What I’ve Learned From Failed Relationships: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful

What I’ve Learned From Failed Relationships: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful

by Kay Dee

Where to start? Let’s see… I’ll start with the fact that I’m old enough to have teens and young adult children, I am divorced, and remain single. Not for lack of trying. I’ve been trying to find someone special, but, he has not yet come into my orbit. Actually, when I say “trying”, I mean looking, pouting, hoping, wishing, wanting, attempting, being disappointed, being utterly frustrated, looking, hoping, trying again…. You get the picture. I feel as though my post-divorce single journey has been a roller coaster ride. Not as hairy or crazy as my marriage was, but, not without great highs and stomach dropping lows.

Many times I have wondered if something was wrong with me. I would compare myself to my friends who had also been divorced but found love again fairly quickly.  I’d also compare myself to other single friends who eventually found a great love connection. Not a fair comparison, I know.  I’ve been in the “singles club” for a while. And if you’ve been in the singles club for any length of time, when one of your long-time club members suddenly finds love, you experience that twinge of jealousy and pang of self-doubt. Yes, part of you is very happy for them because it gives you hope that it’s never too late to find one of the “good ones” out there. But, it’s also is like a sucker punch to the gut. It’s like everyone else got picked for the kickball team and you’re that last one that no one wants. You may not let on that these feelings creep in, but they do.  Outwardly you might be all smiles and congratulations, but inside, a part of you hurts.  You know you can’t stay in that hurting place. You must push past it to get back to your zen-single-mindset.  But it’s not easy out here.

The more I look around, I realize that I have a lot of phenomenal women friends who are still single. That makes me wonder if there is not something awfully lopsided about the prospects of finding a good man these days. I digress.

As I was saying, self-doubt often creeps in. But, I always try to put things into perspective. Having been previously married taught me a lot about what I did and did not want;  what I would accept and what I would not. It helped me to figure out who I am and what I stand for. After my divorce, I went deep. I analyzed and re-analyzed everything. I read books upon books. I talked to counselors and mentors. I prayed a LOT. I wanted to LEARN what I did wrong, what he did wrong, what could’ve been done differently, what to watch out for, etc. I came to a place where I felt pretty self-assured that I knew what to look for and what I wanted in a future mate, and I was sure I’d find it.

But, answer me this:  What happens to you after you’ve been for married several years and suddenly find yourself single and having to re-enter the dating scene? I’ll tell you. It is completely foreign. You don’t know how the ‘game’ works anymore because you have been out of it for so long. You are “green” again.  Only I did not realize I was “green”.  I was overly confident and under-prepared and… I fell for the okey-doke (old school talk for basically getting played). After a devastating reality check, I was able to find my footing. The journey I would then go on took me through varied experiences with uniquely different men. And each of them taught me lessons. Some were good, some were bad and some were beautiful. I learned lessons about myself as well and I want to share some of those lessons with you here. Nothing here is a great revelation in the sense that I’m sure you’ve heard these things before. But, some things were surprising to me and helped me to grow. I’ll start with “The Bad” to get that out of the way first, and then go to “The Good” and “The Beautiful”. I will also preface this by saying that although I am talking from my personal perspective about men I have encountered, I know that what I am about to describe does not only apply to men.    Ok, here we go….

The Bad

I have learned that some men are completely “effed up” (pardon my language but it’s true). There are those who have severe mental and emotional problems, who will unleash their toxicity on you and have you feeling like you’re the crazy one. I was in a long-term relationship with a narcissistic and mentally unhealthy person. It was hell on earth. The messed up part is that, back then, I was so insecure that I put up with the mental and emotional abuse for a long time. God literally had to break me free from that toxic situation. But, I learned something important.  I learned is to have compassion for those who are in abusive relationships, because often when you are in the thick of it, you ‘cannot see the forest for the trees’. You cannot see the big picture, only what is immediately in front of you. And you are so wrapped up in the crazy (situation), that the crazy becomes your normal. It wasn’t until this relationship ended that I was able to see the severity of the situation I was in. But, after I got out of it and eventually healed… baby, let me tell you… a strong, fierce woman was birthed from that process! (I’ll write more about that in another post).

