Saturday, June 29, 2013

You Are Okay


I am posting a quick update to my blog post, "Special Lady Friend" (http://scarylawyerguy.blogspot.com/2013/06/special-lady-friend.html). First, and foremost, I was humbled and stunned at the outpouring of support I found online. Although I'm a regular consumer of social media, until I posted about my break-up, I had no sense of the compassion of total strangers. Not only were people willing and happy to give some really amazing advice, but your heartfelt comments and support mean more than you will ever know. I cannot thank you enough. 

The days after I posted were hard, there were more tears, endless replays of scenes of happier times, head shaking at how this all went to shit and yes, a final attempt (pathetic, I know) to try and get some closure (my voice mail last Tuesday went unresponded to). 

But as with most things, if you talk about it enough, the answers, or at least the plan for moving forward, starts to come into view.  So first, I accepted the fact that regardless of why we broke up, the manner in which it was done was totally inappropriate and said far more about her than me. That helped. Not because it is easier to think less of her (though that doesn't hurt) but because I need take ownership of the fact that my emotions and feelings have value and need to be valued by the people in my life. 

Next, I accepted the fact that "why" may never be answered and that also says far more about her than me, and particularly, the idea that she feels guilt and shame (ok, I won't lie, THAT does make me happy). Whether she cheated (as some have theorized, though not something I subscribe to), felt things were moving too quickly and got scared (as others have, and is the Occam's Razor in my opinion), simply lost interest or got freaked out about my still sometimes fragile post-divorce state, the take away is that in the moment of the relationship, I was true to myself, vulnerable at times and always honest, supportive and caring, and willing to put myself out there to another human being. A MAJOR step forward in my emotional growth. 

At the same time, two things others picked up on really stood out to me - (1) the similarities between SLF and my ex-wife in terms of their personalities (strong, speak your mind types who are not fond of being challenged and emotionally withholding) and (2) that my natural tendency toward self-deprecation can quickly read as devaluing myself, which, in turn, serves to suggest that I don't like myself and, that being the case, how can I expect someone to love me?  Both are BIG red flags and "issues" that have actually got me leaning toward seeking therapy to understand. I have resisted therapy for forever, but this whole debacle has put into sharp relief that someone trained in not just understanding where issues come from (I've got a good handle on that part) but who can offer some constructive strategies to address them, might actually help. Who knew?  

In the meantime, I am committed to reminding myself on a daily basis that I am a good and decent person who tries to do good in the world and has a sterling professional reputation earned over many long years of hard work, dedication and always above board dealings with people (you're just going to have to trust me on this one). In my personal life, I will remember that I have, on myriad occasions, been the person who someone breaks the glass, pulls the emergency lever and reaches out for help, advice of counsel. And also, that whatever challenges life places in front of me, I have an insane amount of willpower to get through them and this break-up is not even in the top five. In other words, I am going to look in the mirror and, as Roger Sterling did in "Far Away Places" tell myself "You Are Okay." (although I won't have half-salt, half-pepper hair, be tripping on LSD or hallucinating that Don Draper is telling me these things). 

More importantly, I've come to realize I truly want someone in my life who offers support, affection and values me - in other words, the healthy romantic and platonic love two people should feel toward each other in a committed relationship. I have it pretty good otherwise - a job I would do for half of what I make, a nice house that I love and interests that stimulate me (if not put me in constant touch with the outside world as much as I'd like). And at the same time, when someone comes into my life, I am open to sharing all sides of me, but in doing so, not to be so quick to harp on my own insecurities, be more of my own cheerleader and remember that I have things to offer to someone interested in receiving them. I'm not sure it's the entire answer, but for the first time in weeks, my heart isn't beating like a rabbit's at all times, my hands are not shaky and I have some semblance of an appetite. I'm even sleeping through the night. 

23 comments:

  1. I am really HAPPY to read this! I was thinking about suggesting you get therapy, but just assumed you had already done it, due to your painful divorce...Good luck, my smart and cool internet friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surprisingly, I processed the divorce and all of its unsavory aspects all by myself (perhaps not the best idea in retrospect). Thanks to you and many others, I at least have a good start on getting my head screwed on straight again.

      Delete
  2. Scary: This is Ibeetb. You sound some like some gal's DREAM! Wow. So many women I have known who are the female version of you getting stuck with a "Tony Parker"-like A$$hole. Lol. It's too bad that you cannot run into those types of decent women. Jersey, right? That's ONE big reason! But then again, nothing happens before its time and I do not think you are 75 years old yet so I do believe there is time (not that you are looking). Anyway, I think you are a great person - just from Twitter and I am glad you have found the strength to move past this. Have a GREAT Sunday!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glad you are feeling better and hope you get what you are looking for out of therapy. That said, therapy probably won't have much to say about female hypergamy, which if you understood a little about ]would have made her asshole behavior more explainable and (more importantly) provided you some measure of emotional protection. If you knew going in that an attractive woman in her thirties with a "forward" personality, a successful career, who hadn't ever been married was less likely to be able to bond with a man you might not have been so quick to expose your vulnerable side. Therapy can't teach you to identify and diffuse the "shit tests" all women use to screen their potential mate's qualities. To really get what you want in a romantic partner you need Game...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I had to google "hypergamy" - I always enjoy learning new information, but I'm not into "game" theory or the pick up lifestyle. A woman who needs to fooled into love, or convinced because of some reverse psychology parlor trick to be into me is not someone I'm really looking for. Thanks for your response though.

      Delete
    2. Aren't shaving legs & pits, wearing high heels & push-up bras, applying make-up & hair products all parlor tricks? Of course they are. Do they still work even though we know it's an illusion. SCHWING!!! 8====>~~~

      It works because men are primarily attracted to physical beauty and tricks like proper grooming and garments that help mimic ideal feminine shapes, hip-to-waist ratios, etc maximize a female's beauty.

