Prune & Tune Facebook to be Happier

There’s no magic Facebook post that solves all of your problems when you share it. There ARE some great things that you can do to prune and tune up your personal Facebook experiences.

  1. Pausing before ‘reacting’ to a facebook post, don’t hit the emoji or re-share something just to spread the outrage. Weigh whether or not you can really do something, today, with this knowledge (or not)
  2. Weeding out the ‘Outrage Porn’ news sources
  3. Blocking viral violence videos at the source
  4. Unfollowing for 30 days or for a longer term that friend or family member that is overloading your feed with information you can’t act on right now
  5. Spreading the word to your social media friends to help them tune and prune their experiences (and share less garbage with you!)
its not bad if you take the expectations out

Its not ‘Being Bad’ if you take the expectations out

I have learned a whole lot about how to avoid being bad these last couple years.
I spent a good amount of time in therapy, in group therapy, and working on myself. I have binged on self help books, Ted Talks, podcasts and more. I have created vision boards and written journals and meditated.
Why? Would someone do this type of thing?
Sometimes when we find ourselves in a bad ‘present’, a bad situation, we wake up and say, “This sucks!”
When a primate experiences a sucky situation, watch out. Things are going to change.
I’m not any different from any other primate. So I set out to find or make or create or manifest anything other than the suck.
If it didn’t suck, that would be an improvement.
So what does a suck avoiding primate look for?
That was my question.
I didn’t really know. I needed to get back to basics. I needed to drill into the fundamental core of what makes up a non-sucky situation.
And guess what?
I learned that objectively speaking, situations don’t suck if your brain deduces that they don’t suck.
The ‘suck’ is subjective.
The old me, the primate of a different era, would be judgmental.
He would think…
I’m being bad by being here this evening. I should be home, I should be working. I should be helping my youngest review her homework that she doesn’t want to do. I should be applying for a new career or a new life or even some debt relief.
I should be doing a lot of things and instead, I chose to do this to tell my story.
For decades, I did what I should have done. Doing what I should do brought me bad things, bad results. It brought me a bad career.
It brought bad times, bad finances, bad vehicles and even the occasional bad dog.
I did what I should have done to avoid the bad stuff and that brought more bad stuff.
The reality is that sometimes, bad things happen to people that do good. Sometimes good things happen to people that do bad.
It ends up making the “should of”, the “would of” and the “could of” scenarios pointless.
Now, I am not saying that I should NOT do what I should do anymore than I’m saying I should do what I should do.
All I’m saying is that doing what I should do did not do what it should have done.
I have learned, the past may not predict my future. The past is a bad guide.
What’s more, I have learned the should scenarios messed my head up good. All the guilt I learned as a kid, was based on the things I should do.
I’m sharing this weird bit of wisdom.
Most of the ‘shoulds’ in my head, these are not my voices. These are not my thoughts. These are the words of other people.
When I hear someone tell me, what I ‘should’ do, I’ve learned I need to ground that electric charge.
Send those words through my system out of the soles of my feet and bury them deep in the ground where no one can hear them.
Otherwise, they will bang around between my ears until my eyes pop out of their sockets.
The should ofs lead to the judgment of the bad, and boy did that type of thinking screw up my past.
I’ve failed at a bunch of things. I have succeeded at just as many.
I have done smart things and failed.
I have done stupid things and won.
I have been rewarded for bad actions and punished for heroic results.
I know what I did and where I could do things differently. The end result might be better or worse, and it sort of doesn’t matter.
As I let go of the ‘shoulds’, I’m learning to let go of the self judgment.
I’m learning to embrace the opportunities. I’m learning to let go of the anxiety and embrace the flow of life more.
In my past, I have surfed bravely through lifes’ choices and challenges often picking a path for what I ‘should’ do.
This avoidance of should, its not about being fearless.
It can be about moving forward with out the prejudgment on what is expected of me.
It’s totally cool to measure my performanceor my resultsor my satisfaction with an outcome.
But
if I set it in my mind, that tonight, on my way home, I am going to stop at that special gas station. , and go in, because tonight is the night that that special clerk will be working behind the counter.
You may know who I’m talking about. The lady who has had a tough life. She has had a lot of bad breaks.
And
If I go in knowing that if tonight, I make a pact with that clerk offering to share half of all your good fortune,
When the clerk sells me the lottery ticket that I know I will win, because I am making this pact. I am going to win the lottery because I am not selfish.
I will share half of the $100 million with this clerk.
Everyone ‘knows’ the secret ingredient to winning the lottery selfishishness.
But Not tonight!
Tonight, I’ll agree to share. Hell I will put it in writing and give them a contract.
And then I buy that ticket and I pay for the extras.
I go home and I wait for the night when the lottery number will be drawn, knowing and fully expecting that I will win.
I will win $100 million dollars, but only $50 million of that is mine because I am generously giving half to the clerk. That is the pact to enabled me to win at all.
I am ok about paying half of my half to the government in taxes.
$25 million is still better than what I have right now.
And the night comes, and the numbers drop. I look them up on the web with my smart phone. I don’t get the first number, nor the second, nor the third nor the fourth. I do get the fifth! but not the Powerball.
So I almost win!
But I win nothing.
And that, that is the moment when I feel it.
That’s when my expectation pops and the balloon deflates, and I have nothing. I have no hope, I have no spare three dollars in cash.
I have no thankful stranger, who gets to retire from behind the gas station check out counter.

