When the Past Calls….

voicemail

We all have ex’s whether they are spouses or dating ex’s and even in this big world, it’s likely that one’s path with cross again with an ex, especially with the explosion of social media and texting, where you can still be in touch but not really speak.  Well my past came knocking several times last week and I think it was because of Valentine’s Day and because most of the men I dated since my divorce are still single and looking.

I dated several people during the 4 years from the time my divorce was final until I became ill.  I was dating someone for 2 years when I was diagnosed and I tried to keep the relationship together for a while but it just was to hard to do.  There were  2 others that made it past the 3 date point but not to the year anniversary.  I am in touch with these 3 men, all with different levels of contact, as they  live very close to me now.  Funny how often they ask me, “So are you well enough to date yet?” as if I would date them if I was.  I realize that I get attention from these men, when they are in between relationships or when their relationships start turning sour.  They think of me as a backup, but I am not their backup.

On Friday, I had 2 offers for Valentine’s Day.  One was last minute as his current dating partner ditched him and the other was a little more thought out, but I don’t commit to plans well in advance, as I don’t know how I will feel on any particular day and I’m tired of dealing with the disappointment from the person when I do have to cancel at the last minute.  People take it personally and don’t see it as me trying to manage my illness.

It’s funny that while I was dating these men, I was always worried that they would meet someone else as I believed they were real “catches”.  I did the online dating thing and met them on a dating site, which makes meeting multiple people at the same time very easy.  Nowadays I realize that they weren’t such catches as they all are still not in serious monogamous relationships and I know so much more about them than I did when I was dating them.

These men  have shown me in different ways that they couldn’t have dealt with a partner becoming ill as they all are too immature.  One of them stated that he won’t date any runners as she could have bad knees down the line.   Another won’t date anyone with children that aren’t away at college because he will get too little attention.  Do these me sound grown up to you?

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have dated them  if I knew then what I know now about them.  Their mental states are not what I initially thought and even one of them I’ve come to find out has had several breakdowns.  Another one I think has anger issues and the third should be on lithium as I believe he has bipolar tendencies.  How come I didn’t realize these things while I was in the midst of a relationship with them?  Is it that I was seeing them with “rose colored” glasses or that I really didn’t know them well enough to see who they truly are.  I had thought that you knew a partner well enough when you were with them for 3 months, but maybe that’s when we were younger.  Dating in your 50s is more complicated than dating in your 20s or 30s.  We all have so much more stuff that we carry around and so many more experiences that shape us and made us who we currently are.

So while at times I do wonder “what if” with these men, I know there will never be a future with any of them, even when I do feel well enough to reenter the dating scene.  While I do enjoy an occasional phone call or an occasional lunch date, the possibility of a romantic hookup is non existent.

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The 3 “A”s

attentionaffectionappreciation

This morning while eating my breakfast I was listening to one of the morning news shows and Deepak Chopra came on and I started listening more intently.  Before I started on my spiritual journey and began doing daily affirmations and being more aware of the good things I still have in my life, I wouldn’t have glanced up at this man as I didn’t really believe that you could change your world by changing your thoughts.  This morning however, I was very interested in hearing what he had to say.

The anchors asked him about his thoughts on Valentine’s day and he basically said you should show people Attention, Affection and Appreciation every day of the year and not just on one day of the year.   These three things apply not only to a partner but also to family members and friends.

Attention

Attention means deep listening, being totally present. It means we’re not in a hurry to give advice, interrupt or react.

Appreciation

Appreciation means that we notice the other person’s strengths and let them know we notice them and are grateful for them.

Affection

Affection is deep caring and knowing that we are there for the other person.

So this year, let’s skip the Valentine’s day celebration and begin showing love, attention, appreciation and affection to those that mean the most to us every single day of the year (and that also include’s ourselves). 

Gone Fishing

gone fishing

 

I’ve been on a self imposed vacation brought on by Mother Nature’s ways and have been inside for the past 7 days.  I wasn’t at home and was staying with a relative and decided to check out from my everyday routine and pretend I was away for the week.

I gave myself a mental holiday, even though physically I wasn’t able to do much.  I must admit it was great to be out of my home for a week and to change my routine ever so slightly.  I had company 24/7, had someone to eat meals with and someone to hear whatever thought popped into my head when it did.  I had forgotten how nice it was to live with someone and have someone in the home with you.

I have lived by myself since 2006 when I got divorced.  I kind of felt like I was living alone for some of my marriage too, so really I have lived alone for a long time.  I had told myself that it was best that I did live alone because who would put up with my crazy and stringent rules for myself.  Resting after cleaning, resting after showering, resting, resting throughout the day.  There are so many times during the day I just need absolute quiet and can’t think of interacting with anyone.  I couldn’t imagine being around someone for so much time.

This week showed me that if I had the “right” someone perhaps I would be able to live with someone again.  It’s different when you are already in a committed relationship and become ill.  Your life partner should be there “in sickness and in health” and while a chronic illness does put a huge strain on the relationship, a truly compassionate and understanding partner will stick by you.

It’s a whole other story, when you meet someone when you are already ill.  They really don’t owe you the love and support you get from a partner in an established relationship.  I think it takes a very, very special person to fall in love and move forward in a relationship with someone who has a chronic, life long, debilitating illness.

I’m not saying these people don’t exist, but considering the dating scene for a healthy active individual and how hard it is to find someone late in life that you are compatible with,  it’s nothing short of a miracle to find someone when you are dealing with an illness.

The “EX” Factor

exhusband

Since I  have a lot of time on my hands and can’t physically do much, most of my activity (when the brain fog isn’t present) is in my head.  I think about the past and about forks in the road where decisions could have been made differently and maybe I wouldn’t be where I am now.

I was married and have been divorced since 2006.  I was on my own for 3 years prior to getting ill and really hadn’t thought about my ex husband much or missed him.  He was a nice enough guy, but lost interest in our marriage and became almost nonexistant.  He was retreating from life and knew he needed help but refused to seek it out.  He also had “mommy” issues, which is where he wound up living after we divorced and to this day is still living with him mother and recently I found out that he is also her full time caretaker as she had a massive stroke.

A while back, I was on the computer and someone was trying to IM me.  To my surprise, it was my ex husband.  The first words he typed were an apology to me, which kind of through me for a loop.  He did owe me an apology for how he was at the end of our marriage, but I had long ago written that off and really had made closure with him and my marriage.  We chatted briefly on IM and he told me about his mother and I really didn’t feel anything but sadness for him and the choices he made in his life.  His mother controlled him throughout our marriage but I didn’t think it would go as far as it did.

When I think of my current situation and wonder if it would have been better if I was sick and had a husband, of course the answer is yes. When I see healthy relationships, like the one my sister has, having a husband to help with the everyday issues and emotional support needed when dealing with a chronic condition is a blessing.  But if I think about having my ex husband in my life right now, it would have been anything but a blessing.  I would have had to take care of him and support him, even in my fragile disabled state.

He had a business when we were married, but most of the money he earned was sent to his mother.  By the end of our time together, he was unemployed and lied on the couch from morning to night.  I went to work early in the morning and returned most nights after 7pm and he’d still be lying on the couch in his pjs.

So when I think about this choice to end my marriage, even though it was hard to go through at the time, it was the right choice as we weren’t right together.  Being with someone and feeling alone, is so much more lonely, than actually being alone.