Going Down the Rabbit Hole

My friend M routinely stalks her ex husband. They do not share children together, so really, is there any reason to wonder what he is doing now, almost 30 years past their short lived post college marriage?

I’ve been apart from me ex husband 20+ years. Never once did I look him up online….you know, until I did…

A few months ago I wrote to you about getting rid of some big, glossy coffee table art books. I explained to you that thought they should have brought me joy, yet all they brought me was sadness, anger and regret.

I was thrilled to finally rid myself of the burden of these books.

Then I decided to Google my ex.

I found out he died three years ago.

Talk about dredging up sadness, anger and regret…

It’s odd to think about the death of someone who once meant a great deal to you. At one point in my life I thought I loved this person. I thought that I could care for this person and make their problems go away. I thought that this was the person I deserved to be with because of all sorts of issues with myself.

When you think about why you did something that turned out to be very bad for you, you end up feeling a little bit bad about yourself. You ask yourself how you could have been so stupid, blind….you ask yourself how you could have been so wrong…

Anger

Sadness

Regret

This is why the internet stinks. At your fingertips, in mere seconds, you can really find out anything and make yourself feel bad…search engines are a tool and a weapon. And it has to be treated as such. The internet can and does hurt you. It hurts your friends. It hurts your family. Handled incorrectly it hurts everyone.

Am I glad that I know that he’s dead?

Am I glad that he’s dead?

I don’t know. Three months later and I’m still processing my feelings. I’m journaling and thinking and making notes. Maybe this will too become a memoir…a rite of passage…a closing out of the books. I thought that this divorce, these feelings of sadness, anger and regret were long past me. I thought I was over all of this…but I can only wonder if these feelings ever actually go away. I wonder if they are always inside of us and somehow become part of our DNA, if every decision we make comes with the disclaimer that we have once been hurt very badly and we will forever remember that as we take tiny steps forward…

Do we compartmentalize our sadness, anger and regret so that we can live and find other emotions to balance those out? Or do we always fall back on our negatives?

Do we ever really forget? Or do we just learn to move on?

Do we ever get past the emotional damage in our lives, or do we just learn to live with it, like a scar that will not go away not matter what we put on it. It might fade, but there will always be traces.

I guess we can’t erase our past.

We just have to learn from it.

Sex is not Romance

Sex is…a bodily act…

Romance is another thing entirely…

So what’s the difference and why does it matter?

This is where I start to veer all over the place with this topic. We have the following random observations:

  1. Some people really like sex
  2. Some people really like romance
  3. Some people think romance is love
  4. Romance is often seen as the conduit to getting someone else have sex with you
  5. Romance is often associated with love
  6. People assume that if one person is romancing another, it means that they are in love
  7. People wrongly assume that if one person is romancing another, it means that they are in love
  8. Sometimes people romance another not because they are in love, but because they want to have sex
  9. Not everyone is romantic
  10. Everyone’s idea of romance is different

I could probably twist the words around a bit more, but you get the gist. Sex and romance are not the same but there are people who do not see the distinction. Or maybe they don’t want to see the distinction. I’m going to take a guess and say that people who want to be in love are going to take signs of romance as a sign of love.

Big mistake.

And I think this is where the problems start.

As I’ve been binge watching “The Big Bang Theory”, I came across an episode where Howard is planning something for the anniversary of his first date with his wife. Howard is known as being slightly oversexed. The Penny character (really attractive) begins to think that she never does anything romantic for her boyfriend. Her boyfriend (unsure about his attractiveness, but wants sex) does tend to do romantic things. The Sheldon character (not sexual at all) doesn’t do anything romantic, and his girlfriend complains about it. Raj, the character who desperately wants to be in love is clearly the most classically romantic of them all, and even romances all his friends in a friendship sort of way(and oddly, the only main character who ends up unmarried on the show)

Two male characters use romance as a way to show love and get sex

One male character doesn’t care about sex or common displays of love, so does nothing to romance his partner

One male character is innately romantic, yet, that seems to push women away

Is this a good correlation to actual life?

Could we start with a hypothesis that 50% of people use romance to get what they want, 25% don’t care one way or another, and 25% can’t find someone to love them the way they want to be loved? Would you say that out of the 50% who use romance to get sex, maybe only half of them are actually “in love”?

