Browsing Category:

The Relationship Archives

The Relationship Archives

Chapter 2: A Much Happier Beginning

1215b7c3f6db4e1f0fe841f27ff28ff3

Well. I owe myself a big I told ya so! Turns out on the other side of a huge life change, on the other side of a winter of lonely nights watching repeat episodes of Modern Family, is a happy ending. Or maybe a happy beginning.

Someone once told me you should believe what people say about love because when people talk about their stories of love and heartbreak, it’s probably the truth.

People gave me plenty of good advice about my situation. “You’re doing the right thing. It feels terrible now, but you’ll be thankful one day. Just when you stop looking, when you think you don’t need someone, that’s when it will come.”

I honestly didn’t believe them.

Now here I am, on the other side, and they were 100% correct. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before, and let me add my story to that list. My life is absolutely, every single day so much better than it ever was before. 

This blog was my therapy. I wrote in it almost daily during the worst part of my breakup- after I had taken the plunge and blamed myself for turning everyone’s life upside down. On days where I wanted to turn around and run back into a completely toxic relationship, I wrote instead.

45b20a0de959410dde7660ee254b1507

I’m almost 2 years out of that destructive relationship I wrote about, and I can see clearly that getting out was the best decision I ever made in my entire 30 years of life. It was good for everyone involved. If I had stayed, things would have ended eventually, but the damage could have been worse.

Looking back on my writing is difficult because I confused my loneliness and fear with positive feelings about a relationship that shouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. I thought about deleting the blog altogether, but I came to a different conclusion.

1. I’m going to leave my old, painful posts up. Why? Because if they help one person get out of a bad situation or help one person hold onto strength during a lonely moment, then my journey will serve its purpose.

2. I’m ready to start a new blog, writing about the newest adventures in my life. They have to do with fitness and becoming the best ME I can possibly be, which still fits with my theme of fighting my fears and doubts.

SO. If you’re here to find out the real truth about what its like to turn your life upside down because you know its not right, head over to the Relationship Archives to read my journey.

If you want to read about my newest adventures, visit my new pages to follow along with Chapter 2.

1215b7c3f6db4e1f0fe841f27ff28ff3

The Relationship Archives

Maybe I Should’ve Tried Harder & Other Anti-Love Stories

Warning. This is not inspirational at all. In fact, it’s controversial and you may completely disagree with me.

OR I might make you say, “EXACTLY! That’s what I’ve been thinking.”

I’m writing this post for the second person…and for myself.

**

First, there’s this story about a love letter Brad Pitt wrote to Angelina Jolie being shared around social media sites. It’s a lovely story about how Angelina was feeling really low, she was depressed and sleeping all the time. She didn’t seem to love herself anymore.

http://couplesandco.blogspot.com/2013/12/i-lost-hope-and-thought-that-well-get.html

What did Brad do? Well, of course, he showered her with more love. He spoke highly of her wherever he went, he paid her lots of attention, and he told her constantly how much he loved her.

And she came right out of her funk and loved him back with all she had. They lived happily ever after. 😉

[Not to ruin this love story, but according to one website, this letter didn’t actually exist.]

So, there’s this story, plus some other quotes floating around the Internet. They give a clear message to anyone in a troubled marriage:

Try harder. Don’t give up. If it’s broken, fix it. Pour all of your love into it.
That’s the key to a lasting marriage.

And here’s my argument.

Sometimes someone’s lows go deeper. Often, you can’t fix this, hard as you try.

You put every effort into making things fit, you try changing yourself, and finally, you decide all that’s left to do is to tiptoe around quietly, trying to stay out of their way.

You can’t fix another person with all the love in the world.

(Yes, if the issue is a lack of love and affection in your relationship, a little kindness and compassion can, and should, go a long way. A marriage isn’t a union to be taken lightly.)

But, if this depression and anxiety is brought on by something deeper, something that’s never been addressed or healed, a missing piece in this person’s life (or an addiction), no amount of  your care is going to change it.

