Category Archives: relationships


Meaningful connection. I am coming to understand that it is the life force that sustains me. I believe, with my whole self, that the moments where someone sees me for who I am, when someone completely ‘gets’ me, are the moments when I feel the safest in my life; grounded. I seek connection with people every time I am out and about. I seek connection in my daily interactions with co-workers, with the person I am dating, with friends, and with my children. When I cannot find it, or it does not satisfy or live up to my expectations, I am left feeling a bit panicky and, yes, disconnected.

If I am at a party or out with friends, and the conversation is trite and surface-level, I feel more alone. If I go a whole day without a check-in from the people in my life who really understand me and accept me for who I am, I feel scared and invisible. Connection is a need for me; it might be the most important and meaningful one in my life. Without it, I feel adrift. Without connection, I feel as if I am floating away, completely alone; with my intense thoughts and emotions. The most terrifying part of this is when I believe someone close to me sees me for who I am, intimately and deeply, and it turns out they don’t. That realization is like a fast and painful punch to the gut and it can leave me reeling for weeks and make me very wary of future interactions with that person. It hurts.

I don’t know how to sustain a conversation about work or the weather or hobbies. I don’t understand how to engage with people who don’t want to talk about relationships, life, love, hurt, pain, death, and the universe. Yes, I know I’m intense. I know I struggle with casual.

I have come to accept that part of the reason my marriage failed was because we forgot how to connect with each other. We stopped seeing each other as a couple and instead operated as a family. We stopped connecting as two people in love and in life. Our sex life suffered, our marriage suffered, our entire lives fell apart as we grew more and more distant. I know it was having children that broke us and, of course, it wasn’t their fault. It was our fault for not working hard enough to balance the family-life and our relationship outside of that unit. We broke; and the result was that our family broke too. I remember bringing our first child home from the hospital and sobbing. I was heaving with tears as I turned to my husband and said, “You and I will never be the same. It won’t ever be just you and I again.” I was scared. I sensed the immense shift; the permanent change in our relationship.

I was right. Nothing was ever the same for us again.

I think much of my need for connection is an INFJ thing. From a post by Koty Neelis on Thought Catalog:

INFJs get frustrated when they make an attempt to connect with someone and the person fails to share their enthusiasm. INFJs can read people extremely well, so when they make an attempt to connect with someone on a deeper level or discuss something that means a lot to them, they can instantly tell when the other person isn’t on the same wavelength as them. This leads them to wonder why they even bothered at all and makes them more hesitant to reveal other things about themselves in the future.

That blurb makes SO much sense to me. It helps me to find forgiveness for myself with something that worries and troubles me. It helps me to feel less alone. Why can’t I function without meaningful connection in my life? Does that mean I am frightened to be alone? That somehow I am not secure in who I am? This is something I am still puzzling through. I am trying to understand if this is an insecurity or completely valid and okay (I am trying to understand why I want to understand at all); I can never just let myself be. Sometimes I detest being an INFJ. I feel like a mistfit, a weirdo, and an outsider and none of those things feels good.

I long for connection. I am constantly searching for people who see the gaps between the cracks. Individuals who looks at the world from a different angle; a different lens. I want people who reflect back to me the version of myself that I know to be real; that I know to be true. I do this for people nearly everyday and it is rare that it is reciprocal in nature. I am looking for people I can let into my private, inner universe. That space that fills my heart and my soul. I long for these qualities in my friendships but more importantly in my intimate relationships. I deserve and want someone who chooses me every single damn day.

And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.


Loving Without Expectation

I have been reading loads of articles on letting go of expectations in regards to relationships. And I have come to the conclusion that I am not capable of this.


Logically, I believe in everything I have read. Letting go of the need to box up a relationship and give it a name. Letting go of trying to label something and put a pretty bow on it to give oneself the illusion of safety and stability. I understand the concept and I believe that it is a very powerful one; the end game being to love freely and completely with your entire self without the expectation that someone ‘needs’ to love you back in the same way that you might love them.

Loving without the expectation that a so-called ‘relationship’ means a promise of forever.

Maybe loving without expectation is something that some people can do right out of the dating gate. Maybe some people learn how to do this with years of practice. I have tried, a few times now, and with absolute frustration I have realized that I cannot do this at this point in my life. I have been through so much trauma this past year, that I crave that perceived guarantee. Which, let’s be honest, is total bullshit because I know (better than most) that futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight and labels aren’t guarantees and pretty little relationship packages are not promises.

Love feels pretty terrifying right now.

I think that loving without expectation is one of the main tenants of polyamory. Being free to love whomever you love in whatever way that might be. Trusting yourself to give love and accept love. Trusting your partner (or partners) to treat you with respect and kindness as you navigate the ups and downs of multiple relationships. Understanding that there is no permanence in relationships just as there is no permanence in life.

A friend who is poly once told me that in a new poly relationship, everyone involved should go as slowly and mindfully as the slowest person involved. I was so completely traumatized by my one and only experience with polyamory that I am absolutely terrified of having any kind of relationship with anyone. I was literally bulldozed by two people who fell madly in love with each other and then kicked me to the curb.

The maddening thing is, being in a relationship is all that my aching heart wants. But, at least for now, I simply cannot do this without a fear and a terror that I will open up my heart (and it opens in a BIG way), and someone will look at me and say, “Hey, you just aren’t what I want. I do not choose you, I choose this other person. See ya!” I don’t want to be treated that way ever again.

