Category Archives: Dating

Single Parents And Dating

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dating priority

Yep, a rough one! But I am here to tell you that it is so worth it!!!

I have had and lost more relationships than I want to count. But when I finally decided to put on my big girl pants and state that my children are my priority up front, early on, the man responded with “Of course, I respect you for that”. What a relief, I had a huge boulder lifted from my shoulders, because I knew I could follow my priorities rather than his. In previous relationships, I really had thought that I needed to focus on pleasing the man, on being who he wanted me to be, rather than who I wanted to be… Hmmm, pretty messed up, huh?

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Update on the Tortoise Lovepath

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For those of you who have not been with me for the last year, I will do a re-cap:
June 2011– Girl realizes she works with a Cute Guy when he makes (unnecessary and silly)conversation on Facebook and in office with her. She sees definite potential (he is smart, has a job, is a good Dad, has similar background and… he likes to ski)
July– Girl encourages Cute Guy to see what his reactions would be (she smiles a lot, stops to talk in the hallway, laughs at his jokes)
August– Cute Guy pursues friendship with Girl (flirts at group gatherings, encouraging her to try the hot-hot tomatillo salsa…)
SeptemberGirl sees potential, and encourages super-slowly, shares hiking and wine (no kissing or hugging, but suggests get-togethers and responds to playful texts)
October– Cute Guy (CG) and Girl continue to hang out as friends, and definite chemistry increases (beer induces kissing)
November– Girl realizes she really likes CG, more develops super-slowly (longer dates, more kissing, lots of alone-time and romance for sure, still no dancing between the sheets tho)
December– Girl and CG ski together, shop together, eat together, LOTS of chemistry, then bomb drops (he is seeing someone else) Girl tells CG no more dates 2 days before Christmas. Tough holiday.

January 2012
– Girl is super sad, tells CG she only dates one guy at a time and won’t be playing any more. Too late for friendship. She dates other guys, changes hair, buys new clothes. Bu-bye CG. CG comes back, says he wants what she wants (Exclusive Partnership). Dating resumes. Still on the down low at work. Meet kids, ski weekends, etc. Feels pretty good.
February– Cute Guy acts like a goober, a very ugly guy, and spends Valentines Day weekend with old GF. Girl stops talking to CG, won’t acknowledge him, and avoids him completely. Returns all books, shared items, deletes all voice mails, phone number, texts, etc. Doesn’t return phone calls or texts. Moves on with life. Tough holiday.
Late February- CG explains himself in a 3 hour phone call. Girl explains herself. Lots of long phone calls (also with girlfriend Liz and friend Mark, trying to decipher what kind of a boy-brain pulls that shit and if he is worth any trouble)
March– Girl decides to give Cute Guy another chance. Reads him a list of her intentions for her life and looks him in the eye this time, giving him time to respond and taking time to digest his responses. Cute Guy steps up.
April– Girls gets surgery, Cute Guy steps up again and stays with her and her kids for 5 days cooking, cleaning, schlepping.
May– Cute Guy steps up again and plans to take her to meet family on vacation. Feels GREAT.
June– Girl takes family vacation with Cute Guy and his son. He steps up again bigger introducing her to lots of family. She encoruages him, introduces him to her family.
July– Girl runs half marathon, CG steps up again (begins his tradition of driving her to race starts and meeting her at finish line).
August- CG steps up on ladders and helps Girl with home projects.
September- Girl says she cannot imagine falling in love with a man who smokes cigarettes, CG quits smoking within 5 days. Girl encourages CG big time.

October- So here we are, and I adore this man. He adores me. We share a lot, and have mutual goals and aspirations. But even better, we allow each other’s integrity and individuality to shine through the relationship. I respect his time with his son, his work aspirations, and his train set. He respects my running, my work, and most importantly my motherhood drive. We are still finding out about each other. He has a blog that I have never seen, says it is about cooking? (he won’t see this one for a long long time!). We love to ski together, work out together, encourage each other to pursue our independent passions (i.e. he doesn’t have to run. I don’t have to do trains, meteorology, woodworking or compost until I am good and ready.) I was intensely jealous of other gf’s relationships going swiftly to love and 24-hour dates after 3 weeks, but kept my slow and steady tortoise pace. I waited 6 months to sleep with this man, and it was more than worth the wait. We are committed exclusive partners to each other. We have plans to make things official after our kids are more settled in their lives (out of high school).

He may have come in to my life to help me learn and express just how important the “Exclusive Partnership” is to me. I held my ground, yet forgave him when he messed up because he came back truly communicating that he was ready.

Now, I have loved this man for a long time, but I have not told him… So the tortoise lives on!

