Single or Childless and Free to Roam

Free to Roam – You Choose

“Don’t you want to get married?” “Don’t you want to have children?” Those who are single and childless arrive at that status by different means. No matter how you got to that point, there is a stigma and social isolation. However, God gave you one life to live so brush of the Debbie-downers and enjoy it.

The stigma is that there is something shamefully wrong with you for being in either of those categories. If you are single, then there is a defect in your personality why a man or woman did not want to be with you. If you are childless, then you must be selfish for not wanting kids or you are having fertility issues.  The Reality is there is NO SHAME in being single or childless. It is your business and no one else’s. By now, you have ran out of reasons to tell people because no matter what you say that reason is not good enough. So, here is a solution – stop providing an answer, let people think whatever they want because they always do. People choose not to understand because they feel uncomfortable with your status. Plus,  they will always think their lives are better than yours no matter how screwed up things are in theirs.  Quit worrying about other’s opinion and do your own thing.

The stigma that you are unfulfilled in your life and you will never be happy. The reality is some singles will feel unfulfilled and sad while other singles will go out and live – it is all a choice. You can stay cooped up at home and throw one long pity party or you can see what the world around you has to offer and get involved. The other reality is there are married with family people who are unfulfilled and unhappy. So, this is not a single problem but an individual choice problem. Singles have an advantage because they are not tied down and are free to change things with little impact on others.

The social isolation from friends and family who intentionally leave you out of family oriented activities. The reality is relationships change due to life changes. The married person has other priorities which is how things should be for them. The single person need to accept that and find like-minded people who share their status. It does not mean that the connection ends but it has to change. Find other singles or childless people your age and plan activities with them. If you do a simple internet search, you will find lots of groups or try

The presumption that you do not like children and feel sad or jealous around couples or families. The reality is some singles or childless do feel jealousy particularly if this is something they wanted-that’s life! However, not everyone is envious of someone who is  married or a parent. Some childless people like kids and do well with them for short periods but do not want children. Some singles like being single (this does not require additional explanation). The other reality is some people’s kids are demon-children and no one wants to be around them, some people are shitty parents and no one wants to be around them either, some marriages are relationships made in hell which will make anyone want to ran further away. Solution: Get together with people who respect your choices.

The assumption that you are desperate to get out of the role of single and childless. The reality is that can be true for some. However, it never occurred to others that some people do not make good partners or parents. It takes a lot of work to be in a good relationship or be a good parent and not everyone wants to rush into that role or even want that role. Solution: Avoid people who keep bringing the pity-party to you. They are just mean-spirited people who cannot see beyond their idealized world.

The assumption that you are not allowed to or can give sensible relationship and parenting advice based off your experiences with kids, relationship or observations. The reality is most often, common sense is common sense and it does not take being married or a parent to see certain things. If all it took was a change in status to be an expert, then divorce, therapists, DV shelters and CPS would be nonexistent. Yes, there are some situations that require previous experiences to have a much clearer insight; however, those are few and far between. Often times you will need both to help – the person who has been there in order to have a shared experience and the person who sees a bigger picture because they haven’t been there.

The blatant truth: Many married and family couples live very boring, mundane and monotonous lives and events they consider to be interesting is in essence not . While Johnny’s poop story is funny and Mike ‘s mowing mishap is hair raising, it is usually the most excitement they experienced in a long time. Marriage and family comes with certain responsibilities which does not scream excitement for most couples; It’s just life. A single and childless person have the freedom to roam and do more because there are limited barriers. The single and childless who take advantage of this are the ones who are more fulfilled.

The bottom line is people will judge because you are outside the norm. Relationships will change and some people will treat you like a leper. Solution: Develop the I-don’t-give-a-**** attitude and build your life the way it suits you. When you periodically look back at your life, you will either have major regrets or a wealth of experience that were enjoyable and interesting.

Anti-Pity Party Exercise: If you still use a calendar, look over your last few months and upcoming months to track how often you made a date to do something you enjoyed. If it is blank, then get off your butt and find something to do.  Not sure where to start?? E.g. My activity calendar in the past  4 weeks: 1 overnight beach trip, 1 local town street fair with a walk in the park afterwards, 1 hike with a social group, (missed event: a car show). Upcoming events: 1 Air show, a paint nite and I will add as I go. So what are you planning to do?




