Category: Interpersonal relationships


There comes a time in every relationship where you reach the tipping point and have to decide if it’s worth saving or if you have to let it go.  It’s not always an easy decision although sometimes it is very necessary.

I finally came to the decision that I had to end an intimate friendship that had grown to become dysfunctional between us.  I had tried to end it a couple of times before but the other person wouldn’t allow me to.  The first time they responded with anger and made me feel shamed so that I begged for them to take me back.  Later when I tried passively withdrawing and becoming more distant, they drew me back in with words of their need and value of our relationship.  I obliged even though it was becoming more painful and dysfunctional for me, partly because I hoped it was true and partly because I feel so much loving compassion that I wanted to heal the hurt this person had known.  At last I finally decided that it was too uncomfortable and too dysfunctional for me to continue to make myself suffer at their expense so I was direct and honest and said the relationship was over.  I decided to do it in what I hoped was a compassionate and honorable way: I did it when I knew their new partner would be nearby for support and I made no blame, called no names, wished them happiness and kept it brief.  I felt a sense of relief and goodness for finally having done it afterwards and thought I was free to move on.  I was wrong.

For some reason it took several days for me to receive a message they had sent me the next day.  The message was full of hurt and anger, designed to make me feel shamed and to hurt me.  On the phone this person had appeared to take the news well enough and offered to be there for me whenever I needed them in the future.  But the message was exactly the opposite.  I was told all of my problems and that I was basically sick, that they had done so much for me  and couldn’t help me anymore, said that our brief romantic relationship was a meaningless affair, that they were basically doing me a favor by being friends with me afterwards and that I’m jealous because I can’t have them and if it hurts then too bad for me as they have found someone else.   It’s clear this person did not handle my rejection of them very well, even though I was repeatedly rejected by them throughout our relationship/friendship.

My pain over this has been deep and to my core.  What is the most painful is how they mocked and belittled my love for them.  We had met as they were getting out of a long-term relationship and they used me to feel better.  Later I felt used in being around them and someone who turns out to be their partner which was a secret so it feels like I was there to legitimize their relationship, a sort of chaperone for them.  And I truly loved this person.  I may have been foolish enough to hope they would change their mind and return that love for me but that doesn’t change the fact I loved this person with all my heart and it meant nothing, less than nothing because they so cruelly killed that love within me.  And they have not recognized that I have done the kinder thing by stepping aside so that they are free to pursue their life without the vestiges of a wasted affair hanging around on the outskirts of life, sadly looking in at what can never be.

This person seems to think that I’m doing this because I’m in a deep depression again but this is far from the case.  I know that my depression has been the worst it has been in years over the past year we have known each other and I feel it is related to that relationship.  I have been working hard the past few months to change myself, improve myself and fix my problems so that I can move beyond the patterns that keep me where I have been stuck all my life.  This person has given me no credit that I can and have changed.  They have fancied themselves to be a kind of personal guru to me and now that I no longer need that, now that I’ve taken them off the worshipful pedestal, the dynamic has changed.  I’m a stronger person thanks to my work, thanks to my supports from true and loving friends who return my love, see my value, cherish my gifts.  I am so very thankful for these, the true loves in my life.

My former friend’s new love will not be without challenges, their new partner is coming out of a long-term marriage with children involved.  My former friend may now get the chance to be in my position when they got out of their long-term relationship; they are ready for a serious relationship and their partner might not be.  It is uncharitable to wish the same pain I have felt upon them, although I hope they learn a lesson from this, I hope they learn not to play with the loving feelings someone carried for them.  I feel compassion for them but my love is dead and can never return even if one day in the future our paths cross again.  I have taken steps to ensure that will not happen.  My heart is empty towards them and can never be filled with anything but compassion.  If one day they change their minds and truly see my value and how precious I am then they will have to carry the hope throughout their life that maybe in the next life we will have another chance, as in this one the chance is lost.

As for me, I am free.

