Deeper Dating Online Forums Wiser Path 2013 Welcome to your forum!

20 replies, 10 voices Last updated by ken1ken1 7 years, 7 months ago
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  • #769
    ken1
    ken1
    Keymaster
    @ken

    Hi all, and welcome to your forum. This is the place to share your reflections throughout this class and thereafter. Share as much and as frequently as you like. The more feedback and interaction, the more learning there will be for everyone.  I’ll post a new topic each week, and you can respond to my topic or just discuss anything you want–a stuck-point, an insight, a complicated dating situation, a pattern you’re noticing–the possibilities are endless.

    I’ll be checking in regularly–and responding now and then as well.

    So–for this week, my question has a few parts. Answer one part or as many as you like–don’t feel confined to my questions either. There might be something else you want to share, and thats great too. If you’d like feedback, definitely request it from the group–or from me.

    1) Introduce yourself! What’s your name and where are you from? Share anything you like about your own intimacy journey.

    2)Are you beginning to get a basic sense of what some of your own core gifts may be? What are you seeing?

    3) Do you have any reflections about the Core Gifts exercises we did in class, or your new exercises from last week (The exercises around joy and your Core Gifts)? Do you have any questions?

    4)What are you most noticing in your life as a result of these ideas, or simply as a result of your own experiences in your dating life?

    5) Is there anything else you’d like to share?

     

    I look forward to your participation in this forum! Feel free to jump right in please!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • This topic was modified 7 years, 8 months ago by ken1ken1.
    #771

    marlaboo
    Member
    @marlaboo

    Hi Everyone,

    I missed the first call (but listened to the recording) so I have not introduced myself yet.  My story in a nutshell is that I had one person in my life I was completely in love with back in college (dated for over 4 yrs.).  After that I had two significant relationships – one being a 12yr. marriage.  After my divorce, which I initiated after trying every possible solution to make it work, I was very closed off emotionally until reconnecting with someone from my teenage years.  I learned a lot from that relationship but ultimately ended it a year ago.

    I feel like over the past 6 mos. I have opened up tremendously and grown a lot.  One of the many steps toward this “new me” was signing up for this class.  Ken mentioned that some of these assignments he gives us may not seem like a large step but that they would shift our energy over time.  I have found this to be the case already.  I wanted to share a major step for me that has taken place.  I had met someone back in October who lived long distance, but decided to get involved with him physically right away (not typical for me at all) because I did not want to lose that part of myself, after being in a marriage that was void of affection.  When I joined this class I was a little hesitant because I was afraid that you would all be telling me to end this relationship.  Instead what ended up happening is that I ended it on my own a week ago (and it was not easy to do because part of me really wanted to continue to see him).  I really think that something has shifted in who I am looking for after doing these exercises and listening to Ken’s classes.

    Also, I have really been enjoying the 5 minutes of meditation each day.  My experience the first time was very strong.  I felt like I was calling in someone who I already had a deep connection to & it made me very emotional for some reason.  In the span of two days (where I meditated and also when I spoke with my dating buddy) I heard from 3 men in my life that I had not been in communication with recently.  I just thought that was interesting & thought I would share.  I think your energy does get sent out into the world even if you are not speaking to someone in person, if that makes sense.  In other words, I think the meditation exercise can work like Ken said!

    Hope all of you are doing well!

    ~Marla

    #772

    Juliana
    Member
    @Juliana

    Hello to All!

    I am a Lebanese- Canadian, transplanted again to the US. I live in GA now with my kids. I have been married twice, and my kids are from the second marriage. Having grown up in the war in Lebanon, I have seen many atrocities and have had to learn to protect myself. My family was very loving, and I had a perfect nuclear and extended family while growing up, and always assumed my family life would be the same. When the first marriage ended, I was shocked. When the second marriage ended, I was angry, and rebellious, and started on a self-discovery and spiritual growth journey with zest and determination, to learn all that I could so that my next longterm relationship would be a success! I am still on that journey 5 years later! ( I had a brief engagement that didn’t last, during that interval)

    These have been very interesting 2 classes. I am rediscovering a lot of qualities, or gifts about myself, that I have minimized, so as not to outshine the men I have been in relationship with, and also , so as not to feel anything, neither pain, nor joy. There is comfort in numbness. There is control of our environment. But it is not our truth.  The numbness is like a void, it makes us hold back on “being” love, to pretend to have a hard exterior, it puts up walls of defenses that rival Jericho’s, it leaves us disengaged with life, or worse, it makes us run away instead of facing our fears.

