Freedom to Make New Mistakes

freeswim

How do you trust your ability to make sound decisions after what you thought was ‘happily ever after’ turned out to be an ugly divorce and custody battle?

Trusting my gut seems riskier now.

I had faith in my marriage. I trusted a man who had been my best friend for more than 10 years, whom I had a child with.

I couldn’t have been more wrong about him. He cheated, lied, assaulted and stole from me, and then left me to figure out how to care for our child and put all the pieces of my life together differently.

I was left questioning everything.

In the beginning, I wondered how I would make it through. Time was the answer, because I more than made it through my divorce – I thrived.

But the marks of those experiences are still there. How could they not be.

Where’s the sweet spot between remaining vigilant about not repeating mistakes and having the courage to make new ones?

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It’s Circumstantial

together

I’m filled with conflicting emotions, confused, and trying to figure it all out.

One minute, I’m wanting more, the next I’m trying to just be grateful for what I have. I try to convince myself I don’t need more – it’s a constant colloquy that plays out in my head.

Our relationship has progressed to this point where we’re committed, but because of our circumstances, we’re not all in.

So, I hold back. I disconnect from him. Or, I try.

Sometimes it feels easier to hold back, than to keep wanting something I can’t have.

Do I really want more? It’s tangled up in the not being able to have it in the first place. It’s compounded by the complications of it all.

Does he want more? I don’t really know anymore.

So I’m flooded with questions, left examining the why’s, the how’s, and determining the root cause, analyzing the possibilities.

Where is he in all this?

I don’t know how much longer I can keep pretending it doesn’t hurt to be stuck here in this way – in a relationship with a man I love, who loves me, but what we might want might not be.

It’s Not You

Looking in

It’s not you.

Is it me?

It’s not me, right?

Maybe it is. It could be.

You’re a good man.

I know it’s true. There’s no doubt about the goodness in you.

But there’s a sadness too.

I know what quiets that sadness in you.

It’s the only time I see the little boy your mother tells me stories about.

Do I want you to be someone you’re not? Someone I see because I want to see you that way?

Or do I see the you who you actually want to be, not just because of me?

A Heart’s Divide

divide

Looking into his eyes

I see beyond the bounds of me

Trust was implicit from the start

in the comfort of his hand

upon the small of my back

 

Now I find myself vulnerable

in a place I yearn not to be

Insecurities for all to see

I gave my trust

Without question

No reservation

He held back the truth

For fear I would run?

Or perhaps he was afraid

I’d ask something of him

He wasn’t ready to do

 

No longer absolute

About what to believe

A single lie by omission

or intuition’s built-in protection?

 

Not wanting this to bring us to an end

Yet I can’t risk losing myself in another

Again

So I’m left navigating my heart’s divide

 

{Update} Learning to trust again was so hard, and so worth it. I think I will always be timid because of my life experiences, but I am determined not to make the same mistakes. I know that I have found the right person to entrust my heart to, and I have faith that no matter what happens, we are capable of loving each other the way we all deserve to be loved.

Kissy, Kissy – Why Modeling Affection Is Healthy for Kids

kissing.jpg

Do you kiss your partner in front of your kids? I recently overheard a couple talking about how they don’t snuggle or hold hands in front of their kids and it made me feel kinda sad for them, and their kids.

How else are kids supposed to learn healthy models of affection between two loving adults?

When it comes to showing affection, such as giving hugs, snuggling, or holding hands, I want my son to know that expressing his emotions and showing affection for the people he loves is a good thing. It makes me happy to see him reach out and hug one of his buddies, or to watch him tell someone he cares about that he loves them.

Of course affection between kids is very different than affection between two adults, and children should never be made to feel excluded, but we can teach our children that too.

Children learn from what we teach them, but more than that, they learn from the behaviors they observe, what their parents model. Even when we think they aren’t paying attention, they usually are, and they pick up on subtle cues as well. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, kids are always taking notes and emulating their parents and other adults they grow up around.

When I kiss my partner in front of the kids, in some ways it feels odd, because we are not married, we didn’t have children together, and yet, here are these kids (ours, but not ours) who look up to us. I hope they see two adults who love each other and express their care and emotions in a healthy way.

Kissy, kissy.

 

Stand By Me

walking away

I didn’t marry a man who would stand by my side.

Not realizing it at the time, we were both so young, he was not the man I hoped he would be, one who would be there for me, no matter what.

When the going got tough, he disappeared.

I made excuses for him, and I grew stronger because I had to.

When I needed him most, he was unavailable.

Even when he was there, he wasn’t actually there.

I told myself I would never make the same mistake again.

And I haven’t.

We all deserve to be with someone who understands us, someone who truly listens and loves us for who we are, not for who they want us to be.

It goes both ways.

 

Meet Me in Denver

blueplane

As if dating in real life isn’t complicated enough, enter the myriad subtleties of online dating. Tinder, eHarmony, Match — what’s a single mother to do?

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Flew Across the Country for a Second Date with a Guy I Met Online

Yep, I did that. I flew to Denver to meet a guy for our second date. Then I wrote about it on xoJane.com (spoiler alert: I did not get murdered).

Was it impulsive? You bet. But my experience taught me that it’s possible to have fun and even find love dating online, while still being responsible and safe.

For the record, I did determine this guy was who he said he was before I agreed to meet him, and I was suspicious about his marital status, but he checked out, at least from what I could find online.

Also for the record, I did not have sex with him. Seriously, I wasn’t ready, and we discussed boundaries before agreeing to meet. To his credit, he was respectful in every regard. And for the Audi doubters in the xoJane comments section, check this out.