Freedom in Love

There’s a great quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” I love that. Love should never make someone feel trapped. Whether that love is romantic, family, or friends, the people you love should feel free.

Free love is confidence. It’s honesty. It’s strength. It’s hard. But it’s the most powerful love, that someone is free, yet chooses to love you. To understand giving someone the freedom to love you, we must first understand what we do to take away that freedom.

I have been passive aggressive. I’ve thrown little jabs, just to be petty. It’s manipulative and just brings the ones you love down. They start to feel angry and resentful and they become tied up in knots.

Word games are the worst. My favorite words used to be “I’m fine.” I would say it when I was not fine at all. But, if people didn’t try to come and help me, I would be hurt because they failed me. If you feel something, or if you need something, say it out loud, to the ones you love. People are not mind readers, and should not be expected to know what you need.

Guilt…I’ve done it. Tried making people feel guilty for not wanting to be with me. Well, that is a sure way to make someone feel trapped. If you are upset that someone may not want to do something with you, speak your truth in a healthy way. Don’t use guilt to force them. It’s not authentic, if they really didn’t want to be there anyway.

So, what does loving someone so they feel free look like? It is honesty. Say what your feeling, ask how the other person is feeling. Work through those together without blame. Know that there may not be blame. Sometimes, you may find the feelings are misunderstandings. If you need something, ask for it. Don’t assume the person will know, and defintely don’t be angry because they didn’t figure it out.

We must understand that we do not possess other people. So, when I say “my kids” or “my boyfriend” I don’t say it because they belong to me. I trust that they love me, that they want to spend time with me. That doesn’t mean they cannot spend time away from me. When my kids chose to spend time with their dad, I think it’s great that they have a good relationship with him. When my boyfriend leaves for a golf week with the guys, I love that he has some time away with his friends. I don’t feel hurt. I know the kids love me. While the time we have is limited, it is always quality time, and I soak it all in. My boyfriend and I spend so much time together. When he can get out with his friends, I love that for him. It’s the same with friends and family. I have learned it is not rejection if I ask someone to do something and they can’t. I know the people around me love me, and they are free to have other friends and other interests.

If someone doesn’t make me feel free to be me, or if they really don’t want to spend time with me, it doesn’t matter if I love them. I must be strong enough to let them go…let them be free to walk away. After all, I really don’t want to be with anyone that does not give me autonomy, nor do I want to be with someone that doesn’t choose to be with me.

So, when someone feels free in your love, their love is powerful. They love without resentment. They love without fear. And, most importantly, they are with you because it’s a choice, not out of guilt or duty. Being loved just because someone loves you for who you are, is the absolute best!!!!!

Never Settle…Enjoy the Ride of Your Life

I used to be filled with anxiety. My fear…dying. Every day, I woke up wondering if that was the day I would die. I lived in fear. One day, I realized, I was afraid to die because I had not made the most of my life. I never embraced the real me. Always did what I thought I was supposed to do. I was sad, I was afraid and I felt so lonely.

I decided to make an incredible journey. I took my life back. It was the scariest thing I had ever done, but I learned to take my shoes off and feel the earth under my feet again. I let me hair go wild. I took off the make up and embraced my natural self. And I took that great big bucket that was heaping full of insecurity and tossed it in my newly found, dumpster size, fuck it bucket.

As a single woman, I had people ask me about finding a companion. Finding someone so I didn’t have to be alone. Honestly, for a while, I felt the need to find someone so I didn’t have to go through life alone. But, as my journey continued, that idea of companionship got tossed in that fuck it bucket. I didn’t want just a companion. I wanted it all. I wanted friendship, passion, craziness and adventure. Nothing less would be good enough for me. I want to be with someone with whom I can stay young, as my age increases. I deserve that.

We do only have one life. But I realized, time I thought I had wasted was really not wasted at all. That was the time spent in that long line for the most awesome ride ever. That was time preparing for what was to come. I got stronger. My fuck it bucket started to fill up. My straight path of doing what I thought I should be doing, well, it curved a bit so I could follow my own path.

Friends and family made me realize I wasn’t alone. I started to really get that I loved the time to myself. As much as I would have loved to have shared it with a partner, I didn’t want to settle and just share it with anyone. And I realized I could wait for it. In the meantime, I would figure myself out and love the single life. The longer I was single, the pickier I was about a partner. It was going to take someone awful special and strong to be with someone that knows their worth. I would need to find someone that was okay with my independence and okay with me doing things with my friends and family. Who was strong enough to handle my strong will.