Showering someone with love when they have deeper-seeded issues isn’t a duty of love and marriage, it’s codependency. And it doesn’t work.

Codependency is a type of addiction itself, in which you become obsessed with trying to fix your significant other with your care taking.

{Not sure if your problems are normal relationship problems or codependency? Read more here. I was searching for this answer for years. When I finally realized I was in a cookie-cutter codependent relationship, I also finally realized why trying harder wasn’t working for us.}

It’s as if your partner is already holding the sinking anchor, and you’ve grabbed the rope. It sucks both of you in, makes you both depressed and anxious, all the while dragging you toward the bottom as you grasp desperately with every ounce of energy at the water surrounding you.

When this happens, the answer isn’t to dive in deeper.

The answer is the opposite. One of you has to detach and force your partner to face the reality of their addiction or anxiety.

They absolutely must have the desire and the capacity to change for themselves. They’ll never do it for you or because of you, and that has nothing to do with how much they love you.

(Because you love each other very much, or you wouldn’t have made the choice to enter the rest of your life with this person.) This is for the naysayers. I don’t have to tell you about love.

{Dislike.}

None of us has any idea what cards we’ll be dealt.

People in abusive, explosive, unhealthy, dishonest relationships who have tried painstakingly to make things work shouldn’t feel as if the answer is to work harder.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t put your absolute all into your marriage- because you should.

I’m saying if you’ve put your all in, and you’re exhausted from trying to change deep issues that won’t budge, and you know in your heart something’s still not right, don’t let these quotes bring you down.

Make your decisions for you, not based on viral, judgmental Facebook posts.

If the issues you’re dealing with are beyond normal marital problems and have transformed into unhealthy or abusive, further attachment won’t help.

Detach and heal yourselves. If it’s right, you’ll come back together as two healthy, whole individuals complimenting one another.

**

And detachment doesn’t always mean divorce. I believe you can work through addiction and codependency with the right tools, understanding, and commitment from both parties. In these cases, though, love isn’t enough.

I stumbled across this amazingly honest story about a love that worked through addiction and deep issues. It’s a long read because, of course, the fix wasn’t as easy as giving more love. But, the end result is worth it, and the struggle is relatable.

http://www.vintagerevivals.com/my-real-life-story

PS: I found Mandi’s blog while searching for a sugar cookie recipe. It’s one of the only recipes she has on her blog, it’s actually a vintage furniture DIY site, which is right up my alley. So, instead of clicking away or leaving to make my cookies, I searched around, reading her blog, and I found the story of her marriage, which taught me so much about my own. How’s that for fate?

If you’re interested in finding out more about codependency, I highly recommend Melody Beattie’s books, especially the daily meditations. They’ve gotten me through some difficult days.

The Relationship Archives

How a Complete Stranger Saved my Christmas

I had absolutely no idea what I was in for with this whole lonely holiday thing. I had been in a relationship for 10 years. No one told me the holidays are a big ol’ billboard sign reminding you of whatever you feel like your life is missing.

I thought I was doing so well, the random crying had stopped, I was coming out of my sulking mode, and then the holidays hit.

Why the holidays? Social media is the first culprit. Scroll down your newsfeed at any given point, and you’ll see holiday messages from all the seemingly-perfect families around. Everyone is suddenly listing all the things they’re thankful for.

You’re happy for them, you are. And you have a lot to be thankful for, too. But you can’t help thinking you’re missing something.

Then come the Christmas photo cards. Yes, they’re adorable. Yes, you love seeing all your friend’s babies in their holiday outfits throwing glitter and glowing under Christmas lights.

But, let’s be honest. In the back of your mind, there’s that voice telling you you’re behind in life’s timetable.

Let’s not forget the holiday music (used to love it, now can’t stand it), trying to hang holiday lights by yourself (gave up when half the strand was out), and digging through last year’s Christmas decorations (only to find your old anniversary ornaments). Ugh!

