Becoming the one

I have been single for a very, very long time. In fact, since before I turned 30…and I’m 60-something now.

I’ve had relationships, and I’ve also gone for long periods without being in a relationship. Child raising as a single working mother, graduate school, trauma recovery, helping raise my grandchild — sometimes I just didn’t have the time or the energy, or simply preferred solitude, which I benefit from greatly but never got enough of until recent years.

Got to know myself, appreciate myself, entertain myself, live life my way in peace and contentment.

As an introvert (but since people are sometimes shocked that I test as one, maybe I’m an ambivert, sharing qualities of introverts and extroverts), I actually enjoy my own company. I like making good connections with people. I have a few close friends and lot of friendly acquaintances. And I still prefer to spend part of each day in solitude.

I had a couple of relationships in 2019 with men in their late 40s that were fun at times but didn’t work out. Thank you, next, as the song goes.

COVID upended my sense that I never got enough alone time. When the world pretty much stopped in March 2020, I could not practice my work as a licensed massage therapist.

Remember that back then, we didn’t know how bad it might get. I did my end-of-life paperwork, wondering if COVID was going to take me out.

I felt deeply grateful for the people in my life, especially my family and closest friends.

I was at home with myself 24/7. I wore a mask to visit family members, one of whom worked in a hospital, because of my age. We knew then that COVID was harder on older people, but not why. I didn’t want to die or be hospitalized from COVID.

(Fast forward to now, October 2022. I still haven’t gotten COVID. I take good care of myself, am vaxxed and boosted, and I wonder if I’m immune.)

I had a gentleman friend with whom I spent time during COVID. He is a sweet, funny, heart-centered guy, and I was very grateful for his company, sense of humor, hugs, and stories. We are in a couple of communities together and share some interests.

At times I wondered if our friendship would evolve into something deeper, but it didn’t. There were so many unknowns then. I was pro-vax. He was on the fence. Our personalities were different: we were just not a partnership match. We simply gave each other much-needed support and are still good friends to each other.

Now that COVID seems like it’s mostly over (but who really knows?), I am re-evaluating, exploring whether and how I want to be in a relationship — a long-term, committed, partnership type of relationship.

I’m not in a hurry…there’s a lot to explore. I am learning a lot about myself.

I’m reading a book, Calling in “the one”, by Katherine Woodward Thomas, a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Guess who “the one” is? It me.

This book was recommended by a therapist, and one friend told me she used it and then met the man who became her husband.

The book is actually a workbook, with homework, that, if you do it every day, takes 7 weeks to complete. I’m doing it as I have time because some days are busier than others and I’d rather explore this topic thoroughly.

In a way, it’s about examining the barriers I have built against loving and being loved. It is guiding me through explorations of my wounds, agreements, beliefs, identity, intention, and wisdom that influence relating.

What are my needs in relationship? How can I make more space for love in my life? How can I know, respect, and love myself the way I’d want a partner to? How can I be the one for someone who has also done their work and is a good match? How can I be the one for myself?

I can live and am living a very fulfilling life already, in many ways. I love the work I do and plan to keep doing it as long as circumstances allow, even into my 90s if I am blessed with that much health and longevity.

I have family members nearby who no longer need me to mother them but whose adult company I enjoy tremendously. And I am fortunate enough to have a few really good friends that are interesting and loving people.

I do believe that having a partner who’s able to match me in needs for both intimacy and autonomy, communication skills, with whom I share some key interests, who’s actually available, could add even more fulfillment to the rest of my life.

So…I’m stepping out of my cocoon, dipping into the dating pool.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Boundaries checklist for healthy relationships

Relationships : A Checklist on Boundaries in a Relationship.

I believe I have posted this before, but if I haven’t, here it is now. It contrasts relationships where you give up your boundaries and when your boundaries are intact. I’ve found it helpful and bookmarked it.

It includes skills like being clear about your preferences and acting on them (I heard Byron Katie say she’s constantly asking herself what she wants), doing more when it gets results, trusting your own intuition, and only being satisfied when you are thriving (rather than coping and surviving).

Some items that I’m resonating with now:

  • Having a personal standard, albeit flexible, that applies to everyone and asks for accountability.
  • Are strongly affected by your partner’s behavior and take it as information.
  • Let yourself feel anger, say “ouch” and embark upon a program of change.
  • Honor intuitions and distinguish them from wishes.
  • Mostly feel secure and clear.
  • Are living a life that mostly approximates what you always wanted for yourself.
  • Decide how, to what extent, and how long you will be committed.

About the last one, I’m liking the new law in Mexico City that allows time-limited marriages. The couple agrees how long they want to be married. The minimum is two years. When the time is up, they either go their separate ways without divorcing or remarry for another period of time.

Love that idea. Wouldn’t it be great to have no more expensive, difficult, embittered divorces? To have a built-in time to reassess how well a relationship is going and together decide whether and for how long to continue it without getting involved with lawyers and courts?

That’s civilized, in my opinion.

~~~

Aug. 20, 2013

I’m adding another resource to this post, which continues to get views long after its original posting. It’s an article about toxic relationship habits that most people think are normal.

The article points out:

…part of the problem is that many unhealthy relationship habits are baked into our culture. We worship romantic love — you know, that dizzying and irrational romantic love that somehow finds breaking china plates on the wall in a fit of tears somewhat endearing — and scoff at practicality or unconventional sexualities. Men and women are raised to objectify each other and to objectify the relationships they’re in. Thus our partners are often seen as assets rather than someone to share mutual emotional support.

A lot of the self help literature out there isn’t helpful either (no, men and women are notfrom different planets, you over-generalizing prick.) And for most of us, mom and dad surely weren’t the best examples either.

Fortunately, there’s been a lot of psychological research into healthy and happy relationships the past few decades and there are some general principles that keep popping up consistently that most people are unaware of or don’t follow.

Here’s the link: 6 Toxic Relationship Habits that Most People Think Are Normal.