I am totally spitballing.

I have absolutely no idea about any of this, I’m just throwing our random observations and waiting for at least one of you (Deb) to make some sense of what I’ve said.

For Write my Blog Thursday, give me any observations about the correlation between romance and sex and love.

Why is this such a hard topic to think or write about? Is it impossible to define, or do we just not want to look behind the curtain of what this all actually means? Do we want to cling to any illusions that we harbor about sex or romance or love?

Discuss

https://anchor.fm/laover50

Grand Gesture- Take 2

A few weeks ago I wrote I post – “The Grand Gesture”.  I was not happy with how this post turned out.  It didn’t convey the message that I was trying to express.  Now I’ve written a lot of posts in my short blogging career, and obviously some were better than others. But, I was always proud of them because for better or worse, they said what I wanted them to say.  Until The Grand Gesture.  I realized the problem with the post was that I was holding back on something: I had an idea in my head but I wasn’t ready to share that idea with the world.  And it reflected in my writing. Now, I’m still not sharing the catalyst for that post, but I do have an anecdote that I think will help convey my message.  If for any reason it doesn’t, expect a take three in about ten days….

When I was in my twenties I was still unformed. OK- I’m still unformed- so let’s say I was a big ball of goo back then. I met a guy.  I went out with this guy.  And one day we were walking home from a party and he said “Ok. Let’s do this.  When do you want to get married.” No ring.  No prepared speech. No dinner. Not even really a question. In my very gooey brain, I thought- wow- he must love me.  He cut through all the romance and the nonsense and just cut right to the chase.

Stupid.

Needless to say, he would eventually become my ex husband.

So what did I learn from this experience? First off, I may have been at the forefront of a brilliant career, and I may have been really great at my job, but personally I was a mess. I had no idea how to navigate a relationship. I had about a thousand licenses from various government agencies saying that I could be trusted with your money, but I could not be trusted with making rational decisions of the heart. I thought that nonchalance equated to love. I later realized that nonchalance equated to not giving a damn.

Enter: The Grand Gesture.

I think if you love someone you must do something big to show it.  Now, big is a relative term.  It does not have to be renting out the scoreboard at a sporting event.  It does not have to be hosting a party for a thousand of your closest acquaintances. Expensive jewelry need not apply. What big is in this circumstance is meaningful.  You must present the one that you love with something meaningful. And meaningful means different things to different people.

So

You must present the one you love with something meaningful that is unique to their personality and is an expression of your love of them.

You must create an intimacy that is specific to your relationship.

Because you need to show that person how much they mean to you.

All relationships go through ups and downs.  Obviously, the ups are easy to ride out- it’s all rainbows and unicorns. But the downs. How do you get through the downs? What is the thing that makes weathering the downs bearable? I think it’s that expression of love that holds you through- the memory of an event, that piece of whatever they gave to you- I think that expression of love is what makes you remember what you are fighting for. And sometimes you need a reminder of what you are fighting for.

So no matter what stage of a relationship you are in, show the person you’re with how much they mean to you. Tell them. I don’t think there’s a limit to how many times you can show someone that you care, that they mean the world to you, that you love them. Just make it meaningful, from the heart. And make it something your person with like.

Solid relationships. Appreciation. Love. These are not things to be nonchalant about.  These are things to cherish.

The Grand Gesture

Did you ever notice that when a couple gets engaged, one of the first questions asked is “How did X propose to you?” Why is this? Why is the how more important than the why (as in, why do you want to spend the rest of your life with this person)

Well, I guess it’s less personal to ask how than why.  It’s also easier.  It’s simple to explain – it was done at place Y, they said Z to me, etc. But how do you explain why you want to be with someone? Is there a universal phrase that can sum up why you love? How do you explain to an outside party why you love someone?

To go a step further, other than the words “I Love You”, how do you even show your partner how much you love them? How do you show someone that you care?

Enter the grand gesture.

