And so a New Chapter is written

I have been so slack in the last 4 months. Don’t get me wrong: I have started several new posts and they have remained drafts. I can’t say for sure why that is. Perhaps I was keeping my reflections to myself? Perhaps I was too busy; too caught up in living my life?

Firstly, a big Happy New Year to everyone out there. It’s interesting how everyone turns to the usual reflections and resolutions at this time of year: love, appearance, consumption, bad habits…..I don’t do that any more. It was embarrassing looking at Facebook reminders year upon year of the same drivel, repentance, empty promises and hope. Not that I’m suggesting you should not have hope, but I think it’s important that you are truly honest with yourself. Make sure you really mean it when you say you just want to focus on yourself; or that you want to get fit rather than lose weight. It’s so easy to lie to yourself because you think it’s what people want to hear or what you’re supposed to say/feel/think. And then take it one step further, and accept your honesty..

So, back to me, because let’s face it, I enjoy being the centre of attention…how have the last 4 months panned out?

Love has certainly blossomed with my new man and we are avidly making plans for our future together, combining families and (eventually) driving off into the sunset in our combi camper! We have developed a wonderful closeness, although we have had our misunderstandings. Communication is of utmost importance in all relationships, but especially in new situations. Fear of the unknown is a reality. I take the view that anything worth giving a fuck about deserves purposeful focus and dedication. This relationship, and my growing love for this amazing human who helps me to be the best version of myself, provides me with nourishment and actively grows me as a person without being an intrusion. I know it sounds almost ridiculous, but such is the strength of my emotion.

Added to this is my improved relationship with my ex, the father of my children. He still acts like a thoughtless asshole (e.g. Not providing the children with the support or means to buy me anything for Christmas; changing visitation plans over school holidays with no consultation; giving our 7 year old make up; threatening the 12 year old’s boyfriend with a shotgun because “he’s only after one thing”) but it bothers me less and less and provides me with educational opportunities rather than tantrums and abuse that were previously aroused. Best not get me started on the fiancé, because THAT still has a long way to go. But they’re not married yet so I guess I have time.

Perfect timing

They say timing is everything. Actually, didn’t I say that in my last post? 

Yes, all my dating accounts were closed bar one. Which I was only looking at if I remembered. Maybe once a week. Well, it turns out that man I have been waiting for was there! We don’t even need to give him a name because quite honestly, and to my own delighted surprise, the search is officially over. You know that I usually spend ages chatting on line to new men, lying about my age and where I live, but this one was different from the start. There was just something, a certain “je ne sais pas” about him that I was drawn to. 

We have bonded very quickly, both in online chats and in person. We have an easy and comfortable style, whether actually talking or sharing song lyrics, or sitting together in silence. I’m finding it both frightening and exhilarating and look forward to everything he says or does. 

I have become one of those people who nauseates others.

The most exciting part of this blossoming relationship is that he feels the same way. I mean exactly. Exactly the same way. We often send the same message to each other at the same time.

In addition to all this loveliness, I have embraced (officially) the art of not giving a fuck. Or perhaps more accurately, better determining to whom and about what I should give fucks out of my official fuck budget. I have developed a very healthy understanding of certain concepts and, in fact, universal truths. For example, I cannot control what other people think of me. So I stopped giving a fuck or even worrying about that. Bliss. If people like me, that’s a bonus. And it doesn’t mean I’m an asshole either. I am still the (mostly) delightfully pleasant person I ever was, but am far more articulate and confident about my personal view of the world around me, including its inhabitants.

I look forward to sharing more about the (not so) secret(s) of this life-changing Magic, as well as the evolution of this new relationship.

Revelations

Hello strangers! It’s been far too long since my last post but my soul searching has continued. I feel like I have become something of a broken record with regards this odd mental health journey I seem to have been on for the past 5 years or so. It truly has been a roller coaster ride. In the past month or so I have made significant progress, if I do say so myself! I’ll show you my psychology degrees later! Ha ha!

1. A little while ago, a friend, also recently separated, said to me “Seems like you have trust issues.” I’ll be honest and say that I was pretty offended by that at the time. I thought “I’m the last person to have trust issues. I open up to everyone and invite people into my life far too quickly, and end up hurt!” But then I took a step backend had a good look at myself, my actions and my internal belief system, and I realised that she was, in fact, right! What I had thought was trust, was far from it. I let people in so that I am right when they hurt me. Because, that’s what people do, right? 

So, what did I do about that doozy? Firstly, I accepted that I do have trust issues. I have to believe that everyone is not going to hurt me, and actually let someone into my life properly. Stop waiting to be screwed over. Accept that I am, simply, enough. That was a massive weight lifted.

2. I stopped searching so hard for a man. I had to ask myself why I was looking for a person to fill a “void” in my life, and work on answering the more pressing question of why I thought there was a void to fill in the first place! I found that I was so busy looking around at what everyone else had, including my ex-husband, and consider: 1. What I already have, and 2. What I really and truly think is missing. 

