Alternative Proposal: Review

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/mariaallenjewellery/product/mini-gold-personalised-love-letter-necklace

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Are you planning on proposing some time this year but not sure how to do it?  Are you looking for something different other than he standard get down on one knee? Are you unsure if they will say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and for this reason would like to put off buying the ring until you are sure? (OK, so this last question is not ideal, but lets be honest it happens…..)

Whilst browsing the internet this morning I found this charming necklace, It can be personalised with any message you wish.  However, I thought it was perfect with the message ‘Marry Me.’  How cute, and what a great keepsake (if they said yes, of course!). There is a mini version (which is the one shown above) at a cost of £49, with the standard size costing £68-£80 depending upon whether you choose the gold or silver option.

We would be more than happy to be proposed in this way.  Gone are the days of ‘down on one knee’ holding an Elizabeth Duke velveteen ring box.  You need to stand out from the crowd and make a proposal that your chosen lady will remember for time.  However you decide to do it, this would be a great addition.

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/mariaallenjewellery/product/personalised-sterling-love-letter-necklace

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Going Backwards? It is not possible, time will never allow it

I had my first child at 17, needless to say I was nt married and the relationship did not last. By 28 I had given birth to my second and third children.  I still was not married, nor did the fella ever intend to propose, mainly as he knew he had some sort of control in this matter, and all I ever wanted was the happily ever after.  So I planned the wedding, and when our third child was 6 months old, we got married.  I was never proposed to, and he never said he wanted to marry me, but he did. I am now divorced. Single again and have been for two years.  I am dating, for the first time in my life.  I meet men, go on dates and if I want to see them again I do, if I don’t  then I don’t.  For the first time in my life, I realised I actually had a choice in relationships.  My children are older now.  I go out with friends, I go on holiday with them, weekends away to festivals and allow myself that time to let my hair down.  I am truly living a single life.  With three older children in tow.  They of course also get my time, but as I am sole carer, with not much of a break I allow myself some freedom now and again.  I benefit, but so do they.

I had a career at 21, working in a law firm, receiving a large pay check at the end of each month and a decent annual bonus to boot.  At 30, I left, I’d had enough of the rat race and returned to university.  I am a student. I also work, part time.

I had a house at 21, albeit with a mortgage but it was mine.  After a failed engagement and then a failed marriage and all the financial implications that came with that (thanks ex-husband for eternally lumbering me with your debt) I now live in rented.  Although it is not all bad, as in actual fact this is the first house that actually feels like home to me, since leaving my parents home some 15 years ago.

At 21, despite having a child, I had savings.  Maybe this was because it was before the recession hit us, I do not know.  But I now no longer have savings.  Another way I have gone backwards…..?

I felt at one point I had it all.  Husband, children, career, money. But I did not.  I did not have my freedom, nor my happiness. I was sad, and despite being surrounded by my husband and children I felt lonely.  Nothing fulfilled me.  I felt like a shell, an outline of a person with nothing inside. Empty.

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I used to be very creative, but all of this had fallen by the way side to make time for my career and my children.  I was desperately trying to hold everything together and it worked for a couple of years, but once the cracks began to show, no matter how much I tried to plaster of them, it was just a temporary fix.  I had to strip back to basics, and reassess my life.  At first I thought I had thrown everything away, until I realised I had in fact just began to clear everything away.  The things which I no longer needed in my life as they served no purpose, and in fact made me very unhappy.  However, I am happier now than I have ever been.  I still have problems in my life I have to deal with, but I do not ‘struggle’ to deal with them.  I am not constantly stressed out and have managed to develop a ‘whatever will be, will be’ attitude.  I believe sometimes we are so conditioned by society that we believe the house, car, husband, children, career blahdy blah is what is going to keep us happy. Having lived that live, it did not work for me, and I know plenty others that it has not worked for either.

If you feel unhappy, it is time to assess your life.  Do not be frightened, as you have to do this, for yourself. You have a duty to live life in the most happiest, fulfilling way that you can.

I had difficulty allowing myself time.  I felt guilty, feeling as though I had to be there for my children 24/7.  So I not only felt guilty when I went out for dinner with friends, or for a weekend away at a spa, I felt guilty when I went to work!  Working 10 hours a day in a law firm, meant most days I did not see my children for more than an hour a day-combined from before and after work.  It made it more difficult for me to accept as when I tried to explain it to my husband, he was so money driven (mainly as I paid his bills) that he failed to even consider a reduction in my hours.  So when I was finally brave enough to take a look at my life, and after my now ex-husband had left, I know the next thing on my list was my work.  I had always been interested in people and what made them tick, so I chose to do Psychology.  I left my work, which had always served as a security blanket and I took the giant step of becoming a student. This freed up a lot of my time, and now I can take my children to school every morning and collect them from school three days a week.  The guilt of not being a ‘proper’ mother (this way my ideal of the type of mother I wanted to be) to my children has gone.  Which now means I can also take time out some weekends, guilt-free.

