Growing up, I felt that my parents were always arguing (somehow they are still married but live in separate rooms). It felt like they "stayed together for the kids" but I realize that it didn't teach me much about finding and cultivating love with a partner. I'm really good at being independent and single, but I find myself longing partnership with a special human. I'm 32 and still have a really hard time even believing that true love exists, which makes me skeptical when men and women (I'm bi) who I might be compatible with come into my life. I want to stay friends so I don't ruin a good thing. How do I let go of the doubts and learn the language of love?
Skeptical and Single
You're not alone with fighting parents. I remember at the dinner table every night my sister and I would look at each other just waiting for the sparks to fly. My mother would yell and my father would say "I'm leaving." He would walk out (probably whistling) because he was about to get off by one of his girlfriends. My parents were very unhappy people. In those days, divorce was not an option, especially not in my family.
What I learned from that experience was to not trust men. When I had a boyfriend, I became so jealous when he would said hi to another girl because I feared he wanted to leave. That fear stayed with me throughout most of my adult life. I was possessed by the green-eyed monster.
It took a lot of work on myself to realize that not all men were my dad. My heart had been hardened and I had to peel away the layers little by little. I learned that I would never leave myself. Knowing that, I became comfortable letting people in. My green eyes turned brown (although I was hoping for blue).
The language of love starts with you. You are beholden to no one for your happiness.
Peel away your layers S&S. Give yourself the experience of Love. If your heart gets a little crack, there will be a man or woman waiting with some Crazy Glue. Open your Heart Chakra and feel your way to love. You have nothing to fear but fear itself.
*Have you experienced the fear of a relationship? Help S&S with your story?*
I had my son (he's 5 now) when I was 20. I never even imagined having kids because I've was always dreamed of being a travel writer. Right now, I'm a copy editor for a hedge fund company. I've certainly learned that life doesn't give a damn what your original plans are. I'm so happy to be a single mom, but I still find myself longing to zip from one country to another and write about the magic that is our planet. How do I balance motherhood and my dreams? Am I insane to think I can bring a small child along too?
I had a baby at 20 as well. Forty-something years ago we were brainwashed into this whole "marriage" thing. I was Betty Crocker with a joint.
Here is my 10 cents worth. My darling W.M., grab your son and don’t look back. You have only one life to live so do it the way you want to. I know what you're thinking but I’m encouraging you to realize that it’s not selfish to live your very own life. Your life. You get to choose no one else.
Even if that means doing the cruelest thing a mother could ever do, taking her son around the world. Anyway, there are no rules when it comes to raising the child of your loins. It’s not as if you're dropping him at the bus station. He will be experiencing life, other cultures, and things he could never learn in school.
Sometimes when the desire is so strong and you know you have to do it...do it! Remember its your inner self calling you to your dream.
Once you cross that line, that’s when the magic happens. An adventure awaits you and your son and an unsurpassed bonding of shared experiences.
You know what Wanderlustin Mama? I smell a book and a documentary…
*What would you do? Would you stay or go?*
I'm 77 years old and my husband passed away about 6 years ago. I'm so lucky that my son, his wife, and my beautiful grandbabies live nearby but I miss life with my husband. I feel like I've gone through the grieving process at least 50 times (denial, anger, sadness, helplessness, but acceptance is the toughest). How do I stop living in the past and future and truly stay in the present?
Dearest Time Traveler,
I have not experienced the loss of a husband. Having said that I called my sister who is 75 and lost her husband 10 years ago. This is what she said: it takes however long it takes. Her advice is to keep busy. Join as many activities at your senior center as you can. Join a gym or volunteer. All easy to say, but harder to do.
My sister was married for 42 years and they did everything together. They were joined at the hip. (A side note to Skeptical and Single: looks like true love does exist). It took her 10 years to create a life just for herself. She told me she wished she would have done it sooner. Once she realized she still had a lot of pep left in her step, she got busy.
She started sitting quietly with her eyes closed for five minutes everyday. All sorts of thoughts would bubble up. Then one day during her 5 minute meditation she remembered who she used to be. So, she started to make notes of all the things that she remembered she enjoyed. Things that got her in the zone. She discovered jewelry making and she took some classes and met so many ladies to sit and twine with.
I know that your husband may not be here in the physical but he is around you in spirit wanting you to not grieve over something that was out of your control. He is just fine and certainly wants you to be fine too. There are many books out there but I would suggest the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
You are ready for it. I can feel it. I have the feeling that your days of denial are just about over.
Accept the fact that its ok for you to please yourself. Live for yourself and love yourself. How lucky you are to bathe in the warmth of great memories and have the power to make new ones. My heart is with you.
*How have you released grief?*
Even as I write I can feel a fever beginning to burn inside me. I was cheated on coming on about two weeks ago now. My boyfriend randomly slept with a girl he was around at Oktoberfest. He told me the story, how he doesn't know why he let it happen but had to stop it because he felt so bad and that now he wants to do anything to make us work. I'm stuck, because I love him but struggle to understand his actions. I've told myself I need time and space but I want nothing more than to see him and be around him. I have advice flooding in from family and friends, some bias some not. I guess I'm just wondering if there is a right or wrong way to approach this all. I overall have handled the situation quite well, but sometimes I'm so confused I don't know what to do with myself. What is the best way to tackle the fact that I still want to be with someone who hurt me like this?
Hurt but Hopeful
You tackle it head on. Here we go.
Is this the first time he has strayed? If it was, we can work with that. If it isn't, pack his bag. He will do it again. Oktoberfest, Cinco de Mayo, and Halloween...all give a license to get drunk and either throw up or hook up.
It is early days baby girl and your wound is fresh. That kind of cut runs deep. But like any cut, the human body will heal itself. Unlike the human brain that likes to replay its suffering over and over. You said you were handling this indiscretion quite well. That is a mature thing to do when you stomach feels like the sinking Titanic.
The pain won't last forever but your relationship might. You have a lot of years ahead of you.
Question: Are you able to have a fight without throwing this up in his face? That's important.
Question: If this was your best friend what advice would you give her?
The trust issue is a big one. You will have to trust him. Can you do that? Or will you be torturing yourself with unsolicited thoughts every time he is out of your sight?
The one thing I've learned is you teach people how to treat you. Now is the time to dig deep and ask yourself, "what is it that I really want my future to look like?" If it is with him, then let him know what your deal-breakers are. If it's not, then pull yourself up from your boot straps and regain your power and confidence. There are millions upon millions of people in this world. I would bet another man is out there if that is what you want.
Love and respect yourself first. That is the key to unlock any heartache. You will make the decision that feels right. I know you will.
~* Have any burning questions for me? Send 'em! firstname.lastname@example.org *~
Meet Sheilah: our pot-smoking, straight-talking, completely uncertified advice columnist. From seasoning humor into a cooking column, to pitching NBC game shows, Sheilah's always had a way with words. She's discovered her calling of helping others heal, through massage and writing this column. Sprinkling wisdom upon Icon readers saved her from living a boring, damp life. Sheilah is the proud mother of 2, grandmother of 3, and lives in California with her beloved yorkie, Max.