated.  Trusted.  I want tenderness.  An equal partner.  Someone who will put as much effort into the relationship as I do.

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The Top 10 Things I Want in a Man

30 Mar

The other day I was talking to a friend who is going through a tough time.  Like me, he is a people-pleaser.  In our conversation he said that he doesn’t even know what he wants in a partner.  He is so used to thinking about someone else’s needs that he never thought about his own.  I can relate.

As we were talking I realized that I haven’t taken my own advice.  I never thought about my top needs and the things I want from a partner.  Outside of my one therapy session and this post a few months ago, I haven’t put the kind of thought into it that I should. Is it any wonder then that I wasn’t getting my top needs met?  One reason is that I hadn’t even identified them.

So this week I took the time to write down the top 10 things I am looking for in a partner.  The 10 things I need in a man are:

  1. Intelligent – Not necessarily measured by degrees but by being able to hold an interesting, stimulating conversation.
  2. Sense of humor – It is important to have someone who can make me laugh, who understands my sarcasm, and makes my days brighter.
  3. Honest/ Truthful – This really should be #1.  Someone without this quality who has everything else still isn’t someone who I could have an enduring relationship with.
  4. Stable & Responsible – These are basically the same thing to me, although I know there is some difference.  I need someone who values the same things and is responsible and established.  I do not want to “rescue” someone else.  I am not interested in anyone who is living with his parents, doesn’t have a job, or is in terrible debt due to bad choices.
  5. Sexually open – My sexuality is very important.  I need someone affectionate who can be free and open with me. I also am a “once a day” woman ideally, and need a man who can keep up.
  6. Unselfish – I don’t want someone who is selfless to the point of not meeting their own needs (like I have been sometimes), but I do need someone willing to give as much as I do.  I want to be with someone who puts me first, who thinks about my happiness, and who doesn’t take advantage of my giving nature.
  7. A take charge/ aggressive type – I have a strong personality.  I need someone stronger.  I will not be content for long with someone who is passive, and neither will they.  I need a man who is a man, and will make me feel like a woman.
  8. Emotionally Aware & Open – There is a concept called emotional intelligence, which is “the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions.”  After living with someone who only faked emotions and lied about them, I need to be with a man who is able to understand and access his emotions.
  9. Goals/ Ambition – I don’t really care what the goals are, but I do need someone who is self-motivated and knows what he wants.
  10. Someone who challenges/ pushes me – I know myself, which means I know that I have a tendency to pour myself into other people, procrastinate, and not do everything I should.  I need someone who will encourage me and challenge me mentally, emotionally, and with life in general.

I think it’s a good list.  I also think that it’s very do-able.  My husband didn’t have any of the things on my list except maybe a sense of humor – limited and juvenile as it was.  That’s what you get when you don’t know what you’re looking for – someone who isn’t right for you.  Next time around I’m going to be more aware of my needs.  What would make your top 10 that I didn’t include?

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My New Take on Boundary Agreements

17 Mar

I will probably get some push back on my opinion tonight, but I would like to tell you what my current thoughts are on boundary agreements.

If you were an original blog reader, you know that I had a boundary agreement with my soon to be ex husband. I understand the point and purpose of one, in theory and in practice. Hell, our boundary agreement even helped me to stand firm in separating from him when I discovered another big lie.

However, at this point I would never, ever accept a relationship with someone I couldn’t trust enough to use his or her own good judgment (or to have good judgement in the first place). Period. I’ve reached a point where I don’t want to be with someone who has to have a piece of paper full of self-explanatory things that they should give the person they’re in a relationship with in order to be a decent partner. Someone who needs that to guide what is right and wrong is not a person I ever want to be attached to.

In fact, if I ever feel the need for a boundary agreement in the future I will RUN in the other direction. On that same note, I would tell anyone considering the need for such a document in their own relationship to get the hell out. NOW!!! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Just save yourself the future pain and heartache that is sure to come.

I realize that is probably offensive to some. I apologize. It’s just how I see things now. It’s also why I don’t post as much anymore. I think my input is a little too harsh. At the very least it comes from a much different place than those of you still hoping to reconcile with someone so untrustworthy that they need something in writing that details (very specifically) what is unacceptable to do to someone you supposedly love.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe communication is important. I think when any relationship starts to progress toward something serious there should be an open discussion about values and expectations and the importance of honesty, fidelity, respect, and all of the other critical aspects of a relationship that need to be present in order for it to succeed. However, if you do not trust your partner’s words, actions or morals enough to believe they can and will follow through on the supposed “shared values” you have unless they are written on a checklist somewhere with the accuracy and precision of a legal document, then they are not SHARED values at all. In my humble opinion, that itself dooms the relationship.