Your steps do not have to be as life changing as mine, I am in no way advocating that every one packs in their jobs and gets divorced.  This worked for me, and I am still in transition after two years, but every day I am a step closer to where I want to be.  So even though I looked as though I was going backwards, (and believe me, many people questioned me, and some thought I was in mid-life crisis) I actually just cleared the decks so I could move forwards. I AM HAPPY.

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My (not-so-funny) Valentine: Weekly Writing Challenge

My now ex-husband left the marital home three years ago, on Valentine’s day-anything for a bit of extra drama!  So it has always been a bit of a strange day for me, a celebration of finally becoming free, but a reaffirmation I was once again single!  Last year was the first Valentine’s day since the eventful departure/extraction of the ex where I actually felt able to date.  I had been chatting to a man online for a few weeks and when he asked me out on a date, nicely coinciding with the 14th February, I was very happy to accept.  I thought ‘Wow, this timing is perfect, it is surely meant to be!’  He seemed nice, always had plenty to talk about and from his pictures he looked attractive.

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So, Imagine my disappointment when the guy who turned up looked distinctly older than he did on his photographs.  He was also much shorter than his 6 foot 1 inches he had entered on his profile.  So glad I had decided not to wear heels that day.  I attempted to hide my disappointment and decided not to write him off just yet.  We had connected when chatting on line….kind off, and he seemed pleasant enough. He suggested we go for a drink before our meal.  As soon as we entered the bar we got our drinks and we went to sit down.  He led me over to a table and he sat in the single chair leaving me to sit on a bench type chair in the corner, not very polite may I say, and in addition, I do not like being shoved in a corner.  As soon as I sat down he then got up and sat next to me on the bench style chair.  As there was also a table in front of me I now felt rather uncomfortable-in fact worse than that, TRAPPED.  To break the ice and try to alleviate the awkwardness of the situation, I began began chatting about the messages we had sent and the conversations we had covered in those messages.  As hard as I tried, after twenty minutes or so the conversation began to run dry, I was really struggling to find anything to say to this man.  This is unusual for me as I can quite often fill any awkward silences with ease but this time I just could not think of any words.  It confirmed things when he returned from a trip to the toiler and exclaimed:

“Oh well you’ve not done a runner so that’s a bonus!”

By this point I was desperately trying to think of a viable excuse as to why I could not go for the meal with him.  I began saying I needed to get home shortly as I had loads of things to sort out before work the next day.   He proceeded to show me pictures of his family days out, a final picture of his mum with hot chocolate round her mouth and stuck to her teeth were pretty much the final straw for me.  Was this fella just some crazy man?! As I was about to make my excuses and go I received a text message.  ‘YES!’ I thought. ‘A get out clause, I can just tell him that there is some emergency and I really need to go.’  But no one could prepare me for this.  I could not believe it, it was from my date-YES THE ONE SAT NEXT TO ME! I looked at him, puzzled, and he showed no emotion on his face at all so I assumed it was an old message which had come through late.  But as I clicked the message open I could not believe my eyes.  The message read:

I am dying to kiss you right now

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I know we met online, but this man did realise that when you meet up in person you are supposed to be able to converse face to face right? That we are not still in cyberland…..did nt he? I looked at him again (more than likely with a look of horror on my face).  At this point I really could not think of anything I would rather not do. I did not fancy him at all, there was no connection, no spark and to be honest he actually was starting to freak me out!  I could not understand how he had read this situation so badly.  Surely the absence of my response and the look I gave him was enough for him to understand that this was no the way to approach a situation? APPARENTLY NOT!!!

Before I could do or say anything he lunged towards me, and I did only what I could have done in this desperate situation-I grabbed the scarf tied around my neck, and pulled it up over my face and said:

“NO, I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO!”