Promposals.  How did asking someone to prom become an extravaganza? Engagements? Have you seen instagrams of the lengths people will go to when proposing to someone? Why has asking someone a question become an event that takes weeks of planning?(Now, before you go crazy on me, I think the decision to marry someone should be taken with great care…the actual proposal…..well…)

I think people feel they need to make a grand gesture so that there intended knows how much they mean to them.  Anyone can say the words “I love you”, but if you follow it up with a grand, physical gesture?  Then it must be true- this person loves me because they were willing to show it by doing A. They spent time planning out the perfect situation.  They spent money to make sure they got everything right.  There are pictures that I can post on social media- because we all know that if it’s on social media it’s true…A grand gesture is proof that someone cares enough about you to go the extra mile…

Isn’t that what we all want? Proof that someone is willing to extend themselves for you? Whether it be moving in together, or going to prom, or getting married, we want to know that the other person really cares.  We want confirmation that we are not a consolation prize, that we are indeed their first choice.  But no matter how gifted someone may be with words, it’s not always easy to get that point across…so you need an action…something tangible…to make it abundantly clear. The grander the gesture, the greater your expression of love….

So- now it’s your turn.  What do you think of grand gestures of love and commitment, or even just attraction? Do you think they’re necessary? Have you ever orchestrated a grand gesture, or been on the receiving end of one? Do you think love needs to be proved, or are the words enough?

 

Subtle Arts

My Husband recently read the book “The Subtle Art of not giving a F&*%” .  (I did not read the book, so any interpretation I have of this book is through my husband, the accountant)

Husband: You should read this book.  It’s got a really interesting perspective. The author says that if you don’t think your partner looks good you should tell them”

Me: Is this guy in a relationship?

Husband: He says it promotes honesty

Me: Maybe honesty doesn’t belong in healthy relationships.

Ok- here’s the thing.  I want honesty.  I really do.  But, I also don’t want to hear that I’ve gained weight, or that a dress doesn’t flatter me.So what does that make me?  A hypocrite?  Or someone that thinks that the person I love should think I’m beautiful just because they love me?

I know there’s the joke that if someone asks their partner “How do I look?”, the immediate stock response is “Wonderful” but really, shouldn’t you always think your partner looks wonderful, even if they’re in sweats and uncombed hair? Isn’t that part of love, seeing someone at their worst and still thinking they are the best thing ever?  It’s easy to love someone when all the pieces are in the right order, when they are at the top of their game so to speak.  But if you think of it as a bell curve, your partner is going to be average the majority of the time.  You need to love the average.  You also need to love that bottom 20%.

Because that’s how to be in a relationship: loving the person 100% even when they’re at 30%.  The honesty comes in accepting the worst things that your partner is, being honest about their faults and shortcomings, and loving them anyway.  Do you need to point out their flaws? I’m going with no- they probably know what their weaknesses are. Remember: nagging is not a great way to have a strong relationship either. If you can’t accept a persons flaws, you can’t be with that person.  See, that’s the thing that crushes relationships- having the expectation that things will be different because your partner will change the exact way you want them to.

You know what else crushes relationships?

Telling your partner that they don’t look good.

So, on that note, tell the person you love that they are beautiful, because if they put up with all your flaws, they are truly the most beautiful person in the world.

 

 

It’s A Funny Thing About Love

You all know my idea process by now: I get an idea, I jot it down in the next open space in my planner, I look at the idea the night before I’m going to write about it, and then, in the morning, I write. And I normally stick to this plan- I rarely change up an order or switch ideas- I just write what I planned to write about. Except for July 4.  I had written down an idea for July 4, but I realized that I wasn’t going to want to write a “real” post on July 4, so I moved the idea for July 4 to today.  Last night I looked at my idea, which was talking about how much I loved some quotes from the new Allison Pearson novel.  I then looked at the quotes I had bookmarked, to refresh my memory about what was special about them.  And in reading these quotes, I realized that so much of my writing the past two weeks has in some part been formed by these quotes. Subconsciously, I have been thinking about love and soul mates and many of the things I have touched on.  So for the third day in a row, I am going to talk a little about love.

Let’s start with one kind of love: book love.  Years ago, I found a writing soulmate in Allison Pearson, and her book “I Don’t Know How She Does It”.  The writing is real- it’s the same emotions and feelings many Mothers feel on a daily basis.  It is also clever, witty and laugh out loud funny at points.  And maybe Pearson’s next work disappointed me just a little, but when I opened up her new one, “How Hard Can it Be” I was instantly transported back to writers lust: I want to write like Allison Pearson.