    This was a look at the pain side of our gifts.

    The joy side is interestingly harder to examine, for me. I feel alive when I am outdoors, or when I am learning, or when I am sharing intimately with my beloved and he is attentive. But I don’t think that hits the target of what my core gifts are. I remember a scene from my youth, when I felt very expanded, and unlimited: I was sitting on a branch, with my cousins, on a sunny breezy afternoon, and we were just talking leisurely, as if we had all the time in the world! That memory is definitely tapping into my soul, and my love for a sense of freedom!

    If I can feel loved and accepted, and free, in a relationship, like I did back then, that would be very cool! Of course, the emotions would have to be reciprocal from my end.

    I am searching for potential dates online, and what I am noticing is that there is a couple, maybe 3 potential men who would be a match to my outer and inner life, right now. We are emailing back and forth, and postponing the actual meeting till I/we feel that this deep connection could be there. I am also feeling restless about my career. I want to create something new. I want to write, even though no one will read it. I want to clear clutter and old things out, and redecorate my son’s bedroom………. there is a renewed energy that is kicking in big time! And it feels really good to be inspired!! ( passion is one of my core gifts)

    This is all I can think of right now, but I will be back with more when the muse returns.

    I look forward to reading your realizations,

    Until then, Namaste

    Juliana

    #774
    ken1
    ken1
    Keymaster
    @ken

    Thank you so much Marla and Juliana–your posts were inspiring and heartfelt! Marla–I’m so glad you’re already experiencing significant shifts in your inner and outer dating journey! And I loved your insights, Juliana–and after reading your words, I strongly encourage you to keep writing!

     

     

    #775
    lamcbride
    lamcbride
    Member
    @lamcbride

    Hi Everyone, I too have enjoyed my journey with this class. Juliana is my buddy and we have enjoyed exploring our gifts….Juliana, I had a joyous week…smiling and tapping into my feminine essence 🙂

    I was married for 28 years, married right out of high school, virgin and never cheated on my ex spouse. My home life was very controlled by my spouse and his family. Where we lived, ate dinner, holidays. As I tried to be the perfect wife, I lost myself. As time went on I found that I loved reading, and when my children went to school, I decided to get a college education. It was the one thing that was mine, my ex spouse didn’t bother me when I was in school and I found it a wonderful escape from the reality of the world I was existing in. Funny thing was, I just started so I could get out of the house and talk to people, but an Associates degree, became a Bachelor and finally a Masters Degree. I was so proud of myself for my accomplishment!!!….Never in a million years did I think I could do it. All I wanted for graduation was a cake (don’t ask me why) and my husband handed me a court order for divorce. Not because he had found someone, but because I was damaged goods now that he could not longer control me.
    The core gifts I’m discovering are my kindness and perfectionism. Both have been painful for me in the past, but as I am learning on this journey have also created some of my favorite moments of joy. During my past relationships, I would find that my partners, children, friends… didn’t do things in the manner I felt were correct (perfectionism) so misguidedly thinking that I was being kind and generous, I would help them out. Taking on chores, financial obligations, even working a part-time job for ex spouse so he could be with his family. I can’t tell you what this revelation has meant to me! It was like the Ah Ha moment I’ve needed to move on! I also, realize that being accepted is what drives my kindness…I’m still working on this one. Am I really giving a gift with my heart if I unconsciously expect something in return (like love)? If someone gives me a gift, I’m afraid they will take it away(my friends are helping me get over this) they love and accept me just the way I am!

    I’m not who I used to be, but I’m not who I am going to be yet either!