I don’t think I realized exactly how hard the first Thanksgiving and Christmas alone would be. And I’m lucky enough not to be literally alone- I have amazing friends and family around me. But, as much as they’ve tried to surround me with support, nothing could’ve saved me from this round of feelings.

Someone came pretty close though.

It was about a week before Christmas. I had been coming home from work collapsing on the couch exhausted everyday, trying to dance around these feelings creeping their way back in.

My phone buzzed, and I checked it expecting to find a check-in text from one of my friends. Except it was a number I didn’t recognize, and here’s what it said:

“Ho ho ho! Only 7 more days ’til Christmas. Hope you’re enjoying the Christmas chaos! -Rick”

I smiled at the Christmas message from this stranger. I don’t know anyone named Rick with that area code, but I thought I’d just let it go.

I didn’t respond, thinking that was the end, but it was only the beginning. The next day I received another message:

“6 days ’til Christmas! Wishing you joy and happiness. -Rick”

The messages continued like this until Christmas. Now, admittedly, I probably should have told this guy he had the wrong number. But, I was kind of enjoying the holiday cheer.

Finally, on Christmas morning, just when I was feeling the most alone, I received a final Christmas wish from Rick.

“Seth, Wishing you love and hope on this beautiful Christmas day. May you find peace and connection with those around you. Enjoy your day. -Rick”

Since this message had a name in the greeting that clearly wasn’t mine, I thought I’d better tell Rick his messages hadn’t been reaching Seth.

“Rick, I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you this sooner, but you have the wrong number. Your messages cheered up my holiday, and I was selfishly enjoying the Christmas countdown. Have a Merry Christmas. -Alissa”

I was a little nervous my new friend Rick would be upset, but he wasn’t.

“That’s Ok! Glad my messages brought cheer to someone on this holiday. Have a great Christmas! -Rick”

I wanted to let Rick know he had done a good deed, so I responded telling him how the holidays had been difficult for me, but his messages brightened my day.

Rick responded with a simple thought, but it turned my whole attitude around.

“I’m celebrating alone this year, so I can relate to feeling that certain holiday sadness. But, we have to remember how lucky we are. We have food, warm beds, and friends and family surrounding us. Even during times when we think we’re missing something, there’s a lot to be thankful for. -Rick”

Rick saved me this Christmas. Our conversation ended there, and I’ll probably never speak to him again, but I know why his texts reached my number as he counted down his blessings in honor of the Christmas season.

I needed Rick’s reminders and positive light, and as usual, I have The Universe to thank for sending it my way.

 

The Relationship Archives

By Myself for the First Time in a Long Time

If you were wondering where I’ve been the past month. I’d like to say I was off on some exciting adventure in my new-found single & fear-fightin’ life, but…that’s simply not true.

I was actually about two feet from my computer, on the couch, in my pjs, watching reruns of Modern Family and eating chocolate chip cookie dough.

Go ahead, judge me.

For the first five months after my separation, I threw all my energy into [crying, sulking, and] working on myself so I would come out of this stronger. And I did! I swear. Stick with me here.

For the next few months, I rearranged, redecorated and remodeled my house to feel like my own. I did it…I love it. It’s cozy, clean, organized, and so ME.

Then, I was left with this last month. Here I was in this beautiful, lonely house with new-found time to do whatever my heart desired. But, instead of working on my next project, I sat still. All I could find the energy to do was to enjoy my new environment and relax.

Believe it or not, relaxing wasn’t easy. My mind fought back the whole time, but my body was tired. I told myself to get up and get moving. One day, I stopped fighting it. I decided rest was exactly what I needed. Not forever, but as the next stage.

I wasn’t a total bump on a log. I’ve met so many new friends, especially one who has taken me under her wing and pulled me up screaming and kicking at least once a week to do something fun.

{Check out the Christmas tree we made for a local decorating competition!}

Now, I feel a change again. There are definitely nights I’d like to stay in and relax, but after my little vacation, I’m feeling reenergized. There’s a slight difference in my mood, and I’m excited to find out what adventures are in store.

