Be thankful for rain, it washes away the debris that isn’t meant to stick.
Sometimes life pushes us down because there’s something we’re supposed to find something down here.
OR at least that’s what I’ve heard and keep telling myself, but for the life of me I just can’t seem to sugar coat all this shit or even just turn it into fertilizer.
I’m tired. I didn’t sleep last night and I don’t know if I can tonight. It’s getting harder and harder to sleep without him, but getting more time in his arms just doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now.
I got spoiled having him completely to myself last week in Florida and unfortunately, I think that was expected to suffice longer and maybe it would have had I known. I tried to give him down time and keep to myself as much as possible since it was a work trip. We stayed in, instead of going out, which was totally fine, because I was in great company. I stuck to the agenda, but I could still feel his anxiety rising. I noticed his drinking increasing, but vacay. I drove us to the airport last Friday to try to help alleviate it in whatever way I could, but going through security seemed to dissipate that. I thought maybe it was being away from his boys, but when we got home, it still didn’t seem to alleviate.
Yes, I understand all the circumstances were back but it just seemed different, he felt distant, like he was checked out. Like last Saturday with the Craigslist fiasco. I tried to recover the time we had together by pulling everyone in over a shared family dinner, engaged and giggly. I actually remember being proud of myself. Wait… am I delusional about what I bring to the table, literally?
He said he felt better after some down time with me at my place on Monday. Then, he went back to juggling the week, while I was recovering from a medical procedure. He even fixed a pretty major plumbing issue for me before he had to rescue the boys. He was busy and I was lonely, but it just felt like …intentional distance. Admittedly, I needed him more than I conveyed and that is my own fault, but his boys needed him more and recovery isn’t going as planned. I tried to deal with my own shit because I genuinely thought he was getting maxxed out. Also, Im not good at saying, “I need you.”
Yesterday was his youngest’s birthday and I couldn’t be there, not just because of the procedure recovery, but because they were having a “family dinner” and integration is a tricky process for all parties involved. I know that it was harder for him than it was for me, I was trying to be supportive, but after becoming priivy to all the conversations he and his ex shared over the upcoming birthday, her near death experience…. (even as the nurse was trying to find him to update him on me) I reached my max in insecurity and my girl brain spun up and in a frustrated effort to brush off anymore unnecessary worry on my part and anxiety on his, I was curt, misspoke via text and created a whole other problem. One in which, his response, completely rubbed me the wrong way and left me raw. So now, even with two days off from work, he’s seemingly still without “downtime” and I’m beginning to suspect that I may be more trouble than I’m worth to him.
I feel like my insecurity would better mend with his presence and his anxiety would better mend without mine?
What the fuck does that even mean?
It’s really hard to cope with things having to be so complicated when I desire such truly, simple things.
Are we making it more complicated than it needs to be? Are things complicated because these circumstances are too unreasonable to navigate?
Or is there something else down here I need to see?
“So even if the hot loneliness is there, and for 1.6 seconds we sit with that restlessness when yesterday we couldn’t sit for even one, that’s the journey of the warrior.”
~from “When Things Fall Apart” by Pena Chodron
Men are analyzers.
When we’re not feeling our best or something isn’t working, we try to figure out what’s wrong. We think the situation through. We calm ourselves down and look at problems systematically. We look for root causes or missing parts or broken pieces. Then, after identifying the cause of the issue, we usually come up with some sort of solution.
We decide, after thinking on it for a day or so, that we need a new fan belt, more vitamin C, or some vodka and a 50 dollar bet on the number six horse. We apply the solution and, before we know it, the car is running great, our sinuses have cleared up, and we’ve blown off the steam we needed to blow off. Problem fixed—except for the hangover.
Issues start when we try to approach our relationship problems in the same way, when we try to project our way of doing things onto the women in our lives.
It might look a little like this:
We come home after work or go to her place after school. The moment we walk through the door, we notice her foul mood. Frustration is built up in her furrowed brow. She is a storm cloud ready to crack. Even the room seems to have darkened with her anger. Her wrathful silence is so foreboding that we find it repulsive. A primal part of us might even be a little afraid at these powerful and dark emotions.
“What’s her problem?” is the first question that pops into our heads.
We immediately go into problem-solving mode. We assume there is a specific cause. We assume there is a singular issue that can be addressed that will fix the situation. We rack our brains, but can’t think of anything. Did we forget a birthday? Forget to call? Not notice a new haircut? We can’t figure it out, but no matter how much we ask her what’s the matter, she constantly tells us it’s nothing.
Why does she have to be so complicated?
