From one strong woman to another

Dear J,

I know that life is hurting right now. Every waking breath you take hurts. You hurt for what you have lost, for what you will never have. For the dreams that you held and then watched slip away from you because of someone else’s decision.

You feel out of control, like you can’t put the pieces back together. That maybe you were meant to be stuck where you are right now, because that’s where he put you with his choice.

That you can’t go back and you aren’t strong enough to move forward.

But you are and you will.

He left, true. But he left because of a deficit in him. Whether it was a restless soul, a lack of being able to commit, a want for something that he didn’t think that he had where he was.

But, the bottom line here is that he left because of a fault of his. Because he couldn’t hack it where he was and he decided to leave.

I know that you loved him and that your future seems so dull without him. I know that it hurts you when you wake up in that bed and realize that he is not lying there beside you. I know that it feels weird to do things around your house with no expectations thrust upon you by another person.

All of those things make you feel lost. All of those things, maybe, make you feel weak because you wonder what he would think about the new curtains that you hung, or the dust catcher that you bought.

I understand. I understand all of what you are feeling and what you are going through. I know how hard it is to stand on your own without that idea, that feeling, of someone being there at your back. I get it. It makes you think that you aren’t strong enough to stand on your own.

But you are.

You are strong enough. You can stand on your own.

Look at you! You’re already doing it. You’re doing it and didn’t even realize that you are.

He left and you didn’t fall down in a ball on the ground and die. You lived! You chose to live without him. You chose to have a life that didn’t include him. You are strong.

You are strong enough to get up every day. You are strong enough to do the things that need to be done: go to work, shop for groceries, do the laundry, take a shower, shave your legs (never underestimate the power of a smoothly shaven leg. They do wonders!).

You are strong enough that you make plans with your friends for the future. You are strong enough that you plan a menu for the month, to start shopping for Christmas gifts in June, what you want to do for your summer vacation.

You are strong enough that you are looking to YOUR future. Where you want to go, what road you want to take, things that you want to experience.

And here’s the cool thing about that: THE SKY’S THE LIMIT! You don’t have to wait for anyone or anything to do these things with you. You can do them on your own.

You can take those cooking classes you’ve always wanted to take, the dance classes you thought would be cool, the water aerobics class that you’ve been eyeing for months.

You can do all of these things. Why?

Because you are strong.

Strength is not about being bold and flashy. That kind of strength is fleeting, forgotten as quickly as it came.

Your kind of strength is the strength that moves mountains. It is quiet, fluid. Like water, it may not work quickly, but it is powerful, carving valleys out of solid rock. Your strength is the kind of strength that everyone wishes they had because it will carry you through all of your days. It will flag, sometimes, this is true. But it will come back, stronger than ever.

Nothing can hold you back. You are a force to be reckoned with.

Keep getting up, going to work, doing laundry, shaving your legs. Keep doing these small things. They are the foundation upon which your strength will stand and assert itself. Sometimes when you least expect it to.

That quiet strength will take you through the rest of your life, with no room to look backwards because your future is taking all of your energy and concentration.

You are strong. You inspire me, and everyone around you, with your strength.

Don’t ever doubt it.

Sincerely,

Miss Independent (formerly The Forgotten Wife)

PS: Demi Lovato has a great song called “Skyscraper” that I think pretty much sums it up. And with a much prettier singing voice than I could ever have. I’ve included it here for you. I hope you like it and that it helps strengthen your resolve. Listen to the words. You are a skyscraper. Don’t forget it!

Good Enough

As any of you that have read this blog since the beginning (THANK YOU!) know, my divorce was rough.

You know the marriage was rougher.

Ward and June Cleaver we weren’t, that’s for damn sure.

Who cleans house in high heels and pearls??

Who cleans house in high heels and pearls??

I wasn’t spectacular to him. I’ll take responsibility for my share of blame in the collapse of our marriage. To be sure, he wasn’t spectacular to me. The only honest thing he did before he left with that other woman (I’m working hard at reining in my Bitter Bitch) was to admit that he had spent 16 years emotionally and mentally abusing me.

Yes, he admitted it. Shocking, no?

And, here we are, over two years since the separation and almost two years from the divorce and I’m still dealing with that crap.

hand tiedHow frustrating is that? I know that I can’t expect to be over it immediately. I know that I will feel the effects for years. But I have made so much progress in coming back to life that it is so defeating sometimes to know that I am still trying to untie myself from his definition of who I was.

