Saturday, June 25, 2016

Choose Love

As we get older, I guess we mature a little bit—or at least we're supposed to. I am 46 now, and I think I have learned a few things through a number of relationships, being a mom, and running a business. The biggest thing I have probably learned is that life is a choice. We have a number of choices every single day. And I choose to be happy.

I have been with D now for more than a year. He is in my heart completely. He, P, and I have forged a  family. In fact, while D is currently out of town helping his family put on a roof, the four of us (P, the pets, and I) are at his home, which has somehow become our home.

When I entered into this relationship, I made a commitment to myself and to D that I would choose him every day. And I do, as he chooses me. Because of that, we don't have conflict. We don't argue. We don't raise our voices at each other. If we disagree, we speak calmly and listen. We approach every situation with love. Always. And what a difference that makes.

I have never had a relationship like this. Always, in the past, I have either been content and felt that I didn't need to focus on the relationship, or I was looking at others and wondering what life might be like there.

Here, I don't wonder. Sure, I can acknowledge an attractive man. But what I have is so much more than that. I find D extremely attractive, yet it's so much more than looks. He knows my heart; he knows my mind. He knows all of the buttons to push to turn me on. He's the first person I talk to in the morning and the last one at night.

Because we have chosen to be in this relationship, not only do we live a stress-free relationship, it's also not work. So often, I've heard, "You have to work at a relationship." All you really have to do is be present, listen, and love. And that's not work at all.

I learned that from being a mom. So many parents say being a parent is hard, but it's the same as any other relationship: When you are present, listen, and love, it's easy. Being a mom to P is very rarely work (sure, he's a kid; there are times). He taught me to love like this, to choose someone over anyone else.

Now I choose two people above all others. And it's easy. There aren't questions or concerns about the future. I know that D and I will be together when we're 90, and we'll still love each other then just as much as we love each other now.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

No Wonder Airlines Charge for Baggage

I am genuinely a very happy person. Like most of us, I have experienced some amazing highs and heartbreaking lows in my life—and I choose to continue to look at the bright side in everything. Sometimes, though, the littlest things can remind me how much baggage I truly carry.

My man is out of town this weekend for a family birthday party. We text daily, but we're both busy with our weekend activities. I went to sleep early last night, saying good night to him before I drifted off.

This morning, I awoke to a later good-night text from him, which was super sweet (as he always is). I also had a good-morning text waiting for me. And then I checked my email.

There was an email from D with the subject line: My Dear Amanda Lynn (his nickname for me after I told him I thought of giving myself the middle name Lynn before I realized that would make me a musical instrument). While an email from D should make my heart soar, I had a minor panic attack. Was it a "Dear John" letter? Did his weekend away convince him that he'd be better off without me?

Of course, I have absolutely zero reason to doubt D or his love for me. In the two months we've been dating, our feelings have only gotten stronger. He's not gone running for the door with anything I've said to him (no matter how unfiltered I can be), and he is sweet and kind at every turn. So it certainly wasn't for any reason he had given that my heart sank a little and I started to sweat at just seeing the email in my inbox.

The truth is that we all have preconceived notions and back-of-the-mind thoughts about everything. My nagging concern is that D will wake up one day and realize that this is who I truly am, then question why he ever spent time with me in the first place. It has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the baggage I carry in my heart and mind on a daily basis. And I am wise enough to know that it is not his job to help me sort through this baggage; that is something only I can do. But it is clearly going to take some time and some doing.

After I talked myself off the ledge and started breathing again, I opened the email. As expected, it was nothing short of wonderful. D told me how much he loves me and how amazing I am. It was heartwarming, as he always has been.

I don't know how long I'll have these nagging feelings at the back of my mind, but I do know that I wrestle with them daily. Honestly, this is the first relationship in which I feel more secure about his feelings and haven't worried as much as I have in the past—about everything. That broken heart that lives inside me knows that we can never truly know another person's heart, but I push through every day to remember that D loves me and I have no reason to worry.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Importance of Emotional Maturity

I follow a lot of relationship pages on Facebook, and many of them share great quotes and memes that really speak to me and sum up my viewpoints or feelings. Yesterday, I saw this one and thought, "Fuck yes!"

