Casual Normalcy


I’m wasting my time.

Not quite in the way you may think, but I am letting the limited time I am being given slip away. For things that are completely out of my control.

And I can’t do that anymore.

I just need to be present and let things go back to normal, while still making all the necessary changes and healing that have to happen. So I don’t hurt people anymore.

We do normal together really well.

So I’m going to be grateful and appreciative of the time our family has together.

Things are just going to be. Fighting what is going on is just creating a lot of anger and pain, and creating bigger divides.

Can’t do it anymore. I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted. We’ve got to stop. We are wasting time arguing when we could just be happy and content by doing what we normally do, and keeping a friendship between us.

It’s separated. Being your friend is what is most important to me because you are not wanting anything more. So it’s separated.

Things just need to be casual between us.



Warning – don’t read this post.

My therapist tells me that I’m grieving the losses that are occurring in my life. My marriage. The one I love. My time with my children. My future vacations. My plans for my kids futures. My safety. My comfort. My best friend. My person.

And she’s right. I am. And that’s all pain that I am feeling. And that’s pain the I feel that I deserve. And it’s pain that I believe a lot of people feel I deserve.

But she told me that it’s okay for me to be angry. And I reminded her that I know that. The things that have happened before and after this separation are pretty shitty. I should be pissed about the decisions you made. I should be mad for the choices you made. That you weighed all the options and decided that I am no longer worth the life we built.


I’m not. I say I wasn’t, but let’s be real – no matter what I do, no matter the changes I make, no matter how much right I do to wrong the pasts, my worth has plummeted.

I can’t fix the past. I can’t fix any of this. I can’t even say the right fucking words to tell you how I’m feeling without saying the wrong god damn thing.

And you’re so angry at me. And you have every right to be. You needed this version of me. And I had the ability to give it to you. But I was so caught up in my own fucking bullshit excuses that I let the most important thing in my life slip through my fingers.

You’re right. You didn’t stop loving me all at once. It was a gradual process.

And I try to keep conversations calm and not escalate them because I am so fearful of losing the person I care for the most. I lost you as my wife, but I can’t lose you as a friend. And when I anger you it hurts me more to know that even when I’m doing so much better, it is still causing you pain. So I cower and back off and try to bring them back to a calm space. And you feel like I’m not allowing you to feel your emotions.

You have every right to be angry at me. For the life I didn’t give you. For the love I didn’t show you. For not seeing you when you wanted to be seen the most. and for me to do these things now after it’s all been pulled from me.

But I can’t be angry at you for the things you have done.

I am hurt. But I am not angry. I seem frustrated sometimes when I close my eyes and take a deep breath, but it’s so I don’t start crying from the emotions I am feeling.

I am angry. Not at you, but I am so pissed off that it’s one of the reasons I have trouble sleeping at night.

I’m sorry for telling you that you aren’t as mad at me as I am at myself. Because you’ve had a lot more time to be angry. You’ve had a lot more time to be hurt. You have had a lot more time to be neglected. You have had a lot more time to slowly, and painfully, lose your feelings for me.

I am angry at myself for destroying this family. There is no blame to be assigning in this situation we are in, because we are both at fault. We both made choices that brought us to this point.

I am angry because for 16 fucking years I could have been this person that was the love of your life and gave you absolutely everything you needed and more. I am angry because I could have been the person that made you never want to even think about talking to other people. I am angry that it came to numbing you to the point that you had no choice but to walk away and to stop even wanting to try. I am angry that I am hurting you for being better. I am angry that I can’t seem to shut the fuck up even though I so desperately want to. I am angry that I pushed you to a point that you have to keep hurting me because I’m asking you questions that I don’t want the answer to, thinking that things weren’t as bad as they are being made out to be.

But they were. And they are.

I am angry. Not at you. But at me, and the things that brought us to this point.