It is so very hard to recover your self-esteem, your sense of self, when you spent 16 years with the person that you pledged to love and who pledged to love you, trying to do the best you could and it was never enough.

You were never smart enough.

You were never skinny enough.

You were never pretty enough.not good enough

You were never sexy enough.

You were never a good enough mother.

You were never a good enough housekeeper.

You were never…..

Nothing I ever did was good enough for him.

When the man that you have married tells you that you are subpar at every level on a daily basis, you don’t just get over that in a snap.

So, here we are, two years later, and I’ve met this guy. He’s pretty terrific. OK, he’s more than pretty terrific, but we’re not going to go into massive details. Let’s just say that he’s very sexy, very smart, extremely witty, a talented storyteller and so much more *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*.

He’ll tell me that I’m beautiful and sexy and smart. He does so with regularity and ease. You can tell that he means it, that he’s not lying to just get into my pants. I can tell he means it. Truly means these things that he says.

And I want to believe him. I do. I want to see what he sees. I want to feel that I’m beautiful, sexy and smart.

Sometimes, when we talk or when I’m with him, I feel it. I feel like I’m all of those things and more. I feel like Superwoman having a man as great as him think those things about me.

But, when our conversation is done, or I go home, or even sometimes when we are chatting, I wonder what it is that he sees.

I know he can’t be seeing the same woman I see. That woman isn’t smart, nor sexy, nor beautiful. She doesn’t have anything to offer to a great man like him. Why does he still talk to me?

For 16 years I was told that I wasn’t beautiful, sexy or smart. For 16 years I was told that I wasn’t enough. So, how can I be enough for this man who has everything in the world to offer a woman?

And therein, my friends, lies the issue.

I have to stop wondering what I should do to “be enough” for a man in my life and just be me. Be myself in all things.

Good enoughI have to stop trying to be anything for anyone and just be the person that I am.

I have to just be me.

I have to be that woman whose eyebrows are never plucked quite right, whose roots constantly need touching up, whose house is never clean enough, who feeds too many stray cats because she’s a sucker for them. I have to be that dorky lady who laughs too loudly at lousy puns, who thinks science jokes, Doctor Who and Cosmos are pretty awesome. I have to embrace my almost bottomless pit of trivia about nothing that anyone in the world cares about. I have to appreciate my love of all things J.D. Robb, Patricia Briggs, Laurell K. Hamilton, and J.K. Rowling. I have to be political and care about what is going on in the world. I have to be all of those things.

Because all of those things make up the person I want to be.

If somewhere along the way I happen to be lucky enough to find someone who is willing to accept me with all of my quirks and my dorkiness and my lame jokes and my obscure passions, and also finds me sexy and beautiful and smart, then that will make me a pretty lucky lady.

It doesn’t mean that I will not ever have periods of self-doubt. Bouncing back from a bad relationship isn’t easy and it takes time.

But I have to stop wondering what he sees in me, why he likes to spend time with me, what the attraction is. Instead of questioning it, I need to just accept it.

It doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter what.

All that matters is: He does.

That’s good enough for me.

Do you want some cheese with that whine?

If you’ve read any of my posts prior to this new me blog, then you know that this is not where I expected to be. I never expected to be a divorcee. I never thought that I would be restarting my life at age 40. This is not what I planned.

But I’ve learned something in the past couple of years:

Life doesn’t give a shit what you planned. At all.

I think John Lennon said it best:

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

Smart and talented.  Only the good die young, right?

Smart and talented. Only the good die young, right?

I had a plan. I knew that I was going to be married to the same man (not happily, but still), and we were going to see it through to his retirement. We were going to buy a house and settle into a neighborhood and make friends and be happy. Life was going to take us to where we were planning on going. I was going to teach and he was going to do something with his degree (that was vague because he didn’t even know what he wanted to do) and we were going to see our kids off to college and live there the rest of our lives.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, life got in the way.

Life is rarely, if ever, smooth or nice or predictable. Things happen. People happen. People change and make your life different because of it.

helping get up with textIt does no good to whine about it, or throw a pity party or to be unwilling to make the best of the hand you were dealt.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. He is a perfect example of being somewhere he never expected to be, ever. A good man, he is, one of the best. He made a mistake and now he’s sitting in jail because of it. He made a mistake and he’s paying the piper for what he did.

Some time before he got into trouble, his marriage fell apart. He likes to take most of the blame, but I told him that it takes two to work at a marriage and neither of them were willing to work hard enough. As his marriage was falling apart, he was sent to Afghanistan for a tour of duty there. While he was there, he met a woman.

