Friday, 30 December 2011

A New Year

The New Year is almost upon us and as we have culturally been raised the New Year brings with it the opportunity to make resolutions.  So we all take a moment and pick a big or small challenge for the year to come.  For the past few years I have come up with a quick little goal in December.  I start it right away and either accomplish it by the end of January or I forget what it was until the next year.  I get discouraged when I don’t successfully reach my goals and thus I sort of safety net myself by my simple resolutions.  This year however I am going to set a more solid goal and my hope is it will just keep building year after year.  And that is being more open and forthcoming with my ideas and my views, to not be afraid of outside judgement.

I know it may come as a surprise especially to those who have got to know me through my blog over the past few months, but I am a very closed and protective person.  Or I was for a very long time and made a big change last year in challenging myself first with my friends and then starting this blog.  I struggle daily with being able to tell an interesting story, but for some reason when I write my mind gets very clear and ideas become cohesive and interesting.  Looking back I had no idea just what an impact this change would have on my life, and my lifestyle.  I have written before that I had a very large stick up my ass for much of my life.  And damn it if I haven’t  realized that life is too short to strive for anything short of happiness.

I was watching episode 18 season 6 of House the other night in which the main premise was open relationships.  To sum up there was a married couple who opened up their relationship and the team of doctors tried every which way to analyze the relationship rather than the patient.  One of the doctors asked the wife about her lifestyle and the wife responded with, “ the hardest thing is that people are more interested in my outside affairs than my 7 year happy marriage”.  This struck a major chord with me.  A few nights ago I met a guy for the first time, who is dating a girl in an open relationship.  It blew my mind that I was actually able to have a rational, non sexual discussion with a person face to face about how my life and his life are working better for us because of this lifestyle.  It was so exciting to then share some books that have helped us both challenge our past ways of thinking.

And that is my resolution, to continue my journey of being more forthcoming and honest with myself and to those around me.  I have made some very substantial leaps in both my personal relationships and my sexual ones.  Life is moving forward at an amazing pace and I cannot wait to see the surprises in store for 2012.  I cannot thank each and everyone of you enough for your reading and support throughout this past year and I wish you all luck and happiness in your New Year resolutions.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Out But in But Out…

Also titled: How women test the waters and have a back up plan prior to asking for what they want or ending a relationship.  I have written about my insecurities with my relationships and yes of course there will be a lot more where that came from.  I am swimming in unchartered territory right now and as exciting as it is there are trials and tribulations which can be unique to my situation, and there are the same shit different pile examples as well.   So here is one that has recently been brought up.  Men see things a lot more black and white than women do.  I was asked a very simple question by my boyfriend which was, is your friend single?  Unto which I replied in the most convoluted way, well yes but no, well sort of, I’m not sure.  Seriously, I put so many extra variables into this very simple and obvious answer that I was even more confused by the end of my analysis.  And thus I was inspired to find out why I was unable to answer, and the conclusion was incredibly simple, she has used an ancient seduction and survival technique to confuse all those around her.

I will do my best to explain this using myself as an example to protect the anonymity of my friend.  When I was reconsidering staying with my ex I employed a little “test the water trick” that may sound pretty twisted and cruel in certain lights but here goes.  I was feeling really insecure and I was not confident that I could handle the pain of my impending breakup alone.  I knew that I could no longer be with this man,( http://k-ghislaine.blogspot.com/2011/08/love.html), however I rationalized that I could only handle feeling one emotion at a time or I would have a complete and utter break down.  So to protect myself I found a rebound guy, but here’s the rub of it.  The re-bound guy was actually a major player in this prior to me ending the relationship.  I assure you that there was no physical cheating of any kind, but I will admit there were emotional indiscretions.  I found a guy who was physically interested in me, would be a shoulder for me to cry on and a great person to just shoot the shit with when I was lonely.  I created a scapegoat in order to fully execute my breakup and ease the emotional burden I was about to face.

