How to Be an Adult

We are put on earth a little space
That we may learn to bear the beams of love.

–William Blake

I'm reading this book by David Richo, How to Be an Adult, which seems so apropos for me! I didn't think I needed it actually, and for the most part, I do well (according to the book). Oh, but I'm in there. Oh am I in there. It's startling to see myself in there, the things I say and do written in black and white.

You see, I did not have insecurities in my marriage. My X always had adored me and made me feel as if he could have no better than me. He always tried to make me feel loved and special. That's why it was so hard when he left; that's why I held on forever. When that happens, insecurity comes rushing thru. Self-doubt. Self-loathing. Oh I went thru all of that, and I still do at times.

Having recently been in a relationship, I see now how those insecurities played a part. Now, I'm not out doing things I don't want to do because I'm insecure. I'm certainly not a door mat. Not at all. Not one bit — the opposite in fact.

But I can see the child in me, the teenager. I was a glutton for love. He would tap me on the head and I would fall dreamily into his arms. It was great. After 2 or more years of Matt rejecting me, to have someone tell me, almost daily, that I was beautiful was like winning the lottery. I felt instantly rich. I heard your responses from recent posts (which I have removed by the way. It wasn't fair to him to write about him; I've tried never to say anything bad about my X, and I think I need to be respectful of the men I see. They do not need their words published without their consent. Plus there are two sides to every story, and I only shared one. If I can give my X that kind of dignity, then so shall I with everyone in my life.). So far, so good. I've stayed away, as has he for the most part, and I have had little contact. I haven't seen his eyes for almost a month. When I have had contact, it was tentative and unrewarding. I think the friendship perhaps has run its course. Time will tell. But that does not mean it was not without its amazing parts. He was attentive, warm, sweet, kind. He read me poems, he wrote me poems. When he could he would take me out. We went to independent movies, something I've always wished I could do with a date. He was so smart, well-educated. He would listen and remember the things I said. He complimented me often and loved me with all those flaws that I see each time I look in the mirror. He brought me flowers often. Chocolates. He made me dinners. Opened doors. Listened. Apologized. As his feelings began to grow for me, I knew that he would go to the ends of the earth for me. We got really really good at resolving issues between us, something my X and I have never done. My X would say sorry, but we'd never discuss the problems, and so they kept popping up. With this new relationship, we never shouted. Later it got harder to figure things out, but we never fought the way many couples fight. We'd have words. I think what was hard for me was how he dealt with his frustrations. I am the opposite. I wanted to sit and talk it out. He would escape. Right or wrong, that is how it's been left. He flew into the night. I was left without knowing what happened. Funny how history sort of repeats itself. Not completely — not at all actually — like my X. Somehow I'm left not really knowing what I did wrong.

Recently he wrote me thee most romantic letter I've ever received. He is willing to take the small scary steps to be free from what wasn't working so we can move on together.

Yet, I've placed that dance partner on the shelf for now. I need this time alone to figure out how to be a better adult in love. :) I think I'm still in the teenage years.

It's been nice to be free of that for now. I've had the opportunity to focus on Oliver. We had a blast this past weekend up in Door County. We finally picked up my paddle board. :) We went out on a small warm inland lake. We stayed close to the shoreline, but we managed to have a blast. As the summer moves on, so will we in our escapades. I'm very excited. Paddle boarding is a blast and not as difficult as I thought it would be. And my son was a hoot helping me paddle. Next on the list would be a kayak, but maybe we will have to save that for next summer. Warm weather here lasts only 3 tiny months. (Tell me again why I live int the Midwest?)

I'm doing OK. I hurt sometimes. I have felt lonely again recently. I have felt envious of my X and his blossoming relationship. I have butterflies in my stomach some days. I have a hard time falling asleep. I struggle with anger too. And doubt. Doubt in my faith. But mostly I'm OK and I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Maybe that's what adulthood is about. Getting up when you don't feel like it. Working when you don't want to. Getting things done. Putting a smile on your face even tho your heart is breaking.

I miss him sometimes. But I just have to get better and being a grown up in love. Me a grown up in love? Not so much.