Love at first sight is wonderful!

Love at first sight is wonderful!

I asked him if it was love at first sight. He said, completely without irony, that it was. He stated that they tried to ignore it, that he was going to try to fix what was going wrong at home. But then his ex-wife left, taking the kids and most of their possessions, and there was nothing left to save.

He decided to give it a go with this “once-in-a-lifetime” woman that he had chanced to meet while at war.

Fast forward and he’s in jail and she’s retired from the military. She moved to a town to be closer to where he is incarcerated and has been having a hard time of it for the past year or so. Things haven’t worked out the way that she expected and it’s harder on her to have him where he can’t physically support her while she’s out there.

He told me that he spoke to her the other day and she said, “If things don’t change soon, we’re going to be homeless!”

Now, this upset me on a couple of levels. First, your love is in jail. This is a shitty place to be. He doesn’t need thelove behind bars extra stress that your whining creates. Also, delivering that last line with a good dose of, “It’s your fault that I’m here!” really sucks. I mean, seriously? Secondly, I asked if she was working. He stated, “No, she’s not. She expected to be with me at my next duty station and be a stay-at-home-mom.”

Um, WHAT?

Seriously? I didn’t expect to be a 40-year-old divorcee living in a damn trailer in the northeast with frozen pipes and no money in my bank account.

But what you expect and what you get are very often two different things.

I’m not ragging on stay-at-home mom’s at all. Don’t get me wrong. But what the hell is wrong with this woman that she has decided that she would rather lament what should have been rather than rolling with the punches and standing up on her own two feet? This woman retired as a senior enlisted from the military. She’s obviously a capable person, who commanded troops. Get off your damn ass and get a job!

And, honestly, making the man that you proclaim to love feel even more guilty about where he is is not fair to him in the least. Stop whining and be a capable woman and take care of yourself.

I just don’t understand that at all. I mean, my situation right now is pretty crappy. Hell, it’s been a pretty cruddy couple of years.

But I don’t have the luxury to sit around and lament my situation. I have to get up and change it. I have to keep soldiering on. If for no other reason than my kids.

pooSometimes, life is big, steaming pile of poo poo. You can either sit there in the fumes and complain about the smell or you can move upwind.

The choice is always up to you. Always.

Sometimes, moving upwind is a lot harder than sitting there in the stench. But if life were easy, it wouldn’t really be

I'll take that mulligan now, thanks!

I’ll take that mulligan now, thanks!

life, would it? It would be some kind of game where you could call “Mulligan!” whenever you screwed up.

But life isn’t a golf game. You can’t sit there and play, “What if?” with you life. Correction: you could. But what would it gain you? How is that moving your life forward?

How is that making you a better, stronger person than the one you are today?

You have a choice. You can sit there in the stench or you can pick yourself up and chose to move forward. Away from that which is toxic, away from things and people that do nothing to help you become a better person.

Remember, the choice is always yours.

Personally, I don’t know of anyone’s poo that actually smells like roses.

Would you like to join me in moving upwind?

Little Victories

I’m very excited this week as my friend from Tennessee, her mother and her daughter have come for a visit. They are my first, official, overnight visitors to my new house. And with the kids out of town for the summer, I actually have somewhere for them to sleep.

As a bonus, it got me to really clean my house and finally get all of the clutter out of the boys’ room so that they could move in there.

See? Company can be a terrific influence!

On the downside, she’s here visiting because her divorce is happening this week. It’s time for the pre-trial hearing and the actual court date this week.

Actually, now that I think about it, it’s not a downside. She, like myself, is much happier without her soon-to-be-ex-husband. She’s finally happy and free of the oppressive weight of his personality (mercurial would be an understatement) and the abuse that he subjected her, and their daughter, to.

Yes, it’s as bad as you imagine with that last sentence.

Her being here, and the rapidly approaching one year anniversary of my divorce, got me to thinking about this last year. It’s been a wild ride, that’s for sure. Money issues when I first left him that I’m still recovering from (but it’s getting much, much better), two moves (the last one into a house that will be mine, all mine, next year), laid off from two jobs, landing a terrific intern position (that allows me to work from home) that will hopefully become a full time position (that will allow me to work from home) – these are all the big things that happened. These are the ups and downs of life that anyone at all will experience.