I hurt you. Deeply. And I didn’t give you an opportunity to heal from that. And then when you gave me another chance before, I put in slightly more effort and coasted thinking if I didn’t do as bad as I did before, then everything would be okay.

But I continued to hurt you. I know not every day was a bad day, and things didn’t really get bad until the last year or so when I let work overwhelm my life and let my mental health take control.

And I’m angry that I let you be my comfort when I was stressed and blaming depression, and making you feel like you weren’t enough for me to stick around for.

And I’m angry that I let you think my vulnerability in talking about my suicidal thoughts in the past meant that I was still in that place. And I know why you did. The self-deprecating jokes aren’t funny. You cared deeply, and it was as if I was smacking you in the face for all the support you were giving me.

I’m angry that I did not make you feel that you were worth it.

You are the first person in my life that provided me with a true sense of safety. And I took advantage of it and became attached to it. I used it as a shield.

You shouldn’t have been protecting me. I didn’t need to protect you.

I’m angry that I wasn’t by your fucking side our entire marriage.

I’m angry that all the good I am doing is hurting you more because it came too late.

I’m angry for too late.

I’m angry that I made you feel less than me, when you were the only one holding this damn family together.

I’m angry that I didn’t treat you like the amazing woman you are more than I did.

I’m angry that I hurt you so deeply that the kindness and love from my heart now feels superficial and fake.

I’m angry that thinking of being away from me is what brings you peace.

I’m angry that you feel I think this is easy on you.

I know this is hard on you. It’s not a decision that you made lightly. And I understand why you are not in a place to even want to think about entertaining the idea of making this work.

I’m angry that I don’t make you happy.

I’m angry that I hurt so fucking bad and can’t do anything about it.

I’m angry that I can’t do things right.

I’m angry that planning trips together is something that stresses you out or you don’t even want to do.

I’m angry that you feel like I waited to do this, and that I intentionally chose to hurt you.

I’m angry that I feel gifts from me don’t mean as much.

I’m angry that you think I don’t see that you are trying to make this friendship work.

I’m angry that you think I don’t see you trying to make this living situation work.

I’m angry that I don’t feel like I am being given time to process and grieve, because I’m hearing so many things right now that make me sad that I don’t know how to address them all.

I’m angry that you get exhausted when I ask if I can ask a question.

I’m angry that you don’t have anything left in you to fight anymore.

I’m angry that you don’t see me as worth it.

I’m angry that I made you feel so long the things I am feeling now.

I’m angry that you don’t see that you are worth it. That the changes I am making are genuine and not out of desperation.

I’m angry that I can’t hold your fucking hand or touch your knee when we are in the car.

I’m angry that this whole thing is a giant clusterfuck of complication and confusion.

I know this whole situation would have been easier if I would have just accepted what you told me and walked away without a fight.

I’m angry that you don’t see that by me fighting, and making the changes that not one person asked me to make to fix things, means that I have so much love for you. But I got lost along the way.

I’m angry that the past has so much more weight than the future.

I’m angry that we can’t heal together.

I’m angry that you are choosing not to heal together.

I’m angry that I lost the importance of our relationship.

I’m angry that even the current version of who I am now is not someone worth trying with.

I am angry. I’m not angry at you, but I am angry at some of the things we feel and say about and to one another.

But I am working on my anger. Every god damn day. I am letting my anger direct me in my life where I need to be. I’m doing the therapy, because I don’t have anyone else, but most importantly because I need to be better.

Fuck that bullshit of too late. The bullshit of not healing together. The bullshit of no longer trying.

It’s a lot of hard work, that you did by yourself for most of our marriage. You’re fucking exhausted. You’re drained. You have been depleted of feeling worthy of fighting for. You didn’t feel seen. You didn’t feel heard.

I’m here to work now. And be pissed off at me for taking so long to get here. I understand. I deserve it. I fucked up. Severely. Astronomically. But I’m fucking here. And I am doing what you need me to do. I am doing what I need to do.