Self-Confidence

As someone with high self-confidence, you feel quite comfortable interacting with other people. Indeed, you find the company of others very stimulating and enjoy meeting new people. Your relaxed demeanor in groups makes people around you comfortable too. Perhaps because you feel comfortable talking about yourself, others tend to enjoy being around you and perceive you as socially competent. The confidence that helps you feel comfortable talking to people also spills into your own personal beliefs about yourself. Although you have several strengths, it’s likely that you also acknowledge and accept your weaknesses. But unlike some people, you take full responsibility for your actions—you rarely regret things you’ve done in the past and are not embarrassed easily.
Perhaps the defining feature that sets you apart from most people is the exceptionally high standards that you set for yourself. Your competence in social gatherings as well as at work should provide ample evidence for this. With these characteristics, it’s very likely that people come to you for advice and generally think of you as someone with leader-like qualities.

Family Orientation

As someone who is oriented to familial matters, you value the company of family-members and domestic life. If you have children already, you enjoy spending time with them very much and work hard to be a good parent. If you don’t have children, you very much desire having children in the future. And your preference for cooking and entertaining guests at home will likely ease the transition into parenthood.
You take pride in maintaining and cultivating a healthy family and work hard to achieve this. This natural tendency is easily illustrated by your preference for doing things around the house as opposed to going out to clubs and restaurants.
What really sets you apart from people that are low in family orientation is that you know how to manage your frustrations and work well on your own. This means that you are well-equipped to manage a family without letting all the work that is involved wear you down. However, as someone with strong family values, all the work that is involved in maintaining a tidy home and well-stocked kitchen might occasionally make it difficult for you to finish everything that you need to do.

Self-Control

The self-control personality dimension captures the way in which a person regulates and directs him or herself. Being low in self-control can be both good and bad. Occasionally people may be compelled to follow their intuitions and give in to their temptations, and your degree of self-control makes this likely to happen more often than not. This can be good in circumstances where being relaxed and open are important. However, in situations where it is necessary to be focused and careful, you might find that you do or say things that may be inappropriate.
As someone who exerts little control over your actions, you may find that you commit social blunders that might offend other people and get yourself in trouble. For example, if you’re given responsibility to work on a project that requires close attention to detail, you may be likely to overlook important details because you have difficulty staying focused. Consequently, you might feel more comfortable delegating such tasks to other people who are more detail oriented. Being able to recognize such characteristics in yourself and having more detail-oriented people do such tasks could be an effective way to manage your own stress level.
Low self-control may diminish your effectiveness at work. Acting too relaxed can make it difficult for you to focus on projects that require organized sequences of steps or stages. Thus, your ability to accomplish may be inconsistent. Indeed, it’s possible that you might be criticized periodically for being unreliable or unable to “stay within the lines.” Nonetheless, you may still experience many short-lived pleasures and never be thought of as boring.

Openness

As someone high in openness, you have a strong appreciation for beauty, both in art and nature. Indeed, it’s likely that you are easily absorbed in music and art, as well as natural phenomena. Another aspect of your openness is your emotional insight; that is, you probably have good access to and awareness of your own emotions.
Another aspect of the openness dimension is the tendency to think about abstract concepts and ideas. This thinking style may take the form of artistic and metaphorical use of language, and/or music composition or performance. Thus, it is likely that, either in your work or spare time, you enjoy activities that get your “creative juices” flowing.
Your tendency to be open-minded can have advantages and disadvantages. For instance, when there are no clear rules about how to approach a particular problem, your openness makes it easier for you to identify new ways to solve problems that might not be very obvious to people that are not as open as you are. In contrast, you may be bored easily in situations that lack high amounts of intellectual stimulation. In such cases, you might have difficulty excelling on projects that do not provide much stimulation or require much creative thinking.