I learned when I set the expectation, it sets me up for an emotional defeat.
When I tell myself what I ‘should’ do, because I know what the outcome should be if I do what I should do,
This is an expectation. It sets me up for the feeling of loss of the future that fails to come true

So I will go do whatever it is that I am going to do.
I’m not doing it because I ‘should do it’.
I’ll do it because I choose to.
I am not being a bad person. I am not being a good person.
I am a glorified primate doing what I can with curiosity and I’m ready to be amazed at what does or does not happen.

emotionally managing expectations - ep 0007 happy on social media podcast - boundaries series. 2 images of same man making silly happy face and silly sad face.

Emotionally Managing Expectations – ep 0007 Happy on Social Media Podcast – Boundaries Series

After we define ourselves and who are trusted friends are (see episode 5), we move next towards figuring out what we expect from others. Our expectations drive our feelings and what we feel when someone does or ‘fails’ to do what we expect. With an exposure to so many more friends and acquaintances and total strangers via social media, we need to learn to set healthy boundaries with our expectations. We can learn to observe and witness that actions of others, without ‘Expecting’ them to act as we deem they should. After all, these are not our ‘slaves.’ We do not control these people. They have free will. We have our free will. When we set ‘expectations’ we are setting ourselves up for emotional sabotage, and we can fix or change that!

being bad happy on social media podcast-pexels-photo-709732

Being Bad – Episode 6

Click to listen to Episode 6 titled 'Being Bad' a 6 minute episode as part of our Monday effort to connect personally just a bit. If you listen on Anchor, you can leave an audio reply as well!

Welcome to Monday and Happy on Social Media, episode Being Bad. Monday’s are for connecting. Today, I’m sharing an atypical story of where I am as I attempt to come up with a ‘story’ and ultimately do not succeed, instead telling the story of failing to tell a story. How very Seinfeldian. And yet, I am here and I have pushed through to get this episode out there, and maybe just maybe you can connect with that too. We’ll continue on with our Happy on Social Media series on Boundaries with Episode 7 tomorrow! Episode 7 will cover Emotionally Managing Expectations in life and on Social media. If you missed Episode 5 Defining ourselves and our circles of trust, I encourage you to check that out as well. 5, 6, 7 and 8 are part of a mini series on Healthy Boundaries on social media.

circles of trust and boundaries in social media relationships.