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My date looked wounded, like a child who’d been told off for stealing biscuits out of the biscuit tin.  He replied “Really?”.  Erm, let me take a minute this think about this………YES, REALLY! I had been hemmed into a corner, subjected to his family album and epic tedious stories about people, of whom I had no idea who they were, pictures of chocolate teeth, and to top it off a text message whilst he was sat next to me. This was embarrassing enough, but then to have to create a diversion so as to not have to kiss him was more than my nerves could take.  I felt as though I was on the verge of a panic attack. Overall I think anyone would probably agree this was not a great first date!  We sat there in silence for what felt like a life time in itself(probably about three seconds) and all I could think about what what I could say so he would let me get away.

“So……erm…..I’ve lots to do before work tomorrow, I am sorry but I need to leave.”

I managed in a slightly nervous squeaky voice.  With this I shoved my way out of the corner and practically ran through the door.  This was the last time I saw this man and the last time I engaged in online dating.

I’m pretty sure Valentine’s day for me is jinxed.

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Related Article:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/writing-challenge-valentine/?blogsub=confirmed#blog_subscription-3

Never date a personal trainer, unless you’re a personal trainer ;)

Yes he looked good, with his bulging biceps, tattooed arms and toned legs. At first sex was good, I think it was the novelty of having my own toy ken in the bedroom. However, the novelty did nt last long. His inability to talk about anything other than what he had trained, who he had trained, what he had eaten and what i had eaten soon took its toll. This poor man had no substance, he was like a really disappointingly expensive sweet. You take off the wrapper and it looks amazing but as soon as you take a bite you realise the investment was nt quite worth it so leave it for someone else to finish or put it in the bin.

B.

Not Happy? It’s not the end

I was always perceived at school as a pretty and intelligent girl who was confident and not scared to stand up for herself.  The truth was I was shy and had very low self esteem. I constantly strived for approval from others and all I ever wanted was to be accepted.

I could never work out whether or not I was accepted and so I would do things that I would not necessarily do, and for that reason I have made some bad choices in my life.  Nothing which has ended me in prison or anything but nonetheless, if I knew what I know now things would have been very different.

My mum and dad divorced when I was 10.  I never thought it affected me until recently.  I looked back at my life and realised I have been rather destructive to myself and in  particular in relationships.  My dad was not an altogether abusive man but on occasion was physically abusive to my mum.  My mum was not an overall manipulator but could be manipulative.  It is easy for me to see why they are not together now when I look at them both.  They are both remarried and happy.  Furthermore, they are all friends which is nice to see, though it has taken them twenty years to get there.

As I always wanted to feel accepted and wanted, I became sexually active at 15.  By the time I was 17 I was pregnant, to a boy from school. He became abusive and manipulating and I let it all happen.  Getting pregnant was actually the saving grace as it gave me the strength to end the relationship as I did not want my child growing up around this man.  In short,  he kidnapped me, he abused me both physically and mentally, he stole off me and he cheated on me with numerous other girls and even one of my ‘friends’.  I did not know at the time but he was also an alcoholic and a drug user, who was also struggling with coming to terms he was bi-sexual. Not that this gave him the right to treat me in the way he did.

After I had my child I met someone who was doing well for themselves and was extremely good looking.  He even helped me look after my child.  At first things were great, we shared lots of great times.  But eventually the relationship fell apart.  He became very controlling and rather manipulative and I felt trapped.  I was 22 but felt like 32 (I am 33 now and I felt older then than I do now!) I still see this man as he still has contact with my child and for that I will always be thankful.  But what I had done was let another man look after me and do everything for me.

To be honest looking back I am not surprised I met someone else.  Not only were there issues in my relationship with control generally taking each other for granted, probably due to the fact we were very young and not really knowing how to deal with difficulties in the relationship.  Additionally, I found it extremely difficult to communicate with my partner.  I am not suprised at this either.  Although I’ve always known my parents loved me, whilst I was growing up I was not really told that they did.  I never heard the words ‘I love you.’ When I lived with my mum and dad, dad occasionally did not come home.  I remember me asking mum one morning whilst in the kitchen where dad was and she told me he had gone to work early.  Even at the young age of 8 or 9 years old I remember thinking ‘he did nt come home’. If my mum and dad had problems then they argued.  I remember a lot of bickering and sniping, but I do not remember them being particularly happy.

I guess then in some way I had been programmed not to deal with issues and to retaliate by pushing people away, because I believed they were going to leave anyway. With hindsight I now know that this is what happened with this man.  I did my best to push him away, as this was a barrier I had put up as I believed he would leave anyway.  I could not fully open myself up to love him and I could not believe that someone actually loved me for me.  We are actually engaged to be married and had bought a house together.  We had everything and could have had more.  I kept all the photographs from family holidays we had together and looking at them the other day I broke down in tears as we were actually in love.  The way we were looking at each other in the photographs was so extremely touching and it is for this reason that I have kept them as I want my child to have these so they know that we did love each other once.  In fact, I believe we still love each other now, but things have changed and us as people have changed also.  If I had the tools to salvage that relationship at that time then I would have done.  But obviously it was not meant to be.

