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Alone-ness in the Time of Covid (long)

Chili posted 7/23/2020 13:17 PM

So during these strange Covid days, it feels a lot like those months after Dday. Because of circumstances, right now itís back to just me and the New Beginning dog eight years later. And those coping skills and resilience I relied on back then have resurfaced and been quite handy. I suspect all of our futures are a little foggy in one way or another, so thereís that post-Dday feeling of the unknown in the mix as well.

For me, my infidelity journey put a spotlight on a whole lot of shit besides the cheating. I think these past 4 months have also had a way of separating the wheat from the chaff as it were.

Hereís a few ramblings Iíve been ruminating on of late:

1. Iím going to be old and alone. I am not married. I do not have kids. For a while, I actually felt a little sorry for myself and wondered if I would be by myself when I was older. I donít know why I held on to this for so long, but it was a big news flash when I realized a few things. Just because youíre married doesnít mean they might not die first. Just because youíre married doesnít mean they will have the skills or physical ability to be on the same page with you in old age. Just because you have kids doesnít mean youíll have that kind of relationship with them. What if they marry and move around the world? Or any other number of things.

It was such a ďduhĒ moment. I guess I always heard people whisper about ďI hope she finds *somebody.* But I think Iíve done a lot better than that. Iíve nurtured a whole bunch of *somebodies* (including myself) in my life. And some serious lifelong friends. I also think I would love being single in the right *senior living community.* And as I mentioned on another thread Ė itís only half-joking that several of my friends will live together in at least close proximity some day. I think a collective is a wonderful thing which circles me back to the posse thing.

2. Posse in effect and weíre doiní the do (I stole that). Iíve been hearing lovely stories of how everyone is reaching out to their people these days. I know Iíve felt such huge love from all over the place. Even though I havenít had more than a few driveway or deck moments face-to-face, I feel really connected. And make sure I give as much as I get. I have such funny, genuine, creative, and interesting friends (I should have picked men back in the day more like my friends actually). Sadly, one of my friends also died during this time, so finding ways to acknowledge those loses takes a little extra finagling in these days of virtual funerals. Iím also slightly questioning if a relationship or two will become covid-collateral damage now that the spotlight has hit them. Iím trying to reserve making huge decisions about anything right now since weíre all a little twitchier than we might realize.

3. Needs. Mine have changed big time as Iíve aged. They used to be kind of delusional actually. I would dump everything on the man in my life and make him responsible for my happy and self-worth. Now, they are realistic. And pretty basic. And I finally realize they donít all have to be met by one person in my life. Hereís just a few: joy, companionship, shared experiences, affection, physical closeness, curiosity and discovery, celebrating each otherís accomplishments, comfort and support... When I was running this by someone the other day, they said ďYou know, you can get most of those things from your friends, right?Ē So true. (Actually my pup is pretty good at a lot of the above as well). Doesnít mean I donít like having an exclusive somebody to build a life with, but it is freeing to open your world. I donít need someone to do things for me that I can do for myself. Like that happy or self worth thing. Or the paying bills and house maintenance stuff. Iím incredibly lucky to have forged a life that allows me to take care of the basic day to day.

4. Covid-y Needs/Boundaries. Iíve also had to remind myself that I have the right to stand up for what Iím comfortable with/not comfortable with right now. Not everyone is going to agree with my limits but I hope they can respect them (hence the covid collateral strain on a few relationships). My go-to is ďThis is what I think is best for me right now.Ē

5. That outcome thing. Iím not by personality a particularly anxious person, but I fully admit to some days with the little roller coaster gut drops or moments of the pulse racing a bit. This whole operating in the unknown is just uncomfortable. Iím one who loves to have a *something* to look forward to. All of my favorite things have been cancelled. Concerts. Travel. Dining as Entertainment. Thatís minimal compared with othersí struggles. And some of my people are sick. Some are very very sick. We all know how difficult this has been Ė lost jobs, others overworked, mental health struggles, addiction, school futures and all the kid stuff, domestic violence. Itís heavy. So when I get lost in the spiral of unhelpful thinking I try and do a couple of things. First, I use my old standby of ďwhat do I have to work with right now.Ē Hereís what I can do something about. Whether itís calling a friend in a City that is particularly struggling or sending money to a business owner who desperately needs it or doing something where I can have an effect in my little piece of the world. I also rely on ďWell, Iím on the right side of the dirt today so how can I celebrate that just a little.Ē I try and laugh. A lot. After Dday I also learned how to sit quietly whether it was in a piece of garden I just weeded while petting the dog or taking a drive to a new place just to watch the sun set. Little stuff. To make a Godfather reference (because they are clichťd and fun) Ė remember the pear scene? Like that.