Next, of course I encountered the “player” or “playboy” type of guy. He’s always got swag. Always. That’s part of what makes him so appealing. He possesses a kind of cocky confidence that makes you swoon just a little bit (or a lot). He is sexy, suave, smooth, practiced and predictable. However, some are so practiced and so polished in their ‘playboy-ness’, that they have more than a few tricks up their sleeve depending upon the type of woman they are trying to seduce at the moment. Usually, we can all spot a player. The problem arises when we start to fall for their ploys or attempts juuuuuust enough to put a little crack in our armor. Once that armor is cracked, you best believe that this guy is going in for the kill. All he needed was an opening, a weak spot. If you think you are immune to all players…think again. I have learned not to overestimate my strength. Sometimes it’s best to just RUN. Don’t even flirt with fire. You may get burned.

I have learned that some men are confused, fickle, wishy-washy, etc. This type of man doesn’t quite know what he wants. He could fall into the player category. But, he could also genuinely be an emotional wreck and not know definitively what he wants because he hasn’t taken the time to pursue any answers. Nor has he taken the time to heal before involving a woman in his world of confusion. I have learned to see the signs of this personality and to extricate myself fairly quickly from such situations.

Here is something I have learned about myself that I don’t think is good, so I am putting it in the bad category. I learned that I have tended toward men (some good, some not) who are largely “unavailable” for some reason or another. Maybe they are healing from someone previous.  Maybe they are at a point in their lives where their career is most important.  Maybe they just don’t have the time nor the interest in pursuing a relationship. The result is as you suppose. It never works out. My next job is digging deeper into this revelation and figuring out some answers for myself, and then going in a better direction for future pursuits.

The Good and The Beautiful

I have learned that there are indeed good men out there. Men who are kind, thoughtful and caring. Even though things did not end up working out between me and these individuals, I still have respect for them and have gained some valuable heart-healing insights.

1.) Good men still exist. Just realizing from my personal experiences that there are still good (and godly) men out there has restored my faith in men in general (because at times, due to repeated bad experiences, my faith had begun to diminish). Having encountered and pursued something with these good men has given me much needed hope that at the right time, I will find and form a lasting relationship with such a man.

2.) There are men out there who will appreciate you for who you are, just as you are.  They will like all of the parts of you that you feel insecure about. They will appreciate your personality, your intelligence, your quirks, and your body. Having previously been in an emotionally abusive relationship, I encountered the opposite for so many years. I was talked down to;  told I needed to be more like someone or something else. There were times I even was made to feel guilty for being intelligent. So, having encountered men who have truly appreciated me as I am, without trying to change me, and who  VALUED and CELEBRATED me, has given me courage to know that I can continue to be ME unapologetically.  The right person will like all of me.

3.) I have learned that there are men who are honorable. As previously mentioned, I have children. Daughters and sons.  As a rule, I have not brought guys home to meet my kids one-on-one because (a) it rarely got to a point where it was serious enough for that to happen (I know everyone is different about this, but, this was how I chose to handle.)  (b) I had always heard stories of guys who were so pervy (i.e. perverted) that they would try to make moves on your kids, which is disgusting, and I always feared that. BUT there were a couple of situations where I allowed exposure to my kids.  I was not disappointed.  These men were respectful and honorable and this encouraged me so much.

4.) I have learned that true gentlemen still exist. While it’s true that having good manners does not always a gentleman make, there ARE guys who are gentlemen inside and out. They will hold the door for you, ask your preferences, hold your hand as you walk up the stairs, pull out your chair, will pay for dinner without expecting sex. Lol. So rare.  They will intently listen to and value your company and your conversation. They are never forward and never presume.  Now, I know that some women don’t prefer this in general, but I do. And it gives me continued hope as I go along my journey.

