Almost Spring - update
Life is good, once again. I'm back to the girl I was this time last year, but better. The light is back in my eyes. Anxieties are a thing of the past and I'm taking really good care of myself.
I've been seeing a therapist for about a month or more and he's helped me to clarifiy my priorities and goals, and reinforce my boundaries while also setting new ones.
I'm investing the most energy in myself and I am always asking myself first "Is this what's best for me?" I weigh everything against that thought, and I must say I'm doing a really good job of being true to myself and my needs. It feels wonderful and it SHOWS! BF and others have remarked about how happy I seem.
I'm still seeing BF. Today makes 10 months since we started dating. Even HE is in a better head space. Instead of ME being the "main source of (his) happiness" he is ALSO investing in himself and continues to hit the gym on the regular while doing projects around the house, running his daughter to doctor appointments and doing yard work. He's also been out on his bike prepping for a season of century rides (100 miles).
Last year, he just joined me in all my adventures and plans. This year, he's made plans that I can join him on. It's a nice mix of cycling and kayaking events.
Aside from putting myself first, the key change for me has been learning to truly live in the moment. I've "demoted" the relationship to "just dating." I'm no longer thinking about what the future may hold. I don't look at everything from the POV of us possibly living together or someday getting married. I'm still not sure I'd want EITHER!
With the help of my therapist, I'm in observation mode - not reaction mode. I'm gathering information and will be paying attention next month when the 5th anniversary of BF's late wife's death arrives.
I've told him I don't have any qualms with his memories of his LW but my hope is that his need to commemorate her special dates will decrease over time, but mostly that marking those days will no longer put him in a funk that stays for days. He has acknowledged what those days do to him and his daughter, and is committed to trying more positive ways of commemorating and not repeating the mood he had over the holidays in 2019.
I've also told him I understand if he needs to observe his wedding anniversary with the LW, but it's not compatible with what I need from a relationship. I need the person I'm with to be ready to start a new chapter and turn the page from the previous chapter. I told him I'm sorry that LW died, but their marriage ended that day and if he's with me, our anniversaries will take precedence. Remembering the first chapter is expected, but to constantly be turning back to the last chapter and spiraling into a funk over it isn't going to work for me. I think he gets it - we shall see.
The point of my post is not really about BF - it's about me. I feel like I've finally arrived at being my own best friend and champion. And I'm learning it's possible to put myself first and still have all my relationships thrive. Putting myself first doesn't have to deprive others of what a person would expect from a romantic relationship. It's a pretty radical realization that putting myself first can make everything better and help me do better in all my relationships.