I also donít deny that things may completely go to shit at any time. My business could hit a brick wall. My family may get sick. I may get sick. Another friend may die. But I have to trust myself that I will know how to figure it out as it comes.

6. Not letting myself get stuck. Sure weíve all had our life options massively limited. And I have had a few days where I just need to sleepwalk through the hours until itís time to go to bed. I suppose thatís not the worst kind of self-care ever. But Iím trying really hard to keep myself engaged in some new stuff to feed the spirit and give my brain new things to think about besides this shit. Iím reading even more. Virtual touring museums. Journaling. Teaching the dog scent training. And sometimes just making up random shit to do that makes me not feel like a slug.

7. IC. I started a thread about needing a dose and Yep Ė itís a great time for us to do a tune-up or get to know one. Especially if youíre alone, itís so helpful to get out of your own head for an hour here and there. Or have new eyes take a look at a situation. My IC recently gave me a completely different way of seeing something. It never would have occurred to me on my own. By the way, Iíve also heard of a few grants in my area that are waiving co-pays and costs for therapy visits. I think this is brilliant.

So what about my fellow D/S-ers. You been up in the attic dusting off some old friends as well? Would love to hear your stories.

traicionada posted 7/23/2020 21:25 PM

Thanks for sharing, Chili! Funny how the worst thing that happened to me in my 20s is the thing which gave most of the skills to thrive in midst of chaos Take that, pandemic, take that

FaithFool posted 7/23/2020 21:34 PM

I'm working on buying a house with a dear BFF, another childless retiree. We were supposed to start looking next month but with airline travel off the table for now, it'll likely be next summer.

She's like my soul sister, and also an excellent cook, so we plan on growing old and fat together with lots of laughs along the way.

hcsv posted 7/24/2020 18:17 PM

Chili, your post spoke to me!!! Yes!!

Not the least bit interested in a relationship. I fill my time with just enough.

Even though this is not how I thought I would be spending these years, they are great!!

Tallgirl posted 7/25/2020 21:57 PM

Chili this is awesome. Thank you so much.

The pandemic terrified me at the start. I was afraid to face it alone And thought it was time to try again... my stbxh did it again. He rejected me. I was so fearful. So hurt. So alone.

I am working to step forward. Face the pandemic. Protect my kids. Some days I am a raging lunatic, other days I am raging at him, but now every day I am out of infidelity. And I am OK. Yes I am alone but in all honesty I have been alone for years. Being alone in a marriage is the worst kind of alone. While the new world is scary, I will do what I have to do. Thatís it.

Tonight I went for a hike by myself. I did not want company. It was great. I listened to a podcast for half and then just to nature for the other half. I felt enough and satiated.

About needs. I have been so busy looking after every one elseís needs I ignored mine for decades. I am still figuring mine out, and I will defend them vehemently.

I am still learning, I feel like I have not figured life out yet. And maybe that is ok, a little mystery keeps it interesting.

[This message edited by Tallgirl at 9:59 PM, July 25th (Saturday)]

BearlyBreathing posted 8/10/2020 22:58 PM

Iíve been thinking about this ó great post, Chili.

