Sunday: 29.January.2006

Time to Move On

One of the things I've been dealing with recently is trying to decide when the time is right to open up myself to a new relationship.

Following a break-up, or divorce, people sometimes seek a new relationship immediately. And certainly that helps assuage the pain of the break-up. We call them rebounders.

And this is understandable. We miss having someone there for us .. caring for us .. concerned for our welfare .. wrapping their arms around us .. holding us .. pressing their warm, soft bodies against ours .. snuggling up to us on cold winter nights .. loving us .. and vice-versa.

But I don't think it's healthy to jump back in right away. We need to spend time alone .. processing the grief and loss of the last relationship .. before moving on to the next. (Some need more time than others.)

Otherwise, we tend to carry into the future all the problems, hurts & resentments of the past. Best to deal with them first .. as painful as that might be.

Fact is, nobody wants to hear us talk about our ex all the time .. how ugly they were to us .. how badly they treated us .. what complete psycho's they were. And that's what tends to happen if we don't first process the loss and grief of the past.

Now I have done this break-up thing enough times to know what to expect. And here's what I've learned:

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1. You always get over it - no matter how much you think you won't, no matter how lonely you get, no matter how much it hurts.
2. Someone else will always come along .. no matter how strongly you feel no one will.

If you're a regular here, you know how long it's been for me. Following my previous break-up (June 2002), it was six months before I was ready to move on .. which is close to where I am now.

Generally, bad relationships (those with much arguing) are easier to get over. Whereas the good ones take longer, cuz you miss those women more. From past experiences, I've identified three phases in this (moving on) process.

The first (which I just entered yesterday) is to unlock the gate. This is where you get beyond the no-way, no-how phase (phase zero). Prior to yesterday, even if the perfect person came along, I still wouldn't bite, cuz I wasn't ready. Today however, I'm at the point where I'm not actively looking, but if Miss Right came along, I would entertain the idea.

Phase Two is to actually open the door. Here you're still not actively looking, but are passively available. You're not done processing the pain of the past (and yes, it's a painful process), but most of the emotional garbage is gone. If someone interesting showed up on your doorstep, you might invite them in for a cup of coffee.

Now I don't know when phase two will arrive. These timings are all based on internal clocks which tick at different rates for different people. The longer the relationship, and the better it was, the more time you need to get over it.

But I know phase one began yesterday. I felt my inner emotional gate unlock. And if Miss Right showed up on my doorstep tomorrow, I feel confident I could make that work. (Not so prior to yesterday.)

Phase Three is where you feel recovered enough to actually put on a clean shirt, step outside and and get on with your life. From past experience, I've learned I normally never make it to phase three. Someone usually comes along while I'm still in phase two.

Now I never actually go looking (phase four) cuz I feel more likely to find someone better suited for me if I stay on my path. For example, I could visit a club tonight (wandering off my path), and find a hottie there. But she probably wouldn't be right for me, cuz I'm not a club person.

Now if I ran into a hottie on a trail, hiking in Yosemite, that person is more likely to be a better match for me than the bar queen.

I have nothing against online dating services. You know the techie I am. And I know several people who've found their ideal mate that way. But I enjoy my freedom, so I'm in no hurry. If the right person comes along, cool. If not, I see no sense in trying to cram a square peg into a round slot.

Personally, I enjoy the organic approach. I like to be surprised by what life brings my way, rather than setting in motion the wheels myself. But again, that's just me.

If I try to steer the ship too vigorously (control freak), I've found that I tend to screw things up. With the organic approach, it seems that life brings me somebody when I least expect it. (Some call that foolish, others call it faith.)

But now with the little guy, I have another factor to consider .. that I've never had to consider before.

In the past, I have (occasionally) dated women with children. And I always felt they had unrealistic expectations .. that I should love their children as much as they did.

Fact is, nature imbues parents with something special that (in most cases) the non-biological parent simply doesn't have. If you're a parent, you know how strongly this circuitry is hard-wired into your emotional make-up.

Now you can be kind, loving, and even paternal. But it's unfair to expect another person to have the same level of dedication as a biological parent. Certainly, there are exceptions, but generally, no one can care for your kids as well as you can (cuz nature hasn't wired them that way), and it's foolish to think otherwise.

