Sparked by another interesting conversation today comes my thoughts this evening…where is the line between being supportive and keeping someone’s best interests in mind and being honest?

I tend to have divorce on the mind right now, given the milestones I mentioned in last night’s post, mostly (and wow, thank you for all of the comments and feedback, you all are so sweet. I’m constantly amazed!) and thinking back to two years ago when I was faced with probably one of the most significant and pivotal times in my life – if not the most pivotal – whether to fight for my marriage or move on.

As my blog series last February noted – that I didn’t want to be with someone that didn’t want me – I chose to move on with the hopes of keeping the most important part of our relationship – friendship – intact, and realizing that I’m worth someone that loves me for me and wants me for me. I shouldn’t have to convince them to love me, be with me, and be devoted to me. I’m worth more than that. But, as a question I posed this evening…what if I did fight?

Would my family and friends been duly supportive? Or would that support turn into advice towards my best interests, where they might advise me that this was not meant to be and I should trust my gut and move on? Would I have taken it? Would it have been in my best interests? Where is the line between being supportive and putting it out on the line and being honest, that yeah, maybe this isn’t in your best interests. He doesn’t love you the way he wants. You aren’t satisfied in the marriage, deep down, because it takes two to keep a marriage sustained.

I think it’s obviously a case by case scenario for anyone going through that struggle. Wanting to be there for your friend or family member that might be in a relationship or marriage that ultimately is not healthy and isn’t making them happy and fulfilled…you want them to see what you see. You want them to listen to your words and understand that you are better off moving on.

But with all of that said, I firmly believe that no matter what you say, no matter how much you urge…that person has to see it for themselves and make that critical decision on their own. You can’t do it for them. You can’t show them the light. You can just offer your perspective, show them the light and hope they walk towards it.

My fight? My fight was for me and self preservation, in a sense. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt that I made absolutely the right decision for me.

I’m proud of that. Beyond words proud. I own that decision through and through.

As I near some upcoming “milestones” related to my past marriage and divorce (day I got married – 10/21/06, weeks leading into separation – right around now, separation, 10/31/08), a very touching conversation I had recently, and reading this blog post from I’m Gonna Break Your Heart, I more than ever realize that strength comes almost entirely from one source when you are tested in this capacity.

The power within.

In the midst of the realization that your marriage may be heading towards separation – or worse – divorce, the immediate fear, panic, and pain are almost unbearable. It’s blinding. And it’s raw.You’re empty. And it’s not something you want to talk about with anyone, admitting the reality of things, feeling ashamed. But somehow, as time passes, and you start taking steps towards healing, you realize that you can do it.

…it’s the power within.

You realize that you are better, stronger, smarter, and a hell of a lot more worthwhile someone who loves you for all that you are (and even, for all that you aren’t), who doesn’t want to change you, who jives with your personality in every way (complementary, not mirror image), who challenges you to be a better you, who can accept the challenge of being a better him, who is devoted, and caring, and genuine, and honest, and real. You realize that the man that you were married to might not be you’re one and only. As hard as it is to imagine, you start to realize that maybe you’re better off alone, to find the one you’re meant to be with.

The power within.

You realize divorce is not a failure. That it is an accomplishment (in a sense), that being alone is something to be cherished, to be learned, to learn to love. You realize who your friends are, who aren’t your friends, and true colors of all of those around you. You realize the circle you’ve built is because you’ve built it. Because you are worthy and they realize it.

.…it’s the power within.

And suddenly, you’re doing it. You’re smiling again. You’re eyes shine. You embrace the days that you don’t talk to a single soul, except your cats, reading a book, in complete silence. You fill your days with friends, family, and you. You learn new things. You challenge yourself. You set goals. You not only achieve them, you kick the crap out of those goals. You redefine you and it’s a better, stronger, more resilient you.

The power within.

And then, you realize that your life is full. It’s rich with the life you’ve built. You look around and smile and feel healed, and the closure you want and need quietly appears. You’ve arrived.

The power is you.

Bear with me this evening on some random Monday musings, shall we?