Defining Ourselves and our Circle of Trust Boundaries Series Ep0005

Audio link to play Defining ourselves and our circle of Trust , part 1 in the Boundaries series. Episode 5 in the Happy on Social Media Podcast

As we learn to set boundaries, we must first define ourselves, understand where we begin and where we end. Then we can begin to understand where others begin or come into our lives. In this first episode of the Boundaries series we’ll discuss Circles of Trust and how this can play a role in how we set boundaries with others, especially when we learn to set boundaries on social media in a healthy way.

How to Block Video spam shock ‘porn’ channels on Facebook

How to block video spam shock 'porn' channels on facebook.

Looking to reduce some of the negativity on Facebook? Shock ‘porn’ or the videos that are created to get your attention reaches us susceptible humans just like we sometimes can’t help but gawk at an accident as we drive by slowly in a long line of cars on the interstate.

But we do not have to invite video of every tragedy ever filmed into our lives nor our feed.

In our Happy on Social Media podcast we walk through how to get this out of our feeds. It’s pretty easy in a browser.

It’s all too well hidden and an extra couple steps to hide via a smartphone or tablet, so we break it down to help you clear the spammy video content so that you can see what will inspire you!

‘Scrapes’

My tale of surviving a ‘scrape’ when I was seven years old.
Each Monday, I will share a personal story, working from prompts from my local Storytelling group.


The write up… (2.0 after a new edit. have not updated audio yet)

In 46 years, I have never experienced more clarity than when I was seven years old. I’m talking the level of self-knowing that merges 10 millennia of soul experience.

It yields crystal clear understanding.

It is the kind of knowing that makes our soul speak, “I’ve been here before, and I can’t believe I made this mistake again.”

I found myself lying in a pile of construction rubble at the end of an unfinished street, bleeding to death.

That’s when the clarity showed up, followed by a sigh of self-disgust and a bit of pain.

Guilt, shame, doubt, fear weighed equally in my mind and all cast votes confirming my mistake…

It was all going so well.

I had started a hundred feet away. I recall my little brother of five years, observing off to the side. I had the end of the unfinished street lined up in front of me.

I heaved up and pushed the pedal over. The first rounding push for a seven year old on a new bike.

That’s ALWAYS the toughest.

This bike was fast. It was light. It was infinitely lighter than my former Evil Keneival bike. That old bike was loaded down with extra steel. It was heavy with plastic to decorate the bicycle. It had had extra larger tires making it look like the soaring god’s motorcycle too.

It was gone.
It was replaced with this new, brown, golden bike.

It had a new smell from the foam guard on the handle bars. It made me a little queasy, even today as I remember it. It was some chemical smell that got worse in the heat of the sun and never quite wore off the entire time I owned it.

It was probably a mix of petroleum, PCBs, maybe left over Agent Orange. It will probably haunt me in my hundred and twenties.

“By the way, have you heard that there are children being born right now that will likely live until their one hundred and forties?”

My right leg, my starting leg, reached the bottom of the arc with my left leg at the top and then my right leg was up completing the first revolution.

The second and third were notable rotations too, not for the minute force coming from my chicken leg-thighs. It was in fact impressive because there was measurable velocity, an increase in speed.

After that I lasered in on the target, losing track of the revolutions over and over. My confidence was up there; it was more ‘comfortable’ than ‘high’.

I was in the flow. I had done this now an almost uncountable number of times for a seven year old boy. Was it 1000? Was it 100? Was it 10? At least 5? Probably more like 3!

I was flying. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was going faster than the other time or two.

The first run had been practice. It was an exploration of the imagination and of what was possible. Plus it was a little exploration of the geography, knocking aside loose rocks.

On the second run, I acquired a terminal velocity allowing my physical body to leave the earth. It lasted from a quarter to a half of a second.

Now, As my feet rolled in circles, I knew this was different. I had attained a level of speed entirely new. Sure I had experienced greater speeds managed and controlled by others. This was different.

I had created this speed. I was controlling this speed.