Compatibility extends to more than just the bedroom. Relationships that go the distance have one key thing in common – the people in them share things in common. Not necessarily the same religion or the same background or the same politics. No. Although those things don’t hurt, it is really shared VALUES that make the difference. If we both value respect highly and equally then we can choose to respect religious or political differences, for instance. Likewise, if only one of us places a value on respect (or values something else, like religion, more highly) then those differences will likely cause strife.

So what do I think boundary agreements are good for? A long laugh. Okay, that’s not the serious answer, and it’s also not fair. I think boundary agreements can help the injured partner feel heard and feel safer. You notice I said “feel.” That’s because they don’t actually guarantee a damn thing. Except maybe that when you see the person who claimed to love you cross a clearly drawn and agreed to line you can finally see what everyone else already could – what they’re doing to you is wrong.

The truth of the matter is that a spouse who crossed one of those lines knew what they were doing. They knew what was right and what wasn’t. They knew what they did wasn’t acceptable. Maybe they have justifications or rationalizations that made it easier for them to swallow, or maybe they’re narcissistic and delusional. Either way, writing it down on a piece of paper won’t change anything. They will choose to do better, get help, and fix things or they will continue making excuses to themselves and you and others. A boundary agreement won’t change that.

For those of you who have a boundary agreement and believe in them, best of luck. I really hope it works out. It is just another of the many tools available to people going through this difficult journey. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I understand. I just no longer agree. Personally, I would rather make an agreement with myself that I deserve more.

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This is me this weekend, enjoying my agreement with myself that I’m worth it. And sporting my new pink cat eye glasses. 🙂

Name Change in Progress!

24 Jan

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I am so excited!!!  Today I got the ball rolling on my official name change.  Sure, I could wait until April when the divorce is final, but I really, really don’t want to.  It is time to get rid of his name!  When I left the circuit court this afternoon after turning in my forms and paying the $41, I was smiling like a fool.  I wanted to run around laughing and skipping and acting like a little kid who just got out of school for the summer.  I restrained myself (barely), although there might have been a skip or two in my step.  🙂

This is one more thing on the journey to being the new me.  Mr. Mess is also coming by tonight (if he shows) to pick up the last of his things from my house.  That means as of tonight I should have nothing left in my house that belongs to him or that he could even lay claim to (I discovered he plans to take a night stand and camping gear we purchased together, which I’m just giving him to avoid any conflict).  Then in as little as 2-3 business days I could be rid of his name, too.  That’s real progress!  I see a light at the end of this tunnel!

Last night I hung out with a bunch of friends at a Panera.  We all caught up on our various situations, chatted, ate good food, and admired the new baby girl one of them brought along (she is 5 months old and seriously could be the new Gerber baby… so adorable!).  As I was talking about the separation and impending divorce I couldn’t help but have a huge grin on my face.  It was so funny how basically all of them confirmed that if they were in my shoes they would have been long gone ages ago.  I told them that maybe I should have been, but at least this way I know that I did everything I could and then some.  I have no regrets, just peace that this is the right path for me to be on.

Another friend asked me now that things are over with my husband, what have I learned about myself to keep me from going down this same path with another guy?  There was a chorus of “good question” remarks all around.  I thought about it for a bit, and gave several answers.  One is that I now know what I need, and I will not accept anything less.  I’m not going to fall into the “savior” trap – where I want to rescue someone from bad circumstances or show them what love can offer to heal them.  Nope.  I’m also not looking for someone to “complete me.”  I want someone who is already complete, and I want to be complete all on my own.  I want someone that compliments me, has something to offer, and takes care of their business (and me).

I have gained so much – I am a different person that I was, which is evident just from reading through this blog.  I’m so ready to emerge out of this darkness into the wide open spaces beyond!

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22 Jan

I absolutely love this post. It is raw and honest and dead-on about many of the emotions that come up when someone has lied to you and betrayed you for years. I was right there with her, reliving my own marriage, during this entire post.

When she talked about giving your everything to someone, only to have them give you barely anything except lies in return, I was nodding my head, remembering that pain. When she spoke of the embarrassment, especially this line –

“I was the blind idiot who’d made it my life’s mission to be your number-one cheerleader and help you boost your career…”

– I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about. When she mentioned second-guessing herself when she knew there was something wrong, yet being fed yet more lies, I could unfortunately relate on a deep level. When she talked about her anger and urge to break ribs and cause as much physical pain as he inflicted emotionally, since he seems to have a lack of empathy or any ability to understand what he has put her through, I wanted to cheer.  These lines are haunting:

“I need you to feel the pain that I feel, the pain that you’ve caused me — that is, if, someday, you ever become capable of feeling emotions like this. Like you’re strapped to a table, inexplicably and hideously alive, simultaneously witnessing and feeling the bloody, stabbing-death of your own happiness. And the Hollow Empty that’s left in its absence.”

