Shadow Of My Life
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30th April 2016
27th April 2016
Breakups - When The Rainbow Ends - Part Two
"The ending of a relationship, for whatever reason, can be one of the most painful experiences that we can go through."
Additional Healing Tips & Strategies:
·Provide a daily structure for yourself to keep grounded. Stay busy, but not too busy that you get distracted from your emotional work.
·Get connected with others. Surround yourself with positive, supportive friends and get engaged with life, no matter how hard it is. Join a grief support group in your area to be with others who can share similar circumstances with you and normalize your grief.
·Find a renewed sense of purpose and passion. Join an organization or a cause you care about, take a class, cultivate a new hobby, get involved! Bring healthy pleasure into your life.
·Learn to be comfortable being alone. Do some self-soothing and nurturing activities. Find value in self-renewal.
·Take this opportunity to learn more about yourself. Work with a life coach to help you learn about healthy relationships and crafting a new vision for your future. Recognize patterns in your relationships and identify areas where you can improve your relationship skills.
·Challenge negative self-talk by replacing with more enhancing, affirming, coping thoughts. Identify your strengths and value to boost your self-esteem. Use the power of affirmations and write them on index cards for quick reference.
·Remove items that remind you of your ex-lover and tuck them away somewhere so they’re not a constant visual trigger for you. There will come a time when they won’t be so jarring to you.
·Create a ritual of closure for your relationship (eg. throw a “I’m moving on” party with close friends, etc.) Find a way to commemorate the relationship and what it meant to you to aid in “letting go.”
·Create a scrapbook or collage of memories of your relationship when you’re ready.
·Release your feelings productively. Take out several sheets of paper and at the top of each write an emotion you feel (sad, angry, hurt, resentful, etc.). Then down the side of the full length of the paper, write “I feel…” and fill in the blank about that particular emotion to release all the feelings you have regarding that as it pertains to your relationship grief. Do some self-soothing afterwards.
·Keep a journal or write your ex-lover a letter sharing your feelings and what the relationship meant to you, etc. DO NOT SEND THIS TO YOUR EX! This is for your therapeutic benefit only. Or talk to an empty chair pretending your ex is sitting there and practice processing your emotions this way. This can be extremely cathartic.
Conclusion - Breaking up is hard to do, as an old song once put it. Realize that your pain is a tribute to the significance that this relationship held for you and that you are a survivor. How you choose to deal with the breakup will impact the direction of your life and how soon you will be able to rebuild your life. Identify healthy outlets that you can channel your feelings toward, pinpoint potential blocks that could get in the way of your healing process, and allow yourself to be open to love again when you’re ready.
A new beginning with opportunity and possibility awaits you on the other side of the rainbow.
Reference: Carroll, Nancy Joy. Healing A Broken Heart: A Recovery Handbook for Relationship Loss. Brentwood, TN: Life Skills Publications, 1997.
26th April 2016
Breakups - When The Rainbow Ends - Part One
The ending of a relationship, for whatever reason, can be one of the most painful experiences that we can go through. Having made ourselves vulnerable by opening our hearts to another and loving him to the fullest capacity almost feels spiritual; now it’s been replaced with a crushing sense of loss and emptiness that feels quite devastating. The length of time together, the quality of the relationship, and the level of emotional investment in it all determine the intensity of the grief experienced when you and your lover part ways.
This article will explore the grieving process involved with relationship breakups and offer tips and strategies for facilitating your grief to move you toward healing so you can start your life over on better footing.
The Grieving Experience - The experience of breaking up with a boyfriend or partner can be likened to a death, with layer upon layer of losses resulting. Not only is his absent physical presence felt as a loss, but other losses like hopes, dreams, expectations, identity, security, and trust compound and complicate your adjustment. Life as you knew it has been shaken and your vision for your future has been altered.
You experience a roller-coaster of emotions. It’s common to feel rejected, abandoned, insecure, powerless, and hopeless. Confusion and feeling a sense of failure and regret are common, as well as varying degrees of anger, depression, and guilt. You might even become preoccupied with your ex-lover, obsessing about him and thinking constantly about your life together and what he might be doing now.
