Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

I am at the mall grabbing lunch at Norstrom Cafe. 

One of my fav places to nosh.

A young girl in front of me appears to be searching for payment and urges me to go before her.

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I pay for my food and notice she is now asking others to go in front of her. It seems there is little reception in the Cafe so she struggles to bring up the necessary financial information on her phone. I make it look like I am stopping to peruse some yummy cookies and it becomes pretty clear she is in a bind.

I discretely hand the cashier twenty dollars and urge him to pay for her lunch.

As she realizes her bill is paid she protests. 

“No worries,” I say. “I understand financial stress so it makes me happy to do it.”

We sit not far from one another as we enjoy our food.

When she is done, this beautiful young girl comes over to my table to attempt to give me the few dollars she has on her.

“No, need,” I say.

She thanks me again.

In a somewhat bewildered tone she says, “Really, people just don’t do this for other people.” I paraphrase but it was something to that effect.

“Money isn’t that important to me. I was happy to do it,” I say.  

We say our goodbyes and her gratitude leaves me with two thoughts.

My first thought…

My ex-husband has spent years using money as a weapon and I worry the impact it will have on my children.

Our relationship should be with people. We should not have a relationship with money.

My second thought…

I cannot take credit for what I did.

The credit goes to my mother.

My mom lived far outside her four walls.

Much in part to her father a New York City Policeman, her mother a midwife, her brothers who were cops and firefighters and a priest.

What I did had nothing to do with me at all.

It can be accredited to my ancestors.

An emotional heirloom handed down for generations.

A desire and ability to live far outside our own four walls.

To make our relationships with people.

 

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I belong to a Facebook group called Parentless Parents started by my friend and author Allison Gilbert.

I first connected with Allison many years ago when she interviewed me for one of her books. 

There is a common theme amongst us Parentless Parents.

We are hyper-conscious of this thing called ‘time.’

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It’s hard not to be when alone at nineteen a doctor ushers you out into the hallway, asks how old you are first and then says, “your father has cancer.” And then at twenty-four years old, you receive the first call about your mother who you will lose just four years later.

I don’t have the typical regrets about a failed marriage.

Why?

My spirituality prevents them. 

I know all of the bad things were meant to be. God chose this path for me. As a human being did I complicate it? Yes. Did I make some poor choices, stay too long and more? Yes. But ultimately, my faith frees me from any long-term regrets. It is one of the greatest blessings of being a believer.

I will admit; however, it was much harder to get past my regrets as a mother. The pain my children have suffered took years for me to forgive myself for. That is, until my marriage counselor said, “Colleen, you feel strongly how you grew up was meant to be. Did it ever occur to you this is the path God intended for your own children?”

It’s been an emotional and spiritual evolution yet I do still have one regret.

Time.

Or should I say the loss of time with those I love?

Marital problems are consuming. 

When the issues started I remember some of my best friends from high school asking me why I wasn’t calling or seeing them as I always had. I also vividly remember my response.

“All of my emotional energy is devoted to my children right now,” I would say.

In other words, I was coping. 

Just getting by.

My world was failing and falling apart and this left little time for anything outside of my world. 

When our problems first began and my husband started acting out my life became unpredictable. I was always running interference. Everything in my world became about my husband and what he would do next.

I would tell him, “You have to stop this and address whatever is bothering you. You are consuming all of my attention and I have children to raise. They are the ones who deserve my attention.”

A home should not revolve around one person.

My biggest regret is not attempting to rescue my marriage but rather keeping it on life support for so long. 

It cost me dearly what is most valuable to me.

The luxurious emotional exchanges between family and friends.

Because I have always been hyper-conscious of this thing called ‘time.’

And the moments of irreplaceable love that magically fill it.

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Downsizing and getting rid of the majority of our belongings is no longer a trend for strictly retirees.

In this era of tiny houses and millennials less is now more. And Baby Boomers are opting to strip themselves of possessions and large four-walled obligations in favor of condos and travel and more.