And if you find something that is better for you, and something that is going to give you a better life, and something that is going to give our children a better life, and something that makes you happier, and something that is worth fighting for, then go for it. You do what you think you have to do. These are your choices, not mine. I’ve made my decisions and I am now working my ass off on what I need to do.

I am hurt that I can’t talk to you without preconceived notions that the conversation is going to take a turn. I’m hurt that you don’t have a desire to talk to me throughout the day. I’m hurt that you don’t see that I am doing what I’m doing out of love. I’m hurt that you get annoyed by my attempts to make you feel good about yourself. I’m hurt that you don’t believe me. I’m hurt that you aren’t always honest with me.

There’s a whole lot of hurt and anger going through this house right now.

But I am trying. I am trying to be respectful. I am trying to honor every single one of your boundaries. I am trying to shut the fuck up. I am trying to make things normal. I am trying to be your friend.

To be your friend. If that’s all I am allowed to be from now on, then I can’t lose that, too,

Im sorry for everything. I’ve only scratched the surface of what you’ve gone through and my heart is absolutely broken for knowing that pain.

I hope I never bring you pain again.

I hope you know just how much I truly care about all of this.

I hope you know how worth it you actually are.

This Is Me


Before we start, let me make something very clear. This is not a post about me saying “accept me as I am or don’t accept me at all.”

This is me putting down in writing the person I am changing into. This is me documenting the man I want to be in the future.

This is me acknowledging my past so I can remove it from my present and future.

I am finally here. I am finally the father my kids have always wanted me to be. I am finally the husband that you needed me to be.

Actually, no. Let me correct that. I am finally becoming the father and husband that everyone has needed.

I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

I’ve still got therapy to get through. To make sure that I get to the root of as much as I can so I can free myself from those chains.

I’ve still got to prove to you that this is who I am now.

This is not a game to me.

I’m not putting in all of this work to go back to how things were before.

The shoe is not going to drop.

This isn’t some elaborate scheme.

I would never be able to face any of you if I started to slip back into being that person again.

These changes bring so much love and joy to my life. How could I stop being this person that others want to have around?

We talk like we have never talked before. Why would I want to stop doing that?

The time our family spends together is quality time. I can’t let that go.

The trust that I have built with the kids is so incredible. Yes, sometimes they tell us WAY too much, but that’s okay. It shows a great deal of trust and safety.

Not reacting emotionally really has made me a more pleasant person to be around.

Accepting things for what they are, and not criticizing others because it’s different than I may have choose makes life so much easier.

What part of my old me would I want back?

The depressed, introverted, critical person I was? The person who didn’t show all the love that he carried in his heart? Someone who made life about themselves and dismissed the beauty of those who surrounded him?

Fuck that.

I know what the red flags are.

I’m not going to be someone who treats our children poorly, or doesn’t accept them and meet them where they are at.

I’m not going to be someone who doesn’t constantly remind his wife just how beautiful she is.

I’m not going to be someone whose words can’t be trusted.

I’m not going to be someone that people don’t feel emotionally or mentally safe around.

I’m not going to be someone who takes his amazing life for granted.

This is me, now. I’m working every day to be a better version of myself so one day I can be the best version of me.

Giving love brings me so much joy, happiness, and love.

And that includes giving love to myself.

You never asked me to make any changes when you asked for a separation. Not one. You said you were done and then you walked away.

I made the decision to do this.

I choose every single day to be better so that I can be better for our family.

There was no ultimatum.

This is me.

I’m here.

I will always be here.

And I’m not going anywhere again.



I wasn’t quite sure what accountability actually meant in regard to the current situation that we are in. It took me a bit of time to tear down everything that I was trying to pinpoint to be the main reason you left, thinking that if it were one instance or issue I would be able to fix it. This was my old way of thinking and lasted only about 3 days into this separation before it finally hit me.

