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.

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How many times do you have to hear:

“you’ll find it when you’re not looking for it”

or

“everything happens for a reason”

before you want to just shake everyone who says it and say “but that’s not good enough?”

Sometimes, it’s exactly what I want and need to hear, other times, it feels like a “placeholder” comment when there is nothing else to say or no other advice but to “wait it out” and sometimes these statements tend to feel empty. And other times still, it’s a comment to something I’ve said IRL or blogged about in a completely humorous or funny way (last night’s post is a great example of a post fully intending to be funny, not serious, and I loved all the comments and feedback, you guys rock!) and I still get those types of comments sometimes and wonder if I just come off the wrong way.

While I completely and utterly believe these statements – I really do – I also think that said too often, or just tossed in “for good measure” tends to get old. Fast. As if I haven’t heard it before, as if I don’t believe it, as if I don’t blog about it (quite!) often. Now, I hope this isn’t coming across as a rant, because I don’t mean it to be whatsoever.

I am thankful to be blessed with a family of IRL friends and family and blog friends that I really couldn’t ask for more. It’s just something I’ve picked up on (and in part as part of a very funny Facebook convo I had last night!) and become much more aware of it. After hearing it so often, maybe I’m just hypersensitive to it to the point that it feels like an insult once in awhile. As in “no duh. I get it. I know it will happen when I least expect it, but can’t I still want for it, or think about it, or talk about it? Is that okay?”

It’s ironic to me that this post idea popped into my head in the last few days considering that my dating life really isn’t at the top of my mind at the moment. I’m not even really harping on it in my head, I’m trying to release as much as possible, and well, I’m just busy enjoying my summer, and that’s clearly helping too…but I think this topic and these statements are universal to a lot of situations – to loss of job, to divorce, to break-ups, to friendship woes, to financial strains, and yea, to finding love…but I hope anyone reading this actually can relate and agrees…am I off-base? Am I being too sensitive?

**To be honest, I actually had this idea for a post to be completely humorous, because I know there are many cliches that everyone says and hears all the time and it becomes a running joke, but this turned into a post that I ended up thinking more and more about…and the more I think about it, the more the worrier in me wonders if anyone will even “get” what I mean. I hope you do. It’s just an observation. It’s definitely NOT meant at anyone, as I would never, ever blog on something that should be spoken directly to someone if that were the case. So, after reading, I hope you still love me, friends!**

I know the last few days, or, really, the last couple of weeks’ posts have had sort of a down tone to them, just given things with Nala, so I thought tonight’s post should be a little more upbeat.

It’s a fitting post as my sister and brother-in-law aka “big brother” just left after having dinner together. They came by partially to help me give Nala her medicine, but as it turns out, I didn’t have to attempt shoving it down her throat because of some FANTASTIC advice from singlegirlie yesterday, who suggested wrapping the pill in a hunk of cream cheese. SUCCESS! She devoured it happily.

<phew>

Now, on to my guest post from “big brother.” This was something he wrote for me without my asking or prodding, completely on his own, and it’s an understatement to say I am touched by the gesture, and almost speechless at what he wrote. I feel so lucky already to have him as a friend (since we were 14! I still take credit for my sister going on a date with him back in the day, but I digress…) but also as a brother-in-law, and now, really, as a “big brother” who has been one of the most supportive of me through all of this. So, without further ado, his post on his views of my progress since the beginning of my divorce, back in October 2008…

