Monthly Archives: February 2011

no more sex

About 18 months ago…

There was simply no emotional intimacy in my marriage any longer. My husband was dishonest and had made decisions that affected our family without talking to me; the betrayals were insidious. My mistrust was so complete that I was constantly wondering what and when the next big betrayal would be. I had lost hope. And I had already determined to end it.

So it came as a surprise to me when, after so many months of abstinence, my husband complained about not getting any sex.

I raged, “How can you expect physical intimacy when you’ve denied me emotional intimacy for so long?! It goes both ways.”

The fact is, I enjoy sex. I probably wanted it more than he did. And I always found him physically attractive. But I couldn’t even look him in the eye anymore, much less share myself in such an intimate way.

But I think the bigger question is this:  Are men really that clueless? Do they really think if they’re not getting any, that they have nothing to do with it?

Oh, wait…I think I may be able to answer this one myself…

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the midlife crisis explained

I took a workshop by Dr. Joe Dispenza one day recently. He talks and writes about how we can use brain science to transform our lives. He is also a chiropractor and practices yoga. What I love about him is that he takes a concept so many people think of as New Age or woo-woo, explains the very real brain science behind it and makes it practical.

So, imagine my surprise as I’m eagerly waiting to do a guided meditation exercise, when he brings up the midlife crisis. Apparently, there are real reasons for this phenomenon!

He highlighted the outer manifestations — people getting divorced, quitting their jobs, deciding to circumnavigate the world in a sail boat. Most often, it seems, we are able to see what others are shedding, releasing or giving up. We rarely understand the reasons for this or what new beliefs they are bringing into their lives. Most often, we look at these people and ask, “have they lost their minds?!”

The answer, according to Dr. Joe is YES! And that can be a good thing:

You see, by age 35 or 40, our brain is 95% completely formed. Connections are in place, we’re often married, working and parenting by this time. We are socializing with people in groups that may have been formed based on our children’s school associations or through work or merely by where we live. And suddenly we realize that the outward vision of what others see of us and how we feel about ourselves are completely different. We may not even like the people we’re working so hard to impress!

Often, there is some feeling of fear or anxiety or lack of self-worth that we’ve failed to process or deal with along the way and, often, we’re not even conscious of this. But for those of us who have or are going through it, we know something is wrong and we act out in one of two ways:

  1. We drop out. We begin to make changes by releasing what is no longer serving us, whether it be relationships, jobs, careers, our home (the illusion of stability). We are willing to give up everything to find something more authentic and meaningful and true to us.
  2. We try to fill the gap between how we feel and how we’re perceived. This is where the sports cars, trophy mistresses and jewelry and such come in — sometimes creating tremendous debt. Or we may try to fill this gap with alcohol or other substances which, because they don’t effectively work on any authentic level, require more and more over time, becoming addiction.

I’m not sure I’m explaining this very well, and I highly recommend you buy the new Dr. Joe Dispenza book when it comes out or, better yet, attend a workshop. He gave me so much to think about!

And, of course, at the next break I rushed to the front of the room to proudly proclaim that “I am this cliché you were talking about! I just got divorced, turned forty and quit my job, and I’m so excited about the opportunities out there for me, because I know I can create something better!”

Dr. Joe gently held my arm, began nodding his head up and down, and said, “When you’re saying that, make sure your matching it in your body. You’ve been shaking your head from side to side as you said that.”

Busted! My body was saying “no” while my mind was screaming “YES!” Now to get my body to catch up with my brain…


happy VD!

This being a blog about relationships and failure, it’s only appropriate that I publish some snarky or cynical commentary about how much will be spent on cheap boxes of chocolates or the even less original gift of a dozen red roses.

But the truth is that I love Valentine’s Day! I love the whole idea of a day devoted to love, even if I wish we could all devote ourselves to be more loving every day. And I hope to one day find someone with similar romantic notions, who doesn’t balk at doing something special for this “Hallmark holiday.”

I suppose it goes without saying that I don’t have a Valentine this year. I’ll be making dinner for my children — and I picked up a few exquisite chocolate desserts as a special treat for the sweetest blessings in my life!

Here’s where I’m at with searching for a Valentine:  I’m starting to date. I plan to date more than one gentlemen at a time, I’m going to enjoy meeting lots of new people and I plan to take things very, very slowly.

I had a pretty good first date this weekend, in fact. By “good first date,” I mean we had coffee, a nice conversation and were both interested enough to have agreed to meet again, for lunch. We spent no more than an hour together and shook hands at the end. There was no instantaneous magic, no first-date kissing.

I’ve got a profile up on an online dating site (more on that later) and am sitting back and letting men contact me. I’m reading up on and learning more about dating — all those things that I never felt the need to do the first time around. It’s different now that I’m older, and I’d like to make more prudent decisions based on a more solid understanding of relationship dynamics.