A Sexy State of Mind


My mirror usually tells the truth. I have some cellulite, tiger stripes smack dab on both cheeks, imperfect skin from head to toe, and a lower pooch that I can’t seem to get rid of. Oh well! I am not an airbrushed supermodel. However, this does not interfere with me occasionally having a sexy state of mind.

Not so sexy days. Are there occasions I would love to have the perfect body? Absolutely. Are there some days when I think a guy will find fault with me in all my naked glory? Yep. Are there days when sexy and beautiful are not the words that come to mind? Unfortunately.  I do become conscious of my body whether I should be or not. It is hard to be unaffected when images of perfection is shown on every medium. So, yes I do have those not so sexy days when a burlap sack and slouchy hat over my hot-mess hair would be the clothing of choice. This is normal, I think, because those are the days when you just want to look like crap and don’t give a shit.

Oh so sexy days. There are those days when none of the above applies. Instead, I see past the imperfections and recognize that my consistent cardio and resistant training shows its results. There are days when I can appreciate that my legs dominate my body and my thighs do touch (gasp). There are days when I think I look darn good and down right sexy. Unfortunately, so many women seem to forget what it feels like to see themselves as sexy. They are waiting for a man to validate their image. However, I call BS because sexiness is about how you see yourself and how you feel  in your skin. I challenge you to put on a pair of lace undies, or an article of clothing that makes you look in the mirror and say “umm, I like the way you look.” When you discover your inner sexy, it will show.

Single vs married sexy days. Single women who are on the market are typically more conscious of the importance of feeling and looking sexy. There are not many single men who are looking for frumpy and lumps of coals. So, you are more likely to find single women who cycle between their sexy and non-sexy days.

For most women, they do put in the time to care for themselves or at least look decent. On the other hand, a number of married women tend to let themselves go the longer they are married. Yes! Yes! You can give the excuse of children bla bla bla; however, it does not change the fact that some do look quite shabby. Because women tend to compare themselves to others, this is a slippery slope with self-image and desirability issues. Bring back the lingerie, crotch less underwear, knee-high boots, and red lipstick that was left in the ‘back when I was single’ box.

Sexy vs slutty. Ladies, there is a difference between both. As a Christian woman, it is not rocket science to know when your outfit says ‘I walk the street at night and wants the attention of anyone.’ A sexy woman knows how to accentuate (not show her goods to the world), flatter her body type or assets, and still grab the attention of an appropriate suitor or your spouse. My suggestion – Christian married women can leave the slutty look for the bedroom.

You are sexy and you don’t know it. Women are hard on themselves much more than men when it comes our bodies. We find fault with everything and nitpick at the minor stuff and become overly focused on the imperfect. Sexiness is a state of mind that transfers to the thought, mood and body. Sexiness is in your confidence, attitude, playfulness, laugh as well as how you carry yourself – think body posture. Do not think that sexiness is only about tight clothing, high heels and a flawless makeup. A woman who feels good on the inside shows it on the outside. Just ask any man.

Men and self-image/self-esteem. Chiseled abs and romance novel good looks are not the only signs of sexy when it comes to men. Many women are less preoccupied with men’s body type. Do some of us gawk at the firefighter’s calendar? Guilty. However, that is just temporary entertainment. For many women, a sexy man shows confidence, what’s in his head, how he treats others and how he puts himself together – like tight cut-off muscle shirts and speedos (ha ha just joking). Men do have issues with self-image and self-esteem and women need to be mindful about being critical. Most men want to appear strong, confident, competent, useful and be able to provide support to the women in their lives which are things most women find sexy. For almost all women, a man who cleans up well will make any woman’s mouth water. Men, find your inner sexy, we do pay attention.

Each person has a different idea of sexy. However, how you view your body makes a world of difference. It is easy to point to someone else and say that person can claim sexiness but not you. When you describe yourself as sexy, you are forcing yourself to see a positive body image and get in touch with your sexual identity. So, the moral of the story is that seeing yourself as sexy is a health state of mind.



