Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Posts tagged “longing

The Self-Regulation of Poetry and Longing

OFF-songwriter

I understood something tonight for the first time. It came about after I wrote a post on depression and the artistic temperament for one of my other blogs. As I was explaining how my art is often a form of self-soothing, I cracked open a tiny window into my own current situation. I’m not depressed, but I am highly activated and in an artistic spurt. Tonight as yet another love poem (or poem of #desire, as I’ve come to call them) surfaced I caught a glimpse of myself, doing my thing. And I noticed the effect. The poem of longing seemed to relieve some of my suffering. It gave me a lift even as I was expressing my dismay.

In touching the sadness in words I can begin to unlock and feel them in life.

By telling my story, even in poetry, I am giving voice and awareness to my inner voice, my inner pain. I don’t admit my sadness or loneliness much these days. I’m too busy, too creative, too “happy.” But tonight, something in the back story of the love poem signaled from my subconscious creative brain to my rational and self-assessing brain that there was a problem.

Again, it’s a poem. But as I look back on the two books of poems that have come out of this period of my life, I began to understand, tonight, that these were as much a narrative as my prose. When read in sequence, you can see the arc and trajectory of my heart out of darkness and into hopefulness. I even achieved several moments of “love.” Even when the relationship couldn’t hold the feeling, in the poems I captured a tiny sliver of the potential.

Women of potential. My muse.

And tonight, as I was writing this poem, about something as simple as noticing a woman’s dark shiny hair, I was also able to hear a bit of the ache that I long to medicate with a relationship. And barring that, a love poem.

In the act of desiring, in the writing of a romantic epistle, I am releasing some of the tension I feel. In touching the sadness in words I can begin to unlock and feel them in life. Again, I’m not sad, but I’m lonely. As creative and inspired as I am, my seeking is consistent and unanswered. I have learned patience. I have learned the language of love. I have taught myself to compose songs. And yet… I’m alone.

Another moment occurred this weekend that opens up a bit more of my thinking about relationships, and “what’s next” for me. I had taken a long Saturday afternoon to drive my daughter and two of her friends to the local outlet mall for her birthday. That afternoon, when I got home, alone, I was exhausted. After a quick nap I arose and felt inspiration hit as I was trying to put down a song idea with my guitar and computer. An hour later I was one song richer, and again, slightly exhausted.

And at that very moment what I wanted was someone to share my song with.

It’s sort of romantic, and productive, all this being alone. But it’s not a condition I aspire to, it’s merely where I find myself at this moment.

I contemplated going out. There was a local band playing, and I knew the woman who books the club was newly single… But I was tired. Fulfilled somewhat with my creation. And still, aching for connection. So some of what I am longing for is simply being seen. Having someone to share my new book of poetry with. Or even a new poem. Sure, I’d like someone to come along who can trigger some of the “loving” sides of my poetry and songwriting, but I’ll settle for a confidant. Well, perhaps a cuddling confidant.

I know that I don’t want to become addicted to this state of longing. It’s sort of romantic, and productive, all this being alone. But it’s not a condition I aspire to, it’s merely where I find myself at this moment. And clearly, for a few moments more.

All is well. A new poem is written. A song released inspires yet another. My creative heart flows and flies.

And. Longs. For. Connection.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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image: the author, kristy duff wallace, creative commons usage


she will remain beautiful and undisturbed

she will remain beautiful and undisturbed[from a coffee love letter – poetry]

out in the world of fancy coffee shops
new girlfriends walk in the door two or three times an hour
mostly they leave without acknowledging me
it’s okay
i can still see and appreciate her
even as she sits and reads a marginal book
look at those lips
and her imagination
and good choice of snack food

how much of her beautiful body contains god
how much god do i see in curves and legs and pulse
and once that fascination has run a course
where is the gateway drug
a passage into absorption and fascination
and engagement
that grows with time
as taut fights with gravity
and eyes weather with loving days
days of loving
how i could start with her
and awaking more than both of us
awakening a universal celebration
a dance of life and love and longing rewarded

she’s tapping her toes
in beautiful shoes
and smiling at her paperback
and i’m trapped here
in noise-canceling headphones
and a secret
tap tap tap
foot to words
dream to desire
to action
to ask
to

she is fine
just there
just as she is
she doesn’t need a thing
neither do i

i have it all
an instant could transform all this

this instant is not that one

she is here
she will remain beautiful and undisturbed
and i will walk out of this coffee shop
and escape my meandering mind
for the sky
and the sun
and
whatever’s next

