self improvement

Family

WHY?


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There is a question I’ve asked myself countless times, over and over but never with an answer. There are things I can think of but nothing I can pin down as the exact cause. Why am I getting divorced? I  thought about it in 2007 when I first thought it would be over then again in late 2008. Forward to 2014 and I’m to the point of no return, it’s done. Still the question is being asked in my mind several times a day.

As a man, and this may be true for other men as I suspect it is, when I am confronted with a problem my reaction is to find the answer and apply it accordingly. The key is being able to find the answer because without it you can’t solve the problem. When there is no obvious answer I begin to look inward and pick myself apart focusing on my own faults, things I’ve done and improvements I need to make. Self reflection is good. Self improvement is good. Thinking that by doing those things you will improve your standing with someone is not so good.

Back in 2007 I lost around 20 pounds the first time I thought I might divorce. The second time, a year later, I lost around the same and this time perhaps 10-15 pounds. It’s old hat, the impact is not the same but it still shakes me. The worry and stress of my family breaking apart has been really hard. Again this time I’ve gone the path of searching for the answer by looking at myself and blaming myself for this however I’ve been unable to solve this problem because I could never find the answer as to why.

Today I was talking to someone about this and I asked why. Their answer was,“Do you plan on spending the rest of your life wondering why? You should try to make friends with the unknown and your pain because you can’t be in a relationship with someone who wants out. Accept your reality. Prepare yourself physically, emotionally and financially for life without her. Stop asking why. Start asking what do you want now.” And “Accept you will never know why. This has been about her – not you.” 

In truth I have not been the perfect husband but I’ve worked really hard to be a better husband. I’ve put in the work, gotten the help. I’ve tried to reach out and connect but nothing I did would matter, I never felt like my efforts were appreciated and in the end they didn’t make a difference to her. Actually they made a huge difference. The difference is I am a better person as a result of self-reflection and my willingness to work at being better.

From this day forward I vow to never again ask myself why I am getting divorced. The point is moot. It’s time to move on and instead of asking why I will ask myself, what do you want now?

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Friends


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Not long ago I was what you might consider somewhat restricted in who I allowed myself to spend time with or commit energy to. Being selfish with my time was what I was doing.  During that time I had little desire to make friendships work even when people would reach out to me. My excuse was I’m just too damn busy and honestly I don’t have the desire. There’s the kids, work and the family life that I needed to focus on. I guess those were somewhat legit excuses but I think too that I felt a real lack of ambition to nurture friendship. Over time I started to realize though that it’s not good to lose sight of what friends are, how much value they can add to our life.  But I did lose sight of that years ago for reasons I won’t go into detail about here.

Eventually I decided that I needed to reach out some even if  just a little and even if I didn’t want to. It was hard at first felling strained and awkward. Honestly sometimes I felt like, “I really don’t want to be here right now” so I would flip flop on it for a while pulling away and reaching out again. But I knew that I needed to keep testing the water while changing my way of thinking too and as I tested the waters more, made a change in my mind, I started to appreciate time with a friend or friends. It felt less strained over time too and eventually I would look forward to getting together.  Now I have people in my life that I know I can depend on and I consider great friends. There are still times when I pull back a little but it’s not in a way that prevents me from having those friendships it’s just that I lose focus once in a while.

A few years ago is when I started to work on growing those friendships. At the time I didn’t know it but that effort would one day become a game changer; I’d come to depend on those friendships more than I could imagine . Having friends to talk to and that really listen to you. Not just listen because they feel like they have to but listen and offer support in a way that makes me think they really do give a shit. I like that. When you have friends close enough that you could tell them anything and they even share your sorrow for a moment,  it’s hard to put into words how much that means to me. If I had not forced myself to allow it to happen I don’t know what I would do right now.