Yet downsizing can still present formidable challenges.

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Not so much the logistics of physical packing and moving but more of the emotional brand.

Because let’s be honest.

We shouldn’t have a relationship with ‘things’ but we do.

It’s hard to disseminate our lives. 

To take a home apart brick by emotional brick.

Of course, some items are easy to part with. The table we never really liked or the couch on its last leg. And the accompanying thrill of new items which will one day replace them. This is the easy part of emptying out a home.

But then there are the other pieces we love too much to part with or feel some type of emotional connection to.

And yes, it happens to the best of us.

Even those who swear possessions aren’t to be valued or important.

Because it’s not so much the particular item but a memory it evokes or a feeling it gives us.

A connection to home.

The teapot which belonged to our mother, the chair our babies were rocked in, the kitchen table where homework was completed or the lamp which belonged to our grandmother. Parting with these types of things can evoke guilt not only pain.

But alas, they are only ‘things.’

And it can lift great emotional weights to part with them. 

Saying goodbye to the first few items is akin to ripping off a band-aid but after that initial wince, the healing begins.

So how do we do it?

First, it’s a good idea to rid the house of all unimportant items. The aforementioned easy ‘stuff’ to purge. Make the goodwill trips, give away other things to friends and family members and have broken pieces and trash hauled away.

Secondly, scout out the pieces which really aren’t favorites but rather family obligations. The dishes which have been passed down and the antique dresser. These are emotional dead weight. Items which are in our homes not because we necessarily want them but because they are heirlooms. Pass them down to the next generation. If they pass then it’s time to part with them anyway.

Thirdly, determine exactly where the next home will be and how much space there is. It’s amazing how much becomes unimportant when you take 3,000 square feet down to 1,000 square feet. If it’s logistically impossible to travel to the next nest pretty much every item becomes expendable.

Do not underestimate the burden of emotional weights.

And do not minimize the degree to which we can have a relationship with ‘things.’

Letting go can be as freeing as ending any other relationship in our lives which is no longer working.

Just like any other relationship which ends keep a few mementos to make it easier.

Snap pictures of the heirlooms, put batteries in the lullaby baby and record the music, keep just one cup to have tea in, frame a scribbled childhood portrait and go from room to room logging pics of just how home once looked.

Or rather felt.

Then leave knowing you have enough to build the next home brick by emotional brick.

 

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When I was a baby my family experienced a house fire in the home my parents were renting.

Moving would be complicated. The strain of my dad’s drinking was shifting the financial burden to my mother. And they did not have the money to put down on a house. Therefore, my mom did what she always did. She turned to her faith.

She made a promise to God.

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If they were able to purchase our house she would put a Sacred Heart statue on a shelf along with a weekly sweetheart rose.

The developer of the community ultimately allowed my mother to pay the deposit over a period of time. So up went the shelf in our dining room as well as the accompanying bud vase.

Over the years and many dinners, we would often joke with our mom she was falling down on her deal as there were no longer the freshest of roses sitting on that shelf.

My ex-husband had long ago said there was no longer any savings or retirement. That it was all gone, but I had not anticipated him being in contempt as soon as our divorce finalized and my credit being severely damaged once again.

No one would rent to me.

So like mother like daughter…

I made a promise to God.

But initially, I must admit I wasn’t sure what that promise would be. The Sacred Heart statue was out. That was my mom’s promise. And having had an uncle a priest I already have quite a bit of other religious items in my home.

And of course, I write about God and faith.

Quite a conundrum I found myself in.

What could I possibly promise to God if he would just help me find housing?

And then it hit me.

I would have “With God All Things are Possible” inscribed on pens.

I would discretely leave them when I signed a bill in restaurants or coffee houses or at the counter of the bank and post office. Essentially any place I could leave them undetected.

My hope?

They would ultimately travel towards strangers who might come upon them at just the right time.