So let me introduce myself — I am Jolene’s brother-in-law, Jess’ husband and someone who has sat back and watched the incredible transformation of Jo. I’ve had a front row seat for an astonishing ride that is far from over and will have an amazing ending. There is no doubt about it.
You can’t be around Jo and not see the change in her.  Now, I’ve known and loved Jo like my own little sister long before her divorce and was also good friends with Pete, but there is just something amazingly different about her today.  Sure, she’s still Jo with that same quirky sense of humor (my wife has the same one and it is hysterical when they get together), same determination, and yup, she is still stubborn as hell.  But yet, there’s something different.  She’s enjoying her life so much more. Doing things for her – for once in her life.  Whether it’s going to Vegas for a weekend (still a little disappointed I didn’t get the invite because I LOVE VEGAS, but I digress…), visiting friends in Florida or just going on a date.
It’s amazing to me that she has thrown caution to the wind… a little anyway. She still needs to check in with Jess before a date both beforehand, a quick text during the date (I don’t know how she pulls that one off but somehow she does it…maybe while in the bathroom??) and then a final text once she gets home so her big brother can sleep at night. I’m a little protective — I blame that on my dad.
Jo has jumped into the dating pool with the same determination and stubborn nature that she has met every challenge with.  The truth is that you are not going to meet your soul mate unless you get out there and meet different people.  You need to open yourself up to others completely in the hope that they will do the same. That’s how you find and make that special connection. No magic wand. No secret ingredients. Just open yourself up – yup, scary thing to do.  This is not easy. Not only is it going to take some time and unfortunately, it’ll probably take several different dating partners until you make a connection.  Jess and I worked together for years, and talked occasionally but we never would have found each other if we did not take that chance, opening ourselves up to potential heartache. (Thanks Jo!) I am touched that Jo wants what we have. I find it refreshing that she is willing to do whatever it takes to find it.  And I’m proud of her determination and strength the last year or so. It’s not been easy…especially this dating thing… letting yourself be vulnerable over and over again, it has to be tough. I don’t know if I could do it after what she’s been through, but she is doing it and having a fun with it.
So here’s my advice…
You may need to go on several first dates.
A lot of second dates.
Even a few fifth dates.
Before you find the one.
And when you do, you’ll realize that all of those experiences were well worth it.
So, in the meantime, enjoy the imposters, the posers, and even a couple geeks.
Enjoy each experience as it’s own.
Because one day, you’ll be sitting across the table from Mr. Right.
And I can’t wait to meet him. <insert big brother fist pump>

Scott, thank you…this is amazing, and I’m so glad my sister has one of the most respectful, loving, awesomely funny husbands in the world. You guys are my inspiration.

News flash.

I still get lonely from time to time.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not happy. It doesn’t mean I am sad. It just means I’m human, and get lonely from time to time.

The difference? I get lonely much farther in between than I used to.

I call that progress.

I may come across – at least lately – as pretty happy-go-lucky and though I do feel that way, I hope it’s not coming across as fake, or overkill, because it’s nothing but truly how I am feeling.

So, combined with those happy feelings, there are some lonely moments. I’ve had a couple twinges of them the last couple of days, and they haven’t lasted long, just long enough to be noticed and felt. I know it’s normal and I have to feel my feelings and emotions and not harbor them for fear of appearing sad or unhappy. Because I’m neither of those things, and even if I was, I think I’m allowed that, as anyone is, right?

Maybe it’s the holidays approaching, and that bit of longing to have a special someone by my side to share it with. Sure, there’s boy #9, and I think it is potentially “going somewhere” but it’s still VERY soon to tell, and beyond that, he’s in Michigan until the first week of January.

And maybe it’s as simple as having some downtime at night the last few days. My days have been filled with activity, from training for Group Kick, to last minute shopping and errands, and this afternoon to a bake-a-thon with my sisters (SO excited for that!). I’ve tried to relish the downtime, because I’ve been go-go-go lately, so it’s a good change of pace, but does lend to the lonely factor just a wee bit 😉

So, I guess this is my rambling way of pulling myself out of the lonely twinge – can you tell I’m literally talking through it here right now?! And, to be honest, I already feel better! Christmas is upon us, I’m healthy, I have a great family, and I’m really looking forward to spending time with them.

Okay, I feel better now.

So, here we are. October 21, 2009…three years to the day since Pete and I said our vows on a sandy beach in Poipu, Kauai, overlooking the rocks, waves, and sea turtles. Who knew this is where we’d be, three years later? After feeling so battled wanting to know why – why me, why now, why does he not love me anymore “that way” – WHAT is the reason – I’m now at a point where I realize that sometimes, maybe you don’t need the reason. It becomes insignificant.

There are a few songs I am going to quote today, one about just that – the reason for moving on (and really, not having a reason for that person, but for themself) and the second about that “someday” where you get a second chance, to try again, to make it right (and in this case, that doesn’t mean WITH Pete, it means a second chance at love, at capturing what I’ve never had, who I’m destined to be with).

First (as actually posted by BSF last week!), from Hoobastank – “The Reason,” an excerpt:

I’m not a perfect person
There’s many things I wish I didn’t do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know
I’ve found out a reason for me…

I’ve had many a conversation with Pete, especially recently, about his decision to end the marriage, and I’m content with those discussions, and his observations. I won’t go into detail here, but I’ll leave it at this – I feel content with it, I feel really good about our relationship right now, and I honestly couldn’t have a happier “ending” to a marriage, as odd as that sounds.

