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

Posts tagged “the path ahead

Sunday Means Get Together: Or Get Alone – And Breathe

happy sunday - the off parent

Here’s one I’ve never written before.

This morning I woke up with enthusiasm and a headache. I was longing for connection. Of some sort. Here’s the path I am taking today.

  1. Chatted via Facebook with an old flame. Literally my first high school sweetheart. Who lives at the farthest reaches of the US where Winter is still happening. We imagined making love, and chatted with hot thoughts, more virtual than real. From high school flames.
  2. Tried to arouse myself with random pics and streams. Oh physical connections are so much more rewarding. Got bored with that.
  3. Started to write a song, a poem, and a story at the same time. Got confused.
  4. Reached out on Facebook to the wife of the pastor of the only church I would consider myself a member of, I’m spiritual but not religious. Got the time for the current service, confirmed that her husband was there this morning.
  5. Made a pathetic plea on FB for someone to join me for breakfast. Oh, I hate that, don’t you?
  6. Read some poetry.
  7. Made a decision to go get breakfast tacos and go visit my family at the liberal church next to the big white conservative church, that I call mine.

Imagined telling my friends about this random trajectory and my willingness to launch into the unknown having unsuccessfully connected with anyone within a 1,000 mile radius except the wife of my favorite minister.

Life is exactly where it should be. I am happy. I am hungry. I am starved for connection. And I have all the connection I need.

Sometimes breathing is the best exercise. We (I) get too focused on the doing, going, producing… And forget to stop and pause and appreciate. That’s where I’m headed. But I wanted to give you a little chat and wave before I head out the door, just me and Jack Kerouac’s poetry.

Happy Sunday. Go breathe, together or alone. But go!

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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image: sunday means get together, yasin hassan, creative commons usage

+++ bonus

swimming

Oh, so now I’m understanding why I joined the swim team in high school. Three of the front row, in sequence, blew my little high school mind. We were 2nd year boarding students. Wow.


Sex, Love, and Relationships: Dating Is A Bit Like Space Travel

space station flyover, creative commons usageDating is not my favorite thing. I like relationship. Of course you have to go through a period of dating to get to know someone, and see if there is a mutual adoration and physical/emotional fit. And sex too.

I have only had one relationship in the three-plus years since my divorce, and I’d have to say I learned some things that I had never known about myself. I also got to feel what it would be like if I were with someone who shared my love language. AMAZING.

There was one component missing from that three-month journey. For the first month I tried to understand what was going on with my sexual desire, because here was a beautiful woman who was admittedly crushing on me. In the second month I addressed things more directly, and tried to awaken some sexual chemistry between us. I mean, how could I not be… I mean what did that say about me? Was I in need of some kind of Viagra, at my age, for the first time in my life? Well, masturbation was still working, to some extent, so I learned it probably wasn’t that. In the third month I came to realise, that as much as she adored me, I wanted to adore her back. It was a circuit that was incomplete. She was amazing, and she deserved someone who could appreciate that in all it’s facets. Sadly, I was not that person.

And an interesting thing happened when we broke up. I realised how much I did love her, but I wasn’t right for her. We had breakfast the next morning, after “the call,” and I could truly see what an amazing friendship we had developed over the course of our courtship. There were no hard feelings. Perhaps a twinge of sadness for both of us. But we are still strong friends who encourage each other along our journey. Just knowing someone is out there who is thinking about you, is a cool thing.

And the messages came back in spurts and then long periods of silence. There were definite “yes” readings as well as “I’m crazy, back off” warnings.

A few months back I had a different kind of relationship. As my first relationship was about adoration, my second relationship was about sexual chemistry. It was a fiery six month build up that had us both riled up before we ever had our first date. We had met over a year earlier, but things had begun to warm up between us on Facebook. She had gotten divorced. She simply said, “Hi.” And the dialogue/courtship began.