Pearson manages to make me laugh and tug at my heartstrings all at the same time.  She makes me have emotion.  She makes me feel.  She makes me think.  This is it for me: novel perfection- emotion, feelings and thinking.  Did I say that I long to write like Allison Pearson?

“How Hard Can it Be” might be considered by some as a beach read- something light and fun to pass the time.  And it is light and fun and easy to read- but to call it that alone would be a disservice to writers who choose to entertain with their work.  I find that she really nails feelings about love better than most (certainly better than that insipid book I talked about the other day)

Quote 1: “That is the issue.  What matters is not who you go to bed with, but who you can talk to- I mean, really talk to- when you’re lying around afterward.”

Analysis- I actually used a similar line when I wrote my soulmate piece the other day.  I actually think about this exact subject a lot.  Intimate relationships require intimacy and communication.  If you have intimacy and communication, your relationship has the basic building blocks- if you don’t?  I don’t know- how’s that working out for you?

Quote 2: “But then there are all the minor reasons.  Like, you know, the thought of being happy for the rest of your life because you’re making the other person happy.  Giving them a chance to prove that they can do the same for you.  Peace on earth.  Justice for all.  The little things.”

Analysis- Isn’t that the essence of love?  Knowing that someone else is happy because you’re in their life? And yes, I know you have to start out with a happy person- no person can make you happy if you’re not- but when the thought of someone special puts a smile on your face for no other reason than that they exist in the same sphere as you?  I’m smiling right this very second just thinking about those I love, and love me in return.

Quote 3: “He loved me.  And I loved him.  Don’t we know within a few minutes of meeting someone if we have to adjust the frequency?  I knew instantly with him, we had our own wavelength (do not adjust your set) and I remember that burst of pure happiness.  Only very rarely do you get that sense, once or twice in a lifetime, if you’re lucky.  We were lucky.  Several billion people on the planet and we found each other.  How great is that?”

Analysis: Ok- obviously, though I didn’t recognize it at the time, this quote was running through my brain for probably a month now.  Amazing the subconscious, isn’t it?

Conclusion: At the root of everything there is love, or lack of love ( indifference or hate if you like those terms better).  Love drives us, even when we don’t realize we are thinking about it.  Love- hate- indifference. But mainly love. That’s the human experience all rolled up into a tight little ball.

My One and Only

Soul mates.  This concept has always intrigued me, and I have written about it before, but Janie recently wrote about it, so I thought I needed to rethink the issue.

So let’s start with the big question: Do you believe that there is a person out there in the world who is the perfect person for you?  For arguments sake, we can also consider the “7 person rule” which is that there are actually 7 perfect people for you in the world.

Do either of these theories make sense?  (I know- I’m asking you to think on a northern hemisphere summer day.)

Statistically, one has to bet against the theory of soul mates, because mathematically it just doesn’t add up.  If there is one, or even seven people in the world that are perfect matches, what is the chance of finding them? World population is about 7.6 billion.  Think about your odds…. So, maybe your soul mate exists, but what are the chances that you will meet them?

Which brings me to my next question: How do you know?  How do you know you’ve met your soul mate?  Do fireworks go off in the background? Do birds sing and animals frolic around you?  Do people spontaneously break into song as you and your soul mate walk down the street?

Let’s go back to the math/science approach for this one: chemistry.  No matter how you look at it, two people must have chemistry.  Even with friendships, there must be some sort of spark of attraction that unites two people together.

So how do you know the difference between real chemistry and lust?

Yeah- I’m still working on this one too.  Because if someone is to be your romantic  soulmate,  there must be physical attraction.  But, if every person you were physically attracted to was your soulmate?  You do the math and the logic on that one…

So, the chemistry must have physical properties.  What other properties does it need to contain?