Long story short, I shut down all dating apps, except RSVP, for which I just turned notifications off and checked in once a week (or whenever I remembered).  I stopped looking…and guess what? More attention than I’ve ever had – both online and in person.

3. I made a conscious choice to let it go. This was the hardest, and to be frank, I can’t believe it took me so long to work it out. I was actually inspired by another divorced friend, after seeing her joy at playing with her ex-husband’s new son. What a truly amazing woman she is. I looked inwards and saw the bitter, angry and truly awful person I was already, or going to be. At that moment, I made that decision to just let it go. I never hated, but I had to stop looking for other people to validate me. My ex and his fiancée do not need to tell me I’m a great mum. I already know. The two people to whom that matters tell me every day. I don’t need people from my past to feel sympathetic toward me and tell me that I’ve had it tough. Maybe I have, but there comes a point when that is no longer valid or helpful. 

So, I let it go. And wouldn’t you know it, I’m a happier person. I’m more pleasant towards my ex and people have noticed my whole demeanour has changed.
So, where am I now? Well, there may be a new man on my horizon. It appears that just waiting until the planets align and the time is right was all I needed to do. Hopefully my next post will be a good one.

Stay strong everyone, and let it go!

Mother’s Day

Well, I hope you all had a great Mother’s Day – whether you are a mum, a step-mum, a mum-in-law, a mum-to-be, a dad being a mum, a grandma, or just an amazing person who takes the role of mum when it needs to be taken….

I started Mother’s Day by posing a question on my facebook page:

“Do ex partners (mums and dads) have an obligation to help the kids buy presents for the other on special days (including birthdays and Xmas)?”

Interesting debate I thought – and one follower gave a very wise response, which I keep going back to and giving more and more weight to:

“Not at all in my view. I always ensure the kids have something for fathers day but it’s to teach the kids the importance of recognising special days. He is under no obligation to do the same – it makes him look bad”

What I love about this is, is that it rings more true with me each time I read it. Whilst I was first feeling very much annoyed that my ex went to no effort at all to provide the children with money, ask what he could help with, or even ask what they were doing for me, I have now realised that by doing so, it allowed them to show me in their own special way what I mean to them. Nothing commercial. No crappy jewellery I’ll never wear. No wasted money at a day spa. Just love and a lot of glue!

So, I am not going to be bothered any more by his lack of attention to these special days, because our children are learning valuable lessons through this. And I will be encouraging them to do the same for him and their stepmum-to-be (although I did ask the children to send her a card and present for Mother’s Day so that she felt loved on this day – which so far hasn’t been acknowledged).

I think I am the winner here, and I know I learned an important lesson this weekend. Finally, I have had a emotional breakthrough!

What a bitch

I believe I have now fully transitioned into the ex-wife about which the ex-husband and new girlfriend/fiancé/wife console each other with phrases such as “What a bitch”. My crime? Let me start a couple of months ago….

My ex actually called to work out mutually convenient dates and times and locations for our children to visit over the school holidays. An excellent start, in that he was willing to talk to me rather than have weeks of inane text messages, whose tone and timbre would be constantly and consistently misunderstood and misconstrued. We worked out that they would spend close to 2 weeks with him, first with his family and then with he and his fiancé. 

The first issue arose when I received a text message that his grandmother had died and so the girls would be attending a funeral and could I “be sure to pack something appropriate”. What followed was a long argument about the appropriateness of forcing our children (one of whom has significant anxiety issues) to attend the funeral of someone they didn’t know, where all their extended family would be upset. I was being unreasonable by his standards and it was essentially “none of my business” what he did with the children on his time. I respectfully disagreed and suggested that issues like this needed discussion between parents, and that the children at least deserved the option of not attending if that was their choice. And so, they went a funeral against my wishes and without being given a choice.

The second issue arose when I picked them up from our designated meeting spot, a 900km round trip for each of us, and he was upset at their behaviour while they were with him. “The only time they listened to me or took me seriously was when I threatened them”. Yes, OK. I didn’t jump in and solve that one. I simply asked “Do you want my advice?” (While thinking, “or is this just your way of criticising my parenting?”) He didn’t want my advice. At his house, they sleep together on a double blow up mattress on the floor of the spare room, get no time apart, and rely on a steady diet of sugar and TV. No wonder.

The final issue that obviously tipped him over the edge and completed my journey to bitchville, was my complaint that they were returned to me with 2 full weeks worth of dirty washing. Not a huge deal, I know, but given they ran out of clean undies 3 days ago, and had nothing to wear that night (we had a stopover at dinner and a show and overnight before heading home, and he was aware of it), I spent 2 hours of my time washing and drying clothes for the girls to wear. I dared criticise this and have been met with threats of court action to make me move back to his state as he can take perfect care of the children. Lucky for me, I won’t be intimidated and his empty threats are meaningless to me. He can’t even cope for 2 weeks; why would he want more?

