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  #31  
Old 04-02-2012, 06:48 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I pinched the following quote from redpepper's blog because I love it. The only thing I'd change is the word people. I'd change it to individuals because I know that intimacy doesn't just happen between humans and humans.

That small thing aside - I love it.

Intimacy: An ongoing process where two or more caring people share, as freely as possible, an exchange of their thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, experiences and time, in an atmosphere of mutual acceptance, commitment, tenderness and trust.

I have just spent the most amazing week. I've been helping a truly friend of mine teach a 6 day training course covering a method of working with animals. The course got me thinking loads about relationships and intimacy.

I've been doing this stuff for years and valued the chance to catch up with several old friends. We don't see each other in person much because of distance but when we do, I'm always reminded of how valuable these people are to me. My relationships with those people very much fall under the above description of intimacy. They are people I would (and have) run to for support if my life was going badly.

And then there were the animals. People tend to bring their own dogs along often for these courses. Witnessing the intimacy they experience with their dogs is amazing. One dog on the course is extremely fearful of people and other dogs which makes her difficult for her owner to live with. Her owner (and her husband) are so committed to understanding and helping their dog - often in the face of hostility from other people. At the end of the week when she talked about the progress her dog had made, we all cried along with her.

Made some new friends too - one of whom I hope is going to help me move forward with some stuff I've been stuck with for a while. She lives near me and as it turns out we are both also friends with a dear friend of mine.

This all got me thinking about intimacy and just how much of it there is in my life. In some ways I think that I am able to experience intimacy more easily with platonic friends than with people I am sexual with. For me, I think sex complicates things a bit. I think it may be that I feel a little vulnerable and insecure about not being good enough at it? Maybe? I'm not sure if that's the whole thing about it.

It may also be that sexual relationships have such a weight of expectation placed on them (they are expected to lead to marriage, kids, house together etc) and I find it difficult to cut those things from my mind entirely even though I want none of that stuff.

I wonder if, for me, the weight of dealing with those sorts of issues makes intimacy more difficult.

Certainly, my pattern and preference over the years has been to have one or two very close platonic friends who I speak to and see often. Plus a wider group of close friends who I speak to and see a bit less often. And possibly a series of lovers who I don't have serious relationships with (or not - during my last single period I found I had no interest in having lovers).

I have learned over the years to value platonic friendships in a way I didn't so much before. My experience as a teenager was that I was told often by potential boyfriends that they would rather be friends with me. At the time, I took that as rejection and as a sign that I wasn't good enough.

Now I don't see it like that. I see the value in it. People wanted to be my friend because they value my friendship.

I'm also feeling quite excited about my SO and I working on our relationship. Time and figuring out how we will be together is needed I think and we have made a few plans.

We have very different takes on and experiences with romantic relationships. As well as hugely different lifestyles.

Fitting together is kind of tough for both of us at times. But I think our relationship is worthwhile enough to go through a bit of learning together.

Interesting and exciting times just now. Sorry for the jumbled thoughts - was thinking some of this through yesterday as I drove home and wanted to quickly write it down before it all went out of my head.

IP
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  #32  
Old 04-04-2012, 06:40 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I haven't seen my SO for about 2 weeks due to my being away and then him being away. I miss him loads.

Have been having lots of time to think and ponder. Can't remember if I have mentioned it before but one of the things I worry about is being replaced in relationships.

I reckon it started in childhood - I am the oldest in my family and the next sibling to me is my brother who's 18 months younger. I tend to be quiet, thoughful and passive while my brother is wild, adventurous and demanding. When he was born, my mum had to give him most of her attention. It wasn't her intention but I think it left me feeling replaced by my brother and I think started a life long worry over that sort of thing.

I have lost the odd friend over the years too who has replaced me (these friends were people who turned out to have a history of that sort of thing - I feel sad for them that they feel they must give up old friendships when they make a new friend. And sad for my own loss too.)

So - this is an ongoing thing that I work on too. And something else that it turns out I find harder in a committed, loving sexual relationship. I'm okay about it with more casual lovers. And don't tend to worry much if the platonic friends I feel committed to find new friends.

I think that this feeling may have been part of the attraction I felt for my ex. He is happier with very few friends and doesn't tend to make new ones easily so there was much less worry for me over being replaced.