Easygoingness

Easygoingness refers to one’s ability to relax. Based on your score, you appear to “take things as they come” and enjoy having a good time. However, being high in easygoingness also has the potential to produce stress in a number of ways. For example, you may find it difficult to complete tasks thoroughly and efficiently. In this way, being high in easygoingness cannot only make your life difficult, but also the lives of the people around you. Another potential problem with being too high in easygoingness is that it can provide you with gratification in the short-term, but in the long-term provide undesirable consequences.
High easygoingness, even when not seriously destructive, may also diminish your effectiveness at work, for example. You may find it aversive and difficult to put in all the effort that may sometimes be needed to effectively accomplish certain tasks. For this reason, your colleagues might view you as forgetful and unfocused.

How does your personality affect your love life?

With the strong degree of self-confidence that you possess, it’s no surprise that you get along well with most people. Indeed, it’s self-confidence that allows people to feel comfortable interacting with others without feeling insecure and vulnerable. For this reason, you shouldn’t have much difficulty in romance, at least not initially. Your social skills will likely help relieve any anxiety your romantic partners might have on those first few dates. However, over time, the high standards that you have for yourself could potentially frustrate your partner.
Given how much you value family life, you probably get along best with people who share your values and beliefs. In fact, it’s likely that you maintain close connections with members of your immediate and distant family. For this reason, you would probably be most satisfied in a romantic relationship with someone who also values domestic life.
Being in a relationship with someone who enjoys going out to parties and staying-up late at night might be fun, at least initially; yet it’s likely that you will find this tiring over time. Thus, it might be easier and more satisfying for you to develop a long-lasting relationship with a person who also enjoys spending time at home and desires starting a family. On first dates, perhaps you might suggest to your partner that the two of you spend a quiet night having dinner at one of your respective homes instead of going out to a restaurant or club.
As someone who is more relaxed than most people, you likely get along with most people quite well. Chances are that your friends and colleagues perceive you as lively, fun to be with, and good-humored. When it comes to romance, you’ll likely be attracted to most people. However, your free-spirited nature might make being in a relationship with a person that is more rigid than you difficult because you might perceive the person as being too uptight and controlling.
Your openness probably makes it easy for you to respect and appreciate people that are different from you. However, when it comes to romantic relationships, your openness might make it difficult for you to tolerate people that cannot appreciate diversity as much as you. Therefore, you may be happiest in serious relationships with people that share your open-mindedness. But, your openness might occasionally cause a certain degree of dependency on your end because you may be so open that you easily adopt the preferences and habits of your partners and gradually relinquish things that make you so unique.

 

I am currently reading an interesting book by Brene Brown called The Gifts of Imperfection.  It is written in simple, everyday language which makes it a good read, entertaining sometimes yet informative.  There are many concepts which I am contemplating from this book but tonight I read something quite interesting:

“Technology, for instance, has become a kind of imposter for connection, making us believe we’re connected when we’re truly not–at least not in the ways we need to be.  In our technology-crazed world, we’ve confused being communicative with feeling connected.  Just because we’re plugged in, doesn’t mean we feel seen and heard.  In fact, hyper-communication can mean we spend more time on Facebook than we do face-to-face with the people we care about.”

I found this concept to be so very true and I have been guilty of this mistake as well.  I made a connection with someone and desperately wanted to continue that connection and so I relied heavily on technology to maintain communication–texting, emailing, “Facebooking” (wow, I just verbed a noun!) and when I stopped doing that and the communication dwindled in those formats because I wasn’t initiating it anymore I felt so disconnected, alone and lost.  But in reality that connection was there, I just didn’t need to communicate ALL the time.  Two of my dearest friends and I have been friends for nearly 25 years and we’ve gone through long periods of no communication at all and yet our connection has never stopped, we were and still are great friends.  We just didn’t need to be wired in to each other all the time.  And this is true of myself as I sometimes feel the need to disconnect and take my space away as well.  My mother always said of the husband and wife who work together that they mustn’t have a thing to talk about at the end of the day as they’ve been together ALL the time and have had to chance to learn something new or have a new experience that they can talk about to their mate.  Sometimes you need to be away from those you are connected to in order to have those experiences to bring back to the relationship.  If you love someone you have to let them go … go out into the world and grow and have the trust that they will come back to your connection with things to share and make your connection grow and improve and thus help you to do the same.