I’ve never held myself accountable for my choices and actions. I assumed that the consequences of my decisions on others were their problem to deal with.

That fact that I went through periods of our marriage with this mindset upsets me greatly.

When looking back at our relationship it honestly wasn’t bad but it wasn’t a good marriage, and it wasn’t what you deserved. How did I think that I could be so neglectful of our marriage and you would stick around?

Honestly, I’m lucky to have been given as much time as I did. It was more than I deserved.

But you have talked to me in the past. Granted, neither of us have ever communicated to one another the way that we are now. The conversations we are having are sometimes very heavy and emotionally and mentally draining, but the fact that that barrier is finally gone and we are able to speak open and honestly with one another is so freeing.

I rarely held myself accountable in the past for my personal relationships with others. I would always find excuses or place blame on someone else.

As the oh so brilliant and great Taylor Swift would say… “It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem. It’s me.”

So now I am taking full accountability for my choices and decisions. And this isn’t something I am just doing now and moving forward, no, this is me ripping through all of the things I’ve done in my adult life in the past and putting the blame back where it needs to me.

I can not grow effectively if I do not take responsibility and LEARN from the MANY mistakes of my past.

And that’s what I’m doing.

I am hyper-vigilant about certain topics, situations, and scenarios now. Knowing that I had so many narcissistic traits and tendencies in the past has made me see it in so many instances of not only my life, but of those I see around me, those I see in movies, and those I see on TV.

We grew up in a society that doesn’t demonize narcissism enough for what it is.

I truly believe that if I were more aware of what I was actually doing, if I could have seen past myself and the effect it was having on others, I would have quit that shit a long time ago.

Gaslighting and manipulation as well. What the fuck was I doing all this time? It’s all for control.


If you have “control” in any relationship, I’m here to tell you right now that you are losing. You are headed down a path of pushing away and losing all of the loved ones in your life.

I promised you that I would fight to have you fall in love with me again. But I’m making it very well known that I’m going to do it the right way. I will not manipulate you. I will not gaslight you. I will not make you feel less than me. You deserve the world, and I’m going to fucking give it to you.

I don’t want control in a relationship anymore. And I’m learning that there are little things that I do that still try and control certain situations. But I have to let that go because it’s my own insecurities.

The thing I do want control over, and that I now have and realize just how powerful it is, is the way that I treat and talk to others. The way I react to certain conversations. The way that I show my love and appreciation.

I’m going to hold myself accountable, and accept and appreciate when someone calls me out on my bullshit.

Because that’s what a relationship should be. Two people coming together and pushing them to be the best versions of themselves.

Guess what. You’re pushing me to be the best version of myself that I ever have been. I look back on our marriage and remember a lot of the good times. I was a good father for the better part of our kids lives. I was a good husband, granted not where I needed to be, but I showed more love to you than I did over the last few years.

And those are the things I did before I took full accountability and made the changes that I needed to make.


I am now going to 3 different therapy sessions. Personal, family, and couples. I’m going to address it all. I’m going to tear down the lies, and the excuses, and get called out on all of my bullshit so that I am healed and have a heart that only knows love and how to give and show love to others.

I’m not placing blame anymore. My mental health issues are not excuses for my shitty behavior. I let my mental health issues dictate way too much of my life. But I’m not going to anymore. Instead of just “accepting” that I’m “different” I’m going to get the fucking help I should have gotten long ago and get the root of the issues resolved. Do I even actually have mental health issues? Or was I just finding something to blame for my shitty behavior? It’s an honest question, and one that I’m confident I know the answer to.

I’m asking you, and I’m asking our kids, to call me out on my bullshit when I’m doing or saying something that I shouldn’t. I know for a fact that I am getting better at this every day.

I am respecting your boundaries. I am learning to stop talking when you ask me to. I am learning that it’s okay to have space. Right now, you’re not going anywhere. And neither am I. So while you are still here I’m going to show you this incredible man. And this is not me being full of myself, this is me saying I know what I can give you.