6-28-13

image used via creative commons: woman’ feet


i believe, i pray, i fly

poem of desire - love poem - beach[from Making Love To Other Women – poetry]

and if i bring poems to her and she doesn’t understand
when i sing songs and she gets bored
if i offer a casual massage and she’s too busy
what then?

and if i ask and provide opportunities
when i wait and hold out hope
can i become addicted to longing
what then?

i know what missing you feels like
before we’ve even met
i can smell you, and feel your hair in my face
i know what i have lost

and if the shower after the day on the beach
and the cool dark unfamiliar room
rough and clean white sheets
the curtains billowing in the blow of the ac

and if my longing does not call you in
and my waiting proves fruitless again
i can still send out sirens songs
and use this desire as a sail

of course i hunger for her
and a near miss is a miss completely
and a word, a poem, a song, are precious
even without an ear to whisper into

in fibers deep in my soul i know
she is nearby, doing her thing
i am not finished with my baking
these ‘projects’ are just beginning

perhaps at this moment
she would be a distraction
and from afar she is muse, lover, mother
vixen, tease, goddess, everything

i know what longing feels like
i learned to do without even when she was next to me
i can thrive alone, in desirous creation
i don’t want to, but i do

sing along little bird
bring your bright feathers into my mouth
give flight to your fantasies as well
there is time, there is time, there is always time

hearts a flutter in beautiful presence
i am still becoming more loveable
my plan is drawing you in
even as I have failed to execute in the past

i can call, and write, and throw
poems and intentions and agendas at you
i can wait and be patient
to see if you will ignite

perhaps you are that one
that madonna that brings me to god, again
again, I am ready
i believe, i pray, i fly

i believe, i pray, i fly

6-19-13

 


alight with desire

 [from Misconfigurations of Love – poetry]

can you feel the wind blowing in your direction from me
does my smile come to mind from time to time
wishes and love poems cannot transform a light
i want a flame, a fire, a burning desire
and i’ll wait here awhile, stoking coals
and blowing kisses

6-12-13

sending smoke signals


it’s about time

touch-off-virtual

[from Making Love To Other Women – poetry]

and then i open my mouth and I have no idea what comes out
i’m nervous, in love, tortured to make contact
and nothing

it’s not that absence makes the heart grow at all
absence is just lack of you, face time, touch time, touch
all these virtual pokes and likes and touch-ins
are no match for the rush of time, tic, time, tic
it’s about time

it’s about time

 

5-30-13


anticipating the rain with you

i am anticipating you

[from Making Love To Other Women – poetry]

i am anticipating the ocean with you
the rain and the clouds
the sounds and the smells
of you

i am anticipating the touch of your hand
the taste of your lips
and how i feel when i think of being
with you

i am anticipating your next move
falling into step
and falling asleep
beside you

i am anticipating how you sound
when you laugh or moan
in an instant i can almost
imagine you

i am anticipating someone who can light the sky
silence the night
walk down beaches in the dark
holding you

i am anticipating the disruption of everything i imagine
of plans and hopes and dreams
now even more real than my hopes
about you

i am anticipating

5-12-13

 


i want to know again

drawing the little black dress

[from Making Love To Other Women – poetry]

i will find my next great love
there will be no trail of little black dresses
across the countryside
i will slow down the runaway train
i will listen
i am patient

i wait with intention
i listen and learn
even what I am saying I want
changes

and she will assemble for me
necessary shapes and smells
she will embody

i will find the next great love
and I will love again
fully
willfully
hopefully
without tether

actively seeking
i slow my roll
i clear and cleanse my palette
i get quiet and hollow
i can feel the emptiness
that once was filled
full
joyous and thrilling

she arrives when she comes
she arrives and asks me the tough questions
she had other plans
she opens just a little to see how I will respond

i am not waiting for someone to board my train
i am not looking for enmeshment
i am looking to stand strong and together with her
when she is ready to let me in
when the trust, and passion, and easy living of life
is too much to resist
she will be in my arms
and I will know
i have arrived
at possible
again

i had her once and lost
i will have her again
she is mine
she is ripe
she waits without waiting
she knows nothing

everything is an opening before us
and in the fresh air of the morning or the late chill of the evening sky
i can imagine what it will be like to be with her
here
in this moment

