Maintaining A Healthy Relationship 101

25. Whenever two human beings spend time together, sooner or later they will probably irritate one another. This is true of best friends, married couples, parents and children, or teachers and students. The question is: How do they respond when friction occurs? There are four basic ways they can react:

• They can internalize the anger and send it downward into a memory bank that never forgets. This creates great pressure within and can even result in disease and other problems.

• They can pout and be rude without discussing the issues. This further irritates the other person and leaves him or her to draw his or her own conclusions about what the problem may be.

• They can blow up and try to hurt the other person. This causes the death of friendships, marriages, homes, and businesses

• Or they can talk to one another about their feelings, being very careful not to attack the dignity and worth of the other person. This approach often leads to permanent and healthy relationships.”

― James C. Dobson

Am I Guilty Of “Roaching?”

“Roaching” is a new name for a practice that’s been around for many years. Essentially, it’s a failure to define a relationship as monogamous (or otherwise) and the hurt feelings that often result.

One person believes that the relationship is progressing toward a meaningful one-on-one partnership and is blindsided when they find out that their partner has been seeing other people.

The offending party claims to be surprised that monogamy was assumed or expected because it was never openly discussed. This can seem heartless to some, myself included, but viewed objectively, it’s a valid point.

Mismatched expectations in relationships are nothing new, but regardless of the details or what new dating terms are used, the root cause is the same: the lack of open communication. [Source: Renée Suzanne via Tiny Buddha]

I’ve lost a few friendships because of misunderstanding. In my experience, boy-girl friendship always ends up in tears. Unless both of you belong to a group. Then, there is a chance the relationship might survive. But seeing each other exclusively (even) on friends term, sooner or later, it would go amiss. One of you will expect more and want more and from there downhill all the way.

Aside from one, all of my best friends had been boys. Easier to deal with, play with open cards and no trouble with jealousy. Till they demand to (re) define the relationship, give it an official title and rights to go with the title. That was when it started to go wrong for me and I had no choice but to terminate the connection.

Why they cannot leave it as it was, enjoy the ride while it lasts and forgets about terminology. Who cares about labels? isn’t the moments you share what’s important? Why throw a spanner in the works? Why fix what is not broken? Like Shakespeare said: What’s in a name?

If we started as lovers, then that’s what we are. If we’re friends, then we are no matter how the relationship evolves. We can redefine (not the meaning because like Juliet said – Romeo is still the man she loves had he a different name. It means that a name means little – it is the worth of the individual that counts) the relationship. But it got to be a mutual understanding. You have to be on the same page regarding this matter. But oftentimes, giving another label to the relationship leads to confusion. Suddenly, there are rules involved and expectations become sky-high, so are the disappointments when both parties failed to meet the expectations.

In my experience, men are notorious for wanting to define a relationship. And how fast you can get rid of them when the relationship becomes official. But when it is the other way around- a girl wanting a name attach to a certain understanding- they are also notorious for looking the other way and pretend they don’t understand. So, I found out (accidentally) that it is better not to care (too much) and let whatever you two are having to run its own course.

I enjoy certain togetherness as long as it is not interfering with my own agenda and doesn’t have too many rules attached to it. I think the appropriate term for it is no string attached. I love that. Everybody is free to do what they wish because it will come down to that anyway. And I truly believe that if someone wants to be with you they will be there. If someone wants to stay they will. Likewise, when somebody wants to leave, they would no matter what you say or do. So, relax and enjoy. Don’t overthink and never, never forbid or try to change someone. It is a sure recipe for disaster I can tell you. Not that I tried already. Just logical thinking. Would you like someone to lay down the rules? Tell you what you can and cannot do and force you to be someone you are not? I don’t think so. You know… Golden rule… Don’t do unto others what you don’t want to be done unto you. That’s it! If You do not agree with whatever it is you don’t agree about in a relationship… You always have a choice: You can either stay or go. And whatever decision you make, don’t blame it on anyone but yourself. You got a choice, remember?

So, I will disagree with what was mentioned above: Open communication. Communication is good. The saving grace of every relationship romantic or otherwise. And the downfall too. Hearing the truth doesn’t always mean a solution to the problem. Often times it is the opposite. The glue that holds most relationships together isn’t love, honesty understanding or trust but acceptance in every sense of the word. Acceptance of the situation and of the person you are having a relationship with. Acceptance of the mistakes and shortcomings and acceptance of yourself.

I will tell you what is even better than open communication in regard to an understanding between a man and a woman: Expectation. Or rather the lack of it. We all know that if we don’t expect something we will never be disappointed. If s/he is treating you right and you feel good about it, who needs a definition. If you have the formality but being abused, what good is the name attached to a union?  I’m all for undefined as long as I’m okay with whatever is there at the moment. But the moment I feel violated and used, that’s when I am going to close the chapter ring on it or not.