You will not fall in love with the person you did before. You will (hopefully) fall in love with this wonderfully kind man. That is gentle with his words. That shows up as an equal, not above you. That wants to do life together as partners. That listens and stares into your eyes as you speak. That prioritizes your needs and wants. A man that is a role model to his children.

I’m going to be a man that teaches his children what true love is. It’s a lot of work. But it should be, because you are always growing, together and separate.

I’m going to be a man that my son strives to be when he grows up as a husband and a father. That knows unconditional love. That cares so deeply. That cherishes and loves his wife.

I’m taking full accountability. I’m giving this my all. I’m not half-assing anything.




The world grows quiet when you wrap your arms around me.

Suddenly I’m aware of everything, but carefree of everything.

These moments are treasures, and I close my eyes to imagine a world where the embrace does not end.

Your arms around me, mine around you. Gentle pressure followed by a tight embrace.

You press your cheek to my chest and suddenly time slows down.

Can you hear my heart racing? I don’t imagine you wouldn’t be able to as I can feel it in every inch of my body.

Do you hear what I feel? Do you hear the words that are never spoken?



I never knew a safe place until I looked into your eyes.

It’s why when you talk I look so intently in them. I’m not staring, I’m falling deep into the comfort of your amber eyes.

They shine like the fresh rays of sunlight on a brand new day. They pull me in like the gentleness of a fire, providing warmth and comfort.

There is a sparkle that makes me believe that magic is real and fairy tales are truths passed down through generations.

I may not be able to touch you, but I see you. Through your eyes I see the pain, the hurt, and the rejection. But I see the love, and kindness, and forgiveness that prevails.

I know no one else sees you the way that I do, and they never will. I see all of the emotions that you carry, but I also see the memories. And I see the dreams.

You look away and feel uneasy because it’s something I didn’t do often before. But I’ve had to learn to adapt and show up in new ways. I’ve always seen you. But now I am seeing you in a whole new way.

The more I see you, the more beautiful you are.

You have always made me feel safe when I look in your eyes. I am working on providing that same safety when you look into mine.

So for now, I will fall into those amber eyes and be gentle with the truths, pains and happiness that they carry.

A New Day


“The landscape is littered with the broken hearts of the too little too late.”

Every day the sun is going to rise, and every day the sun is going to set. It’s so natural and common that we know the exact moment for each occurrence at any given time, on any day.

We know this will occur regardless of what happened the day before, so we often take advantage of it.

But each new sunrise comes with new opportunities. It comes with options. It comes with hard decisions. It comes with decisions that will impact the rest of your day, maybe the rest of your life.

Some days that choice is simply getting out of bed.

Some days that choice is whether you want to eat breakfast.

But every day is choosing how you want to best spend those few moments of your life that bring you love, joy, and comfort.

Every day is a new beginning. You made it through another hard day. You made it through the crying. You made it through the pain. You made it even through the happiness.

And the choices of your past have no bearing on the decisions for today.

“I was angry yesterday, so should I carry that into this new day and start on that foot?”

“Yesterday was a good day, so should I sit back more today and not put in as much effort?”

Yesterday does not tell you how today will be.

The past is the past for a reason. Does that mean you should forgive and forget? Absolutely not. Being hurt in the past will make you weary of another broken heart.

But you have a choice every single day to say “I know today was hard, but what happened yesterday will help me grow today.”

Every morning I wake up before my alarms go off and I lay in bed or on the couch and think of the choices I want to make for the day.

And every day I choose you. Every day I choose our family. Every day I choose to love with all of my heart.

I’m all in.

With everything that I have.

My decision for today is to do the things that will help you to see me as a new person, and not remind you of our past.

Because I want to be in a relationship with you where the past doesn’t make you scared for the future.

I want you to see me and see the person that I am becoming.