Sssshhhh Christians and Sex

Image 2
Christians talking about sex

I recently joined a group for Christian single women (still not sure if this group is hurting or helping) and I find myself frustrated with some distorted views. Maybe I should join a predominantly men’s group and see if they have the same mindset. What’s the issue: SEX and relationships. There is not one Christian who does not know about sexual sins. They are the greatest sins known to many Christians. There is no greater sin in the bible (I say sarcastically). If you have read enough of my ‘sexuality’ based posts, then you know I poo poo on the idea of being afraid and ashamed when it comes to anything related to sex and sexuality.

Let’s be clear “engaging in the act of sex outside of marriage is a sin” according to the bible. There is no way around that issue if you are a bible scholar. However, there is NO reference in the bible that says sex is a sin. There is NO place in the bible that says talking maturely about sex is a sin. However, sex synonymous with sin is a prevailing and damaging message that permeates majority of the Christians’ minds.

FEAR: The FEAR that breathes more FEAR and confusion about sex is unbelievable.  My issues: Adults who believe that just talking about sex will automatically lead to sexual sin. Adults who believe that a pre-marital Christian couple should only talk about sex after the wedding day but they are allowed to talk about everything else before marriage. Adults who believe that if two Christian adults in a relationship who talk about sex, then they will eventually end up having sex. Adults who believe that they (mostly men) can’t control themselves and will naturally fall into bed if there is any hint of sexual desire. It’s almost as ridiculous as someone in AA saying I can’t talk about alcohol because it will lead me to drink. Have you ever sat in on an AA group? Whatever hang-ups you had before marriage you will always bring into the marriage.

THE BODY: In case it was not common knowledge, people, even good Christians, experience sexual arousal. Men will have erections whether they are single or married. Women will experience an engorged clitoris and increase moisture flow in the vagina whether they are single or married. This is life NOT sin. Which healthy adult who has been dating someone for an extended period of time has never experienced normal sexual arousal? Sexual arousal does not have to lead to sex. Hello!!! self-control.  If self-control was not implemented, then every single Christian have had premarital sex with their spouse and lied about being ‘pure’ before marriage. Oh, I also hate that darn word ‘pure’ which always relate to pre and post abstinence. Is a sexually active married woman now ‘dirty’ because she is having sex? I digress. On the other hand, if you have been dating someone for an extended period and he/she have NO sexual desire towards you, then you are in for a difficult sexless marriage. A frigid man or a frigid woman pre wedding will be frigid post wedding, a sexually uninterested man/woman pre-wedding will be sexually uninterested post wedding. Be prepared to help them or yourself thaw out (keep a good marital or sex therapist number handy.)

WEDDING DAY SWITCH: You cannot believe that anything related to sex is a sin prior to marriage and then turn it into a “beautiful thing” after the wedding day. You spend your days avoiding and telling yourself that your God-given urges and even the mere mention of them are all SIN, SIN and more SIN but suddenly after the wedding you switch to “I am sexually ready and open for my spouse.” BS. How do I know it’s BS, because of how many couples who are struggling with having a healthy sex life. The mind does not just easily change once you have beaten it into submission to a certain way of thought and neither does God just miraculously bless you with a healthy sex life the moment after the ”I do.” It all takes work just like everything else in a relationship.

LIBIDO: Research have shown that most women tend to have lower libido than men. Research have shown that many Christians and highly conservative women tend to have more hang-ups about sex that affect their sexual relationships. Couples, Christians and non-Christians, have ongoing sexual problems in their marriages but they just don’t talk about it except to their therapist if they choose to get help. This ssshhh leads to a naïve belief that married couples automatically have a fulfilling sex life. Guess what? sex is one of the first helpful and pleasurable things to go out the window in a number of relationships.

SEX IS NOT SIN: I am not sure how many times I can say this in my sexuality blogs. God instituted sex when he created the first people and we have been using this method to populate the earth. Adults need to sit down and have a serious conversation with each other whether single or married about their sexual health. Talking about sex and one’s sexuality have NOTHING to do with having sex or sin. If you are that weak of a person who has to have sex when the topic comes up, then I would suggest a therapist to work through that issue before you get married.