In her book, “Healing A Broken Heart”(1997), Nancy Joy Carroll, ED.D outlines four stages of relationship loss that are common in the aftermath of a breakup. They include the following:
Stage 1: Shock & Denial: This usually occurs immediately after the split-up. You might feel numb, believe that this can’t be happening and minimize the reality of the situation. You feel sad, angry, confused, and might blame yourself.
Stage 2: Despair: You begin to see that the ending is inevitable and experience profound sadness, loneliness, depression, and impaired concentration. You might try to bargain with your partner to try to convince him to give the relationship another chance. You idealize your partner. You feel unlovable, wondering if you can make it on your own, and feel a loss of identity.
Stage 3: Detachment: Anger becomes more pronounced and you begin to hold your partner more responsible for the relationship split. This stage is particularly helpful as your anger helps to create some distance for you from him and you’re not as enmeshed.
Stage 4: Recovery: In this final stage, you come to an acceptance of the loss and learn to “let go”, redefining yourself as a single man again and feel more empowered to cultivate new experiences and opportunities for personal growth.
Tips Along the Grief Path - You are going through a major shift in your identity. Be patient and kind with yourself as you journey through the grieving process.
Keep these tips in mind as you forage through the pain you’re experiencing to prevent any blocks or impediments along the path of healing. It can be a rocky road, but staying focused and conscious will promote a smoother and more successful transition to the “new you.”
·Everyone grieves at their own rate and pace; there’s no timeline, so don’t rush yourself. It can sometimes take years.
·As you go through the stages of loss, be aware that healing is not linear. Expect to progress up and down through the stages. Endure through it.
·Avoid stuffing your feelings; be open to them no matter how much it hurts. Suppressing your emotions only puts a temporary band-aid on your suffering and prolongs your healing. It’s ok to cry.
·Avoid self-medicating your feelings. Beware of alcohol, drugs, gambling, work, food, sex, or other vices to comfort yourself during this difficult time. These can distract from your grieving work and become addictions.
·Depression and anxiety are common emotions during this time period. Should their experience interfere with your daily functioning or accomplishment of daily tasks, seek assistance from a license mental health therapist.
·Earlier losses and unfinished business from the past can be triggered when you encounter relationship loss. Be prepared to deal with these as well.
·Avoid making major life decisions. Allow yourself time to get more grounded and centered first. Grief can have a tricky way of clouding our judgment if not careful.
·Avoid jumping into another relationship right away. Grieve this one completely first.
·Ignore others’ attempts to tell you how you should feel or that you should “be over it by now.” They didn’t live your experience and they are typically projecting their own discomfort with loss and grief.
·Avoid being friends with your ex initially. It’s common for gay men to remain friends with their ex-boyfriends; decide for yourself if this is something that you would be able to do, and if so, allow yourself some time and space first to grieve. It can be very difficult to transition from “life partner” to “just friends” immediately after a breakup. You need time to heal to be able to appropriately view your ex in a new role.
Continued Tomorrow - Part Two:
24th April 2016
23rd April 2016
22nd April 2016
How To Be The Most Romantic Partner Your Lover Has Ever Had - Part Two
If you and your guy are busy people, a quiet getaway together can be an invitation to a passionate weekend. Don’t wait for that vacation you’ve been putting off!
When the Holidays come around, they have been designed with ads and sales all over the place inviting you to open your wallet and show you care. Forgetting the romantic aspect of a Holiday Season is a sure way to look like an unromantic jerk, but don’t let any holiday be the only time you exercise your romance muscles. Let your boyfriend or partner know that he’s important to you 365 days a year.
Many hotels offer inexpensive weekend getaway specials. You might even pretend to be a tourist in your own town. (Don’t phone home to check your answering machine for messages!) Better yet, see how much of the weekend the two of you could spend together naked.