And finally, the wonderful realization at the end that she needs to cut her losses and let go of that anger to finally move on… It filled me with such hope and peace for her. The reality of our situations, the truth that we have to face is that “he is not who or what I want/need him to be!” There is such freedom with those realizations. Accepting those things, acknowledging our pain and brokenness, then moving on with our heads held high is simply beautiful.

Sometimes Goodbye is Necessary to Really Live Life

3 Jan

I discovered Pandora radio this week.  I purchased a new car because it was the only way for me to handle the financial loss from the car that Mr. Mess gave back to me.  The $2,000 loss was easier to handle rolled into a new car payment than directly out of my bank account.  Mr. Mess is also going to let me take the entire tax refund to help offset that loss since the other car was his and the options that he added (like the extended warranty and fabric protection) is what made the car more expensive than it was worth.

So, anyways… Back to the story.  My new Chevy Cruze has Pandora radio built into it.  I have never used it before, but once I did I was hooked.  I love the ability to customize radio stations and get new songs added based on my previous preferences.  I’ve even started playing it at my desk because I love it so much.

This morning when I arrived to work I opened up the Pandora Radio page that is pinned to my taskbar.  I switched to my favorite country radio station.  I had it playing softly and half-way listening while I did my work.  Suddenly a Carrie Underwood song came on that I’ve never heard.  I didn’t buy her first CD even though I love her voice.  It just seemed a little religious and there was only one song from the radio on it that I liked.  I have purchased everything she’s put out since she got away from the American Idol record label, though.  Because I have marked a “thumbs up” on several of her songs before, Pandora obviously decided to play some of her older stuff, too.

The song that played this morning is “Starts with Goodbye.”  The lyrics and emotion in the song fit what I was feeling when I made the decision that divorce was the only way I could be happy.  It also made me think of a blogging friend who is struggling with this concept right now.  It’s very, very difficult to let go of your ideas of what life was supposed to be.  It is even harder to realize that the potential you thought you saw just isn’t there.  When I finally came to a point of accepting the truth of my husband, my marriage, and what my life would look like for the next 30 years if I didn’t make a change, I was able to say goodbye.

That was the beginning of my ability to really live my life to its fullest.  That is the day I found my happiness.  It all had to start with a goodbye.

I was sitting on my doorstep
I hung up the phone and it fell out of my hand
But I knew I had to do it
And he wouldn’t understand 

So hard to see myself without him
I felt a piece of my heart break
But when you’re standing at a crossroad
There’s a choice you gotta make 

I guess it’s gonna have to hurt
I guess I’m gonna have to cry
And let go of some things I’ve loved
To get to the other side
I guess it’s gonna break me down

Like fallin’ when you try to fly
Sad but sometimes
Moving on with the rest of your life
Starts with goodbye 

I know there’s a blue horizon
Somewhere up ahead just waiting for me
Getting there means leaving things behind
Sometimes life’s so bitter sweet

I guess it’s gonna have to hurt
I guess I’m gonna have to cry
And let go of some things I’ve loved
To get to the other side
I guess it’s gonna break me down

 Like fallin’ when you try to fly
Sad but sometimes
Moving on with the rest of your life
Starts with goodbye  

Time heals the wounds that you feel
Somehow right now

 I guess it’s gonna have to hurt
I guess I’m gonna have to cry
And let go of some things I’ve loved
To get to the other side
I guess it’s gonna break me down
 Like fallin’ when you try to fly
Sad but sometimes
Moving on with the rest of your life
Starts with goodbye

Does anyone else out there know what I mean?  Not just about love or a marriage.  We have to let go of all sorts of things to achieve true happiness.  I will have to let go of not only my marriage, but the hurt and pain and betrayal.  To realize my true potential at work and in life I will have to let go of my self-defeating behaviors and thoughts.  I have to say goodbye to self-doubt, uncertainty, and the fear of failure.  2013 is my year to say goodbye to the things that are holding me back and hello to all that life has to offer!  I hope that’s what 2013 brings for you, too.

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Giving Up

1 Dec

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One of my favorite blogs to follow is Daily Divorce Meditations.  Even before I had officially decided to divorce, I gained such strength and insight from her words. Yesterday this post caught my attention.

It really resonated with me.  Tonight I’m at an S-Anon retreat where we listened to a CD on emotional sobriety.  It is amazing and I’m going to share it when I go home and track down the link.

