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.

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How I met my husbands

I answer questions on Quora, mostly on relationships. (Quora is a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. )  One very common question is “how do I meet a partner (or person of my dreams, or a true love or . . . )”  It got me to thinking about how I met the important people in my life; my husbands (4, I like weddings) , my girlfriends, my boyfriends and my poly partners.

One thing I realized after thinking of the most important people, is that I met no one who lasted more than a date or two at a bar or club or somewhere I was partying.  I did meet some at bars, but only when I was working at the bars.  In fact, my shortest and worst marriage I was a bartender at The Sloop Tavern in Ballard and he was a regular.

So, short version of how I met my husbands (and others).  My first, Michael, was my neighbor in San Diego and my LSD dealer.  I knew I’d get free acid if I went on a date with him.  My second, was Gary at the Sloop Tavern.  My third was Fred, who was a regular at the Maverick Restaurant in Renton that I managed.  And my fourth? Well I met Steve because my current boyfriend and I answered a bunch of ads in a swingers magazine because we wanted to meet other kinky people (this was 1989 before OKCupid, etc) and it turned out Steve worked close to my first restaurant, Back Alley Jakes in Auburn, so we met.   I met Sandy, the first woman I fell in love with, because we were dating  the same guy (Glen who I met at an alcohol treatment center in Maple Valley — a long story there) and I met two other long term partners, David and Jake, in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) .  And I could go on and on.  I met partners at work and at play.  Since meeting Steve and becoming part of the kink community, I’ve met most of my other partners because of being part of the community.   And through my last café, Beyond the Edge, which was also  part of the community.  It’s how I met one of my most lasting partners, Jim and many others who are still very important to me.

And what do all of these meetings have in common?  I was not looking for a partner when I met any of then (well, except Steve and Jake and I  were looking for play partners together  and that’s not what Steve ended up being).  In fact, the few times I was actively searching for a partner, I couldn’t find one.  All the amazing people came into my life when I least expected it.

That’s why I’m writing this today.  If you are someone who is actively searching for a partner, maybe you should take a break from searching.  Enjoy your work and your play.  Don’t worry about finding “the one”.  Date casually and volunteer at places that feed your soul.  Learn to be alone and enjoy your own company. Spend time with friends and guess what?  People will see that you are whole and complete, just the way you are.  And that’s sexy.  Don’t worry about being single or being in relationships.  Relationships will find you when you least expect it.  And that for me,  is part of the fun and adventure.

 

Cyprus adventures

I’ve been exploring Cyprus these last two and a half  weeks and have met some amazing people.   This coming weekend I’m even going to a kinky munch in Larnaca (less than an hour away) so I can make new kinky friends.  I’m hitching a ride with a young man who I met on fetlife and look forward to getting to know the community here.

Speaking of men, I’ve met a couple very interesting ones.

One is an older gentleman who I met at a local tavern that I’ve become attached to (think Cheers in Cyprus).  Panikos is a darling who has been divorced for 35 years and was quite taken by me.  The biggest issue is that he speaks very little English and if it wasn’t for the kindness of another guy at the bar, interpreting for us, we wouldn’t even have had the opportunity to connect.  He’s also a bit older than me, seems fairly conservative and I’m not super attracted to him AND he’s very sweet and nice and we’ll hangout for sure again at the bar.

The other one is very handsome, 50 (a great age for me) and extremely intelligent and even kinky.  He’s ideal.  There is just one drawback.  He’s married and they are monogamous.  He’s been extremely respectful and our relationship is one of just friendship, although if he was poly I’d so jump at the chance to be more than a friend.  He sparks my sapiosexual side sooooo hard.  He and I have similar values when it comes to politics and religion.  It’s great to have someone I can talk to here about pretty much anything. (which is very sexy) He understands consent culture and like I said, he’s kinky.  Sigh.  Too bad he’s married.   Fucking ethics sometime get in the way of a good time.

This isn’t the first time my personal ethics have gotten in the way of me playing or getting laid.  There’s a very sexy and sweet man in Seattle who is in a poly/mono marriage and his wife doesn’t want to meet his partners.  Since I have my personal agreements with myself to not play with or have sex with anyone who I haven’t met their primary, he and I have remained good friends.

Like I said, fucking ethics sometime get in the way of a good time.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  A momentary lapse in ethics, just to get laid, will always end badly in the long run.

So for now,  it’s me and my Hitachi and we have a great relationship.  Speaking of that, here in Cyprus they have European plugs so in order to use my Hitachi I need a transformer box or a plug adapter.  Well, I have the transformer box and it has added a little umph to my Hitachi play.  It turns out that the box causes the Hitachi to pulse while it’s vibrating.  At first it was distracting but now, I’m kind of liking it.

Have a great week and I’ll try to post more about my Cyprus Adventures next soon.

 

I’m In Cyprus!

Just a short update.

