I feel a new type of insecurity in my relationship that I have never experienced before. It is not due to jealousy, rather it is because of fear. I never worried about getting my heart broken before. I knew it was a possibility, but I did not think about it much. In my last relationship, I sort of felt like I always had the upper hand because he dealt with a lot of issues, including alcoholism. That sounds REALLY terrible now that I wrote it down, but it is true, and I promised myself I would always tell the truth on my blog- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Both M. and I dealt with mental illness, but mine was much more controlled. I had my shit together and he didn’t and that gave me a false sense of security in our relationship. I knew that he loved me, but I also knew that he depended on me, too.

I recently was with two friends of mine who are a married couple. She had a lovely, happy childhood and he did not. His parents were both abusive and were very hard on him. My friends also are friendly with my current boyfriend and I was trying to explain to them how I feel about my relationship with him. I said something, more directed to my male friend, like, “he (my boyfriend) is just SO normal. He had a normal childhood and a normal life and even his divorce was really amicable and normal. I don’t mean he has never had problems or faced challenges, but his family and his life are just really functional. He must listen to the stories of my family and my previous relationships and my problems with anxiety and secretly think ‘man, she is really fucked up.’ and it makes me wonder why he wants to be with me.” My girlfriend immediately jumped in to reassure me that my boyfriend loves me and what happened to me in my childhood was not my fault. But my male friend…he got it. He said he feels the same way sometimes, which made me feel better. And listen, I know that the word “normal” is incredibly difficult to define and super subjective. In my mind, normal equates to a lack of trauma and dysfunction. Being normal might seem like an insult to some people who interpret it to be synonymous with boring and ordinary. But to me, normal has a positive connotation and means safe and secure and healthy and functional.

A good example of this just happened recently. I had to get a CT scan of my sinuses. When my ENT called to give me the results he mentioned that I have a deviated septum. When I told my boyfriend this, he asked me if I had ever had a nose injury. I know he was thinking about whether I got smacked with a basketball in high school gym class. I thought about it for a minute and was like, “no, I don’t think so….oh wait! When I was 18 my dad got arrested because he head-butted me in the face and I thought he broke my nose.” I said it so casually because honestly I don’t really think about that event much and it was over 20 years ago, but my boyfriend looked taken aback. It was sort of a funny conversation, but also incredibly sad. It almost made me feel lonely and for a second, I missed my ex-boyfriend, M., because I knew he could relate and understand to having a screwed up family and childhood.

My friend and my boyfriend- they are “normals”. I, for sure, am not. I try to have the appearance of having it all together and I am very successful in a lot of different ways, but deep down I feel broken and dysfunctional and different and less than. I know a lot of this is my own self-perception and I am working on that. My boyfriend is the most amazing man I have ever known and I pinch myself every single day that we are together. I feel so lucky to have him in my life, but the problem is that I don’t always think he is lucky to have me in his (I am certain he would beg to differ). And that is what creates insecurity for me…because if I don’t think I am good enough for him, when is he going to realize that?

Check-in time


I stayed in a hotel by myself last night.  I felt like such a big girl 😉  This doesn’t feel like a monumental accomplishment, however my anxiety has been pretty bad lately.  In fact, staying at the hotel was a way to ease my travel anxiety.  I attended a two day training about an hour and a half away from my house and I knew there would be traffic on the drive home. I decided to stay overnight in the area to help alleviate the concern of getting stuck in traffic.  I actually was not nervous about staying alone overnight, but I wanted to take a drive to a neighboring, popular town I have never visited.  By the end of the first day of training, which included leaving my house at 6 am, navigating to the location I was unfamiliar with, sitting through the lecture-style format training which was SO boring, finding the hotel and checking in, I was emotionally exhausted.  I admit I took Xanax throughout the day, which I normally try to avoid, but it did help a little.  I was disappointed but decided to nix the drive to the other town and went to a restaurant as close to the hotel as possible.  It is funny- I do not really have as much anxiety about doing things alone. My friend who also suffers from anxiety said she would never be able to stay alone in a hotel overnight and my boyfriend feels really uncomfortable eating in a restaurant by himself.  Those things don’t bother me that much.  After I ate, it was still pretty early and it was post-rush hour traffic and I spontaneously decided to take the drive to the town I wanted to visit and I did! I felt those tingles of anxiety as I drove, but I really tried to fight through it and I did!