I was five feet away. I rolled up the gravel slope leaving the new blacktop behind. I could feel the perfect arc of the slope curving my wheels, my bike and myself. All one together, I moved up and up like a rocket ship on a railgun. I curved towards the heavens.

At the top of the slope, the mound rolled the other way, curving off the top and lending my ‘oneness’ with my bike to level out.

I was flying parallel with the stratosphere now.

This was not like my previous attempts.

This time, I did not roll up and over and down the slope on the far side.

This time, I did not briefly lift off, just missing the top and nestle down into the far slope bringing me to earth.

This time, I was free of such things.
I was flying three feet, five feet, past the length of the construction mound entirely.

I was flying seven feet, ten feet and over the loose construction gravel that had washed from the base of the mound.

My moment of clarity was not yet at hand though.

Yes I was free.
Yes I was flying, and Yes I was in control!

And then I wasn’t. I was no longer flying perfectly verticle. I was askew. I was sort of sideways, my bike was sideways with me. We were not ‘one’ anymore.

This was not right, not even close.

Afterall, wheels and nobby tires were needed to cushion my landing. They should grab terra firma and allow me to press upon my peddles in reverse. I would lock up Bendix brakes skidding yards & creating a Nike shaped swoosh in the dirt.

No, I was in trouble. I was all tangled up. I was in a panic. I was going down. I remember flashing images of parts of the bike, of round creek rocks, dust and pea gravel covering blacktop.

There’s no satisfaction landing on round rocks shaped like marbles.

Even worse, some of these marbles were jagged and hot. It was summer or June, or maybe May in the midwest.

I’ll never know what it was BUT something got me. Something was working hard to end me.

I was floundering, bouncing, sliding, and trying to right this new world of chaos. I settled.

Then, I was up. And I was hobbling. And I was scared. And I was crying. And I didn’t know what was wrong. And my systems were not all back online. And I didn’t even know what a ‘system’ was!

That’s when I saw it and I went down again. It looked like it was squirting, gushing, maybe more oozing out of my ankle.

My foot was severed!

Well, not quite severed, but almost cut off, or deep enough to see into the bone, or see pale, bloodless scraped skin that shielded the bone below it. Plus I had cuts and gravel in cuts on my ankle, knees and hands.

The scrape on the ankle was the worst, even if the foot WAS still attached. It was bad.

My hands hurt with scrapes on the palms as well. My brother came running towards me, scared maybe as much as I was.

Because with this much blood, the reality of my situation was just settling into my brain. I was bleeding to death.
Even worse!

This much blood would mean trouble. Trouble of the kind measured in stitches? spankings? groundings? loss of new bicycles? loss of territory and my ability to roam outside of my back yard? worse yet, a ‘scolding’.

I was in that moment where you remember every stupid mistake your soul has ever made. Then add to that every stupid mistake your soul will ever make.
I knew each one in the ‘now’ like a Zen Master.
I felt with all of my being several things at once.

  • ●  I had gotten myself into this scrape taking things past a dangerous limit.
  • ●  I had gotten myself this avoidable injury.

● I would get more pain from stitches or scoldings or the dreaded ‘monkey’s blood aka Mecuricome’. It would soon coat my wounds to protect them from infection, and it would burn.

I crawled over to my new bike. It had a new small tear in the back of the vinyl seat cover.

I inched up and hobbled my bike for a couple hundred feet towards home. The bike’s sweet sickly chemical smell mixed with my fear and blood and dried up tears.

If I was going to lose my bike, might as well ride it out of the scene one last time. So I hopped on heading for home.

I was working up a new batch of tears. These were the tears of fear. They are the defensive weapon of choice for all children. Kids do not truly understand what these tears of fear will illicit in the adult essence of a human they call Mom or Dad.

They come unbidden to any child caught in a stupid act facing the future wrath of worried parents.

I arrived home with my little brother blazing a faster path, cutting in front of me as we rolled into the driveway.

He was riding a bike matching my own. They were a pair. His bike would be easy to identify in the future with its unmarred seat lowered a couple inches below my own.

