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

 

Advertisements

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

Stop doing this to yourself….

I definitely need to engage in this more.  I was re-reading this article about 10 things to stop caring about today.  I can never understand why we are so wired to spend countless hours and emotional and physical energy on this stuff when much of it is out of our control!  Here is the list in short:

  1. Stop caring about everyone’s opinion of you.

  2. Stop caring about being politically correct.

  3. Stop caring about looking a certain way.

  4. Stop caring about what everyone else wants for you.

  5. Stop caring about the boundaries others set up.

  6. Stop caring about what everyone else has.

  7. Stop caring about the imaginary state of perfect.

  8. Stop caring about being right all the time.

  9. Stop caring about mistakes.

  10. Stop caring about things you can’t control.

I admit that I am very, very guilty of engaging in the aforementioned behaviors…particularly #’s 1, 4, 9, and 10 !

~AA

Toying

I feel a bit like I’m being toyed with by J.  My girlfriend B came over last night and we were talking about this.  She and her husband have been seeing the same therapist that I’ve been seeing, so she’s familiar with this concept of Imago therapy as well.  Basically it boils down to 1) I think he is testing my boundaries and trying to get the “upper hand” in terms of control and 2) I feel as if he is trying to keep “tabs” on me.

J has been in Europe since early February.  About three/four weeks ago he asked me to put an app on my phone called “What’s App” so that we could text internationally without being charged for international fees.  In general, we never text… not even when he is on the same continent OR when I’ve told him that it would be nice to get text messages from him throughout the day to feel more connected (yes, I’ve asked for this).  Since I’ve put it on my phone, however, I feel like he’s using it to keep up with when I’m “online” and as a means to make me feel guilty (i.e. control).

One weekend, I had gone out with some friends.  This was the first weekend that he asked me to put the app on my phone.  One of the features of the app is that it shows when you were “last online”.  He saw that I checked the app at like 2 a.m. and was grilling me about what I was doing out at 2 a.m. with people from our soccer team… yes, people from the soccer team that we both play on.  He then asked me if I’ve been messing around with someone, an accusation that has been waged against me since about 2 years into our marriage (that’s for another post and no, I’ve never cheated on him).  He proceeded to lecture me on going out while not having my wedding ring on (lest you forget that I told him I wanted a divorce in December and we’ve been separated since then).  He then told me “I know it sounds hypocritical since I haven’t been wearing mine either, but…blah, blah, blah, excuse, excuse”.

Flash forward… he usually only sends me messages on What’s App on the weekends and recently he’s been making passive-aggressive comments like “I wish you had more to say”… as if I’m not, apparently, communicating with him enough.

Finally, when I was at my lowest (i.e. the attempt at suicide in January), he apparently went through my phone records and was asking my girlfriend B about phone numbers, who they were, why was I calling these people, etc.

I feel like these are mind games, does that sound correct to you?  Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill? My gut tells me that if I were hearing this from my girlfriend, I’d tell her to run.  But for some reason, I have the ability to keep rationalizing things to myself.  Isn’t this an element of an abusive relationship?  I find it confusing.

I’ve spoken with my therapist about all of this and he’s said “keep conversations neutral right now”.  And I’ve done my best to do this.  There is no reason to get into fights when we’re thousands of miles apart.  And I’ve told J as much.  Thank goodness I have therapy today.  One of the things that my therapist told me once was that he’s there to help us see if we can resolve things, but that if not he will help me move on.  I do find comfort in that.

~AA

Reality

J will be home in two weeks.  He’s been in Europe since early February.  I told him I wanted a divorce in December, but so much has happened since then that I sort of came to a place where I felt that perhaps we can get back on track.  But I just don’t know.  I’m so scared about him coming back and things just going back to the way they were and my life just going on with me in a supporting role, not as my own leading lady.  I hate this.

