January 17, 2014
Early in my dating, I wrote often about the feelings I was having about my experiences. Having been ‘off the market’ for nearly 20 years had me feeling inept and confused by the things that had changed over that time. Since I enjoy humor more than tears and anger, I wrote which eventually helped me to find my way.
Here are excerpts from a piece I wrote in 2010. Truthfully, my feelings haven’t changed much since then. The prominent position of texting in adult relationships still baffles me even if I do feel more skilled at it. I hope you’ll enjoy and share your feelings and opinions with me!
Texting in dating and relationships is the curse of the 21st century. First the text, then the waiting…the wondering…the rethinking and rereading…the rechecking the time of the text sent and received…the rereading of words looking for meaning. It can become obsessive.
In the beginning, I felt I could not control the wonderings of my mind. It was easy to slip into contemplation of what was being said between the words being typed to me. Where was the vocal inflection and tonal emphasis to clarify the feeling behind the words? There was too much room for innuendo, which fed my overactive imagination. In these moments, I crave clarity and things being wrapped up neatly in packages that can be labeled and alphabetized…and still he texts.
There was no texting when I dated a millennium ago before marriage, as if I needed one more new thing to learn about and explore. It revealed much to me about where we have gone as a culture in our mating dance.
There are times I like texting and thank the universe for it; otherwise, my teenagers might never communicate with me at all. Then there are the times when the text makes me cringe. For example, I hate when things are said that are not really meant or followed through on; such as “I will call you tomorrow” which then does not happen. Does typing not imply the same commitment as the spoken word? Is it more easily forgotten? Not as real?? Call if you say you are going to call.
I want communication that is real; something you can hear, feel, know and believe in. For me texting is best used for disseminating quick pieces of information or making a quick connection. It is not meant to replace verbal communication, shared decision-making, first date requests, or relationship break-ups. To go for days in a romantic relationship with texting being the only communication is so adolescent and a sure sign that I am dating the wrong guy. I want real communication and a real man behind the communication.
With this clarified in my mind, I started asking for what I wanted. When guys start to text about important things and I want to be clear, I ask them to call or suggest we talk in person. You find out a lot about a person when you start asking for what you want and share what is important to you.
Do they hear you and respond to your request?
Do they continue to insist on their way for their own comfort?
Do they share what they would like in an effort to find middle ground?
Ahhh, the dance of the mating game and the steps we take with one another.
As modern and independent as I can be, I am still an old fashioned girl in many ways. Can I tell you how much I love it when a man actually calls to ask me for a date? It eliminates the question “Is a text requested date a real date? Or just a virtual one?”
The main point of this literary rant is to encourage connection and real communication in the world. It concerns me that as technology grows larger, we are growing further apart. Technology threatens our ability to make eye contact, express ourselves in person with confidence and take full accountability for our words. Hiding behind texts cannot get us anywhere except further apart. And when you want to ask that certain someone out, dial their number. I bet they say yes!
April 19, 2013
Life has its challenges. No one is exempt from disappointments and hard times. How do we come through these moments and phases of our lives without hardening our hearts? After the emotions have cleared, how do we reconcile within so we do not bear a scar? AND how do we teach this to our children? It’s all in how we respond to what is happening from the inside and on the outside.
When something victimizing happens, it does not have to make you a victim. You can choose to respond with your heart and your Divine inner power to find the gift, the blessing, the enrichment. In this way, the circumstances lift and build you up rather than tear you down and diminish your spirit. And before we can impart this to our children, we will need to incorporate this perspective into our own way of living.
My life has brought many challenges…estrangement from family, depression, sexual assault on myself and others close to me, a painful, drawn out divorce, watching dementia consume people I love, and death, just to name a few. Every time I knew I had to reach deeper, open my heart wider to find something, anything with which to sustain myself. Looking for the gift each time kept me afloat; a personal floatation device, you could say.
Then there are the more common disappointments in life. With time, I’ve come to see these as blessings in disguise. The job I didn’t get left me available for the awesome one when it did arrive. Not getting to have the two additional children I wanted gave me more time to support and nurture the two I am blessed with. My divorce gave me an opportunity to recreate my entire life.
Sometimes the gift is subtle and needs time to be seen. Other examples of gifts I’ve received are:
• Compassion for others
• Wisdom to share with others having a similar experience
• Deeper understanding of myself
• Believing in grace
We pass this perspective and life skill to our children by our example and sharing. Helping them to see what they have been given, is a gift of resilience they can use all their life. Even if they do not ‘get it’ the same way we do, it is a seed that is planted in their minds and hearts that will grow.
And if you are unsure of how to teach this to your children…reach into your heart, listen for wisdom and let it speak. A favorite approach I have when I am uncertain of what to say to my girls, is to ask them questions and let the wisdom come from them.
How do you feel about that?
Is there anything you want to do about it?
How can I help/support you?
These are opening questions. Being fully present to their answers naturally guides me to the next thing to ask as I witness them finding their own way. This is not a scripted conversation. This approach works best when being fully present, listening with your heart, and being patient to see what comes forth.
Then, there are the worldwide tragedies that unite us and bring a gift. As people around the world grieved the death of Princess Diana, violent crimes rates dropped around the globe. On 9/11, New Yorkers came together to help one another in numerous acts of selflessness. And of course, with the Boston Marathon this week, the world watched as people aided one another and united us all as humanity. These are gifts in tragedy our children can witness outside to aid them in finding the gifts in their own lives.
God/Spirit/Goddess gives us freewill and does not micro-manage our lives, however, the power of Love gifts us with the opportunity to make good things happen from whatever tragedy or challenge comes into our lives. Love and Spirit empower us to persevere, survive and thrive! It’s all up to us and how we chose to see it, live it, respond to it. What an amazing lifetime gift to pass on to our children!