SSSSHHH SEX: Christian married people do not talk about their sex lives. The information on the good or bad issues with a person’s sexual health comes from the non-Christian population. Christians hide, evade, shutdown and deny when it comes to such an issue. A Christian’s sexual mal-health is as big a secret as the second coming of Jesus. The fear of being judged for having any issues in the marriage keeps mouths shut and lies prolific. This gives the false impression to single Christians that everything just magically fall into perfect sexual place right on the wedding night and you will be symbiotically sexually matched with your partner by osmosis or divine intervention.

I really do wish Christians would stop setting themselves up for failure in this area of their lives. We create our own neurosis when it comes to SEX. Sexual arousal is N O R M A L. It is all about how you handle it. (Did you catch how many times I mentioned the word sex? 🙂 I might be going to hell).

I pray you learn to develop a healthy sexual mind and a healthy sexual life.

Who Loves You Baby?


Love, feeling needed, important, appreciated and respected to someone are universal wants for most people. We get into relationships in search of those things and when we find them, then those are the best moments in our lives. For those who have not experienced any of those feelings, then there is an emptiness. A strong emptiness that needs to be filled.

The fortunate group will find this with friends, family and/or a partner. There is nothing more hopeful than listening to someone who has experienced or is still experiencing such a profound connection to someone. It radiates, it seeps out, it is contagious. It is how God intended the world to be and how we should relate to others.

The unfortunate group who have either never had this or have loss this connection to others are plentiful and recognizable through sadness, anger, anxiety, withdrawal, depression, and feels broken. Perpetual disconnection and feeling unloved or unimportant changes people into a shadow of what God intended them to be. Some will give up and others will look for that connection in all the wrong places. We are fallible humans!

Who loves you baby? How do you know when someone has your best interest at heart versus their own interest? How do you know someone is good for you or are you good for them?

1  Growth – Is that person helping you to improve your character? Are you being encouraged to be the best you possible? Does the person help you to feel good or bad about yourself?

2. Boundaries – Does the person respect your rules and not push you do things that may hurt emotionally, spiritually, psychologically or physically? Do they value what is important to you?

3. Listen – Are you being heard? Are your requests and wishes being ignored? Your words falling on ‘deaf ears’? Can you express yourself openly without being made to feel stupid?

4. Honor & Respect – Is that person’s behavior towards you and people you care about honorable? Are you valued as someone important in his/her life? Or are you just the convenient available person or a ‘piece of meat?’ For singles: Are you kept in the shadows, strung along or you are someone’s quiet ‘dirty secret’?

5. Actions – Does that person’s decisions and behaviors lead to hurting you emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually while benefiting him/herself?

6. Evasive – Are there things about this person that remains a mystery and s/he does not feel the need to share with you? Are there things that the person avoids? Are you always left wondering?

7. Support – If you need that person, can s/he be there for you when things are going good or bad?

In our search for connection and belonging, we forget that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and it is our responsibility to value ourselves and teach others to do the same.


Things that Irritate Singles

If you have been single past the age of 25 and Christian,  people will always make certain comments particularly to women. There are a few pet peeves that just irritates the daylights out of me.

