Readjusting

I picked J up on Saturday.  It was good to see him, a little anxiety provoking, but good nonetheless.  Over the weekend, I just tried to keep things very neutral.  He’s got some severe jet lag and it is apparent that we are on two very different planes of communication.  I think this is due in large part to the fact that I have been in individual and group therapy.  So, I didn’t really think it would be productive to delve into relationship issues right away.

To the communication/perception issues, we’ve been having this discussion about him possibly working internationally since we first found it was a possibility in January of last year.  Even then I told him I thought it was a bad idea for a number of reasons, one of the main being that he wanted to start a family but would be gone for a month and back for two weeks.  I told him that wasn’t going to happen and told him why.  He wanted me to consider it.  Now, he has the opportunity to do a rotation in Nigeria.  I know he wants to do it, but I feel that it is a bit unrealistic given the current state of our relationship and the fact that he STILL wants to have kids.

I have worked in higher education for a number of years and prior to coming here, I had to give up an amazing job so that J could take a job with the company that he wanted to work for.  I told him that my former boss called me about a job (not the first time he’s called me) and that we had an interesting conversation that ended in my former boss telling me that he would want me to come work has his Chief of Staff with a tenure-track faculty appointment if/when he gets a presidential appointment (which he will in about a year or two).  Basically all could ever want professionally.  We were talking about this over breakfast on Sunday.  The short of it is that J told me that he doesn’t want to change industries and that he doesn’t want to leave his current job for the next 5 years; basically saying that he isn’t supportive of this opportunity.  He’s supportive if it means he doesn’t have to sacrifice, but if he does, he’s not supportive, you know?  I reminded him of everything I gave up (two orchestra job offers so he could stay in school and didn’t have to transfer and most recently, a job that I loved so that he could take a job he wanted).

I think this just goes to show that we are not thinking on the same plane.  He’s got a lot of work to do in terms of understanding my needs.  I didn’t go to school for 11 years, get a Ph.D. and work my ass off to become a broodmare for someone who thinks it is completely acceptable to leave me for a year/year .5  (one month off, two weeks back) while pregnant or with an infant.  So, we’ve a lot of work to do.  lol.

I’m meeting with my therapist today and am looking forward to it.  J is supposed to meet with him before we meet as a couple, but J doesn’t really like the idea.  I get the impression that he still doesn’t understand that there are some really big issues that need to be addressed.  In his mind, he’d rather just sweep the last few months under the rug and more forward without finding the right way to move forward.

I’m really trying to be open to this and to him so that I can make the best decisions moving forward.  I want to give him the “handicap” since he’s basically just been working and living it up in Europe.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep you posted about how he takes to reality.

~AA

 

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Ready… Set… GO!

So, J comes back this weekend.  I have been really anxious about it for the last few weeks, but I feel that I’ve come a long way and that I have some really great support from my friends and group.  I don’t feel like I’m as anxious about it as I’ve been in the past.  In a way I’m looking forward to being able to come to some resolution about the situation.

J is an engineer in the oil industry.  One of the things that we talked about when we first moved here is that he may have the opportunity to work expat.  I remember in early 2011 we were having this conversation.  He really wants to have children and so do I.  But I told him that we would have to wait until after he did the expat before we had kids because I didn’t want to be pregnant or have children alone.  I think I came off pretty firm about this.  His reaction was that I was basically not being very reasonable, that the money was really good (which it is), that it isn’t a big deal to be pregnant and by yourself.  (Much of this conveyed through patronizing remarks, tone, and boy language).  Prior to leaving for his most recent time overseas, before I told him I wanted a divorce, his “plans” included the option of me getting pregnant before he left (i.e. the first trimester alone).  I told him that was not going to happen.

Recently he brought up the fact that he has the opportunity to go expat starting in November.  Another element of this story is that his best friend, who he works with and has been in Europe with for the last three months, is going to go… although that “isn’t a factor”.  He told me on Monday that he thinks he needs to tell them ASAP if he is going to do this so that he doesn’t lose the opportunity.  I told him that considering all that has happened in the last few months, I cannot tell him “yes, go do this”, but if he needs to tell them yes and then back out later, that is his call.