It is so easy to look back on this little two day excursion and focus on the negatives and failures.  I felt anxious pretty much the whole time I was in the car.  As soon as I arrived at the training, I wanted to turn around and immediately go home.  I felt disappointed with myself for deciding not to visit the other town. When I did go to the other town, it was raining a bit and so I never parked and explored.  I took more Xanax than I normally would.  “I want to go home” flitted through my brain about 200 times throughout the first day of training.  It is hard not to focus so much on the weaknesses I have and the things I feel like I can’t do.

But I am going to try to focus on the things I did do- the successes.  They may seem minor to other people.  I am sure most people would not congratulate themselves for driving an extra 20 minutes out of their way or staying at a hotel by themselves.  I am not patting myself on the back, but I do feel like I am often way too hard on myself and I need to be a better friend to myself instead of falling into the habit of being my own worst enemy.  I didn’t fly across the country, but I did break out of my comfort zone, so I am going to chalk that up as a win.



Things have been a little crazy lately.  My boyfriend and I definitely hit a rough patch and the holidays are always a little stressful.  On top of that, I am traveling to D.C. next week, which is triggering A LOT of travel anxiety.  It is so easy to get disheartened by the negative things, but I am really making an effort to look at the positive things in life.  My friend is having a baby girl, my dad is still doing pretty well, I have really nice students this year, things with my boyfriend are looking up.  I do have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Over this past weekend, I met a girl at a party.  We had talked very briefly once before, we are about the same age and I knew she was a teacher, so I figured we had some things in common.  We ended up talking in the corner for over an hour and I confided things in her that I normally would never tell a stranger- she also is divorced, so she understood things that many other people do not in my life.  She was so sweet and easy to talk to and we had a very similar history as far as the timeline of our marriages and divorces go.  This girl is now engaged (her fiancé is actually my boyfriend’s best friend’s good friend, which is how I happened to meet her).  It really surprised me how open I was with her.  I guess at this point I don’t have anything to hide and I am not ashamed by anything that I have experienced.  It was just really nice to talk to someone with a different perspective, who could still really relate to my life.  The only thing that made me kind of upset was how excited she is to get married again and how happy she kept saying she is.  I don’t know if I really feel that way…I mean, I don’t know if I would ever want to get married again and the fact that she is so eager to marry her fiancé made me question whether I would want to get married if I was with “the right person”.  I’m not saying my boyfriend isn’t that person- he is so supportive of me, but we definitely have problems and her relationship just seems…easy.  Now I have definitely learned not to take other people’s lives and relationships at face value, but she genuinely seemed so happy and in love and kept saying what a nice guy her fiancé is.  I feel like I was so traumatized by my divorce that I don’t know if I would ever risk having to go through that again.  But one thing we both said is that we both saw red flags going into our first marriages (and ignored them, obviously).  She clearly sees no red flags now with her new husband, but I feel like I see some in my relationship now that would make me a little hesitant to make that commitment again.  Meeting her just made me think about how much my life has changed in the past ten years and how I really don’t know what is going to happen and maybe I just have to be okay with that right now.  I mean, I never, ever thought my father would go this long without drinking, so it just goes to show you that life has a way of throwing curveballs.

So, I am going focus on being thankful this Thanksgiving.  Instead of being too scared to travel, I am going to try to remember how lucky I am to be able to go to D.C. with my boyfriend (who I know will help me get through my anxiety to get there) and his family, who has embraced me in so many ways.

Wondering…do some people just deserve more?

I’m at a cross-roads in my current relationship and it has me thinking about all of my prior relationships in general. I have written previously about my (bad) habit of comparing myself to other people and I do this a lot when it comes to couples. I have two really good girlfriends who are very happily married- both for the second time. Both of them have husbands who treat them wonderfully. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t have a guy that looks at me and treats me the way their husbands do. I do know that no relationship is what it necessarily appears to be from an outsider’s perspective and that every couple has their issues and problems.