Afterwards we got into a deep discussion (which is still continuing).  One topic that came up is when do you know when enough is enough if you’re a giving person?  How do you care for yourself and others?  When do you know it’s the time to give up?  How do you reconcile taking care of yourself with not “abandoning” the addict?  My thoughts went back to the above post, specifically this section:

If I have given my all, if I have tried my best, if I have done everything in my power to make something succeed over a significant period of time and it still isn’t working… then I have to be honest with myself, put my ego aside, and admit that maybe this is not the right path for me… that maybe… it is time to give up… and that my Higher Power is trying to point me in a different direction… a better direction…  my true spiritual path that I am choosing to ignore by being resistant to giving in due to my own stubborn self-will.”

I can admit now that the path I was on was not the one for me.  I am glad that I gave up on the unhealthy relationship in my life so that I could make room for a  better relationship, a better direction, and a better life.

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In A Bad Mood

24 Nov

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Today I’m feeling bitchy. Royally bitchy. I don’t have any one particular reason to be, except maybe “that time of the month.” It’s so cliche, though, and generally I’m not like that. For the most part I don’t get wild emotional swings or any of that other bullshit. So that probably means it’s something more.

So what? First of all, I talked to a sweet, beautiful (seriously, model stunning) woman this morning at S-Anon whose husband has been lying and cheating on her with strippers and prostitutes. He seems like a good, normal guy. He is smart, successful, handsome, a doctor even!  She is gorgeous, skinny, blonde, and a super Mom.  From the outside looking in they have everything and then some. But she is crushed and demoralized and angry and confused and hopeless because of what he is putting her through.

This morning as I sat and talked to her, watched her cry and gave her a big hug, an intense anger welled up inside me.  I understand that sex addiction doesn’t depend on the partner, but for someone to cheat on HER?!  It made me feel like there is no hope that anybody is safe.  It made me wonder how I can ever expect to have a faithful partner.

I realize the pessimistic, self-defeating nature of that thought.  I do know that I am worthwhile and special.  I intellectually understand that there are plenty of people out there who would love to have a woman like me in their lives.  I just don’t know how to accept that deep inside my soul.

On top of that, I went shopping after the meeting and had to lug a 50 pound bag of dog food inside.  In heels (because I had to look cute).  Then I tried to make lunch and do dishes only to find that my sink is clogged up.  I have a drain snake that my grandma gave me that I then taught myself how to use.  Twenty or so minutes later I had unclogged the sink but was covered elbow deep in water and who knows what else.

I could have called my Dad to help with any of it.  He lives just next door and would have been more than happy to assist me.  I can’t keep relying on other people to do the things that are my responsibility.  I relied on my husband to do stuff like that, and look where that left me.  Five years later I have a house full of unfinished projects he said he would handle and a heart full of anger.

Or maybe I’m going about things all wrong.  Maybe I should have called my Dad.  Maybe I should start getting used to relying on someone who is actually reliable.  I can’t decide if this is my time to be strong and capable and independent or my time to be weak and fragile and vulnerable.  Frankly, neither option sounds great, but they both sound wonderful.  I think I need to find the right mix of them both.

I know that probably makes absolutely no sense.  Let me see if I can explain.  On one hand I am realizing that I put far too much stock in other people – what they think, what they do, what they don’t do, how they treat me.  I give my power away too easily.  I have only been single about 60 or so days total since I was 15.  That’s crazy, right?  I’m like that girl in How I Met Your Mother that Ted has an old lady watch to see when she breaks up with her current long-term boyfriend.  I don’t stay on the market long.

Maybe that should make me feel good about myself because people are obviously attracted to me.  It proves that I’m a dedicated partner who puts her all into things.  However, it also means that I’m not sure who I am outside of a relationship.  Additionally, I don’t have such a great batting average when it comes to choosing partners.  Both long-term relationships I have had were with people with addictions of some kind and a pretty shitty family history (abuse, drugs, bad parenting, you name it).  I’m definitely a rescuer, and it hasn’t worked out very well for me.  So maybe its time for me to do things on my own.

On the other hand, isolating myself and dealing with things “on my own” also hasn’t worked out so well, either.  I went through years of being cheated on and lied to without a support network because I didn’t want to burden anyone with my problems.  I thought I could handle it.  I didn’t want to show weakness.  That led to more pain and heartache.  The time I wasted trying to be self-sufficient only hurt me.

Since the bad start I had to this day I have watched some Grey’s Anatomy, snuggled up on the couch with my dogs, and had 2 glasses of wine.  I’m feeling much happier, and I know there is a lot waiting for me in the future.  I just have to take a deep breath, be patient, and take things one day at a time.  The Christmas picture above is a reminder that the holiday I love is just around the corner and there is still music in my soul.