 

Today I truly discovered what friendship really means.  It is a gift of pure love.

I offered amends to a friend last night for wrongs I felt I had done and I asked for forgiveness.  I was reassured that we had never stopped being friends through this time.  Today I talked with another friend about this experience and my feelings about this friendship.  I had been struggling against feelings of frustration that my friend wouldn’t let me break off the friendship and respected and accepted my need for space, telling me of the high value they put on our friendship.  In the midst of flawed thinking and afflicted emotions I blamed that friend for being selfish, for holding on tightly and yet appearing to me to be abandoning me when I needed them the most.  This morning my second friend gently pointed out that my friend was holding me up so I wouldn’t fall because they cared about me so very much.  For a moment I was stunned and then it sank in…  And I thought of the Footprints in the Sand poem; when I looked down and saw only one set of footprints I felt abandoned and alone but really it was then that I was being carried when I needed it most.

I had been carrying many afflictive emotions about this friendship, including anger at losing something I’d wanted from the relationship and jealousy about them seeking it from another source and the hurt of feeling left behind.  But what I couldn’t see clearly was that I nearly missed getting something so much more valuable than a superficial experience, but an intimate friendship with someone who I connected deeply with from the moment we met.  In pushing for what I wanted and felt I needed, I didn’t realize that my friend was really giving me what I actually needed.  This is the gift that is a loving, meaningful and lasting friendship.  I could possibly have lost all this had I gotten what I wanted for when I felt I was being difficult, a superficial relationship would have ended with the other person giving up and walking away in disgust.

And to that friend I say this:  Thank you.

With love,

Laury

I have often heard similar sentiments expressed by my friends.  Equally often I agonize over what I want and the apparent lack of receiving it.  What I want most in life is to have a partner and be loved by him.  And yet I never seem to get there.  I’ve experienced one disastrous relationship followed by a series of very short-term experiences or simply one night stands with the wrong individuals.  Some will say that Fate or a Higher Power is preventing one of these individuals from becoming more because I’m destined for someone who I truly deserve.  But when is that ever going to happen?  How long must I wait, how many more unsuccessful experiences, how many more lonely nights and bitter tears before I get what everyone else seems to get with so little effort?  Once there was one who made me feel that I had found that person for me but it didn’t work out; it seems I wasn’t the right one for him.  Intellectually I understand and appreciate that mature decision in that regard but my heart is still sad and my mind is frankly still very jealous and envious that he can simply move on and I cannot.  I begin to move on and then I’m drawn back in again and fall again and then I end up suffering again as I try to fall out of love again and try to get unstuck and move on myself.  I feel like I’m stuck on an endless merry-go-round except it’s not merry when I can’t get off.   And it’s mostly of my own doing.  But some of it isn’t.  Words, actions and body language tell me a confusing story:  the words say “You’re very important to me”, the actions sometimes say “I reject your offers of spending time together or keeping in touch, I’m just too busy” but the body language says “I’m territorial over you.”  I don’t know which to believe as they are contradictory.

It’s been very difficult to go backwards in this.  Perhaps our mistake was not becoming friends first.  It was a mistake in timing, that is very much true.  But should I have clung to a shadow of what we had by readily agreeing to being just friends so that I didn’t lose it all entirely and hold on to a thread of hope in vain for a change of heart somewhere down the line, or should I have been stronger and broke it off completely?  I’ve tried backing away now and he won’t let me go.  I feel claustrophobic, like I need space, like I need to be rid of these negative emotions of jealousy and sadness and abandonment and grief. They weigh heavily on my mind and soul and cause me a lot of emotional pain.  I need to break the cycle, it’s killing me.

I’ve been told that you cannot go back to being friends with a former lover.  And yet as the above sentiment in the poster says, do not settle for less when you deserve more.  I’ve been told to be thankful for what I have and not pine for what I don’t have.  Again, this says to settle for less.  I’m tired of settling, tired of having to accept less in my life than I want.