If you ask me what I can tell you is: nothing is forever. Things will sort itself out. No use stressing yourself about the things that you have no control about.  You will make decisions along the way and it’s up to you to choose which one is right. For the moment, enjoy the ride.

Addiction Is The Opposite Of Connection

Yet I had felt a lot more connected with him after a night of drinking in the pub than now that we were lying soberly in bed at ten thirty each night.

I’ve read it from a magazine, a woman talking about her declining relationship with her husband the moment he decided to stop drinking alcohol. It reminds me of the cliché about couples who suddenly find themselves in challenging positions with their partners the moment they go in retirement. If I heard stories like this, I wonder what is their motivation to get married to a person they cannot get along with if they see them on a regular basis and have to spend a lot of time with. Same with what they say about going on vacations, renovating a house and moving to another place are sure recipes for divorce, it seems not logical to me. Not reasons enough as far as I am concerned. Lack of respect, violence, abuse in any form, infidelity, cheating, lying are reasons for separation but not those things that supposed to be bringing couples together and closer to each other. It seems to me that once the distractions are removed and partners are left with the bare minimum, the gist of their relationships amounts to nothing. Maybe that’s why they say that you have to marry your best friend. That way, when the cloak and dagger aspect of romance falls away, the two of you have a friendship to fall back on. I don’t know… I am nowhere an expert when it comes to relationships. All that I know is it feels wrong to be with someone you have nothing in common with and could not co-exist in the same space on a long term basis. What a marriage stands for then? I don’t know.

I didn’t Break my Marriage—I Healed Myself.

“Healing is less about ‘saving’ or ‘fixing’ and more about ‘allowing’ ourselves to ease into the remembering that there’s a wholeness that has been there all along.” ~ Emmanuel Dagher

Sometimes healing can look a lot like breaking.

I have always despised the terms broken home or broken marriage because if something is broken there is the expectation that it is able to be fixed—yet sometimes the sad reality is that it’s just not meant to be.

The decision to leave my marriage was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, and it would be futile and dishonest to pretend otherwise. I never set out in this life to be divorced, I never wanted this to be my life, or to have these stereotypes surround me that I feel I constantly have to break—yet that doesn’t mean that this isn’t the life I am meant to live.

I’m a forever person—I always have been and I always will be.

So the decision to leave my marriage not only became about that but about who I was because of those choices. And perhaps most of all, who was I, now that a relationship I had used to define myself, had to come to an end.

It was never about breaking my marriage, but about healing me.

It wasn’t about an ending—but about a beginning.

There might have been one moment, but the reality is there were several, where I suddenly realized that this just wasn’t where I was meant to be. But knowing that and actually deciding to leave are two very different things. Once we have had those moments though, we become faced with a choice; do we choose ourselves, or do we choose someone else? In the end, we will either make a choice for ourselves, or we will make it for our children, family, or even our spouse.

But for me, the longer time went on, the more difficult it became to just simply not choose myself.

Perhaps there are those instances or times when we don’t need to completely undo our entire lives in order to get back to who we really are, but for me, there was no other way.

It wasn’t just my marriage that was over, it was me. I was done with not being happy, with not being the woman I truly am, and with not living a life that felt connected to my soul.

In truth, it was me that broke long before my marriage did—and so I had no other choice but to break it so that I could find myself again—and perhaps really for the first time.

There’s no easy manual for getting divorced and building a life following it. There is no one right way, so that means there isn’t any real wrong way of doing this for any of us. We just have to be willing to try, to explore and to fail all the while hopefully getting closer to ourselves. We have to open ourselves up to life again and this means all of it—the joy, the confusion, the love, and even the pain.

In order to heal our deepest wounds, we actually need to expand rather than try to shut down and close ourselves off.

So, I made the choice to take in everything and make as many mistakes as I could along the way. I made the choice to end my marriage and not look back at this time. I was done wondering if it was the right decision, or questioning if I really didn’t love my husband anymore.

I was done. Period.  I never looked back.

Instead of spending time thinking about all of the hurt and mistakes, I focused my energy on what kind of life I was building now, and what type of woman I was becoming in this process.

More importantly—I often stopped to wonder—do I like this new woman? Was I becoming someone that I wanted to spend my time with, someone that I valued and respected? Was I becoming myself or just another version of someone else?

There were check-points to see if I felt authentic in this new life and if I felt connected to it.

Those who haven’t had to start their lives over don’t always understand what it means to have to redefine ourselves but for me for the first time in my adult life I wasn’t someone’s wife, wasn’t part of a family unit, and therefore I had nothing to define or heal me but myself and my own choices.

