I’m Still Here!

Sorry for such a long silence.  It’s been a crazy month.  My best friend past away suddenly, I had a cancer scare and I’ve been busy being a nanny.  And my access to an easy to use computer has been limited.

However, I’m still here and I will be writing more in the future, so stay tuned.  I’m working right now on my two books and may have a publisher for the Relationship book!

More coming after this weekend.  I’m going to Cyprus Pride and hope to have some interesting things to write about.

Have a great week!

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Difficult Conversations

An excerpt from a book I’m working on, 20 Principles to Try to Live and Relate By And Other Tips For Healthy Relationships.. If you want to support me on this, I have a Patreon page.

https://www.patreon.com/AllenaGabosch

 

Sometimes we have to have difficult conversations with those we love.  If you take the time to prepare and go into the difficult conversation consciously you’ll find that solutions to whatever the problem may be will come easier than you think.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

1. Purpose for the conversation

Ask yourself these questions.

Why are you having this conversation?

Be aware of any hidden purposes for the conversation.  Look deeply at yourself so that you enter the conversation with support and good intent.  Is this about support or do you want to punish the other person for some reason?

What is the problem?

Difficult conversations are usually necessary because there is an issue or problem that needs to be addressed.  Make sure you are very clear on what that is and that you are not making up stories about what it may be.

What is its impact on you?

Is the issue causing you distress?   How is the issue impacting you and your relationship with the other person.

What do you think is the impact on the other person?

While you do not want to make up stories about what they may be thinking or feeling about this, consider how the issue may be impacting your partner.  This will assist you in having empathy during the conversation.

What would be your IDEAL outcome?

If all things go perfectly, how would you like the conversation to end?  This is a good time to begin to  look at your motives for having the conversation.

What is non-negotiable?

Are there any hard limits to the outcome?  Establishing what’s non-negotiable up front will help steer the conversation.

What support are you committed to providing?

If this is about something that you feel the other person needs to change or do, how will you support them in their efforts.

What do both of you agree to?

What do you think you’ll both agree on?  Are there areas that you can come to agreement on, early on in the conversation?

2. Assumptions being made

Think about any preconceived notions you may feel.  You may feel intimidate, ignored, disrespected or marginalized by the other person.  It’s important not to assume that this is their intention.  This may simply be your reaction to the difficult conversation.  If you are going to make an assumption, assume that they are just as nervous and uncomfortable as you are and they also have good intentions.   Remember, impact does not necessarily equal intent.

3. Buttons being pushed

Emotions are normal and they arise sometime without warning.  While we can’t control the emotions we can control our actions.  Are you emotions getting the best of you?  There may be a “backstory” that has nothing to do with the person and/or the conversation you are preparing for.   What personal history is being triggered?  We can avoid being overly triggered by being mindful of preserving the person’s dignity—and treating them with respect—even if we totally disagree with them.

4. Attitude toward the conversation

If you tell yourself that it’s going to be a horrible difficult conversation, it probably will be.  And on the other hand, if you believe that whatever happens, that the end results will be good, then that will most likely be true.

5. Who is the person?

Do they even know that there is an issue or concern?  No one likes to be blindsided by a “We need to talk” conversation.  I highly advise that you share these steps  with the person that you are having the conversation with so they can prepare as well.Open communication prior to the conversation is important.

If they do know that there is a problem or issue, what might they be thinking about what is going on?  How do you feel that they perceive the problem?  What might be their needs?  Their fears?  Do you have an idea what solution they might suggest?  Do not forget they are your partner, not your opponent,

6. Your needs and fears and their needs and fears

Think carefully about what your needs are (write them down in fact) and what your fears are.  Consider what their needs and fears may be.  Remember this is not a battle or a contest with winner and losers. Look closely at any common concerns you may share.

7. Your contribution to the problem

This one is the hardest for many of us.  Self-reflection.  What have we contributed to the problem?  We can probably make a long list of how they contributed to the problem.  That’s the easy part.  It’s what our contributions are to the problem that is harder and very important as we prepare for the conversation.

The first steps to take.

1. Choose the right place and time for the conversation

The more neutral the place the better.  And while it may seem counter-intuitive, someplace that is semi-public can make the conversation work better.  Maybe a coffee shop or a park will do.  The library is a great place because it forces you to keep the conversation at a respectful volume.  Be aware of both of your needs.   Some people may need to not have constant eye contact while discussing difficult issues.  So maybe a car trip or sitting side-by-side in the café or park will make it easier.

