Oh, Dearest Friend,

 

I hit the wall.

 

The half-filled coffee cup felt heavy even though my arms were resting on the kitchen table.  I didn’t feel tired; it was more a hollow, overwhelmed feeling.  B asked me if I was alright, and after a moment of hesitation, I said, “actually, no, I feel like I’ve hit a wall and can’t go on.”  Despite the newness of our relationship B got it right away.  He said, ok, do you need a day or two on your own.  I nodded.  

 

I needed time on my own… a moment to breathe and that moment included taking a break from writing my blog.  

 

I feel like I’m in a movie.  I’m in the starring role as the older woman blogger…happily single for a decade, think an older Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and The City minus the sex.  Think girlfriends, cocktails, spa sessions and a more mature Carrie writing her blog on her laptop while her growing shoe collection awaits her next adventure.  The blog is called Turning 60 and promises to detail her journey from 59 to 60, complete with insights on being an older woman navigating her best life… post-divorce.  Surprise Surprise…out of the blue, Carrie Senior finds herself reconnecting with Aiden (clearly the one she should have stayed with), And wtf  …..is she actually falling back in love with that sweet, sexy carpenter?   

 

B and I dated back when we were 17, and although he isn’t a carpenter, the rest of my description holds.  Here I am, navigating the unexpected and entirely unfamiliar waters of a new relationship at 59 years old.  A decade ago, I left an abusive marriage to a narcissist and began a deep and profound healing journey that has led me to today.

 

My scars run deep, and despite the broken parts, I’ve lived most of this last decade pinching myself, making sure this new and fantastic life unfolding before me…was, in fact, real. I had disentangled myself and my children from a dangerous situation, and life has grown into a beautiful experience.  

 

Since my divorce, I often said that I am not opposed to a life partner (lover, boyfriend…whatever name you want to give it), but I wasn’t actively looking for one. I wasn’t ever going to date or go on a dating site because that all seemed so contrived. I was willing to wait for a friendship to turn into love.   Truthfully I was worried an intimate partner would complicate my new life. Let’s be honest I married the top of the asshole heap when I said yes after years of love-bombing manipulation from a narcissist.  My marriage left me highly suspicious of men and whether I was actually capable of a healthy relationship.  

 

Over the years, I told my therapist that the only kind of man I could be with would be someone who was significantly effed up. I would need a man who had experienced severe struggle, and with ongoing therapy, honesty and humility, had found a path to healing. It turns out I was on to something.  

 

Last year an old friend I’ll call B, reached out which eventually led to phone calls. Our connection was almost immediate. We are both in therapy, overcoming trauma. I was grateful to find someone, especially a man willing to dive into the deep end with conversations about life and relationships.  

 

 I was enjoying our chats, so I made sure I mentioned that I don’t date so he wouldn’t get the wrong impression.   I had found someone who spoke my language and wanted the same things from life as I did. It might have been when he asked me if I had ever heard of Brene Brown that I started to fall in love with him. I mean, come on, ladies, a man who knows Brene Brown’s work is a rare gem, am I right?

 

After a few social distance walks and a whole lot of getting to know each other, I found my friendship turning into a love relationship.  

 

Honesty is the cornerstone of this new relationship, and it’s required a ton of vulnerability and courage for both of us to show up genuine and honest.  We’ve taken a deep dive into those challenging topics most relationships avoid, like money, sex and how our broken parts still trip us up from time to time.

 

Hitting the wall was when I needed to take a step back and breathe as I adjust to my new life in a partnership.  Little did I expect to be writing about a new intimate relationship when I launched this blog.  I love how life keeps taking unexpected turns and showing me new and exciting parts of myself that I didn’t even know existed.

 

B has permitted me to write about our journey, I have chosen to keep his identity private, and hopefully, one day, he will write his own story because it’s pretty damn remarkable.  

 

Let me describe a bit about B.

 

I call him my own Ted Lasso. 

 

B sees past my broken parts to my humanity.  His superpowers lie in his sensitivity and compassion for others.  While he has standards and boundaries, he embraces my full humanity, including the messy parts. He reminds me of Ted Lasso kind, compassionate and funny.

 

Those of you who don’t know the Apple + show Ted Lasso, find it and watch it ASAP.  (Email me when you’ve seen it…I know you will want to share the love for Ted)

The Ted Lasso character is a shining example of humanity.  After each episode, I found myself wanting to be more like Ted. Ted is the quintessential example of kindness, empathy and pure goodness.  No matter what kind of adversity or meanness he encounters, Ted sees humanity in everyone.  He is funny and sweet with clear boundaries and immense courage.  

 

B brings me his version of homemade shortbread (Ted’s daily gift to his boss despite her crankiness) every time he sees me.  I’ll quote Ted here….”I feel like I just fell out of the lucky tree and hit every branch on the way down and landed in a pool of cash and Sour Patch Kids.”  I, on the other hand, have landed in a pool of love and laughter.

 

I honestly wasn’t sure I would ever experience real love with a partner, which is a sad realization. While I love my kids, friends and family and receive enormous love in return…the love of an intimate partner seemed unlikely as I began my Turning 60 blog.

 

My issues of codependency and low self-worth made me choose boyfriends and eventually a husband who was incapable of real love. Unpacking issues through therapy and self-help opened my eyes to unconditional love and a better sense of self-worth.  All the work gave me the clarity to understand what real love was and that perhaps I had discovered it all too late in the game.  I mean, what are the odds of a broken-therapy obsessed almost 60-year-old who refuses to date finding love? 

 

I’ve taken a moment to breathe, and now I’m back to share life with a partner.  

Therapy has taken a new turn with different fears emerging, and to top it off, my therapist is retiring in a few months, so I am about to begin a new journey with a new therapist.  Lots of changes already in 2021, and I, for one and looking forward to the adventure.

 

B and I work through the Gottman relationship books to set a solid foundation and avoid most relationships’ usual pitfalls.  

Any suggestions on relationship books would be appreciated.

I like the Gottman’s; Brene Brown interviewed them on her podcast on Spotify.  Their principles line up with Marshall Rosenburg’s Nonviolent Communication, which I have studied and truly value.    

 

The old expectations and stereotypes are gone. I am keen to write about how B and I address ongoing issues in real-time …and how we are supporting each other in our healing.  

 

Bring on 60; this just may be my most exciting year.

 

I’m happy to be back, and I can’t wait to hear from you.

 

xoShelley

 

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