When we venture out on a new path in this life, we don’t really know what lies ahead and sometimes our only choice is to continue on even when we can’t see or don’t know all the answers. It becomes the choice to follow our hearts; our inner compass on what feels right—even if it doesn’t make sense to everyone else.

Ultimately, my healing began when I made the choice to put myself first—not selfishly, or carelessly, but with a knowing that if I wasn’t truly happy then no one else in my life would be either—including my children. I had to first figure out what I was all about before I could even know what would make me happy, and the only way that was done was by trying it all on for size.

I experimented, I played, I forgot to follow the rules, and in between the moments of breaking down, I realized that I was truly just breaking up with life as I had known it. I was leaving behind the pain because I wanted to become the healing.

I made the choice to find out what this life could be when no one was holding me back—not even myself.

There have been many nights where I have cried myself to sleep, and I still don’t profess to have it all figured out but the one thing that I do know is that I am headed in the right direction because for once, I am undoubtedly following my heart.

No matter where it leads me.

“You have the right to change your story.” ~ The Goddess Rebellion 

~ Author: Kate Rose

Let’s Get (Re)acquainted

The picture above is D. I am married to him for about 16 years now. He’s my second husband and partner in crime. He’s a chocolate (and everything sweet) loving engineer who doesn’t smoke and only drink alcohol occasionally. His hobby is taking care of me and listening to my outrageous ideas. He is patient, sweet and very, very understanding. I’d like to see him as a blessing in disguise because as docile as he is, he could drive me up the wall sometimes believe you me. Oh, I almost forgot… He is 11 years younger than I am.

The one below is yours truly anno 2020. No need for description. You read my blogs. That says enough.
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Heart Or Brain

No. I’m only joking.

I mean shock.

Shock that the person I thought was a role model and a loving dedicated mother could say on the national TV things I would never expect to hear from her. And to think that I used to copy her style back in the 90s. She was fashion-forward, quite unique, creative and out of the box. Now, this…

She is one of the three hosts of a noontime program that centered around family life. No, I don’t follow it. Nor watch. I just know. From time to time a segment would pass through my feed and sometimes I click on it just to see what’s current from the other side of the world and the other day it’s about choices, priorities. Who is more important, a husband or children? That’s the topic. I thought it was old news. Everyone knows that children first and if push comes to shove and a mother has to choose, no second thought: children it is. A partner you can replace. Easily. But your own kids… c’mon, they are part of you, your own flesh and blood. You’ve carried each of them for nine months, take care of them till they are old enough to attend to themselves and even then, your task as a parent will never finish till you are dead and buried. How could you prioritize your partner over your children? It’s for me unthinkable.

I know there is an exception in every rule. Like if despite all your effort your child becomes so toxic to your existence that there is no other choice but to cut the umbilical cord. But that isn’t the same as choosing between your partner and your offspring. You are choosing for yourself and what is best for your well-being.

Apparently, not everyone thinks the same. At least, not that female host. Her co-hosts are on my side but she is adamant that she has to put her husband first before her children. Like I said I was shocked! And what surprised me, even more, was the fact that their guest expert on the topic was with her 100%.

Unbelievable!

It’s like saying if your partner and child are drowning or trapped in a burning building you are going to save your husband first instead of the other way around?

I can’t wrap my mind around that ridiculous idea. In my book, if someone thinks this way she doesn’t deserve to be a mother.

How about you?

What do you think?

Probably you will argue:

Always remember that once kids grow up they will leave you and you will have only each other.

Are you sure?

How would you know that he will be there forever?

On the other hand, even when worse comes to worst your children will always be your children no matter what.

No?

I am not saying neglect thy husband. Just don’t make him your priority especially when the children are young and needed you most. And when the time comes to choose. Never choose him above your children. Never. No matter what.

Agree?

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The Day You Said You Regretted Me

“And perhaps, you would still cross my mind after two, three, five or sadly, ten years later. Maybe after those times, I’d still wonder how it feels growing old with you. Maybe after those years, I would slowly turn into a blurred image sluggishly subsiding in your memory. Maybe, after all, you will remain as my could-have-been

and I, 
I will stay as your never-again.”

– Mica Meñez

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Identifying Emotional Abuse before it Happens

I want to tell you an important story, and here’s why: not a lot of people will share their versions.

It’s scary. Too scary, for many.

Like for my hairdresser, whose husband was “the sweetest guy she ever met” at first, yet ended up nearly choking her to death against the kitchen wall. He didn’t spare her—she would have died if her 11-year-old son hadn’t come into the room.

Like for a friend of a friend who wasn’t able to leave her abuser until the day he popped a blood vessel in her eye.

Like for another friend of a friend whose boyfriend, for years, would threaten to kill himself with the nearby gun if she tried to leave him.