I wouldn’t settle for anything less than someone who made me feel alive. Someone who gives me butterflies and someone I can picture myself salsa dancing with when we are in our 70s or 80s. Anything less, would be settling. And I deserve it all.

When I met my partner, I didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t really looking for anything. I was still working on myself. He was fun. We had an amazing time, but I wasn’t looking towards the future. But then something happened. The more we talked, the more the friendship built. I was learning I could say anything to him. I could be completely myself, and he never flinched. The butterflies started coming. We would spend hours on the phone while he was headed to work. He called every morning. We would talk while he drove and I got ready for work. It was a really nice routine and we never ran out of things to talk about. When I travelled to Italy, we talked almost every day. When COVID hit, it was a little different but we still kept communication open. I went through really tough times through COVID. I felt alone. I had my friends and family. But everyone was staying far away. Our relationships continued through computer screens. He was my constant. He saw the worst of me. The me that isn’t always happy. And he didn’t waiver. I started playing golf so we could get out and see something other than my house. We had so much fun.

He moved in at the beginning of this year. We have had adjustments, but one thing has not changed. We never stop talking. We listen to each other. We are really good at communication. And…I still get butterflies. I love the smile on his face when I walk in the room. I look at him and I never feel like I settled. I never expected to feel this way when he first approached me. But, I look into our future and I see two really old people acting like teenagers, salsa dancing in the kitchen.

Life is a wild ride. I used to try to control everything and had a plan, well, my plan was what I thought others wanted for me. But I’m not a planner. So, I think I will put my hands up, scream and laugh, and enjoy the ride I am on. And I can’t picture doing this ride with anyone else.


Life is a roller coaster.  Nothing is ever the same.  One moment, you’re enjoying vacations with your family, the next, your divorced, then you learn to love yourself and be completely content with living life with your family and friends and knowing you are not alone, even without a significant other.  And then, you meet someone, unexpectedly.  Life is filled with twists and turns, and sometimes even a loop-de-loop.  I have learned to raise my hands high and enjoy the roller coaster. 

So let’s chat about blended families.  Most of my girlfriends have younger kids.  The decision to introduce someone to the kids is huge, and you want to be careful with the kiddos of who you introduce.   With older kids, it’s a bit different.  My kids are only home during college breaks and the summer.  I really didn’t have to worry too much about introductions for a while.  But, one day, my daughter met him on accident.  He was trying to get out the door before she got home, but we were just enjoying chatting and lost track of time.  They met briefly.  It took a long time for me to really let him in and have her join us for dinner.  But once the meetings were intentional, I knew I had really let my walls down. 

I met his son too.  When he allowed us to meet, I knew he was letting his walls down too.  The intention of introductions to your kids feels huge.  There is the idea that you are that important that they want to share you with the most important people in their life.  Eventually, he met my son and I met his daughter.  Let the blending begin. 

When he moved in, he gave me phone numbers for his kids and his sisters, for emergencies.  I did the same for him.  I was really careful to not use them.  Blending and introducing young kids, I’m sure is super scary and challenging.  You have questions such is discipline and when to have sleep overs and leaving kids alone with the significant other and telling the other parent.  But, it’s difficult with adult children also.  Our kids have been so accepting.  That has not been a challenge at all.  We are both so fortunate to have children that want nothing more than to see their parents happy.  I love that about my kids and I love that about his kids.  But, my kids have a step mom (I have written about steps before), and she has never stepped on my toes as a mom.  Our kids are adults and they all have both their parents.  His kids have a mom.  My kids have a dad.  The challenge is to make sure the kids know you are not there to replace anyone.

I am someone who is in their lives because I love their dad to bits.  The three of us have a common desire, and that is to see their dad happy and smiling.  For that, I am so grateful to them.  I have no intentions of stepping on their toes.  I don’t need to be a mother to them.  They have a mom.  I would never want to replace that.  Just as I would never want someone to step in and replace me as a mom.  I will be there for them and be excited for their successes and want to support them through challenges, but when it comes to advice, I am here if they want it, but will never push anything on them. 

Meeting family has been amazing also.  My family has welcomed him with open arms.  They had been dying to meet the man that has put a smile on my face and allowed me to be completely myself.  It’s always scary introducing someone to the family.  But they love that he makes me happy. 