This blog is about facing fears. It’s about being afraid, but doing it anyway.

When I started writing, I was afraid to get out of an explosive relationship. Then I left, and I was afraid I wouldn’t stick to my decision, or that I had made the wrong one. My fear changed again as I realized my life was about to be very different than I’d planned.

Now, I can write about the fear of being alone. I’m here, and it’s not bad. It’s pretty great sometimes. I’m finding ways to manage it and enjoy it. Stay tuned.

The Relationship Archives

Life’s no Orchestra.

The funny thing about this blog is how it can be inspirational and honest all in one. Most of the time I’m feeling inspired and passionate about life, but frankly, sometimes I sulk. Today is one of those days. I always give you fair warning!

I can’t really put a finger on how I’m feeling tonight other than disappointed with a bunch of different little things happening in my life. I don’t think the disappointments are relevant because they could be anything, it’s more about the feelings of disappointment and uncertainty.
What it really boils down to is…I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed because my life is not an orchestra. Not because I’m hoping I’ll be surrounded by music, but because I can’t seem to control what’s happening around me.

To be honest, I like things to go the way I want them to. I used to think I was the conductor, and my life was just falling into place the way I was planning it. Some days are a big wake up call: Life isn’t something I can mold and plan. 

Ugh. That’s unfortunate.

The interesting part is it has always been out of my control- everyone’s is. You just don’t realize it until something happens, something that wasn’t in the plan, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. 

Most days I’m excited about fate and what life may have in planned for me. I’m always daydreaming about new projects, new ideas, and the potential of the future. (I blame Pinterest.)
The trouble with dreaming, though, is the way it serves as a form of planning. Sometimes I dream up the way things will turn out, and when they take a different turn, disappointment kicks in.
Today I let it turn my attitude into a negative one. My unplanned future feels a little empty. I’m afraid at the end of the day, I’m only left with myself.You know what, though? (Here’s the positive.) I’m starting to truly understand what it means to love yourself and to reach for your dreams. The unknown, the girl without a plan– it means the future is in front of me, and lucky for me- I have no idea what amazing things may be in store.


The Relationship Archives

Stop Running From Feelings!

Feelings. Why do we spend so much energy running and hiding from them? To be honest, I avoid them at any cost. If I know a movie will make me cry, I skip it. If someone’s actions are making me want to scream, I stay away from them as much as possible. (Sometimes I even try to smooth things over to help them avoid bad feelings. Jeesh.) If I have to make a difficult decision, I put it off until the last possible minute.

Avoiding feelings can be exhausting. If you stick with me for a minute here, I promise hope my situation will be relatable and will make my point.
I was having a perfectly fine day today. I had coffee with my mom this morning, and we set out to paint my living room. But then little things started to go wrong, one thing after the other. Nothing huge, just little bumps along the road. (Painting is always a bigger project than you expect!)

First, my favorite paint color was, of course, called Wedding Veil. Really? C’mon.

Then, inevitably, it was too white. I tried to mix my own gray and came up with a lovely shade of silver, which I then proceeded to spill all over the floor. Ew.

At this point, I had half a can of freaking silver/Wedding Veil on the floor, and I was up to my elbows in paint.

Before I knew it, my frustrations turned into feeling uncomfortable, sad, and lonely to boot. The annoyance of the bad painting fiasco had made me so tired, it sucked me out of my comfort zone and stirred up all my sad emotions sitting under the surface.(Read My Full Disclosure if you’re not sure why I’m so quick to fall into that state or why Wedding Veil paint is pathetically ironic for me.)
My painting blunders had left me thinking about how I wish I never even wanted to paint. If my life was going the way I had planned, I wouldn’t have needed to paint. Why did I start this project? Why can’t my life just be back to normal? Why do I have to go through a breakup? (See the downward spiral?)
I was tired. My productivity was gone, and my positive attitude flew out right along with it. Even if I was productive, my motivation was sucked dry.Before I realized what it was, I was so exhausted from my feelings, I actually quit painting and went to bed. If sleep was what it was going to take to avoid these emotions, I’d do it. Forget the living room.
Luckily for me, the fumes kept me awake long enough to evaluate what was really going on. I realized my feelings found me even when I was trying to cover them up by keeping busy with my project.They came after me even when I tried to sleep to avoid them. There they were! Right beside me. Even if I managed to fall asleep, they’d be there waiting when I finally woke up.