  1. You are preparing to be someone’s wife. Wrong! I am not preparing or have ever prepared myself to be anyone’s wife. My parents did an amazing job teaching me how to be a decent self-sufficient person and when I took over the responsibility, I kept learning more about me and my place in the world. If I happen to meet a person who loves what I have done with myself, then so be it. However, I did not create some arbitrary set of characteristics for an imaginary man I may or may not meet in the future.
    1. It would better to say. What have you been doing with yourself? I like what you have been doing with your life. I pray God blesses you with someone who can share your life. So, ladies, go find yourself because marriage will never give you an identity.
  2. I know God will send him to you. No you don’t. The last time I checked you did not have a direct line to God’s plans. You may or may not be blessed with someone in your life. Not every man or woman on the this earth is in a healthy long-lasting relationship.
    1. It would be better to say. I pray God brings someone suitable in your life and give you companionship that is best for you. This is assuming the person wants a relationship.
  3. Let me set you up with…. Why is it that everyone wants to set you up with the least desirable and most incompatible of people? This ‘set up’ scheme is as helpful as swiping left or right based off of one criteria the person is single. There is more to having a connection that being single.
    1. It would be better to do your research ie. likes, dislikes, do they have ANYTHING in common, about the people you plan to set up and ‘sell’ their qualities to the other person. If there is an interest, then ask if it would be okay to arrange a meeting in a friendly no pressure setting or provide the contact information to the other person.
  4. When you get married, then you will understand. One of the reasons why most marriages fall apart is because they did not take the time to understand the basic requirements of marriage before getting married. There is no great mystery to marriage. No two marriages are ever alike because the two people in the relationship are not the same as every other married couple. For example, one husband spends time with his children while another husband spends time and money on video games and leaves most of the parenting to the wife. So, do you have to be married to know which is more important in having a healthy relationship with your children?
    1. It would be better to say. This is what or how things work in our house and you might be looking for this or maybe you would be okay with something different.
  5. You are single so you can do… for me. It is amazing how many people try to take advantage of singles and their time because you are single. If someone is asking you to do something unreasonable, ask the person if she would be willing to do the same thing for you? People who are in a family unit assume that your single free time is available for their use while their free time is for their family. There is an absurd expectation that the single person should always make accommodations for others.
    1. It would be better to recognize that you are being an unreasonable a**hole. It would be polite and appropriate to ask for help and if the single can, then so be it. If the single person cannot, then do not keep badgering. FYI- other people’s constant expectations can cause stress and burn out. It is fair to say that the person in the relationship will not give enough of his/her spare time to the single man or woman in order to be a support when the person needs it.
  6. You need to get out more. How about you need to get out more! It is perfectly okay for the couple or family to rarely go out because they have lots to do at home but it is forbidden that the single wants to hibernate every now and then. There is almost a ridiculous expectation that a single person needs to be out and about every waking moment in order to meet Mr/Ms Right.
    1. It would be better to ask what activities do the person have an interest in and are doing. How about offering to be a wingman on occasion?
  7. You can fix him/her. The single person didn’t know s/he is a handy wo/man. So, did you start with a fixer upper? How do you know the single wants to ‘fix’ anyone? How do you know the person can be fixed? This concept of fixing people is a ludicrous notion that almost every couple knows too well.
    1. It would be better to keep your mouth closed and not show your ignorance. Carrying someone else’s burden is a cross Jesus borne. Each person has his own cross to bear and problems to fix. When people know you and care for you, then they will have your best interest at heart and that will reflect in the person they suggest who could be suitable for you. Enough said!
  8. The point. If you are one of those people, then please think before you become a nuisance. Couples are in such a hurry to see singles married or in a relationship that they unintentionally create a ridiculous fairytale (not even they are living) and  forget they are interfering in a person’s life. Most often, a single person truly needs your support, time and knowing that you give a sh*t instead of some half crazed match making scheme that’s more than likely NOT on God’s agenda.


Riding the Edge

I’m on the edge’ that nebulous edge that is unique for different people. It can be scary, exhilarating, experimental, depressing,  or even dark. It is that edge most people tell themselves they will never cross. It is the ‘it will never happen to me’ place. Well, that is until you find yourself in a state of mind in which you have not only crossed the line but have gone deep beyond it and is at risk of losing one’s self.

It is the edge in which life is out of control and suicide seems like a good option. It is the edge when a good girl from a good upbringing stays with an abusive husband. It is when a faithful church-going Christian loses his strong faith. It is when a marriage is shaky and the grass looks greener some place else. It is when a smart man makes bad decisions and compromises his integrity. It is when someone has loss his/her perspective; loss his/her way.

People cross that edge when they have loss sight of or is missing something important in their lives.  A man who is desperate for love, a family in financial difficulties, or a Christian whose desperate  prayers are not answered.  You have created dreams and expectations for your lives, you have an image as to what you need and what will make you happy. However, for many people, their dreams and their reality are never the same. The stark truth can be overwhelming which pushes them into an unfamiliar place that was never imagined or intended. The place of bad compromise, lying, cheating, stealing, deception, anger and disappointed with God, the place of rebellion, defiance, doubt, shame and a slow erosion of one’s identity, self-esteem, strength, values, confidence, integrity and one’s self.

A desperate man will grasp at anything. So, the problem with riding and crossing the edge is that people are frantically searching for anything to put that dream back together, to find meaning and purpose in their lives. They are desperate for that happy ending and the ideal life that was never promised.