This quote from Reyna Biddy sums up my entire dating history in a way that I could not. In the past, I have referred to myself as a novelty that wears off after awhile, but this quote is even better. The idea of me is the novelty part that attracts them in the beginning, but once they realize that idea is also the reality, they run screaming from the room. I guess it's kind of strange to feel this way since I managed to get married twice, but neither of those lasted—probably because we didn't share the same level of emotional maturity.

When I was separating from my second husband, a friend at the time reflected that he'd noticed at the beginning of our relationship that my ex and I were not on the same emotional maturity level. In his eyes, we were doomed from the start. My ex was a frat boy always looking to drink and party; I was ready to settle down and have a family. We didn't have the same goals.

I have been in love three times, and the first two times, that novelty (or idea) wore out before too long. My second husband actually said I'm an island; I don't need anyone. I was very clear with the man I'm dating now that I am not who those people have perceived me to be. Sure, I'm not like a lot of the women I know or the women most men have dated. I am a WYSIWYG; I don't double talk or play games. For most men, this is what's refreshing at the beginning because they see me as independent and a straightforward communicator. They've been programmed to deal with passive-aggressive double talk, and they appreciate something different.

But then that changes. I'm intense. I know this. And for not-so-strong men, they almost prefer a more passive woman who stews in her own juices rather than speaking to him in a straightforward way.

Because I so identify with this quote, I posted it on my Facebook page. A few hours later, a friend reached out to me: "Did something happen?" I had no idea what she meant, and it turns out she and another friend figured my man and I had broken up since I posted this quote. I hadn't thought that people might worry, but when I read it again, I could see why they jumped to conclusions.

Nope, my man and I are secure. He's been out of town for more than a week on a fishing trip with his parents, so I miss him a lot, but I never worry about our relationship. Even though he's in an area where there's limited cell coverage, he texts me good morning and good night almost daily, and when he has gone into town, I have enjoyed a more robust text conversation. This wonderful man even texted on the morning of my son's first day of school to wish P a good day (his bio father didn't even do that). 

I believe that I have met the man who is emotionally mature enough to "handle" the reality of me. I have warned him, and he is not leaving. I have said things I'm sure I shouldn't have said, and he is still here. We have planned a family vacation to Disneyland over Halloween, so I have faith he is not going anywhere. 

So while this quote represents my dating life overall, it does not say anything about the man in my life now. He is a keeper, and I am so happy I am not a novelty to him. I thank my lucky stars every single day.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Laughter Breeds Love

Love can happen first with
     a LOOK across a crowded room,
     a TOUCH between two lovers,
     a GESTURE of affection when least expected.

But for me, while those things do help build love,
nothing makes love as deep and lasting as a laugh.

That little smirk the two of you share,
no words required.

A giggle during your most passionate times—
because something strikes you both as funny.

Bursts of uncontrollable laughter
about something crazy and random.

Laughter is the language of love.
Make me laugh, and I am yours.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hindsight Leads to Second Guessing

We've all heard that hindsight is 20/20, but I call bullshit on that one. I know that we use the past as a tool from which to measure the present, but our viewpoint of our experiences is definitely clouded. When we're lonely, that not-so-great relationship seems not so bad; when we fall for a new person, we weigh him or her against those we've loved before. And all of this leads to second guessing what's going on now and what may transpire in the future. Frankly, it's exhausting.

But it's human nature.

I do it, and I see that the man I'm dating is doing it as well. We catch ourselves and avoid putting it all out there for each other to see. While our eyes clearly indicate that we love each other, and our desire to spend time together is evidence that we're looking to build something, neither of us has fully copped to it. Why is that? Well, I can't speak for him, but for me, I know it's about fear.

When I look back at my life, I can see that while I have loved many times, I was only truly in love twice. And since I'm with neither of those men, you can guess they ended—badly; with massive heartbreak. I'm not eager to repeat that feeling of utter loss and sadness. I am, however, very interested in creating something amazing that is long lasting and feeds my heart and soul. So how do I get one without moving into the other?