    Linda

    #776

    kandice
    Member
    @kandice

    Hi I’m Kandice and I’m 35 years old and living alone outside of Chicago. Here’s my story:

    My last truly intimate relationship was during college with someone I loved deeply. I had hoped our relationship would endure even though it seemed I was giving so much more to thee relationship. I held back nothing and he could only give so much. It seems to me that this has been the trajectory of a lot of my relationships, even some of my friendships. I find that I am consumed with love for them, putting them on pedestals, and wanting to make my partners happy. I want them to feel loved and to know they can trust and depend on me. I often sacrifice my own needs to fulfill theirs. The problem is that I rarely get that in return.

    After much therapy and lots of deep searching I realize that a lot of my relationship patters stem from my family. I grew up in a household permeated by alcoholism, drugs, anger, and self-absorption. At an early age I was very sensitive to the nuances in my family dynamics and I was often criticized by my parents and relatives for being too outspoken, too “flip”, and too smart. I often felt attacked and hurt. I was confused because sometimes my family relied on me when my parents were being unpredictable and other times they scolded me for being “too grown”. I never felt good enough. I’ve always struggled with needing to prove myself. As a result in my relationships I am scared to ask for too much lest the person retreats. Of course, I never get what I need and I am sad to be so alone.

    In working through these exercises one of the things I realized is a real gift of mine is my intuition and sensitivity. Thinking back on the pain of my childhood made me realize that my ability to sense dangers and toxicity in the environment or in my parents, and the courage to speak up about what I noticed scared and threatened others. However, this inner awareness was good for me. It helped protect me and lead me to strive for a healthier life apart from my family. My sensitivity makes me a good friend because I am a deep listener; I often feel like I hear the things that aren’t being said from others and I find the right things to say to help them feel less alone.  I’ve wanted to give to others what I wish I had growing up, understanding and stability. I am praying that through this class I will meet people who appreciate this in me and reflect it back to me.

    I’m inspired by everyone in this class and I am grateful to be learning from all of you.

    Warmly,

    Kandice

    #777
    taralynng
    taralynng
    Member
    @taralynng

    1) Introduce yourself! What’s your name and where are you from? Share anything you like about your own intimacy journey.

    Hi all.  My name is Tara and I live in NYC.  Intimacy journey – I have some issues with self esteem and can have often sought external validation through men.  I lost my virginity in high school to someone I was attracted to, but whom I didn’t know well and that I chose for that reason.  He never spoke to me thereafter.  In my 20s I was largely engaged in spiritual seeking that culminated in my converting to another religion.  So during my early 20s I wasn’t very focused on men (I had a few short-lived relationships where I was more interested in sexual exploration than in making intimate connections).  The later half of my 20s I was celibate for religious reasons.  Young 30s I married someone, with reservations and whom I didn’t love.  The marriage became emotionally abusive and I left for that reason (with 2 small children).  (I am still in therapy dealing with some of the aftermath of my marriage.) After leaving my marriage, I shut down from any sort of connecting with men.  But after about two years I became very thirsty for 1) sexual companionship, and 2) intimacy.  I became pretty promiscuous (that’s not the word I would typically use, but I guess it applies) and was doing a lot of sexual exploration (bdsm, etc.).  Really, I was really seeking intimacy through sex, though.  I had some important experiences/relationships during that time.  Then, finally, I guess I had healed enough that I thought I was ready to experience some actually intimacy with men.  My self esteem had improved enough that I saw myself as worthy and valuable and something to offer.  But, fwiw, I still deal with these themes and issues pretty much all the time.  My most recent relationship was about a year and a half or more, but I left that relationship because I felt he wasn’t the right man.  We were also completely mismatched sexually, which was apparent from the very beginning.  However, I stuck it out trying to prove to myself that if other aspects of the relationship worked well, that one thing shouldn’t kill it.  I don’t think I would allow that play out that way in future relationships.  I’m now 41.

    2)Are you beginning to get a basic sense of what some of your own core gifts may be? What are you seeing?

    Yes, so far I have identified two core gifts: spirituality (which is kinda over-arching and could probably be broken down into smaller components) and empathy/empathic nature.  These were both ridiculously obvious during the “tears” exercise.

    3) Do you have any reflections about the Core Gifts exercises we did in class, or your new exercises from last week (The exercises around joy and your Core Gifts)? Do you have any questions?

