Beating the odds

It’s now 8 months since my partner and I got back together.

I never thought that it would be possible to “have a break”and yet come back together so perfectly.

It’s utterly heartbreaking to split with someone – but when you do you get a very honest and open and REAL idea of who they really are.

Are they vengeful?  Nasty?  Spiteful?  Or maybe even worse … ambivalent?

It took going through that with my partner to get a better idea of who he really was.

We’d been together for 2 years, but I’d never really allowed myself to open fully.  I didn’t realise that at the time.  I knew that I was guarded.  After getting to 36yo and having been through a divorce, and then increasingly awful relationships afterwards it’s hard not to be.

You do question “why am I so unlovable?”

When I met Mr ISFS I never wanted to create conflict.  Which meant basically I was a doormat.  If I was upset I said nothing.  If I wanted something I said nothing.  I was scared if I wasn’t “perfect” that he would be just another one who left me.

As issues arose and festered we didn’t communicate… and it lead to everything falling apart.

After we split though we were both raw and open and honest with each other.

I saw that ultimately all he cared about was me.

And he never stopped caring during that time – he just wanted to look after me.

The dynamics are completely different now.

Yes issues are going to arise and need to be worked through.  But I’m on longer scared to have an opinion and to voice it.  If something upsets me I call him on it.

I’m not scared to do it any longer because I KNOW now with all my heart that we are in it together forever.

I’ve learnt a lot from going through this experience (which I’ll discuss more in future blog posts), however the biggest lesson I learnt was to just be open.  It’s scary, and you have to take a chance and be vulnerable.  But you cannot have a truly meaningful relationship without it.

I still am grateful every moment of every single day that we got back together and we made it work.

And in June of this year we cemented it by getting engaged ♥

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♥ Blended families ♥

Last night Mr ISFS and I were watching tv with my son, and he asked if he could take both of our photos on his iPad.

He went into his room, and was working away diligently on his iPad.

When he came back, he surprised us with this:

Meg and Dave

It’s only a picture he created, but it meant so much to Mr ISFS and I.

I had never realised the challenges (and blessings) of having a blended family before I met Mr ISFS.

In my experience there are a lot of extras to factor in when you have a non-birth parent sharing child raising with you.

You have brought this person into your child’s life.  You’ve taken a chance – you hope that they will get along well, and will maybe grow to even love each other.

You hope that you have done a good job of raising your child up until then so that they are well-mannered and tolerable.  You hope that things are blissful and calm in this new family.  And sometimes they are, and more often than not they aren’t.

I know personally I have struggled to let go of the guilt of “letting” Mr ISFS look after my son whilst I do something else (go out for a run, go grocery shopping etc).

And I know Mr ISFS struggles with disciplining, and the fear that he’ll be seen as the “cranky stepfather”.

With love and communication and openness though we deal with each issue as it comes along.

And there will always be issues to face – the same as for any family.

But it was very touchingto see this image my son created.

I love that he has grown to think of Mr ISFS as his dad as well.  I say “as well”, because Mr ISFS will never replace his own Dad.  But I love that my son has that affection for him, and thinks of him that way.

Maybe we are doing something right after all ♥

 

Embrace the everyday moments

I am so grateful for all the lovely comments I received on my post yesterday – it took me completely by surprise and I was very humbled ♥

Further to yesterday’s post I was thinking today about how it really is the small and seemingly insignificant moments that we will look back on and treasure.

I found the most delightful book recently – it was the story of a couples romance told in comic strip style – called Soppy: A Love Story.

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It’s so beautifully charming and engaging in it’s simplicity.

And it’s also very thought provoking.  It’s full of the small moments that make up most relationships, but combined they are what gives the relationship it’s “story”.

It made me so badly want to document my own relationship this way. And if I could draw I would, but alas I cannot 😀

But if I could, I would draw in pictures my favourite ‘ordinary’ moments:

Sharing our favourite takeout – both of us swatting our 2 cats off the kitchen table between mouthfuls.

Having animated conversations about great white sharks (a passion of both of ours).

Laughing together over the hilarious things my 10yo comes out with:

Me:  “Put your pants on!”
1oyo “But I can’t find them!  I’ve lost them!!”
“Oh here they are, on the bookcase”

Trying in vain to sleep while our cats fight on top of us at 2am.

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Me standing talking to Mr ISFS every night as he has his shower – sharing our days, and deep meaningful conversations.

