And the One Thing You Should Do When You Don’t

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When I thought about writing the following list, it occurred to me that everything on it could be creepy if taken out-of-context. So, let me begin by saying that this list is for when we love someone and are in a partnered relationship with them. Because: consent, consent, consent.

This isn’t for unrequited love, love from afar, or for relationships that are over. This isn’t a stalker’s guide to expressing affection. It is, however, a good list of what we should do when we love our partners.

If there’s something on the list we’re not doing, we may want…

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Relationship red flags: we’re told they’re everywhere. Because they are. Just log on to a dating app, and use it for about 5 minutes. Fuckboys (or the female equivalent) quickly identify themselves, and then general fuckery ensues. We can spot catfishing attempts, bot accounts, and profiles that seem thick with lies.

After having our hearts broken and our egos bruised, we learn to be hypervigilant, ever-ready to find and identify red flags like some kind of twisted version of Capture the Flag. Those who capture it successfully may avoid future heartache. …

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Finding my soul mate isn’t my problem anymore. It’s the Universe’s problem. After all, if the Universe has a perfect soul mate for me that I’m supposed to be with, then our paths are bound to cross.

Assuming one believes in soul mates, it seems that everyone has something to say about how to find one. One of the most common suggestions is to try online dating. Everyone I know has a story about someone who found true love online. And I’ve done that, online dating. I’ve gone with the paid subscription services that try to match you with someone…

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I’ve never considered myself fearful.

Even as a child, I was borderline reckless with my bravery. There was no tree I was afraid to climb or height I was afraid to go to. If someone told me I couldn’t do something, I was definitely going to try to do it. No dare was too terrifying for the likes of me, and if Hogwarts had invited me to attend, I would have certainly been sorted into Gryffindor.

I had bravado, but I’ve come to learn just how fearful I was beneath it. Even now, I hate to admit how much…

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I have a temper. It’s something I work on, but it’s not something I try to hide. I talk openly about having one and how I try to control it or, at the very least, express it appropriately. I used to know rage well — and not just the road variety either. My anger comes out less these days, but not because I don’t feel it. Every day, there’s a fresh news story reminding me that people, women in particular, have plenty of reasons for rage.

But what I’ve found interesting over the years is that my anger when unleashed…

I didn’t believe in divorce; now I’m divorce’s strongest advocate.

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Don’t type “Divorce him”, I tell myself. I pause with the hands hovering over the keys. I think it through. Then, my fingers begin to move:

D-i-v-o-r-c-e h-i-m-!

When did I become this person?

When I got married what seems a lifetime ago, I didn’t believe in divorce. I knew it existed, but I thought it was something for other people — people dealing with abuse or infidelity. I didn’t think it was for someone like me.

There was no abuse in my relationship — although there was neglect. There was no infidelity. There was just an absence of everything…

A poem

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I didn’t clip your wings
I didn’t take the keys
Any time you wanted, you were free
To walk away from me

I didn’t steal your time
But maybe you were stealing mine
When you said that everything was fine
While my heart was dying on the line

I didn’t take your name
But I wanted you to feel the same
I had futures in my eyes
But your eyes were set on other skies

I watch you fly away from me
The way you were always going to leave
I would never clip those wings
I loved you, but you were free…

You don’t need to stay angry to learn the lesson

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There is a positive utility in anger. It gets a reaction. Often, it motivates us to move out of complacency and into the rest of our lives. Yet, so many people get stuck in their anger. They take up residence there and make a home from it. Instead of using it to motivate them, they use it to justify their mindset, their attitude, and everything that ever goes wrong with their lives.

Hello to waving red flags for all to see. Goodbye to the potential progress that could have been made from the motivation that anger sometimes brings with it…

And what it takes to get it back

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Strong. Empowered. Independent. Confident. Before my last relationship, I felt this way. In fact, before almost all of my relationships, I felt like this. So, why is it that I feel less powerful within relationships?

I’ve given this some thought as I’ve processed the failed relationships littered throughout my life. I wonder how I could possess all those characteristics and yet lose touch with them during my relationships. I began to wonder how empowered women can end up losing ourselves with such apparent ease.

The first thought is that maybe we aren’t all that strong and empowered after all. But…

You are worthy now. You were worthy then.

Photo by Jurica Koletić on Unsplash

Once a week, I revisit some of the most traumatic moments of my life. I never imagined time travel would feel like this. I’ve stepped into the age of five, the age of fourteen. I have visited past selves that I keenly remember — and have spent an entire lifetime trying to forget.

This is the therapeutic process when it involves trauma work and EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. While this isn’t my first time in therapy in my life, it is the first time I’ve directly addressed early trauma and the impact its had on my life…

Crystal Jackson

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