Now, I will say that I normally preferred dating previously-married women, cuz I found they often had a more realistic view of relationships. Women who've never been married before tend to idealize, and are inclined to possess unrealistic expectations.

Not so with the woman who has been married and thru a messy divorce. She knows the score. Her expectations have been recalibrated. She's more likely to be a realist, someone you can deal with more easily than the girl who's still looking for Camelot (a fairy tale relationship).

Much easier (generally speaking) to get along with a divorced woman. They're more likely to know how to care for a man. And they've likely learned a few tricks along the way...

Here in SoCal, many women are looking for a man with money. Fortunately, that's something I don't have to worry about. Anybody who happens to wander down Rad Way is likely to love me for who I am and not what I have .. cuz I no longer have anything (except a big heart).

What I'm looking for (passively) is someone who is sweet, kind, affectionate and emotionally stable. Everything else is gravy. (Someone who doesn't already have a lawyer would be nice.) I have more to say on this topic, but it seems I've already said too much.

In other Rad news, I had the little guy Friday. Played Rad dad. We were playing at the beach when he suddenly buried his head in my chest, indicating he was tired and wanted to nap. So - instead of carting him all the way back to the ranch - I found a secluded patch of warm sand, covered him with a blankie, and let him sleep on my chest ...

.. which he did for some 90 minutes, snoring at times, with the sound of the waves crashing in the background, seagulls crying in the breeze. Now there may be more-exquisite things in life. But if there are, I haven't found them.

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 29January2006 | Comments (0)

Sunday: 22.January.2006

The New World - A Rad Film / Movie Review

Saw The New World yesterday, at the Big Newport (Newport Beach). The theater was comfortably full.

A retelling of the fabled love story between Pocahontas & Capt. John Smith .. set in the the new world (Virginia, 1607) when European culture first encountered the native American indians living there. I very much enjoyed it.

Easy for this kind of movie (love story) to get corny, but the director did a good job (excellent job) of keeping it understated and even poetic.

I appreciate the subtleties of understated storytelling. The flip-side is that some might find the story slow. But love stories are all about undercurrents. And either you relate or you don't.

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I'm guessing this is the reason the film received mixed reviews. Because it's really a very poetic film. (Not everyone enjoys poetry.)

Colin Farrell did a surprisingly good job in this restrained role, displaying real talent. So did the girl who played opposite him. Good chemistry between them. Her smiles lit up the whole screen. The story is really about her.

As you might expect, the film runs the gamut of emotions, from the surreal bliss of love to the inconsolable agony of heartbreak. Conspicuously noticeable were the lack of sex scenes, or any hint thereof.

Also of note was how the native way of living in *concert* with nature seemed so much healthier than the European method of trying to dominate it ("first thing we'll do is chop down all these trees...").

Reminds me of the Eagles' song, The Last Resort, which ends with the verse, You call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye.

The New World is a good escapist movie, for those who (like me) might find themselves in (yet another) trying predicament. For a few precious hours, you can be whisked away .. to another world, another time, so completely that you forget about your misfortunes, your own dramas. And isn't that what the movies are really all about?

For more info along these lines, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query-string:> the new world film movie review

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 22January2006

Tuesday: 17.January.2006

Bluetooth Wireless Headset for Motorola RAZR Cell Phone

Bought a Bluetooth wireless earpiece for the new cell phone yesterday. Actually, they call it a headset, cuz you can also talk thru it, but it simply clips on your ear.

What's so surprising is that people claim they can hear me good, even tho the speaker sits nowhere near my mouth. The piece is feather-light and comfortable. I hardly notice it there.

Took me a while to configure the earpiece to communicate with the phone. Almost took it back to the sales-guy: "This piece-of-krap you sold me doesn't work."

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But first I broke out the owner's manual (God forbid), and learned everything depends on how long you press the tiny, little button.

In order to place the headset in sync-mode, you have to press the button for a long time .. until the blue light comes on solid. But first the headset must be turned off. Then you have to tell the phone to look for it.

But when it works, it's pretty cool. I was finding it difficult to drive (a standard-shift) and talk on the phone .. especially in town, where much shifting is required (but can be done).