I was talking to an older, male, happily married coworker who I have become close with. He is father-figurely…and he knows my two girlfriends mentioned above well, too. I said something to him today that kind of took me by surprise. I said something along the lines of “maybe I don’t deserve what they have.” I didn’t say it with intent or in a “poor me” kind of way…I literally said it without thinking, which is why it is bothering me.

I intrinsically know that I am a good person who deserves to be treated well (and I am not saying that my current boyfriend is not good to me- we are just having a lot of problems at the moment and he can be mean at times). But there is a little, damaged part of me that does believe that I am not 100% worthy. I do not like to blame my behaviors or issues on other people, but I know that these feelings about myself stem from my alcoholic father and mentally abusive ex-husband.

But, I also know that a lot of how I feel comes from my own choices and I could have made better ones throughout my life so far. This blog is more of a stream of consciousness, so excuse my musings, but sometimes I just wonder why I feel that way about myself, yet I think that my sister and my friends deserve to be treated like queens???

Ps- I wasn’t going to post this bc I usually edit what I write a lot more, but the whole reason I started this blog was to be honest- with others and myself.

“Moms are better than dads”

Let me preface this blog by saying that this clearly does not apply to all dads (or all moms, for that matter). I have been fortunate to know many good fathers- my friend has a pretty great dad, my boyfriend’s dad is amazing and my own grandfather was a wonderful father to my mother and my aunt. It is just that in my case, the title of this blog is true (which is why I have a tshirt that also says it lol… which I only break out on Mother’s Day because who will argue with me then?)

My mom is amazing and even though I do not agree with all of her life choices, she has been nothing but caring and supportive of her two daughters. She is generous with money, time, advice and love. She asks for nothing in return and I know, unequivocally, that she lives for my sister and me. What makes her happy is us being happy, which is a characteristic very common in good moms. Because of this, my sister and I try to show her how special she is, especially on Mother’s Day and her birthday. It is not about lavish, expensive gifts- my mother has very simple taste and treats a Vera Bradley bag she receives as if it was Gucci. My sister and I put a lot of thought into the gifts we get my mother and that is obvious.

I have to admit, though, that I do feel a little guilty that the scales are so tipped when it comes to celebrating my mother versus my father. Many would argue (and do) that he is not deserving of anything. If you read my last blog, you will remember that he actually returns almost everything we give him. He also criticizes gifts- my favorite Father’s Day story of all time was when I bought him two polo shirts from Macys and they accidentally charged my credit card for $.50 instead of $50. I was excited about the “perfect crime” at first, but then my father started sending emails that my sister and I wouldn’t even spend $5.00 on a gift for him. Ahhh…the irony!

I know my dad does not deserve the same treatment we give my mother because he does not treat us the way my mother does. But I do feel that little twinge of discomfort when he clearly sees the things we do for her. I just have to remind myself that no matter what we did for him, he would find something to complain about. See, my mother is the “Oh my! A macaroni necklace! You MADE this all by yourself? It’s BEAUTIFUL!” type and my dad is the “I am going to say thank you when I open the gift, return it asap and then send several days worth of emails complaining about my do nothing taker daughters” type.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the great moms out there 🙂

Hey, Jealousy

I’ve been having a really rough week. My boyfriend is away on a tropical island with his parents scuba diving (I am excited for him to do this). I was invited to go, but because of my fear of flying, I passed on the opportunity (I know my disappointment in myself over this decision is causing a lot of my depression).

So, I have always had a hard time with my boyfriend talking to other girls on Facebook. I do trust him, he really is a good guy, but I have developed this weird insecurity. When I was previously married, I was never insecure or jealous. But I think I had some experiences after my divorce that caused me to have some trust issues. I also am not very self-confident in myself.

While on this tropical island, my boyfriend met a beautiful blonde photographer on their dive boat and then became friends with her on Facebook (he is still there now). I kind of freaked out for two reasons: one being my insecurity and feeling so vulnerable with him gone and two being that I really do think that it is inappropriate to do something like that when you are in a committed relationship. He knows that I was sad about him being away and he knows I get upset when he does things like that on Facebook, so it felt like a betrayal.

