empty nester, relationships, Well being

Relationships – Online and Real Life

Relationships – Online and Real Life

October 19, 2022

6:56 pm

It is a Wednesday evening and it is a busy week. Appointments, errands, and the normal day to day.

The online relationship that is forming, is still ongoing, surprisingly enough. We have had some misunderstandings and a few rough moments due to connection issues, timing, and just all the trivial things that can go wrong with a long distance relationship.

Yet, at one point, we both agreed that the only way to keep this moving is through open, and honest, communication. We tend to get wrapped up in our own daily lives sometimes and take it for granted that another person is out there waiting to hear from us. We have had a few moments of slightly hurt feelings but we worked it out.

I have definitely had my depression filled, anxiety moments, of overthinking but he has been right there to calm my fears, talk me through my feelings, and help me breathe through the anxiousness. It has been refreshing to have someone actually listen to my thoughts, even when they are irrational at times.

This person has had to learn firsthand about my major depressive disorder, the seasonal affect disorder, and anxiety all bubbling up at times. He has been very understanding of these things because I have been open about my mental health and well-being from the beginning. I reassure him that it will calm down but I need a patient friend during those times of need.

Understanding, compassion, and trust have made all the difference in this relationship continuing to grow. These are the things others, before him, failed at.

In my previous online friendships, they were never interested in knowing why I was having those moments, most would just blow me off and stop texting for a few days. Then they would come back online after I “cooled off or calmed down” as they put it. They were not interested in us growing a friendship, they just wanted things from me, or for me to only be there for them. My interests, thoughts, or questions were always second.

When the pandemic hit, it became glaringly apparent that my value to the previous online acquaintances was either monetary or not important. They ended pretty quickly, even the ones who I had been talking to for years. It was a harsh moment of clarity for me but it also gave me the opportunity to take stake in what I genuinely wanted.

I had to take inventory in how my interactions with online people went versus the people I had met in real life from 2017 to 2019. I had tried dating apps during that period of time and met a few but it was a waste of time.

The men I met in person seemed to have it all together when we were texting or calling one another but then when we actually met, there were glaring misrepresentations of who they truly were.

There were the ones whose age gap was sometimes ten years more than what they stated. I had already experienced a seventeen year marriage with someone eight years older than me. Then in previous relationships, prior to marriage, the guy would be five to ten years older. I realized that it was not something I was interested in pursuing anymore. Just because they were older did not necessarily mean they were wiser, more experienced, or had a plan for their life.

Then there were the men I met that were looking for someone to take care of them and it became obvious after meeting them why they were divorced. I care about people that I am involved with but I am not automatically the cook, dishwasher, laundry person, or the subordinate spouse of the household. I had already lived that life and was not interested in taking care of anyone, especially grown men older than me.

Last, but not least, were the men that I met with serious issues. Such as not being divorced, looking for someone to take care of their kids, or had addictions requiring intervention that a relationship was not going to fix. Those were the hard ones because I am always this “fixer” of things. They definitely needed help but I am getting too old and not willing to be that person anymore.

I had already lived a married life and raised kids; my next step is finding companionship with another person for the rest of my life. If the person has kids then we will work through those life responsibilities because I am not dead set against it, especially if I have made that person an important part of my life.

That is what you do when you are an older person still looking for relationships, you look at the person and their whole life, not just parts of it that are appealing. You have to be willing to learn and accept everything about the person, within reason.

I was chatting with this online person one evening as I was scrolling through Instagram and I kept seeing these lists of “Relationship dos and don’ts.”  It was early in the morning and I jokingly called it the sad boy, sad girl hour. That late night part of social media when you see the odd postings, links, or those lists that try to convince you that your relationship is ending. I thought it was funny.

If someone is looking at random lists on social media to determine whether they should or should not be in a relationship with someone, then the answer is no. The answer is never out there in the world, in a book, on a checklist, or even on a TikTok video. The answer is in yourself. It is in your heart and mind.

Once you have made yourself satisfied with your own life, then you should seek out another to share it with, and never solely rely on them for your happiness. You share your happiness together. That is the only true way to have a lasting relationship that will continue to grow every day. You learn to communicate with one another. You learn how to work through things together. It is not one sided in a relationship. It takes two thinking individuals to keep things moving.

It took me twenty four years of relationships to realize that my happiness had been in my own hands the whole time. That I liked me and who I was as a person. The broken down version of me after seventeen years of wedded chaos was not who I truly was as a person. It then took eight years of therapy to find me again. I still have some issues to work through but I have almost turned it all around.

That is why I gave this online person a second chance after our failed attempt in 2020. I knew right away after talking to him that first time that there was something special about him. I was intrigued and interested in what he had to say.

To be honest, he was the first, man or person, that I had ever met to actually be blunt with me about things that I said or wrote. I was looking for someone like that for a long time. That person that keeps you in your truth and helps to bring out the best parts of you.

He could see that in me then despite our differences and my insecurity. When that moment ended it propelled me to reevaluate everything that I thought I wanted in a relationship. It was at the forefront of my thoughts for those two years of solitude.

After he came back and sought me out again, I was more willing to accept what he had to say. I was also more motivated to stick with this developing relationship, to see where it goes. The anxiety part of me is still a work in progress but he understands, which I appreciate very much, as we work through it together.

In the first time in my adult life, I feel like this is how a relationship should be, for me.

Now time will tell if it continues on or not but I have hope, faith, and belief that it will.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Have a wonderful week!

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always.

Suzanne