First of all, given the state of our relationship, I find it almost comical that he thinks this is a good idea to even bring up.  Secondly, he’s still in the mindset that he wants kids ASAP, but doesn’t seem to really see the issue I have with being a single mother.  Why be married anyway?  I can get a sperm donor if I want one?  And why did I move here when I could be living where I want since he’s not going to be here anyway?  I guess I feel like I gave up so much to come here and I really didn’t need to.  Although, that isn’t to say that I’m not totally happy in this city and with my job, but you get the point.

So, I have a feeling we will have a lot of “Come to Jesus” meetings when he gets back.  It should be interesting.  I am hopeful, though.  I’ve found a great deal of strength within myself and have a better understanding of what my non-negotiables are in a relationship.

On a side note, I found out that one of my greatest mentors and friends had a heart attack yesterday.  He’s a marathoner, only 56, vegan and a very good friend.  He’s recovering in ICU.  But it reminds me that there is so little time and that we must do what we need to do because you never know if tomorrow will come.

Hope you are all having an inspired day!

~AA

Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo…A day that once celebrated Mexico’s defeat of French troops and that has subsequently  been bastardized into a day of drinking and food!  Oh well, I’ll take it.  My girlfriend B is on her way over and we’re going to head to the pool to do a little lounging, drinking, and eating.  I have to say that I am so very blessed to have some really amazing friends.  I don’t know what I’d do without them or where I’d be, honestly!  I think it very likely that I would have been committed without B’s care of me.

The last few months have been very difficult for me.  I feel like I’ve lost, lost, and lost some more and was threatened with the potential loss of one of the most important people in my life… my mom.  While I don’t believe in organized religion or the power of “God” with the capital “G”, I am so very, very thankful that my mom is doing well and I’m thankful for the pain and insight this journey has provided me.

Life, as we all know, is a journey with a lot of twists and turns.  Sometimes there are more and sometimes there are less, but they will always be there.  Life is not intended to be easy.   I believe it is intended to be a journey that transcends our physical bodies.  There is a religious saying that says something to the effect of, “God never gives you more than you can handle”.  I feel that this sentiment is true.  I have been put through the ringer these last few months, but I am stronger for it.  And I know that the next few months will be similarly difficult, but I have greater insight into my needs and myself to get me through this… insight that would not have happened without all the pain, fear, and loss.  One of my favorite sentiments from Buddhism:

Only to the extent that we expose ourselves to annihilation over and over
do we find that within us that is indestructible. 

And now it is time to go celebrate my little life by soaking up the warmth of the sun with a good friend.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

~AA

Little Girl

Tonight I went to my individual therapy session.   It was good and good timing considering what happened at group last night.  You know, one of the things that we talked about toward the end was how we have the adult us and the little girl (or boy).  The little girl part of us is the part that is wounded and scared.  So, my reaction to M and the fact that I need to “please” comes from my little girl.  The little girl I was when I was reliant on others for survival.  The little girl who wanted approval from my dad.  The little girl that was scared her brother might kill her.  The little girl who trusted, was used, and discarded by a man.

We talked about how I am no longer “that little girl”, but that she still is part of me and I give her power in certain situations like with J and with other personal relationships.  So when I feel rejected or invalidated, that little girl is the one that is fearful.  She’s the one with the anxiety and fear of not surviving.  This is opposite to me, my adult self, that knows I can take care of myself and I do not need anyone for survival.  But my adult self and my little girl live together in me.  She is the part of me that helps me to never lose my childlike enthusiasm for life.

The important thing to remember is that I am not trying to get rid of my little girl, merely learning how to live with her….how to coexist.  This makes sense to me.  So, my little girl and I need to learn how to play together.  And I need to make more time to really get to know her.

Who is your little girl (or boy)?

~AA

Meandering Thoughts

I feel like so much has happened over the last few months, weeks, days, yet I have a difficult time putting them into words… sometimes because I’m really busy, other times because I cannot remember what happened, exactly.  I seem to be doing really well at work, which is good, but I still struggle with my relationship issues.  I think that is where my greatest issues are.  I’m not very good at being vulnerable with people and it makes me very anxious to do so.  Last night in group I almost left because I was feeling so anxious about a response from one of my group members.  She didn’t attack me or anything, but more so dismissed what I was saying and sort of made me feel bad about saying what I did.  I literally almost freaked and left.  It was in that moment that I realized she represents some part of my relationship with J, and others, that triggers this in me.