I  jumped from that relationship into another which initially gave me the freedom and excitement I was so desperately looking for. Unfortunately it turned out to be an extremely bad decision, but this I will discuss at another time as this is a very long story in itself.

It was only after I had to make some very brave decisions and walk away from this relationship.  It was one of hardest things I have ever had to do.  But it was only then that I began to actually find myself.  Since my divorce three years ago I left my job, which I had not been happy in for over three years.  I enrolled to do a degree I had always wanted to do, and got work at a local charity.  I had desperately wanted to do a job where I felt I was making a difference to people for such a long time.  I am still single, I am still studying and I am the happiest I have ever been.  I have also taken this time whilst I have been single to reflect on past relationships and behaviours, as well as life events such as my parents divorce. I understand why I have acted in the way I have.  I have forgiven myself for some of the things I have done.  I have apologised to the relevant people for the way I have acted and I am ready to move on.  One thing I realised is as my mum never said ‘I love you’ to me as a child I constantly say it to my children.  My dad says it to me all the time, and I can easily reciprocate, but  until recently I could never say it to my mum.  Not because I did nt, but because we just never had. But mum if you ever read this please know one thing, I do love you with all my heart and now I am older I know that the words do not always have to be spoken.

Over the last couple of years I have had many discussions with my parents (separately of course) and I can see both sides of their story.  I have also accepted certain things from my childhood and forgiven and let go.

I know I am of worth.  I know I have grown up to be a good mum, a kind hearted person who does not judge others and always try to see the best in them.  I have ambition and know I will get there.  It may have taken me longer than I would have first envisioned but I know that anything is possible and I will keep going until I get where I want to be. So for all of you who have experienced set backs, losses and difficulties never give up, keep going because you will get there, even if the journey is long.  If you are not at the happy ending then you are not at the end 🙂

B.

Must not entertain manipulators

Having been married to the chief manipulator there were a few things that I learned along the way, and a few I realised post relationship.  First how do you recognise a manipulator?  A manipulator is someone who will do anything to get you to do things for them.  Beware of tears (they are not always a sign of being genuine), charm (being overly nice for no reason or over complimentary…..hmmm what do they want?!), guilt-tripping (projecting guilt on to you making them look like the victim) and lies (watch their body language).

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If you find yourself being involved with a manipulator, here are my tips:

1. Do not negotiate with them.  For emotional manipulators, it’s all about having, exerting and gaining more power. So they’ll always push for more and they’ll never compromise. YOU CANNOT WIN.

2. Don’t engage with them.  Don’t try to talk, or reason, or discuss some matter with them – as they’ll try to twist your motives, and leave you feeling “bad”. YOU CANNOT WIN.

3.  Don’t confront them. They’re quick to take offense and they love an argument. They’ll then turn and attack you – and never let things go. YOU CANNOT WIN.

You cannot have successful relationships with this type of person.  Every argument will be your fault (and believe me there will be lots of them as manipulators love arguments).  You will end up doing things you do not want to do or would have never considered (all because they want you to) and on the back of this, you will feel angry and annoyed with yourself for compromising your values or beliefs.  If they ever help you then you will be forever in your debt.  As difficult as it is, you need to try and not react to this person.  do not allow them to press your buttons, as once they have worked out what they are, you will become their constant source of entertainment.

You really are best not having anything to do with manipulators as they bring nothing positive to your life.  You will end up giving your all trying to please this person and constantly feel inadequate, therefore never happy.

Take note: manipulators are playing a game, they are unable to admit they are wrong, they do not build meaningful relationships.  These people should be avoided at all costs, harsh but true.  Do not work with these people, do not have relationships or friendships with them.  Do not even walk their dogs or feed their cats.  Whatever you do or whatever you say will be twisted and turned around to make you feel bad.  They have one objective, to wear you down and make you submit.  Everything to them is a competition and in their head the only person who can lose is you and they will not stop until they get that.  One thing is for sure, your life will be so much easier if you avoid these people.  I would have never said this ten years ago but seeing how my marriage ended and what I still have to put up with to this day it is something I can say with ease and not feel I have to apologise about.

B.