I was a virgin when I got married.
This is true.
Full story on that to come.
Our marriage was lovely save the basically “sex-less” part.
That was painful.
Our endless attempts to “fix” this part became hauntingly sad. We separated in 2012 (the year apparently everyone’s proverbial shit hit the cosmic fan).
I packed my belongings and moved to New York City with two boxes and a massive “but I tried so hard” life hangover.
Thus my hero’s journey began.
I arrived in NYC and immediately chose to detox from Ambian, a 7-year sleeping-aid addiction my husband and I formed together. I’d heard he’d kicked the habit when we split. I was so pissed he was able to make healthy choices for himself in a time that felt like such despair for me so naturally my pride commanded I do the same.
I walked the city like a zombie for a month trying to do something, desperate to create a new experience for myself.
My friends, in honest support, would tell me “the best is yet to come”. I felt obliged to agree and repeat this as often as possible. And sure, part of me did believe the best was yet to come. Yet my broken heart and aching body if given the microphone at the time would have said “go F*@k yourself” to my BS negligent attempts to “just move on”.
In times like these, when one’s world is tossed upside down, cliches are helpful.
Placing our OWN hands on our sweet hearts while saying “I feel you. I love you. I know you’re hurting. What do you need?” that’s more than helpful, that’s medicine.
Lessons. All beautiful lessons.
So there I am in NYC, the land where men are plentiful and I began dating.
“Dating” feels a generous term for what this once devoted wife was available for.
I was out to learn, experience, feel, fall, numb, distract, love, break…heal.
I jumped in with both feet, took no prisoners and laughed heartily (thanks to good friends) along the way at my innocent and utterly embarrassing moments with men.
3 years later – 3 unexpected things I’ve discovered about men, sex and relationships…
#1 MEN: Men don’t want to be mothered.
One of the first men I dated was Max. Oh Max, how I adore you, your Jewish fro and your East Coast honesty.
One night, after a few one-on-one dates, Max and I decided to meet up at a local bar. I was with my girls, he was with his guys. Everyone met, drinks were flowing, music was on point. In short, all was well. Yet I, more concerned for men than myself at the time, kept asking Max, “Are you having fun? Are your friends okay?”
After the second or third time of me doing this, Max, in his sexiest masculinity looked me square in the eyes and said; “Mary Catherine, I’m a grown ass man. My friends are grown ass men. If I want to leave, I will. If they want to leave, they will. Anything else, love?”
I still get turned on thinking about that moment.
I was never the same after this night.
I took Max at his word (another thing I’ve learned to do with men) and I began living a new way. I realized this “mothering men” was a pattern for me. Even writing these words next to each other makes my lips do that disgust face thing. Mothering men. No no no. No more of that.
And you may think your man loves it when you make his needs more important than your own, but only his inner boy loves this. The MAN in him is waiting for you to give more of a shit about yourself and your experience than his.
Which brings me to number two…
#2 SEX: Sexy is as sexy says.
There was this one time I was making out with a really hot guy.
Like, wow hot.
And yet no matter which way I sliced it, my body was a clear no to having sex with him.
But I had sex with him anyways.
Never again did I do that.
I learned that nothing is worth betraying my body for and to never ignore her signals just to please another.
Sex is lot of fun.
It’s also a phenomenal place to practice expressing your truth and speaking your boundaries.
Finding and speaking your “no” is just as sexy as finding and speaking your “yes”.
#3 RELATIONSHIPS: Love your heart, love your heart, love your heart.
I’m not trying to be a woo-woo a-hole here by slapping on some spiritual salve as the #3 thing I learned.
Truth is THIS is the one I’m just learning now and will continue as a lifelong practice.
I’ve dated incredible men. And while each connection was glorious and each man a divine teacher whom I will always be grateful, I was only able to receive their love as much as I was willing to give myself my un-devoted attention first.
With reluctance I finally experienced the truth that when we are unwilling to give ourselves the love and approval we so crave first we WILL spend our time seeking it from others.
This leads to yucky codependency and well, it’s yucky and dramatic and you may like that sort of thing but I’m here to attest – the alternative is so much better!
For example, the other day I was with my man.
I’d just experienced a BIG win in my life and wanted to share it with him. As I began sharing, he interrupted my intimate story with a non-relevant question.
I shut down. Unwilling to continue on with my story. There seemed to be NO way to open myself again to speak, regardless of his honest and sweet apologies.
This seems to be a universal experience yes? 😉
In the past, I would have left that encounter annoyed at his inability to listen to me the way I wanted him to listen. And likely concluded he was not good enough for me.
This time was very different.
With my new commitment to giving myself the love I seek first, I said “You know what? I’m really triggered right now and I don’t want to say anything I later regret. I need to be with myself for a moment.”
I went into the other room and rested in child’s pose position as I acknowledged myself for a job well done. I loved myself up by telling myself everything I’d hoped to hear from him. At first it felt cheesy and contrived. Yet, as I stayed there the impact of what I was doing began to take root.
When I returned to my man, as if by a miracle I was able AND willing to finish my story.
This time, there was no attachment to him being a perfect listener – I’d already been that for myself.
Not surprisingly, he listened beautifully. Was it because my reaction scared him into no other choice or because my vibration now invited him to listen with total presence? I can’t be entirely sure, but my bet’s on the latter. 😉
Approving of yourself first is the new black or whatever.
Listen to yourself first. Love yourself first.
Place your hand on your sacred heart and talk to yourself. Do whatever it takes. Be willing to look whack – you are so worth it.
THIS is liberation: The practice of loving your heart first makes approval or disapproval a complete non-issue in your life.
When you’ve loved yourself, the insatiable hunger for approval and the ever-present terror of disapproval casually fade into the distance as you, masks removed, step forward.
Thank you for allowing me in your inbox. Life is for the living so enjoy these concepts then forget them for the sake of your own wild and important experience.
Here’s to you, your life, your love and your light. Shine on.
I love it when you say hi! And if you’re a woman longing for more in your life yet feeling yourself stuck or not fully expressed in any area, as always I would love to hear from you. Leave comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.