and she is fluttering nearby
she is sleeping
it is late

i cannot reach out to her just yet
it is too soon to tell
what kind of lover she will make
it is too soon to meet her child
it is too soon to hope beyond the doubt that awakens inside the hopefulness
it is too soon to give my poem an object

if we find a connection
and we both ask for more
if she listens and speaks
if her flame is brightening and warming

if i know anything, i know that i love well
and i will love her with everything i have
i do not hold back

i know that i will love well again
i know that the little black dress is a metaphor and a gateway
i am looking for that drug that never ceases to amaze
that cosmic mist
to come over our eyes and make everything sparkly
radiant
abundant
possible

i want to sleep, laugh, cuddle, caress on into my hundreds
and i’d like to do it with one more woman
all these sirens are confusing
i think i know
i don’t know

i want to know again

4-27-13


Trying to Talk About Sex: Texting In Bed

trying to communicate about sex - before the divorce

this conversation happened in bed in the form of a poem we wrote back and fourth between us

+++

i’m having sex, 90% of the time alone
so financial crisis moments appear and go away
and I too feel fatigue when my trustworthiness is raised again and again
not a crisis
more of a chronic situation of the relationship
weariness of wanting to go in to it

now you have to put some stuff in.

also weary of the dialogue around sex – frequency
my time is so spoken for
i don’t see that changing
if we could actually put every moment spent on considering the vectors of the situation of not that much (together) sex
in to crafting a situation where it could happen
we would create actual sexual encounters.
i get weary of focus on my not meeting your needs for sex
pretty much feel like your framing of the issue is you want more sex
so what can we do to get me available for more sex
and that this framing is in your mind
not expressed so much by action

In my (quite open to possibility of distortion on my part) world, I am a)working, b)sleeping, c)doing a mission-critical thing for kids, d) doing some other mission-critical thing (house, etc). Not really spending any bandwidth researching the dynamics of things you are doing or not doing that don’t meet my needs. I do speak up with clear asks, but that’s all I can muster.

so it is frustrating and feels wierd that you have this thing going on where I continue not to meet your needs

at the same time I have no bandwidth left to meet any other needs period.

so do YOU have sexual desire?

yes.

and are you happy with your sex life?

in the context of reality – other real, now dynamics of time etc – sure

then we have a mismatch in desire, wouldn’t you say?

And that is a critical path issue for me. As much as money or housekeeping or kidkeeping is for the WE.

Yes. It is a critical path issue for you to __________________?

Discuss with you what’s missing. What’s wrong with this situation. Evaluate what’s going on. Is it desire? Trust? Money? Work? Housekeeping?

My TXT last Sunday saying, “I’m thinking about masterbating… but I’d rather have sex with you was a good opening.” and we were successful in connecting.

We need more casual wins.

What I am curious about is… how things have changed for you from what I imagine our SEX life was like 3 years ago.

I do not buy the house, work, sleepy idea. Something else perhaps?

What has changed for me is… The “connection” that you were speaking about say 2 months ago
to me the miss or lack is due to lack of contact and intimacy.

Sex doesn’t seem to be a part of that equation for you. Now, of course I am telling you it is. (grin)

Definitely it is a critical path issue for both of us, because you are materially unhappy (altho not in a crisis way) with the frequency and ____________ (connection?) of our sex (intimate?) life and therefore it makes the WE.

The txt was notable to me. so direct.

The not buying about sleepy and house…it’s like the conversation we had where you were asking me: what do you need? And I told you. “To see the numbers.” and that that was really what I needed was so out of range of believeable to you – you didn’t buy it – that it never occured to you to do the numbers, or engage with me to say OK, lets do the numbers now.

But it was true. I needed to see the numbers. YOU never actually need to see the numbers for that particular kind of situation. But I do.

So you ask what would help….per sex….and I nearly always come around to: house (a visually peaceful – that sensuality for me), sleep or workout (that’s body – a key to my sensuality). But you CANT BUY it. Because it’s not your experience of the world, I guess.

I’m empathetic with NOT BUYING another person’s experience. Certainly I miss on this more than rarely.

On the mismatch of desire. Maybe we have a mismatch in the desire for genital rubbing and intercourse v other sensuality. I feel like I live in a world of visual sensuality, and touch, and working out – exertion, and some kinds of foods – beautiful, fresh foods. And then there is sex, like, in bed sex.