There is a man I’m interested in. And by interested I mean that he’s my current high water mark among single men I’ve met…so far. (Should it be obvious that the high water mark is even higher if I count married male friends of mine? Should I accept that my standards are lower for single guys? Or is it normal, given that I haven’t observed these single guys in the role of husband and father which, were I able to observe this, might raise the bar?)

In any case, this single guy is smart, attractive, funny and has impeccable manners — and I feel incredibly feminine when I’m with him. This is not to say that he’s perfect. I like his humanity and candor, and I like that he’s trying to become a better human. I love feeling as though I could talk to him forever and not get bored, and I think he’ll make some lucky woman a wonderful companion one day. I’d like the opportunity to spend more time with him and explore the chemistry I feel when we’re together, but this is difficult as we live far apart. I sent him a casual, funny Valentine, yet I’ve no idea whether he thinks of me as anything more than a flirtatious friend.

Even so, I’m not waiting around for him to make a move…because with all this creating I’ve been doing, I know the universe may have someone even better in store for me. And even if I don’t expect any sort of Valentine today, a girl can always hope for next year!


vacation planning

About a year ago…

I was SO stressed out! The children knew we were getting a divorce and I was counting the days until my husband would vacate our home. Winter was raging. I needed a break!

With some trepidation, I approached my boss:  “I’m thinking of taking a two-week vacation with the children while my husband moves out.”

To my surprise, she was very supportive. “Do what you need to do,” she said.

So it was decided. I looked for and bought airline tickets, made plans with the children’s teachers, reached out to friends and relatives on the coast and began to form a plan. Max, of course, was among my friends in the region we’d be visiting.

To my surprise, he was the first to respond with an email, “I think you need to come and stay with us. We have an extra room for you.”

Wow! I was intrigued, titillated, flattered and VERY hesitant.

I confessed the news of Max’s offer to my coworkers in the morning as we met for coffee. “Absolutely not,” my boss advised. “That is a horrible idea!” The other gals agreed that it was quite sweet for him to offer, but sympathized with how difficult it might be for me.

My life was turning into one big swirl of crazy:  one of my girlfriends was leaving her husband for another man, another married girlfriend was exploring her sexuality outside of her marriage, and yet another friend suggested, “Maybe Max and his wife are in to threesomes.”

All this weirdness drove me straight to my counsellor’s office, where I told her every last detail about what was going on in my life and all around me and, of course, about Max…with whom I was pondering staying for part of my family vacation.

Finally she remarked, “It sounds as though you and Max have developed a good friendship. Staying with him and his wife could be very good for you. Being around the example of a healthy, loving relationship may be just what you need.”

Whew! Finally I could confess that I had come to the same conclusion. It would be good to spend time with Max and his wife and children. And having my children there as well would provide remarkably solid guard rails against any temptation I might have.

Still, I felt I had to call Max to discuss:

“Thank you for your generous offer to let us stay with you,” I began. “Have you discussed with your wife?”

“Of course,” he said. “She’s looking forward to seeing you.”

“I hope you’ll understand if I take some time to think about it,” I went on. “It might be kind of difficult for me emotionally, and I’m not sure I’m feeling that strong.”

“Okay,” he said doubtfully, as though he couldn’t possibly understand how this might be an emotional dilemma for me. “We’d love to have you. And the children are eager to make love new friends.”

“I’ll let you know, ” I said and said good-bye.

I suspect men have a lot more practice being friends with women who they find attractive. Personally, I don’t recall having much experience having platonic relationships with men I’ve been drawn to physically and emotionally. Determining how to just be friends with Max was a new challenge for me. And I had no confidence that I’d be any good at it.


there goes the neighborhood

One day last winter, I logged in to a social networking site to find that a married male friend’s status update indicated that his wife — I’ll call her Sally — was leaving him for another man.

Given that Sally was also a friend of mine, I was a bit shocked by this news.

So I did what women do:  I called a mutual friend and screeched, “Oh my God, girl, have you been on facebook!? Did you know anything about this?!”

This mutual friend admitted that she had heard, just days earlier, about Sally’s blossoming affair. Such drama! And amongst our quiet, family-friendly circle!

“I don’t know what to say!” I exclaimed.

This girlfriend then told me straight, “I think you need to call Sally and tell her that.”

“Good point,” I said. Gulp! Avoiding the impulse to analyze and delay, I hung up and immediately dialed Sally.

“Hello,” she answered, a knowing tone in her voice.

“I don’t know what to say,” I said.

“I seem to have that effect today,” she replied. “Never before have I rendered so many speechless.”

“You beat us to the punchline,” I retorted, referencing the fact that my husband had agreed to move out…but hadn’t yet. And we hadn’t even told the children at this point.

