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Girl stares at the clock for the tenth time in ten minutes. She finds herself frantic of what tasks to tackle next on this hot, humid, rainy NYC summer afternoon.

She could study…there’s that damn test to take for work. Could pay some bills, organize doctor appointments, and strategize business development. Yet she found herself at a standstill. Frozen solid. The idea to do anything just seemed impossible.

Okay, I am that girl. Shocker…right? But how in the heck could this be? I just moved to NYC months ago …my life long dream! There are so many reasons to get out of bed- to conquer and enjoy.

Photo by jonathan riley on Unsplash

I had this extensive list of places to go (mainly eat) in NYC and somehow that list was forgotten once residency set in. Familiar story when we live somewhere and neglect the urgency to be active knowing it’s not going anywhere.

But how can I have these drained, flat-lined feelings I had when in LA? This can’t be…it’s suppose to be new zip code, new me!

Change of scenery …shouldn’t that be enough to motivate for f$^# sake? Shouldn’t I magically be this new person with fresh habits who’s inspired 24/7?

Or is that euphoria temporary like everything else in life?

Then, I started to realize my self-care rituals and routines were out of whack.  Simple pleasures in life were taking backseat. I made relevant excuses like I need time to settle into my new home, job and figure out my rhythm.

Well, I have been here for four months, so now what? What’s the reason at this point for not putting my health and happiness first?

My lifestyle even though new and exciting was also becoming a bit toxic, exhausting, and lacking balance. That the relationships I chose or that chose me could dim my spark.

“I was losing sight of myself and my needs in the NYC rat race and daily shuffle.”

I witnessed myself with conflicted interests.

Little over a year ago I was fresh out of a breakup and had zero inclination to date or even speak to a man for that matter. I was on a mission to heal, to soul search, to find what makes me tick.

I traveled abroad to Italy, eating and drinking my way through the landscape. I began writing again- tapping into my creative side everyday.

Then fast forward I met a man who forever changed my life. The catalyst for my move across the country, new job, and blossoming relationship.

All I have ever wanted was true love, even though I figured something was wrong with me or I wasn’t cut out for long term relationships. That subject matter would take a dozen pages to cover, so for summary sake let’s just say I have always been better at being the fun girl and not the girlfriend.

That relationships made me crazy…But I still craved a best friend, lover, and partner to share life with.

Then it fell into my lap… but not quite the package I imagined. Instead I got a man newly separated, but should have been divorced long ago. Religion kept them prisoners in a loveless marriage, with only the obligation of their kids to bind them.

How crazy to fall for a man not 100% available, but he made me feel like the center of the universe. It’s hard enough these days just to get a second date so how could I forfeit this kind of love?

For the first time ever I felt confident and unwavering. I didn’t feel insecure, obsessive, or crazy with someone.

Every time he walked in the door my heart would skip a beat and smile in gratitude. He literally checked off every box from physical to emotional to protector and provider… Except the obvious fact that he was still legally “taken.”

I never thought I would be that girl- Will I just be another lame AF Lifetime movie where Tori Spelling plays me? Dear God, No!

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This situation wasn’t traditional or ideal by any means, not to mention being ethically challenged on the daily. Even my closest friends told me not to get my hopes up, because most separated guys won’t follow through with divorce and my heart will end up broken.

Forget posting photos on social media, which is probably my karma having craved that superficial gratification. And can’t risk radiating joy to friends of this newfound love or being able to explain who has taken me away from my usual socialite self.

The baggage and stress that comes along with loving someone who’s entering divorce with kids involved, is not even fathomable at times. Even though his kids are now young adults, they are still looked as children in this equation.

I can’t relate as a forever single gal whose only child is a fluffy Bichon Frise.

And no matter how much I believe his love and have faith in his promise, I am a victim to doubt, fear, and stereotypes.

Pessimistically wondering could I just be a midlife crisis to him? Merely a refreshing change of pace to a usually toxic environment? A dreamy escape from the realities of a life he chose so long to endure?

The conflict of interest recently dominated when it wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows with him. When that honeymoon phase gets interrupted by excessive phone calls and a myriad of angry texts I accidentally (okay, purposively) oversee.

It doesn’t help that I’m dangerously curious and fascinated by the human psyche. I want to know all the details to better understand where his mind is amongst this madness.

What happens when this shift takes place?

When the dark side of this circumstance and process takes over. When negative thoughts try to cloud the once sunny perspective. When human faults and vulnerabilities are exposed to the highest degree. When there’s a blinding spotlight on substance abuse and it unleashes childhood angst. Yet, patience persists because the heart as insane as it is knows what it wants. And compassion reigns down as I witness the demise of a 25 year relationship and routine…And will only ever know one side of the story.

A man ready to abandon religion and community to succumb to his heart probably for the first time ever. Watching this dramatic tug of war between his love for me and his shame and guilt for his other life.

Not to mention his paralyzing fear to lose his children’s love. My heart breaks at the pressure for him to perform to all audiences and how sad it is that he cannot simply live his truth.

That communicating divorce to a child of any age ain’t easy even though he (and she) deserve to be happy. And that happiness and authenticity should be conveyed and accepted.

That the best example to teach children is that they deserve real love even if it’s not always in the originally intended form.

We all have one life to live, yet we truly never can live it for ourselves. Constantly torn by how we affect others in this domino effect or how we are perceived and judged.

Here I found myself stuck in the middle of it all. By choosing this man I somehow signed up to be a counselor, sounding board and emotional sponge.

I wondered why I was constantly fatigued and unable to jump out of bed. I was running out of energy and tissues fast trying to deal with it all.

Sometimes I don’t have the answers and have no clue what I am doing. I can’t even play Trivial Pursuit these days without a full blown anxiety attack and emergency Xanax on deck.

So how can anyone rely on me?

Knowing my lid was about to pop, I desperately screamed at him,

“Please seek help…Get a therapist…”

Maybe I should take my own advice too, as I dial 1-800-HELP-ME faster than you can say nervous breakdown.

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I don’t want to feel resentment. I am a first time New Yorker wanting to see all the city has to offer, but turning down dates and experiences I can’t get back.

So does love conquer all?

I am still young (ish) and deserve a drama-free relationship. But is drama-free an oxymoron somehow? Does it still exist when you unite two people with their different backgrounds and dynamics? Is everyone eventually addressing some chapter they would rather not face, because love is worth it?

Is true love holding that person up even when it beats you down?

How long do you stay and endure? What are you capable of? Are you stronger than you think? What can you put up with? Are there deadlines? Rules? Boundaries? How do you balance your expectations and needs with the imminent reality of other eyes constantly evaluating his every move?

What do you do when you are the new woman in his life and he has not finalized his promises?  Ethically, do you let him go until he is fully available? Or do you selfishly take his love at whatever the cost?

Relationships are complicated and love is tricky.

There are no real answers, because no matter what we say, plan, predict, dream or pray for…. we have no control of the outcome. It will unfold as it does and we roll with the punches or we choose to run away.

All we can hope for if we stay, is that the benefit outweighs the sacrifice and struggle.

Girl stops staring at the clock and the minutes passing or what she should be doing on this NYC summer day. She is doing exactly what she needs to do in that minute. What’s healing for her in that instance.

So instead she stands in front of the mirror and stares at her reflection. She ponders her literature, her circumstance…Who she is… And what she truly wants in life.

Will it be a fairytale happy ending?  Or simply another life lesson? She anticipates the outcome. But in the interim, there’s work to be done, bills to pay, errands to run, and most importantly yoga classes to take for some much needed self-love. Put yourself first. Namaste.

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