And ? for you the sensuality of life stacks up differently. Sex straight UP gets more brain cells – loving the clean curves and surfaces gets fewer. Fresh pinapple, not so much. Ice cream – a lot!!

More pragmatically, there is a cycle we are in that at least does not help. I can’t sleep next to you. When we are spooned, the snoring is so loud – some just because of what spooning does, put your mouth in my ear, I wake up. Then, if I am awake, I have to go to another room. This was not the case 3 years ago.

I don’t have a point of entry in to that situation. Not sure.

You have not told me recently about the snoring and that is the reason you are leaving the bedroom so frequently. I am always happy to apply a breathrite strip. They seem to help. And I need to lose weight. I am actively working on that.

Back a the discussion about what you needed, it was not that I didn’t buy your experience. In fact, we agreed that restarting money discussions was probably critical path.

We didn’t DO the financial plans again until we were reminded by Rick of the critical WE in everything.

+++

I used to say “It wasn’t my idea,” about the divorce. And in my divorce recovery group I was definitely self-identified as the dumpee. But what was different is I was beginning to express my dissatisfaction with the status quo. Her money-house-tired story had reached the end of my accepting it. I was tired of having sex alone 90% of the time. I was demanding we talk about it.

What didn’t know was she was already in the process of figuring out her options. Probably, in terms of her critical path issues, house and money she was beginning the process of trying to figure out what she would get if she decided to go for a divorce.

When she admitted in therapy that she had already consulted with a lawyer, I was stunned. “Well,” I said. “I guess you are a lot further down the road than I am about this.” And she got motivated to find full-time work and basically created a job within a few months. And then, I suppose she saw the potential for escape from her private hell.

I remember saying to her, once the “divorce” was agreed to, “So you think it’s me that’s making you so mad all the time? And you think I’m going to walk out that door and you are some how going to transform into a happy person? Wow. I think you are wrong.”

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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The Monday Morning Drop Off and The Longing of the Off Parent

two car garage, one car - the single parent

This post was written as a response to a readers comment. You can see the entire dialogue in the comments of this post:  Putting Your Foot (Fool) Out There – Online Dating in Perspective

+++

Wow, H. You seem to have started a wonderful dialogue with yourself (and me) as a result of posting on The Off Parent. I salute you. And welcome the interaction. Here’s the crux (for me) of what you said:

“And then soon, I forgot the ‘longing’ of wanting something/someone else. My life as it is today, perfect, with my children, as they are my family now….Just like your happiest hours on Thursday nights (forgive if I got your name for it incorrect)…well, that is my life, every day and night.”

I appreciate the Happier hour of Thursdays. And I feel the tweak of my happiness every Friday morning as I drop them back at school. On the weekends when they will return to me Friday afternoon I have a nice routine, I finish my work around 3pm and I take the rest of the afternoon off, after I pick them up at 3:30.

This is such a weekend. Full. Complete. Completed. I do understand your fullness. When we are together there is nothing missing. We are a family as I envisioned it. Except of course, their mom. But of course things are MUCH easier without her, for us. There is not one single argument about cleaning the house, about chores (we have them, yes) about what we’re going to do on Saturday. This core unit has a connected and free form flow that probably drove my ex-y crazy. She much preferred the work plan model.

The longing for me, takes place, as it will tomorrow, when I drop them back at school on a Monday, after our full family weekend. It is that morning, as I pull away from school that I feel an ache.

Why did I, how did I end up in this “missing” place? It is a familiar feeling, but I no longer welcome it. I acknowledge the ache. And I can understand my past history that is riddled with so many “missing” moments. And for today, I move away from that HURT as I drive away from their school and them.

It is THAT longing that holds the key to me for what I am missing in the rest of my life. I DO want to be in a relationship. While I get so much joy and fulfillment out of simply being DAD, I am hungry for a companion. That longing that you have learned to forget, just might be a key to the relationship you want as well. It’s easier to keep driving away from their school and the ache and just carry on.

Later in the day your THREE return to you and you are full up in the activity of FAM again. Mine do not return to my fold until the next Thursday evening. And this coming Thursday, that glimpse, that ONE NIGHT and MORNING, is all I will have of them for the entire week. And the rest of the time I am what I call, The Off Parent. Both physically (they are not with me) and mentally I am OFF.