“I’m taking the low road all the way,” she deadpanned. And then she briefly recounted the unraveling of her marriage, the failed counseling, the meeting of her new beau, what they had told the children…promising to fill me in on details at another time.

We all knew Sally and her husband struggled, just as everyone knew that my husband and I were struggling. But I certainly didn’t anticipate such an abrupt and dramatic finale. They had appeared, at least to me, to communicate and relate in a such as way as to have the potential to salvage their relationship…until now, in any case. Sally’s husband’s broadcasting the news via social media was clearly a cry for the sympathy vote, and a rather low one, at that.

The ultimate effect of this drama for me, at least, was that my divorce would be neither the first nor ugliest amongst our group, relieving some of the pressure and fear I’d had about the steps we’d yet to take. I no longer felt so uniquely conspicuous, and my children would now have friends who had experienced similar family upheaval.

Somehow, all this cause me to feel just a little relieved.


a lesson in abundance

I was turned on to a recording by Dov Baron the other day, and one of the concepts he talked about was so simple, so memorable and so powerful that I felt compelled to share it with my children, and now with you:

Imagine you’re here with me in my living room. I’m pulling money out of my pocket. I take a bill and hold it up. You see that it’s a $100 bill.

“How much is this worth?” I ask you.

You say, “one hundred dollars.”

Right. So, I ask “How much would it be worth if I took it to the bank?”

You answer, “$100.”

And I ask:  “How about if I took it to a restaurant? A clothing store? To Target? To a gas station?”

It’s still worth $100.

What if I threw it on the ground and stomped on it?

$100.

What if I crumpled it up? What if I cupped the crumpled mess in one hand and used my other fist to hit it? What if I yelled obscenities and insults at it?

It’s still worth $100. Its value hasn’t changed.

That’s how our self-worth must be. We are all worth every bit as much as that first moment we came into this world and our mother and/or father looked into our eyes with love and awe.

So, whether we’ve been hurt, called names, insulted, physically abused, verbally abused, no matter what our boss or co-workers or friends or enemies or neighbors or family members have said, our worth and our value in this world has not changed. We are still precious, miraculous and worthy…and to live with this knowledge is bliss!

Of course, at the end of this lesson, I asked my children how much they are worth.

My son replied knowingly, “Two thousand and three dollars,” for the year (“moment”) of his birth.

I assured him he and his sister are worth much, much more.


me or Max, misunderstood

About 14 months ago…

It was actually before we broke the news to our children that their father was moving out that I had a “lovers’ quarrel” of sorts with Max. Of course we weren’t lovers, and it was more of a misunderstanding that went something like this:

I misinterpreted a joke (I took it too literally) and thought, with disgust, “Who does he think I am? Does he really think I’m that stupid?!” I probably should have responded with this thought, but I’m sure my reply (I no longer recall exactly) was something more passive-aggressive in nature.

He replied with a text, “One of the things I always liked about you was your sense of humor.”

In a haze of loneliness and hormones (read PMS), I escalated, lashed out and started a drama cycle that lasted from one evening through the next morning from text to email and back again. I confess I spent a few hours in tears for, during this “spat,” three things happened:

  1. I recently mentioned a conversation about being alone with a divorced colleague who asked me if I’d ever feared being alone for the rest of my life. Well, this emotional crisis, this exchange with Max took me there. Somewhere in the midst of it, I experienced that horrific fear that maybe, just maybe, I would be alone for the rest of my life. I had connected with another man, but connecting with unavailable men was only going to get me to where? Alone.
  2. I realized how emotionally dependent I’d become on a man who was not available to me. And then I realized this was my pattern. Many of my relationships had been long distance, I had crushed on too many fellas that were gay or already in relationships or, for whatever reason, were not going to be able to commit to me. And, as part of this realization, it dawned on me once again that…
  3. I don’t want to be anyone’s fantasy. I want to be a wonderful man’s wonderful reality. And if he’s not in a position to commit to me and be in a relationship and create a real life together, then I want nothing to do with it! I mean, I can flirt and play, but I’ll be in control and I’m not going to let myself get attached to or involved with another man who sees me as a distraction, a daydream or fantasy. The men can fantasize all they want, but I’m going to keep myself from being emotionally drawn into it.

And with these realizations, I knew that my relationship with Max could not go on as it was, that I needed to be less dependent on him. As much as he and his attention had been gifts and had helped me to reclaim my intuition and confidence, our flirtatious friendship — or, rather, my reliance on it — was now doing me as much harm as good. To him, I may have been an intelligent, beautiful, attractive woman with whom he shared chemistry and mutual crush. But no matter how much he respected me, our relationship could never be one of equals, because he was going home to his wife and step-children each day, while I was sleeping alone.