But then there were the small victories that would have never happened had I still been with him. I renewed a friendship from high school. This would seem innocuous enough, except that said friendship is with a guy and would never have been allowed to happen if I were still married to the douchebag. And my life would have been vastly poorer had I not been allowed to have Jazzman back in my life (yes, he chose the name. It fits – he played sax in the band in high school). What is amazing is that Jazzman lives in Pennsylvania and I in New Jersey and we graduated high school from a little town in California. The school was so small, we finally topped out at 450 students my senior year (he was a two years ahead of me in school). 22 years and 3,000 miles later, I get to be friends with a man that lived across the street from me when I was growing up. I cherish the friendship and I won’t ever let him out of my life again.

Another small victory? My house isn’t always spotless and I don’t freak out at 4:30 every day because it’s not. The douche would ride me, hard, about the house (I’m not the world’s best housekeeper, to say the least) and 4:30 every day I would panic and tense up because he would always have something bad to say about it. Just as an aside, he never helped to clean up the house, nor keep it picked up. He just expected me to do it. It took me until I got my first job on March 9 of last year to stop tensing up at 4:30 about it. I finally came to the realization that this is MY house and if you don’t like how I keep it, then keep out. It’s really just that simple.

After some small missteps, I finally figured out how to budget. Now, this may seem like a no-brainer for a lot of you folks, but I never handled the finances when we were married. So every financial step in the right direction is a victory for me. I feel so adult when I pay my bills or handle a time sensitive issue (like renewing my car registration ). I’m finally getting a handle on all of those things that I allowed him to take responsibility for in the marriage and I’m doing just fine.

And that’s the bottom line, right? I’m doing just fine. No, better than fine. I’m doing fantastic. I have a built a life for myself after marriage and it’s a good life. A life that I am very content with. Not that I don’t have dreams and goals (I start my Master’s program in September) and plans (there are extensive renovation ideas in my head for my house) for my life.

But, I wake up every morning happy. Every morning.

And that’s the best bit of revenge and/or karma, ever.

How did a booty call turn so bad?

I don’t have a dating life.  I don’t date. 

I have sex.

I have sex with people I find attractive or funny or smart.  I don’t sleep around, per se, but I’m also not monogamous.

Because I’m single and I enjoy having fun.  I mean, I spent 16 years eating really bad vanilla….time to taste what other great flavors are out there!

So, there’s this one guy that I have a standing sex date with at least once a week.  I wish it were more, but our schedules are such that we can only usually manage once a week.  I look forward to it every week.  I never, ever miss a sex appointment with this guy.  EVER.  Why? Because he’s funny and smart and AMAZING in bed.  Very, very amazing in bed.

I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy being with this man in bed.

He lives a half hour away, but I gladly make the drive to his house at least once a week (at his invitation…a lady never goes where she isn’t invited) so that we can have racous, yelling, screaming, moaning, orgasmic sex.

And because I won’t have him in my house with the kids there because that’s a complication I don’t want or need.  Just cause mama wants to have fun, doesn’t mean she has to tell her kids about it.

I also don’t have him over when my kids are there because I am, quite simply, ahem….vocal during sex.

Very vocal.

Anyhoo…..

To get to this gentlemen’s house, I have to drive 30 minutes along some very back roads in New Jersey.  I’m talking “don’t stop for hitchikers cause they’re almost certainly axe murderers” back roads.  The kind that the movie producers look for when creating Scream XX or whatever number they’re up to now.

The road I take follows the perimeter line of a military installation through an area that the locals call the Pine Barrens.  I follow the permiter line for a goodly amount of time on my left when I’m heading out to his house, and on my right when I’m coming home.  I also find that I ride nearer to the center line when I’m driving to his house, because I think it will buy me a little bit more reaction time if a deer comes bounding out of the woods to my right when I’m headed out to him. 

Last night, I was driving out for my weekly sex appointment (it’s like an apple a day….good for the body and soul) and I noticed that a car pulled out behind me from my left.  Now, I figured that this was a cop and it wasn’t a big deal because I don’t speed on this road at night.  I have horrid night vision and my depth perception is almost nil at night, so I only do the speed limit.  My car is in good repair, with all tail lights and everything working so I wasn’t worried about the cop behind me.

However, I was smoking a cigarette in my car (no, haven’t quit yet….yes, I know) and I thought to myself, “Do I really want to toss the lit butt out the window with a cop behind me in the Pine Barrens?”