Um, my sister Jen’s baby shower is in SIX DAYS (next Sunday). For about 50 people. At a cute hall by the ocean. Ack. No pressure or anything 😉

In all seriousness, I don’t feel uber stressed about it, in part because I’ve got my auntie throwdown partners in crime (my sister Jess and Jen’s sister-in-law Jackie) as well as my mom joining forces to make this a shower to remember. I mean, it is the very first niece for the three of us (I think for Jackie too?) and the first grandchild and great-grandchild in my family. It’s gotta be fabulous, right?

And us sisters…well, we know how to throw a party (Jen’s bridal shower, I must say, was the best, most non-traditional shower ever…in my backyard at my former house, poolside, in August, and it was fabulous! To this day, a day/night I will remember forever…and I hate bridal showers! Normally, that is, and definitely not those of my sister’s, of course!). So, I hope it goes well, and we don’t forget anything, like oh, tablecloths (almost did forget those when shopping tonight!), or, oh, the food (okay, seriously, if we forgot to pick up the food, we may have major issues, but I digress…).

Stay tuned for pics and an update next weekend, fo sho!

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Have been having a riveting side conversation with Diary of a Divorced Guy on dating, and how much of dating is all about looks.

Sadly, I hate to say that I think in this day and age, with the amount of online dating and social networking sites running rampant, it’s hard for it *not* to be one of the first reactions you have when you view a profile, re-connect with an old friend/flame/college acquaintance etc.

Why?

Well, it’s just the first thing you see – a picture.

And especially with dating sites, where you click through pages and pages of people, it’s hard not to toss those aside that may not have the best smile or body or looks or hair or whatever floats your boat. Sometimes I think it would almost be better if dating sites didn’t lead with a picture, but with a profile, so you rule out those that don’t have the same things in common, or whose words may be offputting.

Whenever I am in online dating mode – I try to weigh them both together as much as possible. What they say, a little about how they look  (I’d be lying if I said it didn’t matter at all) and a lot about whether initially, they fall into where I am in my life, and my must-have’s in a man (which of course, still changes quite often…but that’s relatively normal, right?). But I wonder how many people actually don’t put looks first, and just go for the hottest one they see first. How can any of us be successful at dating if everyone’s going for the ‘extreme’ end of the spectrum and not the happy medium? Maybe a rhetorical question for another day…

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This leads me to baggage.

And I’ve probably mentioned this before, but does the label “divorce” scream “baggage! baggage! get out! run! alert! alert!” when you’re dating? Either online or meeting someone at a bar or whereever? Does it matter more if a woman is divorced or a man? Is it worth bringing up on a first date? Prior to? Or a wait-and-see approach?

For me, I’ve always been super open about it because my thing is…if they’re going to run at the first mention of the big ‘D,’ then they clearly aren’t right for me, or me for them (if they’re going to make a snap judgement either!). But I do think there is something to be said for double standards…I tend to get the impression from my past dating experiences that being a woman divorced is more of a “red flag” than for a man. Maybe it’s just me and I’m overreacting, but curious what your viewpoints are on that, if you two are divorced and dating? Thoughts?

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See – lots swirling in the brain tonight…nothing to truly lose sleep over, per se, but just some things I’ve been pondering (and in the case of Jen’s shower, am just super excited about!)…and it’s Monday, that’s about all I got in my brain right now. Perhaps a sign of a hectic week to come. Hrhmm.

I bring you a fantastic guest blog from my BDFF – a co-worker (and now one of my closest friends, truly!) today, while I bask in the glow of Maine – and her take on the post-divorce “life” that is, once the dust settles, and the moments of anxiety that somehow do just feel more amplified than you’d like. I completely “get” that – I get tired, too, but at the end of the day, life is worth living, despite wanting to kick someone’s ass at the bank 😉

Enjoy!

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When I was asked to be a guest blogger, I was of course at first really excited….and then as I sat back and thought about what I wanted to write about I felt overwhelmed.  I mean she inks very interesting things each day and is always coming up with cool content to blast out to her community of bloggers and friends that follow tbdetermined (well, you guys!).

Then I thought about the word ‘overwhelmed’ in general.  It’s something I feel each day – more so since my divorce.  After all I am the “head of the household” now and I am responsible for things I was never really responsible for before – like finances.  Ahhhhh, the dreaded word – finances.  I never was a math person…hell no!  I was a Fine Arts major and focused on theater and performance arts at University and in fact, really dreaded math….always had since I can remember….maybe it started back in like the third grade when we had to dissect an apple to learn about fractions and all I wanted to do was look at how shiny it was or how it had multiple colors or the shape was off and not a perfect “apple” shape.