 

I write a lot about quick pick-me-ups to turn around these feelings, but those only work for a little while as long as you’re dealing with your emotions in the mean time. If you’re just repeating these quick fixes and never facing anything, those pesky feelings will sit there waiting for you to have a moment of weakness.
So, what do you do if you can’t run from them? It’s like the old saying, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
I’ve written about this before, but I need the reminder now. Here are the steps to take in dealing with emotions:
 
1. Label it. What is it? Your feelings will most likely fit into these categories: 1. Sadness 2. Anger 3. Loneliness
2. Sit with it for a minute. It won’t kill you! Just let yourself feel it. Set a timer and force yourself to wallow for just a little while. It doesn’t feel good, but it will be over soon enough.
3. Redirect. Go do something else. This is where The 5 Minutes to Happiness list comes in handy.
4. Revisit. Come back to your feelings now. Did you survive them? Can you look at them in a different light? They may still be there, but maybe they’re not as overwhelming now.

You weathered the emotional storm! Look at you facing those fears. Take a moment to appreciate YOURSELF and your strength.
And how did my day end? Well, this blog post was my Step 3. I’ll get back to you. 🙂
The Relationship Archives

It’s My 29th Birthday, and I’ll Cry If I Want To.

Um. Yeah. I know. 29 is not that old. You’re still so young! You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.

I know. I know. When I’m older than 29, I’ll tell all the 29 year-olds they are young & have their whole lives ahead.

But, right now, this feels like a huge, neon WARNING sign:

BUT you haven’t done everything you thought you’d do before you were 30. Now you only have a year to get the huge house, the 5 kids, and the soccer mom van with the little family stickers on the back (plus the dog and cat).
 
(Ok, I didn’t really want the van. And I do have the dog and the cat at least.)

I know. I get it. Life doesn’t go as planned, and I’ve already accomplished so much in my career.

Blah, blah, blah. It’s my 29th birthday, and I’ll cry if I want to.    🙂





The Relationship Archives

When Is It Bad Enough?

Years!

It’s taken me years to figure out enough is enough.

I’m talking AT LEAST 4 years. So, if this list can help one person draw the line sooner, I’ll feel better.

On the other hand, I don’t regret those 4 years of ambivelence. I learned from them, grew from them, and it certainly wasn’t all bad. I know now I wasn’t ready for it any sooner anyway.

1. You’ve repeatedly made your boundaries clear, but they’re still being crossed on a regular basis.

2. The trust has been violated on many occassions, making it feel impossible to build up.

3. You feel you’re carrying a weight around with you wherever you go.

4. You’re more often feeling drained and less often feeling energetic.

5. Your feelings of self-worth are decreasing, and you find yourself believing you deserve some of the things that are happening to you.

Take it from one of my favorite shows, Grey’s Anatomy.

 

The Relationship Archives

A Realist’s Version of Eat, Pray, Love (And It Only Takes One Weekend!)

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all dreamed of doing the whole Eat, Pray, Love thing. Some days we wish we could just leave it all behind, eat to our heart’s content in Italy, spend some time meditating among the beauty of India, and then share it all with someone we love.

Unfortunately, we don’t all have the luxury of taking this type of vacation from life. But, what we can do is take control of our attitude about what we do have, and we can create our own little version of happiness, whether that includes travel to Europe or simply lunch at a café in the next town over.

The Realist’s Eat, Pray, Love in One Weekend  by Idonhav Monifrtravel


Chapter One: Take a Moment for Grace

Take an inventory of all you have accomplished. List every single thing you have to be grateful for from your family to your pink fuzzy slippers. It’s a simple way to realize the comforts of your life as it is. This will also help take the sting out of the fact that we aren’t going to Italy in this version of the book.

