The 5 Deal-breakers that I will remember for my next relationship

There’s something awesome about coming to the realization that you finally understand what it is you want/need from relationships in your life.  It’s been a slow realization for me, but to finally be able to concretely state all the things (and truthfully, there really aren’t THAT many) that I need to feel secure and content and happy within my relationships.  Specifically – a relationship with a man.  There are five in total that I’d consider deal breakers.  That if these elements aren’t there … then I will hit the breaks on a potential relationship and say “F it! I’m outta here!!”.

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Attention.
This should be relatively obvious, but it took me a long time to realize just how much attention I need to feel secure in a relationship.  I’m not overly needy.  I don’t need to talk constantly… but I DO need consistent, daily contact of some sort, even if it’s a brief good morning or good night.  That said – if all my contact with someone is kept to that brief, surface-level only kind of communication – I’ll need something a bit more in depth in order to balance that out and keep a connection with someone.

To note… Attention also means that when you ARE spending time with someone – they have your attention.  No phones or distractions.  They listen to what you have to say and aren’t half tuning you out in the hopes that you’ll finish your sentence so they can jump in with their own.  If you’re going to give me attention – give me your attention – and I’ll do the same for you.  Honestly, the whole “tuning out” thing is a total turn-off and if I feel like I’m not being heard – I’ll just stop talking altogether.  Why waste my time?

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Enthusiasm.
This is a two way street.  I will be enthusiastic about talking to someone and seeing them. I expect it in return – because if that is lacking – then what’s the point in trying at all? Love is already complicated enough – lack of enthusiasm about it should NOT even be a factor. I don’t want to be a consolation prize, and neither I’m sure does anyone else.  Be excited to be with me – and I’ll give you the same.  🙂

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Honesty – not just in words – but in actions.
A lack of honesty only breeds a lack of trust, and in my experience, once that happens – it’s ultimately game over.  If I don’t trust you – then I don’t respect you.  And if I don’t respect you – I will never love you.  I can be one of the most patient and understanding women.  What I think is interesting is that people who’ve struggled with this, with me, in my past – always made an incorrect assumption as to how I would react to a situation.  Had they just informed me of what was going on – I’d have been, and in turn, they’d have been fine.  Assumptions can kill things fast.  Don’t assume – give me the benefit of the doubt and TRUST that I’ll react in a way that’s respectful and compassionate towards others.

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Humility & a desire to improve.
This is more about me… I’m only human.  I will occasionally make a mistake – as we all do! The key here is that I’ll own up to mistakes I make and work to improve myself and learn and grow from the mistakes I make.  Rarely will I make the same mistake twice.  I understand this about myself, and I understand it about others.  I would hope to find someone who has that same level of understanding and compassion.

Attraction.
This is important – but it’s not all about appearance.  Do we WANT to touch each other?  Kiss each other?  I know that if I an’t keep my hands off someone – that’s a good sign – but it better be reciprocated – or else – again – what’s the point?  Sex – while not my GOAL for a relationship – is incredibly important.  I’m a firm believer that the frequency and quality of a couple’s sex life directly correlates to the overall health of their relationship.

So tell me, what are your deal breakers?

There’s a lot on my mind tonight

So I will apologize right now if I am a little all over the place.  It’s been a lovely weekend overall.  One full of friends and lively conversation, good food and even dancing! 🙂

One of my best female friends, J, planned a party.  A formal black and red party at a local beerhall.  The rules – must wear formal attire – in black or red, and no drama or attitudes from anyone in attendance.  🙂  So I dragged my other girl (R) out.  It was nice to get all gussied up and go out.  It’s something I don’t do very often, although I have a feeling that will change now that J has successfully managed to get me to attend.  🙂 Here’s pics of R and J and myself that night.  🙂  R and I had a blast, 2 single ladies without a care in the world.  We ate oysters and mussels and just enjoyed being out.

It was good for me to attend.  I’m still coming back out of my shell.  And truthfully, this time of year, I don’t usually come out of my shell much at all.  But Saturday was fun and gave me a much needed boost of energy, I danced and sang and made some new friends and caught up with some old friends.  Tonight, I spent the evening with my daughter cooking good food and watching a movie she picked out before my son came home from his dads house.

