Tag Archives: “Jake”

Learning to Trust – Again

As earlier promised, I am no longer publishing posts about my relationship with Brad. While this post has Brad’s name tagged in it, is categorized under “Dating” (among others) and I briefly mention him and a recent issue, this post is about me – not us.

 

I recently almost destroyed my relationship with Brad. We are on the mend after quite a few long days of talking about what happened, discussing how to move forward and taking things one step at a time.

I became angry over something he did, grew silent in my fury, eventually threw out hurtful accusations and cried burning tears as I watched my relationship deteriorate.

All because of a lack of trust. A lack of trust on my part.

Eight months I’ve been with this wonderful man and I still have yet to learn to trust him. He has done nothing to destroy my trust. He has been kind and patient through all the garbage I’ve given him. I’m no good with math, but probably 90% of the troubles we have had come from me, and about 75% of those can be attributed to my lack of trust.

Little by little the trust I’ve given to people close to me has been ripped apart. It started with a husband who (among other things earlier in the marriage) surprised me on our 3rd wedding anniversary with a request for a divorce. Later, a friend who’d become as close to me as a sister abruptly stopped talking to me and left my life after a small disagreement we had. Then it was a boyfriend who returned home from a trip with a confession that he’d kissed another girl. Child-less girlfriends stopped including me in nights out. People in leadership roles abused their power with the mantra of “ask later for forgiveness.”

I’ve learned to rely on very few people for very little. And now this beautiful creature is placed in my life and I’m having to re-learn how to trust him. I can’t count how many times I’ve apologized to him for screwing things up. I’m sure I sound like a broken record by now, saying I’m sorry, that I’m trying so hard, that I’ll do better next time, that I’m learning.

But I’m so scared. Scared of truly opening up and being myself. Because I’ve lost people who weren’t happy with who I was. And I know – I KNOW – that I’m not supposed to care about people who don’t like me for who I am. But I let them get close to me, I let them in my heart and they blasted their way out. I’m still mending the holes they left behind. It’s no easy task, just as I’m sure it’s not easy to watch and wait as the person you love learns to live, trust and love again.

It’s instinct now for me to look for the worst-case scenarios in my life and relationships. It’s worked for a long time, protecting my heart. But it’s not helping me now.

I’m trying. Really I am. It just takes time.

What I Need

It is no secret that I don’t like my ex-husband. It’s not uncommon to not like your ex-spouse, but “Jake” has managed to push my buttons over every conceivable method of modern communication since our separation 8 years ago. I complain about him to family, friends, here and on other channels of social media, but no matter how much he drives me crazy or angers me, I never speak ill of him in front of Em. I want her to have the best relationship possible with her father and I want it to be her decision to continue that relationship.

But as much as I don’t like my ex-husband, I have to give him some credit for helping to make me who I am today. The people I invite and keep close in my life must meet certain standards I have set. That might sound pretentious, but it works for me. Rather than become upset when someone close to me does something I cannot stand, I only remain close to people who fit these standards. Not to say I don’t have anyone in my life that doesn’t fit my “perfect model,” but I don’t invest my emotions in people that constantly disappoint or don’t grow as a person.

My list of standards/qualities I look for in any person I wish to be close to:

    • Loyalty – Do not question my motives behind my back to others I’m close to. If you think I’m going to do something stupid, talk to me about it. Stay true to me by helping me stay true to me. True friends are not afraid to say the truth when they see someone they love making bonehead decisions.
    • Educated – You don’t have to have an 8-year degree, but you need to be willing to learn about your world. Make educated decisions when it comes to major life milestones. Think for yourself. Listen to and accept others’ thoughts and opinions – it’s not impossible to agree to disagree.
    • Vision – Realize that your decisions today affect your life in the future. Unless you’re still a minor living as someone else’s dependent, only you are responsible for you. Be able to answer the questions “Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?” Have some sort of plan for yourself in mind, even if it’s just a rough draft. Figure out what you want, what is important to you, and then figure out how you’re going to obtain it. Know how to prioritize and know if/when you will waver from those priorities. Learn how to say “No” when you have to.
    • Thrift – Budget your assets. Save for the future. Spend your money on things that will give you more than instant gratification. Give to causes that are important to your beliefs. Spend your time wisely. Learn to recognize when it’s appropriate to work or to play.
    • Awareness – We are not alone in this world. Someone out there needs you. Be there for them when they ask for your assistance. Know on whom you can depend for help when you need it. Recognize the sacrifices others make on your behalf and verbally acknowledge them. If you say you’re going to do something – do it. Accept gifts with grace and use them wisely.
    • Communicate – Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself or for others. Speak the truth with kindness. Most people cannot read your mind or guess your thoughts – if something or someone bothers you, say something. If you want or need something, say something. If you make a mistake, own it and ask for forgiveness. If someone has wronged you and you forgive them, tell them. Silence is not always golden. If someone asks for you to listen to their problems, listen and then ask if they would like your feedback.

    I am not perfect – I’m still working on many of these qualities myself. How can I expect people in my life to have these qualities if I don’t have them? But these are things I need in my life, things I need from my loved ones.

    And I’m finally learning to recognize that.

    To The Man Who Demands It All

    “Jake,”

    I’m writing in the hopes that you will understand how important gymnastics is to Em. NOT to me, to our daughter.

    Em has been taking gymnastics classes for a little over 1 year. It started out as a gift from my parents, a trial summer once-a-week-class to see if she enjoyed it. Em loved it SO much she dropped dance in favor of twice-weekly sessions. She learned quickly and worked extra on her own at home and at my parents’ house to improve her skills. This fall she was invited to compete in 3 competitions. At her current level, the gymnasts are awarded ribbons of color instead of the standard number score you see in televised meets. There were 5 different colored ribbons you could earn based on the individual’s performance and execution of the apparatus: rainbow ribbon was the best, pink 2nd, purple 3rd, blue 4th and green 5th. Out of three competitions with 4 apparatus at each, Em earned 6 purple ribbons, 4 pink ribbons and 2 rainbow ribbons! Her personal best was the rainbow ribbon she earned for her beam routine at her final competition which was an improvement from the purple she earned at the first competition! She was so excited and proud of herself for earning that ribbon!

    I’ve attached videos of each of her apparatus, the best of all three competitions.

    Em has been invited to move up to the next level, almost tripling the amount of time she currently spends in the gym and making her eligible for competitions with formal numbered scoring. Em knows how much time and work this will take, but she wants to do it. Please reconsider your request to have her with you all summer vacation. There are intensive gymnastics camps that are available during the summer that really help the gymnasts to grow and strengthen their skills. While attending both camps is not mandatory, attending at least one is recommended. If Em cannot attend an intensive camp, it can really set her back among her peers, increasing the amount of work she has to put in to catch up to their level and decreases the likelihood that she’ll be invited to more competitions.

    I ask you to talk to Em about her gymnastics the next time you two speak on the phone. Listen to the excitement in her voice when she talks about what she’s learning. And if possible, ask her to show you IN PERSON what she can do when she visits this Christmas. Some of the things she can do, like back walkovers, she learned outside of the gym; many of her peers in her level cannot do that yet.

    Em knows that I am sending you this email with the videos, so be sure to tell her if you enjoyed watching them.