His last words to me were “Please stop calling or texting unless it is to make arrangements for the girls.”

My last words to him were “I will text or email or call about any issue regarding our children not just when it suits you. You want all the fun but no responsibility until you feel comfortable threatening me with court action. Stop intimidating me and just parent up when you have the chance.”

I know they are lying in bed together reading it over together and saying “What a bitch.”

Up in Smoke

So, Tinder is over. Mr Smooth was an odd experience and I just decided to cut it all out. His name mysteriously changed one day and he had no explanation. Maybe it’s true that Tinder itself was to blame, but it was enough to scare the crap out of me and want to move on.

I may rejoin at a later date, but for now, I have had a few realisations that I need to work on before I can consider moving on.

Firstly, I’m not sure I will ever recover from my divorce. It’s funny because I thought I had in fact moved on, but I know that’s not possible given my hurt and anger of my ex-husband’s (oh, and in breaking news, also my ex-boyfriend’s) engagement. I’m really trying to work through why it bothers me that they’ve moved on and I have a few theories – unfortunately all of which point to the issue being with me and not them! It’s so much easier when you can lame someone else.

  1. Firstly, how dare they be happy without me? How is it that they did not recognise the awesomeness that is me and think that there’s something / someone greater than that? Do I have an overinflated ego, or am I overcompensating for the pain of this rejection?
  2. Secondly, how come they get to move on with someone new and I don’t? Obviously discounting the fact that I moved to a small town, thereby all but eliminating the chances of me doing so. But it’s not fair, is it? And it’s got to be their fault.

I know it’s me with the issues. I do. And I know exactly what I need to do. I even know how. I just can’t seem to take the steps to do it. I’m not even really sure why I think having a new partner in my life would actually enable me to move on better, or why that even makes sense in my head. Or in fact, why I think my happiness is contingent on another person. I wonder if society in general has provided us with this unrealistic and often unattainable ideal that says people on their own cannot be happy, and we must all be paired up in order to achieve fulfilment.

I know that I should be grateful for what I do have. I know that I should focus my energy on me. I know that I should stop trying to attain something inherently unattainable. I know that I don’t actually NEED another person to make me happy. I know all this.

So why is it so very hard for me to listen to myself and actually do it?

I’m a stalker

So I have started a adult education course at community college and have realised I am old. How do I know this, you ask? Well, it dawned on me that I was past it when I looked through the hot 20-something guy at the back of the class to the fit 50-something guy sitting opposite me…..

And so it appears I have become a bit of a stalker, because instead of just talking to him and trying to find out if he’s available, I have been googling, facebooking and internet dating hoping to just come across him somewhere. I only have a first name and a suburb to go on, so it has so far only brought me dead ends. I’m hoping that there may be a conversation to be had over the next few weeks! And I need to stop stalking him. Obviously.

In Tinder news, I have finally been on a face to face date with one of the top prospects. Let’s call him The Engineer. Not much to go on, but seems nice enough, intelligent conversation, able to use grammar and punctuation, basic head shot which isn’t too rough….and so we arranged to meet. Anyone who knows me knows I lie to men on dating sites. I never tell anyone where I live. I select a nearby town and use that. I’m just not ready to be stalked by the men I turn down. So we met where he believed was halfway. The minute I saw him, I knew it was doomed. Obviously we’re all looking for a spark when we date someone, and let me just say that the sandals, peaked cap and Star Wars t-shirt didn’t do it for me. I know I’m not perfect, and far be it for me to criticise how someone looks, but seriously – it’s a date. Best effort usually required. So if this is the best effort, what the hell does lazy look like??? We had lunch and chatted. He is going through a nasty divorce with an ex I hope I never meet, providing yet another reason not to get involved with him. I think I will offer my friendship as he seems to need some emotional support.

Next on the list is Mr Smooth. He lives a distance away which may or may not be a problem for me. He is unburdened by children, so it may work if he is flexible, but I think a bit more chatting before meeting is in order, to make sure it’s worth the effort.

On another note, I read the Vanity Fair article about Jennifer Garner post Ben Affleck and she is quite articulate in her heartache. You may relate and find it is worth the read. Some of her thoughts:

“I feel the need to be physical and I feel the need to punch someone. You know what I look forward to? I look forward to getting past the pity stage. I look forward to just having a sense of humor.”

“My heart’s a little on the tender side right now, and it’s always easier to focus on the ways that you feel hurt, but I know that, with time and some perspective, I’ll have a clearer sense of where I let the system down, because there’s no way I get off in this.”

Take a moment to read and think about your own situation. It’s a good day if we can learn from each other and grow just a little bit.