How do you move back from the edge? Slowly, prayerfully and carefully. People’s lives and dreams did not just fall apart in a day. It took time and accumulation of little things to get you to that edge so, it will take time, STRENGTH, dedication, and small steps to get you back on track. It is easier to fall into a hole than to climb out of it so expect moments of fear, weakness, setbacks, and self-doubt. It is all a part of the learning process.

Join me on Facebook:


Men Need Love (too)

The concept that men are emotionally constructed so differently in which they do not experience the same feelings as women is a destructive but pervasive thought which is passed from one woman to the next.

I cannot place any greater emphasis on the importance of communication. Within the last week, I became personally aware of how much women take men’s feelings and emotional needs for granted.

Men need love too. If I substituted women for men, then this statement would get a ‘duh’ reaction. However, there is an expectation that women should be showered with love but they are not expected to give as much back to men. Women use ‘I’ quite a bit such as ‘I need my man to do (x, y, z) to show that he loves me.’ Well, when was the last time you did x, y or z for your man to show him that you love him. Women want to hear men say “I love you” but how often do they say the same thing? Women should know what makes their men feel loved so do or say more of it because anything less is being selfish.

Men need to feel important too. Yes, women get it! Men have egos. News flash so do women and we at times need it to be fed. This is especially important with kids in the mix. Women become singularly focused on being mothers from birth to the child moving out which can be at the expense of ignoring the men’s value. His roles are not just to provide and protect the family and take out the trash. Women want to hear that they look beautiful and are good mothers but how many women tell their husbands they are good fathers (besides father’s day) and they look especially handsome that day? How many women brag about their men versus finding fault constantly?

Men’s self-esteem can be deeply impacted by your words too. Women can be very harsh and nasty with words. Imagine living in a household in which the person who is supposed to love you keeps cutting you down with mean words. Women be mindful of your words because they can build someone or destroy him. The more you chip away at a man’s self-esteem the less connected he will feel towards you. Men are cognizant and sensitive to how they look in the eyes of the women they love and your words reflect your feelings.

Men find the value in sex and intimacy. There is research evidence to show that men, on average, desire more sex than women. On the other hand, women want more intimacy. Let’s think about this logically. Sex was created for multiple purposes (not just during the honeymoon phase and for making babies) and when women just stop, it creates an imbalance and frustration for men. Let’s put this in an analogous perspective, you and your husband work to maintain the household and  suddenly he stops working or intermittently goes and find a job which he does not maintain without taking to you about what is going on with him. His lack of dependent financial contribution to the family funds and silence will create a significant source of stress and frustration for you. Sex can have such a high value for men because it is not just about the mechanics. Men also want to feel some connection (intimacy) with their women and that can be through sex and other things. So, denying sex without talking about it and not initiating intimacy can be interpreted to a man that he is not loved.

Men need to be given the opportunity to communicate their feelings in their own way. The popular concept of people having different love languages has merit. We are not all the same and therefore we express ourselves differently. Women can be bullies in communication-nagging, badgering, insulting, ego busting, passive-aggressive and excessive talking without listening. Many women have the gift of gab but they have to learn to shut up and listen. The woman is NOT always right – this is counter productive and damaging to good communication. Ask your man about his feelings and thoughts and let him tell you in his own way. Do not assume or assign your thoughts and feelings to him.

Men need someone to be their rock at times. Many women want a strong, tough, take charge guy. There is nothing wrong with those traits; however, women expect that he should be in rock mode all the time without having someone to lean on when he needs help. A lot of men will not show their vulnerability if they do not trust that the women will treat them with kindness when they need it. No one is always strong all the time and men cannot operate in that mode constantly. It is necessary for the woman to create that safe space for when her man needs someone else to be his rock.

Men can use your help. Just because ‘he’s got this’ does not mean that a woman cannot offer her help. Just because he is good at fixing the leaking sink, does not mean he cannot appreciate her handing him the wrench when he needs it. Even if he does not need her help, the act of asking may be a simple gesture but it shows care.

Men should not be hit PERIOD. This highly insane idea that a woman can slap a man in his face or hit him at all because she is angry is ridiculous. If a woman does not want a man to raise his hand at her, then a woman should NEVER engage in such an abusive behavior. While I do not believe in any sort of physical aggression, if a woman is disrespectful to slap a man, he should hit her back.

