Sparks on the First Date?

Gallery

From the Christian Connection dating blog. Some really good points here.

Do I need to feel a spark on the first date?

Written by Katherine Baldwin

Modern dating happens so fast. We rule people out online before we’ve even met them or we check to see if anyone new has liked our profile on the way home from a date. At this hectic pace, how do we decide whether to see someone again after a first encounter or move on to the next?

Often, we’re looking for that all-important chemistry. But do we really need to feel a spark on the first date?

The simple answer would be ‘Yes,’ but I’ve never been a fan of simple answers and life isn’t straightforward or black and white.

A while back, I asked my fiancé if he’d felt a spark between us when we first met. To clarify, we weren’t on a date. We met in the kitchen of a cottage in Cornwall on a cycling weekend with mutual friends. He walked in wearing lycra and a helmet while I was putting lasagne in the oven.

He gave me an honest answer: ‘No, not really,’ which of course I didn’t like to hear. I then asked myself the same question and came up with a similar (if more wordy) response.

I know I felt something. He had a kind face and a calm, peaceful presence, which I was drawn to. But I also came up with a long list of reasons why he wasn’t for me – reasons which would have scuppered our chances of a relationship if we’d met on a date rather than as friends.

Fortunately, I had an entire weekend to get to know him and to grow to like him. No pressure. No rush.

So based on our experience, and on the stories of many couples I’ve met who didn’t fall in love at first sight but who are together nonetheless, I’d suggest we don’t need to feel a spark on a first encounter and that curiosity could be enough of a basis for a second or third date.

Do you feel curious? Do you want to know more? Also, ask yourself these questions: how do I feel in his or her presence? Do I feel content and relaxed? Can I be myself with this person?

If you are someone who craves that spark, it’s a good idea to be aware that fireworks can sometimes be a red flag rather than a green light.

We’ve all seen Hollywood movies featuring passionate clinches and lightning bolts. Some of us have come away with the conclusion that real connection has to look like that. But these instant attractions can be unhealthy.

When sparks fly between two people, it may be the case that they both have deep, unmet needs for love, affection or touch or that they have unhealed wounds and they’re craving comfort and support. They’re drawn to each other like magnets and they stick together like glue – for a while. And then the relationship unravels because they can’t meet each other’s deep needs or heal each other’s hurt.

I know this from experience. I’ve had a number of fiery relationships that, for a brief period, have transported me to another place. Sparks have flown. ‘This is like Hollywood – he has to be The One,’ I’ve thought. But these relationships that began with fireworks always went up in smoke. The attraction was unhealthy. I was either drawn to commitment-phobes, enticed by the thought I could make them commit, or I fell hard for people who had their own unmet needs and unhealed wounds, as I did.

After a number of crash and burn experiences, I understood that I had to learn to meet my own needs and heal my wounds as best as I could first. I had to learn to practise self-love and self-care. I had to re-parent myself and learn to soothe myself. I had to find healthy ways to experience hugs and human touch. And I had to resolve some of my childhood issues so that I didn’t crave male affection and affirmation quite so much – so that I could regain the power of choice when in the presence of an attractive man.

As I got healthier, I became wary of the chemical pull or the flashes of lightning. I set boundaries for dating so that I could keep myself emotionally safe while I found out more about the person I was with. I asked friends for support so that I wouldn’t repeat the same patterns over and over again.

We all have our own journeys. We all make our own mistakes. But can I suggest that you be wary of instant fireworks? Can I suggest that you tend to your own unmet needs and heal any lingering hurt as best you can, so that you’re not craving love and comfort? (Dating with a craving is like shopping for food when starving – we lose our discernment.)

And can I suggest that you go on a second or third date with people whom you’re curious about, even if there aren’t any immediate sparks?

You never know what will come of it.

When You Have Too Much Time!

Gallery

I can’t believe that my life used to be too busy, even with my chronic illness.  When I lived in the university town, where I was for 17 years at least, and married with an extensive if somewhat troubled extended family, plus lots of neighbours, I was often existing on adrenalin. Life was full.

