I was reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s discussion this morning about ‘doing good’ or ‘feeling free?’ And it conjured up all these emotions in me… She’s right… just because you are doing good in this world, doesn’t mean that you feel free in your body, in your heart or in your soul. There are a whole lot of emotions that make you feel trapped in a world you can’t call your own when you’re ‘doing good’ because in effect, you are doing good by everyone else and not yourself.
I’ve always tried to ‘do good’ but somehow, I’ve always got hurt or taken advantage. Hurt by family and friends, taken advantage of work colleagues, family, friends, kids, charities, the public, etc. And for all that I give in this world, I will be honest, I struggle with the fact that I may only get about 20% back. And that’s a hard fact when you keep soldiering on, day in day out, with no break from the pain in your heart, or the pulling and prodding that people and circumstances do to you. And whilst I am ever so grateful for the beautiful things in my life – my children, my dog, where I live, my lake house, my travels, my experiences, and some dear friends, and I know I am lucky and rich in so many ways, the hardest thing for me to accept is that I have no one to share my life with. It’s lonely being a single mum, when you have no one to talk over things with, no one to cuddle up to watch a movie, no one to give you that sense of relief that someone has your back when you need it. There’s a hole in your heart when there is no intimacy. I don’t have family as a back up, or a father for my children who wants to be a willing regular participant in their lives. It’s just me – raising my children and my fur puppy, working 2 self-employed jobs where most your days are on your own, and maintaining 2 homes.
I have all these dreams and aspirations to feel free, but right now I feel stuck. Stuck with being good but knowing at the same time I’m hurting myself. I’ve exploded to the size I was when I first left my husband, I’ve tried to be recognised for my writing talents (or maybe there isn’t a talent), my kids are hitting that teenage time when ‘cheeky’ and ‘defiant’ are the words of the day… And all I’ve wanted is someone to give me a break, and make me feel the big hard bubble in my chest go away.
There’s something to be said about your emotional state and how it affects your physical state. I have spent way too much money this year on shakes, gym memberships and weight loss programs to help me get rid of the excess, but I’ve put on an extra 6kgs instead. I’ve ensured I do 10,000-15,000 steps a day, I’ve been on and off with doing toning workouts, as well as walking 6kms most morning, and none of the weight is coming off. And I know it’s because I feel lumped with not feeling free within myself, that my physical being suffers.
I just know, if I had someone special in my life, someone to take some of my burdens away, someone to make me smile and feel like I belong, there will be a chance for my heart to feel free again. I know I can’t rely on that person, and I need to rely on myself to do it, but our human condition is to know that we belong, and that’s all I ask… to feel free.
Most of us entered the internet dating world with determination and optimism. The possibilities were endless, a pool of hundreds if not thousands of potential partners just a click away. But that was a decade ago and the shiny new thing that was going to find us love has become very tarnished, dare I say dirty! So what do you need to know about internet dating survival?
Internet dating attracts its fair share of serial daters, players and creeps, both male and female, after all it’s not just the guys that are using the anonymity of the internet as a licence to behave badly. Knowing the rules in the early days could have saved me a lot of angst and heartache, so I’d like to share some of this hard won wisdom with women, and the men who don’t want to be tarred with the same brush.
The most important thing to remember about internet dating is to have fun with dating. Remember what dating was like when we were teenagers? We didn’t look at every date as marriage, we were just having fun getting to know people. And given the number of men that say they want that 16 year old excitement felt again, you could be off the market quickly if you adopt that fun loving, light hearted approach to dating when you are over 40! In my experience, men can smell desperation a mile off, and they run!
Happy dating and stay safe 🙂
I found this fabulous article everyone needs to read!!
People often talk about how listening and hearing are two different things… ‘hearing’ is when you heard what’s said but don’t take it in (like, in one ear and out the other), whilst ‘listening’ is taking in what’s been said and considering what has been to the point where you’re ALLOWING to interweave your life with another’s, or not.
But listening is also ‘listening to what has not been said’ or ‘listening to what has been felt.’ It’s a multi-sensory state that brings love to you – love of yourself and love to the person you are listening to. It’s like when you make love to someone and you can feel them on the urge of peaking and you want to maintain that feeling for them as long as you can without changing your motion or creating a distraction. If you are truly listening to someone, you can feel it in your heart exactly what is needed to ‘be’ for that person, if it’s helping, celebrating, embracing or consoling… just simply ‘being’ is the truest form of loving, and listening. It’s a sense of togetherness, not defensiveness. It’s not fighting at odds within yourself or another, it’s allowing nature to take it’s course and enjoying the present.