There are other things I could list, but, I’ll stop here. I hope you have enjoyed reading this and I hope it gives you pause to think about your own situation, outlook, and experiences. I hope that you reflect not so much on the negative, but instead, on what good you have learned from bad situations and what beautiful things you have experienced so far in your journey. Single sisters (and brothers), it is not necessary to compromise your core values. I know at times it is definitely tempting to do so.  And there are times, in our journey we may stumble or get stuck or fall down. But, let this be a reminder that you can get back up again, better, bolder, stronger, wiser than before. As we learn, we grow. Growth is not always a pleasant process, but necessary nonetheless. Keep growing and learning and hoping. I stand with you. Much love, much peace.

You Are NOT Forgotten

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I’ve been having a rough few days. What about you? Well, if you ‘feel me’ (understand / can relate), then this is for you. In the midst of my discouragement I really sensed as if God was impressing upon me the following:

-Don’t be discouraged
-Have faith!
-You are not forgotten

He brought back to mind a song by Israel Houghton:
I AM NOT FORGOTTEN
Picked me right up!
God is awesome like that.
He is a very present help in time of need.

So, with that being said, here is today’s poem. And at the end is the link for the song I mentioned.

You Are Not Forgotten- by K.D.

Bowed down
Crouched down
Burdened down
Looking down
Weighed down
By life’s trials and troubles and such
Feeling as if
Your body, you cannot straighten
Your burden, you can’t bear
Your weight, you cannot carry
Your gaze, you cannot lift
Crying out to God
For relief
Does he hear?
Does he care?
Deep within you know the answer
But it doesn’t relieve the pain of the moment
It doesn’t quell the cries radiating from your soul
And then
As if on cue
A ray of light
Shines on the ground
So that even in your hunched over state
You can see it
It reminds you that light does exist
And it dares lift your gaze to its source
You begin to look up toward the Light
It reminds you that
There is a sky
There are birds flying and chirping their melodies
There are trees waving in the breeze
There is life all around you
There are people around you
And You are not alone
What’s more
You are not forgotten
Even in your bent over condition
God met you there
He shone his light
In a place where you could see it
And reminded you
He is here
He has not forgotten you
Though your trials seem endless
They do have a resolution
Your labor is not in vain
Your faith is not in vain
Your hope has a purpose
Your dreams are not dead
Your prayers have not fallen on deaf ears
You are loved beyond measure
You are going to make it through this to the other side
And when you do
Remember to praise God
Remember to pay it forward
Your trials are not for you alone
They are for you to reach back your hand and
Help others forward
Amen

Video Link – I Am Not Forgotten – by Isreal & New Breed  It’s upbeat – so get ready to dance along 🙂

© 2013 KD Corner – “You Are Not Forgotten” Blog / Poem

photo credit: morguefile.com “mantasmagorical”

The Process of Waiting

 

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I think this is perhaps the longest season of waiting I’ve endured thus far. Many years. However, God is faithful.

The Process Of Waiting – by K.D.

Plant a seed
In the earth
Water
Wait
Fertilize
Wait
Sunshine
Wait
Wait
Wait
While I wait
Roots
Grow underneath
Within the earth
Where I cannot see
The foundation being laid
As I
Wait
And water
Wait
And fertilize
Wait
And allow the warmth of sunshine to nourish the earth
Alas
A bit of green appears
Poking through the soil
Rejoice!
And now
Begins the growth process
And growth takes time
watering
And waiting
Fertilizing
And waiting
Sunshine
And waiting
Pruning
And waiting
Growing
And waiting
So it goes
Meanwhile
You don’t realize
You are becoming
A strongly rooted tree

© 2013 KD Corner “The Process Of Waiting” Poem & Blog Post

Timing

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Have you ever noticed that some things require the ideal “timing”?
 
Whether it’s that “big break” you’re waiting on, a promotion you’re going for, or meeting someone special at the just right place/time, etc., timing is imperative.  If something happens too late or too soon, you could miss it entirely or perhaps ruin it.
 