I want you to see a future where you feel safe. To come to me for anything.

I want you to see the life we could have together. Not the you and me from before, but the beautiful life of two people who knew each other at their worst, learned and healed from their past wounds, and grew into loving souls who come together to be the best versions of themselves.

I will never be the best version of myself, because I will always be working to be better for me, and for you.

And because the best version of myself is with me by your side.

It’s the only life I can see in the future. And oh my heart. I see so much love between us. Where you and I show up for each other in all the ways we didn’t before. Where I can read your body language and know the things you need. And you looking at me every chance you can and smiling because you know how incredibly loved I make you feel.

I see a future where we continue our coffee dates every week, regardless of how busy our lives get because it is time that we cherish. Where the baristas know our names, and they know our orders. And they whisper to one another “that’s the kind of love I am looking for.”

I see a future where we meet for lunch during the weeks. I see a future where dates are not scheduled months in advance, but are spontaneous and frequent because we both want to be out and with one another.

I see a future where we attend events and get togethers and we are both social, making new friendships along the way.

I see a future where we both have shared interests, but we also have our own unique interests and hobbies that the other does not enjoy, but we want them to do those things for themselves because we respect one another and trust that both of us can have lives outside of our marriage.

I see a future where we look each other in the eyes and can not look away because of how deeply we have fallen into the other person.

I see a future where I tell you that you look beautiful, and gorgeous, and that you smell amazing, and that I like your hair the way you did it today, and that your makeup looks “chef’s kiss”. And you hear those words and are instantly filled with happiness and joy, and most importantly love.

I see a future where even when things are better we go to marriage counseling throughout the year because we want to make sure our marriage only grows, and that we are always fighting for each other. To learn new ways of communicating and to ensure we are not letting small things become big ones.

I see a future where I kiss you throughout the day. Not just before bed, not just when one of us is leaving. But the little moments throughout the day. When I come up behind you while you are cooking and I hug you tight from behind and whisper I love you, before you turn around and our eyes meet and our lips touch.

I see a future where we know we have comfort in other ways of our life, but we choose to find comfort in one another.

I see a future where we take spontaneous weekend trips. And we talk about grand trips that when given the opportunity we will take without a concern in the world.

I see a future where both of our anxieties are calmed when we are with one another, or when we talk to each other.

I see a future where our pasts no longer dictate our futures.

I see a future where I am your second choice, and you are mine, because we first choose ourselves. And in doing so we also choose one another.

I woke up today earlier than I needed to. I wrote your good morning text way before I sent it because I didn’t want you to be concerned about my sleep. My first choice for the day was to be a better version of myself today than I was yesterday. And what does that mean?

Still thinking of you the first thing in the morning. Still texting you every day.

But my choice today is different than yesterday.

Today, I’m not fighting for you.

Today I decided that fighting for you feels to both of us like I am wanting our past.

No, today I am showing up to work for the future. I am going to do all things with love. And I am going to be better than I was yesterday so that future that I can see so clearly above begins to play in your mind.

Today I am not going to argue the past. Because we can’t keep telling one another that the past doesn’t matter but continue to live there.

Today I am making a choice to use the pain and hurt I have now to water my own garden. I am going to heal so when you need me, even in the smallest moments, I can show up for you with everything that I have.

You can’t see a future with me because I’m still reminding you of the past.

Today I’ve processed that it is too late. But that’s okay, because if I would have shown up earlier I wouldn’t be so aware of the changes that I am needing to make now to give you the best version of me. If I would have shown up before you still would be wary of communicating with me. You still would not feel safe all the time coming to me. If I would have shown up before things wouldn’t all be about me, but a lot of things still would be.

I’m glad that it’s too late for that life. This new version of you where you can tell me things that are on your mind, you can express your wants and needs and desires, is a version of you that I have wanted from you for so long. And it’s a version of you that I find so incredibly attractive.