The time of day can be important, too, as well as having a full stomach.   Being unrushed, well rested and fed will make a huge difference in having a successful conversation.  No drugs or alcohol, please.

2. Inquiry

Cultivate an attitude of discovery and curiosity.  State the issue or concern then give them opportunity to talk.  Pretend you don’t know anything (you really don’t), and try to learn as much as possible about them and their point of view.  Let them talk until finished  Whatever you hear, don’t take it personally. It’s not really about you. Try to learn as much as you can in this phase of the conversation. Be open to hear first what the other person has to say before reaching closure in your mind. You’ll get your turn, but don’t rush things.  Give them all the time they need.  Listen carefully to what they are saying.  Stay present and in the moment.

3. Be comfortable with silence

There will be moments in the conversation where a silence occurs. Don’t rush to fill it with words.  Be present and conscious and listen to both the words and the silence.  This is difficult, especially for us extroverts.  Some people may need to even get up and move away from the conversation for a short period of time. That is an acceptable way of dealing with discomfort and a conscious way of handling emotions that may arise.

4. Acknowledgement

Acknowledgment means showing that you’ve heard and understood. Try to understand the other person so well you can make their argument for them. Then do it. Repeat back to them what you heard them say.  Acknowledge whatever you can, including your own defensiveness if it comes up.

5. Advocacy

When you sense your partner has expressed all their energy on the topic, it’s your turn. What can you see from your perspective that they’ve missed? Help clarify your position without minimizing theirs. Be careful not to impose your ideas on them, simply state your concerns and thoughts.

6. Problem Solving

Now you’re ready to begin building solutions. Brainstorming and continued inquiry are useful here. Asking them what they think  might work. Whatever they say, find something you like and build on it. If the conversation becomes adversarial, go back to inquiry. Asking for the other’s point of view usually creates safety and encourages them to engage. If you’ve been successful in centering, adjusting your attitude, and engaging with inquiry and useful purpose, building sustainable solutions will be easy.  Don’t not end the conversation without clear action items.

Mistakes 

It’s not easy to have these conversations no matter how much we prepare.  Mistakes happen and we screw up.  Being aware of possible mistakes will make them less likely.

1. When difficult conversations turn toxic, it’s often because we’ve made a key mistake: we’ve fallen into a combat mentality. This allows the conversation to become a zero-sum game, with a winner and a loser. But the reality is, when we let conversations take on this tenor everyone looks bad, and everyone loses. The real enemy is not your conversational counterpart, but the combat mentality itself. And you can defeat it, with strategy and skill.

2. If the subject of your argument were straightforward, chances are you wouldn’t be arguing about it. Because it’s daunting to try and tackle several issues at once, we may try to roll these problems up into a less-complex Über-Problem. But the existence of such a beast is often an illusion. To avoid oversimplifying, remind yourself that if the issue weren’t complicated, it probably wouldn’t be so hard to talk about.

3. The key to avoiding oversimplification is respecting the problem you’re trying to resolve. To avoid the combat mentality, you need to go further – you need to respect the person you’re talking to, and you need to respect yourself. Making sure that you respond in a way you can later be proud of will prevent you from being thrown off course if your counterpart is being openly hostile.

4. Fear, anger, embarrassment, defensiveness – any number of unpleasant feelings can course through us during a conversation we’d rather not have. Some of us react by confronting our counterpart more aggressively; others, by rushing to smooth things over. We might even see-saw between both counterproductive poles. Instead, move to the middle: state what you really want. The tough emotions won’t evaporate. but with practice, you will learn to focus on the outcome you want in spite of them.

5. Lying, threatening, stonewalling, crying, sarcasm, shouting, silence, accusing, taking offense: tough talks can present an arsenal of thwarting ploys. (Just because you’re trying to move beyond the combat mentality doesn’t mean your counterpart is.) But you also have an array of potential responses, ranging from passive to aggressive. Again, the most effective is to move to the middle: disarm the ploy by addressing it. For instance, if your counterpart has stopped responding to you, you can simply say, “I don’t know how to interpret your silence.”  Disarm the ploy by labeling the observed behavior.

6. Everyone has a weak spot, a trigger. And when someone finds ours – whether inadvertently, with a stray arrow, or because they are hoping to hurt us – it becomes even harder to stay out of the combat mentality. Take the time to learn what hooks you. Just knowing where you’re vulnerable will help you stay in control when someone pokes you there.

