March 22, 2011
Recently, I had an epiphany of sorts. It came from an unlikely source – a person I got in touch with on Facebook, a woman I like and admire. She is mainly a friend of my ex, and a year ago we spent several days at her California home, where she was a marvelous, welcoming hostess. I am returning for a visit to her town and would love to say hi, so I friended her. She accepted graciously, but sent me a message that, although she will be my friend, my Facebook postings seemed derogatory toward HER friend (my ex) and that made her cautious. She then gave me some advice about moving on, finding a man more aligned with my plan, etc.
Her message gave me pause. Although I assured her that I had dated MANY men since him, and not all postings were about TF1, it made me go back and take an honest look at my public self. Am I jaded, cynical about love, and distrustful of men in general? In a word, YES. But is that who I want to be? NO. I’m not a man-basher. I’m a lover, not a fighter. And although a part of me believes that there are TWO types of women: the kind he cheats WITH and the kind he cheats ON (and I have been both), another part of me wants to believe in the good, true, kind, trustworthy man. And I want to be a good, kind and trustworthy woman. 90% of the married or divorced men I know have cheated on their wives. That is so sad to me. But it can’t be all men (can it???)
I rented the movie, “The Secret” and watched and listened carefully. The message is: the power of positive thinking will get you where you need to go. I knew that! Easy to believe, hard to do. But watching further I found that another message struck a deeper chord: that the energy you are sending out to the universe is the type of energy you get back. So if you are thinking negatively, you attract negative things. IF YOU CONCENTRATE YOUR ENERGY ON THE THINGS YOU DO NOT WANT, THOSE ARE THE THINGS YOU ATTRACT.
It’s no surprise that I am obsessively broken up with a man I was obsessively in love with. But I learned long ago, in marriage, that you cannot affect what anyone else does. Not a spouse, certainly not a long-distance ex. So trying to figure out how he is dealing with the aftershocks is merely spinning my wheels. Do I wish him ill? No way. Do I hope he finds a deep, fulfilling relationship after ours? Of course not. And it is, in reality, highly unlikely (at least in my definition of fulfilling.) But wondering about it is unproductive and not helpful.
And here I quote Susan Piver, the author of a wonderful book: The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. “I can prove it to you that it’s not your ex that you are missing so much, but the possibility of sacred connection you sensed with him. I can totally prove it. No matter how special, wonderful, one-of-a-kind superior this lost person is, the moment you feel the possibility of this connection with another, the person you now miss will disappear entirely from your consciousness. Really. All the superspecific yearnings you now experience – for the smell of his neck, the particular rumble in his voice, his sleepy face in the morning – will simply dissolve. As if they had never been there. You may not believe me right now, but it’s true. And at some point in the future, you will look back and go, “I felt those things about HIM?” I’m not saying you won’t retain a melancholic and legitimately grievous sense of loss, but it will be nostalgia, not a present longing. Because what you are missing is not him. What you are missing is the superpowerful and utterly genuine thrill of intimacy. And rightly so. It is something to be longed for, cherished, and certainly, grieved when it is lost.
But here’s the thing. The person who you lost does not hold the key to this sense of connection. Even if you were to spend the next forty years with him, you would not find that thing that you actually long for, except in very special moments……..sometimes when your heart is broken, all you remember are the rapturous moments.”
Thanks for the reminder, Susan. And I think, in a relationship where I always felt somehow lacking, always felt like it wasn’t enough for him, and I could not be that girl that his image-conscious self desired, but I was the girl he wanted in all the wild, alley-cat physical ways (which made it 5 years of conflict for him and 5 years of guess-work for me), we both settled for something we didn’t actually want. We faked the stuff that wasn’t there – and it was different stuff for each of us.
Now I feel free. Buoyant, excited. I have a lover who looks in my eyes and smiles when we make love, but understands that it is just for now. He doesn’t gawk at 105 pound women with too much makeup, designer clothes and fake boobs. I met him in sweats and no makeup. He always begs me, “please don’t lose that booty!” AND as an added bonus, he looks just like the Old Spice ad guy! I’m preparing for my big trip to Spain, and Africa, and Mexico, and South America. I haven’t been able to travel this year, as I am preparing my house for sale, but this process is teaching me patience and delayed gratification. How can I be jealous of someone’s two –week, 4-star hotel vacation when I am preparing to travel, meet and help people, learn languages, learn cultures, and do it for almost a year? I guess it depends on what you value. I no longer want to deal with superficial people. I want to know people with depth, with stories, with compassion, with feelings. I’m not a snorkeler. I am a scuba diver. I want to face the scary things, the darkness; I want to explore at a level that some people just don’t ever want to reach. That doesn’t make them bad. And it doesn’t make me bad, either.
So I begin this adventure optimistically. It’s not about finding a new lover, although it’s likely I might meet a few if I want that. It’s about finding me, finally. And in shedding the old skin, I am slowly becoming a confident, radiant, peaceful, compassionate, non-attached woman. Yes, I am, at times, a little inappropriate, a little scattered, worried and scared about aging. But I am out from the shadow of a disapproving partner and on my own. I have two houses, two beautiful grown kids, an awesome credit score, a rockin’ bod (for 48!), a brilliant smile, and a higher education. I am incredibly fortunate. And when it is time, with positive thinking I will find a partner who truly deserves all that. I will be his baby, and I don’t apologize for wanting that.
Happily, because the sun is FINALLY shining here!! (on and off…) I wish you all the SECRET of discovering what you really want and making your dreams come true.
PS the word SEX is in the title of this blog because I got 5X the hits on the post entitled “Lament of a Weekend Sex Toy” than I did my next, “Bunny Hop”. Did I get you with the tease?