These past five years, had I gone to sign a bill and read that inscription it would have felt comforting. A sign all things will get better and what author SQuire Rushnell would refer to as a Godwink.

My boys and I along with my nephew and his girlfriend set about leaving the first pen. We finished our meal and once the waiter left the table, I signed the receipt and placed his pen on the table and put mine in his folder.

“Aunt Colleen,” says my nephew. “But you won’t ever hear any of the stories of how these pens touch people’s lives.”

“I know,” I reply. “In many ways, that’s the point. To silently reach people who need faith and inspiration.”

It wasn’t long before I was also giving pens to a few friends and family. Much to my surprise, many would ask for another to give to someone who was experiencing a hard time or would simply love them.

Since I signed that first bill, the pens have taken on a life of their own.

And induced some very funny stories in more ways than one.

Including waiters chasing me down because they fear I have mistakenly left the pen since it’s far too nice.

It became a challenge to succinctly explain I intentionally left God behind.

That I made a promise.

Because like mother like daughter.

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John McCain chose a political party but first and foremost he chose to be an American.

In this nation’s Capital where people with differing opinions must break bread and come together for critical solutions, McCain was a champion.

He demonstrated the ability to see contradictory opinions and various backgrounds as a part of a whole rather than the entire slice of this great country.

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There was not necessarily right and wrong but rather a variety of opinions, needs, situations, and crisis to tackle in order to keep this United States just that – UNITED.

John McCain was a patriot but most importantly he was an individual with a strong value system who truly valued others.

Political affiliations aside, there is much to be learned by his work and a life genuinely well lived.

7 Things John McCain Taught Us About Relationships

Foundation  

Relationships involve individuals (and individuality) but never lose sight first and foremost of being a part of a larger equation. If you focus on core foundation and values your relationships will remain centered.

When push comes to shove you may differ in person and opinion but you will not sacrifice the wrong things nor lose sight of keeping the relationship grounded and whole.

Resilience  

Relationships will be tested with great emotional wars. But it’s worth remaining rather than surrendering. Not every battle will be won nor should they be. It’s the teamwork and resilience which ultimately stand the test of time and prove relationships stronger together than apart.

Walking away from people is not a sign of strength. Resolving issues and conflict is.

Honor  

Living outside of a person’s four walls and standing for something greater leads to a selflessness which can only improve a relationship. It is a less self-absorbed version of the world.

Standing for something which unites a couple far beyond their own personal gain and far more meaningful can only help a relationship gain perspective of what’s important.

Loyalty 

A dedication to one another is a quintessential relationship characteristic. The outside world will always bring challenges and adversity and therefore, it’s critical to have a devotion to one another which is unshakable.

Exhibiting loyalty means you have the confidence to have someone’s back whether fair or foul weather.

Tolerance 

The world is full of varying opinions and beliefs. They are not something to be fought but rather a celebration of individuality. There is no one right or wrong way. There are just different ways.

Allowing each person to be who they are means they are fully apart of a relationship rather than fully controlled by another in a relationship. 

Diversity 

There is a beauty in diversity, not a threat. It isn’t a forum for conflict but rather a forum for robust conversation and education. No one way is necessarily the right path. The goal is figuring out a way to bring all of the paths together and intersect.

If one individual can show another the way to a new point of view it can be enlightening not frightening.

Respect 

Every person should be allowed their own opinion rather than talked out of it. It is possible to disagree with passion rather than anger.

Ultimate confidence without the presence of ego means allowing someone to be entirely who they are even if they have an entirely different worldview. 

John McCain was unbelievably passionate about his own beliefs but incredibly tolerant of those of others.

One of the most notable examples was the woman who negatively commented about Barack Obama and McCain famously spoke the words now paraphrased – Obama was a great man the two of them just had differing opinions. 

Ultimately what McCain demonstrated was the ability to possess great confidence minus any type of ego.

The best relationships involve authentic confidence.

 

An incredible ability to fully and passionately live one’s own purpose while never needing to clip the wings of others.