Think of baking a cake.  If you take a cake out of the oven too soon, it’s a soggy mess.  If you take it out of the oven too late, it’s overcooked or burnt. Same principle with fruit.  If you pick and eat a piece of fruit before it’s ripe, it tastes terrible.  If you let it become overripe it starts to spoil. With cake or with fruit, there is preparation involved.  If you’re baking, you must take the time to familiarize yourself with the recipe, measure out each ingredient, sift, stir, whisk, etc., and set the oven at the correct temperature.  Then you must prepare the baking pan before pouring in the batter.  Once it’s in the oven you must wait for it to bake, check to see if it’s cooked completely through and at the right time, take it out of the oven. 
 
So, I’m sure most of us do not own orchards, but, let’s say you did.  You’d have had to initially do all of the work of setting up the orchard: picking the ideal piece of land, preparing the soil, preparing for proper irrigation, having the trees planted, maintaining the proper fertilization and watering, pruning the trees, making sure no pests destroy your produce, etc.  There’s preparation, work and waiting for the harvest. 
 
This principle can be applied to life.  Maybe you’re waiting on that “harvest”.  Some of you may be just waiting without doing anything.  May I suggest that perhaps you can “actively wait” by working towards your goal or dream.  Get the training or education you may need for the next phase.  Do your research or diligently practice to perfect your skills.  But, perhaps you may be doing all that you can do to make something “happen” but for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened yet.  Don’t be discouraged.  Timing is a key player in this equation.  I’ve heard many people say to “be prepared” so that when your window of opportunity opens, you’re READY!  But there are other areas over which we have little control, such as perhaps praying and waiting for a mate … or praying and waiting for a loved one to come out of a harmful situation, etc.  There’s no guarantee in these instances, BUT, you can still continue to pray because prayer is powerful.  And perhaps continue to educate yourself on your ideal situation, joing support groups, join a dating site, take a class, etc.  You can continue to better yourself.  You never know where that may lead.  The knowledge and experience you gain from bettering or educating yourself or deepening your faith, can have effects beyond what you can even imagine.  Because maybe you’ll be able to use what you’ve learned to help or encourage someone else in the future.  You can say, “I’ve been where you are, let me tell you what helped me….”
 
For my faith-filled friends, waiting on God’s timing can definitely be hard.  If you’ve prayed and you’ve heard God say to “wait”, it’s important to actively keep yourself encouraged in the process.  Surround yourself with strong, mature and positive people in the faith.  Bump up your prayer life.  Keep little encouraging scriptures or notes where you can see them throughout the day.  Pray with others.  Prepare yourself, educate yourself, etc.
 
And TRUST that:

  • God knows what He’s doing,
  • He has our best interests at heart,
  • Some things just take time and He’s working out all of the details
  • He’s faithful

God works behind the scenes.  When we DO get our blessing, whatever it is, we can often see in retrospect just WHY it took so long, and WHAT factors had to come into play before it to come to pass.  You see how things connected at certain times to lead to the ultimate event.  You see God’s creativity in putting His plan together often in ways we don’t expect.  He’s so creative!

So, let’s trust God’s timing…even when it’s hard.
And when your time comes, be ready, rejoice, and pay it forward. 🙂
 
Toodles ♥
 
© “Timing” by KD Corner 2012

 Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Human

Isn’t being human fun? Haha. I know some of you rolled your eyes…and others laughed. Define “fun” you say. Well, let’s just say that being human is definitely an adventure. We are unique and complex beings.  We are able to experience the world physically and emotionally.  We’re able to interact with others and express thoughts, ideas and feelings in various formats.  We’re able to create things.  It’s really quite amazing! What’s not fun about being human?  Disappointments, death, hurt/pain, sadness.  But, without the yucky parts of life, it’s harder to truly appreciate when things are really good.  When something good happens, you feel joy, relief, elation, etc.  Whether  you realize it or not, you mentally compare the good moment/experience/event to the bad one(s), and you’re extra thankful for the good.  Life is full of challenges.  Situations are challenging.  People are challenging.  Sometimes there are misunderstandings. Sometimes there is blatant harm.  But, whatever you’re going through or whatever you’ve been through, please oh please, allow it to make you better, stronger, more patient, more loving, more COMPASSIONATE, a better listener, a better giver, etc.  Bless others. 
 
