Why I’m Single Again

Kara OhIf you’ve visited my blog before, you’ve probably noticed I don’t use it as a selfie of my life. Rather, I prefer to share my observations and what I’ve learned in my many years on this planet.

Today, I thought I’d share why I have chosen to become a single woman once again. It seems to be my way because I’ve been married twice, engaged and lived with my most recent partner for very near five years. And with each of those relationships, I’ve been the one to pull the plug.

But this is the one I want to talk about. First, I will say that I still love him, and he still loves me. My problem is I have a ‘relationship flaw.’

My Relationship Flaw

My flaw is that I give too much. I’m aware of the problem, but it’s such a deeply embedded part of my DNA that it’s become a part of me. As the Dung Beetle (my second husband and what I call my ‘moment of insanity’) used to say, “Kara, you’re too nice.” He meant it as an insult and learned to take advantage of it…big time.

My relationship flaw began to develop when I was a toddler. My mother was a fearful alcoholic. She was a single mother of two when divorce was shameful. She’d left my dad because he slept around and stole from every family member.

Raising two kids on a secretary’s pay was scary, but she did it. She was an amazing woman and loved by everyone she knew. But her fears were palpable. As a little girl, I remember feeling like I had to take care of her. I became an expert at ignoring my needs and focusing on her needs. So much so that it became a significant part of my way of dealing with people.

If You Moved In With Me

If you moved into my home I’d start stocking the kitchen with your favorite foods and drinks, I’d cook for you, and make sure you were comfortable. It’s what I do. Most of the time it makes me feel good. I like that I’m ‘too nice.’

But in a relationship, I focus too much on what my partner needs and forget to take care of my own needs. When I was engaged (the relationship before this most recent one) I spent half of my time in Los Angeles at his place, then drove back to Santa Barbara. Read: I did all the driving. He rarely drove to Santa Barbara.

When I broke the engagement, I remember saying I’d never live with anyone again. I thought it was because I didn’t want to lose my freedom.

My Big Ah-Ha

When I was pondering ending my recent relationship, I remembered thinking that. But then it hit me, like a bolt of lightening. It wasn’t because I’d lose my freedom, it was because I’d lose myself.

That’s when I took an inventory of myself and saw that I had allowed Stephen’s needs to become more important than my own. Yes, I loved doing things for him, cooking meals, making sure he had fresh razor blades and the face cleanser he liked. But after a time, it took over.

When the real reason I swore not to live with anyone again became clear, it was time to end my relationship. I had to get back to being me. On many levels, it was time, and Stephen understands why I needed to be on my own.

Some might say I just need to do some therapy. I’m a soul searcher by nature and have grown in many ways. Most significantly has been to go from being shy, insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin, to being outgoing, confident, and joyful.

But my ‘relationship flaw’ is such a part of me that I can’t help being thoughtful, and nurturing. Here’s a perfect example of being ‘too nice.’ I’ve been driving for Uber to add to my savings so I can move to Costa Rica in July. (I’ll talk about that in a future post.) Yesterday I got a request for a ride that was 20 minutes away. I called her, and I told her it would take me twenty minutes to get to her and to cancel the request so she could find someone closer. She was quite upset because she had been unsuccessful at getting a ride from the train to her dorm. So as much as I didn’t want to drive twenty minutes to take her on a 7-minute ride, I did it because I didn’t want her to be stranded. It cost me more in gas than what I earned. But she was very grateful. I was happy to help, but I would have preferred not to make that drive.

So for now, I’m happy to be single again. I love Stephen dearly and want only the best for him. We communicate regularly and will always be friends. He and his girls became part of my family and family sticks together.

If you find you give too much and lose sight of your own needs, maybe reading this post will help you take care of yourself. I’m not advocating leaving your relationship. Not everyone has my same deeply embedded need to do for others. Instead, maybe it will help you remember to keep your needs equal to your partner’s.

So am I destined to be alone for the rest of my life? I’ll talk about that in my next post.


Grab It and Go

18720122_blogIf you want to be truly happy (not just say you want, or wish, to be happy) you must grab your ability to choose and run with it. I mean that metaphorically, of course, but I also mean it literally.

If you spend too much time sitting at a desk, then sitting in front of the TV at night, and aren’t exercising, you’ve chosen not to be happy.

No, not consciously, but not exercising is a choice.

That’s how important getting up and moving is to your overall sense of happiness. Movement changes your chemistry. And your chemistry is the key to how you feel.

Taking a walk alone is good for your mental health. You already know that.

And if you have someone you care about, whether it’s your lover or a friend, exercising together, especially if you are out in nature, will strengthen your bond.

Another benefit to getting outdoors is sunshine. Yep, sunshine will help you feel happier. Vitamin D is one of the reasons. You’ll also be improving your immune system.

Do I need to say more? Probably, but instead, here’s an article, titled Increase Your Activity; Increase Your Happiness, that will shed light on how important choosing to get up and go can be for your overall well-being.

The quality of your life is directed by your choices.

How To Get Him To WANT To Do What You Want

I’m not sure why I decided to post this video today, but it’s probably because the holiday season can be so stressful. It shouldn’t be, because we bring that stress on to ourselves. But one cause of stress is wishing you had more help from him.

Well, maybe this video will give you some ideas on how to get him to do those things he seems so resistant to do. The better you Understand Men, the happier you will be.

Order your copy of Men Made Easy and learn all 12 Secrets About Men.

Little Moments Build Love

Lovely young couple on the sunset beach, selective focusIt’s not vacations, grand dinners, or detailed planning that causes love to grow and flourish.

Sure, those can be fun, but they don’t build love.

What builds love are all the little moments throughout the days. What’s funny is that most of those moments won’t even be remembered.

What’s remembered is how good it feels to be with your partner. And that very feeling is a big part of love.

Even if you’re just sitting together and reading. You’re in each others space, comforted that you’re close, even if you’re not consciously aware of each other. Love is building and being sustained.

When you slow down enough to just be together, doing mundane things, you’re building love.

One of the problems with big events is that you’re so busy doing that you don’t slow down enough to immerse yourselves in each others energy. Sure, you’re having fun, but it’s not the event, it’s that you shared it.

Okay, I love going out to nice restaurants. But what generally gets my attention is the environment, the ambiance, the food and wine. Yes, I’m aware of my boyfriend, but not in a way that I feel love. BUT…when I slow down and focus on how nice it is to be sharing everything with him, THEN I feel the love.

Does that make sense?

Love happens in those quiet moments in between all the doing and the busyness.

So my advice to you (which I’ve learned from years of experience) is, slow down, notice how you feel, immerse yourself in that feeling, and then open your heart to the love that is waiting for you to acknowledge.

What’s great is you can do this whether your partner is with you or not. Maybe you’re out on a walk by yourself. You’re feeling peaceful, alive, connected to the earth and whatever God is to you. All you need to do is choose to be aware, then let that settle into a feeling of love.

That’s all you need to do. That’s how love is built…from all the little moments.