We sit with her in silence. Maybe make a few more attempts to find out what the problem is. Maybe she lashes out at us because we keep asking, and we don’t really know what’s going on. Maybe we make the terribly silly mistake of telling her to calm down. Eventually we walk out, telling her we’ll come back when she figures out what her issue is and can talk it out like an adult.
At this point, we’ve not only failed our woman, we’ve failed ourselves.
We’ve wrongly assumed her situation is the same as a bike with a broken chain. We’ve wrongly assumed it’s as simple as finding the right piece we need to fix it. We’ve wrongly assumed, like all the other problems in our lives, that it’s our time to take control of the situation.
Like a ship’s captain that finds his vessel has strayed off course, we attempt to change her direction. We’ve tried to steer her, but our woman is not a ship. We are not her captain. She’s the ocean that we’re sailing in—vast and mighty. If we try to wrestle her immense waves we will lose every time. We will drown. She might not even know she’s doing it, but she will swallow us.
Our job is not to be the captain, or even the ship. Our job is to be the rock standing strong on the shores of the ocean that we love. Our only job is to be there, and to be there for no reason other than our love for her waters.
Like any other body of water, there will be days when she crashes against us. Wave after wave, it might feel like the ocean will never again be calm. When her tide is high we may feel like we’re about to drown. Sometimes she hits us so hard we think we might crack. But if we remain full and abundant in our love for her, and constantly present in our masculinity, it will pass.
Her waters will quiet. She will once again lovingly caress us, her waves gently lapping at our ankles. She will completely open her heart in response to our stubborn love. She will trust in our strength, and feel safe in showing us the depths of her dark and healing waters. She’ll let us dive into her completely and we will taste her salty kiss. She’ll show us just how much we have to learn from the mysterious gifts she has to give us.
Until, of course, another storm brews on the horizon. But, our job as the rock never ends.
So if you cannot love her stormy weather as much as you love her sunrise , she isn’t the woman for you. If you cannot find humour in the situation and her need to close up, lash out, or walk away, you’re not the man for her.
If when her waters get rough you cannot give your unconditional love to her, you’re treading in an ocean too deep and powerful for your swimming abilities. It is better for you both if you find a smaller pool to dip your timid feet in, and for her to find a man willing to embrace her inherently wild and endlessly passionate nature.
Author: Michael Giorgi
As my marriage was ending, I struggled with shame, feeling alone in my own personal hell.
However, as my journey continued and I started to heal, I connected with others who had walked a similar path, and I discovered that I was not alone. Many voiced similar feelings experienced during their divorce, and more than once I heard “if only I had known what to expect.”
As homage to those that have split from their spouse, as well as those currently on their own divorce journey, I offer this communal list of what to expect:
1. We will doubt ourselves, and feel so afraid of the Unknown that we will reason that even though we are miserable, we are at least comfortable, and that we can endure an unhappy marriage.
We will try to convince ourselves of this, even though in our hearts we know that it isn’t true. But we will tell ourselves lies and reason with ourselves that we shouldn’t split—for the kids, for the finances, etc. We will bargain with ourselves because we are scared. Know that this is normal.
2. The roller coaster we feel when the decision is made to separate is unlike anything we ever experienced.
The regret, the grief, the pain, the confusion, the overwhelming, the fear, the desperation of wanting to be loved after our spouse is gone.
But even though we don’t know it, there is a weight that will slowly start to ease from our shoulders—the same weight that we denied all this time when we told ourselves nothing was wrong.
3. Our self-esteem may shatter, and we will be desperate for love and validation.We will think that nobody will ever love or want us again, and we may be tempted to date immediately and latch on to the first person who pays attention to us. We must resist this urge to attach ourselves, even if we have not had that romantic touch or intimacy for a long time. Trying to fill that void with another relationship robs us of the chance to heal.
4. Although we may tell ourselves that we’re fine, we will need a support system.
A therapist, a support group, good friends, or the non-judgmental anonymity of online forums. Whatever combination of systems we choose should help us attain two objectives: creating a safe place for venting, and helping us find constructive, healthy ways to cope with the divorce.
5. We will feel like we are getting sprayed with an industrial fire hose.
The number of “to-do’s” and “should-do’s” regarding emotions, finances, legal issues, custody and other logistics will come with incredible urgency. We will feel paralyzed and overwhelmed.
Understand that splitting is a process. Like any process, there are things to address immediately (safety, shelter, income), things to address a little bit later (understanding legal and custody issues, finding an emotional support system) and there are things to address longer-term (ensuring our separation agreement is something we can live with, making sure we and our children are adjusting). We will need to remind ourselves that divorce is like a marathon and it requires patience and persistence. We must save ourselves the stress by accepting that not everything has to be done right now.