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Love – The Terror of It

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“True Love is one of the rarest jewels of life, treasure it with all your heart. When you find someone who loves you just as you are, is steadfast during moments of stress, willing to grow with you and allows you to feel however you choose to feel in any moment – there is nothing more you will ever find in a person. You’ve found True Love when you feel fear; fear of vulnerability, fear of abandonment and fear of letting go of your own stubborn egoic patterns that keep the real you separate and safe from the other. Trust in love and go towards your fear, taking this leap of faith in every moment is the journey Love requires for its sweet reward.”

– Jackson Kiddard, author & polymath.

pol·y·math   [pol-ee-math]
noun
a person of great learning in several fields of study; polyhistor.

Ok, so the quote above was written by a man of great learning in several fields of study- a very smart cookie. I love this quote! Love is terrifying! So I would add that it requires courage added upon our relationships on a daily basis.

Truly loving ourselves requires courage to stand up for the person and her ideals, even when we really aren’t so sure about how she will be received by the world.

Loving our teenagers means we have to step up to the plate and stand up for what we believe in (our rules, our boundaries, our behavioral expectations), and who we believe in (the cute pimply kid in front of me who just got busted for breaking the rules, again). It takes guts to show up every day as a single parent, ready to step in when needed, to discern when we can butt out, and to have faith that we are enough and what we have done is enough. With no back-up, no cheering section, and no partner.

For me, loving my lover means I need to show up, let my ego take a break, and throw that oh-so-ugly-fear of abandonment out the window.

Some days, the courage needed to truly love me, my teens, and my lover is elusive, I really want to back down, accept, and burrow in to the fear, let it take me over. I think that I am not worthy, that I just can’t do it…I don’t have the energy needed. Ha!

Guess what? I can do it! And you can too. So keep on stepping up to the plate, keep showing up, keep on setting aside your fears, and give the ego a shove-off. You are vulnerable, you may be abandoned, and the real you might not be compatible with your lover after all. But today, in this moment, you know what you know. So do this one step you know right now. Be present. Be vulnerable. Be Truthful. God and the Universe are on your side. Ask for their help!

What would it be like to live this day believing that we are truly blessed, protected, and guided? I have that written on my mirror with stars and underlines, because I tend to forget that, even though it really is kinda important…

Let’s get out there and love, truly love, you, your children, your lover, and your life. You are truly blessed, protected, and guided.

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Trusting our Guts (aka Higher Selves)

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It is not that easy.  We can get a little gun-shy and self-recriminatory when we make mistakes.  I am the first one to shout “I told you so!” when I screw up.  But I have been told that the more we trust those innards, the better we will be at coming up with The Truth.

  1.  So, I trusted my gut with the Cute Guy at work.  When he said he went away for the weekend with another woman, I decided that meant I needed to move on down the road.  I did my hair differently, gave him back the book he loaned me, ignored his conversation attempts, walked the other way when I saw him, and went out on a couple of dates.  I acted AS IF I was moving on anyway; I wasn’t, but I was trying to fake it until I made it..  Ten days later, he texted that he missed me and was so sorry.  I waited to respond (ok, so it was only 4 hours).  And now, 3 weeks after that, we are dating.  Exclusively.  He is calling me pet names, he is calling me every day, and most importantly, he is referring to and paying attention to my speech to him that I only date one man at a time and only date men who date one woman at a time.  At this point, he is opening up to me more than I am to him!  He is sharing fears and dreams and listening to mine.  I have no promises of where it is going, but today the gut-check was a good thing.  I knew I could not tolerate the behavior of seeing others, and I took care of myself by speaking my Truth.
  2. At work last week, I was very uncomfortable with the way my boss handled a meeting that lasted four 10-hour days long.  He didn’t protect our client from the third party and her lawyer.  I was really stressed and in a lot of turmoil because this put my job as well as my reputation on the line.  But he wanted me to follow his lead, and ”just let it all happen, be patient”.  Because the third party held the checkbook. Finally, on the 4th morning, after painfully shutting my mouth several times, being jittery and taking more breaks than usual from the meeting for 3 days, I spoke out once in our client’s interest.  My boss ruffled beside me, and the third party blinked their eyes a few times.  We all went on, not a lot changed.  And 7 hours later I got to board a plane outta there.  I have no idea what the recourse from my boss will be when I return to the office, but somehow, I need to keep on trusting my gut and be true to what I believe is right.  I have been asking for a promotion and a raise, I really hope now that I am just not canned!
  3. Dating with teenagers in the house- the ultimate test of our reasoning.  My kids are watching me date this man now.  They have met him, they have spent time skiing with him, and have had dinner with him several times.  They know he has been a part of my life for about 8 months even though they didn’t meet him until 4 months into it.  I told them about it when I broke up with him.  I am trying to model how adults move through sadness and pain, so that when it happens to them, they will know the earth has not crashed into the sun, even though they feel awful about the breakup, death, job loss, etc.  I am also trying to teach my kids about honesty…  they don’t get to have sleepovers with their boy/girlfriends, and, well, I do.  If I am teaching my son not to be sneaking around behind my back, shouldn’t I stop sneaking around behind their backs to spend the night with my boyfriend?  This is difficult terrain here, because if I decide to stop sneaking around, then that means I have to decide how much Cute Guy means to me.  Do I want him to have a relationship with my kids?  Do I want them to like him?  Get attached to him?  Things are still very fresh and new, although going really well so far (what has it been, 2 weeks on this new relationship plane?  NOT LONG!).  So luckily, I am on vacation with my kids.  Phew.  We have some ski days planned all together.  No overnights are planned, yet.  But you know how that goes.
  4. The bottom line is, we all need to take the time to “act, and not react”, as the Al-anon saying goes.  In order to trust our guts, we need time alone, with friends, and/or with journals to process, and a ton of communication with everyone involved.  I need to have the long talks with my kids that only come when I am not worried about work and not rushing to find dinner, and can look them in the eyeballs for more than 10 seconds at a time.  And, yes, I need to ask God to “help me help me help me”.