I talked to my sister for a long time about it last night. She said I need to be more realistic (because of course in my mind I am picturing this girl in a bikini running in slow motion towards my boyfriend…my imagination is getting the best of me, obviously). But we also talked a lot about my problems with self-confidence. I do think a lot of my problems stem from that. I wrote an earlier post about my difficulty making decisions and I think a big part of that relates to this: I am simply not confident in myself to make a decision and stick to it. Also, when in an argument (for example the one that arose once I told my boyfriend I was upset about the island girl), I tend to back down instead of standing up for what I really believe. I know that part of this is habit from when I was married and my husband was not a fair fighter- he had a remarkable gift of turning everything around on me.

So, I am torn. I am still really upset about this issue (he then “liked” a photo of her in a bikini…awesome) but I also don’t want to drive my boyfriend away with my insecurity. The thing is, I don’t really have self-esteem issues: I know I am pretty, I am successful, I own my own home, I have great friends, etc, etc…I just don’t know how to become more self-confident and not let things bother me so much. I have been a weepy, insecure mess for the past couple of months and I know that is not an attractive quality in a girlfriend. I need to find a way to stand up for what I believe if I think he is wrong, while also not coming across like a psychopath (there must be some kind of fine line between the two).

So, anyone ever struggle with this? I have already read “Why Men Love Bitches” (a gift from one of my former students after my divorce lol). I feel crazy and it is making me really depressed.

All by myself

The best thing my therapist ever said to me was in reference to my (now ex-)husband. She told me, “he has every right to be upset with you, disappointed in you, angry with you, frustrated with you, or anything else he is feeling, but he does NOT have the right to be mean to you.” That really stuck with me.

Coming back from our honeymoon, I had my first panic attack ever on the plane. It was one of those moments that could have been a scene from a movie- the girl freaks out and starts yelling, “I have to get. off. the. plane!” while her poor husband just looks around frantically for help. It was not fun. The thing is, I had flown many, many times. I have lived all over the country and have family in several states. I even flew to Ireland to visit my sister when she studied abroad. I still do not completely understand it and many people- including my therapist- have questioned if subconsciously I knew that I was coming home married to a man who I had serious reservations about. I loved my husband very much, but I had seen a lot of red flags before we got married that I chose to ignore. Red flags that I kept secret, like him pulling the car over when we were fighting because I was scared of his erratic driving and then leaving me on the side of a major highway in an inner city neighborhood. At night. In the winter. And never coming back. Yea, I wasn’t dying to tell anyone that romantic story because I protected him instead of protecting myself. When I finally told my friends and family that happened, they were so upset that I didn’t tell them at the time.

I have never been the same since that panic attack- it really changed something inside my brain and my heart. After that horrible flight, I suffered from constant anxiety and was eventually diagnosed with agoraphobia. It had an effect on our marriage and although my “wasband” had a terrible anger problem and did treat me badly during the last couple of years of our relationship, I truly believe that he just simply did not know how to help me. He is a good person- even after everything that happened between us, I still think that. He would help anyone with anything, but he seemed to lack empathy. He was an amazing friend to his friends, but he was not a very good husband. I also think that there are two kinds of people: those who think mental illness is a real thing and those who don’t. He was in the latter category. His big thing was just to tell me “mind over matter” and his approach was tough love. It clearly didn’t work. He also didn’t “believe” in medication and so I suffered for a long time because I didn’t want to disappoint him or upset him by taking antidepressants. I am fortunate to currently be in a relationship with someone who understands mental illness and really supports me…it has made a huge difference.