There is one guy in my group who is a very good Imago match… as in, he is almost exactly like J.  So, I have a heightened response to him when he opens up in groups because I desire to hear or see those things in J.  It can be difficult, but it is also good for me to see.  M, the girl in my group who got to me yesterday, really makes me feel those times that I am dismissed and sort of invalidated–mostly by J.  I didn’t realize that until last night and it was very painful.  I was hot, tearing, couldn’t talk above a whisper.  Felt like I was either going to bolt or vomit or both.  The group encouraged me to talk about what I was feeling despite the fact that I didn’t want to, and I did, so it ended up being very good for me.  Very difficult, but good overall.  That’s one of the essential things I’m learning from group…to simply say what I need to say.  I listen to that John Mayer song “Say” a lot.  It is sort of my little mantra.

For those of you struggling with mental health issues, and I think most of us are if we were to be honest with ourselves, don’t be afraid to push yourself into the painful parts of therapy.  There will be good that comes out of it.  Being in a place where I can admit my fears openly and can admit my anxieties without fear of rejection is huge.

Take care of one another.

~AA

Small Steps

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I can be a better person.  The first thing I need to do is give myself some space in terms of forgiveness.  Yesterday cannot be changed, you can only focus on this very moment and how you will be tomorrow.  Why don’t we practice that a bit….

I forgive myself for my indiscretions.  All of them  They do not define who I am as a person or how much I truly care about others.  Forgiving myself does not mean that I am pretending that they did not happen, it merely means that I am choosing to move forward and no longer giving them the power to make me suffer.  Just like forgiving another, the act of forgiveness does not mean that I have forgotten, it means that I have chosen to no longer suffer because of that experience.

It is a small step, but one that I feel I needed to take.  And I might need to do this every day, every morning, until that little voice in my head has quieted.

~AA

Orgasms

Alright, it’s time to talk about something really important: orgasms.  I always forget how therapeutic orgasms are!  And am so appreciative every time I realize it after.  Ladies, and men, it is time to remember to take a moment to tend to your physical needs!  I’m fortunate enough to have been masturbating since I was 12 years old.  It happened accidentally, but once I figured it out, I kept on going.  Unfortunately, there are too many women who are ashamed of masturbation and don’t really know how to tend to their body.

Well, the good news is that it is never too late to get started!  And your body and MIND will thank you for the effort.  I’m telling you!  Such clarity and less stress after orgasm.  Sure, if you have someone to have sex with, that’s great… but unless you really understand how your erotic body works, you are only getting part of the pleasure you deserve.  The orgasms I have during sex now pale in comparison to what they once were.  My entire body is on fire, I cannot be touched because my entire body has been rocked…. if you understand the sexual needs of your body, you too can have this kind of experience.  I never want to “cuddle” after sex (which some people think is strange), but it is because I’m so sensitive that it feels as if my skin might shred apart if I’m touched.  It is AMAZING!  And I have an orgasm through intercourse regularly.

How to get started masturbating (for women):  If you’re a beginner to masturbation, I recommend ordering from a discrete website like Adam & Eve.  It is completely ambiguous wrapping and nothing indicates what is inside.  And start out with something not so terrifying like a bullet vibrator.  I can personally speak to the quality of this one.  Quite, effective, easy to use.  I use it alone and add it to other things.

Regardless of whether or not the vibrator is flexible or firm, make sure it vibrates.  This simply makes it easier on you so that you can really learn to get comfortable with masturbation.  And unless you are ready for the more anatomically correct or adventurous vibrators, stay with something more traditional like a wand.  Although I have to say that the more anatomically correct vibrators are very fun and not that intimidating in person.  Again, just make sure they vibrate and you are not simply ordering a dildo.

If your feeling a little more adventurous, you can never go wrong with a Rabbit Vibrator.  This is my personal favorite…. clitoral and vaginal stimulation.

I would very much recommend using lubricant when you first start using vibrators.  You won’t have to use it forever if you don’t want to, but it does make it fun and easy until you get used to it.  I have tried pretty much all lubrication out there and highly recommend Astroglide.  The K-Y brands have great marketing, but pale in comparison to Astroglide.  You can never go wrong with it.  It only takes a little and lasts a long time during sex.  You can also purchase this at your local pharmacy or Wal-Mart/Target for quite a bit less, but if you’re going for discrete Adam and Eve will help you out.