7. This is my personal downfall.   If we’re sure a conversation is going to be tough, it’s instinctive to rehearse what we’ll say. But a difficult conversation is not a performance, with an actor and an audience. Once you’ve started the discussion, your counterpart could react in any number of ways – and having a “script” in mind will hamper your ability to listen effectively and react accordingly. Instead, prepare by asking yourself: 1. What is the problem? 2. What would my counterpart say the problem is? 3. What’s my preferred outcome? 4. What’s my preferred working relationship with my counterpart? You can also ask the other person to do the same in advance of your meeting.

8. Optimists tend to assume that every disagreement is just a misunderstanding between two well-intentioned people; pessimists may feel that differences of opinion are actually ill-intentioned attacks. In the fog of a hard talk, we tend to forget that we don’t have access to anyone’s intentions but our own. Remember that you and your counterpart are both dealing with this ambiguity. If you get stuck, a handy phrase to remember is, “I’m realizing as we talk that I don’t fully understand how you see this problem.” Admitting what you don’t know can be a powerful way to get a conversation back on track.

9. The key in any tough talk is to always keep sight of the goal. Help prevent this by going into conversations with a clear, realistic preferred outcome; the knowledge of how you want your relationship with your partner to be for example; and having done some careful thinking about any obstacles that could interfere with either. (Remember, “winning” is not a realistic outcome, since your counterpart is unlikely to accept an outcome of “losing.”)

Asexuality? Demisexuality? Gray Asexuality?

This is a hard one to write.  I’m coming to grips with myself and that fact that I’m not the sexual being I once was.  Something’s shifted and it’s not as troubling as I’d would think it would be AND it’s still disconcerting because I’m a sex educator/coach/activist.  Aren’t I supposed to be this total sexual being?  I thought at first that it may have been because of dealing with cancer and chemo and all that shit, however it isn’t changing much and it’s been 6 years since I’ve finished treatment, etc.   I don’t have a huge sex drive anymore.  I love being in relationships and I love intimacy with others and I can totally do without sex.   And, the few sexual encounters I’ve had in the last several years have been great and I enjoyed them in the moment, I’m just not compelled to seek them out.   I’m finding myself more and more relating to the concept of asexuality or maybe demisexuality.  I found a wiki page about gray asexuality which seems to be a possibility.

I just was at a BDSM conference in Rome and I could probably have gotten laid if I wanted to and I didn’t even try.  I flirted a bit and talked to some awesome and very sexy people and I was content to be just flirtatious and leave it at that.

I  think I’ve posted before about my relationship with  orgasms.  I’ll recap.  I had my first orgasm climbing a rope in the 4th grade, on the playground.  I went home and duplicated that awesome feeling.  My connection to orgasm was not about the erotic or romantic, it was strictly physical.

Now, since then I’ve had some orgasmic experiences that weren’t just about the physical AND overall those have been far and few between.  For me, sex has seldom been about orgasm (yes I did fake it years ago…sorry) it’s been more about the connection and intimacy with others than the big O.  I masturbate maybe one a week and it’s purely for the physical release.  I seldom fantasize about anyone or any situation.  Don’t get me wrong, some things turn me on (many of you know I have a fetish  for backhoes and bulldozers) and yet that turn-on doesn’t require me to do anything about it.  I just enjoy the feeling.

So my question is, does this make me asexual?  Demisexual?  Gray sexuality?  Can someone go from being sexual to asexual?   Do I even need to identify as one thing or the other?  I’d love feedback on this.

Religion

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the intersection of Fundamentalist Christianity and the weird political mess we seem to be in these days.  A large amount of Trump supporters identify as Christian and most of them are Evangelical or Fundamentalists, from what I can see.

A little bit about me and how I was raised. My stepmother was a First Baptist Church girl, which is  a more liberal arm of the Baptist Church.  My dad was Fundamentalists  (as was his most of his family).  The Assembly of God church was the church he and his family chose.  This meant that most of the time I’d go to the Baptist Church and once and awhile I’d go to Assembly of God with my grandparents or an aunt or uncle.  I remember an old-fashioned tent revival with Grandma Pearcey that was pretty scary for me when I was maybe 10.  People yelling for Jesus, praying aloud and crying was not how they did it at the First Baptist Church.  I even got to see Oral Roberts heal the sick when I was maybe 11, although he tried to heal my two cousins, it didn’t work.  My dad didn’t go to church much until I was in my teens, although he read the Bible very frequently.  Finally, he and my stepmom came to agreement about church and started going to the local Southern Baptist Church, which I hated because the pastors sons were bullies at my high school.