Well, I’ve been here a week and I’m finally feeling not jet-lagged and ready to start writing.  I’ve even spent an hour this week working on my book and about the same amount of time working on the book I’m co-authoring.  And I’ve started to exploring this beautiful place.

It’s had it’s challenges. I’m pretty much an extrovert (I know, surprise) and since I’ve been here I’m pretty much on my own the bulk of the day.  Llywelyn works all day during the week and currently Athena is in East Timor until early December,  spending time with their soon to be adopted daughter. And, when I do venture out, there aren’t many coffee shops or cafes in the area and most of the people I’ve encountered speak very little if any English.  So I’m going to have to explore even further outside my neighborhood.   It’s been many years since I’ve not had a vehicle. I’m sure I’ll figure out the bus system and there’s always cabs.

It’s been interesting to not have my plate full or be hanging out with friends and meeting strangers at cafes. etc. Llwelyn flew off today to join Athena and I’ll have a week completely to myself.  I think I like the solitude and I’m looking forward to this weekend and next week when I head off to explore the museums and art gallery’s in Old Nicosia.

I have met some folks on-line and hope to meet a few face-to-face in the near future.  I know I’ll make new friends.

Aw, the challenge of new adventures.

 

 

UPDATE

My apologies for not posting in awhile.  I am still waiting on my visa and staying with some incredible friends while I wait.  My laptop  is already shipped to Cyprus and my computer is in storage so I have limited computer access.  Bear with me, I’ll be writing more when I get to Cyprus.  Hopefully by the first of November.

Keeping Your Past In Your Past

Recently I was having a conversation with a dear friend about a mutual friend who is having a hard time moving on from her former relationship. This person has been apart from their former partner longer than they were together and yet she still clings to the past. She bemoans that he’s moved on and has a new partner. She is not allowing herself to find successful relationships. She constantly compares everyone and everything to her former partner. It struck me that her clinging to the past gives her no room to be in the present or to plan for the future. She’s stuck.

This is something that many of us do.  We live in our past. We base all of our decisions on our past mistakes so as not to screw up again. We are so caught up in our need to not hurt, to punish, to cling or to be right (or all of the above) that we just don’t live.

We should not allow our past to create our present nor our future. We should not look at a potential partner and compare them to a former partner or say “Well, they’ll just cheat on me like so and so did.” We should not expect them to be anything other than their authentic selves. And yet we do just this out of habit and unconsciously. We make up a story about what we think is so, never giving room to what’s really happening. We miss out on so many opportunities because we are so stuck in our past.

That doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate our past successes and hopefully learn from our past mistakes. Nor does it mean that we can’t fondly remember wonderful things that happened to us or miss those who are no longer with us. That is all part of being human. And that is different than allowing the past to dictate our present and future actions, especially our relationships.

One of the most important parts of having a healthy relationship is to put the past in the past where it belongs: to realize that every new relationship is unique and different and will not be the same as the last one (or two or three) UNLESS we make it so. This means that we must enter into all relationships consciously. That we stay aware and present at all times and when we catch ourselves reverting back to our old habits of living in the past, we pinch ourselves and get back into the present. That we stop making up stories about what we think is so and wait and see what the present gives us. It takes practice and courage and as I said, consciousness and it can be done. Put the past behind you and travel toward the future unburdened and ready for your next adventure.

My Mom

On August 11, 2017 my Mom, Nadine McCay passed away at the young age of 80.  I just spent the last week with my awesome step-dad Allen dealing with post death stuff and of course my Mom has been on my mind a lot lately.

I didn’t know my mother until I was 19 years old.  My Mom and Dad divorced when I was a baby and my father got custody of me.  For whatever weird reason he had, I was allowed zero contact with my mother.  My father’s version of why was pretty convoluted and I know it was because my mother probably broke his heart.  He claimed he never loved her and that they were only together so that God would give him me.  And I know that I reminded him of her, hence him saying one day when he was whipping me (as he was prone to do a lot) “I will beat the wild seed of your mother out of you if it’s the last thing I do” That was the day I realized the my Dad wasn’t beating me because of me, he was beating me because of his anger and grief at my mother; a weird realization at the age of 11.  That was when I know that I wanted to someday find her.

When I was 19 I wrote my Dad’s Mom, Grandma Pearcey and asked her if she knew where my Mom was (I was living in the Bay area like many hippies did in 1972).  She wrote back and told me that yes, she did and that over the last 19 years Grandma had been sending her photos and info on how I was doing.  She sent me her address.  It took me a couple of months to get up the courage to hitchhike (like we did in the 70’s) down to San Diego and knock on her door (that is a story for another day).  .  The best thing I ever did in my life was to find her.  I’m so grateful that my Grandma Pearcey kept in touch with her.

One of the most striking things about my Mom was her resilience.  She truly was one of the most resilient women I’ve ever known.   From the stories she shared about her abusive mother and father she had no other recourse but to be resilient.  I won’t go into details about her early childhood, except to say that she and my aunt were mistreated terribly by their parents and they both survived amazingly.

