Posted by: zephaniah317 | July 8, 2010

Update, and stuff I’ve learned lately…

Recently I’ve become addicted to FaceBook. I have accumlated many friends (over 100), gotten in touch with high school friends and acquaintances that I haven’t spoken to in many years, and had fun commenting on folks’ posts, as well as posting some interesting YouTube videos, etc. But none of my deeper thoughts ever really make it on there. I haven’t blogged much at all recently, but I guess in the back of my mind I’ve been reserving this spot for the deeper things that I ponder (although, I’ll admit, I’ve blogged about sports ticket prices, the San Antonio Spurs, and the blog entry that continues to get the most hits is the “camelback cricket” post, one of my first).

So, with that said, here’s what’s been going on with me the past few months…

My relationship with a beautiful young lady just ended this past week. At the beginning of the relationship, last October-ish, I realized very quickly that (a) I liked her, and (b) all sorts of emotional baggage from my divorce was coming to the surface as a result, and I was overwhelmed by these emotions continually. At the advice of a good friend, I got into counseling, which I had avoided, somewhat stubbornly, ever since my divorce began in 2005 (which you can read about in earlier posts…this event in my life spawned all sorts of deep thoughts, and sorta began this blog in the first place).

Within weeks of counseling, I was diagnosed with having OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and a few weeks after that, being Bi-Polar. I was even diagnosed as having low levels of Vitamin D, which causes the depression you’ve probably heard about when people are deprived of sunlight for large periods of time. In Binghamton, NY? Really? Shocking!

Anyway, the Bi-Polar part was called “hypomania”, which means that I’m not up and down emotionally from one moment to the next, as is common with Bi-Polar sufferers, but more of a constant semi-depression punctuated with spikes of “feeling great” or “highs”. The OCD part was associated with obsessive thoughts; in other words, once something intensely emotional (disturbing, good, bad, etc.) gets stuck in my head, it doesn’t leave very quickly or easily. After several weeks of trying different medications, I believe that we’ve found the right mix, at least for right now. I am not (as) overwhelmed by things emotionally as I once was, and I’m still attending counseling and learning the proper “tools” to cope with life and have healthy views of myself and others. I am VERY THANKFUL for these meds, and I can look back on my life and see where they were desperately needed in some very troubling times in my life so that maybe I wouldn’t have been so overwhelmed and could have coped differently.

So, on with the deep thoughts…

1. This was the first relationship I’ve ever been in where I refrained from any serious physical intimacy with the woman. I was a virgin when I got married, but until that point, I had always gotten into “making out” whenever I was on a date (past a certain amount of time together, of course). As friends of mine commented after my divorce, it’s EASY to like someone when you’re making out all the time, and all the ooshy gooshy emotions are rolling along that come with that physical interaction; but at the end of the day, you don’t even know if you like the person or not! And I’m very thankful for their advice and the fact that I refrained from this in this last relationship. It allowed both of us to keep a clear head and work on getting to know each other, so that the physical intimacy could later be a fruit of the relationship, as it’s meant to be. I highly recommend this path for every relationship. I speak from experience that it fosters healthy ones.

2. I still struggle with the times when I make mistakes in the relationship and hurt the other person, but by and large, now that I’m getting the physiological side of things taken care of, I can handle conflict as a part of the relationship. I don’t welcome it, but I don’t freak out about it like I used to. I’m more than willing to work through anything until all means of resolution have been exhausted and it’s decided that this thing just ain’t gonna work.

3. Communication is essential. E-S-S-E-N-T-I-A-L. And I mean VERBAL. There are some things that can be figured out by body language, but sometimes all the person knows is that there’s something troubling the other person. They need DETAILS, and usually, the troubled person NEEDS to talk. You hear comedians joke all the time about their wives and the “I’m fine” or “it’s OK” comments when they ask what’s wrong. These answers are unacceptable. The only two that should be allowed are “I’m bothered/troubled, but I don’t want to talk about it right now”, or “here’s what’s bothering me…”. Period.

4. Conflict is essential in a relationship. And inescapable. And it sucks, but there it is. But, as long as it’s viewed as a PART of the relationship that’s necessary for growth, better communication, and avoidance of misunderstanding in the future, it’s not quite so hard. Of course, I mean that the conflict has to be RESOLVED. You can’t just leave it out there. That won’t work. And hey, like Garth Brooks sang once, “sometimes we fight just so we can make up.” ;o)

5. I’ve also learned how to express feelings, even if I don’t follow this rule all the time. MAKE IT ABOUT YOU, NOT THE OTHER PERSON, when expressing feelings of hurt or disappointment. Give them a chance to explain themselves or the situation. Here’s an example:

“You stressed me out last night when you <insert action here>”.

“When you did <insert action here>, I felt stressed.”

See the difference? See, there’s this thing called “perception”. Mine is different than yours. Sometimes it’s different than a lot of people’s, if you talk to my circle of friends. :o) Anyway, it’s very possible that the first comment isn’t true (and I think, a lot of the time, it isn’t), because the other person didn’t purposefully mean to stress you out. It’s just that whatever they did pushed a button inside of you and you got stressed. And you as a couple need to talk about that and resolve what’s going on. Not so that the “stresser” is walking on eggshells around the “stressee” all the time as a result, but that both can come to some sort of agreement on what happened and what each person is thinking and feeling in those situations, and that it’s not personal. And maybe, in some cases, the deep emotional wounds from past experiences that caused the stress can be healed. Which leads to…

6. No relationship will work without God in the center. Pray with your significant other. Every date, every time you get together. Have devotionals together or even separately; give the devotional book to the other person for a week, then you get it for a week, etc. You can learn a lot about the other person this way in addition to getting to know how they see God, and get to know God better through their eyes, and vice versa.

That’s all for now. But, wait, you ask, what happened in the relationship that just ended? I’m not saying, out of respect for my ex. She’s a wonderful, caring, loving person; it just didn’t work. But I’m glad I learned at least this much stuff as a result.

If some of these things are “duh” statements to you, awesome.  I just put ’em here so maybe I won’t forget ’em. Have a great weekend!

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Responses

  1. Hope you are feeling fine and doing well!


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