The other night, just as we were drifting off to sleep, this wonderful man whispered, "I love you." He was sleeping, so his subconscious shared with me how he feels, and since he's read these blogs, he knows how I feel, yet we hold back saying it directly. Hindsight? Second guessing? It's probably a bit of both.

I bring a lot more into this relationship than he does. I have a child, a dog, and a cat. I represent a COMMITMENT—yes, in big capital letters. That's freaky for even the best man to accept, especially after only a month of dating. I respect his desire to hold back a bit because of all of that. If I were in his shoes, I'd be scared too. Hell, I'm not in his shoes and I'm scared!

Ironically, many posts have been coming up in my Facebook feed lately about relationships. They say that a good relationship needn't be hard; instead, it should feel comfortable. They suggest that "the one" is the person with whom you can be 100% yourself and still feel accepted. I have been my crazy uncensored self with this man I love, and I do feel completely accepted. He's told me that I'm not like any woman he's dated, and I think that difference is what has allowed him to be himself with me. We've both let down our guards, and it is glorious.

So while hindsight tells me to be unsure, to second guess, and not to jump, my heart tells me this is the man I'm supposed to be with. This relationship is the happiness I've searched for. I've kissed a lot of frogs in my day, and this man is the prince.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Perspectives and Priorities

What a difference a few years make.

I haven't written regularly in this blog since the last time I was dating someone, more than two years ago. It seems that when I am dating someone, I get more reflective on life in general and have more to say. It's not that I don't think when I'm completely single, but I guess I think more when I have a man in my picture.

So I took some time today and reread the blogs I wrote those years ago. What an interesting perspective to have had then and to have now. Truly. In some ways, I've grown so much, and in some, I'm still learning.

When I read a blog about taking my time with the last man I dated, I had to laugh. Time? We had sex on our second date. That's no time at all. There was no foundation. And since I'm a woman, sex releases those endorphins that make me (and all other females, I guess) feel loving feelings. A house of cards is all you build when it's based on having sex on date two.

Currently, I am dating someone whom I have to say I love. I am not "in love" with him, but I can sense myself falling in that direction. And surprisingly, we did take our time. Although my friends likely assume someone as sexually charged as I am is jumping into bed the moment a handsome man says hello, with this man, we waited three weeks—and we actually knew each other for three months before our first date.

The difference here is that I began to love this man before our clothes came off. He won me over with his old-fashioned chivalry, his genuine interest in me, and his overwhelming kindness. On my list of things I had been seeking in a man, he hits few of what I would have considered the "big" ones. But there's chemistry there, and it's hard to deny. When I think of him, I smile.

What's changed now is that I wasn't looking for this wonderful man. On our first date, I told him what I'd told my business coach at the beginning of the year: Finding a relationship has not been a priority for me. I am extremely happy in my life and haven't felt the need to add anything. However, should a relationship present itself, I wouldn't go running.

Well, that relationship is here.

So far, it's easy, lighthearted, and fun. We're learning to dance. We kiss for hours. We hold hands and laugh together. Back in those old blogs when I was discussing what I wanted in a potential relationship, I was more or less describing what I have now. No pressures, no need to plan what will happen next year, and no urgency to do anything more than spend time together. It's refreshing. He dropped the trump by calling me his girlfriend, and that freaked me out. ME! But instead of overthinking it, I took a deep breath and said to myself, It's okay; enjoy.

And I very much am.

Love Came

Write a list, they said,
of all the traits I wanted in a man.
So the list was made,
and I outlined the perfect plan.

But love didn’t come.

Go out and date, they said.
Eventually I would meet the right guy.
So I posted an online profile
and wished and hoped the sparks would fly.

But love didn’t come.

Frustration set in,
and I threw my list away.
Instead, I concentrated on my life,
living to the fullest each and every day.

My life was full, happy, and fun
as I focused on smiling and being with my son.
But something was missing still.
Then you appeared, the man who didn’t meet my requirements
yet found the place inside of me I had been longing to fill.

Sometimes, when we stop looking,
we find exactly what we desire.
That wonderful man who makes me smile
and fills my heart and soul with a burning fire.

It was then that love came.