The aloneness has been good for me. Not always fun, but good.
* I have been forced to focus on a few things that I had been sorta dancing aroundó like graduate school, looking for a new career.
* I doubled down on my IC and did some intensive things that are starting to reap benefits- I am seeing the patterns that I have repeated my whole life and can now fix those. He cheated. But I had a nice matching set of luggage full of my own issues. And if there is a gift in infidelity, itís that I am going to face those issues and overcome them. That would not have happened in my Mó I couldnít rock the boat.
* I have really begun listening to my core, my body, somatically, I guess. In the quiet of my home, I stopped ignoring the things that make my gut twist up or tighten my diaphragm. If I feel sad, well, then Iím just going to let the sad sit with me for a bit. If I donít resist it, then it doesnít stay for very long.
* I decided that someday I do want to try a relationship againó and hopefully Iíll be the new me that can enter in to a healthy one.
* But I also realize I am okay alone. And yes, sometimes it is lonely, but I am okay with that, too. Lonely happens. I was lonely in my M for a long time. This loneliness feels better.
* And like FF, I have Golden Girls pact with a couple friends and weíll get a house together when the time comes... until then weíre all doing our own things in three different states.

Notice anything? I am using this time on ME. My garden is not quite what others have accomplished and the new cats have created dust balls the size of golf balls that i really should vacuum, but thatís okay too.

I hope each of you is finding strength in the bleak moments and remember how $#)#$)(#$*)*#) strong we all are for getting through the infidelity and all its ugly aftermath.

[This message edited by BearlyBreathing at 12:21 AM, August 11th, 2020 (Tuesday)]

Chili posted 8/11/2020 12:12 PM

Look at the amazing group of strong folks here. Thanks to everyone for chiming in with their own stories.

Definitely noticing that Golden Girls theme going on. Don't know about y'all, but it took me a long time to realize there are so many non-linear and "non-traditional" paths to joy in one's life.

Oh, and that sometimes there are seasons for things and that works just fine too.

FaithFool posted 8/11/2020 12:49 PM

FYI my friend just added sourdough to her repertoire. When we finally get to Lobster Land I can see where this is going to involve a boatload of garlic butter...

Chili posted 8/11/2020 13:23 PM

Faith: Are you maybe writing some new ditties to serenade her with while she's in the kitchen? Or at least some sea shanties to sing on lobster night...? Singing for your supper and all.

We all have to bring our own unique talents to the party ya know?

crazyblindsided posted 8/11/2020 17:52 PM

Just because you have kids doesnít mean youíll have that kind of relationship with them. What if they marry and move around the world? Or any other number of things.

Isn't this the truth ^^^ I keep reminding myself that I need to make sure I am ok by myself and not depending on anyone including my kids for that. My kids are both teenagers now one is almost ready to fly and they mostly do not need me anymore so it frees me to look after myself some.

I have really been feeling the Alone-ness during COVID. I am trying to feel better but it is still dark and treacherous. I also had a falling out with one of my BFF's from childhood so that hasn't made things much better.

I think I am letting myself get stuck because it feels so daunting.

One good thing are my girlfriends who I see once a week (even during COVID)they are my rocks. I don't know what I would do without them. Also my animals help me feel not so lonely when I get home. I have to keep finding the positives to outweigh the negatives.

Westway posted 8/14/2020 10:08 AM

Chili I too am looking at my future and trying to decide if I want to spend it with another spouse. I have been married for most of my adult life, and being alone is foreign to me. But I am getting used to it. I find that I have a lot less stress on a daily level than I did when I was looking after a wife. So, I think I want to try staying single for at least the next five years.

I'm looking forward to just living for myself, with the occasional hookup here or there, and finding out who I really am. Good luck to you on your journey.

Hawke posted 8/14/2020 21:13 PM

Hi, Chili. I had a short ugly cry of loneliness today. Having kids is no panacea. I miss them when they aren't here, and I feel overwhelmed when I have them. They both have special needs, so I may be supporting them when I'm in my golden years and worrying about who will care for them when I'm gone.

I don't have a lot of good friends. I had friends in my 20's and early 30's, but we drifted apart after I had kids (even if they also had kids). A demanding career and kids (especially atypical kids) take up a lot of time and mental bandwidth, leaving less for other relationships. I dated someone for a few years, but it ended last fall and I'm glad. It was a bit time-sink, and I want to focus on myself and building friendships rather than getting romantically involved again. I'm trying to live in the present moment more, but it's a challenge for me. I've been getting into more outdoor activities: kayaking, hiking, skiing and meeting people through those things. They are largely just acquaintances or casual friends, but it may deepen into something more. Perhaps I will reach "Golden Girl" nirvana.

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