Now, the second song is one of my favorites from Rob Thomas, called “Someday,” an excerpt:

You can go
You can start all over again
You can try to find a way to
make another day go by
You can hide
Hold all your feelings inside
You can try to carry on when all
you want to do is cry

[Chorus]
And maybe someday
We’ll figure all this out
Try to put an end to all our doubt
Try to find a way to make
things better now and
Maybe someday we’ll live
our lives out loud
We’ll be better off somehow Someday

Now wait
You can run, oh
And when everything is over and done
You can shine a little light on
everything around you

Man it’s good to be so warm
Cause sometimes we don’t really notice
Just how good it can get
So maybe we should start all over
Start all over again

Starting over…coming back to square one, but this time, full circle. I didn’t run – but I felt like it, I tried to make it better, and eventually I got there…when I stopped trying to find the reason, released myself of it, and worked on me, just me. This day has felt like a long time coming (man, I’ve had a lot of those lately…huh?!) but I’ll say it again…I couldn’t feel more grounded, more in awe of God’s workings, and in awe of what I’m capable of, with an unbreakable support system that couldn’t be stronger. Thank you – to that support system…to believing in me, and pushing me forward.

Well, this is it, no turning back now – less than 24 hours and I’ll be a moving fiend! The “no turning back” really sums up this whole experience – deciding to take our chances with doing a short sale.

It’s unchartered territory for me, to say the least, and has been nerve-wracking, moment by moment, step-by-step, wondering if it’s going to be approved by the mortgage companies, with no real guarantee that it WILL get approved. And from there, the consequences would get worse and worse, and likely end up in foreclosure, something I wanted to avoid at all costs. It was a really difficult decision for me, and I knew I had to listen to my heart and my mind and do what is right for ME, not because it’s the “right” thing to do, or because Pete wanted to do the short sale, or anything like that. It had to be right for ME. And even though it was a decision that I don’t think many could or WOULD do (many – even some of my family and friends – would likely try and hold on to it and hope for a turnaround in the market.

This was something I didn’t see outweighing the negatives of my current situation – being VERY short on being able to pay the mortgage on my own, the amount of upkeep in a house for one person being quite a lot, more than I want right now, not being able to refinance to lower the payments, and likely, going into further debt just trying to keep up – vs. selling the house at a loss, taking the ding on my credit, and moving on. Sure, the market may improve, but even if it did, so, I MAYBE break even in another 5 years? So, I’ve lived in a house for 10 years and just broke even on what I paid back then? No thanks.)

Has it been scary? Hell yes. Has it been long, stressful, and unchartered territory? Double hell yes! But has it been worth it in the end? By far, yes. Why? Because the mortgage companies DID approve the short sale, with our being required to pay a somewhat nominal amount at closing, because I DID find a place of my own, available at the right time, and at the right price. I took a chance, trusted myself, trusted God, and went for it, and I’m happy to say that – now, on the point of no return – I’m really proud of myself for sticking to it, despite the fears and concerns from family (and my own nagging worry!).

So, I’m ready to sail away to the next chapter of life, confident I can make my own decisions, and ready for the next…check out the lyrics and video below from the latest song I’m digging – “Sailing” by Avant  (thanks to boy #7 for suggesting it) it’s peaceful, it’s soothing, and it’s exactly where my mindset is right now.

feeling alone but not because I AM alone in this. Yesterday’s post sparked some comments (on the blog and off) and I wanted to clarify a few things that maybe I wasn’t articulating very well yesterday, but after 24 hours, feel a little more clear-headed about it.

During the fun-filled wine-o-weekend on the cape, I throughly enjoyed spending time with two amazing couples that have shown strength in many ways – different ways – but many ways – and I think that’s one small part of what made me feel alone, and not because they did anything whatsoever, but just experiencing them in their everyday life (72 hours can be telling! In a good way!) – how much they love each other, respect each other, and have overcome their own relationship obstacles. We talked a lot and I learned a lot about them that I maybe hadn’t even realized they had gone through, or their fears, and I MISS having someone that I know that no matter what, I’ll go through everything together with this person, and have that fallback person in my life that will be there to support me, love me, hold me, and just BE there for me. I know that person will appear in my life at some point, but the unknown – the being single for almost a year part – starts to get to me sometimes. I just want to scream out – someone hug me or kiss me or hold me! Please! (wow, if I really said that out loud in a crowded room, I’d *probably* get some stares, huh?!). But then, I think, I don’t want just ANYONE to do that – clearly – but I know I want that, and I want that relatively soon, so hopefully it will happen for me…

…but on the flip side, I know I am NOT alone because I have a fantastic family and great friends that will “hug” and “kiss” me in their own ways – just by supporting me and spending time with me. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what really matters the most? Men may come and go, but friends and family – they’re a lifetime comittment in my book. And THAT my friends, makes me feel a whole lot LESS alone.