I love having entire weekends to plan activities alone. Time and options I never had while married. But I also wish it were not so. I was content wrapped in the everyday details of being Dad. Now I don’t have that luxury. Perhaps I am pushed out to learn more about myself, my needs, my next plan or dream. Certainly that’s what’s happening. But the reality is I LONG FOR MY KIDS when they are not here. And to a lesser extent, I can feel that I LONG FOR A RELATIONSHIP again.

There is no real reason to put up with red flags the new experimental relationships. What’s the point? If there are too many fouls, you pick up and move along.

So, H,  perhaps you will find the longing in something as mundane as a painful shoulder that needs a strong and warm hand to knead and rub it. For now you can put heating gel on it, or ask one of your kids to beat it for you. (that’s what I do.) But if you can listen to the ache, only if you want to, you might find the energy behind the longing. And at this point in my life, I am finding that ache-to-energy to be quite powerful and quite transformative.

I am becoming someone else. I am expressing all side of the joy and pain, here on The Off Parent. I am leaving all of my grievances behind. And when they show up I’m putting them to rest by journaling them here.

I am excited that you have found the reason, the energy, to post such a reflective comment here. I hope you continue. A dialogue is forming between us. Another wonderful and interesting development from writing this down. The hard stuff and the good stuff. The dark sex stuff and the vulnerable stuff.

Thank you for joining in the dance with me.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Note on the image: My daughter saw this picture and headline above on my posterous site. “I know what that means,” she said. I laughed. “What does it mean?” At 9, she has been sharing more of her understanding of the world. “It means, for now. Eventually you will park on the side when you’re making room for a girlfriend.”


Putting Online Dating in Perspective

What's your best part - online dating - the off parent

Um, honey, let me ask you a question. Are you saying the best part of you is the swell of your left breast? And your user name, SRSLY? I guess you’re not looking at this online thing too hard. Or perhaps you are looking for the dudes that will jump at a side picture of a breast in black sparkly dress. I guess…

And the bathroom meme for your photo is sad. It’s not all that exciting to see your shower and towel rack. I mean, you’ve got to have a few friends who could help you out. Even one of those fancy phones that have the camera that faces back at you?

One of the cool things, the organizing things, about setting up your online profile is you have two major tasks.

  1. How do you present yourself to the world? Photo. User Name. Bio and Answers to provocative or benign questions.
  2. What are you really looking for? Big breasts. Fit stomach. Brains bigger than yours. A smile. Humor.

Step 3 is continually refining what you want and how you present yourself.

In completing the first round of questions and bio fields in your dating profile you’re going to at least be getting a picture of what you think you are and what you think you are looking for.

So “trouble” in you profile name might not be the best choice, unless that’s what you are trying to attract.

And then you start the process of going on a few meet and greets. “Let’s grab a cup of coffee…” And now your sense of what’s important gets refined.  One of my discoveries, “Wow, she was beautiful and liked to work out a lot. BUT… we had NOTHING to talk about.”

Okay so my priority, actually, is brains and banter over nice boobs or taut abs. And my recent experience says that as long as they are not obese I can get quite excited by different body types and styles.

And my other recent commitment: if there is not something absolutely extraordinary about the person, there is no real reason to meet. I’m not looking to fill time, or keep from being lonely. I’m looking for someone who can keep up with my rapid fire synapses and THEN perhaps my strong hands. Perhaps. But again, BED IS NOT THE GOAL.

Again, a friend asked me, chastised me really, about following up with a beautiful woman I’d had 1 date with. “She’s not that into you, why are you still wasting time on her?”

“I’m not really trying to have sex with her, we just had fun. Oh and she’s one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever been around.”

I had to think about it a day later when I was ABOUT TO SEND HER A FUNNY NOTE on LinkedIN (my favorite dating network). What did I want from her? Why was I willing to sit next to her in amazement, if there was no chance, and very little willingness on her part to schedule something. Why was I flagellating myself against a person who could not, or would not, give anything in return?

And then we come to my ex-y. At some point that was the question I had to ask. She’s not going to change into a warm, huggy, sexualized person.

Like trying to fix the alcoholic, it was not going to happen by anything I could do. I could ask and ask and ask, but if there was zero affection coming back, my asking would become less frequent and more painful.

So I was no longer willing to flagellate myself to the mother of my children. Why would I put up with the touch-less date, the pointless courting?

We’ve been through this before. It feels familiar some how. That DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT.

I’m done with being addicted to “longing.” I want joining as my goal. If the person is not available… Why am I wasting my time? A counselor once told me, “You do longing very well. But it’s okay to get some of those needs met.”

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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