Men are equal partners in a relationship. If you are blessed to find a good and decent man, then follow the golden rule to do unto the man in your life as you would like him to do unto you.

Add to the discuss on Facebook:




Marriage in Name Only

On a recent vacation, a friend of mine made a statement that I should not get too jaded. The topic had turned to marriage, well divorce actually her divorce after being married for over 20+ years. Most of the time, we talked about relationships because her situation is still fresh and painful. I did not mind letting her vent but I also noticed that my point of view on marriage was lopsided to the negative side.

My history with marriage. My parents celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary a few weeks ago; my grandparents passed within a year of each other and they were in their 70’s and 80’s and still married. I grew up with married people abound. It never fully dawned on me until high school that not every child grew up with two parents. Despite all that togetherness, that level of commitment to another person was not something I wanted. I wanted my freedom to grow and be my own person without having to share me and make compromises.

For many years, I could not say the word marriage or any derivative because it gave me an anxious feeling of being trapped. Most people would think that I did not understand the intrinsic nature of marriage due to my many years of stating “I don’t want to get married.” On the contrary, the reason I stayed away from it was because I fully understood how much commitment that is required and trading in ‘I’ for ‘We’ was a necessity. I also realized at a young teen years that if you plan to make that commitment to someone, then you better be sure. I saw marriage as a serious life-long willing commitment and divorce did not enter my mind. If I understood the value of marriage back then, how is that so many people seem to completely miss that concept?

My jaded feelings now are not about my inability to commit (I got over that) but seeing how many people take those vows knowing deep in their subconscious that it is not the right decision. I am jaded because I get to see behind the hidden curtains of how some of the married 50% destroy a well-meaning institution. As I listen to my friend go through her hindsight, it is clear that her and her estranged spouse were not compatible. It is also funny that knowing how incompatible and out of sync they were, she would have continued with the charade if he had not left. I have another friend who complains about her spouse incessantly but gives the caveat “don’t get me wrong, I love….”  I was having another conversation  with a Christian family member who is separated and going through a divorce. I made the comment that maybe next time God will…. and her response was ‘I thought God was involved’ in their union. Finally, the jaded nail in the coffin is being aware of a married man who wants to have an affair. Sadly, I have more negative marriage stories in my head than positives,

What’s the point of marriage if it is in name only? I am not in any judgment of anyone’s relationship. People make decisions about their partners based on their feelings and thoughts at the time. I understand that our decision-making can be clouded by hormones and unrealistic fantasies of the future but I am starting to think I am surrounded by people who just make shitty decisions based off of desperation. Yes, I know that my job puts me in a one-down position to hear the worst; however, those handful seem to be representation of a portion of the 50% that are still married.

I do think there is a large aspect of marriage that have lost its intended meaning. In the old days, people were forced to marry by a certain age to conform with society. However, today, people are choosing to make the same mistake to still conform to society – ‘you need to be married by (insert age) and you need to have kids already.’ The church and conservative communities are the worst peer pressure culprit. Pre-marital therapy is designed to be an evaluation period but that is a joke. Many couples do premarital therapy as a check off the list item because they already made up their minds to marry and they already planned their wedding by that time. Even if there were any serious issues that came to light, people would ignore them or find someone else to carry out their plans.

I really do not disagree with people who choose not to marry because they do not see a really good reason for the institution anymore. Even the ones running the country have a difficult time with fidelity and keeping marital promise. The president have been married three times and his interactions with his spouse seems as warm as licking a frozen pole AND he has the full support of the evangelical community. Where are the consistent images of couples who exemplify a good marriage in public and behind closed doors? Where are stories of couples who could teach us a thing or two about smart choices in mate selection.

The consistent theme is commitment. Individuals put more attention and commitment into things, hobbies, other people but cannot muster up a portion of that commitment for their marital commitment. The divorced 50% and the unhappy married all have a few things in common but most importantly their focus was distracted. The distraction is either by something else, someone else or their shattered selfish fantasy in the face of reality. There is no perfect relationship but people believe they will get a 100% out of 50% or have a delusion of 100% are recurring themes. ‘Once we are married it will all be better’ and sadly I have actually heard that before and chuckle to myself. Trying to help people to step back and see before they leap is as helpful as trying to talk reality to someone in a psychotic episode. At least for the psychotic person, there are medications that can help but for the determined but misguided single, there is only time.

