Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I've told many stories about past dates. There is one that I haven't talked about really at all I don't think, at least not directly. And there are many reasons. Maybe I should.

We were together for more than three years, off and on. There were good times. Good memories. But those were also the darkest times of my life.

I've heard stories of women in abusive relationships and I've wondered what must be going through their mind that they don't leave. Why would anyone stay in a situation like that?

And I always said it would never happen to me.

So what is going through their mind? They're thinking, "I can change him." They're thinking, "If he's with me at least he's not hurting someone else." They stay because they can't think of any way out. They start to think maybe they deserve what they are getting. They think they aren't worth anything else.

How do I know that? Because it happened to me. Because those were my thoughts.

I was too blind to see it coming. It took me a long time to see it even after it was over. People might describe me as having a strong character, strong testimony, strong confidence and esteem. But it still happened to me. I was never physically injured, which might be why I didn't recognize it. My scars aren't visible.

I would get to the breaking point, ready to walk away. More than once I said I regretted meeting him. And then he'd be sweet again. He'd apologize so sincerely. He'd tell me how much he needed me and how he never wanted to hurt me. The next time the breaking point was even further down.

It was a spiral down to hell.

I think by the end he had actually broken me. I was a shell of who I had been. I'd convinced myself it was what I deserved and I'd brought it upon myself.

I don't think it was something he consciously did. I imagine it would completely floor him if he realized it. He still sees us as being good friends and has been surprised at how far I've gone to cut him out of my life now. He's not the person he was back then, he's better. But I don't know him now. And I don't need the memory of who he was in my life. Forgiveness is not a free pass back into your life.

Now that I see what he did, I also see signs that his mother did it to him. I never knew where I stood with her, and it seemed he never did either. She's sweet and loving one day, and tearing you down the next. It's what he knew. He was also dealing with some mental addictions that only exacerbated the problem and contributed to his state of mind and how he viewed women. None of that excuses it. But sometimes an explanation helps.

Pulling myself out of that hole was hard. It left me wary. I'm afraid of watching other people end up there and that they won't see the warning signs that I can see now. I'm afraid they won't listen to the warnings of others because I didn't.

Forgiving him was hard and went in jumps and spurts. Forgiving myself was even harder. Both were possible. The atonement is just that amazing. Christ healed my broken heart.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luke 4:18

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Communication isn't dead

As someone who has had a very long string of dates/encounters/not quite relationships that failed due to a complete lack of communication and a dearth of honesty, I am really enjoying how well my new guy and I communicate.

(Sidenote: He needs a nickname. I'll work on that.)

I really appreciate how open he is about how he's feeling about his past, his present, and, most especially, us, and that I can do the same. We had a really great discussion last night about how neither of us are dating anyone else and we don't want this to end anytime soon, but he's not ready to ask me to be his girlfriend just yet. He only got out of his last long-term relationship a week before asking me out, and it had ended so badly that he just wants to take his time this go-round. In fact, he brought the topic up, all of his own accord. This isn't the first time we've had an open discussion about us, and I'm just so thrilled that we already having such good talks about our relationship. As you know, I hate playing the guessing game and it's discussions like last night's that remind me I really don't have anything to worry about right now.

Sure, sometimes he teases me mercilessly and doesn't always tack on something shmoopy when saying hello in the morning, but then we have quiet and honest conversations about where we're headed and he hugs me so completely that I know we're okay.

In this age of texting, Facebook, and all manner of instant gratification, it's wonderful to find out that it hasn't completely killed heartfelt communication (though I do recommend Single Blonde in the City's thoughtful post on the matter). I had wondered, before this relationship started blooming, if I was ever going to have long conversations late into the night filled with both laughter and tears and really connect with someone again. The last time I was in a truly serious relationship, Facebook was still brand new and only open to certain universities and texting hadn't quite taken off the way it has now.