    I found that it was super difficult for me to identify when I was experiencing joy.  I could think of instances from my past, but to actually identify joyfulness on a daily basis seemed so far removed from how I “roll.”  lol  My learning buddy mentioned she uses a gratitude journal and I thought that might be a practice I could incorporate (though haven’t done that yet).  Also a work colleague mentioned that she is doing these happiness surveys that come via her phone (see http://www.trackyourhappiness.org/).  It’s some sort of research study… I think you need an iphone to participate, though.  I haven’t explored their site yet.

    I also emailed Ken abt an issue I was having during the 5 min prayer/intention because I kept visualizing a particular man that I had recently met and had a lot of attraction toward (and had been physically intimate with).  I was seeking ideas about how to clear my mind of him so that I would not be limiting.

    4)What are you most noticing in your life as a result of these ideas, or simply as a result of your own experiences in your dating life?

    Grrrrrr…. well, about the above mentioned guy that was showing up in my thoughts.  Unfortunately, it seems my interest/feelings in him are greater than his in me.  We’ve had a few open conversations about what is going on with us.  I don’t feel he is a player.  Feel he is trying to be open and honest, just not feeling a lifetime relationship or LTR with me (perhaps a different woman, but not me). Still there’s strong chemistry and sexual attraction, though, and budding friendship, and am very comfortable with him.  I’m not seeking exclusivity from him, but am feeling I would like to see him more because I want to know him more.  Anyhow…. my girlfriends seem to think that in this type of situation I should just exit because it was not what I was originally seeking with him, I am not ready to do that yet.  I feel a connection.  I don’t feel devalued because we have discussed our evolving feelings (a friend said I was “selling myself short” to stay in contact with him.)  While the relationship may turn out to be primarily sexual in focus, it is not devoid of emotional intimacy.  In fact, it feels quite intimate.  So, for the time being I am just exploring what the connection will be, even if it is not quite what I had hoped.  I feel that my self esteem is improved enough these days that I wouldn’t hang on if I felt devalued by the experiences with him.  I feel that the gift of being spiritual and feeling a “connectedness” with others is what causes me to be open to different types of relationships, but I can recognize how that in the past I have used sexual relationships for the feelings of pseudo-intimacy that can be created (and that that, perhaps, is a dark side to that gift).  Anyhow, I feel like I am being pretty authentic in this particular situation with the guy.

    5) Is there anything else you’d like to share?

    I always think back to the issue of “boundaries” (ppl like to throw that word around a lot in regard to relationships).  I have had ppl say to me that they think I have “boundary issues.”  While it is probably true, I am actually not so sure that it is terrible to have flexible boundaries.  Shouldn’t boundaries being evolving?  Shouldn’t we be open to adjusting boundaries in different situations?? (lol, situational boundaries?)  I think a boundary is not where you “say” it is, but where you “feel” it, and sometimes that changes.

     

    Sorry if I wrote too much.  I’m always a little uncertain about what is an appropriate amount of disclosure.

    ~Tara

    #778
    taralynng
    taralynng
    Member
    @taralynng

    Julianna,

    This, that you wrote, really resonated with me:

    “There is comfort in numbness. There is control of our environment. But it is not our truth.”

    ~Tara

    #779

    kandice
    Member
    @kandice

    Hi,

    I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s introductions. You all seem so brave and soulful. I love it!

    Tara, I have to say that you seem so open and fearless in your self exploration. Is this because of your spirituality? Whatever it is I think it’s wonderful.

    I forgot to mention that I recently ended a brief friendship with an ex-boyfriend who was married and getting too attached to me. He was saying he was unhappy and getting divorced,etc and I found myself  thinking of the things Ken mentioned in his article about attractions of deprivation (this happened before our course) and this person was NOT available. I think remembering that and really searching myself helped me get out of that entanglement before I got hurt. In the past, I would have lingered way too long. I think “myth of lost love” for me is the need to be chosen and to prove myself. I’m glad I saw this early in this situation.

    Well, I was thinking of our class and how nice it is to have this forum.

     

    Until tomorrow….