My SO, on the other hand, loves people. He finds and makes friends easily and gets a real buzz from it. This means that I am getting lots of chances to examine and work on that anxiety from a reasonably safe place.

I might feel the anxiety and the risk of being replaced sometimes feels very real. But my SO has no history at all of replacing any of his friends or any of his ex lovers or girlfriends at any time.

And he has very good taste in friends which helps.

So useful but still, I reckon I feel the worry more than I would if my SO and I had a platonic friendship.

IP
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  #33  
Old 04-19-2012, 06:55 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Default stuff to work through

It seems that I have a bit of a thing to work/live through. For some time now I've found it hard to feel close to my SO. I have been feeling unimportant and precarious in his life. We've been arguing lots - mostly because I feel frightened and have lashed out at him for thing things I see him do that trigger feelings of unimportance. I've been suggesting ways that we can deal with it - being clearer about arrangements to meet, making time to see each other on our own and the like.

A short phone conversation on Monday night ended with me lying awake most of the night thinking about why I feel so precarious in my SO's life. And I think that lots of the problem is that I strongly associate loss through death with the endings of other significant relationships.

In the past 4 years, there have been 3 deaths of huge significance in my life. The first was my BIL who died suddenly leaving my young sis alone with a 2 year old and 8 week old twins to care for. That time was horrible for all of us (of course, worse for my sister).

At that time I had a very close friend. We spoke every day, shared our hopes, dreams, problems. Saw each other often. When BIL died, she stopped talking to me - didn't answer texts, phone calls, e-mails.

Ages later, I found out what happened. She'd gotten a bf (now her husband) and prefers to have friends who share her lifestyle. So she dumped me for another girl (and later dumped her when her life changed). I found all of this out from the girl I was dumped from who is now a friend of mine.


Then, about 15 or so months ago, one of my dogs died after years of difficult, stressful and horrible illness. During the time she was deteriorating, another friend of mine had been becoming distant. She was spending more and more time with a girl she'd started to work with and was less and less interested in me. I kind of told myself that I was being silly and paranoid and needed to get over myself. But still, I felt I was being excluded and ignored.

When my dog, K died, I heard nothing from my friend. Not a text, e-mail - nothing. We have masses of friends in common and so she would have known. The lack of contact at such a difficult time (this friend knew my dog well, is a dog lover herself and knew all the difficulties we had been through) made me realise that the friendship was over.

Again - although the timing sucked, this was nothing to do with me really. Turns out that my friend's work colleague has a history of wanting her friends to only be friends with her. She will lie and manipulate to isolate them and make sure they are only friends with her.

So while I understand intellectually that these losses were not directed at me exactly and had nothing to do with what was going on in my life, emotionally, I feel that loss through death will mean the end of whatever is the most significant relationship in my life at that time.

And so I'm terrified and feel precarious in my relationship with my SO. The fear is what cause me to lash out at him.

Tuesday this week was horrible. I felt down and hopeless about ever dealing with this.

I still don't have a plan but I've been chatting about it to friends, my SO and e-mailing my SO my thoughts (and telling him how much I appreciate him and his influence in my life).

I still feel horrible. And incredibly angry about the way my ex friends handled the ends of those relationships.

But now I don't feel so hopeless. I think that a bit of time thinking, examining and turning the problem over in my mind will help. As will keeping on talking to my SO about it.

I don't want these feelings to go just yet. I want to examine them, understand them and learn from them.

IP
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  #34  
Old 05-05-2012, 07:40 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Okay - now I have a plan.

The plan is to work on acting for a month as if I feel totally secure about my SO's love for me. Whenever I feel precarious in his life, I plan on writing about it in a diary rather than trying to talk to him about it. Hopefully the writing will help in two ways - it should provide some useful information about when these feelings arise. And hopefully will help me become less stressed.

And I'm not going to talk to people about it. I have e-mailed my SO lots about my thoughts and that works fine but talking about it always causes fights - I don't explain it well in person - too emotional - and also it's hard stuff to hear. He absolutely loves me and works really hard to do what I need so to hear that it still isn't enough is hard for him.