Ben has been on my brain this week.  Actually – there’s a lot that’s been on my brain this week.  Things that have been rattling around in there range from Ben and his birthday anniversary that is coming up, to love and relationships, friendships, and just life in general.  Had someone told me 10 years ago, that this is where I’d be… I would have never believed it.  Any change or turn along my path, and things would be different.  I wouldn’t trade it, I know that things happen for a reason.  I’m ok with it… well – ok that’s not quite the right way to word it either – I accept it.  That’s enough.  Every year – around this time, I make a pact to myself – that I will not make any major decisions (if I can help it), in the months of Oct – Dec.  Grief is a funny thing – and I’ve learned my lesson in this respect.  In most cases – I can hold off until the new year on most things.  Patience is something I’ve learned to channel at this time of year.  I  miss my son.  Weird to miss some one that you only had for a short while.  And even tho it’s certainly been long enough – I still think on him and wonder.

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I gave R some advice this weekend.  She was wrestling with her feelings about a man.  She knew she was falling in love, but didn’t want to be the first person to say it.  She’s loved him for a very long time.  I told her something my Nana told me when I was young.  If you feel love – you should speak it.  It cannot be held for very long on the tongue.  And if you express it… you have a better chance of working past that strange anxious feeling that you get before you’ve said it to someone for the first time- because if it is returned, then something new can grow and blossom.  And if the love is not returned, then now you know and can move forward and move on.    It’s funny – as a teenager or even in my twenties… I didn’t put much stock in Nana’s advice… but looking back now – I couldn’t agree with her more.   I’ve always said I don’t say I love you to hear it back… I say it to make sure they know.  That’s enough.

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I’m going to start planning my next vacation.  I will probably go in April 2017 time frame.  I’d like to disappear for a week.  I haven’t decided yet where I want to go.  I have an idea of who all I’d like to invite to join me, but we’ll see if they have the desire to vacation with me.  🙂  I want to explore and get away.  Travel has most certainly had an enormous impact in my life, and I look forward to being able to continue to experience it.  I think my next trip will likely be a cruise, as it’s something I have not done yet.  My instinct says I won’t like it as much as I enjoy traveling as a local – but I want to experience it regardless.  It’s something Nana and Granddad would do when I was younger.  I remember them telling me stories and showing me pictures from all their many excursions.  Or try on the jewelry that was often purchased on these trips.  I’d picture the ports and destinations, the food and the events that were often a part of their stories.  My grandparents truly led amazing lives.  🙂

Can’t travel without a job.  I’m trying to not count my chickens – but I am hoping to hear good news on the job front this week.  Fingers crossed that I’ll have news either way by Wednesday!  🙂

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At the end of the day – I got some news from my mom, that my grandparents aren’t doing very well health-wise.  It has me a bit worried and anxious.  I know as they continue to get older and older that at some point, I will have to say my good byes to them.  But they are mine damn it!  Haha.  But in all seriousness, I’m not ready to even think about losing them.  It makes me sad to think about. Hopefully, things will be just fine and I’ll be allowed to put my head back in the sand on this particular subject.  At least for now.

Well – it’s time to get some sleep.  Goodnight Neverland.  Much love to you!!

Fall is here

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I know – not a very imaginative title.  I may or may not change it.  Tonight, I need you Neverland.  I love it here.  It’s a place that I feel safe to let anything out.  Vulnerabilities and all.  I like to posture and say that by sharing my vulnerabilities, it gives me strength.  It’s a bunch of BS tho.  I’m still not very strong.  Today especially.

Today, I feel lost.  Lost in a sea of my own making to some extent, as my life is my own, and the choices I’ve made over my life were mine.  Part of me thinks, well.. Jen, it IS fall.  You always get this way leading up to Ben’s birthday.  But I don’t think this is just a bit of grief.  Not having a job right now is frustrating.  I’m antsy and starting to worry over my financial responsibilities.  It’s a strange feeling – first time in 12 years I’ve been unemployed.  I won’t lie – I’m a little scared.