Like for my colleague whose sister died at the hand of her abuser, though he is still walking around free.

Like for the millions of women, men and children who don’t speak up every day because they are exhausted, don’t want to be reminded of the situation, or simply can’t say anything because doing so would risk their lives.

I’m doing my small part by sharing my story because violence of any kind, but especially domestic violence, is perpetuated by silence. The more we talk, the more we know, the faster we learn and demand better.

I love my bike more than almost anything in the world.

I think there’s a disease for that–object sexuality, anyone? But really, I do. There’s nothing that compares to riding, whether or not I have a destination, I’m exhausted or energized, my music’s blasting or I’m just enjoying the silence of my surroundings.

This time last year I met a boy who loved bikes, too. So we loved bikes together.

We rode our bikes everywhere and then pretty soon we did everything else together, too. All. The. Time. Every minute together.

But I was always unsettled with all this togetherness, that went from zero to 60 in just a few weeks time. I blew off the discomfort as me just learning how to be less independent and self-sufficient as if those traits could actually adversely affect my future.

So we kept riding. The boy told me some things that were massive red flags, akin to those at Running of the Bulls, waving in my face, yet I was still charging right at them.

“Don’t judge,” I said.

“He’s changing,” I convinced myself.

“I won’t be like the rest,” I lied.

Every time I said these things my standards dropped lower and lower, and I perpetuated my own lie that everything was okay. I knew that if my family even knew the half of it they would douse me in a bucket of ice water until I cycled away as fast as I could (which is pretty damn fast).

But I kept riding.

The fights got worse, the anger more explosive, the jealousy and put-downs and blatant hypocrisy so intense, only to be appeased by a shoulder shrug or guttural laughter that didn’t even sound like my own voice.

My brain felt like putty so often that all I wanted to do was sleep forever.

“It’s normal,” I assured myself, “It’s the dead of winter, who would have the energy to get out of bed?”

But I never stopped riding, and one day I rode so fast that even my bike said enough.

Though I love him to death, sometimes that carbon-fiber bastard has the weirdest ways of looking out for me.

Wake up, he said, or I’m gonna make you wake up and see it.

So he did.

My chin hit the pavement and that was it.

Well, it was more like, where the f*ck is all this blood coming from?! plus five days of hospitalization, six weeks of a wired jaw accompanied by a liquid-only diet, zero bike rides, dozens of nauseating painkillers, and two weeks of the most unimaginably inhumane response to my trauma from the “man” who was supposed to be there for me.

He took my weakened state and used it as an opportunity to yell, control, blame, punish, flees and cheats.

The cheating after my major surgery was the moment that finally allowed me to leave my abuser in the physical sense, yet it was the compounding layers of intense emotional abuse that will keep me away from him forever, along with anyone who possesses the same traits.

While I certainly don’t have everything figured out, or even know what a “perfect” relationship would look like, I have learned what relationships are most definitely not, what love is most definitely not, and that is the following abusive behaviors:

1. Frequent hanging out, right from the jump.

This intense togetherness is probably the hardest one to identify as a key sign of abuse, and I’ll tell you why.

In an age where we can deposit a check, order a burger, listen to the latest tracks and swipe through photos of potential matches all at once, it is safe to say that instant gratification has become the modus operandi. We subconsciously apply this to relationships, too, where hookup culture is expected and anything else is too old-fashioned.

Abusers, who tend to be extremely charismatic and complementary in the beginning, capitalize on this idea, convincing their partners that they need to be together all the time, and anything less is insincere. In this intense period abusers quickly establish a pattern of dependency whereby the partner begins to rely on the abuser’s opinions and habits to affirm their character and sense of worthiness as a match.

It is also common for the abuser to suggest “big steps” like moving in, taking trips alone or sharing financial resources. Because of the preexisting fast pace of everything else, at the moment it’s easy to go along with these big steps. These “suggestions” from my abuser were attempts to further control my actions, decisions, and whereabouts so that when the abuse started, my options for leaving would be more limited. Every time I voiced hesitation about moving too fast, I felt guilty.

2. Creation of isolation.

Because abusers need to maintain a strong power imbalance in the relationship in order to carry out the abuse, a prerequisite is making the partner feel isolated in every way.

Beyond physical isolation, this can manifest as threats of being alone if you ever leave him/her, verbal manipulation regarding those in your network and how they feel about you and reprimanding you for speaking to close friends and family about problems in the relationship.

“You’re missing out on a really good man,” he said one time I tried to leave. “You should be lucky to be with someone like me.”

When my family came into town after the bike crash, he got angry and resentful, calling me “spoiled” and “selfish” for being with them.

3. Extreme jealousy.

This is another hard one because I see so many people—myself included—mistake jealously for exclusivity.