So when you feel that sense of connection through your listening, you can love with that connection. You can ‘be’ something to somebody else. You can ‘be’ something for yourself. You are rewarding yourself and the people around you with your undivided attention, your dedication and compassion, and in turn love finds its way and fills your heart with joy.
But what I’ve found is, that if you are at odds with yourself, defending yourself and your life, there is no chance you are actually listening to what is needed to allow love to come in. The listening has to come from deep within. When you’ve got a ‘STAND BACK’ sign on your forehead, you’re not prepared to listen to people love you, because you’re not in a position to feel loveable, desirable or worthy. It’s hard to break that defensiveness, until you find that one who puts it all into perspective for you.
So, if you really want to love someone, or be loved, listen to your beau, your child, your mother, your friend with your whole heart and soul, feel their hurts and hardships, embrace their celebrations, and SHOW them exactly that you understand them, and that’s when you will feel the warmth that happiness and love bring together.
When I was married, and even before, I reflect now and see that I was living in fear. Through my high school years, I feared that if I didn’t do what was expected of me – my schooling, my violin practice, going swimming each week, making good friends, getting good grades, not eating the right foods, etc, I feared I would be grounded, physically hit, verbally abused (i.e. told that I am fat, that my best isn’t good enough, etc) or I wouldn’t be allowed to see my friends as they weren’t ‘good influences.’ So I essentially hid in the comfort of my own bedroom writing, listening to music, playing music and finding any outlet I could that gave me peace in my heart.
Through my married years, that same fear was there. I was scared to argue or give an opinion just in case World War II broke out and the harmony in our world and expectations that carried over from living under my parents roof – get an education, buy a house, get married, have children, etc would be frowned upon if I didn’t take that path. If my husband and I had the smallest of arguments about butter vs margarine, or tomato sauce vs tomato relish, I had become the person who lost all sense of having an opinion because if it would cause an argument, I would let his opinion or decision count.
And it really wasn’t until I started my post-graduate course in Writing that I discovered that my opinion was important, valued and ALLOWED! That’s a big one… allowing yourself to have an opinion and sticking to YOUR TRUTH in who you are. Hence the reason why 2009 was such a big year for me… I started my course, my sister was married in the Black Saturday bush fires and I could see so clearly that all I meant to my husband was a bank balance, we went to USA and visited Disneyland, I told my husband that he needed to get a job, not have a business, which he did and failed, therefore, he ended up failing our marriage…. and I became stronger because I realised that I could do all the things we were doing without him.
And for a year after I left him, I learnt to live in ‘love.’ Loving myself for who I was, loving myself enough to lose 22 kilos in weight, loving my surrounds, loving my freedom, loving my children, loving my job, loving my ambitions and goals, and loving the time I had with my friends and family. And people were loving me back. I had this zest for life that people were addicted to. They wanted to know more about me and they wanted to spend time with me, and I would be in control of my own time giving myself where and when I wanted to.
But then, people started taking advantage… advantage of the love I was giving, advantage of the time I was giving, advantage of my zest for life. And my bitter husband threatened my existence – he wanted to take half of my business, he organised to have my home over-valued (I say ‘my’ home as I paid for it, it was in my name, but as we were married, he was entitled to something) so that I would give him a huge payout, he took money out of our joint account that was there to pay the car repayment so somehow I had to find more money to pay it, he looked at my computer to see if he could find any evidence of me cheating on him and I believe he was responsible for two nails found in two of my tyres. And he did it, because I had killed the dream that he had – the dream of being a kept man with a whole lot of luxuries.
It’s now 5 years since I split with him… 2.5 years since our finances have been settled, 2 years since I lost my American lover, and I feel that I’m starting to live with ‘love’ in my life again, not fear. I was profoundly affected by the great Jim Carrey saying ‘Too many people live in fear just to be practical.’ And it resonated with me so much, as my parents have always chosen a ‘practical life’ over a loving life, and after trying the regimented life so many of us dream about in our childhood, I have decided, it’s not for me… I am full of love, adventure, spirit and passion. So many people told me last year how ‘courageous’ it was to drive around Europe for 6.5 weeks, but for me it was an adventure and whatever will be will be. I didn’t approach that holiday in fear… but when we went to the USA and Disneyland, I did…
I feel comfortable in my life now to be the person I want to be… a loving, nurturing mother, a prolific writer, a caring and supportive friend, an adventurer, a dog lover and a survivor… A survivor of divorce, neglect, abuse and fear. I am not a victim, I am ‘me.’ I no longer care what people think of me, or what I write. They are my thoughts, my experiences, my life. It’s been a long time since I shed a tear in sadness of my life… I will always shed a tear in compassion for others or shed a tear in outrageous laughter.