He jumped off his bike, dropping it to the ground and breaking a rule, yelling, “Brett’s hurt, Brett’s bleeding.”

Now, I owe him for that.
I didn’t even realize this debt was still outstanding until I set out to capture these words.

I remembered all the details and his actions. But I did not note the debt at the time.

My moment of clarity had passed by then. I mentally rolled into the void of unknown fear. It was fear of stitches, of monkey’s blood, and of recriminations. A harsh look being terrible and verbal lashings being the worst possible scenario.

My brother’s words served to be the alchemy that pulled it all together though. He was the hero of that day.

My tears were flowing but his affirmation, that blood flowed too, prompted audible sobs in me.

Now, Sobs plus blood

plus the magical words that someone is bleeding,

This magical combination grants a temporary safe harbor.

Screen doors flew open and I do not recall who, my Dad, probably my Mom, came running through the door.

Then I was in the small new bathroom of our new house. The sink was running and the death sentence was finally pronounced.

It was the type of sentence that brings relief but it doesn’t matter anyway as the result is just as fatal…

“You won’t need stitches, so lets put some monkey’s blood on it and then get you a bandaid.”

Oh, ironic fate, everyone knew that monkey’s blood burned!

Later, yes, the recriminations came. I paid for my crimes against my body. I paid for being thoughtless and stupid.

I might have been grounded from returning to the mounds of construction gravel for a week or two.

Fast forwarding through my life…

I relived this experience many times, first as a kid and then as a teenager and you guessed it, even as an adult.

Each scenario was slightly different. The tears and the escape home generally didn’t happen. No one willingly chases after monkey’s blood after all.

As an adult, I bested my 10-12 foot flight into a new record that spanned an entire intersection.

I almost lost my foot for real that time, but that’s another tale.

In every scenario, I became one with my past and present. Each time the familiar clarity of having gotten myself into a stupid scrape welcomed me with a hug.


Excuse Removal System – Chris Brogan – YouTube

Love these quick tips/steps from Chris to create an excuse removal system.

Really loved the anecdote about having to device logins, one with the username ‘YouNeedToWriteMoreYouBastard’ which has no internet access, ergo no distraction opportunities.

There’s a bunch more, check out this 4minute video, could probably be watched at 1.25% speed if you are in a hurry, get ready to take notes after the 1 min mark!

Chris is an amazing, smart and thoughtful guy with a great sense of humor. Please consider subscribing to his channel!

Get More Done by Building an Excuse Removal System – Chris Brogan – YouTube
— Read on m.youtube.com/watch

A New Beginning

Listen on Anchor 

Play audio for A New Beginning on Anchor.
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“Beginnings.” It was the new theme for a new year. A new theme for a renewal and a night of writing. It was the concept that I just wasn’t quite ready for, even though I wanted to be ready for a new beginning. All day, all weekend, all year, These last five days and the year before it, all 365 of those.

A new beginning that’s what I really yearn for.

And Here I was stuck on anything but a beginning, all day. The Last Day of this particular week with my children, I was full up with their time. I was full up with their need for attention. And yet I already regretted they would depart soon for another week.

A new beginning would mean that I would have time to restart, through the week. When they weren’t here and the minute they left, a new beginning of loneliness, loss, regrets and self-indulgent sorrow.

That’s what I would experience.

That’s what I experienced every other week when they left.
A few years back, I lost half of the rest of their childhood. My time with them that is.

They still have their childhood.  I have my children seven days on and seven days off.

I only have half of the remainder, and I don’t really know how to live with that, the other half gone. I simply try to work on myself, move forward, create momentum, build a better life, build a new beginning.

This evening, the first of their departure like many others like it, is always a tug at my heart, A challenge, A depression. I ate too much, I snacked too much.

I watched Lethal Weapon 3 the one that ends in vengeance. Lethal Weapon with a vengeance?… No, it is not lethal weapon at all. It’s Die Hard with a Vengeance. I’m getting my series confused as I try to think of a new beginning.