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When I was in my twenties I would tell my uncle I wanted him to live with me one day.

He would smile and laugh.

“No,” I would say. “I am serious. Promise me you will live with me.”

I remember my aunts asking him if he would come back to New York City to retire. He had lived in the Washington D.C. metro area for so long it had never occurred to me he might move back to his native New York.

In a moment of genuinely love driven panic, I asked him if he would retire in NYC or DC.

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He said New York would forever be his home but he had built his entire adult life in Washington.

What a relief.

He wouldn’t be leaving us.

What I never told my uncle was not only did my love for him drive my hope to care for him but so did the debt I felt I urgently wanted to repay.

As my mother’s brother, he had far exceeded any average uncle duties. Quite the contrary, every time the five of us entered the room he lit up even if he had seen us moments before.

He watched out for our mom and he watched out for us.

Or what I should say is he showed his love for all of us.

He was a constant in our lives.

Quite a gift for children who would ultimately lose their dad in their day to day life and be raised by a single mom.

When the day finally arrived I begged to be the one who housed my uncle.

I think my aunts and other uncle felt it would be too much for me. I had my own family and young children. I truly believe they thought it would burden me. But this was a childhood promise I had made to myself.

And I would fight for the right to care for him.

I would fight for the privilege.

My brother and sisters were incredibly supportive.

They had cared for our mother.

An emotional debt I will owe them the rest of my life.

Because the debt we owe to the caregivers of our greatest loves is insurmountable. 

I had been young when our mother was sick and as the baby of the family, I found it overwhelming. My mom would come and stay with me for a few weeks and I would get her bathed and clothed and fed and then I would spend several hours crying myself to sleep. As older siblings, they seemed so much stronger and so much more capable.

So my brother and sisters bared the day to day with our one sister ultimately gifting us taking on the entire responsibility.

Something our brother never lost sight of.

Each year he texts her on the anniversary of our hugely substantial loss to thank her for caring for our mom.

When it came time to care for our uncle I believe we all knew on some level what one of our mother’s best friend’s had once told me.

I feared I had let my mother down.

That the avalanche of disabling tears brought on by her decline made me far less equipped than my older siblings to watch out for her – I should have done more.

As I sat at my mom’s bedside the night she was called home, this dear family friend told me…

Every person steps up in the time they are called to.

We can’t feel guilt over who did this and who did that. We find our own demand for presence when it is most needed.

So ultimately I got my wish.

My beloved uncle, the one who had stepped into our lives when he didn’t have to, who had made us feel so incredibly loved came to live with me.

The first few weeks were tough.

He was up three to four times a night and with the broken sleep, I struggled to care for him and my kids and get through the day. We made the decision to get an outside caregiver in to get him through the night so I could manage everything else.

We settled comfortably into a routine.

My boys understood this was a time for increased self-sufficiency and increased love. They made me incredibly proud as they managed their school work and other responsibilities and still coveted the time where we would all come together around the dinner table, a movie or more.

At night after I got my uncle ready for bed they would come into his room for some prayer and a few songs as I sang him to sleep. On other nights, they would just listen to the sounds of a few Irish songs and Amazing Grace drift up and down the hallway while they were lulled into slumber.

Being a caregiver is challenging and for many, it lasts far longer than the coveted months I was gifted with my uncle.

Of course, having already lost my mom I viewed it somewhat differently.

I had walked these steps before. Scratch that. I had traced these steps before after my heroic brother and sisters. Therefore, I eagerly awaited this incredible opportunity I had been far too emotionally ill-equipped for in my youth.

I was now old enough to be tough enough to feed and care for one who had once extended the same loving tendencies towards me.

And no longer cry but smile through it because I am one of the lucky ones who got to repay an enormous emotional debt.

A few months before my uncle had to be moved to a nursing home he sat at my kitchen table. I made him the quintessential Irish feast. A cup of tea and a bit of sweets. In a moment never to be forgotten he gazed out the bay window and said…

“I’m happy here.”