Accepting and Preparing for Divorce

23 Nov

I have come to the conclusion that my marriage is really not going to work.  Mr. Mess is so immature, irresponsible, damaged, and emotionally stunted that I can’t wait for him to get himself together.  That may never happen.  Even if it did, I think my ability to trust him has been damaged so much that it is completely beyond repair.  I need to move forward to something and someone that is healthy, together, and right for me.

In order to do that I have to do something that I never, ever thought I would do – get a divorce.  I have to wrap my head around the fact that I have given my all and it still wasn’t enough.  I have to accept that this marriage failed.  I never wanted that to happen.  I don’t like failing in anything, especially something that I find as important as marriage.  I have to accept the fact that I made the wrong decision when I tied myself to this man “for life.”  He wasn’t the one for me.  Maybe there isn’t a “one.”

I don’t like to admit those things.  I didn’t want to accept them.  This marriage has just reached its inevitable conclusion.  There’s nothing left.  He has nothing for me.  Even if he wanted to (which he has made clear that he doesn’t), any effort on his part to actually be my husband would be far too little, far too late.  No STD testing?  It’s his problem if he has a serious illness or contracts one in the future, for that matter.  No psychiatric examination?  He’s the one who has to deal with his bipolar, narcissistic personality, ADHD self, not me.  Hallelujah!

Now that I have closure and peace about the fact that there is really nothing more I can do and there is nothing he has to offer me, I have set my eyes on the process of divorcing in Virginia.  I’ve found a few things that are good to know and that put my mind at ease a bit.  Like I thought, we still have to be separated for 6 months.  That means I won’t be free until April at the earliest.  That’s okay, though…  I can make it.

Some other stuff that I’ve discovered:

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a “no fault” divorce known as voluntary separation. It usually means that you and your spouse have separated after mutually and voluntarily agreeing that you no longer wish to live together as husband and wife and that there is no hope for a reconciliation.  Your spouse cannot threaten or blackmail you into leaving; you separate because you both want to.  To get a divorce on this ground you have to be separated without interruption (not even one night) without cohabitation (not a single incident of sexual intercourse) for one year (six months if no children) and there is no hope of reconciliation. Remember though, if this is not a mutual and voluntary situation you will have to use another ground to get a divorce.

The portions in red above were from the site I copied this from; however I would like to point out that none of those items are of any concern to me whatsoever.  He will not be here one more night, there is absolutely no chance of any sexual intercourse, and there certainly is no more hope of reconciliation.  Having the closure in my heart to be able to say those things with certainty is great.

Another thing that my step-Dad mentioned to me is the possibility that he could seek alimony from me since he basically has no career and no prospects and no savings whatsoever.  I’m not a millionaire by any stretch of the imagination, but I am financially secure with a good job.  To ease my mind a bit I found this:

What are the Requirements for Spousal Support?

The rules regarding spousal support are often classified based on the length of marriage.

Short marriages

  • The court assumes that you have kept the same ability to support yourself that you had before marriage.
  • Each spouse is expected to be substantially independent and self-supporting within a short period of time.

According to what I can find, a short marriage is anything lasting 5 years or less.  Our marriage only lasted 2 years.  Our entire relationship was just shy of 5.  No matter which way you look at it, the courts should expect him to take care of himself.  The fact that I’m 20 years younger than him should also help my chances of not having to support his lazy ass.

If I sound bitter it’s because he came by today to pick up his beloved darts (which were worth breaking into my house for, you know) and said that he may try to seek alimony.  Really?!  I shouldn’t be shocked by his behavior, but nevertheless his level of shamelessness is astounding.

He also said that he wants me to buy him a new bed because the one he told me he didn’t want anymore that I could do anything I wanted with was taken to the dump by my Dad.  I didn’t know he was going to do that – I thought he would store it – but he dumped it while I was gone in Atlanta.  According to my Dad it was after he talked to Mr. Mess, who didn’t seem to express an interest in coming to get it.  I offered the one I have to replace it (which is the same size and a better quality bed), but he said he didn’t want it.  Okay…

The main thing that I’m concerned with at the moment is the car that he’s driving, which is in my name.  Mr. Mess will spout some garbage that it’s because I’m controlling and have to have everything in my name (which is what he said today).  Whatever.  He seems to have selective memory since he couldn’t get a loan in his name.  Not only is his credit rating terrible, but he also has past-due collections outstanding and a lop-sided income to debt ratio because of his student loans.