Now, I have lots more time.  I spend a good proportion of my day working on my health, usually through meditation and trying to eat well.  I have got to know people in the coastal town where I now live but not really well and it’s not the same sort of area.  It’s not middle class and I live on a main road.

Of course, I didn’t think that this would be a problem when I viewed the flat because I was still relatively active.  However my health crashed after I moved here and I am building myself back up and it is taking months and years.  My muscles are what are mostly affected now.  This means that I have to spend a lot of time at home.

Many of my good friends are just extraordinarily busy.  In fact, in my opinion, they are too busy.  I know that some of them are using busyness as a distraction from issues and emotions that are too painful to face.  However I still envy them.

My other friends are similarly ill.  We have the urge to meet but not always the means.

Even my mum is having a better social life than I am in her new sheltered accommodation!

Because of my health relapse I have not been networking as much and this means that some of my clients have faded away somewhat.  I am currently waiting for some editing work to complete.  I have been waiting for days and just trying to fill in the time until it arrives.  This is very frustrating!

Anyway, I have just booked an EFT session with a local practitioner.  I won’t be seeing her for a month or thereabouts but I feel that tapping, literally, into the things, the emotions, that are trapped in my body may bring some relief.

 

 

LDN – Not for ME or me.

Gallery

Thought I would write about the drug  I have been taking . I will try and keep it short. It is called ldn. Low dose naltrexone. You take it in very low doses and it blocks your opioid receptors for a few hours. I am on a tiny dose. This encourages your body to create its own endorphins.
It is definitely having an effect on me some good and some bad. However the side effects are too severe.
At first I felt almost normal when I was out. I felt stronger. I had less muscle pain after activity. I felt less depressed. It is a tough drug in the first few weeks. I’ve had bad insomnia. Last week I had a high libido which was very inconvenient.

I do know that there are some people with my illness who have benefited. But I don’t think I’m going to be one of them. It feels like it raises cortisol levels too highly.

Also people who take the drug are like evangelists about it – for its almost as if you can’t say anything bad about it as you are seeing as letting the side down.

I would like to see more research before it is hailed as a panacea.

 

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGING

Gallery

pexels-photo-574311.jpegThought it was time for an update.

I am now going to a Church of England church, the main church for the town where I now live by the sea.  It’s a beautiful place in beautiful surroundings.  I like the vicar and I have been made to feel welcome.  This church is very, very different from the Free Methodist church that I attended for five years.  I still feel attached to the Free Methodist church and I still feel that I am part of it even though I attend very rarely.

At my new church they have this thing called Third Sunday Worship which is an alternative style of service.  It only lasts an hour and it forms a discussion based around a DVD.  We have been watching a lot of Rob Bell, who I really like.  We also do different types of prayers and sometimes we have a bit of a sing.  This all takes place in this beautiful Victorian church.

I have occasionally been to evensong, which I find very formal, but I do like the music.  The choir master there is someone I have known since 1998.  We both suffer the same illness and this is a bond.

I also attended the church’s Lent course.  I only made three out of five of the sessions but I really loved it.  This took place in the rectory which is the most beautiful building.

On top of this, I have been attending meditation at the Buddhist centre in a nearby city.  I’m doing this for my health, not because I am a Buddhist.  With my health being as it is I’m very lucky that I get a lift there from a friend who is a director at the Buddhist centre.  If they did meditation at a Christian church as I would attend that – but they don’t.  I find meditation amazing and I am practising a home or at least twice a day.

The journey continues.

WHEN PEOPLE JUST WANT TO BE TEXT FRIENDS

Gallery

When people just want to be text friends

What is it with friends who give great text/messaging but who never make the effort to see you in real life? I am not talking about my fellow ill people here, who are really good at keeping in touch as and when they are able, nor those with major life challenges – or even introverts, by the way. I mean the ‘average’ person who leads a seemingly normal life.