And with those three incredible words –

I knew I was able to return just a bit of what he had spent a lifetime giving me.

 

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I woke up yesterday with one thought.

I’m finally single.

Happy Birthday to me!

Sure, technically it happened in June but with all of the contempt charges and house sale resistance, it felt anything but liberating.

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There was no time to finally feel single. 

In actuality, I’m not really sure what this means.

Or just how I will attack this new adventure.

Will I try speed dating? Or perhaps go to ‘Just Lunch?’ Play some singles kickball, sign up for Match or try a few blind dates? Buy a couple of new sassy outfits? That of course, would require losing what I now refer to as thirty pounds of ‘Ralph.’ And then there’s always matchmaking.

The possibilities are endless.

I can log onto Facebook and switch my relationship status to single.

And of course, I did just that only to realize I must have deleted my marital status when I initiated my divorce. Alas, the social media world will not hear me proclaim my new found independence. It somehow seems anti-climactic declaring myself single rather than switching from married to single.

I can sit and watch A Star is Born and ugly cry with no one shooshing me.

I can wear red lipstick while I sip pink champagne.

My birthday belongs to me again.

I get to choose my tomorrows. 

The hard-fought single world is now my oyster.

Scratch that.

The world is again my oyster.

Happy Birthday to me!

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It’s difficult to understand divorce unless you experience it.

In fact, that’s true with most aspects of life.

The deepest empathy is derived from a true understanding of walking in another’s shoes. 

Take grief for example.

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When we are young it’s difficult to grasp unless it touches our lives.

We don’t necessarily attend a funeral, take the time to send a card or simply sit with a friend. As time goes on and we sustain the loss of parents and other loved ones we begin to understand the true impact of showing up at someone’s front door, sending food, a card or making a phone call. We now comprehend the first three months do not dissolve the pain and the journey will get far worse before it gets better.

Divorce is an extremely misunderstood adventure.

It too will get far worse before it gets better.

And it will mimic many aspects of grief.

It is a profound loss and a feeling of being disconnected accompanies it.

Because of this, it’s important to understand what those experiencing it crave most. 

3 Things People Crave Most While Divorcing:

Understanding

This may be an emotional death but it is a death. 

It is a severe life change.

The loss of someone who once made everything in the world make sense. And it can lead to an exponential loss. The friendships which were more couple than individual, the family members who are now oddly strangers, the community which doesn’t understand and often fears divorce, the home which built your family and more.

Children suffer and are often forced into roles where they now worry about their parents instead of the reciprocal. Some may act even act out in their pain. Because this is a massive loss in their world too.

Divorcing individuals just want to be understood. They need the world and those around them to realize they are treading emotional waters and doing the very best they can.

This means the necessity of a ‘no judgment’ zone.

It’s a huge life event and those who go through it crave understanding.

 

Comfort

This is a long journey filled with many emotional bumps and bruises.

And yes, some divorces last far too long.

The system is broken and should not allow for emotional and financial abuse throughout the divorce process but unfortunately, it does and can’t shut down a partner who behaves badly. Therefore, some may have a harder time resolving this relationship and need comfort and support even longer than most.

People who are going through a divorce can use a phone call, a cup of tea, a glass of wine, an unexpected meal, a faucet fixed, or literally anything associated with comfort. A new pair of pajamas, a comforting blanket, a manicure, or a card.

These are typically people who are experiencing financial overload and more parental responsibility.

Some people chose to divorce and others do not. Regardless, it is a temporary hardship meant to restore long-term happiness. And it can take a village at different moments. Or the village showing up with a crowd and dinner to infuse a home with joy again.

What do we know about moments of kindness and comfort? They are actually moments of love and this is a person who has lost love.

It’s a huge life event and those who go through it crave comfort. 

Inspiration

People who are muddling through the mud and the muck of divorce desperately need hope.