He has tried to get a loan in his name for the car like 3 times already, and keeps getting denied.  I told him today that he really needs to get that taken care of as soon as possible – either sell the car to pay it off or find a way to assume the loan, maybe with a family member as the co-signer.  His extremely helpful reply (sarcasm) was that he is “working on it.”  Forgive me if I’m not overflowing with confidence.

Oh well.  Things will work out one way or another, and I will be better for having him out of my life.  I will miss some of his family, like his sister who got in touch with me yesterday.  There is no rule saying we can’t still be friends, which is what I plan.  I also plan to be happy.  He can’t stand in my way.  As much as he is trying his damnest to bring me down, it’s not going to happen.  I’m holding onto the knowledge that I gained in Atlanta where I met amazing people with a lot going for them who liked me for me.  I have a lot to offer the world, and it has a lot to offer me back.

Speaking Up

17 Nov

Today I reached out to the employee I was traveling with and apologized if I made her uncomfortable over this last week.  There were several times I thought she might have gotten more of my reality and drama than I ever like to show in the business world.  She responded very positively.  She said that she didn’t feel uncomfortable and she knows that it’s real life.  She said it was great to get to know me, she’s been there herself, and she has a lot of respect for me.

Once again, I’ve been able to connect with someone who is awesome, supports me, and genuinely cares.  I didn’t really think that was possible for me, but I’ve obviously been under-estimating myself, my value as a person, and how spectacular people really can be.  I know for a fact that I have formed deep connections and friendships with at least 3 people over this last week, and probably more with a little effort on my part.

I was watching Emily Owens, M.D. tonight (in my DVR of course), and a quote stood out to me.  Some people say that show is a bad knock-off of Grey’s Anatomy.  While I agree it isn’t as good, there are some nice moments.  Here’s what I scrambled to transcribe and rewinded my DVR 3 times to get down:

“When it’s important enough, you speak up.  You tell people what you need.  You show them who you are.  You expose yourself.  You ask.  And you do this knowing that there are consequences.  There is collateral damage, but you’ve chosen this.  So you can’t feel guilty about it.  You just can’t.”

So I’m not feeling guilty for my decision to keep moving forward.  I hope you don’t feel guilty, either, for making the hard decisions in your life and putting yourself out there.  It will pay off in the end.

Confused Much?

22 Oct

My husband is confused.  That much is obvious to me.  Other than that, I’m really not sure.

He came by tonight to bring me the joint checkbook that he took from the house last week.  He knocked.  I let him in.  He asked if he could use the computer to balance the checkbook (even though he had it for days, apparently he didn’t actually do anything with it).  I said, sure.  He went to the computer room.

When he had arrived I was in the middle of making myself dinner (it was about 6:30 pm).  I went back to what I was doing, then asked if would like some roasted chicken or a glass of wine (both were sitting on the counter already).  He said no, that he was fine.  I carried on with my preparations, then took my dinner to the den and proceeded to watch The Family Feud.

Once the episode was over, and I had finished my dinner and been properly amused by the silly answers the contestants gave, I started putting things away.  Mr. Mess was still in the computer room.  I decided on a fudgecicle for dessert, and yelled back to ask if he wanted one.  Again, he said no.  That was fine with me because those are my favorite treats right now.  I get the Healthy Choice sugar-free 100 calorie bars, so I don’t even feel bad about having ice cream.

I went back with my treat on a stick to see what was taking so long.  He was still on the bank site.  He finished up as I watched and told me that he had set up the new password in the computer system.  He said it was the same one he had texted me, except he forgot to capitalize the first letter in his text (which makes a big difference).  I said okay.  He said he was going to head home and go to sleep.  He picked up his mail and exited the house.

I have gotten used to his sullen mood and antisocial tendencies over the last week and a half, so I just let his behavior roll right off of me.  A few minutes later I got a text that read: “I dont get you one day you dont want to have dinner with me then you invite me to have wine and dinner.  You have done a good job confusing me.”  I responded with, “That was before we talked & had the meeting with the therapist.  You could have spoken to me while you were here which is really all I was trying to do.  That & be kind.”  I really don’t get it…  He basically pretends I don’t exist while he’s here, then starts texting me when he leaves.  Huh?

A few seconds later my phone rang.  He said that he is “trying to follow the rules we talked about in therapy” by only talking when we are in a neutral location.  That really isn’t how I interpreted things, but okay…  We discussed in therapy about sitting down in a neutral place to have a conversation once a week, but we did not say that we should not talk at all outside of that once per week “date” (for lack of a better word).  In fact, we discussed making sure to speak about any sensitive subjects or those that could be confusing by phone or in person rather than by text.  It seems he was violating a “rule” in his quest to follow another.