I’ve been trying to work out their purposes. Perhaps they just want to keep you as an option, or maybe you are a habit, someone to pass the time of day with.  Instead of nipping out for a for cigarette break they decide text you .

Maybe I should be pleased that they think about me at all!  But sometimes their behaviour makes me think that there are mind games going on. Some kind of passive aggressive behaviour, manipulation that they are not even aware of.

For example, you receive what seems to be a warm text message inquiry after your health or wellbeing. You reply and then receive nothing back. I don’t expect an essay but a simple, “Thanks For the update”, or “That’s good to hear”, or “That’s a shame”, would is welcome and then you know that the conversation is over.

I think people hide behind technology. I am probably guilty of this sometimes myself.

However I have decided there is only one answer to these frustrating texters: To go NC.  In other words, no contact.

Resting B**** Face in the Church of the Poison Mind

Gallery

download-1-480x279

said I find it hard to move on yet I have decided today to purge some of my ‘friends’ on Facebook and to simply not engage with horror people IRL. 

This has come  from the realisation that I am surrounded at times by women who can best be described as having ‘resting b**** face’  syndrome. (RBF). No matter how hard I try to be friendly I get nowhere.  And they call themselves Christians!

I don’t really know why they don’t like me but there it is!  They make me feel like the white, blonde/ginger bitchy girls at school did or used to. Yeah, you know the ones… The shiny people! 

Actually some of the men are as bad.  There’s a couple I can think of right now – arrogance personified!

I really don’t need this stuff in my life.  Be gone!

When Pastors Reach The Divided Path

Gallery

1-divided-path-tracie-kiernan.jpgWe said goodbye to the best pastor today as he and his wife are moving onto pastures new. I’ve been really upset about this for a few months – Both of these people have had a very significant impact on my life and I think of him as a nephew that I never had – but I’ve come to terms with it now as it is right for them.  He will be a real loss to us, as will she, but I also know that we reach ‘the divided path’ many times on our journey through life.  

Pastor B and his wife  need to be in the new place and I also am taking steps towards a different kind of life. Whether I will stay with this church or not I do not know. I am not somebody who moves on easily. However I know that eventually I will want somewhere which is nearer to New Home as the journey to and fro is quite time consuming and tiring and also I am not a member of the community where my present church is.  I will stay with them for the time being until I feel more secure and settled in my new life.

Close to You – Why Divorce is One Flesh ‘Rent Asunder’

Gallery

IMG_1226 1.JPGIt’s no secret that it has taken me longer to get over my marriage breakdown than it has for some other people.

This time, the season, is the first time in 30 years that I have not seen Ex regularly. We co-parented our dog for six or seven years after The Separation and she died at Christmas 2016.  Although we have been in touch a little bit by text and email we have not seen each other.  I think this is a good thing.  They say that no contact (NC) is the way forward.

I was talking to my mother about this the other day. I said, “Ex is the person that I have been closest to in the whole of my life.”  Now this may have been a little hurtful for my mother to hear but it is true.

We are meant to separate from our parents.  When we marry we expect to travel through the decades with our spouse.  Also, there is the sexual connection which binds us to our spouse; something that, hopefully, we do not share with our parents.

It seems strange but it was only this realisation that my ex is the person that I have been closest to in my whole life that made me realise why it has taken me such a long time to get over him and the marriage.  I don’t think I necessarily miss him as much as being married,  though I am not entirely sure that I would choose to remarry.  The thought of never being in love or being loved again in return, however, during my remaining life is pretty grim!

 

The tyranny of the ‘Fat’ Brigade

Gallery

vintage-1107700_960_720One of the most distressing symptoms of my prolonged health relapse is that I am very underweight. I’m 5ft 1″ and under 7 stone. I eat like a starving donkey, take supplements, including whey protein powder, I am having tests on my repeated GP visits.  I hate being this thin.  It makes me feel unfeminine, weak and insubstantial.