 

Left Foot, Right Foot, Left Foot, Breathe

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The title of this blog is from advice I found in Anne Lamotte’s book “Plan B and Further Thoughts on Faith”. She got the advice from a friend named Tom when she was sad and frustrated and over the top with gunk raining down on her. It is really all we can do: put footsteps and time between us and anything that is terribly disappointing.

I don’t know why we sometimes think we can no longer “handle it”, that this is “the last straw”. Because it isn’t. We do end up getting out of bed, limping into the bathroom, doing the teeth-hair-clothes bit and getting out the door. Eventually.

This morning I had to have a good wail. I was pissed. And sad. I ended up, at the very bottom of it, mad at God. You see, I had asked very specifically for God to take care of me, protect me, and told God I knew he had my back, that he takes care of my kids when I am not looking, took care that my house purchase went through ok, takes care of my finances, and so I told God over the last months/years/decade (that REALLY pissed me off at God, that I have been asking for a decade now?!) that I know he has the perfect divinely right partner in mind for me and is preparing me for him. And preparing the dude for me. Today, it doesn’t seem that way… I am feeling like I am actually out in the cold on this companion bit, and God could care less if I find or have this companion in my life. Wow. That feels harsh. It feels possible.

But God- what else am I supposed to think? How else could/should I interpret this mess?

I heard in Alanon (the 12-step group for families and friends of alcoholics, which means they have a bunch of slogans too) that “Figuring it out is not a slogan”. So I don’t get to know God’s plan, I have to step out again in blind faith; walk by faith and not by sight. Damn it.

Left foot, right foot, left foot yet again, breathe. I thought my plan was pretty good, but I guess he has a different one.

The Moth got Taken in, but She is in Recovery Now

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That sweater dress may have been a really bad idea. Goober ended up contacting me, complimenting me (my weakness), and we had a beer to talk over the status of our relationship. I clearly told him I only date one person at a time, and was not interested in dating him if he was dating someone else. “I don’t share” I clearly said about 3 times. He told me he didn’t want to date more than one person either, and really wanted to date me. I told him I want exclusive, he mumbled “yes”, and off we went, having an awesome time with each other… For a very nice 4 weeks. I asked him yesterday early morning “What are we doing this weekend? Wanna ski?”, and he said he is going out of town (do you hear the bells in the distance? see a little flag on the horizon?).

I asked “Where?” thinking maybe (hopefully) he was going on a ski trip with buddies. He said “Getting out of Dodge”. I asked “With who?”. “A friend”. I flew out of his bedroom, down the stairs, and into my shoes practically flapping my arms as I gathered my purse and coat. Alarms were ringing everywhere. He asked if I wanted coffee, why was I leaving so fast? (I don’t drink coffee, WTH is he thinking?) My hand on the doorknob, I turned to him and asked “Is it a friend, or a friend-friend?” (I had no idea what that distinction was, or which answer was correct) He said ” A friend”. By now, bells are clanging inSIDE my head, panic is in my mouth, and I ran out of the house, into my car and out of his driveway as fast as I could get out of there… What would you have done?

I called him from my car and was able to calmly and clearly confirm that he was going out of town with a woman, that he had misled me, he knew what I wanted and expected, and yet was confused, and and and. I clearly told him that dating more than one person is confusing to me, and dating someone who is dating more than one person at a time confuses me. I clearly told him how happy I was that he had not spent any more time with my children, as they and I clearly thought we had more going on than we did. I explained that raising my 2 teenagers alone and doing my job takes enough energy that I am not interested in adding in any confusing or jealous energy to that equation. “So it doesn’t have to be completely over, we can still be friends” he tried to convince me. I admitted that I had only slept about 2 hours the night before and probably should not make any decisions about that. Then I said “I will let you go now” and said goodbye. 15 minutes is what my cell phone said about our conversation.