And on paper (or should I say, in the virtual world of texting and emails) we were a fit. And though I was not clear how old she was, she was a reach for a much more fit and sexual partner. It was sexual attraction first, we will figure the rest out as we go along.

Well, when we finally went on a date, it was sweet and touchy-feely and exciting. She was unafraid to tell me how she wanted to kiss me later via text. And the stage was set for our next rendezvous.

Then we hit it off. And it was a blur. I simply didn’t want to get out of bed and do anything else. We connected deeply in our desirous and unfilled centers. As we spent more time together, however, the differences also showed up. Lifestyle choices. Verbal acuity. What had been sort of open in the virtual world, was less easy in-person. (this poem captures a bit of the spirit: it’s just desire)

What I realized, pretty quickly, is while the sexual hunger and connection was hot, the rest of the relationship was not much of a WIN for either of us. It’s fine to sit quietly together and admire how fantastic the other person looks bra-less in a tank top. But there were not a lot of points of connection in our interests. I backed out as gracefully as I could.

But the emotional fallout was much more damaging than I was prepared for. Having ridden the high of the build and release of having this beautiful woman in my bed, I was devastated when it turned out that it was a fling and not the connection I was seeking. And there was one major wrinkle. She was a blog reader, she might even be reading this now. And one of the promises I gave her as we walked openly into a relationship, is that I would not blog about us while we were trying to figure it out. Turns out I didn’t feel comfortable blogging about/to her at all. I went dark and silent.

And dark silence is where I crumble and burn. Combine the chemical rush of the high and subsequent fall with the coming of the Christmas holidays, and my inability to write about what was going on, and it was a bad combo for me. I suffered in silence.

And I contemplated reconnecting with her. I contemplated reconnecting with my first and only girlfriend so far. And I did nothing. And I fell apart.

As I pulled my dating profiles off the web and contemplated my navel for a bit, I met a woman at a NYE party who held an amazing attraction. She was a tennis player, so that was a first, and a fantasy. But I didn’t pursue any connection as I knew I was unavailable and wounded. And I knew all hell was still in the process of breaking loose in my personal and financial life. So I admired her and retreated into my cave of silence.

And I stumbled along and went through my next transformation and started to pick up the pieces of my life alone.

A few weeks ago I had started using a tennis cardio workout as part of my physical and mental healing process. And after the 2nd class I realised I was thinking about the tennis player from NYE. Of course it was a long shot, and it was initially about tennis, but I sent her a message via a mutual friend. Her response was positive and immediate. We connected via txts and the flirting went off the charts.

How fun is that? A casual reach out that produces a willing and excitable potential.

And I began to notice the things that changed in my attitude and hopefulness about women in general. Just a little attention from this very attractive woman was enough to awaken my heart to the “idea” that I could have another relationship. And it seemed there was some of that process going on for her too.

And I noticed too that my heart and mind were beginning to accelerate towards her, like a spaceship being pulled in by the gravity of a large planet. And as I opened to her potential I also sent messages of all types, like some sort of electronic scan. It is amazing how much information we can exchange in a short period of time. And while txting might get a bad rap, there is something wonderful in the considered response. As a writer, I thrive there. And I listen with more intent perhaps than I should.

There are huge amounts of time that are simply waiting. And I can do a better job of allowing the “wait” to be peaceful and less demanding.

So as my life force and positive energy began to accelerate in her direction I also pulled down my defense shields. Even as I professed my ability and comfort with going slow, I was finding my daily thoughts starting to draw strength from my imagination of her and our potential. Of course, there was very little information to go on, so I pressed on all channels. I sent txts. We sent emails. I shared my music.

And the messages came back in spurts and then long periods of silence. There were definite “yes” readings as well as “I’m crazy, back off” warnings. I logged all of them, but I tended to put emphasis on the positive ones. And I leaned in to the gravity and allowed my romantic aspirations begin to color my vision.