Yet people feel free to tell me,  most  emphatically, that I am too thin… in a concerned voice.  It seems never ending.  I find it patronising and hurtful. It is socially acceptable to tell me I am too thin  but how would they feel if I said: “Hi! Still fat, then?” or “Crikey, you’ve put weight on. Bit of a porker!”

Constantly telling someone they are too thin seems to imply that you’re starving yourself, (you’re anorexic) or just plain difficult!

I think some people genuinely are concerned but it does make me wonder if some are they’re doing it to make themselves feel better about themselves and THEIR bodies. To be fair, no-one at church has said this; it’s my secular friends! Go figure! 

I’m going to have to think of a good riposte next time somebody pipes up!

 

Valentine’s Day Prayer

Gallery

“We pray today for those in love, those off love, those in between. And for those who are lonelier today than other days.
We pray today for those whose frozen hearts cannot love & those who feel so unlovely that they can’t love themselves.
We pray for the elderly man gazing today at a black and white photograph in a silver frame of a wedding in another time.
We pray for the the mum, who quietly bought herself flowers yesterday. And the boy who dared to send a card but didn’t get one back.
King of love come comfort and forgive us this cheap, gaudy, desperate, isolating thing we have made of you. Amen.”
Pete Greig – Valentine’s Prayer

One of our pastors shared this on Facebook. It’s awesome.

Still Part of the Fellowship

Gallery

abstract-fine-color-waves-910x300A church friend contacted me yesterday and I wanted to share how encouraging she was.
I was explaining how sad I was that I haven’t been able to get to church as much, although I have made it to life group a few times and the Christmas concert.

She said: “But you’re still part of the fellowship. Every single person who can’t get to church for one reason or another is still part of the fellowship.”

This is such a powerful thing for me to hear and I realised that the fellowship IS all still going on: texts, letters, visits, support, prayer, music, podcasts and reading.

There are lots of people who can’t always get to the services, through ill health or distance.

I just wanted to say it’s true: “We are all still part of the fellowship.”

A Lover’s Story: Crookes Valley Park, Sheffield, 1988.

Gallery

crookes-valley-park-sheffield-by-paolo-margari.jpg

“Will you stay in our lover’s story?” Kooks, David Bowie.

Back in 1988 I saw our time in Sheffield as a sad and lonely period yet in retrospect I see it differently. We were young, not yet fully formed, and very much in love.

My job was hard, physically and mentally, and I felt pulled in many directions. At work, I was the ‘newbie’, before that word was invented, who had to make her mark, a graduate among school leavers, viewed with a little suspicion. I wasn’t part of any clique and was frequently homesick for my birth town and my parents. Gray was out-of-work and lonely too. As I had dragged him to this landlocked city I felt I had to make everything alright for him. Exhausted after my day at the office I felt obliged to go out at night, to pubs or to the cinema, when really I would have preferred to stay in and just talk or be.

Sundays became special though.

Mostly we walked in Weston Park, sometimes visiting the art gallery there, and often in Crookes Valley Park, which was often swathed in mist.  He would wear his Joe Orton-style leather jacket and I would be in my blue coat with its real fur collar, which I’d picked up in Oxfam in Broomhill. It looked like something straight out of a Tissot painting. I kept that coat for years.

Crookes Valley Park comprised sloping greens and a flat lake and was peaceful in a melancholic sort of way. Gray was often sad and we were frequently tired. What we talked about I can’t recall but conversation always flowed between us as the leaves came tumbling down around us. There was this utter sense of togetherness, of being with the right one. If I’d have known my Bible back then I would have identified with the verse from Song of Solomon:

“I have found the one whom my soul loves.”

Sometimes we would walk down to Hunter’s Bar and end up in Pizza Hut. Having been on the dole for a few months before I got this job this seemed to us quite decadent! I relished seeing the anticipation in his eyes and we’d laugh as the soft, doughy pizza would melt in our fingers – and then in our mouths. I loved to see him happy like that.