Intellectual.  There must be intellectual chemistry.   You need to be able to talk to your soulmate.  You need to want to talk to your soulmate. The goal should be to be excited to go to bed with your partner, and just as excited to wake up to them the next day.  You should be thrilled to share the routine details with them, as well as the more thought provoking observations.  You shouldn’t need a buffer- you and soulmate should be able to find things to talk about on all levels without anyone or anything else. Now some of you are thinking, how can you always have something to talk about with your significant other?  And then I want you to think about what happens when people stop communicating with someone else…

Now how about your heart.  Hearts are often used to show love – so if we’re discussing soulmates, we must include hearts.  Here’s my theory on the heart:  your soulmate must have the ability to make your heart race.  A word, a look, anything that literally makes your heart start pounding.  Have you ever felt your heart race?  The thump thump thump where you see your chest rise and fall, rise and fall?  All your senses are engaged- it’s a total body experience! No other feeling compares to the feel of your heart racing because you are with the person you love- no drug, no stimulant is as good as this feeling, this natural high.  It makes your whole body shake with excitement.

But then, conversely, your soulmate also makes your heart calm.  They have the ability to make you know that no matter what, everything is OK, that they are your safe space. Those simple conversations where the world just fits, like all the pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle are joined together to form the most perfect picture….

So those are my criteria for a soulmate- 1) physical attraction, 2) mental stimulation and 3) they make you feel. (I spent longer thinking of a way to phrase this then I spent on whole blog- would love it if someone came up with a better phrase because making you feel is sort of stupid)

But now to the next part: how many people make you feel all these things simultaneously?

Is there one person who is just a better fit?

Obviously, I would love some audience participation on this one:

  1. Is there such a thing as a soulmate?
  2. What constitutes a soulmate?
  3. How do you know?

Discuss….

 

 

I ______________ That

When faced with the title sentence, which word do you normally use:

  1. Like
  2. Love
  3. Am indifferent to
  4. Hate

Seriously, think about how often you phrase something like this, how often you make a bold declarative statement, and if you use of the above words more than the others.

Are you thinking?

Let’s start with like.  I know we all “like” things.  I expect a bunch of you to “like” this post…we write so that others read our words, and get some sort of feeling about what we have written.  But I don’t mean social media likes.  I mean, how often do you utter the words “I like _________”?

I’m going to give you some examples:

I like using cloth napkins when I’m eating.  I think they cover my lap better, are softer when I wipe my mouth, and are better for the environment because I don’t throw them away.  I like cloth napkins.

Love.  How often do you use the word love in a day?  5 times?  50 times?  None?  I tell my daughter that I love her every morning when she walks out the door.  I love hot tea with milk and sugar.  Count your loves.

Am Indifferent to.  I rarely use these exact words on a daily basis, but there are things I have absolutely no opinion on.  Coke or pepsi?  Doesn’t matter.  Are there things around you that you don’t care enough about to form an opinion?

Hate.  How often do you use the word hate?  I hated that book.  I hate that movie.  I hate _______.  Seriously, how often do you use the word, or think the word every day?  How many things do you feel so strongly about that you use the word hate?

Take five minutes.  Tabulate your results.

How many times did you use each word?  Is there anything that stands out?  Have you used one word more than another?  Does anyone have Hate leading the pack?

We all hate things.  We all are allowed to hate things.  I hate anchovies- really can’t stand them. And that’s fine.  Hating something is fine.

But do you hate more than you love, like or are indifferent to?

Now, before you get crazy, I’m not advocating becoming “Susie Sunshine”, or “Polyanna”.  I’m not handing out rose colored glasses, or handing anyone a bucket of sand.  I just want you to think about what words are filling your thoughts, dreams, prayers and your time.  I want you to think about what words are making up your life.  If the majority of your words are words of hate, how do you think you are going to feel inside?

Try to have a balance of those four basic ideas as you are going about your day.  If you find yourself constantly repeating the same thought, try thinking again.  If you write a post about something that makes you mad, or that you hate, try to balance out the next post by writing about something you like.  Or, as a spin, write about how to fix the problem of the thing you hate or that makes you mad.  There are negative things in life: how do you make them into a positive.

Are we clear on this weeks homework?  First, we analyze how often we use these words.  Then we figure out how to balance our thoughts out.  I’m not aiming for positivity awards:  the goal is balance.