When we first got together, I thought “Oh, he must be really jealous because he really likes me and wants to make sure nothing comes in the way of that.” I was unable to see the jealousy as the deep-seated insecurity that it was.

Toxic habits became the new normal. Things like looking through my phone every day, demanding that I answer if I had slept with any man we encountered who he didn’t know, and telling me not to wear certain clothing that he thought was too revealing.

He constantly fabricated stories about me cheating. He once went into a fit of rage because I didn’t introduce him to someone I had met for a few hours several years earlier, and a few weeks later did the same thing when we met someone who was an insignificant part of my past. In front of dozens of onlookers, he screamed at me, assuming I was currently sleeping with that individual.

4. Lack of respect for your property, aspirations, and values.

Because abusers see their partner merely as an extension of themselves rather than their own person with every right to their own opinions and limitations, boundaries are often blurred.

One of the first weeks I was dating this abuser, I had him drop me at a meeting on a topic that I was sure would be of no interest to him, and he immediately accused me of sneaking off to meet someone.

He often used my car and when I asked him not do things that would put me in jeopardy like smoke weed in it, suddenly I was, once again, “selfish.”

Once the relationship was over, all the money he owed me was no longer his problem.

Kind words that he had feigned regarding my job and career choices turned cold-turkey to, “You’re a f*cking lackey.”

5. Self-victimization.

Abusers very rarely see themselves as abusers, which is why they almost never stop abusing. My abuser said things like, “I only attract crazy people” or “They made me do x, y, and z,” always looking through the lens of a victim when discussing exes, family members, friends, etc.

Because of this, whenever conflict arose, I was always wrong or to blame in his eyes. He refused to utter “sorry,” claiming that using that word makes you a self-deprecating person, yet he expected it all the time from me.

6. Uninterested in self-help.

Abusers tend to find people with bleeding hearts or a savior complex, and they will allow their partner to “fix” them in order to 1) make their partner feel like she or he is different and the only one who truly understands the abuser, and 2) (usually towards the end of the relationship) use this as a threat for why the partner needs to stay (i.e. “you’re supposed to be there for me no matter what”).

At the very end of my relationship, when for the first time I saw the heightened abuse with clarity rather than just a “complicated relationship,” I suggested anger management and offered to go with him so it didn’t come across that I was singling him out. When he used a lack of funds as an excuse, I offered to pay. When he still refused, I finally saw the distinction between someone with demons who is wanting and willing to do whatever it takes to healthily work them out versus a true abuser, who would rather just find someone new who hasn’t figured out their true character yet and start the cycle of abuse over with them because it’s easier.

This list is by no means exhaustive and doesn’t even begin to get at the complexity of emotional abuse, especially when coupled with other factors like substance abuse, family history, and mental illness, all of which were present in my relationship.

But I’m not here to talk about all that, I’m sharing simply to shed a bit of light on key signs of emotional abuse, which is so damn underexposed, if for no other reason that it doesn’t bear the visible scars that physical abuse does.

I’m also not here to tell you that I’m perfect, or that I didn’t possess qualities that probably enabled the abuse at times.

There is a certain kind of gratification that comes from helping someone improve, but if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that the uplifting has to be mutual, no matter what kind of relationship it is. Anything less is a sure-fire path to the annihilation of your self-worth, and a total expending of your good energies on others, leaving nothing left for yourself.

And, please oh please oh please, don’t ask me #whyIstayed.

I did try to leave, but ended up doubting my own intuition every time.

I even called the National Domestic Abuse Hotline once after the abuse hit a verbal and somewhat physical climax. I was on hold for 45 minutes, during which my abuser insisted I was on the phone with a dude who I was making arrangements to go sleep with. But, at the time, I expected nothing else from him. It had all become normalized, you see.

I can’t reiterate enough how slowly emotional abuse can creep into your life—the first stage of complete adoration, gaslighting, and love-bombing from the abuser happens very quickly, but everything else is oftentimes so subverted you can only recognize just how bad it was once you’ve left.

Many people stay in abusive relationships far longer than they would like because they keep remembering the good times and subdue the bad. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t doing the same when it was first over. But as soon as I was able to identify the one thing we truly shared a passion for—cycling—I realized just how easy it was to replace the good feelings associated with those rides with hundreds of others in my city’s beautiful bike community, or even with the dozens of solo rides I’ve taken since getting back on my frame.

And I’ll leave you with this, only because it’s applicable to all injustices everywhere, not just the gross human rights violation that is domestic violence.

Great spirits have always encountered violent oppression from mediocre minds” ~ Albert Einstein.

If someone/thing/force is bringing you down through its weakness, flush that shit and don’t forget to wipe.

