I am in an inefficacious situation. I have been for some time. I have gone around and around, upside down and inside out, backwards and forwards, thinking of a way or ways to get out of or change my situation.
I have been unable to do so. Can’t figure it out. Nothing I think of will work.
I live in the San Francisco bay area, one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. When I moved here six years ago I knew the prices (everything, really) were going to be higher than what I was used to in Washington state. I just didn’t figure on how much higher. My other miscalculation was that I didn’t realize that the salaries here would not be commensurate with the cost of living. You would think salaries would match, wouldn’t you? I mean – I’m not being unrealistic in my thinking that most salaries would be higher to meet the cost of living demands in the area, right? Right? Please tell me I am not crazy.
Everything thing here – every.single.thing. – is high. And it keeps going up. No end in sight – none. Expensive. No matter what you want to do – it is too much. It is more than you expect. It is more than what you paid last time. Every.Thing.
Now normally – and by that I mean in my past life experiences – I could cut expenses, move to a smaller place, make sure I didn’t have any debt, move further away to save money, etc. All the usual things you could think of. Except, I am already doing all those things. I pay less for a mortgage payment than I could ever hope to pay for rent on even a one bedroom apartment. There just isn’t anything else I can cut or cut back on that would allow me enough money to pay rent.
And in order for my boyfriend and I to marry and live together I will have to leave the home I am sharing with family members and share a mortgage with, and rent somewhere. Except that I cannot afford anything within a 40 minute commute of where I work. If I don’t mind a 4 hour commute every single day – well, then! I have lots of options. Tons of options! And I’d be dead in a week. I cannot possibly handle a 4 hour commute every day.
In Psalm 84 it talks about going “from strength to strength”. I have often found comfort in those words. The Lord leads my steps. God directs my path. I may go through valleys, but always there is something to strengthen me along the way. An oasis. Rest. Peace. Strength. The felt love or presence of the Lord.
And so it is now. I am betwixt and between a rock and a hard place. But I do not despair. I do not stay discouraged. No – my Lord sustains me. I move from strength to strength, seeking God always and asking for His will in my life.
I was recently turned down for a job I applied for where I work. It was almost exactly the same job I do now, but in a different area and of course for a different person. I was 100% qualified for it. The manager who was to be my boss had made it clear he would like to work with me. And I didn’t get the job.
It was actually 2 ½ months between the time I had sent in my application until I actually heard I did not get the job, and I had gone through a full gamut of emotions over the process. By the time I was told by the manager he had hired someone else, I was resigned to the fact that I would not get the job.
I dropped quick emails to a couple of family members who had been waiting to hear how it turned out, and also to my boyfriend. And then I got back to work.
That night, when I talked with my boyfriend on the phone, it was the usual, “Hi Honey – how are you?” I said I was fine, or something like that, and he said, “I’m doing terrible – and I don’t know why you aren’t either”.
At first I honestly didn’t know what he was talking about. Then he started to tell me how angry he was for me that I didn’t get the job. He wanted me to complain to the union. He wanted me to leave the union. He was upset and angry that I was being treated in a way he felt wasn’t right. He wanted me to leave and go somewhere else. He was fed up and frustrated – all on my account.
One of the things I have learned in having an atheist boyfriend is that his reactions and opinions are sometimes different from the way I think I should act. Or do. And this was one of those times. His ideas on what I should do were not unrealistic or unreasonable – in fact they were well thought out and what many people would consider well within the bounds of what I was entitled to as an employee and union member.
But I am guided always by how I think my Savior would want me to say, or act, or think. I did listen to all my boyfriend had to say. I loved that he was that upset for me. But I did not want to follow his suggestions, and he was ok with that. It was after all my choice and I was the one who would be most impacted by my actions. So, after having his say, he left it to me to make the decision.
I am blessed to have someone who feels so strongly for me, and that cares about me so much and would not hesitate to stand up for me.
Have you ever been on a blind date? I’ve heard stories of people meeting on a blind date and ending up being happily married.
This is not one of those stories.
It happened way back when I had not yet trained all my family and friends to please, no thank fix me up with people. I got a call one night from a good friend of mine. She had a sister-in-law who had a friend who was lonely and wanted to date someone around his age. Reluctantly, I was persuaded to give up my phone number to this guy. Let’s call him “Lance”.
Lance called me and we talked and got to know each other a bit. We talked on the phone a few times. He was an apartment manager, never married, around my age. He told me about a lady friend who he sometimes did things with, but they were just friends. She was divorced with a small girl, and they all got along but were not in a dating relationship.
We decided on a Saturday night movie date. I was pretty unsure about him, but I believe in giving people chances, and thought I needed to meet him in person before deciding. And after all – once he met me he might decide I wasn’t what he was looking for, right?