Watching Detective McClain and the Good Samaritan defeat the bad guy… It did lift my spirits. That and too many chips ahoy cookies dipped in Almond Milk with vanilla flavoring.

And then I finally felt some sort of equilibrium. I Went to bed on time. It wasn’t quite comfortable in bed. So I got a heat pad out and reminded myself of an old trick from a few years back, a heat pad relaxes my shoulders just a little and lets the tension, loosen up.

As I lie there, the muscles in my shoulders quivered in a way that if I’d been lying on a skateboard I would have ollied up a couple of inches or two with the movement. It felt goooood, just to let go that tension that anxiety and all that stress.

A new beginning as my new cat walked into the bedroom. And climbed up on a footstool near the window. And proceeded to bat, at the string of the venetian blinds, and bat at the wooden blinds themselves, BANGing them over and over and over again.

What does she need? Does she need attention?

This is her new thing some new kind of signal. What in the world does this signal mean?

It’s loud. I’m tired. I’m zoned out. I’m relaxed. I’m ready for sleep. I’m listening to meditation music with earbuds, and the cat is banging, RAT-A-TAT-TAT, TATTING on the venetian blinds. I reach for my cell phone, I turn on the flash light. I make noises. I tell the cat to stop. The Marvelous Mrs Mrph Mrph continues.

Fred sits next to the footstool. Fred is a reedy plant of about four feet tall. Fred sits in a pot of dirt. Probably holds four or five gallons of dirt. I’m thinking four after watching Detective McClain fight off the terrorists, when he had to defeat the elephant-fountain, mind bender. The one where he had to figure out how to get four gallons of water with a three gallon and a five gallon jug.

And he just about does it. And even then I had to pause the movie and recalculate it in my head. I have figured out this trick before but it’s a new beginning and who knows, someday I might need to know how to get four gallons out of a three gallon and five gallon jug too.

And Fred sits in a four gallon pot full of dirt, and suddenly!, I realize that the cat too is sitting in Fred’s four gallons of dirt And The cat is digging and the cat is squatting and all of a sudden there a new beginning in the air.

It’s a stench. It’s a cat’s stench. And I hear the flatulence sounds of a cat and

I think, “Oh shit”.

Deep sigh I get up. It’s not the cat’s fault. It’s a new cat. I haven’t figured out how to train the cat to go in the litter box, sitting pristinely in the other room.

It’s a new beginning, and this cat doesn’t know what a litter box is, but I keep trying but not tonight.

Tonight I have a stinky plant named Fred sitting in four gallons of dirt with something on top.

I turn on the light and I let the cat outside. It’s ALL too obvious what the rat-a-tat-tatting on the venetian blinds was all about.

The room smells like a cat can only make it smell, when there’s no kitty litter to defuse the odor. I don’t have a pooper scooper for such things so I get a plastic hanger from Old Navy hanging in the laundry room.

I scrape at the dirt because the cat had managed to clean or cover or dust off or dust over something. I think.

It smells like there should be a substantial amount of something there. But as I dust around with plastic hanger I’m not really finding any clumps of anything to pull out. I sort of find clumps, what it is. I don’t know if it’s dried up dirt or what.

And I think to myself a new beginning is what I needed when I added plant sticks to my shopping list for Walmart earlier in the day, nitrogen food for the plant.

And now the plants got something else. Maybe it’s better. Maybe it’s toxic, maybe it’s worse, but it sure does smell. And I’m not going to be able to sleep in this room if this continues. So I step into the bathroom and I grab the vestiges of the chips of sage left from my ex-girlfriend’s smudging bundle that she would burn on a regular basis.

And I light it up and it’s smoldering and I’m smudging essentially around the bedroom trying to get the smell to die away.
And it’s not quite working so I grab the Lysol and think,

“Well you know, The room will smell like Lysol. What the hell. I was in high school once and I learned how to huff Glade. I don’t really want to do that now in my mid 40s but it sure beats huffing Mrs. Mrph Mrph’s Flatulence.
This isn’t quite the Zenned out new beginning, I thought would start my week when I was relaxing on the heat pad.