Anyhow, getting back to the topic at hand….oh yes – I hate finances. But alas I had to figure out a way to embrace them if I was going to survive.  I began this by launching into an excel sheet (oh how gross…excel, but it actually comes in quite handy) and starting mapping out my fixed monthly bills and my estimated monthly expenses like food, gas, extras.

Don’t you love that word….?  Extras?? I mean what does it mean really?

I’ll tell you what “extras” means.  It means if I happen to come across a really cute outfit for either of my daughters or a pair of shoes on sale, or if I look in the mirror one day and GASP with horror because I haven’t had my hair colored in moons and the grays are slowly taking over root territory – THEN I look to the “extras” fund.

But in doing all this stuff – mapping out monthly expenses, using auto sum (a lot!) on excel, figuring out ways to cut corners with the roots of my hair – it basically got me to thinking – the lifestyle I once knew and grew accustomed to is really gone…it’s dust in the wind….it  IS without a doubt – an overwhelming thought.

I’ll admit, even though I know that getting divorced was the single best thing I could have done, I have moments of anxiety.  Moments where I think to myself, will I make it through?

Moments when I feel trapped….trapped in my career because of the paycheck.  Moments when I want to scream.  Moments when I look at my happily married/stay at home mom friends with their little lives all wrapped up in happy fancy wrapping paper with a perfect little silk bow on top and think – will I ever get there? Do I even want to get there?  Moments when I can’t buy the juice I like because it’s not on sale and I never had to deny myself that before…..I have these little life changing moments that shake me all day long.

Then I think about love. Love I found since my divorce.  True, uncompromising, 1940’s love-story movie kind of love and it replaces some of those anxious moments with perfect ones.  ****Insert happy sigh here**** (note from Jolene – SHE has captured LOVE – and she is an inspiration! she has met her LOML – love of my life – how amazing!)

So we all can’t be happy in everything all the time.  Happy in love, happy with money, happy with our jobs, family, friends….we all have overwhelming moments – OK, I will accept that.  I will accept mine, at least for now I will.

I will accept that my life from here on out will have the ‘overwhelmed” factor in it…and in it A LOT – and quite frankly I will find a way to own it….I will become friends with it if I have to….I will do what it takes to not let it own me because I am worth it and my decision to get divorced was at the end of the day, completely worth it…each passing day tells me that in so many ways.  So this is me…screaming at the top of the Prudential Center building saying – I am OVERWHELMED…..I AM TIRED….I WANT TO OCCASIONALLY KICK SOMEONE’S ASS AT THE BANK…..and oh yeah….I STILL HATE MATH!!!! 🙂

Hi friends!

Well, I’m feeling super discombobulated as I’m ending a stressful day at work (why is it that work feels *that* much more stressful and hectic before vacation? I mean, really, that’s just not nice…and it’s only 3 work days, not even a full week!), and while I have a few thoughts percolating for blog posts, they are swirling in my brain mindlessly so I tuck them away for later.

And since I have been blessed with some new readers that have some pretty fantastic blogs, I thought I’d share a few more with ya’ll, since I haven’t done one of these little recaps lately. Here goes:

  • Sylvest Walsh’s blog: The fact that the subtitle of her blog is “the stronger the wind, the tougher the trees” is one indication of why I love her blog (so far!). She has a really cool reason for the title of her blog, she too is divorced and I find a lot of what she says I can totally relate to (and I must say, she read Snark‘s ENTIRE blog in a couple of nights after stumbling across it, I think, from mine…how very cool is that?! And um, check out her ‘reality checks‘ – they are hysterical.
  • Magnolia: She’s just about 30 (woohoo for 30!), going towards a graduate law degree, and I just love her writing. And she’s super sweet in all she writes in response to my posts. Touched. Much more I need to dig into on hers.
  • Life Uncensored: I was really lucky to meet Ronda at Bloggers in Sin City in May as she is also divorced (and around my age) and is writing about dating and post-divorce life, and well, just some really honest writing that I love. We definitely see eye to eye on a lot and heck, she is a runner too *high five* Check her out.
  • cattails.me: Another friend from Bloggers in Sin City and another post-divorce find…and she just celebrated her divorce-sary today – you’re awesome, you’re a beautiful writer and I love what you have to say!