Anyway, I've always fancied hi-tech stuff .. popularized by childhood heroes such as Batman & Dick Tracy (remember his phone wristwatch?)

On the bummer-side, I don't think you can use the actual phone when it's configured to use the Bluetooth headset, even tho the guy at the store said you could. I think you first have to disable the Bluetooth feature in the phone. (Bluetooth is simply a wireless communication protocol.)

So you have to wear the headset all the time (even while not driving). Walking around town with the earpiece is a little much, even for geeks like me. If the phone rings, you have to pull the earpiece out of your pocket to answer .. (or configure the phone to disable Bluetooth). The ability to use either/or would be preferable.

I returned my old RAZR (Cingular, long story) and ended up going with Verizon. They're the "Can you hear me now?" people, and have excellent support. Got the new RAZR, version V3c. The only color they had was gunmetal-gray .. which is cool (dark-gray).

These cell-phone sales people lie about the other companies. They all claim the other providers charge long-distance and roaming charges. The only thing Verizon doesn't have is rollover minutes.

I hear Motorola will soon be coming out with a new phone, called the SLVR (Sliver), which is supposed to be even thinner than the RAZR. Perhaps I should conclude today's entry with a link to Cell Phone Etiquette.

For more info along these lines here's a Google search pre-configured for the query-string: bluetooth wireless headset earpiece motorola razr cell phone

Posted by Rad at Tuesday: 17January2006

Sunday: 15.January.2006

Sharing Children

Like many other broken families, I've been sharing children. While other families have been doing this for many years, I've been doing it for only a few months. After all the legal dust settles, the thing, it seems, that one is left with, is sadness.

I'm not normally a sad person. Quite the opposite. I tend to be enthusiastic about life, and have difficulty understanding the psychology of friends who require anti-depressants.

So sadness is an not a familiar emotion. Perhaps I feel more sad for the little guy than for myself (tho not sure). His life (I feel) could be so much richer if I were more involved (daily walks on the beach at sunset like before, etc.).

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On the *positive* side, it has become clear that you definitely appreciate your time with your children more when you have little of it.

If you're allotted only X number of hours per week, you are going to cram 3X worth of love & affection into those hours.

One thing that has become apparent is that my experience of his growth has become perceptibly *digital* .. as opposed to analog (continuous).

Every week, when I pick him up, I'm expecting to see the same person I dropped off last week. But he's always different. He's grown .. into a different person. Strikingly so.

It always takes me back for a moment, when I first see him. And for a moment, that same sadness hits. It becomes obvious that I've missed yet *another* part of his growth.

And you can't help but feel how unfortunate it is .. especially during these magical months .. when he's growing so fast .. days you can never recover. Lost forever.

And you feel helpless, cuz there's nothing you can do, nothing you can say. The situation is out of your hands. "Others" will decide for you .. what is best .. because you were unable to negotiate a compromise yourself. Disappointment becomes your constant companion. Discouragement a familiar bedfellow.

Sharing children normally occurs when children are older. But he has been shared since well before his first birthday. Maybe that is the reason for my pronounced perception.

The concept of analog vs digital can be applied philosophically to life in our modern society (which is another discussion entirely). But I can't help but feel it applies to my experience of parenting, which has become discreet, separate, unnatural. A weekly, rather than daily thing.

Analog is natural. The sun moves across the sky in a *continuous* arc. If it were to move only once each hour, it would appear unnatural.

Anyway, I'm just thinking out loud, sharing observations. What surprises me most is that (here in SoCal, at least), so many families share children. The divorce rate here in SoCal (I've read) is 68%. It keeps the lawyers busy. Families that manage to stay together are a minority.

I guess, after a while, it will become "normal". But while he's so little, growing so fast, it seems so unnatural, so unfortunate, and even for an upbeat person like me, sad.

The good thing is that (as many have noted) he's so young that he won't know any different. He'll grow up feeling this sharing thing is normal. He won't feel like it's his fault .. cuz it's all he'll ever know.

Despite the unfortunate circumstances, he's one of the happiest little tykes you've ever seen. And there's a reason to be glad.

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 15January2006 | Comments (0)