Talking to friends has turned out to be mostly not useful. My friends are wonderful and speaking from a place of love, most of them have told me that my feelings are totally okay. That my SO should do whatever I need to make me feel secure in his life.

While it's nice to hear that there is no problem with me , it is not useful. Those conversations tend to end with me feeling like my SO needs to step up and make more effort. He doesn't at all - nobody could make enough effort to make me feel better about this stuff. I need to walk through this stage in my life.

So e-mails, thinking about the good things, a diary and writing on forums will be enough for the next month or so.

IP
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  #35  
Old 05-05-2012, 08:44 AM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Default Wisdom.

Good to get to know you a bit through your blog (and I say a bit, because cyberspace and reality are two different worlds, entirely). I think that there is a great deal of wisdom in taking uncertain feelings to a private forum. Whether it be a password protected blog on blogspot.com or a diary that you hide in your oven door, I think it's important to have a place to squirrel away your private thoughts. That being said, what about starting a journal that's the opposite of you inclinations? I do this when I'm feeling like I need invisible inspiration. I write my intentions down, my wildest desires, the things that I'm avoiding/panicking/worrying about as though they were fact.

For example.... "I can't believe how relieved I am to be relaxing into my SO's love. With all of this worry and difficulty behind me, it feels so amazing to just be able to see his good intentions for what they are."

Something about your soul just strikes a chord in me - beauty. You are gentle and giving, and it shows.

Trying something new is never a bad thing, especially when we are only in our own camp, doing what we need on our own end to change our own lives. Props to you.
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  #36  
Old 05-05-2012, 04:45 PM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Thanks BP - I really like your idea of writing down intentions and desires as if they are fact. Great idea. Will include that in the work I'm doing.
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  #37  
Old 09-01-2012, 09:29 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I haven't updated this for ages. Life has been rather tough on a number of fronts.

My work has long been a source of solace and stability in my life. I am very lucky. I've had the same job for 15 years. Most of my colleagues are people I get along with and I have a few good friends from work. My work fulfills my need for problem solving and complexity - it has never become boring in all the time I've been there. And it pays well enough that I can afford to work part time giving me space and energy to pursue other interests.

Sadly, the company I now work for does not value a long-term, committed workforce and they are trying to send our work overseas and have spoken to us about redundancies. This stress is ongoing - the constant fighting between employer and employees shows no sign of abating. I'm finding this draining and depressing. My colleagues are all the same.

While this is going on, I'm facing the real possibility of losing one of my loves. We have been together for 11 years and having him in my life has led me down paths and given me experiences that I would never have envisaged. And now he is very old. His life is winding down. He has been undergoing a series of medical tests for some minor ailments.

I also see in him signs of cognitive impairment. My Dad suffered badly from dementia before he died this year and much of what I see in my love is similar. When I talk to my Mum, she tells me it sounds similar.

So bound up in trying to support my love as he approaches the end of his life are tough feelings of revisiting the end of my Dad's life.

My SO and I had a very tough few months. We eventually reached a position where he was annoyed with me for being overly demanding of him and I was annoyed with him for being too aloof and for ignoring me.

I told him that he didn't have to do or change anything at all about his life and that I would support, love and be friends with him whatever he chose. But at the same time, our relationship wasn't providing me with enough time or support and that unless we made changes, I would stop being a partner to him.

He took time to think about things and decided that he could make more of an effort. And so we are working on things. We have a new agreement around spending more time alone together and we are both trying. Mostly it's going okay.

I was helped in realising that really I was carrying too much of the burden of the relationship. I was trying to get rid of my feelings of insecurity believing that they were all triggered by me. In fact, things were not so simple. My SO has a long history of those closest to him feeling like they are not important in his life. One of the greatest sources of sadness for him is that many of his very closest friends are not as close to him as he would like.

I have a good relationship with some of these people and the ones that I know tell me that they too have often felt unimportant in his life. They cite this as the reason for the lack of closeness, saying that they had to back away eventually because they were being drained by providing love and support to somebody who very clearly didn't feel the same way about them.

Talking to them about what was going on helped me to gain a lot of clarity. I feel sad for my SO. I understand some of why this happens to him and what goes on that triggers it for him.

I love and support him. At the same time, I have been clear with him that if he is unable to keep up his side, we cannot be partners. We can be friends but not partners.