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Fall is really here.  It’s getting colder, more brisk in the mornings.  The leaves are changing.  It’s one of my favorite times of the year.  And yet – it’s also a time of year that typically has me feeling anxious, and even a little down.  This is the time of year, that I want to hibernate.  Who knows, maybe I was a bear in another life? 🙂  This is the time of year that I’m often hit with a lot of memories from my past.  I dreamed of Ben the other night.  Grayson asked about him the other day – as we have his picture up on one of the bookshelves in the living room.  I don’t cry very much anymore, but there is still a deep ache.  The kind of ache in the chest that if you dwelled for too long, the tears would well up behind the eyes, the flood threatening to flow down the cheek.  Some wounds are too deep to really heal.

I’ve had some pretty major shakeups with friends and family in the last couple of weeks.  That combined with the kids starting school, healing from my injuries and the lack of work… I can’t lie to myself anymore, I’m on the edge of depression.  And I know I’ll pull out of it – I always do – but the past couple of weeks have been hard.  I’m really proud of me tho.  I’m doing it all.  I’m managing to figure all of this out, slowly but surely.  I have to remind myself that courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid… it means you’re afraid but still take a step forward.

I have to remind myself that it’s ok to take some time for myself right now.  To be quiet and hibernate a little in my home.  It’s ok to feel a little lost and scared and lonely.  I’m lucky really.  I know how good I have it and I know that I’m one tough cookie who’ll find a way to  continue to have it good for a long time yet to come.  I’ve never been a fan of limbo – and that’s all this is.  A strange state where the path that lies ahead of me is a bit hazy and unclear.  It’s ok.  Although – I won’t lie – it would be nice if someone would join me with a flashlight and a map.  🙂

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I need to get some of this out

I’ve been hiding from my phone for the past couple of days.  Ok, maybe not hiding, but I plug it in and walk away from it.  I don’t want to be near it.  Families… weddings… I swear, weddings, funerals and babies bring out the crazy in people.  And typically – when the crazy comes out – someone gets hurt.

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I guess this time… that person is me.  I’m hurt.  Reeling actually.  I feel as if I’ve been singed and cut by someone I never thought I’d have to fear.

My “bro”.  He’s not related to me by blood, but we call each other “brother” and “sister”.  We met 13 years ago, he was my neighbor who lived with his then-girlfriend across the hall.  I swear, the first time I met him, I knew he was my brother from another mother. LOL.  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but we were always there for each other.  He’s always been there for me.

I knew, as his wedding day approached that our friendship was about to change in a big way.  Ideally, I’d gain a cool sister out of the deal.  But she has never seemed to have much interest in that, we don’t share a lot of the same ideals, so I get it. Actually – I wish she understood exactly just how much I get it.  The Bro’s life is about to change in a pretty serious way.  His life now must be with her.  Up until recently, I’ve been excited to think about what is in store for their future… moving in together, babies, eventually buying a house, doing all the things that I know he wants to accomplish.  And I knew that our friendship would move to the very back… like nosebleed seats.  And I’m cool with that – hell – I’ve been pushing him in this direction.  I guess I figured we’d get through his wedding day first.  I was wrong.  And truly, I’m not sure our friendship can recover from this.  And if I’m honest, After all that was said, I’m not entirely sure I want it to.

I won’t spill all the details here… but I will say that I wish I could help some people see how much their words can damage.  How their tone and the way they approach other people will directly impact how their words are received.  I will also say that it takes a very brave and yet rather stupid man to judge another.  My bro laid out many of the decisions I’d made over the course of my life … pointing out my mistakes, effectively rubbing my nose in the areas he felt I didn’t measure up.  Not just in my past, but even now.  But he did all of this, only knowing bits and pieces of the story.  He judged me… and it came across with anger, disdain, disappointment and shame. His soon to be wife even joined in the “fun”.  She’d verbally attacked me prior to my bro letting me have it.  Screamed at me and said I was a horrible “best man”.  Ironic she did that when I was putting finishing touches on some bachelor party related stuff earlier that evening.  It was a hard hitting 1-2 verbal sucker punch from them as a couple.