People keep asking me if I miss him and if I’m excited that he’s coming back.  This is one of the hardest things to answer…because in all honesty, I’m nervous about him coming back, I’m nervous that I may have shut off so much that there isn’t a way to “get us back on track”, I don’t “miss” him in the sense that I feel like my life is missing something without him.  In fact, I feel more like myself now that he has been gone than I have in years.  I don’t feel self-conscious.  I’m not lonely.  I don’t feel inadequate.  I feel like me and like I don’t have to be ashamed of my desires, my demons, my needs.

What does that mean?  Does it mean anything?

I’m trying to stay open to this entire thing that is about to happen when he gets back.  There is a part of me that feels like I really need to make the effort, but I also feel like I’ve made a significant effort in the past that didn’t work.  Is it really necessary for me to give it another go?  But I guess he really needed to hear that I was willing to leave him because of how unhappy I was.  So, perhaps he needed that reality check before any progress could really be made.   I just hope that I can be open minded.  If I have the divorce papers in front of me, I will want to have that piece of mind that I did do my best, even if I may have already shut down more than I realize.

I guess it all really doesn’t matter in the end… this contemplation.  It will come, it will happen and it will have a result that no amount of pondering will provide until it happens.

~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

Fate

It never fails… when you are suffering, something comes along to give you the refocus and hope you need.  Perhaps it is a friend, which I am very grateful for B…she has been such an amazing support, or perhaps it is an article.  I follow a blog that has some wonderful words of wisdom.  Today, the one that I found it my inbox was “11 Ways to Become the Person You Love“.  How appropriate!  The first one is really important and I need to spend some time contemplating it and learning to practice it:

Stop judging, and appreciate the beauty within you. – Judging yourself is not the same as being honest with yourself.  When it comes to living as a compassionate, non-judgmental human being, the only challenge greater than learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, is learning to walk a lifetime comfortably in your own.  In every smile there is beauty.  In every heart there is love.  In every mind there is wisdom.  In every human being there is a soul, there is life, there is worth, and there is the ability to see all these things in everyone, including one’s self.

And number 11 is one that I will spend more time working on:

Keep looking and moving straight forward. – Moving on doesn’t mean you have forgotten; it means you have accepted what happened in the past and choose to continue living in the present.  Moving on doesn’t mean you’re giving up; it means you’re giving yourself another chance by making a choice to be happy rather than hurt.  Through all the problems you have faced, the burdens weighing down on your shoulders, the pain in your heart, you have only one thing to say, “I survived and I now know better for next time.”

It is important that I continue to work on forgiving and accepting myself for my failures.  And that I never forget my struggles because they have helped me become the person I am today.  I’m worth the effort.  I’m not a horrible person.  I’m a person who has made mistakes and I have the ability to learn from those mistakes.  I’m a compassionate person with the ability to forgive others and need to give that compassion to myself.

~AA

Broken

I feel like there are so many parts of me that are broken and that, perhaps, they may never heal.  I am hopeful that they will.  That I will be stronger from all of  this.  This is more difficult than I ever thought imaginable.  I could not imagine doing this if there were children in the picture.  I feel like I’ve made so many mistakes, but that is part of life, right?  Mistakes are part of what makes life worth living.  They teach us things.  They force us to expand our hearts, to expand our ability to forgive.  Probably the most difficult thing is to forgive ourselves for our imperfections.  I have so much compassion for others, but the person I have the most difficult time forgiving is myself.  Why is that?

There are so many conflicting emotions.  I’m longing, alone, hopeful, strong, wishing to hold onto the past, wishing to move forward.  I went to my counselor today.  It was helpful.  I so needed to speak to someone.  To help me continue to move forward when all I want to do is give up.

Thank God for music.  It so resonates with me.  It helps me process the emotions that I cannot vocalize or put into writing.  Right now the song that is really sticking with me is Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper.  Some may think it too “pop”, but she’s been through so much and completely gets the underlying point of the song.  I love it.  It inspires me.  Gives me hope.  I feel like a Phoenix, but my ashes are still burning.  I haven’t risen yet.