Whop wants to win the first “Balanced Thought Award”? (don’t get too excited- I don’t create memes…)

 

 

 

Valentines Day 2018

On Valentines Day, I will leave you with the lyrics to my favorite love song.  I know it’s not a song that most people will pick to celebrate a day of love, but it resonates with me.  When I think of love, I think of this song.  This is my gift to you!  Happy Valentines Day!

Patience
Guns N’ Roses

One, two, one, two, three, four
Shed a tear ’cause I’m missin’ you
I’m still alright to smile
Girl, I think about you every day now
Was a time when I wasn’t sure
But you set my mind at ease
There is no doubt you’re in my heart now
Said woman take it slow, and it’ll work itself out fine
All we need is just a little patience
Said sugar make it slow and we’ll come together fine
All we need is just a little patience (Patience)
Mm, yeah
I sit here on the stairs
‘Cause I’d rather be alone
If I can’t have you right now, I’ll wait dear
Sometimes I get so tense but I can’t speed up the time
But you know love there’s one more thing to consider
Said woman take it slow and things will be just fine
You and I’ll just use a little patience
Said sugar take the time ’cause the lights are shining bright
You and I’ve got what it takes to make it
We won’t fake it, I’ll never break it
‘Cause I can’t take it
Little patience, mm yeah, mm yeah
Need a little patience, yeah
Just a little patience, yeah
Some more patience, yeah (I’ve been walking the streets at night, just trying to get it right)
A little patience, yeah (Its hard to see with so many around
You know I don’t like being stuck in the crowd)
Could use some patience, yeah (And the streets don’t change but maybe the names)
(I ain’t got time for the game ’cause I need you)
Gotta have more patience, yeah (Yeah, yeah but I need you)
All need some patience (Ooh I need you, whoa I need you)
Just a little patience is all you need (Ooh, this time, ah)
Songwriters: (USA 2) SLASH, IZZY STRADLIN, DUFF MC KAGAN, STEVEN ADLER, W. AXL ROSE
© Universal Music Publishing Group
Data from: LyricFind

Why Valentines

Back in the early days of our relationship, Husband and I did not celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Hallmark holiday we called it.  Day specifically intended to make people spend money.

Then, when our daughter was born, we still didn’t celebrate it with each other, but we made sure we had things for her.  Little presents, candy, whatever.  In elementary school I watched as she made little Valentines Cards to give to her classmates.  I remember how excited she was to make a little cardboard mailbox in school, and come home with a box filled with little notes and candy and whatever else kids put in the boxes.  Valentines Day had become another reason to celebrate my daughter.

Then a few years ago, Husband and I began celebrating Valentine’s Day.  No presents, (we all know that I hate receiving presents) but we would go to dinner. And it is nice to go out on Valentines Day, even if it’s an overpriced prix fixe menu.  As long as you go out during the rest of the year too.

Here’s the thing:  it’s supposed to be a day to celebrate your relationship.  But you should try to celebrate your relationship at least once a week.  All year.

I know.  Babysitter.  Expensive.  Exhaustion.  Lack of free time.   I get all that- been there, done that so to speak.  But figure out a way to celebrate your relationship.  One night, stay up a little later and watch a movie or tv show.  Play a game.  Get up 20 minutes early to have coffee together before the rest of the house is up.  Something.  Anything.  Just once a week.

Because relationships need to be worked on.  Relationships need to be nurtured. Your relationship should be one the top priorities in your life.  If it’s not, you seriously have to ask yourself why it isn’t.

On top of spending time with your significant other, I want you to think about it another way:  think about what lesson you are teaching your children.  Children don’t learn from what we say.  Children learn from what we do.  They learn from our actions.  If we show them that relationships don’t need to be worked on, that our significant others aren’t important, what lessons are they going to being to their own relationships?  What kind of partners are they going to end up being?  Your children are watching how you and your partner treat one another.  They’re watching.  Remember that.

Treat your partner with courtesy and respect.  Fight fair (because kids should see you get into and out of arguments).  And show them the love.  Show them the wanting to spend time together.  Show them that you want to be alone with your partner.

Because if you don’t respect your partner, or treat them with courtesy, or fight fair, or show them love, or want to spend time together, or want to be alone with them- if you are not making a little effort to be with them:  what are you doing with that partner?

And there’s your Valentine’s message…..