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I won’t lie, that first 24 hours after they both let me have it… I was a wreck.  I broke down.  I bawled and went quiet.  I crawled inside my world and licked my wounds.  I wasn’t even angry, I was self-reflective.  I had to check myself… make sure that what he’d said wasn’t true.  I guess because I’ve been actively working on self-improvement, I had to really take a good look and make sure that there weren’t areas of his feedback that I needed to consider.  The next day, we spoke again and he apologized and tried to sweep it under the rug.  Even tried to deny some of what he’d said the night before.  I thanked him for the apology but stated that for me to feel comfortable attending the wedding and the festivities, that I would like an apology from his fiance/soon to be wife.    He agreed that I deserved it, but warned that I might not get it from her right away.  He laid out various reasons and excuses for why I should just let it go.  About 15 minutes after he said he’d talk to her and get back to me, my phone rang.  It was her, and I answered it pleasantly, as I didn’t want to start things off on the wrong foot.  She immediately started yelling – even yelled an apology.  Yea – cuz THAT feels totally sincere.  I hung up on her, and texted her that perhaps it would be better to move to text.  Honestly, I just didn’t want to be yelled at anymore.  We texted a little – but I pretty quickly gave up on that too.  So here I sit, no sincere apology and still feeling incredibly upset and uneasy a few days later.

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Yes, I could back down… I could suck it up and be there for him on his wedding day.  And likely – I will do this.  More for me than him.  I don’t want to feel guilty 10 years from now for not showing up.  And I’ll go into it knowing there’s the potential for drama, or daggers being thrown at me, there will be the potential for awkward uncomfortable silences, and even worse, a high chance that I will end up feeling used or insulted by the end of all of this.  I will suck it up, BUT… I’m done.  Or at least I think I am.  I’m going to just keep going down my own life’s path… because I’m dying to see what happens in the next chapters of my life.  To get thru this, i’m going to keep telling myself that it’s not my circus, and not my monkeys.

I’m a grown woman who’s made a successful, full and happy life for herself.  I’m a woman who has good, sweet, smart children who may stumble or struggle in their life in places, but who know without a shadow of a doubt that their momma loves them and would do anything to see that they are safe and well cared for.  I don’t deserve to be talked to or treated in that manner.  Especially when what is being said isn’t true.  At least I had that going for me, I knew, deep down in my heart that nothing they said was true about me… that it was being said out of spite and anger and jealousy.  But here’s the thing, even knowing that… it still hurt.  It was a different hurt tho.  This hurt came from knowing that the someone I trusted over the years is now throwing daggers… they are no longer worthy of my trust.  That perhaps I’d misjudged him all along.

So … because of all of this… I’ve been avoiding my phone. I’ve been staying off social media and just kind of hiding in my world.  I’ve had some shifts in a few friendships in the last few months… each of them shook me to my core for various reasons.  This one is no different.  What is interesting to me is that when I promised myself that I’d get healthy, even if that meant cutting toxic situations out of my life… I guess I didn’t realize how many of my relationships had toxic layers woven into them.  Maybe living on my own and staying single for a while truly WAS the best thing I could have done for myself.  I’m so glad I’ve done it up to this point.  I’ll have to watch myself moving forward… I’m putting up my walls with everyone – unintentionally.  And I don’t mean to.  I am just unsure on who to trust, vs. who will judge me or hurt me.  Easier to just put up the walls a bit.

I had an interview today – it went quite well.  I felt confident, for the first time in months actually.  A genuine confidence, not the kind where you fake it till you hopefully make it.  Maybe being shaken to my core this weekend was good for me.  Helped remind me who I am.  Where I’ve been, and more importantly, where I am headed.

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We’re a month into the new year…

So much has been going on lately, my apologies for not updating things here.  The single, working mom’s life is interesting.  Never a dull moment!  🙂  Truthfully, things have never been better.  I’m excited for the year to come.

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In approximately 2 months, I will have purchased a home and hopefully be all moved in, or at the very least, in the process of doing so.  I’m so excited, no.. thrilled… no .. no words can truly do justice on this one.