It’s every one of these small moments that I will treasure forever, as they honour the story of ‘us’ ♥

 

 

Ordinary, everyday, magical love

I am very lucky to have my partner, and to be able to say that I’m blissfully happy.

Because that happiness has been very hard earned for us both.

I’d love to be able to say it’s been a fairytale, full of butterflies and rainbows and pretty sunsets.  And don’t get me wrong, we have had so many wonderful times.  However we’ve also recently come through very bad times – but it’s actually those that I am more grateful for.

It’s easy to look around at other people and think they have the perfect relationship/marriage/life.  And maybe they do.  Or maybe they just like to portray that image on Facebook.

I know though that he and I have been through the worst times together, and we came through the other side.  And now have an unbreakable bond as a result.  And I wouldn’t swap that for anything.

We knew as soon as we met that we were perfect for each other.  After the obligatory first date nerves and shy conversation at first we stumbled across a shared passion – of all things a love of zombies. I’ve long had a secret love for reading horror, and particularly zombie horror. And so did he.  From that moment on we knew we were kindred spirits. We had so many things in common – we watched the same TV shows, we read the same books, we shared the same humour, we finished each others sentences, and read each others minds.  Quite literally we would both burst out laughing as we’d ask each other something random that the other person had only just been thinking about.

But as often happens real life soon got in the way.

I have full custody of a 10yo boy, and though I love him to death he is very very challenging.  So there was no couple time for us.  Full stop.  There was no one to look after him so we could build our relationship and have adult time.  Although in other ways it was so perfect to be part of a strong family unit.  And we all loved it.

Then Mr ISFS (I stop for suffering) lost his job.  He found another one, but it did not make him happy.  We struggled financially.  We struggled with broken down cars, and not enough money for groceries.

And most of all, we struggled to communicate.

Each of us retreated into ourselves.

He gamed and shut himself in the study for days at a time.

I tried to escape the house at every opportunity – taking my son out for outings, visiting friends, going for runs.  Doing my best not to be home.

And it festered.

We would go days without having any meaningful conversation.

And the worst parts of our personalities came to the forefront.  He became very angry and short-tempered.  I shut down emotionally and refused to communicate my feelings.

And 2 years, almost to the day of our first date, I asked him to leave.

I respect him so much for how he handled that request.  He was very composed, and actually comforted me over it (?!).  And he did as I asked.  Even though it killed him.

We kept in touch via text even though everyone was telling me I should cut all ties.  I kept saying to them – how could I cut all ties when he was my best friend for 2 years?  Things would happen that I would want to share with him.  My son would do something funny.  Or frustrating.  And I knew that he was the only one who would appreciate it and truly understand.

Some time after Mr ISFS left I connected with a friend through my local running group.  I thought he was all the things that I was looking for – social, friendly, easy going, giving.

But he wasn’t Mr ISFS.  We didn’t have that intimate connection.  We couldn’t share jokes (he and I weren’t on the same wave length).  He didn’t understand my humour.  We couldn’t have in-depth conversations.  And most importantly – the image of himself that he portrayed was exactly that – an image he portrayed.  And nothing like what he was actually like in a relationship.  To put it bluntly I was miserable and not surprisingly it didn’t last.

But it did me think about what I had lost.

Regardless of the issues that we had, Mr ISFS was the only person who has ever truly understood me.  He also struggled badly with anxiety and depression, and he was always supportive.  And he never treated me badly.  He had just struggled to cope and withdrawn into himself.

However in those months we were apart he was also going through his own journey.  He sought therapy/counselling to deal with his anger. He thought about where he had gone wrong, and what he had lost.

And he humbly asked for another chance.

This time though we spoke about things in depth.  BEFORE we got back together.  We spoke about our expectations, what we had learnt.  What had gone wrong, and what we would do differently. We established new ground rules.

It’s now been 1.5 months since we got back together, and it’s the most happy and settled I’ve ever felt.

We are 2 very different people now.  We communicate in depth and honestly at every chance.  We speak about the big issues, and the small ones.  We have laughed so much in these last 6 weeks.  We’ve shared so many experiences.

And we’ve created something so much stronger that we ever had before.

I feel so very loyal to him – a depth of feelings I’ve never felt before.  I am a very calm and passive person but I would fight to the death for him.  And I know he would for me.