~Kendra Davisu

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3 Types of Women

The first kind acts like you’re a feed trough and she is the pony. Everything you got is fine with her as long as you’ve got it. Of course, anytime you can do better is aces with her, but she will expect you to stay at that level or higher. The deal with this kind of women is you don’t go back. Once you get up to steaks and onions rings, the peanut butter and hotdogs are gone for good. So there’s a strain on you, right away from the start. Unless there is food in that trough, and the food is at least as good as it was the last time, the pony is going out the door. She’ll tell you she loves you but she’s leaving anyhow because self-respect means more to her than love. What you thought you had with her wasn’t what you thought it was, at all. You thought it was love, or trust, or a good time, or something like that, but all along it was only about her self-respect.

Now, the second kind is like the first, only the part about self-respect is now all about status and possessions. Women like this don’t really have brains, they have mental cash registers. Marry one of them and you’re so far up shit creek you not only don’t have a paddle, you don’t have a boat. You’re up to your neck, dog paddling to keep your head above the floating crap. You might as well join the army because all day long you’re basically following orders.

There is a third kind of woman but she is extremely hard to find. Which you might or might not care to do, because this kind of woman will mixmaster your brains a lot faster than those other two. The vast majority of the women men will encounter throughout their lives will fall into the first two categories, but once in a blue moon, the third kind will cross their path.

The first kind sticks with you as long as the going is good, and the second kind winds up appointing herself president of the corporation of you. They both take all they can get with both hands, only the second kind of woman is upfront about it because she’s after more than you got right from the start. Now, the third kind of woman could not care less how much money you got in the bank, and she doesn’t give a shit about what kind of car you drive, and that’s what makes her so damn dangerous. 

This is a woman who can think around corners and see you coming before you get there. She’s always one step ahead. You’re not sure where she’s from, but you know for damn sure it’s not around here. There are things about her that are different. Plus, she’s so far ahead you’ll never catch up. And believe me, she doesn’t want you to catch up. Because if you do, the fun is all over. Her whole game is to keep you guessing. She wants you up on your toes, with your eyes and your mouth wide open. 

See, these women are not interested in the stuff the first two are. They don’t want to get in your wallet, they want to get into your head. And once they get in there, they send down roots, they throw out grappling hooks, they do everything they can to make sure you can’t get them out.

Remember when I said they don’t care about jewelry and houses and whatever else money can buy? They want something else instead, and that something is you. They want you. Inside and out, but especially in. They don’t really want you out in the world, where you can mess around with your friends, they want you in their world, which is a place you never dreamed of before you got there.

The point is, either way, you are gonna think a lot about this kind of woman. You’re going to say “The sky’s a nice blue today, ‘ and she will say, “Oh, blue is just blue.” Even though yesterday the sky was red. for all you know, the sky there in her world is red all the livelong day, and up is down, and all the rivers run upstream.

Anyway, the point is, there are three types of women and you better watch out for them.

~ excerpt from Lost boy Lost girl

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The One. The one. Is there a One?

And if there is how will I know? And what if I’m wrong? And what if there’s really two or three or…

We, humans, complicate things so. There are many animals who mate for life and don’t lose sleep trying to figure out if their mate is the only one. Wolves for example. And coyotes, those wild, wild nocturnal maniacs—yes, they have it all figured out.

Owls, beavers, eagles, swans, cranes, pigeons, hawks, ospreys, geese and some apes are a few more. My guess is that they don’t spend 10 minutes asking themselves if they have made the right choice or if something better awaits them right around the next corner.

They just know.

For years I have seen articles that describe in great detail how to know if our beloved is the one. I have read articles and books that strongly suggest that if I answer, “No” to any of their questions I might be in the wrong relationship. Books that ask hundreds of questions and no matter how you answer them you put the book down feeling like you just ate rotten fish and wondering what you ever saw in this person you love anyway.

We talk to friends and therapists and priests and experts. We take quizzes online and haunt the self-help aisles in bookstores and libraries. We look for “signs” and ask question after question.

Does she make you feel…?

Does he say…?

Does he have…?

Does she give you…?

Can he read your mind?

Do you speak the same love language?

And oh my God, what do you mean he forgot your birthday?

It really is so much more simple than all of that and it all boils down to two very simple questions.

1. Do I love this person?

Not, is this person hot or sexy or fun; not, do I enjoy this person; not, are we compatible; not, is it a good idea— but, do I really and truly love this person? Would I give them half of my paycheck, the last bite, my car or…a kidney? Is it that kind of love?

If the answer is yes then you’re already more than halfway there. Real love is the motivation for growth and understanding and compassion. Real love drives us to be better people who rise above petty difficulties and fleeting emotions. People who do whatever it takes to nurture what we hold dear, kidney donation or not.