Sundays were doubly precious because I never looked forward to rejoining the world of office politics in a department that was sinking fast in an era of privatisation. Many people in the office were having affairs with each other as if it was the last few  days of pre-war Berlin. This was the very antithesis of my world of “pure love”, monogamous, hopeful and magical.

These memories can pierce my heart, as if they were happening right now. I wonder at this, bemused, that he, in his new life with new wife, doesn’t feel it too, at the very same moment as I do.

The subconscious mind, I read, doesn’t understand past and present, but sees everything as if it IS occurring right now. And it is happening.  I’m walking in Crookes Park, Sheffield, with the man I love.

I am loved, valued, wanted.

The Jubilation-Despair Clash

Gallery

morecambe-bay

Things have been very up or down here.  I’ve just had a very busy week,  busy for me that is.  

JUBILATION   I went to a prayer meeting at the tiny church on my new street. This church is linked to my usual church – they belong to the same family. I’m hoping to get involved in their home group whilst I am recuperating from my long health relapse.

I’ve had beloved visitors to the flat which has made it feel much more homely. I also met a woman and her partner at a social event. She  invited me to her new home which is a palatial edifice overlooking the sea. The views are spectacular.  They moved up from London six months ago. Gentrification is definitely taking place here.

I also went to a craft/technical workshop yesterday which I absolutely loved.

DESPAIR  But there are downsides too. I went to my GP and asked to go back on antidepressants as being housebound much of the time has been really getting to me.  I am feeling a little brighter for that.  I am also going to be tested for Addison’s Disease.  I don’t think I have it but it is a good place to start,  to find out why I have had muscle wasting and weight loss over the last 3 years.  Personally I think it is to do with hormones,  lack thereof,  after my hysterectomy.  Low testosterone can be a real problem.

I am really struggling with my trusted mechanic, who is looking out for an automatic car for me. It’s taking ages and I feel that there is a breakdown in communication. I feel like a ‘problem’ to him, which is how my ex used to make me feel, whereas we have always got on brilliantly. 

My relationship with my  best friend, G, is also proving to be quite difficult. We have had some talks recently about how I feel the friendship is being eroded by his extraordinarily busy, stressful life. Much of his life is negative. I really do fear for his health – and he does too! He got defensive when I brought up this ‘fading of our friendship’.  He basically told me to ‘get over it’ and ‘get on with it’.  I  believe  he has lost perspective and sees me as attacking him rather than trying to sort the problem out.  We have been friends for 31 years.  I don’t think he has any conception at all of what it is like to be very often housebound and vulnerable because of that. Disappointing.

Therefore, I have jubilant times and times of despair.  I have a large desire to tell a few people to sling their hooks.  But I know that that will be self-defeating in the long run. I must master my emotions! 

Home Alone

Gallery

When People Stop Visiting…When I moved into my home people wanted to visit.  I think they were fascinated by the novelty factor.  I really appreciated seeing them, especially as my relapse began and continued.

But after a while people stop coming.  They aren’t mean it’s just that other priorities take over and they assume  you’re ok now. Meanwhile you’re sitting here in the same position!

My mum says this is something that has emerged in her bereavement group:  that people are all over you like a rash in the beginning but then they just stop visiting.

I’m not meaning to moan – I have been shown kindness by a lot of people.  I’m sure I’ve done the same to others.  “Let he who is without sin…” etc. 

I’ve connected with a local Life Group (very local) but can’t get to it for a couple of weeks due to previous commitments. I’m hoping that will help ‘cos despite knowing a fair few people here I can’t expect them to be on call. lancaster-from-snatchems

When You Are Not Needed

Gallery

Sometimes having only yourself to think about is more a of a curse than a blessing. Even offered to take my 83 neighbour to the nursing home where here hubby is today but she was already sorted!

Offered to help young friends out with childcare on their moving day, but they don’t need me. I’ve joined a voluntary group – but nothing’s happening yet, I’ve work promised – but for the future, have a business idea – but it is still in development. Even Life Group was cancelled tonight.

At least I got out of town today for a while! Hallelujah!