I should get a better attitude about this. However, I doubt that it will happen the more I become entrenched in the negative side of people who are married in name only.

Spring Cleaning the Mind

The sun is shining; the temperature is getting warmer (to my liking above 70 degrees) and I have resumed my warm weather goal which is to be outside on every nice weekend. Usually, this is the time of year when people start to reassess and declutter,  for me, that is a must-do with my mind.

Winter has always been my most disliked season, I hate the cold and could never seem to get warm, the early sunset affects my sleeping habits negatively and I am very sedentary. I literally do the human hibernation with the exception for work and grocery shopping, I am inside under the covers. If I should do a self- diagnosis, I would say this winter I was struggling with seasonal affect disorder or exhibiting mild depressive symptoms.

My mood was taking a severe beating these past couple months and it was an immense struggle to use the cognitive interventions i.e. doing therapy on myself 🙂 . So here are my issues: I tend to ruminate on everything. I am solution oriented so when I see problems, then my mind goes to town on finding the solutions. I was ruminating on health issues in my family, being a good daughter, work, finances, my relationship/connectedness with the people in my life and feeling way too involved in people’s lives made extremely easy through Facebook. Coupled with the winter season, the struggle was real!

In the pursuit of practicing good mental hygiene, I decided to make some changes by spring cleaning my mind. Two weeks ago, I decided to cut back on Facebook. This is my only social media connection and over time, I noticed how much time I would spend going through my news feed to see what’s new – marriage, pregnancies, family moments, travel, bitter politics etc. It was all there being absorbed every time I logged on. Frankly, I am happy for other people’s happy moments but I started to notice how much I would compare me and my life even for things I never wanted or in which I have limited interest. Travel has always been a big thing for me so when I see old friends (people with whom I have no real connection besides social media) on vacations, I find myself being a little jealous “I should be doing that.”

After my cutback, I definitely noticed a mood change for the better. Two weeks of not being bombarded by people’s lives-fake or real-felt really good. Sadly, last night, I intended to do a quick Facebook check but it lasted over 1hr and the moment I was off, I noticed how much that clutter of seeing everyone’s stuff put me one step back. Behavior modification: I will not close my account right now but I will restrict how often and how much I view. If someone has something important to tell me, then they have my phone number or can messenger me; so everything else is irrelevant because that information was not intended for me.

Mind Spring Cleaning: I want to help fix things or give good guidance to the people who are closest in my life; hence, the reason why mental health was a draw. I will always be a good listener and I have ridged boundaries when it comes to work but not so much for friends and family. I take on their stuff as I perceive it to be an issue and want to reach out to help as much as I can. It is the desire to make sure I am doing my part as a good friend or family member or coworker when the person expresses a problem. However, it is very draining and extremely tiresome because I have my own stuff that I am also addressing but I am not getting that level of investment from others into me. Sure! so I tend to be the listener than the sharer which makes things lopsided. Sure! so I tend to have a barrier in place that limits my desire to share. Sure! so I think it is my responsibility to fix my own stuff. Behavior Modification: I can listen and be in the moment for the person but I will limit how much I take on mentally. Everyone has their own lives and it is not my job to carry their issues with me to the extent it is too much for me. If God is still listening, then I hand it over in prayer and put their stuff on the shelf.

Mind Spring Cleaning: I have certain expectations of myself and I transition them to the people around me. I wrongly expect certain things from others and when they do not come through then it leads to a sense of disappointment and often times feelings of hurt which leads to increasing my relationship barriers. Behavior Modification: I only have control over me. I have decided to adjust my expectations to whatever the person chooses to give. This will improve the relationship I have with the people closest to me. I need to be more aware of when I am starting to ruminate on the situation that led to feeling disappointment, hurt and frustration and redirect.

That is as much as I can work on right now. I am only one person and as a single, I am taking care of everything by myself which includes everything related to me and some issues related to other family members and my aging and ill parents. The reality is I do not have the mental closet space to fit other people’s stuff. It is my responsibility to take care of me in the best way possible. This is not to say that I will neglect my role as friend or family member but I need to limit how much I choose to carry with me.