I want nothing spectacular although I would love to have the grand romantic gesture just like in the movies.  I’m a romantic sometimes, I admit it! lol  I also confess to the darker, less honorable side and say I wish sometimes that I could have the power to walk away first from a relationship for once and have someone realize what a loss it is when I am gone.  A friend of mine has said that nearly every ex of hers has said afterwards that they wish they still had her in their life and they regret losing her.  Yeah, it’s an ego thing but sometimes I wish it was like in It’s A Wonderful Life where I could have the chance to see the impact and just the kind of loss it would be on people’s lives if I was no longer in it, would it really make a difference, would they realize then my true value? Would it change my life like it did in the movie? But not only that, would it change THEIR lives to know it and make them see things and act differently?

I realize I can’t make someone love me the way I want them too, nor can I make the right person appear when I want them too.  I can only try to make myself more loveable and ready for it when it does happen.

I want an intellectual equal, I want a loving companion to work with me through our time together.  I have a lot of learn and I have a lot to teach.  I offer my loving heart, my kindness and compassion, my trust and my life.  I can only  hope that everyone is right and I will find him eventually. Patience is hard.

I deserve it just as anyone else does.

Admit it: personality quizes are a guilty pleasure.  We all want to know what they say about us just as we want to know if our horoscope or Tarot reading is correct about our lives.  It’s fun to sit and compare results with our friends and see if others agree with the assessment.

I just did a quiz on what I want in a partner and this is my result:

The ISSUES that lead to misunderstanding and conflict

  • Accomplishment really boils down to social and economic stability — we’re talking about issues like a partner’s profession, level of success and noteworthy achievement, being socially revered and having a respectable lifestyle.
  • Physical Chemistry really boils down to raw physical and sexual attraction — we’re talking about issues like a partner’s physical appearance, attitudes toward sex and sensual style.
  • Drive really boils down to mental and physical wellness — we’re talking about issues like a partner’s physical fitness, zest for life, energy level and openness to new opportunities.

WHAT YOU “SAY” YOU WANT

Your scores on the “Lost in Translation Test” suggest that you want a man who’s “not overly accomplished but is highly driven and strongly values outward physical chemistry.”

What you “really” want

According to relationship experts, what you seem to be looking for is an “ADMIRER.” An admirer is well-poised to meet the hidden or unspoken needs you might actually be trying to fill in a search for a relationship. An admirer is…

  • Someone who doesn’t make you feel like an underachiever, who’ll give you some physical and emotional space so that you can focus on your personal interests and goals.
  • Someone who won’t cast a shadow on you, socially speaking, in constantly grabbing the spotlight.
  • Someone who’s steady and economically stable but who knows how to balance professional ambition with being accessible to loved ones.
  • Someone who feels no need to impress others but instead focuses on the needs of his loved ones.
  • Someone who’ll always strive to make you feel attractive, desirable and loved with undivided attention and a sense of physical security.
  • Someone who’ll make you feel young and alive with a flirty manner around you, and who’ll renew your passion for life by opening your eyes to new experiences and opportunities.
  • Someone who takes pride in his appearance and works at being attractive to you inside and outside the bedroom.
  • Someone strives for longevity by being true to a physically and psychologically healthy lifestyle.

To increase your odds of finding an ADMIRER, look or listen for these key words or themes when you search profiles or talk to romantic prospects:  clear priorities, humble, skillful, centered, passionate, sensual, romantic, articulate, expressive, eager, kind, sweet, responsive, confident, attentive, loyal, committed, well rounded, worldly, fit, protective, family oriented, optimistic, curious, adventurous, uninhibited and fun loving.

Hmmm, pretty accurate.  Now I wonder what it is my Admirer is looking for?  If only I could read HIS quiz results. LOL

Human behavior is definitely fascinating.  In various situations it can be both predictable and shocking.  There have been many times when I think to myself that I wish I could get into the head space that brought someone to the point where they thought it was a good idea to do something.  And other times I’m quite glad I can’t! lol

However, much of the time what stymies me beyond that of basic human stupidity is the behavior of males in relationships.