In the end, my friends, all I can say to you, is to learn to live in love, not fear and always be the better you.
It’s frustrating to no end in this game of love and war. And that’s what it feels like… a war to gain love for those you want it from. It’s not exactly a ‘fist to cuffs’ war or a verbal diatribe, but it’s a war of miscommunication, courage (or lack of) and rejection. But there is a simple explanation why it is all so…
Men and women think differently. Men compartmentalise everything into boxes – a box for work, a box for wife/lover (or one each for both!), a box for kids, a box for car, a box for finances, a box for home, a box for sport, a box for entertainment, and a box for nothing. You know when you are trying to communicate with a man and he’s in dreamy day dream land… yet that’s right – he’s in his ‘box of nothing!’ Whereas, women are like the internet… wires connecting everything to anything. Women think that work is related to money, which is related to how much money you can spend on buying/renting a house/car, to what size house/car you need to house your family/kids/pets, to how much entertaining do we need space for in our home or do we want to live close to amenities/restaurants/cafes/beach to entertain ourselves, and the list is continuously in motion. You can kind of understand why men freak out when a woman says ‘I thought we were saving the money to buy a bigger house,’ when he goes and buys himself a new car without making a decision with her. For him, it’s ‘his’ car, so why should she have a say?
This box theory makes sense to me in my relationships. Recently, I asked a friend who started flirting with me about his ‘partner’, and his response was ‘she knows I will never leave her.’ Hmmm… box for me, box for her. My lover constantly talked about his boxes and I asked him once if I was a shiny red box in front of the Christmas tree, or something nearer the trunk, tucked away so no one could see (hmm… I bet you can guess which one!). But when my box started to move to the front of the Christmas tree because our relationship became more emotionally involved, he started to freak out, because he couldn’t tell which box was mine and which one was his wife’s box as they were starting to become similar (i.e. he was telling me stuff before he told his wife, and then when his wife asked him why he hadn’t told her, he thought that he already had!) He wasn’t used to his boxes starting to look the same and didn’t like that he was confusing them. My ex-husband was a real trooper for boxes, because he couldn’t understand that his ability (or I should say ‘non ability’) to contribute to the welfare of his family would determine if he stayed with us or not. He was dumbfounded when I told him to leave because he thought every box was it’s own individual issue and that he could tackle one and forget about the others, yet I saw them as being all interconnected.
Some men blend their boxes… for instant having an affair with someone at work, or an affair with one of their children’s friend’s mothers, or they need a luxury car to show off at work, but it is fairly rare for a man to be able to combine three or more boxes into a bigger box.
So if we can understand this about men, then we shouldn’t have a problem with communicating with them. It’s all about keeping it simple. Yet we women are not simple creatures. We analyse, worry and store things in our memory to bring them up ten years down the track after all the built up anger destroys our soul… We have more courage to create a change in thinking than men do. We will ask the hard questions, hoping to move things along rather than staying still. We want to see courage in our men, courage to make a stand and show us how much they desire us, love us and want us in their lives. Yet most are too scared. And the older we get, the more scared men get… as there are too many boxes to worry about – his kids, her kids, living together, not living together, not being burnt again, moving across town or to the other side of the world, wanting more kids, combined money, happy being a bachelor, etc etc… making any decision to make a move to find happiness with someone all too hard.
Arrghhh… so maybe the only thing to do is just enjoy life for what it is…. wait for Mr Brave to ask you a direct question, so you know exactly what he’s thinking, exacting what he’s wanting, and you can make a decision, because you know that he’s found his box of happy in you.
Over the weekend, I had three encounters with three different men. All with different intentions, but all trying somehow to win me over. If I could take the good out of all of them and put them into one person, that would be perfect, but sadly, all but one had some positives and negatives. I’m going to put a compilation of all the goods and the bads, to show potential suitors of any single mother what they want to hear, and what will send them away. But first I must outline the scenarios.