To inspire you, I recently saw Alicia Keys perform a song on Katie Couric’s daytime talk show (I couldn’t find this clip but I found another performance).  The song is called “Brand New Me”.  It’s on  her new album “Girl On Fire”.  The song stopped me in my tracks.  This melancholy melody blossomed into a chorus of strength.  It seems to be about coming out of an unhealthy relationship, but, can be related to other things as well.  Please take the time to read the lyrics below and listen to the song here –> “BRAND NEW ME” (note: She does a piano solo at beginning.  If you want to skip this, the singing starts at approximately 2:50 minutes)
 
Brand New Me – by Alicia Keys
 
It’s been a while, I’m not who I was before
You look surprised, your words don’t burn me anymore
Been meaning to tell you, but I guess it’s clear to see
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
Can’t be bad, I found a brand new kind of free
 
Careful with your ego, he’s the one that we should blame
Had to grab my heart back
God know something had to change
I thought that you’d be happy
I found the one thing I need, why you mad
It’s just the brand new kind of me
 
It took a long long time to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try
It took one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, don’t be surprised
If I talk a little louder
If I speak up when you’re wrong
If I walk a little taller
I’ve been on to you too long
If you noticed that I’m different
Don’t take it personally
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
And it ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of free
 
Oh, it took a long long road to get here
It took a brave brave girl to try
I’ve taken one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, oh see you look surprised
Hey, if you were a friend, you want to get know me again
If you were worth a while
You’d be happy to see me smile
I’m not expecting sorry
I’m too busy finding myself
I got this
I found me, I found me, yeah
I don’t need your opinion
I’m not waiting for your ok
I’ll never be perfect, but at least now i’m brave
Now, my heart is open
And I can finally breathe
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of free
That ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of me
Don’t be mad, it’s a brand new time for me, yeah
 
Toodles ♥
 
 Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
© “Being Human” by KD Corner 2012

Don’t Be Afraid

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch, and you will see the wonderful way the Lord will rescue  you today. The Egyptians you are looking at- you will never see them again. THE LORD WILL FIGHT FOR YOU, and you won’t need to lift a finger.” (from the Bible [‘The Book’ version], book of Exodus, chapter 14, verses 13-14)

I’m not launching into a Bible study. But, as I was reading this, it spoke to me. There are times when God lets us go through tough trials, yet He is there with us. But there are also times when God miraculously takes care of everything! He fights our battles FOR us. Woohoo! He orchestrates things in such a way that could only be explained by Him working on our behalf. He hears our prayers! He’s close to the broken-hearted. (Psalm 34:17-19)  He cares. And when He performs miracles, it’s an amazing thing to behold.

“But, I don’t even believe in God,” you may be saying. Hey, that’s okay. I’m not trying to make you. This is what I believe. I’ve experienced enough of God to know that He’s real. He loves me. He loves you. He’s amazing. He’s patient. Even if we’re ticked off at Him and choose to ignore him or if we just don’t believe in Him, none of that – and I mean none – decreases, nullifies or erases His love for us. His love is so enormous that it cannot be fully comprehended with our finite understanding. Yes, we’re highly intelligent beings. But even with our vast amounts of intelligence, we do not have infinite understanding. My opinion.

That being said, let me go back to my point – God will fight for you. Don’t be afraid. Keep your head up. Stay encouraged. He is mighty to save.

PS- Random side note: Speaking of Moses, you gotta love the “old-school” film of the Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston playing Moses and Yul Brynner playing Pharoah (love Yul Brynner!). Classic! (Charlton as Moses pictured above)

Toodles ♥

© “Don’t Be Afraid” KD Corner 2012