Chapter Two: Eat Without Guilt for a Night

Gather one of your closest friends or family members and set a date. Do some research online and pick a fancy restaurant or café to try in the next town over or a few towns away. It should have excellent reviews, and it has to be someplace completely new for the both of you. The point is to try something new and enjoy yourself in a place that feels exciting and foreign. It’s guaranteed to pull you out of any slump.

But, you’re not just going to this restaurant. You’re going to completely take this place by storm. This isn’t any old date night. Be sure you have enough money to buy whatever you feel like eating, and make a pact with yourself that you’ll give up your health-conscious mind for one evening.

First, sit at the bar and order your favorite drink, whether it be a fancy coffee or a glass of wine you’ve never tried before. Order the most extravagant appetizer you can find, and spend some time here. See if you can chat with someone sitting next to you and find out something about their life. You never know what interesting stories you’ll end up hearing when you open yourself to others. Maybe they’ll even be able to teach you some Italian.

After you’ve spent a nice, long time being a social butterfly at the bar, ask to move to the coziest table. Of course, for dinner, you won’t choose your usual. You’ll pick something different and unique because this is your time for variation on the norm.

Finish your meal with a dessert and a coffee, even if you’re full. This whole thing may seem like a gluttonous cover-up for a bad day, and it would be if you were doing it everyday. But, you’re only indulging for a night as part of your enlightenment. Go big.

Chapter Three: Find a Place of Peace


We aren’t going to India, but we are going to find a place of peace, especially after we were so extravagant last night. Bring a book and blanket to your favorite park or a new place you haven’t tried. If the weather is cold, try to find a cozy chair in a coffee shop. Spend the entire day here. I’m serious. One whole day. (Or at the very minimum, 2 hours.) Even if you have to hire a sitter. This is your mental health day.

Curl up with your book or just curl up and close your eyes. Spend your day without worry or stress, and just be.

Chapter Four: Share the Love

Now that you’ve had a few days to yourself and your friends, make it a point to share your love with someone close to you. This can be one of your best friends, your sister, your mom, or your hubby. Stop by a card shop and spend some time finding the perfect card to thank them for being in your life. Really think about how you can use words to express your thanks for having this person in your life. You’ll make their day, and you’ll feel better about yours.

You can have an Eat, Pray, Love Weekend once a month if you need to! Just take a weekend to be mindful of your life and take control of your attitude.

 

The Relationship Archives

This Sucks.

 I actually don’t even like the word. Sucks that is. But there’s nothing better to describe this feeling. I don’t know if this will really be helpful for anyone, but it’s going to be therapeutic for me, so I’ll be selfish right now.

I’m thinking of it like bungee jumping. (Not that I have nearly enough guts to do that, but I’ll use my imagination.) At first you’re like:

I can’t do it. I can’t do it. How could I ever jump off this bridge not knowing what will happen next?

(Of course, this represents the phase where you contemplate leaving your job/boyfriend/husband/house/whatever.)

And at first, you’re all like- YEAH. This is awesome. I jumped, I’m in the air, I’m so brave, this is so amazing.

(The time right after you leave where you’re proud you did it and you have feelings that you were right about leaving.)

But then you realize you’re no where near the bridge and the part where your stomach drops is coming. EW.

(This sucks. Like really, really, really badly. This is where I am when I’m writing this post. I want to
A. Take it all back and make myself feel better and B. Crawl into bed and cry all night. I want to throw up, scream, sob, and feel sorry for myself.)

And the worst part is…I’m dipping in an out of these phases. They don’t come once and go. They come and go, go and come back, stay for a quick second, or stay for entire days at a time. At this point, I just want to get back on solid ground.

This really isn’t a very inspiring post. You probably knew that when you read the title. You had fair warning! Stay tuned for the inspiring post when I’m out of this phase and happy with my decision again. At least you have the honest truth about what it feels like to jump.