But it IS the new week I hope I get now, as I relax on the heat pad again now and as I recite this into a voice recorder so I can transcribe my new beginning, tomorrow.

Is a Happily Even After Relationship Possible?

I’ve recently completed the Conscious Uncoupling process. What follows, my understanding or lack there of are not a reflection of the lessons taught, how they were taught etc.

What follows is my pause. It includes my consideration during the pause of several fundamental things.

The Conscious Uncoupling process helps us to come into awareness that we can be happy  after the end of a relationship or marriage, and instead of clinging to the idea of ‘Happily ever after’ we side step into the new necessity of working to live Happily even after the end of a relationship.

That was a wonderful mind opener for me as I ended a three year relationship recently. It was a much more positive potential than the experience of ending a twenty three year marriage had been once upon a time in my past.

Walking through the process of Conscious Uncoupling, a healthy and loving way of letting go, helped me heal and grow from the most recent relationship and from many relationships that had ended long before this recent one.

I found myself growing closer to my newest former girlfriend, who simultaneously but separately was working through the Conscious Uncoupling process too.

How does a couple Consciously Uncouple separately?

In our case, I read the book and worked through the exercises. She did the same.  We sometimes but definitely not always, shared some notes, or worked through some perspectives together.  In our case, we did not see a coach or seek Conscious Uncoupling counseling together, nor did we actively do the lessons together.

We did a lot of healing. We let go of a lot of baggage that we had gathered during or maybe before our relationship.

The vitriol that crept in to the final days of our relationship, and fueled the mutual decision to end the relationship had evaporated. We dealt with each other with respectful intent, love for ourselves first and love towards each other where that did not conflict with love for ourselves and our new paths.

We discovered that we were at a place in life where our previous relationship just didn’t work based on the things we needed in life in general. There were a few things on an interpersonal level that were not working.

On the whole, I personally could see many of the positives and the reasons why I had fallen in love with this person.  I could and still do see some of the things that crossed boundaries I requested, that could not or would not be agreed to. I believe I have heard that she still sees similar things from me, things I cannot or will not do.

The love is still real.

And then I came to the big question…. (We both probably did).

What does our happily even after relationship look like?

This is all new territory for me. I’ll add that I am friends or Facebook friends with many but not all former partners in my life.  There are a few that I have simply never regained contact with as the end of our relationships happened decades before Facebook.

I have no ill will and feel friendly or loving towards the women who were part of my past.

I have never had a sexual relationship with a former lover once our relationship ended.

There is an intellectual side of me that has read too much science fiction that understands the concept of friends with benefits. There is also the wiser side of me that has loved and lost and lived and healed and grown that currently does not view that type of thing as part of my likely future.

I generally look and want a deep and connected loving relationship.

I definitely found that in my most recent relationship.

And now that’s over, so what do we do with what we have left?

I haven’t a clue. I’m writing to process through this a bit. I’m a bit stuck as to where to go, and I need to process this through further. I’m happy to entertain conversation, thoughts, criticism, new ideas, new perspectives etc.

I do not know. I do not know what I do not know. I have time and space to figure it out too.

Breaking down the concepts of a Happily Even After Relationship

These concepts are emotionally loaded and for good reason.  ‘Even’ is an attempt to reframe the word ‘Ever’. It changes world views from the black and white of you are either sad and lonely for ever or you are happily together for ever after into a happy, healthy gray area.

The dialectic kicks in and we go from having an either or choice to a third choice that is really a range of choices.

Choices help us find hope. Hope gives us something to try and a new life can open up and grow from there.

In my experience, we may not actually ‘heal’ from a break up. Our hearts to do not mend and grow over. That pain, that hole in our heart is and will always be there due to the loss of the person that is no longer in our life.