2. Are both my life and my partner’s life better because of our relationship?

Sit back, put your feet up, close your eyes, imagine your life without your beloved and ask yourself: How would I live without this person? How would I feel? How would I spend my time? Would I feel full? Would I feel empty? Would I sleep well or would I lie awake longing?

Who would I confide in? Who would I spend my time with? Who would lift me up when I am down? Who would be my rock? Is my love my best friend? What would I do on Saturday night or Tuesday afternoon or every day for the rest of my life if this person disappeared from my world?

A thousand questions could follow and we should be mindful of how we would answer them but not get too caught up in the details. We need to keep it simple. We need to put aside all secondary emotions like envy, put aside fear and attachment and know that no matter what happens we will survive. With a pure, courageous, open heart we need to ask the simple question: How would my life be without this person I call my love?

I’m not suggesting that we settle for an unhealthy relationship, nor am I suggesting that there is necessarily only one one. I am saying that we complicate things with mountains of questions which can create doubt and confusion. Sometimes the answer is obvious if we simplify. If we can take a step back and answer these two questions honestly and fearlessly I believe the answer as to whether we should be with our chosen one, or not, will be obvious. If we really and truly-give-up-a-kidney-kind of love our partner and we recognize that our lives are better as a team then with a little attention and a lot of commitment everything else will fall into place.

Relephant via Elephant Journal

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Being In A Relationship With An Alpha Woman

If you’re in a relationship with an Alpha woman, you can be certain of a number of things, least of which will be that things are unlikely to ever be boring.

She has chosen to be with you, so obviously you’re interesting enough to have captured her attention (and her heart), neither of which she gives out easily, so that’s already a boon in your favor.

Below are eight things that your Alpha lady will bring to your partnership, whether you’re ready for them or not. Brace yourself.

1. Zero Bullsh*t Or Drama

As has been established, Alpha women have neither the time, nor the patience for games or passive-aggressive nonsense.

As such, you know you’re never going to have to deal with her giving you the silent treatment, or slamming doors, or pulling the whole “if you don’t know what you did wrong, I’m not going to tell you” crap that a lot of people inflict on one another.

She’s also unlikely to hold a grudge, so when you two quarrel, you can resolve issues there and then and move on, as she’s not the type to keep rehashing old ugliness forever just for the sake of drama. Once it’s over, it’s over. End of.

2. Reliability

If you’ve ever been in a relationship in which you haven’t been able to depend upon your partner to really be there for you when you needed them, then it’s understandable that you might be a bit wary about truly trusting your Alpha partner.

Well, fear not: you can count on her.

Alpha women value and appreciate integrity, and often hold themselves to a much higher standard than they would others.

If you need her, she’s there for you. If she makes a promise, she will keep it unless she’s incapacitated. If it’s her turn to pick up the kids, or if she agreed to attend your cousin’s accordion recital, she’ll be there.

Early…

With snacks.

Furthermore, you can feel secure in the knowledge that if she has made a commitment to be your partner, that means she is your partner in all ways.

She will hold her own – whether in terms of finances or home maintenance – and is unlikely to ever allow inequality to seep into any aspect of your partnership.

3. Sincerity, Not Neediness

You realize that she’s with you because she wants to be with you, and not because she needs to be, right?

You may have some insecurities about being with such a powerful creature, but guess what? She chose you. She doesn’t NEED you.

She’s not desperate for a partner, she’s not settling with just anyone so that she’s not alone: she’s just fine flying solo, and would rather be alone than with someone she’s not perfectly happy with.

This isn’t a woman who’s going to whine when you go out with your friends because she misses you when you’re gone for an hour, nor is she unable to function without you being her pillar of support.

She might need you to be there for her during times of crisis, as she would be there for you, but it’s as an equal. Not a ragdoll desperate to be carried and coddled.

4. Encouragement And Challenge

Remember what we said above regarding zero BS? That includes allowing you to make up lame excuses about why you’re not pursuing your goals.

This woman is aware of your potential and knows what you’re capable of: traits that likely drew her to you, to begin with.

If you find yourself in a slump, discouraged, and lacking the motivation to pursue a dream or other pursuit, she will be the torch bearer who keeps the flame burning under your backside to keep you going.

5. Self-Reliance

If you’ve always dreamed of being the knight in shining armor to a damsel in distress, that’s not what you’re going to find in this partnership.

Your Alpha woman isn’t a princess in need of saving: she’s a queen who saves herself and will set sh*t on fire in her wake if need be.

You’re unlikely to get a call in the middle of the night because she needs you to come and pick her up from some kind of weird situation, though if she’s pregnant, she MIGHT ask you to drive her to the hospital when her contractions have started.