Today is a new day, and it’s too late for yesterday, but it’s just the beginning of the rest of our lives.

I hope each day when you are making your decisions for the day a little more of the new me begins to make its way into your mind, and into your heart, and that it pushes out the old version that is dead and can never return.

I hope someday you wake up in the morning and make a decision that today is the day that we try this new relationship, with this new version of me, that is going to give you a life better than any the old me could have given you.

Today I choose to be better than yesterday, with you here with me as long as that will last.

It’s a new day. The sun has now come up.

What are you choosing to work for today?

Healthy Relationships


I’ve had to do a lot of introspective work over the last 3.5 weeks since my world flipped upside down.

Actually, that’s a lie. I did not have to. I chose to. I know a lot of people would just throw their hands in the air and walk away. I can’t do that. I won’t do that.

What I mean to say is it’s been 3.5 weeks since I was given the opportunity for a 2nd chance at life.

I’ve been processing as much as I can and evaluating things I’ve done, things I’ve said, the way I speak, my body language, all of it.

And I’m taking accountability for all of the wrong from the past that I have caused or have been a part of. I can’t heal if I pretend like I’m not responsible. I can’t heal if I blame others. I can’t heal if I make excuses.

I can’t fix the past. It’s done and over with. Living with regrets stops me from giving all of myself to being better in the present.

I can, however, learn from the past. And I’ve been thinking a lot about what a healthy relationship looks like, and what I want to work towards in being a better husband, a better father, and a better friend.

I’m learning to process through things quickly now, and not using my emotions as an excuse to avoid uncomfortable situations. So I’m having hard conversations and I am hearing and saying things that need to be heard and said.

My heart is completely broken right now. And rightfully so. I brought this pain upon myself. But this is a pain that I’ve not experienced in a very long time. The good thing about things being broken is they can be rebuilt to be stronger.

I am yearning for comfort. And I am receiving it somewhat through words. It’s all going to be okay. Things weren’t as bad as they seem. Etc. But what is missing is the action behind them. And holy shit does that bring about a pain that I have not experienced before. My heart literally aches and I can feel it throughout my entire body.

And I finally understand my wife. I finally understand the pain that I have put her through for so long. She longed for intimacy and connection with me and I would say beautiful things (sometimes, for awhile). But I would rarely follow through.

So for a long time she stood on the edge of a cliff, ready to jump, ready to fly, with me telling her I would hold her hand and fly with her. But anytime she tried to jump my hand would slip and I wouldn’t be there with her.

Having these intense feelings of wanting to be seen, wanting to be touched, wanting to be listened to and never receiving it is unimaginable pain. And to know that I put her through that for so long just absolutely breaks me down to tears. I’m hurting from 3 weeks, and I put her through this for years? I can’t blame her for leaving.

And my kids just wanted their dad. They would make efforts. They would ask to do things. And I rarely showed up in the way they needed me to. I wasn’t present with them the times we were together. Phone in my hand, or dissociating with something that doesn’t even bring joy to my life.

And I’m never… ever… ever going to make someone feel that pain again!

So what does this have to do with healthy relationships? Well let’s learn from my mistakes. These are things that I am finally doing. These are the things I am working on. These are the things I am building new relationships on.

I don’t think it’s too late for anything.

Healthy Relationships

Safety – This to me, currently, is the most important thing that I am focusing on. The relationships that you have in your life should be safe places for all parties involved. That means you know that you can come to me and tell me absolutely ANYTHING and I will remain calm and talk through it with you. I’ve done a massive overhaul of this in my life, especially for my children. And not only am I saying this, but I’m actually living up to it. My children have come to me with some big revelations over the last few weeks. And every time I meet them exactly where they are at, thank them for trusting me to be able to come to me, and reassure them that everything is good. I don’t love them any less. I don’t think poorly of them. I’m honestly just thrilled to have given them a safe place to be themselves. I also have kids that are running around the house cussing at one another now. Why? Because this is their home and they deserve to be who they truly are. Not who they think dad wants them to be. I will meet them on their level from now on. Always. They should never feel like they need to meet me on mine.