I am currently completely frustrated with myself. I had to let go and say goodbye to a great guy this week. We were doing beautifully for about a month. I was letting go of the expectation that he needed to love me in the way that I loved him. I was learning to trust and believe that I could finally do it, let my heart free, let it out of its terrified space of hurt and fear. He was kind, supportive, nurturing, and SAFE. He was a safe person to love because he would never hurt me. He would never bail on me. I could feel my heart slowly healing.

But then we had this conversation during which he told me he wanted to “keep his options open” and if he wanted to have sex with someone else he wanted to be able to do that without hurting my feelings.

I reacted like a deer in headlights, I nearly disassociated due to my trauma and PTSD. But I breathed through it and in that moment I realized that I simply could not give him that; even though I wanted to, SO MUCH. My heart cracked and broke again and I said goodbye to someone who didn’t want the same thing I did. I could not go through the horror of being left by someone again. I retreated to my space of hurt, longing, rejection, abandonment, and anxiety. I am still living there to some degree. I am trying to feel my feelings without letting them run rampant and seize control. I am getting better at this but it can still feel pretty scary.

But what is it that I really want? A lie? A false sense of security and a sense of safety that isn’t even real? My brain wants that. My heart has a completely different idea. I know now that I can love someone without an expectation that they will love me back. I can be with someone and open up my heart to them without that need for their love to match my own. But here is the catch: I cannot do this in a so-called ‘open relationship’. The minute he dropped that bomb, I knew I was incapable of doing what I had slowly begun to do. Love without expectation. Because, in my limited experience with open relationships, people leave you. They smash your heart and walk away without a backward glance. Maybe someday I will have healed enough to handle something like that if it happened again. But for now, it is just not possible. And the worst part?

I feel like a failure.

I think it is okay to expect certain things. I expect not to be treated like shit. I expect to be treated with care and compassion and kindness. I expect someone to be gentle with my heart and not stomp all over it. These things are non negotiable needs for me, and at this point in my healing, I have to create boundaries that protect them. Which meant saying goodbye to someone I love very, very much. And isn’t that a brave thing to do? To stay within my own integrity and know my own limits and set my own boundaries? I am hurting a lot right now, but that hurt will fade with time. I won’t feel this way forever. Because forever is an illusion and labeling something as ‘exclusive’ or ‘non-exclusive’ means absolutely nothing.

But for now, until the parts of me that fear abandonment heal, I am trying to accept that I need to feel safe within the context of a lie.

Beauty in Breakdown

I am giving you permission to fall apart.

To crumble and drop to your knees.

To cry so hard you can’t catch your breath and your whole body trembles.

I want you to know that it is okay to break and feel like you are losing your mind.

It is okay to feel hopeless.

To hit rock bottom.

To go places so dark and so desperate you feel terrified;

of getting lost there forever.

But forever isn’t a place you can inhabit.

Forever is an illusion.

Forever does not exist.

And even when you feel like you can’t go on and there is no hope,

I promise you that there is.

You are going to pick yourself up off of that floor.

You will find your strength, your hope, your resilience.

Never forget that tomorrow is another day.

But today, you are allowed to break.

There is beauty in breakdown.

I am So Sorry

Sometimes I feel like you left because you were bored and restless.

I feel like you left because you were unsatisfied with our marriage, our family, and your place within the life you and I had created together. I don’t think you wanted the responsibility of having a family or a mortgage. I believe that you wanted your bachelorhood back, you wanted to be single again, because the life we had created together felt stifling. You felt trapped; and you wanted to get the fuck away from me and my addled brain. 

When I feel the devastation as I wake up on Thanksgiving this morning (or any holiday), my brain automatically goes straight to the happy memories. It goes to the space left in my heart where the man I used to love lives. Where the family that meant everything to me still resides, and always will. And it hurts. It wrecks me. At least it used to. I know now that a trip down memory lane is not a place that I want to visit. It is not a place I need to dwell on. It is a land of fairy tales and happiness; hope and longing. It isn’t real.

A part of me continues to question whether it ever was.

In this moment, I want you to know that I am sorry. I am so so sorry. For not choosing you or us. For only seeing my life with you as a part of something bigger; our kids and our family. But there we were, you and I, the most important part of that equation, and we stopped choosing each other. Instead, we chose resentment, complicity, boredom, stagnancy, denial (heaps and heaps of denial). We chose the kids; not each other. We ignored the not-so-invisible monster in the room. The huge beast that was sitting there screaming at us: “Watch out!!! This is getting closer and closer to dangerous territory! Neither of you are happy!! It is time to stop ignoring that!!”

But we didn’t stop. We kept trudging along. We kept marching to the beat of someone else’s drum; society’s drum. We were caught on the relationship escalator and we didn’t know how to get off until it was too late. The escalator broke down and chucked us the fuck off. And now, here we are. Living lives that are separate and apart; we are no longer a couple.

And sometimes that hurts. A lot.

But I know, deep in my heart, that we are both happier. More satisfied. More alive and awake and aware. And we have these new lives to navigate. New horizons and paths to choose. And perhaps one day I will meet someone and we will look at each other the way you and I used to look at each other. And when that happens (or doesn’t), I will make sure that I choose them Every. Single. Day. Because I don’t want to wake up a year from then, or five years from then, and realize I was making the same mistakes I made with you.

I am so so sorry.