The best thing I ever did for myself was be by myself. I see women getting divorced and jumping right back into dating or even marriage again. If that is what makes someone happy, then to each their own. I knew that I needed time- time to find myself again and work on myself. I still loved my husband the day we went to court…I did not get a divorce because I fell out of love. I did it because every day I was married to him, a little part of me died. It was like I was a shell of my former self. I lived to try to make him happy, when in reality, there was so much resentment that there was really nothing I could have done to please him. I stopped caring about myself because I stopped thinking I was worth caring about. After getting divorced, I didn’t have anything to do with men for almost a year. I wasn’t a man hater or anything crazy like that- I just knew I needed time to learn who I was again. I took yoga and learned to meditate, adopted a cat, spent a lot of time with my sister and girlfriends and also spent a lot of time alone thinking, lost weight, cried A LOT, taught a college class…just anything I could do FOR ME. I knew that I could not love someone or feel worthy of being loved by someone until I really loved myself again. It was the BEST thing I could have done. By the end of that time, he was already engaged. I spoke to our marriage counselor during the time he was annulling the marriage and she said she was not surprised that he was getting remarried so quickly and said that she truly felt he would victimize his new wife. I felt good hearing that at the time because I was still angry and hurt and even though I take responsibility for my part of the marriage failing, I do believe that his behavior and treatment towards me were the primary reasons we couldn’t work things out. But now I hope that isn’t true- I hope he treats his new wife better than he treated me. It is hard to imagine that only because he could never admit when he was wrong and didn’t “believe in apologizing” (yup- direct quote). He was the kind of person who thought he was always right and it is really hard to be with someone like that. The last thing I ever said to him outside that courthouse was that I was so sad things didn’t work out and that I would always love him. The last thing he said to me was that he was sorry he couldn’t fix me.

It took 11 months for me to pull myself together and in the end I realized that I really wasn’t broken.

The grass is always greener…

I have always had this problem where I compare myself to others. I think to some degree many people do this, but I do it excessively and have for many, many years. At first it was my family. For some reason, I had it in my head that everyone else had a perfect, TV family (I was obsessed with being adopted by the Cosby family when I was little, nevermind that they are fictional and I am white- lol). While my family was completely dysfunctional, I imagined my friends having normal dinners and holidays. Even now when my friend tells me about going to a museum with just her father, my first thought is “why??”- that sounds like a nightmare to me! The obvious problem with comparisons like these is that I always came up short. I’m not saying I have an inferiority complex…I am pretty happy with who I am, but I just can’t help myself from doing these comparisons constantly.

After years of comparing my family to others, I moved on to comparing how I looked to others. I have a healthy attraction to men, but I often find myself “checking out” other women when I am in public. Not in a sexual way, but to compare myself to them. This one is skinnier, this one has gorgeous hair, this one can wear heels without looking ridiculous…again I think most people do this on occasion, but I also felt like, “if I just looked like her, I wouldn’t have (insert whatever problem I was having at the time). Again, I am very pretty…I’m no Giselle, but I do just fine with the guys. It just seemed like I always was wishing I was someone else, which I realize now is a bit of the “grass is always greener on the other side” complex.

The worst of it came when I was unhappiest in my marriage. I watched other couples like a hawk. This husband placed his hand on his wife’s back protectively- why didn’t my husband do that? This husband complimented his wife in front of a whole crowd- why didn’t mine do that? It became very unhealthy because not only did I constantly highlight what was wrong with my marriage, but I had a very unrealistic view of my friend’s marriages. I am so happy that my friends have good marriages, but I realize now that no marriage or relationship is perfect.

I think examining other people’s lives and envisioning how “easy” they have it is a form of escapism. It detracts me from having to look deeply at my own problems and simplifies life in an unrealistic way. If I was skinnier, my problems would obviously not just disappear, I do know that. I also think a little part of me feels like I don’t deserve to be happy the way other people *appear* to be (1. I know that is a classic COA belief and 2. I say *appear* because I have learned that not everyone’s life is what it seems to be.) Surprisingly, when I started telling co-workers about MY divorce and MY family, people were shocked. They had always looked at me as being independent, happy, in love…I did a good job of *appearing* to be what I wanted the world to see.

I try to compare myself to other people less now, but honestly it is something that I just automatically do. I want to believe that my friends have perfect marriages because then that means they are possible. I want to believe that a size 6 woman has no problems because if I am ever that thin, I want to be that carefree. I want to believe that there are families that are like the Brady Bunch, rather than The Simpsons, because then I can hope to one day be a part of one. I know I need to be happy with who I am and I do have SO much to be thankful for, so I am going to try to focus on that more. It is the message I teach my students and I guess I need to practice what I preach!!