Dating again…

If I thought dating as a teen and in my twenties was uncomfortable and awkward, it has nothing on dating in my 40s. First off, I have my own baggage – scars from an abusive relationship, children who live with me full time and whom I actually parent and enjoy spending time with (in a world where divorced dads are part time or less this seems to be an issue for many of them – who knew?), and probably lots of other things I am unaware of.

I had heard lots of stories of angry, bitter, divorced women in their 40s – what I was not prepared for was how many divorced men of the same age are angry and bitter. Guys, what on earth makes you think I want to go out with you and listen to you bitch about your ex wife? Go tell a buddy or your therapist, but don’t tell your date. Please. I don’t tell you about what a dick my ex husband is.

After filing for divorce last year I discovered that for the first time in 18+ years I was single and maybe I should start thinking about dating. I went on a few coffee dates with men (and listened to most of them bitch about their exes) and then met 2.0 and we dated for several months. Actually, he spent a lot of time bitching about not just one but both of his ex wives (should have been the start of my red flag parade right there). When we broke up I went out a few times and although I didn’t feel the zing at least those dates didn’t spend the evening complaining about the past.

Until last week. I met this guy who seemed great. We had lots in common – both lived in the country, liked animals (I thought), went to church, shared similar sense of humour. So we went to lunch for our first date. Huge mistake – I knew there was a reason I usually make sure the first date is something I can easily escape from.

The man had three drinks at lunch which to me seemed excessive. With every Caesar he drank he got a little louder so everyone could hear how his wife of 20+ years cheated on him with a 20 year old boy who lived down the road. I’m sitting there eating my salad trying to figure out how to escape. What on earth makes you think I want to hear about this? I mean seriously. Have another drink. Which he did.

Finally I say I have to go pick up my kids, thanks for lunch, I gotta run. He paid for lunch (which was nice, but seriously I had a salad and water) and walked me to my car (which, again, seemed nice at the time). I said thank you again for lunch and went to give him the polite this was nice I’ll never see you again hug before getting in my car. He took that as an opportunity to grab me and stick his tongue down my throat. In the parking lot where I do my grocery shopping. In the middle of the day.

God help me. Just no.


Controlling relationships 

I have been in some form of a controlling relationship my entire life. I didn’t realize this until a few years ago when I was doing some reflecting while still in my marriage – that this was a pattern I had created. It wasn’t always a romantic relationship that was controlling, but it was always one of my main relationships, and the patten was clear and consistent.

I began to believe that I would repeat the same behavior, make the same choices, over and over until I had learned what I needed to in these situations. Why was I constantly putting myself in a position where I allowed someone to control me?

I believed that I needed to learn better coping skills, or learn how to properly identify this type (in my case a narcissist) of person whom I continued to let into my inner circle.

This was confusing and frustrating for me as I felt like I had learned that lesson. I made very clear choices as I exited my marriage and swore that I would never be in that type of relationship again.

Then I met 2.0 and our hearts were like old friends. It was one of those really cool, deep connections that don’t happen very often. But, I felt constantly out of balance the entire time I was in the relationship and I didn’t know why.

It wasn’t until after we had broken up that I was able to piece it together. I had once again fallen into a controlling relationship. He wasn’t as obviously mean as TAB (although he proved to be pretty cruel in his own way as I learned of his behaviour patterns towards those who loved him), but he needed to make all the rules, he needed to be right, he needed to be the successful one, he needed me to dim my shine so that his could shine brighter.

And that hurt my soul, but my heart was so wrapped up in it I didn’t understand what was going on. After we broke up I realized I would never have had a chance to walk into myself, to see my light shine, to share my gifts with the world.

I’ve been reading Entering The Castle by Caroline Myss and the part I was working on today included this sentence:

Detaching from the controlling influence of others so that you adhere to the trust and humbleness you need in order to listen to divine instructions is difficult, but it is your task.

And just like that it all made sense. That is the lesson I have needed to learn. As long as I allow these controlling relationships to run my life I don’t have to trust and be humble and listen to divine instructions. It never had anything to do with learning to protect myself from them, it had to do with learning to have faith and trust in my divine connection over anything else.

It was quite honestly a life changing moment. I don’t have to spend so much energy fretting that TAB is refusing to pay again, I don’t have to spend my energy worrying that he’s going to continue to hurt me. I need to focus inwards and have faith in my divine connection because it is giving me really clear guidance right now.


Walking through fear

I have come to realize that I live in a great deal of fear. I don’t want to, and honestly it pisses me off that I do, as I believe I have had to be incredibly brave the last few years, but the fear is still there.

I am afraid I won’t be able to support the kids and myself financially. I am afraid I will spend the rest of my life alone. I am afraid I will meet someone and he will be as abusive as TAB,  I am afraid the kids and I will never recover from the abuse we lived through.