I said that I am still more than happy to do that, he just hasn’t made an effort.  He said that he is planning to set something up later this week, but he didn’t think we should talk at my house.  I asked why he decided to come here today then.  He said “to drop off the checkbook,” then said that he wants to spend as little time as possible at my house right now because he feels “uncomfortable” here.  I questioned why he chose to come here and stay for 45 minutes then.  He had some excuses about being tired, not having computer access at his house, not wanting to drive to the library to balance the checkbook, etc., etc.  Again, they were excuses, not valid reasons.

He also said that he doesn’t understand why I would offer him something to eat or drink.  I asked what he would rather I do – ignore him and be mean?  He said no.  Again, I just said okay…

I really don’t know what is so confusing about me being polite to him.  I didn’t ask him for anything, I just offered some of the chicken that was already prepared.  I didn’t even ask him to leave the room he was in.  He said that he “doesn’t feel welcome” in my house and that I have made that “obvious”…  I guess my friendly offer was somehow nefarious or had ulterior motives in his mind…?  He said it was “implied” that I wanted him to sit and have a deep conversation with me, which he didn’t think was appropriate.  Again…. huh?  When I was noticeably confused by his answers he said that he must not know how to take me, or something like that.  At least we were on the same page with that one.

I tried to see what he meant by what he was saying.  More than once I asked him “In what way?” or “What do you mean by that?” in response to one of his vague statements.  He would usually just repeat the last thing he said, like I had told him that I couldn’t hear him, not that I couldn’t grasp his thought-process.  I know that move – it’s his way of shutting me down and stopping any conversation from going deeper than the shallow end of the pool.

In the end he said that he was feeling too emotional to have this conversation.  I asked him how we are ever going to reconcile and have a real relationship if he runs away and hides every time he has an emotion.  He said that he is not running away.  I told him that I really don’t see what else this could be…  He waits until he leaves to text me, then calls instead of speaking to me in person, then avoids any real conversation by saying we will talk “later.”  The only problem is that “later” will never come – at least not if history is any indication.  He has already said once this week that we would talk “later” about the anger that came out of nowhere this weekend.  I think it’s probably clear that didn’t happen since he is barely speaking to me right now.

Tonight he has me wondering why he pushes me away anytime I try to be the least bit cordial to him.  It seems that he has already decided that I am angry or bitter or want this marriage to be over.  Anytime my actions don’t fit with this fabricated reality he doesn’t seem to know what to do.  Or maybe it’s just that he is miserable and can’t stand that I’m not.  Who knows…

What I do know is that I’m going to continue trying over the next 3 months.  Whether he chooses to try as well is up to him.  After all, that’s what this separation is all about.  Will he step up or won’t he?  That is the question at the moment.

I Told My Dad

20 Oct

Today my husband came over to pick up the majority of his clothes.  It didn’t really go well.  It wasn’t a disaster, but he is an emotional wreck.  I tried to be calm and talk to him.  He really wasn’t ready.  He is so angry.

I wasn’t prepared for it.  The more I tried to connect to him, calm him down, and be rational and kind about this the more he lashed out.  He called me condescending, even though that was not my intention at all, in the least.  He really started to lose it, and I suggested he get some puppy love in the back yard.  Shortly thereafter, he said it was all too much for him to handle, and he left.

He contacted me a bit after, and he may be coming by tomorrow to finish dividing up some kitchen stuff and food that I can’t use all by myself.  I tried to let him know that I’m not trying to make this process any more difficult than it already is.  I know he doesn’t believe me (because he said as much while he was here), but I’m not angry.  I just know that this is a necessary step if we are ever going to be able to make this marriage work.

After he left I heard the lawn mower going outside of the window in my den.  My Dad is my neighbor, which I think I’ve mentioned before.  The sound was coming from the direction of his house, but I knew that his grass was already cut.  Mine, however, was in need.

Let me back up for just a second.  As of this afternoon I still hadn’t called or sat down with my Dad to explain the situation yet.  My sister lives with him, though, and you all know that my Mom has been helping me through this process for over a year.  After Mr. Mess moved out last week my Mom asked if it would be okay for her to mention to my sister that we are separated and trying to work through a few things so that she doesn’t get overly concerned.  I told her that was fine because I am still processing how much I want to tell her – she is sensitive, kind and loving, but also very emotional.

When my sister texted me a few days ago to invite me along to the Celtic Festival tomorrow with her and her boyfriend, I knew that my Mom had told her.  That gesture touched me quite a bit.  I also knew that meant I needed to have the conversation with my Dad.  He is very observant, so I figured he would notice that my husband’s car was missing from the driveway.  I just didn’t know what to say.  I was going to talk to him last night, but then I got invited for dinner and a movie with the girls.  I had decided that today after my S-Anon meeting and after Mr. Mess left I would go over and speak to him.