 

I bounced back and forth in being a Christian and rejecting the church.   I think the first time I questioned it was when I was 11.  I had a cousin who was a missionary like his mom and dad and I asked him these questions.  “If God is my father and he loves me like my father loves me, then why would he condemn me to everlasting punishment in hell for not believing in one thing, Jesus.”  I then asked him ” If a good Muslim and a good Christian both did everything their religion told them to why would God send the Muslim to Hell if he was a good person?”(I was pretty precocious and well read at 11) My cousin looked at me pretty confused and then said.  “You have to have faith that God will talk to everyone  sooner or later and that you will then be given a chance to choose to believe in Christ and God”  Guess what? God hasn’t said a word to me yet.
Also, about that same time, all the kids at my First Baptist Sunday School were getting baptized.  My dad set me down for a talk about this.  In the Fundamentalist Churches you don’t get baptized until you accept Jesus as your savior and that could be at any age. It’s not automatic like in some churches.  This is one of the best things my dad did for me.  He asked me if I believed that Jesus died for my sins.  I told him I didn’t know and he said that until I believed that I shouldn’t get baptized. While it was hard being the only kid not baptized at my church, I’m very thankful I was not ever baptized by water.

 

Which brings me to another part of my religious  past.  At 16 I got super religious.  Carried my Bible to school and went to the Four Square Church every Wednesday for revival meetings (I still didn’t like the Southern Baptist Church so I tried to avoid it when I could.)   One of the coolest things at the Four Square Church was the speaking in tongues part.  WOW!  People were singing and speaking in some weird language and I so wanted to do that.  I mentioned it to the pastor and one Wednesday 10 people laid hands on my and prayed for me to speak in tongues (It’s called being baptized by the blood).  And guess what? I spoke in tongues or at least I mumbled some weird words and everyone cried and praised Jesus.  It was pretty bizarre, actually and it didn’t keep me in the church because within six months I was exploring sex and drugs and rock and roll (like you did in the late 60’s) and by the time I was 18 I was living in a commune and reading palms (not Psalms).  I look back at that experience and I realized that with that many people pushing energy into me something had to give, hence what seemed like tongues (I do believe on energy work, I just don’t believe a deity has anything to do with it).
Over the next almost 20 years I bounced back and forth between believing in God, kind of, and rejecting God. What kept me coming back to God was the fear of hell, to be completely honest.  Then, in the mid 80’s when I was with Fred (who gave me my awesome stepson, Tony) we found this little Baptist church in Des Moines that we loved.  The pastor, Mel was amazing and non-judgmental.  There were even bikers in full colors who attended the church.  I was so happy and started thinking that maybe there was a God.  We got married by Mel, went to church every Sunday and even after Fred’s and my divorce, I still loved Mel and the church.  Then a few years later I was working in a bar, where I met a cocktail server named Donna. In our chats, I found out the Donna had gone to that church and she told me that when she was 14, Mel had made a very big pass at her.  I was heartbroken, the first minister I’d ever admired was a fraud.
​And that’s when it finally struck me.  Even if there was a God, I wanted no part of it. Why would I want to love and obey something that discounted who I was (bisexual), who could give a shit about me and my family, who condemned his children to ever lasting punishment and created a place called Heaven that was full of people I wanted nothing to do with.  That was the start of my agnosticism, which has eventually become atheism.

 

I call myself a non-deist pagan/Buddhist. LOL.  I don’t believe in deities, I love pagan ritual and some of the belief systems and I practice Buddhist ways of being.

 

Which brings me to the present (I skipped some stuff, but nothing important)

 

How could people who truly believe in the teachings of Christ have voted for and supported someone like Donald Trump?  A man who embodies everything Jesus was allegedly against.   One of my wonderful cousins, who is a college educated therapist and a minister voted for Trump and told me that he did so, even though he didn’t like the man, and that many who voted for him felt that way AND YET they voted for him because it’s what good Christians do, vote Republican.  I simply do not understand.

 

I see posts all the time from people who identify as Christian, castigating and demonizing people who are on the left or who have another religion or who get an abortion or  . . . .   And Christianity is the religion of Jesus’s love?