I’ve been allowing myself to dream a little bit when I go to tour places.  It’s so much fun.  I picture where I could put my christmas tree, I picture a place for my office, I picture my decorations or new landscaping, I picture baking or entertaining friends.  I’ve wanted to own a home since I was a kid.  A forever home.  A place that my kids can count on me being when they return home from their adventures and lives elsewhere.  Some place that I could love and restore and add on to.  Sure, eventually I’d like to do some income property of some sort.  But home.  I’ve been in search of it for a few years it seems.  It’s about time I give it some priority and bring that little dream to life.

Puppy training is going well.  Today especially.  A new friend suggested I treat it a bit like role playing, and I think that helped a bit.  It was a definite confidence boost.  🙂 I’ve been struggling to “Be the Alpha”.  I’ve never played the bad cop well.. I’m the good cop.  The one with the hug, a cup of tea and a cookie.  The cheerleader and encourager, not the punisher or enforcement.  This is a trait I will learn.  I’m determined to be a good dog owner.  I know I’m a good cat owner.  Kitties and I have great understanding.  🙂  I adore dogs too, the cuddles and the snores and the companionship. I just have to get a bit better at it. 🙂

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I’m almost done with building out a new piece of software at work.  It’s just a base for what I really want to be able to do, but it’s such a huge step for this company from a technology standpoint that I’m already super excited and proud about it.  It’s been a crazy push to make it to these deadlines.  Heck, it’s 10:30pm on a sunday and I literally just logged off from putting in 5 hours tonight just to get a little ahead for my morning. But, I’m excited for the coming week ahead, now that I’m feeling a bit clearer in the head, I have some ideas I can’t wait to prototype out this week.

My kids spent the weekend with their Dad and I had the nice opportunity to go out with some friends, play some video games, and just generally enjoy myself and recover from the miserable head cold I’d managed to come down with last week. It’s nice to be in a good place with the ex too.  Granted, we haven’t had issues in quite some time now, but I started thinking today about how lucky I have it in that regards.  We communicate better now than we ever had.  He seems to be happy and doing well in his life and he knows that deep down, I’m still rooting for him to succeed in all that he dreams.  It’s nice to be in this kind of space.

I’ve had the chance to reconnect with a few old friends in the last couple of weekends and it’s been really nice to catch up and just take a few moments and not have any responsibilities or requirements other than to just be me.  I get wrapped up in so many things… being a boss, being a mom, being a friend, being a daughter or granddaughter.  It’s rare these days for me to get to just focus on being me.  A friend challenged me to figure out a way to discover that I’m a beautiful woman this year.  So I’ve been attempting to learn that.  Got my hair done, as it had been a while.  Did my nails, it had been a while on that one too.  I think I came to the realization that my friend may be right when, after taking a couple of selfies, I was in surprise at the woman staring back at me.  That’s not me.  But it is.  And she’s … pretty.  And confident.  And there’s a bit of wisdom in her eyes that I didn’t know was there.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about my life this past week.  About bucket lists and resolutions.  I’ve never really been one to do that kind of thing.  Of course, I do have a Bucket list, it can be found on this blog… but that was a first for me too.  🙂  I didn’t come up with any resolutions this year.  Mainly because I felt that if I worded them that way, I wouldn’t actually accomplish them.  I’ve simply been reminding myself each day with a quote I stumbled upon on Pinterest.  Odd place to find something so life affirming, but there it is.

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“You only have one life.  How exactly are you going to spend it?  Regretting?  Questioning?  Crying?  Hating yourself?  Running around after people who don’t give a shit about you?  You have one life.  Spend it well.  Go out, and make yourself proud.”

It’s about damn time that I remember that, and live up to it every day.  Sure I’ll falter here and there.  Self doubt – it’s something at least I can count on to show up… but I’m definitely NOT going to keep holding myself back.  I’m finally starting to understand not only who I am, but what I bring to the world.  My worth.  It’s lovely.  It’s empowering.  Nothing big or flashy… but a nice warmth from the gut kind of thing.

Well neverland, it’s time to log off.  Need to get some sleep.  Sleep well and dream sweet!

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