But we do talk, openly, and it is fantastic. I know him well enough and am comfortable enough in this relationship to know that the fact he wasn't talking much at dinner last night was because we were in a loud sports bar with over 50 televisions. It was no reflection on me at all, even though he teased that maybe he brought me there because he was tired of hearing me talk. However, I can tell the difference between his teasing voice and his honest voice and this was definitely the former, especially since it was coupled with his mischievous grin.

Silly boy.

There really is something different about this one, and I'm loving it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I was able to spend my evening in the temple after a day of (bits of) reorganizing and dejunking and I felt SO GREAT after I was done in the temple, and then I went to the store and was hit with a wave of disappointment. I'm not entirely sure what set it off, but I know part of it had to do with the sudden awareness that someone avoided me and I don't know why he did. He flashed past my peripheral vision on his way to the check-out and by the time I realized he'd walked right past without even a nod, he was gone. He also isn't following my Twitter feed anymore, which just added to the disappointment. I'm fully aware that sometimes I whine and complain on Twitter--it's a defense mechanism, I guess, so I don't take it out on people within a physical radius--but I've tried really hard to be positive or at least funny. Maybe I'm not positive or funny enough, but then I saw a group of friends at a wedding reception last night who kept telling me how positive and funny I was. Go figure.

As I ate my very late dinner of peanut butter toast and a glass of milk, I got to thinking about other recent disappointments:

David tells me how great I am, asks when I'm going to visit him, consults me on his house remodel, says if he had a million dollars he'd buy me a new car, tells me I'm pretty. . .and then vents about how he can't find anyone pretty/smart/faithful enough to marry.

Campbell hasn't talked to me in more than 3 months and I don't know what I did to earn his repulsion. The last time he talked to me, he mentioned how he hadn't been able to find anyone to interest him so he was resorting to an online dating profile--keep in mind he said all this while showing me pictures of his family and sitting right next to me on my couch and complimenting my outfit and remembering conversations we had months ago and winking at me occasionally. What gives?!

The General obviously thinks I'm too old for him, even though we're barely a year apart. I saw him this week, too, and he updated me on his life after giving me a great big hug, but I know he's more interested in chasing 20-year-olds (and acting like one) than in someone who can meet him intellectually.

Ken has known me for almost 20 years and is one of the funniest and sweetest people I know, and on the rare occasions we actually see each other, we seem to get along pretty well and have a variety of mutual interests. There's probably potential for something at some point (I know that could be the case with a lot of people), but we live 40 miles apart and I'm not nearly as athletic as the girls he probably wants to date.

Super Girl seems to change her personality to exactly match whoever she's dating, and this time is no exception. It's bad enough that I'm worried I won't even be able to talk to her again without feeling like I'm being judged for everything from what I eat to the books I read. She's a strong, independent woman who has done SO much to improve her life that it kills me to see her subsume so much of herself just because she's seeing someone new. I feel like I've lost the close friend I had a couple of years ago, and I don't know if it's even worth fixing now.

Diane moved back to the state to live with her parents and transfer to another job, and I am almost emotionally exhausted just thinking about her living in the same city as me again. Needless to say, I am ignoring any attempts on her part to renew a relationship of any kind. Just because you forgive someone doesn't mean you have to let that person back into your life, right?

So, I am having one of those rare "why aren't I good enough" nights. I feel exactly good enough in the temple, exactly good enough around a few people, but there are times I wonder what in the world is wrong with me--am I not friendly enough? Don't I laugh enough? Do I have hobbies that are too weird? Is it a turn-off that I love cats and babies? Should I make more of an effort to wear mascara every day? Am I too smart or opinionated? Am I too much of a homebody? Am I just too old?

Sometimes I honestly don't understand what part of me is so horrifying that no one wants to spend any time with me.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A grateful guest

If you haven't seen yet, Laura at Living a Big Story is doing a wonderful Mother's Day series this month with 12 different women as guests writing about their experiences. Each woman has her own story to tell of who she is and the journey she has traveled. The series is about some of those different journeys.

