Friends and relations.

I’ve been reading the Winnie the Pooh stories to my son Liam. He’s enjoyed them even though he thought they were for younger children. One of my favorite phrases (lost on the child, no doubt), is when Milne refers to Rabbit’s “friends and relations”, who are often present.

Tony coming back into my life has got me thinking (no shit, many of you will say) about my life and what I need in it. Tony and Fox couldn’t be more different men. I had all the lovely things with Fox and it felt wonderful. It was nice to be treated so well and have no doubt about how a man felt about me. It was intoxicating to think about having someone in my life as a partner and lover – someone who wanted to fully integrate into my world.

But it really didn’t matter at the end of the day, when the mental chemistry wasn’t fully there. As a friend sagely pointed out yesterday, things fade all too soon anyway in a relationship.

Can I be without a man? Sure. I don’t yearn to be taken care of; I’m rather independent, even when I’m in a relationship. I don’t need financial support. I have friends and things to do and a son and family nearby.

Perhaps most importantly, I don’t need a man to make me feel good about myself or my life. I am secure in who I am, my strengths and weaknesses. I have a strong internal locus of control. I have my moments, but generally I know that any rejection I face, while personal, doesn’t mean I’m failing or bad.

I really do feel like I’ve moved beyond my historical attention and validation-seeking behavior with men.

But do I want to be without a man? Nope.

I crave touch, affection, intimacy, companionship, and sex. I like having a man in my life. I like having someone to talk to over dinner. I like waking up with someone in my bed. I like furry broad chests and resting my head in the nook of someone’s shoulder. I like walking down the street hand in hand and the feeling of a strong hand encircling my waist to pull me in for a kiss.

What’s changed for me in the last two years is what I’m willing to put up with in order to get it.

Coming out of my marriage, I learned how much I’d let go many important things. Friends, family connections, being social. I promised myself to never let it happen again. I had work to do to find myself again.

Two years ago, after experiencing the worst online dating has to offer, I decided to focus on what’s important. While sometimes I lose sight of it, I feel good about the path I’ve been on and the progress I’ve made.

I’m closer to my Mom now than ever. Earlier this week she asked for vibrator recommendations (thanks Twitter friends!). She knows what’s going on in my life and has given me both kind support and tough words when needed. Her latest advice, after Fox? “Perhaps you just need to get yourself a boy toy for a few months.”

Thanks, Mom.

The biggest source of joy in my life is Liam. Last year this time I became a single parent when Will (my ex) decided to leave the country for work. It was really hard to work through that, but once I did, I focused on creating memories for him. We’ve been on multiple trips and adventures and since Will’s return, I’ve continued to make Liam my priority.

I still struggle with guilt when I’m occasionally on my phone in front of him (which I try to do very rarely now), or when I miss dinner with him a few nights in a row due to work. But I feel positive about the progress I’ve made on this front and I’m still working on it.

I’ve actively worked on solidifying and deepening my friendships. I have a group of female friends who I can call when I’m sick, or emotionally hurting. We get together with our kids or have boozy brunches without. They reach out to me as much as I reach out to them. I’ve recognized they are the ones who will be there for me always – men come and go, unfortunately (or fortunately).

I’ve made new friends, too. People at work I click with. Friends of friends who I’ve pulled into my circles. Blogging friends like Hy and Madeline who have transitioned to “real life”, and many other bloggers whose paths have crossed mine, online and over drinks. All who enrich my life even more.

Then there’s this blog and all of you. I’ve said it before and I will say it again; thank you.

And while I still haven’t taken tango lessons, cleaned out my home office, continued my genealogy research, or managed to keep a regular routine at the gym, it will happen. There is always going to be a to-do list with lots of things on it.

But my “friends and relations” were the ones I was missing, and just like Rabbit, I now feel like they are always with me.

I am truly blessed.


32 thoughts on “Friends and relations.

  1. Well said, I feel the same about so many of these issues. The good thing is, because you don’t feel desperate for anything, you have every reason to hold out for exactly what you want. It’s out there.