When you’ve got his undivided attention, try new ways of being physically intimate together. Maybe get it together to offer one another a pedicure and foot massage. Get some special lotion or scented oil and take your time. It might become a part of your monthly schedule. Or ask him – in a playfully seductive voice – to teach you exactly how he likes to be kissed. Get lots of practice in to make sure you’ve got it right.
Look for ways to make your lovemaking special. Joe still talks about the time Randy cooked dinner for him and then excused himself for a few minutes – to light 50 little candles in his bedroom. “It was really dramatic and just took my breath away,” Joe recalled. “Everyone looks good by candle light. And it made me feel very special for him to go to all that planning and trouble!”
Remember that the key here is to make clear to your boyfriend that he has your undivided attention.
You feel like a lucky guy to have him in your life, and that nothing is more important than he is. Combine that with playfulness and some creativity, and you are well on your way to being the most romantic boyfriend he’s ever had.
21st April 2016
How To Be The Most Romantic Partner Your Lover Has Ever Had - Part One
A candlelit table for two at the best table in a fancy restaurant. Champagne. Soft music. Tender words The essence of romance, right? Maybe, but romance can mean many things. “Sexual attraction, suitable conditions for lovemaking, fascination and enthusiasm” are a few of the definitions in my dictionary. The trouble is, while many of us enjoy lovemaking we’re often a bit bewildered about how to actually be romantic.
The word 'romantic' can seem old-fashioned and strange; it makes us think of flowers, boxes of chocolates, and syrupy romance novels. Not our style, we think. Romance is one of the things that make life with a boyfriend different from life with, well, a friend. There’s a spark, a certain way of being with someone. Romance is a type of fun that is the fuel that keeps a relationship running. It’s more than simply being special; it’s a particular way of being special.
Romance does not necessarily mean spending a lot of money on someone. (It especially doesn’t mean spending lots of money on something he doesn’t really want just to try to impress him!) Think of romance as a way of letting your guy know how important he is to you.
Romance comes from the heart. It can involve great big things, but romance can just as easily be the sum of lots of little things done with care and attention.
When was the last time you wrote your guy a love letter or bought him a romantic little card? Admit it: you like it when he sends you one. (Email doesn’t count for as much; and those tacky virtual greeting cards hardly count at all.) Taking time to put your thoughts down on paper in your own handwriting says that you are taking the time to do something just for him.
Little love notes hidden around the house can be a wonderful way to show you are thinking of him – especially if you hide them where he will find them when you aren’t around. Rick, a consultant who travels a lot with his work, often puts a little love note in his partner’s underwear drawer before leaving on a business trip, for instance. “You don’t need to be flowery and poetic,” he says, “although you could try that, too. Even a Post-It note on the pillow is a nice little gesture.”
Partners who have been together long enough that they no longer think of themselves as dating might try implementing “love nights” once or twice a week. Put it on the calendar and don’t let anything interfere – no work demands, no family obligations.
Let your boyfriend know that he is your number one priority. Take turns telling each other what the other guy has done in the past week that has made you feel special, to feel loved by him. Communicating this sort of love is important nourishment for a relationship, especially when you are both busy people.
You might also take time to let the other person know other ways he might communicate his love to you. Important: don’t be critical of one another. Nothing spoils a mood faster than feeling criticized.
[ Part Two - Continued Tomorrow ]
19th April 2016
18th April 2016
Getting Over ‘I-Don’t-Want-To’ in Your Dating Personals Ad Life
If you’ve been having some difficulty succeeding with your online dating personals ad campaign and are frustrated by your lack of connection with Mr. Right prospects, one possible area you may want to explore as a troubleshooting strategy is to examine what’s called your objections. These are resistances that we may have to taking full advantage of what our dating personal ad can do for us. For whatever reason, you may feel inhibited from doing certain actions or may be blocked by particular beliefs that prevent you from making yourself available or by being receptive to being known or even meeting certain guys.
What follows below are some of the more common “I don’t want to’s” that many gay men fall prey to in trying to get their personals ad campaign off the ground with some tips on how to counteract these resistances. By overcoming these objections, you might just increase your odds of success on the probability scale of meeting up with a compatible quality “catch” like yourself!