    Kandice

    #780

    marlaboo
    Member
    @marlaboo

    Tara,

    Part of your story really sounded familiar.  I also married even though I was hesitant for a few reasons….one being that I did not feel any chemistry with my ex-husband & kept thinking everything else looked good on paper and maybe that would work itself out.  Now I know that I don’t want to settle for anything less than a full relationship, which includes a strong attraction.  I think the lack of chemistry with my ex-husband was my body’s way of telling me he was not right (even though he was very handsome and charming & I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was wrong….it turned out to be an emotionally abusive relationship like yours).  Like you – I was closed off after my marriage ended and didn’t think I would ever feel anything for anyone for the rest of my life (dramatic, I know 🙂 ).  The man I dated from my past allowed me to see that I was very capable of experiencing great passion & allowed me to communicate freely (both things that had been missing in my marriage); however, I also noticed some similarities to my ex-husband (a little controlling & intense) so I ended it.  I am hoping that I am on the right track finally!

    ~Marla

     

    #781

    looking4love
    Member
    @looking4love

    Hi All:

    Thanks to you all for your amazing insights! I am Lisa from the LA ‘burbs. I am fairly new here and am struggling with connection.

    I have mostly been involved with long-term relationships. I’ve been married once. We divorced after being together for 16 years. As can happen, the man I divorced bore no resemblance to the man I married. His behavior at the end of our marriage has left its scars. I can feel myself being more cautious now in relationships: less accepting and trusting. This openness is a core gift that still exists, though. I have also the gift of loyalty. I tend to be a very faithful and constant friend. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for someone in my inner circle.

    In general, my gifts have been treated well, but when they aren’t, the pain is palpable.

    My last relationship was with someone with a very different world view. Even though the end was inevitable, I felt helpless to prepare myself for the loss. I tend to feel so deeply and love so completely. I hate to close a relationship of any kind.

    I won’t be on the (1/24) call until the very end, but look forward to hearing you all on the replay!

    Warmly,

    Lisa

    #782
    Steve_K
    Steve_K
    Member
    @skrauseny

    Hi Everyone,
    I’m Steve, a 49 year old, currently living in NYC, but who spent the previous twenty years in the Chicago area.
    Anyway, having grown up with real conflicts about my identity/orientation, I spent most of my teenage years and young adulthood wishing for a relationship but not being able to find one.  Instead, I ignored my needs for intimacy and began caring for three young children who were being raised by a single parent just a few years older than me. Meanwhile, throughout my twenties, I also did a significant amount of psychotherapy, and started feeling more accepting (and acceptable), though not truly positive, about my identity.
    During my mid-thirties, I had a LTR that lasted about 5 1/2 years. Because this individual had once seemed to me to be physically “out of my league” I started feeling more confident. However, our relationship ended, primarily because we didn’t always share values about religion and physical intimacy–something I wanted to keep between only us…. Anyway, that was more than decade ago, and it took me almost 20 months to truly let it go.  Then, in the years that followed, I met and became very interested in two special individuals, both of whom wanted only to be friends with me.
    Then, about four years ago, I began mentoring and caring for a young man, who very much needed a safe home and a supportive family environment. As I had probably learned to do during my upbringing, I became too involved and attached to him, and I really neglected my own needs while trying to attend to his.
    My work with Ken, a 12-Step group focusing on love addiction, and this workshop have all been helping me recognize that I have special qualities and value beyond my desire to love and support someone else who’s struggling. And, these days, I feel as though I have less tolerance for some of the ongoing adolescent-type issues (usually about responsibility) that the young man I support creates at home.
    This week, I’m actually visiting with my folks where they spend the winters.  Although the timing isn’t as convenient as I would have liked, I’m thrilled to be here in order to connect with my folks who are getting into their mid-to-late 70s.  As it turns out, my folks made some plans for us on Thursday, and I’ve decided to keep those plans at the expense of missing our meeting.  I will miss hearing from and speaking with you all, but I will definitely listen to the recording.
    Two other things.  As I mentioned to Ken, I read a quotation (from a minister in NYC) that made me think about the concept of “core gifts” as Ken describes them.  The quotation from Mary Guathier is this: “Inside the curse lies the blessing.”  Well, needless to say, that sounded to me exactly what Ken had asked us to do–to look at those important parts of ourselves that we’d previously perceived to be negative, and to find the strength/goodness/wisdom/insight etc. in them.
    Well, I’m beginning to look at myself from that perspective these days, and in isolated moments, I even feel an energy or excitement starting to build deep down inside.  No, I don’t have this all worked out by any means, but I do sense the stirrings of some growth in my self-esteem, identity, and self-perception because of this work.
    One other thing I thought would be worthwhile sharing with the group is a program I heard from the Leonard Lopate program from NPR radio. The broadcast (now podcast) is called “Daring Greatly” and it’s about the strength, beauty, and healing nature of being vulnerable. The ideas discussed in the 30 minute program are those of psychologist Brene Brown, and I think you may find it both interesting and meaningful.  You can listen to the program online here http://http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/2013/jan/07/daring-greatly/, or you may listen to her TED talk online, as well.  (I’ve not heard the talk, nor read her recent book, but I imagine they are worth listening to/reading.
    Anyway, I’m glad to be sharing with you and appreciate what you’ve shared here and on the phone.
    Thanks, and take good care,
    Steve

