I am posting a quick update to my blog post, "Special Lady Friend" (http://scarylawyerguy.blogspot.com/2013/06/special-lady-friend.html). First, and foremost, I was humbled and stunned at the outpouring of support I found online. Although I'm a regular consumer of social media, until I posted about my break-up, I had no sense of the compassion of total strangers. Not only were people willing and happy to give some really amazing advice, but your heartfelt comments and support mean more than you will ever know. I cannot thank you enough.
The days after I posted were hard, there were more tears, endless replays of scenes of happier times, head shaking at how this all went to shit and yes, a final attempt (pathetic, I know) to try and get some closure (my voice mail last Tuesday went unresponded to).
But as with most things, if you talk about it enough, the answers, or at least the plan for moving forward, starts to come into view. So first, I accepted the fact that regardless of why we broke up, the manner in which it was done was totally inappropriate and said far more about her than me. That helped. Not because it is easier to think less of her (though that doesn't hurt) but because I need take ownership of the fact that my emotions and feelings have value and need to be valued by the people in my life.
Next, I accepted the fact that "why" may never be answered and that also says far more about her than me, and particularly, the idea that she feels guilt and shame (ok, I won't lie, THAT does make me happy). Whether she cheated (as some have theorized, though not something I subscribe to), felt things were moving too quickly and got scared (as others have, and is the Occam's Razor in my opinion), simply lost interest or got freaked out about my still sometimes fragile post-divorce state, the take away is that in the moment of the relationship, I was true to myself, vulnerable at times and always honest, supportive and caring, and willing to put myself out there to another human being. A MAJOR step forward in my emotional growth.
At the same time, two things others picked up on really stood out to me - (1) the similarities between SLF and my ex-wife in terms of their personalities (strong, speak your mind types who are not fond of being challenged and emotionally withholding) and (2) that my natural tendency toward self-deprecation can quickly read as devaluing myself, which, in turn, serves to suggest that I don't like myself and, that being the case, how can I expect someone to love me? Both are BIG red flags and "issues" that have actually got me leaning toward seeking therapy to understand. I have resisted therapy for forever, but this whole debacle has put into sharp relief that someone trained in not just understanding where issues come from (I've got a good handle on that part) but who can offer some constructive strategies to address them, might actually help. Who knew?
In the meantime, I am committed to reminding myself on a daily basis that I am a good and decent person who tries to do good in the world and has a sterling professional reputation earned over many long years of hard work, dedication and always above board dealings with people (you're just going to have to trust me on this one). In my personal life, I will remember that I have, on myriad occasions, been the person who someone breaks the glass, pulls the emergency lever and reaches out for help, advice of counsel. And also, that whatever challenges life places in front of me, I have an insane amount of willpower to get through them and this break-up is not even in the top five. In other words, I am going to look in the mirror and, as Roger Sterling did in "Far Away Places" tell myself "You Are Okay." (although I won't have half-salt, half-pepper hair, be tripping on LSD or hallucinating that Don Draper is telling me these things).
More importantly, I've come to realize I truly want someone in my life who offers support, affection and values me - in other words, the healthy romantic and platonic love two people should feel toward each other in a committed relationship. I have it pretty good otherwise - a job I would do for half of what I make, a nice house that I love and interests that stimulate me (if not put me in constant touch with the outside world as much as I'd like). And at the same time, when someone comes into my life, I am open to sharing all sides of me, but in doing so, not to be so quick to harp on my own insecurities, be more of my own cheerleader and remember that I have things to offer to someone interested in receiving them. I'm not sure it's the entire answer, but for the first time in weeks, my heart isn't beating like a rabbit's at all times, my hands are not shaky and I have some semblance of an appetite. I'm even sleeping through the night.