1. “I don’t want to upload images”
* Identify and examine reservations for posting a photo in your profile (generally fears of some kind, particularly of exposure, being judged, rejection, self-esteem & body image issues, etc.). Write down all of the reasons why you don’t want to post a clear and close-up photograph of your face and then come up with some counter-statements to defeat these negative thoughts and resistances.
* Emphasize the significant importance of “first impressions.” Generally speaking, a profile without a picture raises suspicions in the minds of many viewers. They wonder, “what is he hiding?” No posted picture can commonly raise some “red flags” to potential prospects, who may pass over the personals ad altogether without even reading the profile content and an opportunity may have been lost.
* Take full advantage of the picture by showcasing who you really are. Let your personality shine through, have a shot of you doing something that you love to do (in addition to a headshot) Make sure the picture is CURRENT. There’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional photographer but make sure that any “glam shots” are truly representative of who you are and beware of props in photos that distract from you or are sexualized in nature. Remember, you’re the star in your ad!
* A picture online gives you an identity and helps a viewer gain some personal contact with you when he’s visiting your ad.
2. “I don’t want to connect with any of matches; I’m not interested in them.”
* Unless there are some definite deal-breakers present in a match based on what’s documented, avoid pre-conceived notions or making assumptions about the man and approach each match with curiosity and intrigue. Getting to know someone and the mysteries inherent in learning more about them is fun and alluring! And just because a potential match may not be boyfriend material, they just might fit the bill for a new friend to add to your support network (and they may know someone who could be compatible for you as well!)
* Does the dating profile need tweaking? Is it truly representative of the type of person whom you’re seeking? Perhaps doing a make-over of the profile so it matches more specifically your vision for the ideal partner may help screen out those who may be incompatible.
* Seeking perfection and being “too picky” can alienate you from achieving your dating goals and can be self-defeating in your quest for Mr. Right. While you don’t want to compromise on your values, take care to differentiate between your needs and your wants to avoid narrowing down the dating pool to a point where nobody will ever be good enough and reach those high expectations you’ve set. You could be missing out on a great guy if you operate solely from a place that everything is non-negotiable.
* Define your relationship expectations. Are they rigid and limiting? Differences among people are gifts. Be open to dating people outside your typical “type”; if you resist this, try it anyway and pose it as an experiment and “be in the moment” with your date. You may just be pleasantly surprised!
3. “I don’t want to put anything in my profile. I don’t know what to say.”
* This is the only way people are going to know whether you are a compatible match based on what’s written in your profile! Self-knowledge is key here! Your best screening tool is to know what your personal requirements are for your ideal partner and relationship (qualities and characteristics). What’s negotiable vs. non-negotiable for you? Incorporate this information into your personals ad profile by injecting some personal spunk into the content. Have a captivating headline that pulls viewers in to want to read more. You have a wonderful opportunity to showcase your personality in a unique and creative way that is both compelling and gives viewers a bite-sized glimpse into who you are, what you stand for, and what you’re ideally looking for in a mate. The online reader can only handle and digest small amounts of information, so hold back on writing a novel and maximize the space you have with writing a succinct advertisement of yourself. Have fun and be playful with it. Stand out from the crowd with your special spin, but make sure to be authentic and true to form. Be positive and remember that the more specific and clear you are on your personal requirements, the greater probability exists that more compatible matches will respond!
4. “I don’t want to initiate contact with my matches.”
* Dating is a pro-active art form requiring us to be in the driver’s seat of our lives. We have to be willing to make things happen for us by taking the necessary risks and asserting ourselves to realize and accomplish our destinies.
* In a recent survey I conducted on my site, the vast majority of gay men who responded indicated that they do not initiate conversations with men whom they find interesting or attractive, preferring instead to take a passive stance and waiting for others to approach them first. Huge mistake! Imagine how many potentially good relationships could have come to fruition had someone mustered up the courage and taken that first step and made the first move! Don’t be a casualty of this!
* When communicating, ask open-ended questions to elicit as much elaboration as possible. Show curiosity and genuine interest in the other person.