Encounter One: A married work colleague who I told only a few weeks ago that I wasn’t prepared to go out with him because I was tired of being someone’s second or someone’s secret, and he told me that he would contact me again in this capacity when he had moved out of home. However, he thinly disguised a ‘date’ by asking me to lunch to talk ‘business’ in a marketing capacity, which I didn’t really appreciate, but because it’s work, I sort of had to go.
Encounter Two: A brunch date with a guy I kissed back in high school, 27 years ago. We met up on Facebook about 18 months ago and have been keen to see each other since. He currently is in a committed relationship with a woman and they have a toddler, and home is almost 2000kms away. To me, it was a catch up chat and it would be awesome to see him after so long as a mate.
Encounter Three: A Skype date with my first love from about the same time frame as Encounter Two. We have been friends again for the last 5 years, but he lives in another country. I’m enjoying being friends with him, and we get along really well. It’s just hard that we live so far away, because we do have a lot in common, and we are currently both single. Thank goodness for Skype!
Negatives first I think….
How many times have you been in a situation that someone tells you they like you, someone you never really could see yourself with or never even considered him/her, only to find yourself thinking of the possibilities?
I’ve decided that that particular situation is called ‘settling.’ Someone likes you, they boost your ego because you feel adored by that person, they give you so much attention, yet that person really isn’t the person for you. You talk yourself into taking on their interests, or enjoying that side to their personality, but one day you know, you will resent them for things that weren’t true to you.
The hardest thing of all is finding mutual attraction, mutual interests and a mutual love. And then it’s being on the same page at the same time. So many factors that can make the right people for each other not ever actually be together. It’s so frustrating.
For instance, my very first boyfriend said to me when we broke up back in 1988 that he loved me but now is not the right time, but one day it will be the right time. I held onto that thought… possibly naively knowing that one day we would find each other again. And we did… but he now lives in London, and me in Melbourne. We’ve communicated now for almost 5 years, initially when he had a girlfriend, but now, we are both single, yet on other sides of the world. But through those 5 years of communicating, I’ve worked out that we could never be a couple for many reasons, but it’s so good still having him as a friend.
As for my most recent love interest, everything on paper makes us perfect to be together – we get along like a house on fire, we have kids the same age, we are both divorced, there isn’t any huge age difference between us, we work in similar fields, we both have a love for travel and our kids, everything feels right in so many ways, yet the one little thing that’s holding him back is that his separation was about a year ago, and I just feel he’s just not ready to jump into anything… or maybe he feels he would be ‘settling’ with me (even though I am a fabulous catch!).
I had another interested party contact me recently who showed some serious interest in me, but for how sweet and loveable he is, I know I would be settling, as I’m not attracted to him and in the situation he’s in now, I know I’m worth more.
And that’s the reality of it all… you have to work out your self worth. It’s not about being picky or having someone give you an ego boost because it’s been so long since you’ve felt wanted, desired or even just loved; it’s about what sits right for you, how comfortable you are with that person, and how much they treasure and respect the beauty that’s in you and you can reciprocate. That’s when you know you have mutuality… that’s when you know it’s right.
I was tickled pink the other day when my almost 13 year old son came home as happy as Larry declaring at the top of his voice “I have a girlfriend!” I was proud, because he wasn’t afraid of sharing his world with me and his brother.
He did something I would never have done with my parents because they were so strict about ‘who’ my friends were, and scrutinised everything about my friends before they gave them a chance. My best friends in my first year of high school were ‘bad influences’ because they were from single parent families (ha! And now that I am a single mother, I’m a bad person and my children are being strayed into bad ways). Yet ironically, I still keep in contact with those friends through the distant of Facebook, and they are all quite successful in their own right – one is a leading Sydney radio announcer, one is a mother of three and is a college professor in IT and another is living a semi-retired life in beautiful Queensland. So for my son to come to me so excited to tell me that he has his first girlfriend, I was chuffed.
Throughout the weekend, he had Skype calls from her, they organised a double date for the middle of the school holidays and he talked about her a little. I asked questions to see how far they had gone – like holding hands or if he’d had his first kiss, and maturely he said ‘No, we are more friends than anything else at this stage.’ And that’s OK.