So, when I heard the lawn mower going I knew that the time had come.  I walked outside to tell him thank you.  He turned off the lawn mower and gave me a hug.  Then something happened that hasn’t happened since this entire ordeal started last week.  I began crying.  There I was, standing in my front yard, hugging my Dad with tears streaming down my face.  Even now just remembering and typing the story I am sobbing again.

I told him the cliff notes version of things, including my struggle with how to tell him, how to explain, where to start, how many details to go into, etc.  I know that it hurt his feelings that he had to hear second-hand.  I wish I had had the courage to rely on him sooner.  I know that he loves me.  I know that he is supportive of me.  I know that he understands.  I talked to him a lot when he and my Mom were going through their divorce.  I also know he isn’t one to judge.  He told me today that he really likes my husband and he hopes we can work this out.  It was a mistake to wait as long as I did to reach out.

As much as I love my Mom, as much as I value and respect her opinions, as much as I love her, and as much as I know she supports and cares for me – my Dad was the one I finally felt safe enough with to break down.  My Mom is so together.  She is so perceptive.  She is very contemplative and insightful.  I want to be as composed and  introspective and amazing as she is.  I feel the need to “keep it together” with her, even though I know she wouldn’t look down on me if I broke down.  My Dad is amazing, too.  It’s not like I’m saying he is a mess or something.  In that moment, I just felt like his little girl again.  It was nice to have his arms wrapped around me.  The last time that happened was on my wedding day.

Here’s a picture of that moment – the first and only time I have ever danced with my Dad.

What Are We Doing Now Regarding Separation?

18 Oct

Like these two trees, we are separate to the naked eye, but below ground our roots are still very tangled.

I thought I had already published this, but obviously I hadn’t. I will have a more updated version of this later now that we have been to marriage counseling this morning.

A continuation of my answers to questions from a reader that I posted here.

So what are you doing now then–regarding separation? Are you waiting for counseling on Thursday to decide? Are you not in the same house now?

I’m going to answer all of these at once.  Right now, regarding separation, we are not staying in the same house.  I’m not sure where he is staying, and I have decided not to ask or go searching for the answer.  I really am waiting for counseling on Thursday to make any long-lasting, more “permanent” (to use his word) decisions.

Saturday he came by and picked up a few things.  I was feeling very sick, but got a deep urge to clean and organize.  I wanted things germ-free and more serene.  So I did about 4 loads of laundry.  I cleaned the dishes, the kitchen table, the counter-tops.  As I was doing laundry I started separating out his things because I noticed some of his work clothes.

That led to me separating all of our clothes in the massive pile of laundry I had accumulated in the den.  In order to get his stuff out of my way and make it easier for him to pick up what he needed, I put those items of clothing in the spare back bedroom.  I cleaned some of my new clothes off of the couch and chaise in the living room where they had been sitting for a few days (yes, our house looked like a clothes bomb had dropped on it before all of this organizing).  I started putting those things away.

While I was in the bedroom I got tired of his clothes that were overflowing out of his laundry basket into the floor, blocking the closet doors from opening all the way.  In my cleaning frenzy and frustration, I picked up his dirty laundry hamper and all those annoying, closet-blocking clothes and moved them to the back bedroom, too.

From there, I decided to just continue and clear out the dresser and closet of the remaining clothes that were cluttering everything up.  I figured I was killing three birds with one stone (I really am multi-talented, see?) – put everything in one place for him (how convenient), make my cleaning/ organizing job easier, and reclaim my space.  When he texted to say he needed to pick up his badge for work on Sunday, I moved that into the back bedroom with all of the other stuff, too.

By the time he came by I had also added two pictures of his parents to the pile.  I had just unpacked a Yankee Candles purchase (from weeks before – my shopping was really getting out of control), and
le looking for a place to put the new candles I decided he would probably want those pictures as well.  After all, what am I going to do with them?  I never met his parents because they passed away before I met my husband.  I also figured it might make him feel more “at home” or at least comfortable wherever he was if he had something familiar like a picture of family around.

I wasn’t angry or bitter in taking any of those actions, just in sick, cleaning/organization mode.  I was probably also trying bolster my sanity by removing his things from the bedroom I knew I was going to be sleeping in all alone that night.  Lighting a few candles, having things clean and organized, not tripping over his clothes or slippers – they all made me feel more calm and at peace.

I’m sure he probably didn’t perceive things that way.  I definitely didn’t volunteer the information.  Not my best communication ever, in retrospect.

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