 

And don’t  get me started on those who are biblical literalists.  Are they going to stone their children when they curse at them?   Are they going to stone me for saying God Damn?  Are they going to stone women who were raped (only if in the city)?
do they wear polyester?

 

I know some of you are Christians from the more liberal and open denominations.  Ones that accept our LGBT community and ones who work to make our world better.  I love you for who you are.  Hell, I love my family for who they are, even though I think they are misguided.  And I ask you two questions.  How can you believe in this myth?  What makes it resonate for you?  I’m truly curious.

I’ll leave you with this great quote by author Phillip Pullman: “I think it’s perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don’t know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away. Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it’s because he’s ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they’re responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I’d want nothing to do with them.”

My Sex Positive Beginnings

While I’ve always been sexually adventurous, I didn’t start my journey to sex positivity until I met my former husband, Steve.  Prior to meeting Steve I was just starting to experiment with kinky sex with my then partner, Jake.  Oh, I’d done a few kinky things prior to Jake (that’s for another story), however he was my first conscious kinky partner and we explored many things. (that looking back, were not always the safest or the most thoughtful).  However, it’s what got me to meet Steve and that’s huge.

Jake and I were looking for others to explore our kink with and back in the late 80’s, that was usually done by answering ads in magazines (yes, paper magazines, not online).  There was a local swingers magazine that had a few ads looking for couples to join them in kinky sex.  We answered a few and didn’t hear back from any for awhile.  We had one response from a couple who turned out to be rather unpleasant and we kind of gave up.  At the same time, our relationship was strained and we ended the romance to save the café we owned together (Back Alley Jakes, in Auburn WA).  And that’s when, a few months after we’d placed the ad, Steve contacted me.  He and his then girlfriend were looking for another couple and since Jake and I weren’t a couple anymore, it meant no play.  However, it turned out Steve worked for Boeing in Auburn and he came by the café to at least meet us.  And a friendship was born.  He was a fount of knowledge and answered my silly beginner questions with patience and what eventually became love.  In the midst of our burgeoning friendship, he and his girlfriend parted ways (not  because of me, thankfully) and this opened the door for what would eventually become my longest marriage and my introduction to a whole new world of what I now consider Sex Positive Culture.

For a couple years, prior to our meeting, Steve and his girlfriend had been renting a local swingers club and holding parties called Kinky Couples.  This were originally under the umbrella of the National Leather Alliance (NLA), which started in Seattle and of which Steve was a huge part of.  I’d heard of the NLA and their yearly conferences, Living in Leather(LIL).  In fact, the year before Steve and I became a couple, another kinky friend of mine invited me to LIL-IV in Portland, which I chickened out on.  Just like I had chickened out on attending a Kinky Couples party when Steve and his girlfriend were running it.  Now, I was an item with Steve and couldn’t chicken out again. (of which I’m very thankful).

My first kinky experience with Steve, outside of play at his place,  was a private party of six couples.  It was weird and kind of fun and gave me at least a few people to become friends with.  Then Steve took me to Living In Leather V.  My mind was blown.

They were doing some things, that at that time were pretty groundbreaking.  The NLA was started by a bunch of queer kinksters and their parties were usually segregated by gender.  However a few straight folk, like Steve, wanted to be involved and they adjusted their parties and events to accommodate and welcome the “pansexual” crowd as they soon became known.  The 10,000sq ft. dungeon had a women’s area, a men’s area and a place called Any Which Way area.  I remember walking into the dungeon, terrified and then I heard the sounds.  There were people crying, cumming,  screaming and laughing and all of a sudden I felt totally at home.  I’d found my people. Needless to say, this event changed how I looked at kink and my life.  It was transformative.

Then there was Kinky Couples.  That took my transformation to a whole new level.  I started helping Steve with the parties, shortly after LILV.  We took over a local swing club called New Horizons and turned it into a two or three day kinky party, four to six  times a year.  We opened our arms to the swing community as long as they played by our rules (we had few, attend as a couple or moresome, practice safersex in public play, be respectful of the people and the space, ask before touching and listen to the dungeon monitors)  and we also created space for our ageplay community (we had a room with adult sized playpen, crib and highchair) , the pony community and other niches within the kink/fetish world. This kind of melding was unheard of at the time, yet for us it was important.  We attracted people from all over North America.  We were creating Sex Positive Culture and didn’t even know it.  We just thought we were throwing great parties.