Her bag will already be packed, however, so you won’t need to worry about that. Oh, and the baby seat will already be installed in your car because she will have taken care of that too.

6. Awareness Of What She Wants, Plus Reciprocation

Your Alpha woman has a pretty solid awareness of what she likes, whether it’s a moderately toasted bagel with just a bit of onion cream cheese on it, or a specific position when you’re being intimate.

Particularly the latter.

Not only does this lady know what makes her squee, she has no qualms whatsoever about telling you what’s needed to make it happen.

Just as awesomely, Alpha women tend to enjoy giving as much as receiving, so you can be quite certain that if you tell her what you like in turn, she’ll oblige enthusiastically.

After all, what’s the point of intimacy if both people aren’t enjoying themselves?

8. Honesty

This one has to be said, as it’s extraordinarily important when it comes to a relationship with an Alpha female.

We’ve reiterated how much this lady values integrity, and honesty in the relationship – and with her – is just as vital.

When you’re involved with a woman like this, know that you’re not just going to find out one day that things haven’t been working for a while, or that she’s been getting jiggy with your boss behind your back.

If there are issues in your relationship that need to be worked on, she’ll be honest and forthright with you about them so you can address them properly and work on them together.

If you balk at this, she’ll bring it up again, and insist that things be tended to. She won’t just drop the subject, but will do what needs to be done in order to sort things out…

But if it turns out that she’s the only one who’s making a sincere effort to enact change, she will walk away.

It’s just as important that you’re honest with her, regardless of what the issue is. If you’re upset, or unhappy, or just have something to address as a couple, lay it out on the table so it can be dealt with.

She’s not a fragile flower who will cry at the drop of a hat: she’s with you for a reason, and will work with you to sort out what needs to be sorted to make the relationship work.

Just be honest with her, always.

She’ll know if you’re hiding something from her, and if you ever lie to her or break her trust, it’s over: not only will she lose respect for you, but she’ll never be able to trust you again.

Author: Catherine Winter


Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec’s Outaouais region. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn’t writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.

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I’ll Swallow You Whole

“You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated so that people can say ‘Wow, isn’t he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.” -Warsan Shire

Businessman-and-businesswoman

Privacy is dead, and attention is the new currency.

When we encounter people around our own age who appear more contentedly creative or professional or in love than we are, the doubt is like a passing “Ahem.” It’s light enough to carry in a briefcase. We confront it in the pages of our empty notebooks. In moments of sleepless worry, we wrest the blanket away from it, feel it in the heat of our own faces. This is the doubt that drips steadily from the computer screen as we scan Facebook and watch what our contemporaries are up to — or watch what our contemporaries want us to believe they are up to, online lives carefully curated to impress. —Lillian Schneider

D. said to me that if I die before him, he will never have another romantic relationship anymore. (Of course, I don’t believe it. What a notion!) Not only because he firmly believes in one love in one lifetime (he was a virgin when I met him) he said he doesn’t want a queue of women waiting for him in heaven after he died. (There are so many things that don’t fit in this scenario of his but I don’t want to burst his bubble) He wants that he can meet me there without hassles and continue what we have started here on the land of the living. (What can I say? Maybe there will be no queue for him, but what about me?) He said also that he is not sure if he could trust another human being ever. Enough to abandon his principles and embark into another affair which could lead to a second marriage. He wants to hold onto the memories of us and he’s afraid that what we have will be erased if he ever falls in love again. And if he did he will walk away from it he said to preserve our moments together until we meet in heaven again.

I agree with his theory of not trusting another human being again enough to jump into another romantic relationship. In my case, I don’t want it not because I want to preserve my moments with D. or anything, I just don’t want it anymore. I cannot see myself adapting to another situation once again, getting to know someone, getting used to someone’s ‘else ways of seeing and doing things, making compromises, morphing my life with another’s, no, I don’t want to do that all over again. Just to think that for the sake of concessions and peace I have to adapt and adjust is too much to even consider. I don’t know if I would like the smell of that person, his way of chewing food, if he snores or not, his (personal) hygiene habits and believe you me I don’t want to find out. I have experienced already both sides of the coin and more. That’s enough for me. I will concentrate on doing what I like and nobody will be there to applaud or criticize me, most of all telling me what to do.

Besides, in this age of SocMed this and that, you don’t know anymore who is real and who is fake. People change their minds every minute without a second thought and why not when there are so many choices lying around, all attainable with just a click of the mouse. The morals and values I grew up with and holding tightly onto are passé for this current society. They laugh at honesty, loyalty, integrity, and dignity. They frown at faithfulness, truthfulness, and justice. They spit on the face of love care and respect and they know nothing (or they don’t want to know) about how it is to be authentic. No, thank you. If I ever find myself alone again, alone I shall be till the end of my days.

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