Once you decide the type of vibrator you are looking for, make sure you are checking the “width” of the vibrator since there can be quite a range.  The “width” is the circumference of the vibrator.  For beginners, 1″ would be good.

Another way that you can begin getting comfortable with masturbating is by using a hand-held massaging shower head.  Yep!  That’s right!  A hand-held massaging shower head.  I have two shower heads in my shower, one of which can be a hand-held.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.

This may seem ridiculous, but orgasms really do help me feel better and less stressed.  I highly recommend including it in your day or week as needed!

~AA

Imago

According to Imago therapy, there are 3 stages in a romantic relationship:

  1. The Enchantment Stage
  2. The Power Struggle
  3. Real Love

The therapist that I’ve been seeing is an Imago therapist and so is his wife.  I’ve read the books they’ve recommended and have been participating in group and individual therapy; all of this has been extremely helpful to me and I’m hopeful that it will be helpful when J returns.

I think, and according to my therapist, J and I are in a real power struggle right now.  There are so many things that have transpired and we are actually on different pages right now because I’ve been going to therapy while he’s been out of the country for the last few months.  And very significantly, I have changed the relationship dynamics by telling him that I want a divorce.  So, even talking on the phone is difficult b/c we aren’t on the same page in terms of learning how to communicate with one another.  And he’s not very happy about my independence and boundaries.

Yesterday he called and we got into a bit of a heated discussion about some things.  This actually started on Sunday when we were on the phone he told me that I had disappointed him because he felt that I had made a promise to him before he left that I was not keeping (it had to do with me having drinks with friends while he was gone and I simply didn’t remember the conversation).  Then he told me that he was suspicious about me in regard to whether or not I’m seeing someone here.  This, unfortunately, is not a new accusation.  For as long as I can remember, he’s always been accusatory in this sense.  He’d say, “it isn’t that I don’t trust you, I just don’t trust other people”.  And whenever I would try to communicate to him how I feel that something is wrong, he’d say “are you seeing someone else?”  It gets old after a while.  And this weekend he was mad at me because he asked me to put “whatsapp” on my phone so that we could text one another, but I didn’t text him on Saturday night when I was out with my friends.  I’d like to point out that 1) he doesn’t text me in general even when we are on the same continent and I’ve asked for more daily communication like this and 2) he hasn’t texted me using that app since Saturday.  So, I’m postulating (and suspected this) that he only wanted me to have that app so that he could “text” me the night that I went out with friends while presenting it under the guise that he wanted to stay more in touch with me.  I find this to be very manipulative behavior.

Anyway, I chalk this up to a power struggle.  He wants more control and he has said as much…recently.  When I first told him I wanted a divorce, I told him I couldn’t be around him because he has too much influence over me.  He said, “well, maybe that is a good thing.”  I’m trying to follow my therapist’s advice and just let it go for now.  I have concerns about his drinking there, but there is no need to get into fights when he’s in Germany, I’m here, and our relationship is in a very delicate state.  But I have been warned by my therapist that the power struggle will probably get worse before it gets better.  I just need to ensure that I don’t lose myself  in the process.  I’m very protective of my fragile state right now and do fear his return because of that.

~AA

Step 1

Step 1 in my effort to detox my life and to help me find some insight into myself has happened.  I sent C an email telling him that I need some distance from him so that I can really give myself an honest effort at achieving some clarity.  I guess it really isn’t “step 1” since I’ve been in therapy for the past few months, but you know what I mean.

I had a nice moment to mediate at lunch, which was helpful.  I’ve needed to be honest with myself about what is really in my best interest and I think I’ve made at least a little progress there.  Does it suck?  Yes.  Is it in my best interest?  Yes.   I keep remembering the line, “being honest with yourself is not the same as judging yourself.”  I need to be honest with myself without judging myself, which is one of the most difficult things to do.

~AA

Contemplation

How do you know you are doing the right thing?  What is the “right” thing?  What does that even mean.  Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of guilt over the person I’ve become.  I’ve tried to push it down… to ignore it, but it doesn’t seem to be going away so it is time to admit that I don’t really feel like I’m a good human being.  I am deceitful and I don’t want to be any longer.  I want to be a better person, but I keep falling back into the same things.  My biggest weakness comes from my issues with relationships.  I’m tired of metaphorically looking over my shoulder.  Of living in fear of being found out.  It is time for me to make a mends.  To make a commitment to myself to let go.