Lance showed up promptly, and when I opened the door I noticed two things: He was about an inch and a half shorter than I (and I’m short) and his balding head was shining through his thin hair on the top of the head from the porch light. Neither of those things are deal breakers for me – it just provided me a few moments of quiet amusement.
I invited him in and he was shy and nervous. He wanted me to know that on a date he paid for everything and he drove, “That’s just the way I operate.” Since I had no expectations of anything different, I just smiled and said that was fine with me.
We went out to his car and on the ride to the theater (he had picked a multi-plex about 30 minutes away) we talked about what movie to see. “I like to see films that deal with issues, that make me think, that we can discuss afterwards”, he told me. Uh oh I thought. I HATE films like that. I watch movies to be entertained, not so I can use my brain cells thinking. Movies are an escape, and are firmly in the entertainment category for me.
I said something along the lines of “Oh – I usually go see a movie to be entertained.” We got to the theater and looked at the queue and I picked out “Harry and the Hendersons”. I don’t remember the name of the film he picked out, but it was a sub-titled film. Ick. Lance was a gentleman and agreed we should see “Harry”, adding “I think that film may bring up issues we can talk about.” “I hope not!” I thought to myself.
He reiterated that he would pay for everything, and was all prepared to buy me candy, soda, and popcorn. Now, whenever I see a movie in a theater I rarely buy anything to eat or drink. No reason, really, I just don’t. Besides – everything is so expensive. He was visibly dismayed that I didn’t want anything to eat and drink, and I thought perhaps he was one of those folks who always had something to eat and drink while watching a movie. I encouraged him to get something for himself, and he actually scuffed a foot on the carpet while looking down, mumbling, “No – that’s ok.”
So we watched the movie and he drove me back home. And if you have ever seen that movie you know there were NO issues raised in it that we could discuss and pick apart at length on the ride home. Nope – pure brain candy. No synapses needed at all in watching that movie.
Lance parked the car and turned the engine off. We chatted for a few minutes, and I invited him inside for a cup of coffee or tea, but he refused. During our conversation he proudly told me that no drugs or alcohol had ever touched his lips (he was in his early 40’s). He thought this recommended and commended himself to me, but it did the opposite. I don’t have much use for people who are sanctimonious and proud of the fact that they have never drank alcohol or taken drugs. If he was humble and thankful about it, I would have more attracted to him. But to boast about it? No, that was another red flag for him.
He then proceeded to tell me in detail about the friendship he had with his lady friend and her young girl. He called the lady his “running buddy” because they would do errands together, or she and the girl would tag along when he did errands, and sometimes they would stop and get something to eat, or an ice cream cone. “She’s not my girlfriend!” he must have said a dozen times in the course of the … monologue I guess you could call it.
Truthfully, at first I didn’t know where he was going with all of this. I wasn’t sure what point he was making, so I politely listened. And listened. Several times I suggested we go inside where it was warmer and we could relax, but he refused. As I listened, my puzzlement grew. After about 45 minutes I finally understood. Lance had been seeing this woman, and let’s face it – he was dating her, no matter how he tried to characterize it differently – for two years and she was starting to pressure him into a more permanent arrangement, or at least an acknowledgement that they were exclusive and dating. And he wasn’t having it.
When he kept going on and on about it and repeating himself, while ignoring my attempts to end the conversation and go inside by myself, I finally abruptly interrupted him, thanked him (again) and opened the car door and got out. He trailed behind me to my front door, I said a short goodnight, and closed the door behind me.
“Never again,” I told myself. “Never again am I going on a blind date.” We had several phone conversations after that, and I did attempt to explain to him, from a women’s perspective, how his “running buddy” could view their relationship and that it was not unreasonable for her to expect more from him after two years. He kept resisting the whole relationship idea with this lady. At one point I invited him to church and lunch afterwards with a group of friends and he hurriedly said, “Oh! No – I couldn’t do that. My mom fixes me lunch after church every Sunday afternoon.” Yeah. Oooohhhhh Kaaaaayyyyy He also told me couldn’t go on a camping weekend with a big group of singles I invited him to because he couldn’t possibly leave the apartment building he managed, in case someone had a problem and needed him.
What I came to understand about him was that he had gradually slid into a relationship with this woman and her little girl, telling himself it was nothing, it was just a friendship. When he was forced to face that it was more than that – he panicked. He decided to go out on a date with some other woman, to prove to everyone (and himself) that he wasn’t in a relationship with this “running buddy”. I believe Lance was very well off, as I found out he was a manager of several apartment buildings that he owned, and he just did not want to share that with anyone. His whole life was his mom and his job.