See, a couple of years ago there was a huge fire up in the Pine Barrens that had been caused by a cigarette being thrown out the window of a car.  I figured I’d play it safe and I would put the butt out in a water bottle.  So, I reached behind my seat and grabbed a half empty water bottle to put the butt in.  When I looked up from completing my task, I noticed that I had gone just a smidge over the center line and I pulled myself back into my lane with little fuss.

About two miles later, I make my left turn to head over to Amazing Guy’s place.  That’s when the cop flips on the lights.  Well, sheeeeeeeit….

He walks up to the window, just polite as can be, “Ma’am, license and registration, please.”

I say, “Sure, Officer,” and start digging in my large purse for my wallet.

He says, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

I say, “Was it because I went over the center line a little bit?  I was putting my cigarette butt in the water bottle here because I didn’t want to start a wildfire.”

He says, “I appreciate that,” and then goes on to explain that he thought I was a drunk driver and had turned on his camera a ways back so that he could tape me driving. 

The whole time he is talking, I’m digging in my purse for my wallet.

No wallet.

No license, no identification, no nothing.

Well, damn. I look at the officer with a shocked look on my face and tell him that I left it at home, about 4 towns over.  I then hand him my registration and write my address (which is not the same address on my driver’s license….hadn’t changed it yet) on the back of the registration so that he can look me up.

He takes my stuff back to his car and comes back in about 5 minutes.  During those 5 minutes, I contact Amazing Guy and tell him I’m gonna be a few minutes late.  No worries, I’ll maybe get a ticket for not having my driver’s license on me.  Money I can’t really afford, but I’ll take it cause I should have it on me.

Oh, no.  That’s not what happened at all.

My registration had expired in July and I had never gotten the notice because I hadn’t changed the damn address on my license!  The officer tells me that he can impound my car (OH SHIT!) for this, but he’s feeling a bit benevolent and allows me to park it in the Wawa parking lot about 50 yards from where he pulled me over.  He then goes on to list the tickets he could give me:

1) Driving an unregistered car (impound offense)

2) Driving without my license (points offense)

3) Failure to maintain lane (points offense)

4) Failure to change address on driver’s license (points offense)

There were two more he could have given me tickets for, but he only gave me the one for having an unregistered car.  Thank goodness!  I absolutely shook his hand when he handed me the ticket cause he was nice enough to save me a butt load of money and hassle.

I contacted Amazing Guy and had him come pick me up and take me back to his place for some “stress relief.”  Then, he had to give me a ride to my friend’s house because she (amazing woman that she is) agreed to loan me her car today……

All in all, that was about a $250 booty call.

And I don’t get my car back until Friday cause it’s two days before payday and I can’t afford to get my car back on the road until then.

At least the sex was awesome! 🙂

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

 

An ending and a beginning

Well, my muse went on a vacation and came back all tan and relaxed (bitch!), but she’s back now and so am I.

Wish I could have gone with her. Instead, I was stuck in Jersey.

 

I hope that all of you have had a great couple of weeks while I’ve been absent.  I actually had a lot of things to accomplish before the 11th, including many handmade gifts for my friend’s baby shower.

I firmly believe that every single baby should have something handmade when it comes into the world.  Let’s just say that her baby is covered on that account!

It was a little over a year ago when I started this blog.  The anniversary came and went at the beginning of August.  I’ve enjoyed writing here and I hated that my muse left for her own fun during that time.

Since I’ve been gone, things have moved forward, as they are wont to do in the real world.  Time doesn’t stop moving forward.  The sun doesn’t stop rising in the east and setting in the west.  Even when we think it should.

The boys came back to me on Sunday.  I missed them terribly and I’m glad to have them home.  They’ve grown so much just in the 7 weeks that they have been gone from me.  They were ready to come home and I was ready to have them home.  Now that they are home, the silence is gone from my house, I don’t have access (too often) to the television and the living room looks like a bomb exploded in it.  But that’s alright.  That’s my normal.

Monday, 13 August, I had to attend 3.5 hours of economic mediation with him.  We discussed many things, many numbers and many issues.  We managed to settle a bunch of them by ourselves (with the mediator) till the lawyers walked in and mucked it all up.  At the end of the 3.5 hours, we were all ushered outside and his lawyer went on his merry way (he had an appointment I guess) with the agreement that we would all meet at the courthouse on Tuesday morning at 0830.

He contacted me Monday evening and we discussed some more stuff.  We came to an amicable agreement and transmitted such to the lawyers the next morning.  By 0930 we were in a courtroom getting the settlement read into record.