On May 11th, I was the guest. I feel very honored and grateful that she felt I had a story she could share on her blog. My post is titled "I Needed Those Ten Years." Go check it out, as well as all the other wonderful stories the women are sharing. And then maybe find a place to share your own story.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Family of One?

The First Presidency message in April 2007 was by President Faust and was titled "Enriching Your Marriage." Why do I remember this four years later?

In 2007 I was single. I was living alone. I wasn't really dating anyone. And I was also in a really rough spot in my life. When the calendar switched over from 2006 to 2007 I actually broke down in tears because I was terrified of what would happen in 2007, and it was a killer of a year. I had read the message before my home teachers came that month and I was looking forward to discussing it with them. However, when they came, they shared with me an article in Wired magazine about happiness. Wired? Really? As someone seriously struggling with depression at that moment, that was not what I needed to talk about.

So why would my home teachers choose to share something from Wired rather than the message from someone we sustain as a prophet? I can only conclude that they felt extremely uncomfortable talking about strengthening a marriage with someone that wasn't married. (I was not in a single's ward at the time, my home teachers were married. I think that's important to realize.) And why would that make them uncomfortable? Because single people don't have any family.



That is something I have heard so many times I couldn't begin to count. You're single. You don't have any family. And it couldn't be more wrong.

Even when I was single, even when I lived all alone, I had family. I have parents. I have siblings. I have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, so much family. And I had the promise from God of more family after me, a husband and children. I don't know anyone who doesn't have room to strengthen their relationships with their family. The more I knew about having a strong marriage before I got married, the stronger foundation my marriage would have.

Single people don't have family? The people I know who have the BEST relationship with their families are often single people. My dad's cousin never married, but she knows our family better than anyone. If you want to know anything about my genealogy on that side, ask her. When she leaves this world there will be SOOO many family members to welcome her, and she KNOWS them. She has a very strong relationship with her family.

I even had family home evening when I was single (it often involved a bubble bath). The more strength I had with my family at that time would be strength I could take with me into my expanding family. Habits do not change at a wedding. Habits that enrich and strengthen a family start long before a wedding.

Family of one? Such a thing just doesn't exist.

Friday, May 6, 2011


The very beginning of relationship is so much fun, right? The giggling when he does something so sweet, the anticipation of that first kiss (or even the 27th, because it's still so new), wondering what he has planned for your next date. The butterflies. The new sparks. That first time you hold hands.

Except I kind of hate it.

In the midst of all that new and exciting cuteness, there's the insecurity that comes from none of your last several guys making it past a month for often indiscernible reasons, so why should this time be any different? There's the fact that you're still learning to communicate with each other, and you're not quite sure when he's teasing or being serious or what his love language is and neither is he about you.

Today, for example, we sent text messages back and forth for a few hours and instead of focusing on the the facts that he called me "hun" twice in one text last night, then sent me a text relatively soon after waking today, and our texts today ranged from intellectual to flirty and remained constant until he got to work, my brain keeps pointing out that he hasn't called me by any term of endearment yet today, nor have we set up any plans for tomorrow when we're both finally free, and that I had to initiate our conversation after work last night.

Why, brain? Why?

I would much rather be in that comfortable middle ground, where you're definitely in a relationship and while there are still risks and potential exits, it's more secure. You know each other better, can read each other's moods, and are cementing stronger communication patterns to work out the little kinks or even the not so little ones.

Yes, the beginning of something new can be crazy awesome. I happen to love that we text each other good night and good morning and talk everyday, even if we don't see each other more than two or three times a week yet. Considering the circumstances of his last relationship and how it ended, I'm pretty sure he's not a runner. I just have to remember to take a breath. We're taking things slow and talking LOTS, so we're good. We have to go through this insecure part to get to the comfortable middle anyway.

Am I crazy? Have you experienced the same thing? Should I just ask if he still wants to go out tomorrow and stop worrying about it?