Which was fine, if that made him happy. Lance was not anyone I could be happy with, nor was I attracted to him. When it was clear I wasn’t going to agree to be his “proof” that he wasn’t in a relationship with his “running buddy”, the phone calls dropped off.
That’s my first blind date story. I did go on one more blind date in my life… but that’s another story for another time. Do you have any blind date stories to share?
When I got divorced, I received advice from friends and family. Things like “You will grieve”, “You are fortunate your son is so young”, “Wait at least a year before dating”, “Date a lot before getting married again.”
I saw one of those “10 things” articles on divorce recently and it got me thinking about the changes in my life since I’ve been divorced. You know the articles I’m talking about – they are all over the internet. “10 things cat owners love”, “10 things you can do when you have kids”, “10 things you can’t do when you have kids”, “10 differences between dog owners and cat owners”, “10 things ladies wished guys knew”. The lists are endless.
I got divorced in 1984, so it has been a while. At the time my former husband was very, very angry at me. (He actually stayed angry and blamed me for everything for many years after, but that is another story. We are now cordial and even friendly.)
Changes in my life after divorce included a huge drop in income and all the things that went with that, shouldering all decisions, no long-term planning, and feeling “labeled or a “stigma” from being a divorced single parent. One other thing I noticed right away after my divorce was that my social life went to zero. Because we had gotten married three years after I had moved to the state where he had lived all his life, all our friends were his friends. They “sided” with him. My family lived in another state and his family lived nearby, and he didn’t want me to have any contact with his family. It left a big hole in my life.
I had no support system nearby. I had no one that could come over with short notice and lend a shoulder or a listening ear, or just go out walking with me while I processed. Even though I was young – mid 20’s – it seemed that everyone I knew already had a group of friends. And despite my best efforts, no one seemed to want to add another into their social circle. I did end up making several close friends from ladies I met at work, who I have remained friends with through the years.
Of all the changes that happened in my life after I got divorced, I think the loss of friendships had the biggest negative impact, and also the longest impact. It was many, many years before I was able to build up a group of friends made up of singles, married ladies, and couples that didn’t mind being friends with a single lady.
Do you know someone who is divorced? Don’t shun them. Don’t exclude them. They have experienced a loss, and have a hole in their lives. Nevermind the circumstances that caused it. If you have a chance to help lessen that loss or fill that hole, even a little bit – you should take it if you can. I’m talking to myself when I say that, too. Divorced people need friendships with other singles, married friends, and couples. They need the example of married people, and being included in family things is important to a lot of singles. There are people like me who did not have family nearby that so appreciated being included in holiday meals, family movie nights, picnics, or outings. Are there single or divorced people in your life that you can make a difference in?
If you are single, you have most likely heard the phrase “soul mate”. Single matching sites mention it. Your friends and family mention it. You may have used the phrase yourself, talking about how all will be wonderful when you find your true soul mate.
How many people have you rejected, feeling they were not your soul mate? Do you believe in one person being perfectly matched to one person, and that they should find each other and live the rest of their lives together??
I read an interesting article about soul mates, and it got me thinking. Do I believe in soul mates? Is my boyfriend my soul mate?
I remember being a little girl, 10 years old or so. I wanted to get married, have kids, watch them grow up, and spend my life with my husband. I never thought about divorce or being single for long. My parents were committed to their marriage, despite their differences. I wanted the same thing.
When I was old enough and started dating, I questioned my ideal of “one mate for every person” dream. Was there really only one true match for each person? No, I didn’t think so. As I left my teens and got into my twenties, I grew and matured. And the boys or young men I found attractive when I was 17 or 18…… no longer held the same attraction for me. I realized I needed to be careful about whom I chose to spend a great deal of time with, and who I chose to open up to and share on many levels, including intimacy.
One of the things that broke apart my marriage was that I was expecting my husband to be my everything. Entertainment, mentor, support, husband, friend, confidant, companion, lover. And of course he failed. No person could be expected to fulfill all those roles for one person.
The author of the blog I mentioned, Mary E. Graham, makes some striking statements. Ideas that I have had and shared with friends for many years now.
“Soul mates aren’t real.…. is my husband, my best friend, my lover, my favorite person to talk to, my biggest cheerleader and my family. But he does not complete me, fill me up or make my world.”
Exactly! You don’t get married to have a perfect life. How can you join two different, flawed, even messed up people, and expect perfection? As one professor in college said (my paraphrase) “How can two dysfunctional people expect to have a functional relationship when they are married?”
Her blog goes on to talk about how she wants to share with her two little girls, when they are old enough to understand, that the only truly complete and fulfilling relationship we can have that meets all our needs and will always be wonderful and loving, is when we have a personal relationship with God. And I agree with that – 100%!
