I had a great time today wrestling some of my biggest demons to the ground. It was a sight to see. There was wailing, gnashing of teeth, moaning. The works.
Good news - I prevailed! Yes! (one fist pump)
I went from talking to a great friend, to spending time with Dad (crying on his shoulder), to an AFG meeting, to a bookstore. From there it was margaritas with a friend, relaxing with darts, and then, after a few hours sleep, a 2 a.m. synthesis of all I've been working on.
My whole adult life.
I found a great bottom line! Can you say "Amen!"?
Please note that no animals were injured in the finding of this bottom line.
I did not kick the dog, yell at my kid, or drive over the mailbox (a good story for another day).
However I did finally accept the fact that I expect three things in a mate: Love, Protection and being a good Provider.
This may seem very simple to some. Does anyone remember my fascination with idiot savants? Could I be one? Don't answer that - just a rhetorical question.
And I didn't say I didn't want those things before, but it took a long time to get serious AND accept that was/is my goal. I think my life just got a whole lot simpler.
Love is self-evident, but also includes "cherish and respect". Clearly respect means hearing what I'm saying. Pretending I didn't mean it when I say "Take your hand off my butt." is going to fail. Never ever respectful to ignore what someone tells you. But not really hearing or paying attention to each other is a common mistake in relationships.
Respect also includes honesty. Hmmmm... easier said than done, and since many people don't ever level with themselves, News Flash, they can't level with you either.
Honesty takes courage, so a Good Man gotta have that.
For me, a good man Loves Life, loves his children, loves his Mother, and definitely Loves G-d (his God, his faith, not necessarily mine). Not in that order.
I couldn't live with a man who doesn't love to laugh.
Protect was NOT what I wanted in a man 30 years ago. I could damn well take care of myself. Now, as I finally realize I am only 5'3.5", I can acknowledge that Protect means physical safety. (One S.O. in my past didn't even offer that. Nevermind emotional safety.)
But it also means to protect me from two of my other big challenges - myself, and loneliness. To be absolutely clear, I see that as my role for a man too. I am a companion, a helper an equal partner and absolutely, I watch his back. Men especially seem to need to be protected from themselves. (Big Grin) But I have a few blindspots too (lol).
Perhaps most importantly, Protect means keeping the Huns out of the castle. Direct assaults, sure, like those well-meaning meter men (previous post about me and surprise visits.).
But I also mean extraneous distractions - could be women who are interested in your man, or an obnoxious friend, or a controlling family member, but could also be work, addictions, and any number of his own internal demons. A guy has to stay alert and figure that stuff out. Sad when the castle falls from within.
To Provide - now this would have made my life a HECK of a lot easier, had I been crystal clear on this one long ago. I've supported my family solo more times than I care to admit. While married, single, whatever. The male patterns of not "bringing home the bacon" is what got my attention, and trust me, I won't be making that mistake again.
Provide also means making choices to shore up the castle walls - yes, literally when the house needs fixin, but also when the savings account needs protecting too. This is fundamental, and you can't underestimate the importance of a partner who is good with money.
The other big shift I've made lately is I don't have and won't ever ever ever have again, a "boyfriend". No way. Been there, done that. Like Carrie in Sex & the City, (the movie) I'm ONLY having a Man friend from now. Raised three boys, two of them older than me. No more.
So my bottom line - Love, Protect, and Provide. Not hard. But not the same as I believed years ago. My standards are higher, and stronger. This feels great.
Priorities? G-d first, me and our children come second. He'll have to leave his parents and cleave to his one and only. He'll be an answer to prayers. And he'll know it, every day of his life.
3 days ago