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

Posts tagged “warmth

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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Anger is Energy – If You Don’t Thrash

a fish out of water has two choices - the off parentA fish caught and out of the water on the grass has two options: 1. thrash: jump, struggle, flip, flop; or 2. breathe.

Eventually the fish will die if not returned to the water. But the fish has very little to do with its survival at that point. You might say it’s up to God, or the fisherman, which to the fish is sort of like God.

Anger today is a good thing. It reminds me I have feelings and energy. It reminds me that I still care about finding a better life for myself and my kids. My ex-y can find her own way.

But thrashing against the obstacles is a waste of energy that could be used elsewhere. And one of the greatest drains of that energy is anger at the ex-y. I guess she did the best she could. I mean, that’s how God would see it, right?

I tend to see things a bit differently with a little distance. BUT… anger at the choices and changes that have already happened, do little to inform or direct my efforts at moving forward. What anger can do is motivate my ass into gear. But I have to make sure I make use of that motivation in productive rather than destructive ways.

Even if she has requested changes or been mean and contradictory to me, that’s not my problem. That. Is. Who. She. Is.

And the anger I have around her behavior cannot be fed back into the system to change things. The more I wanted the marriage to work, the more I demanded for changes, the more I thrashed in some ways. I was not aware that she had already left the marriage. I was not clear that the death of her sexual drive was more about her than me. And while I did thrash against both the sexless marriage and the end of marriage, I was ultimately powerless to get myself back into the warm water of our early relationship.

So today, I am angry. A friend sent a picture of my daughter that he found on a random simcard. My beautiful life is there in hi-definition as I am lifting my smiling daughter into the air and kissing her belly. And there is a sliver of my ex-y’s face in the photo too. You could almost miss it.

And I was immediately sad, not mad. The imagined life, the dreams at that moment, frozen and captured in a moment of family joy. And the anger is about the betrayal of both my daughter and myself by that remote face with the beautiful smile and eyes closed.

She made the decision. She gave up. She walked into a lawyer’s office to get her “options.” And all of our lives are altered because of that decision. And the wonderful little girl in the picture now has a distant father. A father who is there as often and openly as possible. But I can feel the tug on her as she reaches for my hand in the car, walking to the grocery store, when she claims to have a stomach ache every Friday morning so maybe she won’t have to go to school and she can stay at my house.

But I could not change the trajectory once the new departure point was set in motion. I can, however, understand that I was not ever going to be able to change my ex-y into being the touchy-feely person I wanted her to be. She’s much more comfortable in the confines of an excel spreadsheet.

So when the warmth was sucked out of the marriage, there was very little left if I was not generating it. But for my little girl and my son, I can generate twice as much love and holding as before. I can show my daughter what a Dad is like that shows up and says, “I love you,” all the time. I can provide the reflection to my kids that they are loved. I can make them feel loved. I can still hold them in the air, metaphorically, and kiss their childish bellies.

I will not change. I will not let the bitterness or anger get in the way of me loving my kids with everything I’ve got.

AND… I will have an opportunity to share that with another woman at some point. I know it.

If I can just breathe and not thrash.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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