Respect – In order for a relationship to be healthy, both parties involved need to have respect for one another. Neither should feel like they are above or below the other. Relationships are a two way street. What this means is you can not make assumptions about the other person. You have to respect that at any given time you are meeting on the same level. Listen and let the other person know that they are heard. Communicate back to them what you are hearing to ensure you are both on the same page. Support the other person’s interests and values. Be mindful of how you are communicating to one another. Be reliable. Appreciate their differences. Give them space when they ask for it. They need to know that they are seen as an individual and are valued for who they are, not who you want them to be.

Trust – A healthy relationship needs a significant level of trust to work. When someone tells you something, you should believe what it is they are saying. In turn, you need to only be speaking the truth to not break that trust. When confronted, be emotionally available and receptive to the feedback you are receiving. They should be able to come to you and trust that you will not gaslight or manipulate them. You need to not worry about what the other person is doing all the time. If they are going out, trust that they are being responsible and safe and let them be. Trust that they are not lying behind your back and are being truthful with you. If trust is broken, it can be challenging to earn it back. Be true to your word.

Intimacy – This is a feeling of being close emotionally, physically, mentally, and being supported by the other person. Obviously this will vary depending on the relationship, but in a romantic relationship it’s not just about sex. That’s a major one, and one that you need to take seriously. Intimacy comes from hugging, holding hands, looking deep into each other’s eyes, cuddling. That’s physical. Emotional intimacy is when you are able to be vulnerable and share your most personal and deepest thoughts and feelings with another person. Intimacy means having shared experiences. Spending quality time together. Going shopping. Date nights. Weekend vacations. Surprise trips. Pursuing the other person’s interests. Participating in hobbies and activities together. This all creates safety and lets the other person know they are cared for.

Hard Work – Do not ever stop trying. You are in this relationship with another person for a reason. Since both parties are always growing, there should always be work being done within the relationship to respect one another and grow at the same time. Do not ever get comfortable. These people are important to you, so you need to show them every… single… day. On the easy days, and on the hard days, you should always be looking to be a better person for yourself, for your partner, for your family. Get up and do hard things. If you’re working hard, it’s obviously something worth working for. Hard work involves working on yourself, too. Go to therapy. Take care of your health, physically and mentally. Learn what it is your wants and needs are, and communicate them to the other person. Show up, every damn day even when you are drained. Always respect and support the other person, but encourage them and push them to be the best versions of themselves.

Communication – Just talk. And allow yourself to be vulnerable. Speak openly and honestly. Create your safe space. Make your message clear and do not leave the other person confused or not knowing what is going on. Speak truthfully. Be respectful. Pay attention when they are talking. Don’t just hear them, but listen to what it is they are saying. Listen to understand, and not to respond. Validate their thoughts and feelings. Take accountability when you are confronted. Do not make excuses. Do not place blame. Do not exaggerate conversations (never, always, used to, etc.). Express your needs, wants, and feelings. Respond calmly. Do not let your emotions take control of the situation. Understand that when there is a problem it is YOU and THEM against the PROBLEM and not you and them against one another. Do not raise your voice. Do not put the other person’s backs against the wall or in a corner. Do not interrupt when they are talking. Do not hold grudges. Do not walk on eggshells around each other. Do NOT let problems go unaddressed. Do not continuously argue over the same subjects. Do not name call.

Honesty – Don’t lie. Period. Lying breaks all of the items above. It creates an unsafe environment. You lose respect for one another. Trust is broken. Intimacy is hard. Growth comes through hard conversations. You should always be growing, which means you should always be honest about what your needs and wants are.

This is my massive fucking glow-up from who I was before to who I am going to be moving forward. And I’m damn proud of this person.