A month ago I went with him and his daughter and grandson to meet his sisters.  They were so completely welcoming.  They loved seeing their brother happy.  And to hear him talk about me, about the little notes I hide for him every morning, they could see his face light up.  His sisters and their families are amazing.  I loved hearing about their parents and growing up.  They pulled out family albums.  I just felt like I belonged.  We went to celebrate their father’s birthday.  The first birthday since he passed away.  I wanted to make sure I was respectful of that.  I stepped back from family pictures, so they could have their family moments.  They pulled me right in anyway. Blending…

Our families have not met, but we continue to grow together as a family unit. We continue to blend and I am loving every moment of it. I look forward to building relationships with his family and watching him build relationships with mine.

Back in the Saddle

Let’s talk dating. I’m not sure which word to use; fun or awful. Probably both. I always swore I woud never do online dating. But let’s face it…I work at a domestic violence shelter. I’m pretty sure I won’t be meeting too many people I want to date. So, online it was. I first started a profile about 7 months after my separation. My girlfriend and I did our profiles together. It was a fun evening, however, I woke up the next morning and felt so ashamed. I felt like I was cheating, doing something wrong. I realized I just wasn’t ready. I immediately took my profile down.

Fast forward another 5 months. I was a year into my separation and working on the divorce process. I decided to try again with a profile. I built my profile. It felt so superficial. How can I possibly show someone who I really am this way? And the profile pictures! I hate taking selfies. Anyway, my profile was up. Now what? Swipe left, swipe right. Do I message someone or wait for someone to message me. My last first date was in 1991. 25 years later, I have to figure this out. Last time I dated I was in high school. I’ve got this.

Later that evening, I received my first message. I was thrilled. I opened it up…he was 21. The message, “I know I`m young, but how would feel about having six feet of dark chocolate in front of you?” Ummmmm, height and race are not the issue buddy. You’re only a couple years older than my son. Not quite ready to take a trip to cougar town.

I got a couple other messages and talked to a few people. There are so many scammer to sift through. Men that are ready to marry you tomorrow. There are two main types of men on these sites (I can’t speak for women on the sites so men, feel free to speak up and share in the comments), the scammers and the douchebags. They want your money or they want your pussy (sorry for the language, but it’s their favorite word and they are not afraid toss it around). These men, make us very wary of the nice guys.

I finally decided, what the hell. Just set up the first date and get it over with. I really didn’t want my first date to be with someone I thought I might really like. I know that is wrong, but what if I really liked him but I felt guilty. I didn’t want to ruin anything. Enter McLovin. Yep. My first date with with a man that looked just like McLovin in Superbad.

Okay, he was in my age range. But this is who my date looked like. We met at Starbucks and it went exactly as I thought. I could not wait to get out of there. But I jumped my first hurdle. I didn’t feel guilty and I found myself looking forward to meeting and connecting with people.

Dating can be interesting. Sometimes you just don’t know how to respond to a situation. On one date, when the food arrived, he pulled a tooth out. He said, “I hope you don’t mind.” What am I supposed to say. I really don’t think I needed to say much as he watched me pick up my jaw. Another somehow got the idea I might find him attractive during our date by telling me he lived with his dad, had no job and his entire world sucked, and had no money to pay for his meal. Yet, in the parking lot he turned to me with closed eyes and a snake tongue coming out of his puckered lips. “Yeah, I don’t kiss on the first date.” At least, I wasn’t kissing him on a first date. Did I tell you about the great first date who ruined it by sending me a dick pic as soon as I got in my car.

This leads me to those pictures. Seriously, don’t send them unless we ask for them. Or at least warn a girl first. I don’t want to open up an unexpected picture in the middle of a restaurant. If I do, I’m going to announce your name and share your face pic too. Anyway, I learned quickly to not give my phone number to everyone. I can’t express enough how we tend to feel about unsolicited pictures. So here you go. Enjoy. Warning: it’s crude so watch at your own risk.

So, back to dating. It has it’s ups and downs. You get ghosted a lot and it can mess with your head. People can be rude. I don’t want to say men can be rude, because I have no doubt it can go both ways. But, through this process, I have learned so much about myself (that’s an entirely different blog, that I’m not quite sure I’m ready to share yet). But I have learned you can’t force anything, and you have to really know who you are and what you want, before you are able to find a lifetime relationship. In the meantime, sit back, swipe right, and enjoy the ride (and you can take that very last part any way you’d like, it’s your journey). You never know, your next first date could be your last first date, and that is pretty exciting.