Instead, we grow. Our hearts and ability to love grow. What seems like a big wound to our heart, becomes proportionally smaller. The wound is not smaller. Our hearts grow bigger. We gain the ability to love another or others in general.

My heart still aches for the girl I had to say good bye to when I was 18 and leaving my hometown for the military.  I’m 46 today and that was 28 years ago.

My heart still aches for my wife of 23 years. It has been about four years since our marriage ended.

My heart hurts with the recent loss of my love of the last three years.

And this time, I’m wise enough for the first time in my life to be conscious of the reality that my heart will grow larger and these hurts will proportionately inflict less pain.

So I’ve got that going for me.  🙂

Relationships?

So I’m in this new phase where I do not know what type of relationship I will have with my former love.

The definition per google of a relationship

  • the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.
  • the state of being connected by blood or marriage.
  • the way in which two or more people or organizations regard and behave toward each other.

Connection, regard, behavior

These three words stand out the most out of these definitions. I feel and digitally speaking I am still connected with my former love.

I have a very high regard for her. I love her. I am doing my best to behave with kindness and respect and even a helpfulness as we work together to continue disconnecting from the relationship we just had.

Keeping things in balance, I am aware of some of her personality flaws. She knows many of mine as well. We opened up, we shared and trusted each other to be heard. We did our best to build a healthy relationship that was not built on bullshit.

I am all too familiar with some of her behaviors that hurt me or drove me to the conclusion that I could not stay in a relationship with her. I asked for boundaries to be set and she weighed those requests and decided that it did not serve her to agree and follow them. Likewise I did the same for some of her boundary requests.

She now lives a couple hours away. Our relationship started up as a long distance relationship.

Temptations to Repeat

So after a couple months of letting go of pain and anger and growing a little more connected, some of the seeds that we originally built our relationship on are reset.

I’m not going to lie. It is early in this break up process and I can see and feel some temptations to try to rekindle something of what we once had.

And

As recently as yesterday, I experienced some of the pain of what became of that relationship and the boundaries that cannot be met.

A New Positive Relationship of what form?

When we humans choose to ‘enter into a relationship’ the what and the how usually have significance. Our choices as to the type or stage of a relationship matters.

It drives how we connect, what level we might connect, how we regard the other person, and how we behave towards the other person.

How physically close people get are a result of the nature of the relationship.

How often people communicate stems from the form.

The words we choose and the topics we talk about might also stem from the form.

“A new opportunity does not mean A New Hope” ~ Obi Wan Kenobe

We could be just friends. We might just be facebook friends, liking and sometimes commenting on things.

We could be hiking buddies.

We could be platonically connected in many ways.

With two hours of distance between us, we’ll likely not run into each other without coordination.

We could choose to do nothing and let the connection and the friendship wither on the vine so to speak. We could slowly or quickly go our own separate ways, taking the individual lessons from our time together and moving on.

At forty-six, that feels a bit wasteful to me.

Personally, I’m tired of letting people go. I’m looking for more connection not less. This is a disconnecting world in many ways right now.

And yet, I’m not sure where this will go. I can go on and I can be happily even after. I believe that she can go on and I feel she can be happily even after too (not putting words in her mouth, but I feel she has this potential.)

The question remains, can we find some new type of Happily Even After Relationship?

We do not have blood ties in terms of family. We do not have many financial ties remaining, or that will remain for too much longer.

We’re in this place where if we want to have a Happily Even After Relationship, we have to invent what form that will take and then make it.

And so far, the epiphany has not struck me. She is asking others as well for advice and perspective.

I’ve read of former relationships where people stayed connected as friends, as business partners, as coparents, as acquaintances and even roommates and other things.

I haven’t happened upon the concept of the form that feels like the fit yet. I’m open and looking and part of me suspects that time may help or time may wash away the sand castle on the beach and the connection might simply fade back into the sea.

Thank you for listening. I’d love it if you shared a reaction, idea or perspective, but mostly and simply grateful that you have come this far with me.