I had coffee with a new friend today. He brought his 10 month old. The experience was different than I remember, having small children. I’m no longer rushed the way I used to be. I have energy the way I never had. I just melted, looking into the toddler’s eyes. I felt such joy, handing them a small paper cup, just so they could toss it, for me to pick it up again.
I don’t want to blame my ex-partner or ex-business partner for thinking I missed out on something… I take responsibility. I was so armored. I chose to wear that armor. I imagined they wielded some sort of weapon, aimed at my heart. My ex-business partner would attack directly and indirectly, with barbs that went directly to my soft spots, my insecurities. Indirectly, that was done by getting other people to attack my soft spots. In my apologist nature, taking responsibility for my own feelings, I also need to remember—my business partner was a bully. I needed to protect myself.
Now, I would walk away.
I learned the lesson of walking away with my ex-partner. They were controlling. They were not so adept at pinpoint attacks to soft spots, but I was so insecure about being alone, that I chose to live in a cage, to be crated. I was there to prop up my partner’s emotions, to feed of their happiness. Maybe that’s why pets are so special. I did it, as I thought a loving partner should do, not realizing that their lack of emotional regulation led to my overregulation. The lack of reciprocity ate away at my ability to feel.
And so it went… that I probably lived in mild-depression for years — if mild depression is a flatline of mood.
That’s why I left my partner. I finally saw… I saw there was another way to live and I needed to live that way as a father. As a father, living by example is one of the most powerful things you can do. I did not want to continue the cycle of living for someone else. I knew I could live selflessly. I had to prove and show, for my sons, that I could live for myself.
Stand for Myself by Yola
In online dating, you are often asked whether you have kids and want kids. I have kids, but only want more with the right partner. So, I leave that answer blank. I don’t want to miss out on a person who would be open to kids. Yet, in meeting that young child this morning, I realize, I want more kids. I love the qualities that come from being an only child, but I also know I’m a fantastic father and want a second chance at the really young ages… with a special partner.