    • Thanks Caroline! Yes, that’s how it feels. And it also helps me realize that it’s possible (if I can just chill the fuck out) to enjoy what Tony provides because I get lots of stuff from the other people in my life.

      I’d love for him to be ready for more. He’s not. So I am trying to be with him until it’s not okay.

  2. Love your positive outlook Ann! And thank you… I needed to read this today to remind me of my own blessings despite my own relationships with the men in my life. HUGS!!!!!!

  3. Hi Ann, I am new to your blog, having found my way here from Hyacinth’s blog. I really love the fact you are so honest with yourself and that this really is your place (during highs and lows). From this post, what resonates with me is:

    “But do I want to be without a man? Nope.

    I crave touch, affection, intimacy, companionship, and sex. I like having a man in my life. I like having someone to talk to over dinner. I like waking up with someone in my bed. I like furry broad chests and resting my head in the nook of someone’s shoulder. I like walking down the street hand in hand and the feeling of a strong hand encircling my waist to pull me in for a kiss.”

    As someone who lived through a long, sometimes happy but often sexless marriage and brought up a son in the midst of that. Who at the moment lives alone but has a wonderful relationship, with a man who cares for me and offers me what you describe above. I know that while I don’t need to be in that kind of relationship, I really do want it.

    • Hi Julie and welcome!! So glad you found me 🙂

      I too was in a happy (usually) but sexless marriage. And I can relate to what you say… it’s so nice to have that kind of person in your life, isn’t it?

  4. Wonderful words, just wonderful. As I move on from a 25 year marriage (mostly good and we’re still best friends), I, too, hope to find another man that will do all those things you said (touch, affection, intimacy, companionship, and sex, etc.), but in the meantime, I am happy, independent and have a wonderful support system of friends (men & women), family and BOB (battery operated boyfriend)!

  5. It sounds very much like you’ve come to the conclusion that I have, that in order to find a balance in your life, it doesn’t come from someone or something outside of you, but from within. If you’re good with yourself the rest will work itself out.

    • Well said, Phil. I know nobody can actually “make” me happy other than me, really. Or if I choose to get my happiness from others (well, seek it from one versus all the people in my life), it will inevitably fail.

      I’m not sure I can articulate it very well, but I think of it as this: I feel happy when I’m with Tony (most of the time!), but HE doesn’t MAKE me happy. Maybe that’s back to the notion of locus of control…

      • Well said. I always enjoy your introspection and perspective on it. It makes for good writing and reading. And in general I agree with most of your perspectives. Great minds think alike!

  6. Of all your posts this is so beautifully written, expressive and joyous from a happy woman. It is the sense of self confidence that comes through. Regardless of what man sexually satisfies you, you know yourself, who you are and are blessed with your life. Friends and relations make you whole.

  7. I love this post Ann. Friends and relations are very important to me and I’m happy to hear that you’re surrounded by loving people.

  8. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It’s definitely different making and maintaining friends. Also difficult to trust people, the blog makes it easier as you’re “invisible.”

    • Can you tell me more about what you mean? What is different making and maintaining friends?

      In my opinion on this blog, in some ways it’s easier for people to open up and connect, because we are reading about each other’s deepest thoughts. So we connect on that level with can transcend location, age, and the like. It’s building friendships based on different things.

      Which I think is incredibly enriching.

  9. I love this post. I particularly liked your focus on Liam. Kids grow up so incredibly fast, so you are wise to make the most of your time with him. A life full of friends and family also makes you very attractive to men — just saying 😉. Great mindset, great post.

  10. Finally! A glimmer of sensible perspective. Are you finally getting off the Carousel of Cocks?

    If you keep this up you’re in serious danger of avoiding all these types that are bad for you, dating less emotional cripples and experiencing a discernible uptrend in the calibre of man you encounter. The price will be less dates, but it’s a progressive trade-off.

    Consider yourself warned.

    • Excuse me sir, I haven’t been on the carousel of cocks for a long time. I changed my dating approach a year ago. Putting sex club adventures aside (because I don’t care if they were emotional cripples, frankly), I dated Tony and Fox, with a couple of other first dates sprinkled in for good measure 🙂

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