The assurance the world will be a tear-free zone again.

It is easier for some to let go of love and tougher for others.

It is initially an unimaginable thought to imagine the dissolution of a relationship and the rearranging of a once whole family. It’s excruciating the heart can be suffocating.

But little by little the sun peeks through and dries the tears and joy wipes them away permanently.

Additionally, there can be fears of starting over, being alone, gaining financial independence, keeping children whole and more.

This is why any glimmer of inspiration is essential. A text message with a positive quote or Bible passage, a calendar of quotes, a wooden sign with just the right inscription, an occasional card sent routinely, tea bags with messages or any other small little ‘the people who love you are rooting for you’ message.

It’s a huge life event and those who go through it crave inspiration.

These 3 things encapsulate the broader emotional needs of anyone divorcing.

Whether quiet or loud, bold or reserved, a talker or a listener, these needs are universal.

Because divorce requires the strength of grief and the resilience to do it without leaning on a partner for comfort.

 

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Surprisingly, we often put up with behaviors we should walk away from.

Why?

Emotional attachments are hard to break.

Therefore, what we should be doing is walking away when we initially recognize unfavorable characteristics in another person.

This doesn’t just pertain to romantic relationships. All good relationships should have core fundamentals which provide for a healthy foundation. Friendships should be held to the same value standards if we want to be treated well and treat others well.

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The problem? 

The heart likes to make excuses for those we love.

We shouldn’t let it.

Especially since many of the actions we tolerate are surprisingly bad behavior. 

6 Relationship Behaviors to Avoid

People Who Talk About Their Friends

We are human so people will speak about one another to a certain degree. 

Especially with old or close friendships where there will be times of worry or concern where one friend may confide in another. There will also inevitably be moments of weakness during a conflict.

But this should be kept to a minimum.

However, there are certain things no one should ever know about another person. When a friend divulges private concerns or secrets they should stay just that. And there’s a difference between confiding in a few friends who have become like family and letting the general public hear you speak about a friend.

On the romantic side of relationships when things are breaking down it is common to speak about a partner. This should be a signal it’s either time to get counseling or move on.

People Who Lie

Lying is just not okay.

It is a supremely selfish behavior.

An individual lies to get their own way or to get away with something. Either way, it’s not a favorable quality. No, we are not talking about a little white lie to save someone’s feelings from being hurt when not included to a party. Nor are we talking about the little white lie where life may be overwhelming and thus an event can’t be made.

We are talking about self-serving lies. 

If someone routinely lies about little or large things the biggest reason to jump ship is they have demonstrated an ability to put themselves first.

Be it a friendship or romantic liaison this type of person will be unpredictable and worse you can’t entirely trust them. And this includes smaller lies such as canceling plans to do something else with another friend who has presented a better offer. Not just huge relationship cheating type lies.

In other words, people who tell little lies are capable of telling big lies.

People Who Judge

Bottom line?

We should feel great about ourselves in the company of a friend or partner.

People who routinely judge our actions personality need to be filtered out of our lives.

They don’t really like who we are anyway. If they did they wouldn’t consume so much time telling us what we did wrong and what is wrong with our personality. They have an ego which won’t allow them to see others for who they truly are.

The resounding message sent by people who judge?

“I love you, but I don’t like you.”

It’s important for self-preservation, not just the relationship to get away from individuals who routinely judge us.

People You Can’t Count On

We all know the people who consistently have the ability to be there for us.

Those are the individuals to focus on.

Not the ones who routinely forget to call back, cancel plans or a spouse who is constantly too busy at work to set aside a few minutes to call and check in.

Everyone will have difficult times in life. 

Therefore, there will be even the most reliable people who may be temporarily less reliable because of an aging parent, marital problems, job stress, etc. And that should come with a hall pass. In times of duress, individuals should put their own families first. It’s the healthiest thing to do.

But if we have a friend or spouse whose world revolves without us – let go.