I am very blessed that I have my best friend back.  And I know deep in my heart that we always have each others backs.  Always.  We have gone through the hardest times together, and it’s made us both realise what we had lost.  And that we would do anything to be with each other.  There is a loyalty and love and connection that I have never felt before.  And everything I’ve gone through in past relationships, being cheated on, being treated badly, me picking the wrong guys… all of it has made me learn the lessons I needed to to finally have the RIGHT relationship.

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Life, love and everything in-between

A friend of mine and I were discussing relationships today. He shared the most breathtaking insight with me:

We build our lives together in a relationship. Our essences are entangled from the moment we commit to being a relationship; even after it disintegrates we carry a part of that person with us always. I suspect this is where our minds come in and do the comparison thing with what we have presently and with what we had in the past. They key here though is that the past is purely the past. Those moments will never be rekindled good or bad. All we can do is try and make the forward part better. Relationships are hard work. Stupid things get said, buttons are pushed. The beauty of it though is that despite all that we can choose to keep trying to be there for the other person and to commit fully to be a part of the relationship. The “enthusiasm” of a relationship ebbs and flows. The true “enthusiasm” of a relationship is to continue to be in the relationship despite the ebbs and flows.

It’s so true.

So often we can approach relationships with “small mind”. We keep track of every “wrong”, every slight hurt and slight. And we lose sight of our “big mind” which is nurturing our relationship as a whole, and giving our partner space to breathe and grow within the relationship. Without holding them accountable constantly for every small thing that they said, or did (or didn’t do!).

I try to always hold my relationships (romantic and platonic) with great metta. I’m not always successful, but I try to approach each person, and situation, with as much loving kindness and spaciousness as possible.

Because in the end you can’t “make” someone act or say or think the way you personally want them to. All you can do is giving them as much love and forgiveness and kindness as you can, and trust that they are doing the best they can at any given time.

Much love my friends ♥

Meg

Abandoned kitty

Wow, I’ve just realised how long it’s been since I posted!

I will do a catch up post soon, but first I had to share this incredible miracle that has come into my life ♥

2 days ago I found an abandoned kitten in my backyard.  

It wasn’t a complete surprise – I’d been feeding a number of stray cats for the past couple of months, and I knew that at least 2 of them were pregnant.  For whatever reason (maybe fate) they left one of the kitties in my backyard.

Words can’t describe how much I love this little cat.

She’s approximately 2 weeks old, and has required around the clock care.  2 hourly feeds, toileting, even burping!

And it’s truly been the most incredible experience.  I’m beyond grateful that I got to experience this – each moment with her is a miracle ♥

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I’m amazed by how much my heart has opened even wider in the 2 days I have had her.  

And I’m thrilled to report that she is thriving :D.  She’s feeding really well, and the vet said she’s in exceptionally good health (thanks to the food I’ve been giving the strays).

All is perfect in my little world 🙂 ♥

Much love,

Meg

How much fun can we have in this lifetime?

How much fun can we have in this lifetime?

This is something I believe passionately with my whole heart – that life is all about having fun and enjoying every moment to the absolute fullest.

Life is also about learning – and it’s a constant learning.  From each experience, each encounter, good and bad.  Each relationship that doesn’t work, each friendship that dissolves.

I used to struggle being happy on my own, and had expectations when it came to meeting someone else and finding my happiness with them.

As I’ve continued on my journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, I found the perfect idea of myself and a partner to be a myth.  And it was disconcerting to turn the attention inward, rather than continue focusing outward in the hope of someone filling up emptiness that clearly wasn’t meant for him.

I’ve come to understand that I need to appreciate things as they are and find my own happiness in each moment. I am developing a connection with how short life is and am no longer feeling sorry for the relationships I endured and the ones I couldn’t make work.

For me the lessons I am coming to learn are:

Self Acceptance

Two people who are comfortable in their own skin individually can together play on the same team.

Confidence and stability in ourselves can keep insecurities in check. When insecurities do arise, having the confidence to admit it and not fear rejection is huge. Also not expecting our partner to fix it and practicing mindfulness is the key.

Friendship

Who wouldn’t want a relationship where we have our best friend by our side as we go through this life?

The one we can play and laugh with, explore, be silly, love, share, support and optimally, treat each other with that deep regard, the respect and kindness we each deserve?

It’s what gets us through the dark times, and makes the happy times truly blissful.

Lose the expectations

True happiness means we’re not relying on someone else to make our day.

It doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t do something to make us feel a sense of appreciation, excitement or passion….it means, that we’re okay whether they’re lighting our fire or something else has their focus.

Each of our worlds doesn’t revolve around what each does or doesn’t do for the other. It’s realistic; it’s not based on a fantasy of how one’s partner is supposed to act and be. It gives freedom so both of us can give and receive fully without expectations.

There’s no pushing or forcing one’s agenda on the other, because we don’t need them to be our bandaid.

Complete connection

Not only do two people who aren’t beating their partner up with their baggage have more passion for each other, but they also share a passion for life.

This type of passion is what keeps us young, looking to learn, seeing the precious, and finding the dark hidden spaces to not be so scary.

And we get to share it with our best friend!

So – how much fun can we have in this lifetime??

Awareness can shift our perception to open us to creating more possibilities (and fun!) within our relationships ♥

*  dedicated to my soulmate and best friend Dave *

Buddhism, love and marriage

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

~ Kahlil Gibran

I read an interesting article today on the Buddhist notion of love, and it’s really made me pause and re-evaluate my concept of what love is… and what it should be.

I must admit that in love, I can turn inwards, become insular, and all consumed.  However I am coming to realise that love is really about helping one another to face outward, not merely inward.

“In the Buddhist tradition, there’s no “tying the knot.” There’s no two candles, two souls “becoming one.” Instead of facing one another, completing one another (Jerry Maguire) and living happily ever after (which only happens in fiction and even then they never show, they just tell), the Buddhist visualization of a successful marriage is this:

Two friends (who want to make out constantly) facing the same direction together, symbolically east—the direction of the rising sun—as in our awakening, fundamentally a-ok human nature. Walking the path together. Helping one another to be of benefit.

Waylon Lewis

I realise now that love is about more than the 2 people involved.  It’s about loving each other enough to give each other freedom.  And I know that’s an old cliché “If You Love Someone, Set Them Free. If They Come Back They’re Yours”.  However the older I get, and the more experience I have, the more I see the truth in this statement.

But it’s not just letting them go, it’s about giving them freedom always.

It’s about sharing life together, but apart.  Maintaining individuality whilst  nurturing a relationship.

And that’s a balance.  Too much “together” is stifling.  Too much “apart” and really what’s the point?

I guess love is about having the internal strength to say to your other half: “be free.  Do your own thing, and I will do my own thing.   I give you the space to be yourself, to do what makes you happy, and I will do the same.  And yet I will be loyal to you, to our relationship, and to our future.  At the end of the day I will come home to you, and to us “.

It’s about spending as much time nurturing yourself  as you do the relationship.  Creating a strong foundation within yourself – so that you bring strength and stability into the relationship instead of looking for that in your partner.

“PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.” Gerald Rogers

Maybe this is truly the way to build a strong relationship.

 

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Love and vulnerability

Recently I have had the rare opportunity to soften my heart, and strip away the barriers I have put up around it.  Thanks to my wonderful partner.

Entering into a new relationship has been a time of untold blessings.

I have never before felt so connected with, and in love with, someone.

I have told him things that I have never shared with anyone else.  I have let him see the “real me”.  And I have laid my heart bare.

Which has left me feeling very vulnerable and exposed.

Something that I am not familiar with.

Over the 10 years of my marriage (and subsequent marriage breakdown), I put up a lot of barriers to protect myself.  I tried to block the intense pain and suffering I was experiencing.  I dissociated, just to get through each day.

Those barriers made me feel stronger, and like I could cope.

When my marriage fell apart, everything fell apart.  And I was forced to examine all the ways I shielded myself.  And deluded myself.  

Because, in the end, all I was left with was me.  And the barriers around me.

I spent a lot of months grieving.  For the loss of the life that I had.  For what could have been.  

And through that grieving, and making time for sadness, there was a profound healing.  It was a time of immense personal and spiritual growth.

However it took this new relationship for me to finally break down the last remaining barriers that I had put up.

And I have been left feeling vulnerable and tender.

But it’s not a bad thing.

It’s an opportunity to touch in on that tenderness for the first time.  

The ground may be shaky, and unfamiliar, but I refuse to let those barriers go back up.

I vow to stick here with the uncertainty, and the vulnerability, and the tenderness.  I vow to relax in the midst of chaos.

And I vow to keep softening and opening my heart.

 

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