Usually I stuff all that fear down into the dark places of my soul and pretend it’s not  there. But it is and it affects my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It affects the way I live my life, the relationships I have with people, and the ability I have to move ahead into a happier and more peaceful life.

So, the fear needs to be addressed.

I went to a transformational acupuncture appointment last week – I had been once before and it was pretty powerful stuff. We worked on acknowledging that fear, understanding why it is there, and on beginning to let it pass through. I have had reasons in my life to be afraid but I have also taken on the fears of those around me and made them my own. It’s a heavy and unnecessary burden that I drag along.

TAB thrives on making me be afraid, it’s his life force. And I have a difficult time not feeding into it because I am afraid of him. I spent years being afraid he would end our lives, I am afraid now of the devastating impact he has on my son, I am afraid he will cut us off again financially and I won’t be able to provide for my kids. I know it’s an awful lot of power to give someone, and I am learning to let that go – it’s 20 years of training I have to undo.

I have been able to open my heart connection to God again and that is where I will get my power from. It is what will let me be able to let the fear flow through me instead of becoming lodged inside my body. When I have a true and strong connection I trust that I am doing the right thing and that I have the support of the universe behind me. When I lose that connection I feel like I am left all alone trying to slay a vicious dragon all by myself.

So now when I feel that fear pass through – and it does several times a day – I breathe and realign myself with my Source. If I can keep that connection open and keep my faith strong I will be able to walk through my fear. And I have to because I have the lives of my two children who depend on me to walk them through theirs as well.


The crystal ball

I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see what the future holds. I think my biggest fear is not knowing how I am going to support the kids and myself. As of right now, TAB has court ordered support payments (that are always late) but they won’t last forever. Either he will decide to stop paying, he will lose his job again, or the court will decide I have had enough time to get my act together.

The problem is, I have not had enough time to get my act together. In the last two years since we left him and moved home:

*my dad died

*TAB cut off all of our finances, closed our joint account and told me he was not sending any money for either the kids or myself (I had been a stay at home mom over 10 years by that time).

*I filed for divorce and took him to court for emergency support payments.

*TAB came to town sending my son into a spiral of depression which included having suicidal thoughts.

*My mom’s illness got worse and her care needs increased.

*My son was triggered once again by TAB and sent back into a suicidal depression.

*My daughter also struggles with the  hurt and pain of growing up in an abusive home.

*I have started the process of learning to heal myself. I was destroyed by this man, unable to think for myself, unable to believe I had any value at all.

*During this time I have also experienced the deaths of two uncles, my godmother, a family cat, two ranch horses, and two ranch dogs (my kids were very close to both the horses and the dogs as well as the cat).

Like I just can’t catch a fucking break. Somehow inside all of this pain and chaos I am supposed to start a career and support us.

I pray about it all the time, I feel deeply that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing. I am told to just trust and move ahead as I am, looking after those I love, having faith. Usually I do. But, it’s also really freaking hard. I’m essentially living on love and miracles. And we have had a lot of miracles in the past few years, they have saved our lives. But, I sure would like it if I could just peer a little into the future and know that we will be ok, that I will be able to provide properly for my kids, that I can continue to look after them the way I am right now. Because this parenting stuff that I do is the most important thing in the world to me. If I can’t get them through all of this and have them be happy, healthy, secure, loving beings then what was the point? But, it does not come with a paycheck.

Just a little peek into the future to see a calm, happy, secure family there too would be nice.



Handing off the stress 

I spent the morning downtown meeting with my divorce lawyer. Among other things, TAB is refusing to pay to treatments that have already happened and have been agreed to in mediation. It’s ridiculous how much money has been burned in this divorce – but that is exactly what a scorched earth divorce is. The depths this man will go to to cause chaos and pain is incredible. 

What I have learned in this process is to pass off as much stress and anger as I possibly can. I have kids in crisis who are damaged and scared as a result of life with an abusive narcissist. That really needs to take up my time and focus, not worrying about the grenades he continues to launch. 

I have a great lawyer. She’s good at her job, and I click with her personally. I feel really fortunate about this. She gets who TAB is and understands the chaos and crazy he tries to create. I trust her, and I am able to hand off a lot of my worry and stress to her. It means I can take a deep breath and focus on what is important – my kids, my sanity. 

We spent a lot of time today developing a game plan to move ahead. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life fighting, but I also need to resolve some really big financial issues so that the kids and I are protected.  It’s a big price I paid giving up my career to raise the kids while he became a very successful business man. And yet, even being in this place where he has tried his hardest to leave us destitute and broken, I wouldn’t change my years at home with my kids for anything. 

I feel like he’s trying to break me. Even still, when I haven’t laid eyes on him in almost two years, he’s still trying to destroy me. It’s not just being dramatic. I spent the last years of our marriage hearing him tell me how he was going to either off me himself or drive me to a place where I lost the will to live. 

I’m stronger than he thinks I am. So are my kids.