      Women are primarily attracted to status. Along with the typical measures of status (wealth, power, fame, occupation, athletic or artistic talent) is the man who does well with women. At work here is the self confidence exuded by the man (a powerful intoxicant on its own) mixed with pre-selection by other high status (read: beautiful)women.

      All Game is does is help a man groom his behavior to be more attractive to women. And just like the gal's parlor tricks, Game works even though they know what we are up to. Being charming, self confident, and maybe a little out of reach is its own status. Instead of focusing on finding "the one" why not just date lots of women, have a good time, and see if something more grows out of that before making a real emotional commitment to any one in particular?

      I know it sounds like a pitch, but you are a smart, witty guy with a great job who could be having a much better time with women. H.L. Menken said that a man is at his "maximum villainy in his forties" so enjoy the fuck out them!

      Delete
    3. I like the Menken quote though the "Pick Up Artist" vibe is just not my style. For me at least, owning the measures of status without being ostentatious or obnoxious about it are things I will improve on. I'm not much for parlor tricks. Thanks for the feedback, though.

      Delete
  4. I posted as "Anonymous" in my several replies to the original thread. I'm very glad that you have processed this as far as you have. You ARE okay and you will continue to be okay and more so. You are *fabulous*!

    PS I do agree that short-term, talk-centered therapy could help you move forward so that you're ready for your next relationship...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Some people can only love those who are "wrong" for them in some basic way. Then, if they're lucky, they learn through therapy or introspection, or 12-step groups, that they have been "looking for love in all the wrong places." These people may then achieve the maturity and self-awareness that will allow them to begin loving those who are capable of loving them back.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Having a little bit of therapy beats going a little bit of nuts, I assure you.

    Sleep, eat, get your health back. Dating is a numbers game and sometimes you lose the dice roll several times in a row. Luck be a (nice) lady to you next time.

    I have saved this bit of advice from the stone ages of the internet. It appeared in Salon more than a decade ago. (Good God.) I find it helpful when needed. The genders are reversed, but it should resonate for all.

    -----------

    Dear Mr. Blue,

    After four loving years, my darling has announced that, although his tender feelings remain, he is "prepared to go the distance of his lifetime without" me. It is not the first time a loved one has done this. Is it something about men that allows them such emotional efficiency? How do I salvage my dignity in this situation?

    In Pain

    The psychological advantage is with the abandoner, who steels himself to make the break, announces it, fends off all entreaties and marches off into the night, a brave soldier who did what needed to be done. Meanwhile, the abandoned feels like shit. But you are not without resources. Do not be pitiful; be pissed off. If you've been crying on your friends' shoulders, stop. If friends bring up the subject of the breakup, tell them that your darling was impotent and you got tired of helping him deal with his sexual insecurities. Get a haircut and buy some new duds. Cut out alcohol and put yourself on a diet of greens and fruit. Hurl yourself into profitable activity: Read a book a week, enroll in a French class, memorize poetry, go to the gym daily. Do this for 90 days, and at the end of it, sit down and ask yourself how you feel about your life. Ninety days of self-improvement fueled by anger should use up much of your anger, and then you can have the final revenge, which is to forgive the pitiful bastard and get on with your life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like this very much, thanks. The 90 day plan is something that definitely makes sense. Perhaps it's my combination of cynicism and non-judgmentalness, but I don't see forgiveness as revenge, but rather, a sign of maturity. Thanks again -

      Delete
  7. You sound like a really nice guy and, if I was younger, would have liked to meet you. Stay strong, and best of luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So happy to see the progress you've made in moving through/beyond the confusion and pain. Your openness and honesty are amazing and wonderful traits. One change I've noticed in you (loyal twitter follower) is the cynicism is melting away (in spite of SLF's behavior). I've told you before and I'll tell you again, as one still mired in her own cynicism when it comes to the ways of love; you give me hope. Thank you for sharing everything so candidly and with great heart. Best! Steph_is_Early

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As Andy said in Shawshank, "hope is a good thing." Life is too short to nurse petty grudges. If people cannot be adults, it's their problem, not ours. I hope you find happiness in your life too -

      Delete
  9. Hello again SLG:

    Most of us get to 'what we want' from experiencing 'what we do NOT want'. Relationships are gifts to give us more information about ourselves.

    Since you are an avid reader, why not browse + buy some books that resonate with you to see if you can deepen your understanding and reflections about previous relationships to build better understanding about what you want in a companion/partner for life? Where the 'sore spots' are for you to begin healing yourself + be a better partner for you and someone else.

    The longest journey is the journey inward.

    Enjoy the scenery! Celebrate your insights and your growth as your own unique self!

    Continued Blessings
    Dari

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've followed the developments in your saga on Twitter and the blog and I have to say, I'm impressed that you've put yourself out there so honestly and completely, both in the context of the relationship and to the public. It's painful, but coming out of the this relationship knowing that you are in fact ready for something real is an important step forward. I went through something similar many years ago - very intense few eeks, great weekend together, and then the guy (from New Jersey!) totally cut off contact without any sort of explanation. It was painful and I cried for a week, but it did open me up to the idea of a real relationship, as opposed to the horrific "relationships" I had been in since my big break up two years before. I ended up meeting the man I would eventually marry 6 months later and we're still going strong 13+ years in. Hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you got your "happy ending." It's been a difficult few weeks, but I'm getting my shit together little by little. Thanks for sharing your story.

      Delete
  11. I am so glad you are feeling a bit better, and it gets better every day. Though it does not actually go away. It taps into you mind daily...even 7 months later. Love turn us into such fools, but I would not want it any other way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. It's a struggle, but things get better a little, day by day.

      Delete