People Who Cause Stress in Your Life

If a friend or spouse consistently gets mad or levies undue demands it’s time to either resolve it or move on.

Simply put we are all children of God and no one has the right to control us to the level it causes tremendous anxiety or stress in our lives.

It’s that simple.

It’s control and not healthy.

People Who Disregard Your Feelings

All people have emotions and a right to own those emotions.

It’s not okay to be talked out of how we are feeling.

In fact, to exercise those feelings and move on they often need to be acknowledged and heard. This is hard in relationships because some individuals are fixers and the impulse is to immediately fix a problem rather than just listen. Additionally, some relationships involve one or both individuals who are disrespectful communicators and won’t ‘allow’ the other person their emotions.

Instead, they might say it’s silly or stupid or some other type of dismissive comment.

Be it romantic or friendship it’s far too frustrating to remain in these types of relationships.

People Who Manipulate You

Some individuals are extremely good at getting what they want.

And manipulative personalities can make it happen before we ever knew what hit us.

Especially if we are people pleasers or fixers or rescuers.

They throw their problems out in the air and wait for them to be fixed. A manipulative person will take gross advantage. Additionally, those instincts to get what they want show they put themselves first when they want something.

Aka, essentially a spoiled individual.

It’s difficult to have a healthy two way romance or friendship with an overindulged person.

 

It’s time to rethink putting up with any of these types of surprisingly common yet bad behaviors.

Especially if they are the rule and not the exception. 

It’s not uncommon to tolerate some of these traits.

And sadly, they often consume the majority of our time rather than the healthier and better relationships in our lives.

Those are the ones to focus on.

 

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I love a story especially a great love story.

It’s hard to believe but once you discard the emotional mud and muck, it’s possible to find incredible happiness after divorce.

For that reason, I believe it’s worth ripping off the band-aid of an unhappy marriage and dealing with the unbearable yet temporary angst. Versus continuing to remain and accept a low level of happiness.

We are given only one life to live.

After everything I have endured, I would still choose to leave again.

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The alternative is to have remained with someone who failed to love me

At least not in any healthy or fulfilling sense of the word.

The good news? Divorce allows a do-over.

The opportunity to wander out into the world and meet someone in the future or rekindle with someone in the past.

Of course, I love the romantic notion of falling into the arms of a first love.

I’m a writer after all.

For me, it’s not in the cards.

I have left no love unrequited.

Quite the contrary I have remained close friends with anyone I have ever dated. 

They are wonderful men who are great husbands and fathers and who have equally as great marriages. Which makes me happy. So unless the boy who grabbed my pigtails in second grade suddenly shows up there will be no long-lost boyfriends Facebooking or emailing.

But I can live vicariously through others.

One such couple met while waiting tables during their teenage years.

For whatever reason, the relationship ran its course and eventually they parted ways. Even better? Their memory is they were each, not the one to break up with the other. In other words, he thought she wanted to break up and she thought he wanted to break up. Many years and a few divorces later. One found out the other was single and reached out and before long they were married.

Another two couples fell hard for one another in high school but eventually went on to marry other people and then again by the misfortune or magic of divorce they reconnected. One of these couples is now engaged.

I have another friend whose story I love the most.

They were two smitten fourteen-year-olds who met forty-one years ago on the day Elvis Presley died.

To pull at your heartstrings and confirm this Hallmark Channelesque romance…

It was at a country fair in a small town where the girl’s grandmother lived. For the next thirty-seven years, they would lose touch. However, while attending this ‘little’ hamlet’s ‘big’ events they would scan the crowd for one another to no avail. And then when they had finally stopped looking they bumped into one another in a restaurant.

What happened next? 

The woman is now a farm girl who made her way permanently back to that small town to marry her guy.

And their smiles reflect those still beating teenage hearts.

There is something undeniable about a first love.

Especially long lost ones who are miraculously found.

So if the boy who grabbed my pigtails in second grade is reading this.

Call me.

 

 

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