He is trying and for the moment, that is enough.

Strangely, knowing that the feelings of insecurity and of not being important were not coming entirely from me has gotten rid of most of them.

I'm so much in love with my SO and I hope we can work things out.

More positively.

I feel now very positive about romantic relationships. If my SO and I were to break up, I think I would seek dating partners and romance and sex in my life again. I find that I like having my SO as a partner and would seek a relationship of that closeness and attachment again. Makes me smile because for years, I've just not wanted to engage with relationships of that intensity.

I've started going to a running class. One that welcomes my running partner. My running partner is one of my canine loves - we have built up our fitness together and we run together regularly. A friend of mine found a cani-cross class nearby and I've been going along to it. The class is fabulous and I'm getting lots out of it. Lots of different dogs at it - some teeny and some enormous. Very supportive, happy atmosphere.

I'm spending lots of time with my family and my various friends too. Getting lots of support and love from them which is wonderful - especially as things have been tough this year. Have been doing lots of getting together for walks, dinner, drinks, camping trips, conferences.

And I'm realising more and more how attracted I am to women. I'm nearly 40 and have always considered myself to be totally heterosexual. And now I'm not so confident about that. For the moment, this isn't really impacting much on my life other than adding an extra element of enjoyment to some of my friendships.

Thankfully I have several friends I can talk to about it if I need to.

So - life is both dreadfully stressful and excellent for me just now.

I'm taking care of myself - making sure I have lots of time to myself, that I am gentle and careful about what I take on and try to do. I'm aware of why I feel tired lots and why I might not be able to progress everything that I want to as quickly as I would like.

I have an acceptance that I will cry lots just now and that some days I'll just want to huddle at home with the dogs, watch telly and knit. That's all fine.

IP
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  #38  
Old 09-29-2012, 07:43 PM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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More and more just now, I see life as a web of connections with other people. I have become part of several groups, some of which overlap with each other. Just now I feel more grounded, more tied to people - and for the first time, it hasn't resulted in me wanting to pull away and distance myself.

Interesting. I think that in the past feeling too connected has felt claustrophobic to me. Right now, it feels good to reach out to others and let them reach out to me. The connections feel like safety and I feel surrounded by love.

Also, my usual response to stress is to isolate myself in order to deal with my emotions. And this year has contained the most horrible stress I've ever encountered but I haven't been isolating myself as much as I'd expect to normally. A few days of wanting to be by myself but nothing like what is usual for me.

It's nice. I'm enjoying the change.

I think that reading this forum regularly has helped loads. Reading about how people think about love. How they organise their lives to fit more in. And about the efforts that are made to help love flourish have all made me examine my own attitude.

And I've found that I have more capacity for exchanging love and intimacy than I thought. Amid the stress and chaos of this year, it's lovely to find this.

IP
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  #39  
Old 10-03-2012, 09:23 PM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Ahhhh

Feeling full of joy and love and light right now. I spent this evening with an old friend. I don't see so much of him these days - he works hard and also has a new relationship who takes up lots of his time. But I do value the time we spend together. My friend has a skill - he makes those around him feel happy, safe and relaxed. I always feel better for being with him.


And I got to speak briefly to my sweetie on the phone to say goodnight and that I love him. We exchanged some loving words and smiled at each other.

I'm pleased for these moments.

IP
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  #40  
Old 10-05-2012, 08:16 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Last night was a little tough.

I had a wonderful early evening - dinner with a very dear and valued friend. Then a quick chat with my SO (loving words, hugs and kisses at the bus stop). Also was able to make another friend smile by letting him know I would come and see him perform - he was really pleased about it and that made me happy.

But then in the night, my old love was unsettled and agitated and unwell. Some of the night reminded me of conversations I had last year with Mum about Dad and the progression of his illness.

The echoes were there and I lay in bed for a while crying.

I am so glad for my old love's presence in my life and feel blessed to have known him and been able to walk through life beside him for so long. My Mum, who is not at all spiritual and who was strongly opposed to the relationship at first, considers my old love and I to be twin souls.

Writing that stuff down helps I think and now I'm off to tackle the day. Lots to do and fun to be had I think.

IP
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