So, there you have it – a few new reads to my ever-expanding blogroll (no idea how I manage to somewhat keep up with everyone but I do try, because reading all of your blogs is like reading a good book you don’t want to put down, and you are all part of my family in a way. XO all!

…and now back to cleaning and packing for M-A-I-N-E! Woo! 🙂

I have a lot to look forward to and be thankful for, all things considered.

As I sit here, ready for my Skype “date” with IntrigueMe (and MAYBE INRIS, but I cannot confirm nor deny if he will, in fact, join our conversation!), I’m just thinking about the next few weeks/months and am recalling where I was, recalling my next few months, just about this time last summer, in the midst of the divorce/house selling details, and wow, I feel so different now than I did then, yet still “me” – if that makes any sense at all.

So, here goes – check it out:

  • This weekend: vacation begins!!! Heading to Maine on Friday – Thursday of next week, half of which will be spent with Amy and Eric, and my sister Jess and Scott. It’s promising to be a mind-searingly memorable weekend and it couldnt’t have come at a better time. I can’t wait.
  • Weekend of July 31: Cathe Road Trip in New Jersey! My workout weekend commences…with some of those that went last year with me and Jess, and some new faces that I can’t WAIT to meet, including Heather from Where’s the Beach. It’s going to be awesome…7 workouts, 2 1/2 days…here. I. come.
  • Week of August 23: ANOTHER week in Maine – will be awesome to have three weeks this summer where I’ve spent a good chunk of time off in Maine. Awesome.
  • September 11: My divorce-sary! Wow. Yes. There will be some sort of party…just to celebrate ME. Count on it. And, that is the same weekend that I move to my new unit…so a good time for a re-housewarming, no?
  • September 30 – Oct 9: WINE COUNTRY!! My mecca. AND the week of my 31st (gulp. blink. 31. Really?) birthday. Wheee!

I’m excited. I’m trying to drink it all in, enjoy each and every day (work days included…) and be so thankful that my hard work, agony over money (or lack thereof…) is going to – in some cases – some very excellent times in my life that I will never forget. And I can’t wait to share them all with you.

Do you have anything exciting or “you” related planned? Whatever you are doing, or have done, this summer…drink it in. There’s something about summer that’s enchanting and magical. And I love it.

I had a really interesting conversation with BDFF around what I look for in a potential mate (stemming off chatting about feeling lucky and fortunate to have such a good friendship with Pete, as she and her ex have also gotten to a pretty good place in their co-parenting post-divorce relationship) and the age-old question (feels like an age-old question for me since I feel like I’m asked this relatively often IRL) – “do you look for qualities you liked in Pete in guys you date?”

The answer?

Not at all.

Not because Pete didn’t have good qualities, because he did, and he still does. And those qualities are reasons why I still love him (yes, I do love him, but not in “that” way – I feel the need to clarify that even though I’d written on this topic before), but when I am on dates and when I think about the qualities I am looking for in a future mate, Pete doesn’t enter the equation, he doesn’t cross my mind, and I don’t compare him in any way.

It just feels so separate to me, and unrelated.

Because I am not looking for my ex, I am looking for my RIGHT.

While of course I still haven’t quite *found* him yet, I do have some specific qualities and must-haves I am looking for, while also I am also trying to keep an open mind to what that potential mate might look like, where he might be, and that “image” of him in general.

And in the meantime, I’m feeling good and feel as though I’m on an upward cycle in terms of feeling hopeful and good about inching towards finding my “right (now)”…I know he’s out there, I’m trying my damnest to be patient and I think it’s sort of starting to work (but now that I’ve said that, gimme a few days and watch me me be whining for wanting a date! Ha).

What do you think?

If you are past divorce, or a long-term relationship with someone you felt was “the one,” do you compare current dates, prospects, qualities you are looking for and want in that past mate? It just feels puzzling to me because it feels so separate, but I’m curious about others’ thoughts, so share, friends, share!