  1. Sounds good Andrea. Do you have pictures of your paddle board? We just recently tried it out and we love it! Your guy sounds like a knight in shining armor, not at all like what you had described earlier. It's best to take a break and get some perspective. Relationships are not easy. I'm married and it's work. I love the work and want to do it, but it's frustrating when I feel like I am not heard. We fight like regular couples do. Yell, scream. We some how work it out. He loves me, I love him. We have two beautiful children (grown now) and we seem to know now what gets in our way. You're still just seeing what's out there after having been in a marriage. I'm sad the marriage didn't work out for you, but it's exciting to read your honesty as you journey forth. As for your X, becareful. Not everything is what it seems on the outside. He's probably happy, but you just never know what kinds of disagreements they have or different goals they each have. No one, not anyone has a perfect relationship. Right other readers?


    1. R,

      I'll post pix of it some day. It's a blast!

      The guy I was seeing was really incredible. Then there is the side that hurts; I'm not too grown up myself either. Regardless, I'm just taking things day by day and trying to do what's in front of me.

      I'm just glad y'all aren't sick of hearing me have a rough go of it! :) :)


  2. I agree with R. This guy does not sound like the same one you described before - maybe two sides to him which is quite scary actually. Keep running, Andrea, away from him. You will find your strength and balance - you're working on that already. You need stability in your life for you and Oliver - this man just doesn't sound stable. May God continue to give you strength. You'll do just fine without him in your life.

    1. I'm taking it day by day. There's no where to run. He wont call or talk to me anyway. What's hard is that if he's not good for me, then why does he run from me? :) I just don't get this relationship stuff.

      Thanks for your support. I'm trying. Really! I am! :) :)

  3. It's danged hard being an adult. Mostly I don't want to be. I think the first time I realized that I had to swallow hard and be the adult was when my aunt asked me to take over her finances, a few years ago, and get her moved to a retirement home. This was at the same time as my Dad entered the end stage of Parkinson's Disease.

    I know you are talking about an entirely different situation, but your second-to-last paragraph just about explains how I felt about my own situation. Anger, doubt (but with faith still mixed in, by the grace of God), knowing that I was really okay, putting one foot in front of the other, learning how to smile in the midst of it all.

    Finding moments to smile is what gets me through.

    Door County - just the name of it sounds so hopeful. It sounds like that is a place where you can find moments to smile.

    1. C,

      You're right. They've said that Door County is the Cape Cod of the Midwest. It's pretty. The sunsets spectacular. My son loves it. He even loves it when we do nothing. I think he likes that our cottage is so small. When we are up there, we are in the same room together (there's really only one!). I think he loves having me in such close physical proximity.

      Is your Dad still around? Mine has early stages of dementia, which I think is getting worse. He still wont talk to me. :((

      I think the fact that I can function despite the way my insides hurt is a miracle, plain and simple. I don't know how I do it some days. I cry when no one's looking. Today, in the woman's bathroom stall, after dropping my son off at 12:45 camp. Leaving him still hurts. I wont see him much... it's hard to let him go to his dads. ANd I really truly miss my BF. I do. :(( I do.

    2. We all want to be loved, feel a part of, be important to someone... Look for that in other areas of your life for now... It (a boyfriend) will happen in God's time, when you are not looking for it. Make yourself busy with things and people you love -- the rest will fall into place. Remember, what we feed, grows... ((( hug )))

    3. Yes, all that sounds familiar. After my marriage ended, I got busy. I'm still up to my ears with things to do. Oh boy tho, it's easier to say that then to do it! :)

  4. I think your boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend) sounds like a good guy but that he doesn't know how to deal with strong emotions. Give it a break (as you're doing), take some time, learn more about yourself. I read that every relationship requires conflict before true commitment can happen. Each struggle helps you let go of expectations, if resolved. Conflict clears away expectations so that two people can see one another clearly. I don't think conflicts are necessarily bad, especially if they help one another to grow. Not sure if this helps or hurts. Just thought I'd share.

    1. Thanks for your comment. :) I'm not sure what I want right now so I'm taking some time to just sit with it and not try to figure it out.

  5. For the longest time, I thought that true love will never come again for a single mom like me. And then, it happened. I met someone, and he and I are in love now.

    We don't know what the future holds. Yes, people tell us, the right man will come at the right time, then again, maybe he never will. We just have to be comfortable in our skin- whether we're with a man or not.


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