In keeping an interpersonal relationship alive, a woman will endeavor to keep contact, often writing or calling or wanting to get together and spending time together in person.  She hopes that the man will make the same kind of effort in return.  And he often does in the pursuit phase.  But then he may suddenly become too busy to return calls, doesn’t initiate contact like before and rejects offers of activities.  Two things may happen with the girl: 1) she becomes suspicious that he’s pursuing someone else; 2) she feels rejected and may stop trying.  But perhaps there can be a third option:  guys are the pursuer and not the pursued in the mating ritual so when she pursues him he is thrown off the game.  Maybe he feels like he’s lost control of the situation?  Does it go against his inherant instincts?  If a woman pursues a man she is seen as desperate and needy yet we encourage the reverse because it is confident and strong for the man to be persistent and gain his prize.  Women have evolved a set of rules for the game just as men have.  Men will often complain that women play games but it is men who are hard-wired to play this game.

 

I can’t make someone love me but what I can and want to do is be lovable.  Sometimes people won’t love me the way I want to be loved by them but one day someone will.  That’s what matters.

The path of my search for a life companion has been erratic at best.  I can honestly say I have loved but have never really felt loved in return.  I really have no relationship experience on this level so I make a lot of mistakes and have a lot to learn.  And yet — strangely — I am one who people turn to for advice on love relationships!

Many moons ago I was engaged to someone.  It was a mistake and led me on a path to some of the worst emotional pain I’ve known.  I did it for the wrong reason, that reason being: no one else asked.  I’d never dated anyone before this person, I didn’t want to live a life without knowing what it was like to have a sexual relationship and this person had appealed to my “Florence Nightingale Complex” of wanting to take care of someone because of his health issues.  And I had wanted him to know what it was like to be loved.  But it was a recipe for disaster, complicated by his eccentric and unbalanced mother.  One day an argument happened, I was made to leave and I left and did not go back.  Several months of what can only be described as stalking ensued which frightened me to the point where I was afraid to leave the house.  This escalated into agoraphobia where I was then afraid to truly leave the house for about nine months, and in fact, afraid to even leave my bedroom for some time.  This is where I can date my first major, MAJOR bout with mental illness. (more on that in another episode.)

Following this episode I remained single and did not date again for 12 years.  I longed for companionship but lived a somewhat empty existence with my family, pets, going to work but remaining isolated and empty inside.  After moving to a new community I spent a brief platonic time with a fellow over coffee and a few movies but it fizzled out after that.  Which was fine with me, I wasn’t interested in more.  Then I moved again and decided to make an effort in meeting new people (ie men!).  I met someone and we spent a little time together, I experienced my first physical relationship in many years and then I was stunned when he told me that though he was divorced, he was taking his ex-wife and children and moving across the country to start a new life.  I was so very hurt for I knew he knew this before we met and yet he continued this affair until it was time to tell me days before he left.  I felt abandoned and used.

I started taking friends’ advice and kept trying.  I checked out the online dating sites and had sparse luck.  I did meet a lovely individual with whom I felt an instant and deep connection.  I had such a wonderful time in this brief fling but it was also a mistake in some respects for he was not looking for more and I fell too hard and too deep too fast.  But this was the first time I had ever felt something close to being cared for this way and I did not want it to stop.  I enjoyed the feeling so much.  I finally felt like I was beginning to bloom into the person I was meant to be.  I’ve found it difficult to go from being strangers to lovers and then to merely friends but I had no choice when he didn’t want to continue.

I continued dating but had no luck finding someone compatible on a companionship level, my online profiles received no attention that way.  So I changed to look for something with no strings attached, as it were.  I received the appropriate amount of attention but the quality certainly wasn’t what I was looking for.  One night stands with boring individuals with whom I couldn’t hold a decent conversation, didn’t share my sense of humor or interests, with whom I had nothing in common.  Some have been stubbornly persistent in looking me up after months but I am very much not interested; once was more than enough in some cases.

Such is the background.  Next time comes the content.