My mother was 14 when she met my Dad, a 21 year old sailor, at a USO hangout that she and my aunt used to sneak into.  To his credit he did think she was 18 when they started dating and he did know that she was 14 when he proposed.  She married my Dad primarily to get away from her abusive home.  Sadly, she didn’t fare well with Dad, either.  He told her on their wedding night that he was going to “raise her like she needed to be raised” and that didn’t go over well with Mom.  They lived with my Grandma Pearcey and at least four of my aunts and uncles who were still at home (Grandma had 11 kids).

Mom got pregnant right away with me because according to her — they both thought if you didn’t want to get pregnant you wouldn’t get pregnant.  Well, that was misguided.  Shortly after I was born my parents split up.  Because in 1953 a 16 year old girl had no agency(she was either the ward of her parents or her husband), she had no choice in whether she could have custody or not.  My Mom’s mother refused to allow her to keep me and my Dad wanted me completely to himself.   Initially my Mom ran off with me but my Dad found her and took me back.  Ironically they tried briefly to get back together and that resulted in my brother, Danny, whom my Dad never claimed as his.

And then things got even worse for my Mom and her resilience became even more necessary.  Shortly after Danny was born, she met my brother, Michael’s dad who she really loved.  Sadly, he was from the south and when he took her home to Alabama with him she couldn’t deal with living in the segregated South and left him and went back to California, this time with a toddler and a newborn.

And it got worse.  When Danny was 3 years old he fell off the deck of a three-story apartment building and it was a miracle that he survived.  He had massive brain injuries and spent several years in the hospital.  Then, because my Mom couldn’t afford the hospital bills and the constant attention he needed he was put in a home for developmentally disabled children (which he was not, even with his brain injury).  And my Mom persevered.

Somewhere in the midst of this she met my brother, Mark’s father and got married.  This marriage didn’t last that long but long enough for him to adopt Michael and for them to settle in San Diego.

I don’t know a lot about her life then as we didn’t talk about it much.  I do know that she has little memory of the two years after Danny went into the hospital and that because her husband was in the Navy they moved a lot and it was difficult with two small children and yet she preserved.

When I found her in 1972, Danny had just moved back home and she was divorced from Mark’s Dad.  My Mom was single and a bit of a party girl.  She self-medicated with alcohol and did her best to raise three teenagers: Danny, who was brain damaged and had been pretty much institutionalized by his living conditions, Michael, who had been in and out of   juvenile detention for theft and drugs and Mark, a sweet teenager who tried to do his best.  And then I showed up.  Things were a bit chaotic and she kept persevering.

My brother Michael continued to be in and out of jail and prison even once convincing my brother Danny to help him which resulted in Danny almost going to prison (his brain injury kept him out).  Eventually due to drug use Michael contracted AIDS and that actually was the catalyst for him quitting drugs and for many years staying out of trouble until he relapsed and went to prison again in the mid 2000’s for selling drugs.  When he came out of prison his health continued to deteriorate and Michael died a couple years ago.

Probably the best thing that happened to her in the 70’s was meeting Allen, the man she eventually married and who was with her until the very end.   He propped her up when things got bad and yes, they continued to get bad (although she and Allen had some amazing adventures together and loved and lived passionately).

It finally looked like things were going to get better for Mom.  She and Allen spent 2 years traveling around the US in a 5th wheel and eventually settling down in the 5th wheel in Mason County.  Then she fell and broke her leg, so badly that she need metal plates installed.  Which meant they needed to move.  So 12 years ago they moved to Shelton and settled in their turquoise blue double wide with their puppies (Angel and Jax, the wonder dachshunds).

My Mom’s health kept kicking her ass and she kept bouncing back.  She was diagnosed with diabetes, which caused severe neuropathy of her legs and feet which was why she ultimately became 90% wheelchair bound.   She had internalized bleeding several years ago and lost so much blood before they discovered it that she should have died (and yet she persevered).  She spent time in an assisted living rehab facility recovering from another illness.  She dealt with Allen having stomach cancer, my brother Mark getting a triple by-pass, me getting breast cancer and Michael dying.     She had numerous falls and trips to the hospital.  Then a couple years ago, right when they were moving into a hotel to live for a couple months due to needing to have the floor of their home replaced because of a broken water pipe, she got diagnosed with bladder cancer.   She did her initial treatment while living in a hotel without the comfort of her pups and her home.  And she persevered.

Over this last year she began to fade.  Her short-term memory was a bit fuzzy and she pretty much quit eating more than a couple mouthfuls at meals.  She slept a lot and Allen couldn’t leave her alone for any length of time.  The bladder cancer meant she needed to wear pads (which she hated) and regular treatment both at home and at the doctors.  Just before she died, she fell again and spent a day in rehab.  That was where Allen last saw her.  I think it finally got to be too much.  Her heart just stopped.

My Mom was one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known.  I’m going to miss you, Nadine McCay.