    #784

    Juliana
    Member
    @Juliana

    I wanted to thank my classmates for all that they shared. I see aspects of my journey in theirs, and I am taking those in.

    There are a couple of folks I wanted to comment back to:

    -Tara, thanks for highlighting the phrase above. I feel that it was a deep insight I received as I was writing. I am reflecting on what you wrote as well, and admit that spirituality, love and sexuality are very intertwined for me too. What I want to learn is how to keep the ” boundaries” around sexual intimacy until the emotional intimacy is solid. I am hoping that we will look into this tonight, in class.

    -Linda, I am so glad you have a picture here, because you are definitely a beautiful and radiant woman.  When we talk on the phone, I can sense your strength, your bright intellect and your bubbly personality. As you look at your perfectionism and kindness in this class, and examine both the gifts and the pain, hold on to the knowing that the people who are aligned with you will see all the great things that you are, and will love you for them.

    -Steve, thanks for sharing from your heart, and for the link to Brene Brown’s TED talk. I have to practice being vulnerable with my potential mates, that is for sure!!!!

    Juliana

    #785

    kellin
    Member
    @kellin

    Hello all…

    My name is Kelli and I live in Texas.  Thank you everyone for all of your sharing.  It’s great to know that were all on this path together!  I have been married and divorced twice.  Looking  back my first marriage wasn’t all that horrible.  We both came from broken homes and although we got along we had no idea how to communicate.  I wish I had tried to work on myself and not tried to change him.  If I had had some insight maybe things would have been different.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss him or want to go back, but part of my path has been to analyze what I have been through and how I could have done it better or differently.  My second marriage was to an alcoholic.  I think I really got caught up in the drama of being called a cunt one minute and then having him kiss my ass for the next fews days.

    Anyway, I have been single for four years.  In the aftermath I have spent those years trying to discover why I held the bar so low.  I am a very happy single person who doesn’t need to jump into a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship.  Why from all of the wonderful men and great opportunities out there would I settle for one man who was completely emotionally unavailable and another that was an extremely abusive alcoholic?

    I am very blessed with a core gift of passion!  I love life and everything it has to offer!  I wake up everyday with enthusiasum and shout to God, what do you have in store for me today!!  It’s a great life!

    I think another core gift is empathy.  I can understand where people are coming from, to a fault.  I never stick up for myself.  If someone is upset with me or mad at me, I always consider, well, they must have a good reason.  When people treat me badly I assume I deserve it.  Writing that just now made me sad…

    I have been doing my meditation daily.  I have set my timer for 6 minutes so that I’m not constantly looking at the clock.  I think I’m going to start adding more time.  I haven’t really noticed much except for this morning when I was visualizing what I wanted in a partner I wondered if I was the person that they would be looking for…

    My study buddy is a vibrant, passionate person with a great story line, I love visiting and sharing with her…

     

    #786

    kellin
    Member
    @kellin

    is anyone else having trouble with the call?

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