By 1200, I was divorced. 

The official seal on my official divorce decree

 

Yup, that’s right.  The asshole is now just the “ex.” 

It was funny, as we were sitting there listening to his lawyer read the agreement into record, how the weight of the world seemed to lift off of my shoulders.  I realized I didn’t hate him (that might have had something to do with the wonderful settlement I got in the divorce).  I truly didn’t hate him.

I pitied him.

Not because of the mountain of debt that he has (at least $25,000 – none of which I’m responsible for), or the fact that he has to pay me for the next 11 years.  Not because of the horrible credit situation that he had gotten himself in.

I pitied him because he didn’t look happy.  He didn’t act happy.  He didn’t seem happy.  Not with getting the divorce – we were both thrilled to have that over.  He just didn’t look like he was enjoying life at all.

And that’s sad.

I was thrilled to have it over.  I’m done with the stomach clenching feeling that I have whenever I have to go to court or deal with him.  The settlement is done, I’ll get my maiden name back and I can start living my life as a single woman.

That’s thrilling for me.

I understand that it’s the thing to have a “divorce party” these days.  Well, I partied last night.  A private, intimate, sexy party 🙂

It was terrific!

In 14-28 days, I’ll have the addendum to the divorce decree that spells out the settlement.  At that time, I’ll set about getting my maiden name back.

I know that my new life started the day that he asked for a divorce. 

But now I feel like I can move forward into my new life free and unfettered.  I dumped the trash in my life and I feel like I can fly.

I know there will be hardships.  It won’t always be smooth sailing.

But I’ll be the captain of my ship.

And that’s more important than calm seas any day.

Well, what in the hell do you want, then?

I have the opportunity this weekend to spend 3 days and 2 nights with a charming gentleman.  I will be taking advantage of the opportunity, but not without some trepidation. 

You see, this gentleman (and he is, in every sense, a gentleman) and I met over 13 years ago.  We stayed in periodic contact over the years as just friends.  By periodic, I mean once a year.  This guy never failed to remember when my birthday is.  He would always send a message on my birthday.

He’s quite charming and laid back.  Very smart and funny.  Just a couple of years older than I am.  He’s smart and has a great job.  He’s ambitious and he’s definitely doing alright for himself in the money arena.

I know you’re asking yourself, “So, what’s not to like?”

Nothing.  There’s nothing about him not to like.  I like him just fine.

I’m afraid that he wants more.  I’m afraid that now that I’m single, he’s going to want a lot more from me.  I mean, that’s a reasonable idea, right?  He’s stayed in touch with me for over a decade and now that I’m single, he’s made trips up here (he lives in FL) just to see me.

So the idea that he wants a more serious relationship is not unfounded.

Problem is, I don’t want a relationship with him.

I mean, honestly, he’s perfect in every way.  So, why doesn’t he flip my switch?

Here I am, presented with a man that’s pretty durn good in the sack and is very mature and everything that would honestly go on my list of must haves, and I don’t see him as anything more than a friend with bennies.

It begs the question, what the hell do I want?

Yesterday, the 10th, marked one year since the asshole asked me for a divorce.  When I thought about it, this gentleman I’m seeing is the exact opposite of my husband, which is a good thing.

But why isn’t he enough?  What do I want?

I want someone who dominates my thoughts.  I want a man that I want to touch whenever I’m within a foot of him.  I want a man who makes my heart skip a beat when I think of him.  I want my breath to catch when I wake up next to him in the morning.  I want my toes to curl when he touches me.  I want to feel like I’ve come home when I step into his arms.  I want a man who understands that I don’t need to be rescued.  I want a man that sees me as an equal partner.  I want a man who cherishes me. I want a man who respects me.  I want a man that understands that I may not be “up” all the time.  I want a man who is just as comfortable cuddling with me as he is with making love with me.  I want a man who is secure in his manhood.  I want a man that thinks my opinions are important.  I want a man who loves every single inch of me, even if those inches get pretty big.  I want someone to compliment me, not complete me.  I want a man who revels in my triumphs and sympathizes with my failures. I want a man who is comfortable with me being me.  I want a man who wants me to support him and will support me in everything.  I want a man that feels the exact same way about me that I feel about him.

Yes, I want it all.

Maybe that’s too much to ask.  But I will NEVER settle again.

Like a very wise friend said, “Settling is settling, even if the guy is amazing.”

I don’t want to settle.  More, I refuse to settle.  I settled for 16 years. 

Never again.