If it wasn’t for the NLA, Kinky Couples, New Horizon and of course, Steve, there wouldn’t be such a strong Sex Positive Community in the Northwest.  Because of this early journey, in the mid 90’s we eventually created The Center for Sex Positive Culture (aka The Wet Spot) and the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture.  We also inspired several other organizations to take off and we created a community of people who work together, play together and love together.  A Sex Positive Community.

There’s a lot more to this story and I’ll tell it another day. However, I wanted to share with you where I got my start and why I’m currently working on the book, Sex Positive Now, with Jeremy Shub.  It’s because I want to create a Sex Positive world and this is how it starts, with a few people creating space and community.

 

Sorry for my silence

My apologies for being absent. I just spent the last month in East Timor helping my friend who is adopting a little girl from there. Internet there is spotty at best and I couldn’t log in to this site nor work on my book or other writing. Now that I’m back in Cyprus things should improve.
I had an amazing tine in East Timor and it was very sobering and made me realize just how privileged I am.  I’ll be posting more later this week.

Moving On

One of the things I get asked a lot is how to move on. Here is the first draft of my Moving On chapter in the Happy Endings Section of my Relationship Book

MOVING ON

Letting go of the past

For many people one of the hardest things when a relationship transitions is to move on and let go of the past. Humans tend to live in our past and our future and forget that the most power and satisfaction comes from living in the present.  How do we do that, when we are in the midst of transitioning from a relationship to hopefully a friendship? It’s easy to want to dwell here.  Rehashing all the good or the bad.  Guess what?  It won’t change anything.  It’s just going to make you miserable.

Find one good friend that you can vent to about anything and use them as your “past regret” friend.  When shit comes up, call them.  And the most you can vent is for five minutes (which to your friend may feel like forever).  Then stop. ( I used to set a timer for myself when I caught myself feeling sorry for myself over relationship transitions.  For ten minutes, I was supposed to wallow in self-pity and do nothing else.  After three or four minutes, I’d start laughing.)

When you find yourself mired in the past, stop and think about all the good things in the present.  No matter how crappy you feel there will be good things out there if you just look.  Take the time to write them down, so you can revisit them when you’re feeling stuck.

Forgiveness

Be forgiving of yourself and the other person.  We all make mistakes and we all grow and move in different ways.   Seldom is there truly a “bad guy” when relationships transition.  Usually we grow apart or our lives take sudden twists and the relationship is no longer what it was.  And sometimes that means moving on.  Being able to forgive yourself for what seems to be your part in this, is the first step.  Forgiving them is the next.  Human beings make mistakes and you and your partner are humans.  Don’t make them into an evil person or a hero.

Take time apart.

Usually one of the people involved hopeful that there will be some sort of reconnection and that everything will go back to normal.  That seldom happens.  I’m a huge advocate of staying friends if at all possible when you transition out of a relationship. The best way to do that is to take time to be apart.    If both of you are in agreement, set a date for lunch or coffee at least two months into the future.  Then meet and check-in with each other.

Of course, if there are kids involved or other things that require you to interact then a different tactic will be needed.  The best thing to do in these circumstances is to have only contact as necessary and to take even a few more months before that solo lunch date.

Nothing is forever

We get caught up sometime in the fairy tales of relationships and when they are over, we feel like a failure because we didn’t find “the one”.  Which means we negate all the good of the relationship and act as if we’ve wasted our time on the one that just “failed”.   You didn’t fail, you lived.  And living has its ups and its downs.

Nothing is forever and we need to remember that the impermanence of life is what gives us a reason to live and explore and to celebrate.  Instead of looking at the future with dread, look at it as the next adventure.

Gifts

Every relationship brings you gifts.   Even the worst relationships bring you gifts if you take the time to look at them.  Acknowledge the gifts that you received.

Celebrate you!

Celebrate your awesomeness (which is what attracted the former partner in the first place). Know that you are whole and complete just the way you are.  That while you may want someone else in your life, you don’t need them.

Don’t rush into a new relationship.

No matter how tempting, don’t start a new relationship for a while.  This is time to go through the grief process and to spend time on yourself. Hang out with good friends.  Volunteer places.  Stay busy.  Just don’t start anything new for a few months if not longer.  If you do, you may start comparing them to the former partner or put aside some of your relationship requirements because you feel desperate or unloved.  Take your time.