6. We will have no control over our spouse’s behavior.
For serious offenses (threatening harm, cleaning out our savings account or wracking up debt on a joint credit card), we will absolutely need to take action. But there will also be annoyances that may not endanger us, but will anger us. It may seem like they are trying to make our life as miserable as they possibly can, which could result in a long, drawn-out, expensive, soul-sucking divorce—if we let it.
We will need to remember that although we can’t control their behavior, we can control how we react to it. Our decision to take the high road despite how they act is entirely up to us. Like most things during the split, it will be easier said than done.
7. We will be tempted to make decisions based on emotion, rather than logic.
We will forget that divorce is a business transaction––a splitting of assets and incomes. The logical part of us will understand this, but the part of us that is hurt may spend months fighting over things that have nothing to do with business at all. During the legal process, we will be forced to choose our battles. Choose wisely.
I’m a love cartographer.Each of us has our own internal landscape to navigate when it comes to loving another person.
Each journey into love is an opportunity to map out new territory, to discover and navigate parts of ourselves previously untouched by another, and perhaps untouched even by ourselves. Some of these territories will be blissful and others terrifying, but as we get to know our internal landscape, we begin to gain mastery of it, no matter what it is.
We learn how to work with ourselves in all of these places.
I spend my days helping others map out the landscapes of love and relationships in their own lives, and every day I expand and detail my own map, too. Every day I’m inspired by just how much adventure the land of love can provide, and at the same time, I feel a sense of urgency.
I see so many people with tiny little maps. I see so many people spending their lives never venturing out past their own backyards. I see so many who never risk finding out what’s possible.
Each time I sit down to write, I ask myself what I want them to know. I ask myself what I would want someone to tell me if I didn’t already know it.
Today, what I want you to know is that everyone has at least one spot where we always get lost.
We all have that spot where we’ve eventually gotten stuck in every relationship. We all have that empty space on our map; that unexplored, uncharted territory just waiting to be understood and filled in. It may be that a little corner of our map remains an empty mystery as we’ve struggled to get the lay of the land, or it may be that most of our map is still empty because we’ve never ventured to navigate outside the comfort of the world we already know.
We tend to have a hard time acknowledging that our sticky spot has anything to do with us. We like to think we just haven’t met the right person yet. But the truth is that no matter how promising a new love seems, no matter how different this one is from the ones that came before, we will always end up at the place again eventually. We can hope and pray that this time the road will lead us somewhere new, but the truth is it won’t because this is the map of how we navigate love and we haven’t changed yet. So when we get there (and we will get there), we still won’t know how to make it through the terrain.
After enough times, we begin to believe this is just how it is destined to be for us. We begin to accept the current boundaries of our map as our fate. We begin to assume that we’ll never make it any further than we did in the past, and when we believe that, it becomes true.
I lived inside of my patterns for so long. For most of my life, each one of my long-term relationships ended up with the same feeling: I felt bored. The respect and adoration I’d once felt was gone, and the spark in our sex had died out.
This was where all my relationships had ended, each one like the one before. This was as far as I’d ever drawn my map. For all I knew, this was all there was or would ever be for me. I didn’t see that my apathy was keeping me locked in a cycle that I completely had the power to break out of. I didn’t see that I could change it by changing myself.
No, I just saw the challenge as the end of the road.
I stopped trying, so I stopped getting feedback. Without feedback I didn’t learn anything new about my situation that could help me see solutions. And then, eventually, my feeling of hopelessness was validated by my failure. Giving up was a dead end.
Until I finally admitted I was stuck.
Being stuck isn’t the end of the road we paint it out to be.
Actually, stuck is a pretty good place to be. It’s a lot better than denial. As long as we live in the delusion of hoping for change without making a concentrated effort to change ourselves, the pattern will play on repeat forever. Being stuck, on the other hand, is quite a sobering wake up call. It’s an alarm bell telling us it’s time to do something different, and sometimes desperation really is a great motivator.
I got stuck and it totally changed my life. I reached a breaking point; a beautiful breaking point where I grew more courageous than I’d ever been. I realized that anything would have been better than the way things were and I decided that no matter how hard it was and no matter how much courage it would take, I’d do whatever was required in order to finally forge a new path for myself.
We all have that place we get stuck and the sooner we acknowledge that it exists, the sooner we are going to figure out how to get through it.
All those stuck places are actually beautiful opportunities.
They’re difficult for a reason. They stand guard to the deepest, most tender sort of love and they’re there to make sure we are truly ready.