Today, it’s over. I have overshot the landing and catapulted right out of her orbit on to some unknown destination. The benefit I have is momentum and hopefulness. She shared and showed me how I could light up again. She also reflected back my obsessive and overwhelming transmissions. I used her pull to attempt a crash landing and bypass all the “dating” and “going slow” that might be more prudent and less dangerous.

So as I speed away from another “potential” I am trying to be aware of the great things I learned. And most of all, I hope to make use of the momentum her gravity and ultimate slingshot has provided for the path ahead.

I need to remember that space travel takes a lot of time. There are huge amounts of time that are simply waiting. And I can do a better job of allowing the “wait” to be peaceful and less demanding. And perhaps even less draining if I don’t expend so much energy communicating and listening.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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image: space station flyover, by chris isherwood, creative commons usage


A Moment of Enlightenment Has Arrived: The Path I’m Leaving Behind

moment of enlightenment - blake, newton

I could hope for an Age of Enlightenment, but I’m being realistic.

I can comfortably say that I have passed through the Dark Ages, and I am somewhere in the Between Ages. But I have also reached a moment, this moment, where I can see certain things quite clearly. And while the path ahead is not clear, the mistakes of the ages behind has never been clearer.

The other day I was describing what I was seeking in my relationship.

“Someone who is warm and deep feeling.”

Online dating is an opportunity to refine your perspective, and building a profile is like setting intentions.

You see, I believe those are two of my strongest qualities. 1. Warmth: expresses joy and togetherness easily, often encourages and brings energy and happiness into a room when they arrive. 2. Deep Feeling: able to connect with the emotions that are often the cause of suffering, disappointment, and immense joy.

It is my understanding, at this moment, that deep feeling and warmth are the two qualities I have not held out for in my first attempts at marriage. There are a lot of traits to connect and disconnect with people on, and somehow my other “needs” or “connective traits” seemed more important at the time. Maybe I was lonely. Maybe I lost sight of what was possible. But somehow I settled on these two qualities in both my previous marriages.

While my most recent wife was beautiful, smart, devoted, and organized. The labels of “warmth” and “deep feeling” are probably not going to be generally applied to her personality. That’s okay. We are all different. And maybe what is warmth to me is something different to others. That’s all fine. But for me, even at the beginning, when we were courting madly, there was that spark of joy missing. The deep feeling seemed to arise when we were engaged in love making and enjoying a glass of wine, but of course, you can’t always be fucking and drinking, there’s a lot more to life.

So outside of those kind of extraordinary circumstances, what is the quality of the person you are looking to be with? When the tasks become more mundane, what is the timbre of the relationship?

So this momentary illumination of these two critical traits is important. I don’t have to try and convince myself that these two traits are more important than a flat stomach or a an activated and creative imagination. Both of my wives had brilliant creative impulses, and both were beautiful to look at.

As we travel through this process, appraising, arranging, asking, flirting, explaining… we get a chance to refine our pitch and our wish list.

Online dating is an opportunity to refine your perspective. In many ways, building a profile on an online dating site is like setting intentions.

1. We have to say who we are: Here is what I want you to know about me. Here is how I present myself in my best light. Here is a picture that I think does make me look cuter than others.

2. We have to begin the process of identifying who we want to be with next: Initially it’s a bit like browsing for a house online, you are looking for the initial curb appeal. Again, these photos are some of the best this woman could find to represent who she wants you to see. Photos lie.

As we travel through this process, appraising, arranging, asking, flirting, explaining… we get a chance to refine our pitch and our wish list. And once we get clarity on those non-negotiable traits that we must have in our next relationship, the task is much easier. Or, at least, clearer.

Now I have it. At this very moment I believe that everything comes after my two main criteria. Warmth and Deep Feeling. Of course, there has got to be the curb appeal or I won’t even have a chance to say hello. (this cuts both ways) And, I believe my “enlightenment” comes from the realisation that other traits are important (1. intelligence, 2. outward beauty, 3. self-awareness/spirituality) but without warmth and the ability to express it at a deep level, well, without that we have the path I am leaving behind.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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