I keep expecting to feel awful and rejected. But I also keep reminding myself that I made this choice, that I wasn’t being rejected, and that I broke things off with him. Mary pointed out that I made this healthy choice for me, and now I am ready to accept what I REALLY want. Sara told me he is not offering me anything I am interested in. Liz said it was pitiful that a 50 year old man couldn’t figure it out and have a little more humility. Mark said that he definitely wants me in his life, but his rules don’t mesh with mine. Another Mark would say Life and love are not for the weak. So I am getting a ton of support.

Here is what else I am doing:

I am congratulating myself on making a courageous decison that was not easy, but will help bring the man who wants to be exclusive to me. These decisions to love ourselves and not accept unacceptable behavior are difficult. But our hearts and our children need us to make them anyway… And, they bring us closer to God’s plan for us.

I am listening to sermons about God bringing light and purpose to our lives, sticking with us through thick and thin, and loving us no matter what happens by my friend Mark whose wife is suffering from a debilitating illness that is tearing apart his college sweetheart’s mental stability and his family. This illness will take her over the course of decades, and yet he can deliver these hopeful and faithful sermons about the depth of God’s love for us. I just heard him say “God is in the darkness, God is in the Light, and in the Fear. He is in the unexpected places of our lives”. Let me know if you want a link to these sermons.

I am envisioning a beautiful bouquet of flowers inside of me- with lots of light blue delphiniums, yellow sunflowers, pink wild roses, red Indian paintbrush, orange globemallows, and many more. This bouquet is gorgeous; it is springing into bloom, with little buds and bursting petals. Raining down on this bouquet is God’s golden Light, filling up my arms, legs, shoulders, and fingernails even, with this radiant Light that gives me energy, love, and blessings. When I get anxious, I focus on the exact flower species…

I am praying a lot and asking God to hold my hand and hug me through all of this, to lead me and give me wisdom, help me to learn from this, and oh yeah, if it is your will God, bring me my divine right partner- the one with the big heart and nice biceps too.

Somehow, this morning, I was able to be present with my children at breakfast, was the kind thoughtful mom I want to be, rather than the depressed, sad, immobilized mom I was afraid would show up this morning.

The rage and argument in my head against Goober and his actions has quieted down. I am not cussing him out in my mind as often as I did yesterday when he had the stupidity to come by my office to ask a work question. Glimpsing him in the office anhour ago was NOT heartbreaking. I would rather be writing a blog to you about how my boyfriend has surprized me with amazing plans for Valentine’s Day. But that is not the case. Instead, I am sharing with you how I fell into the sun, but am surviving big disappointment.

We are all bouquets of buds and blooms. Let’s make the tough decisions and let the Light in. I hope to write again soon, to let you know this spiralling upward has continued.

Like a Moth, Going Towards the Light

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Here is the latest:

I decided last night that I need and want, deserve, and am going to have a man that will protect me and cherish me.  It made me cry just thinking that would be possible…  So I have been fantasizing and calling in a cute man who looks and acts pretty much like a fireman- you know how sexy those guys are! : ) and that feels really good.  I am definitely praying a lot about it, talking it all over with God and letting him know I am ready for “my fireman” to arrive.

 In the meantime, I have had all these wonderful, yet unavailable (a.k.a. married) men give me kindness and warmth- the cable guy was so sweet with his follow-up and re follow-up on cable issues I was having; a coworker gave me an apology card after being pissy and belligerent with me during a meeting; another coworker has been laughing and joking with me about the difficulty of our project these days, sharing inside jokes and hilarious puns with me on it; the youth director awarded my daughter a really robust scholarship to go on the Church ski trip this weekend; an old friend is keeping me company on text, encouraging me and offering sweet support and kindness; and another coworker has been tirelessly and cheerfully helping me with some really boring aspects of the project.

 I am experiencing sweet men in my life, and it is reminding me that there really are some very good ones out there!

 CG (who has been re-named Goober, becasue he is not a Cute Guy after all- I don’t care how much turmoil you have in your life, it is not ok to start a fling iwth a single mom colleague who clearly has other ideas about you…) has been out of the office for the last 2 days, working from home.  Goober is in today.  I happen to be wearing a really cute sweater dress that looks pretty good on me.  (I am calling that Fireman in!!!)  Goober passed by an office where I was talking with someone and I saw him take in the whole view with a cold eye.  I am focusing completely on that Fireman, and attempting to not care less what Goober thinks, what Goober says, or what Goober does.  Goober-Man is not about protecting and cherishing me.

 Instead, I am channeling, growing, feeling, God’s love and infinite care for me.  And I have received 3 (!) really fun invitations from women friends for this weekend!  So, onward and upward, toward the Light.  I will let you know what happens next.Image