My boyfriend is not my soul mate. But he is my friend and cheerleader and a listening ear, a shoulder, and one of my most favorite people in the world. Despite his flaws, and my flaws, we make a really good team together.
What about you? Do you believe in soul mates?
Here is the link to the full blog article:
My boyfriend said something on Saturday that really made me mad and upset.
I know him well enough that I knew he was totally unaware that what he had said had that effect on me. He was talking about a subject and mentioned something as a side topic, totally unaware that his words made me angry.
When I get really angry about something, I almost never say anything at the time. I get so emotional, so filled with recriminations and come backs and turmoil, that I become an inarticulate, stammering, jumble of conflicting emotional incoherency.
I have to process. I am a processer. I have to think about it, pray about it, let time go by so I can view it from a different perspective, calm down, and get my articulation back.
My boyfriend says what is on his mind, when it comes into his mind. He does process and think – he doesn’t spew all the time. But if I say or do something that upsets him or makes him mad, there is no time between when he feels those emotions and he is talking to me about it.
We did talk about what had made me upset, but not until Sunday afternoon. That was when I was ready to talk about it and, I was not surprised to hear, he did not remember the incident. Which was OK with me. We talked it out and that was all I wanted and needed.
When I was younger I used to yell and get upset right at the moment something happened. And after a long time (sometimes I am a slow learner (but I do learn)) I realized I was so emotional and inarticulate that I was not making my feelings clear. So the person who was upsetting me often had no clear idea what I was upset about or what made me mad.
So I learned to hold it in and process it. And as I got older I also sometimes found myself just dropping something that, when I was younger, I would have held onto and made a big deal out of.
What about you? Are you a processor, or do you get it out right away?
When I started this blog I was a frustrated middle-aged single lady who had been looking for love/a husband and was having a terrible time finding it. This blog was an outlet for me, allowing me to write and be creative while talking about my dating troubles.
I had been searching for someone who I could spend the rest of my life with, and was not having any success. Maybe it was my ‘standards’. Maybe it was that I am a conservative republican in a very liberal, mostly godless part of the country. Maybe I wasn’t following God’s leading properly.
Whatever the reason or reasons, I had nothing but bad luck and bad dating experiences. So I laid off and waited and was praying about other things I could do or should do. And then one day I replied to an ad on Craigslist. It wasn’t an ad looking for someone, or asking for someone. It was more of a short rant about the problems with dating, from a middle-aged man. I responded to the ad, complimenting him on his good writing and descriptive language of how hard it was to find someone. I expected no response. I had done that kind of thing before because I believe in encouraging people whenever I can. Sometimes I would receive a “thank you” response but most often I would receive no response, and I expected the same.
He wrote back. And I wrote back. And, we have been dating for almost three years now.
At first I didn’t write about it because I wasn’t sure where the relationship was going, or if was going anywhere at all. Then later I didn’t write about it because he had had a previous girlfriend detail their relationship in a blog and he was very sensitive about the subject. Any time I mentioned him or alluded to him I always cleared it with him first.
So I haven’t shared very much, but there is another reason other than that he had a previous bad experience with blogs during a relationship. He is an atheist and I am a born-again Christian. I have experienced a lot of head wagging, scolding, and lecturing from family and friends over it. Not everyone, but certainly a lot of people. They can’t understand why I would even bother continuing the relationship, and have made little or no effort to get to know him. I had a family member tell me that, being divorced and also a Christian, according to their interpretation of the Bible, I should only seek to marry 1) a former priest, 2) a never-married man, or 3) a widower. Anything else would be a sin.
Do you believe me when I tell you I have spent a lot of time in prayer over this? And I am convinced that God has sent me someone who meets my dreams and desires, even ones I hadn’t realized, in a life partner. I don’t know why God has sent me an atheist, but from my hours of prayer over this I believe that I am in God’s will over this relationship.
A blogger that I like and respect has said that she has found it is important to write about what she wants to, and not to try to cater to what she thinks people would want to hear. I have followed that advice by not writing about my relationship, and gradually the hits and comments and followers to this blog have dropped to almost nothing. And I found myself ………………. not minding. I didn’t start this blog to build a following, or to have each blog entry get a bigger number of “likes” than the last one. I started it for me.
And I will continue to write about what I want to. I may mention my boyfriend more often. We have struggles in our relationship because of circumstances beyond our control, so there is no chance we will be married in the foreseeable future. Which I am also convinced is God’s will. I may solicit advice about some of our struggles and circumstances. I may detail the kind of wonderful person he is, and how we worked out how to deal with the differences in our beliefs. We shall see.
So there it is – what I have been holding back for all this time. If I get no reposts, likes, comments, or new followers from this post, I am content. I am a child of God, God is good – all the time – and God is still on the throne.
Take care and God bless,