But then we had a step back in time. We went to the local shopping mall and bumped into the school bully he had at primary school. Over the 7 years he was at school with this kid, this kid played ‘murder tiggy’ with him and other kids with a stick in his hand, trying to stab people in the back (and left a 20cm scratch down my son’s back) and he tied my son to a tree with a volleyball net my son was trying to get down leaving him with rope burns on his legs from struggling to get out. They were two of the worst things of many things he did to my son. My youngest son asked his brother ‘are you still friends with that kid?’ to which my kind-hearted son replied ‘yes.’ Horrified, I said, ‘how can you still be friends with him? You don’t go to the same school as him anymore, and you have no reason to see him. He’s not your ‘friend’, he is just someone who you once went to school with.’ And as I said this, we walked passed a confectionary shop and saw this kid physically stealing from the shop and pulling a friend out by his hair to leave as quickly as possible. I turned to my son and said ‘you really want to say you’re friends with that?’ And he saw how stupid this kid was being, and realised that that kid was no friend of his.
But the declaration that he had a girlfriend was validation to me that I was doing the right thing with my kids. That the communication doors are always open, that I’ve taught them and continue to teach them properly about relationships (or they have seen first hand some of the hardships that I’ve been through). And I hope that, no matter what, those doors will stay open, and they never feel like they are being judged and that I can steer them to make the right decisions for themselves while they believe they are making those decisions by themselves.
To me, a first love is sweet and necessary to know that you’re in touch with your feelings, and it’s just another part of growing up.
As you all know, I was involved with a married man for about 2.5 years, and we continued contact for another 18 months or so after that, only for me to realise that I meant nothing to him except be a piece of meat. Which is terribly hurtful when you vest so much of your heart in someone who literally doesn’t deserve anything of you.
From that experience, I’ve decided that I do not want to be someone’s secret friend, I do not want to be someone’s second… I need to be loved and appreciated for who I am. I know I am opinionated, I know I have serious trust issues (who can blame me) and I know I probably over-analyse things because of the hurt I’ve been put through in most my relationships, but how am I going to be able to find the right person for me and my boys (as we are a package deal) and let down those trust barriers unless someone can be honest with me from the start?
Three men have made me cry in the last few weeks… one, who I met on an internet dating site who said he was separated, looking for someone who is open to communication and someone who is local. Three big pluses in my book… but the more we talked, the more he suggested we meet in areas outside our local area and the more married he sounded. So I confronted him, and he said it was ‘complex.’ He told me his situation, which I respected and told him that when he’s ready to take the next step and move on from his situation, look me up. He made me cry because I thought I was so close to finding someone who I could be open with me, but he just happened to be the same as the last one, with slightly different parameters.
The second man made me cry for another reason… I bought myself a new car, and within 2 weeks, I parked it on the side of the road to pick my son up at his friend’s house, and this man, who happened to be cycling, smashed into the back of it, breaking my taillight, dinting a panel and scratching a second panel with the brut of his body and bicycle. He did fling himself into the middle of the road, and we did have to call an ambulance (he is ok…. it was more a bruised ego). He was seriously cute, the same age as me, but married… again! You’d think that if someone was going to crash into your car on purpose to get your attention, he would at least be single… but c’est la vie. But my new car has an ouchie, and it’s a difficult insurance claim because he wasn’t operating an insured vehicle.
The next man, I know through mutual friends. We had a chat last week, and he told me his divorce is finalised, the finances are finalised and he is an officially free man from his ex-wife. We have been flirting for possibly the last 6 months, but more so over the last 10 days or so. I sent him a copy of my manuscript, as he asked for it, and he said the first chapter ‘made his loins move.’ I sent him a drunken message on Saturday night essentially saying ‘haven’t you seen the signals? Aren’t I good enough for you?’ He replied Sunday morning saying that ‘he thinks I’m beautiful but he’s seeing someone… but then says that he SERIOUSLY thinks I’m amazing and wants to take me out for a drink or lunch’ What mixed messages are in that? Is he hedging his bets?!! AARRGGHHH!!
Maybe it’s the universe’s way of saying to me that I’m not supposed to be in a relationship right now. I have other things to make happen first (like getting my book published). It just breaks my heart to think that I’m attracted to the wrong guys all the time. And you do question yourself… you question your worthiness, your attractiveness and your level of intensity… because it’s happening time after time, knowing that it’s not them, but you. I guess I just have to believe that one day, it will happen, it’s just not now…