As I was soon to find out, I was not the only one to do this.  And it’s scary to think that this can almost be called a default plan of attack.  Looking back, whenever I have decided to bring up big and scary issues I have purposefully reconnected with someone who will have my back and my needs met just in case.  This is relationship survival at its very core.  And the best part is?  It is done all on the sly so that your nearest and dearest are completely in the dark to your real motives.  There is a great shroud of mystery in your actions.  Whatever the fallout is, you can blame the right time right place, emotional instability, or just plain you couldn’t lie about your feelings for your scapegoat anymore and thus had to do the responsible thing and end thing with your significant other.  On the one hand I am pretty impressed at the skill level that women are able to accomplish the basic protect thyself mantra.  Of course on the other hand, I am a little nervous if I will still try this in the future or if I will come up with something even more devious.

So the bottom line here?  Woman are magical creatures who will do what it takes to stay happy, even if that means doing something completely underhanded and cruel  even to a right place wrong time guy who gets caught in the crossfire of an ending relationship.  And the motives of the woman are so well protected that it is hard to convincingly state where they are at with their significant other.   This is a strategy of timing and a woman being able to walk away with her head held high to the outside world.  Is she In or is she Out?

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The 18 Year Old

I have never dated an 18 year old, or anyone younger for that matter.  Even when I was a teenager myself dating was just not something that I had any interest in.  The guys my age were confusing and even when I entered university at 17 (three weeks before turning 18) the guys had little to offer me.  I went on a date here and there but nothing ever went beyond that first date or that horrible awkward first kiss goodnight.  I cannot say for sure if it was low self esteem or just that I had so many other things going on and the juvenile nature of the boys surrounding me just left me with the feeling of disinterest.  So why bring this up?

Last night I went out to a pub with about 15 guys between the ages of 18 and 23.  I have surrounded myself with people who are older than me pretty much my entire life.  Even when I was a small child I preferred hanging around the adults rather than playing with the kids my own age.  Thus I was a little out of my comfort zone.  As well it was the first time that many of these guys have met me so it was a double edged sword.  So I did what I usually do in new situations, I just sat back and watched all the dynamics around me.  And of course I made some mental notes so I could share what I learnt.

The first thing is the handshakes.  There were the handshakes from the guys who knew I was in a relationship and gave me a firm handshake like meeting any new buddy would.  These were from guys who have enough going in there favour and just are out to have fun.  Then came the shy barely would touch my hand – shake.  Now this is where I really got interested.  The guy in particular who gave me this sort of handshake, I instantly misjudged.  And yes I would have misjudged him sorely as a teenage too.  My first reaction was that this guy was completely dismissing me and wouldn’t even give me the time of day for a proper handshake.  On closer analysis though, it turns out that he was the most eager to meet women and gladly wanted my bf and my help in this regard.  This 18 year old just has not game whatsoever. 

I have not spent much time around guys without the slightest clue in regards to women in quite a few years.  And this really got me thinking about something I wrote about previously http://k-ghislaine.blogspot.com/2011/10/dating-how-to.html.  We are not taught to date, just that we should.  I guess if I had dated as a teenage I may have gone through the growing pains at the same time as the guys around me, fumbling through what my peers said versus what I thought I knew.  Stumbling awkwardly through the maze of hormones and dealing with opposite sex symbols and signs.  So I am thusly lost when it comes to these young ones, and that is not say I’m old but rather that I missed an integral learning point in my dating career.  So how now do I help guide these young guys and give them advice that is appropriate for the sexual attention they desire?  I have no idea, but hopefully I will figure something out by the time I go out with them again and the pressure is on.  So stayed tuned for my next installment of what I have learned from the 18 year olds.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I Come By Openness Honestly... Thank You!

Earlier this week my writing got a little derailed.  I am constantly writing my ideas down and have a list of ideas that I would like to expand on but not this week.  My last blog I wrote about some subject matter that was on the preconceived notion that my mom did not read my blogs.  I can't honestly tell you why I didn't think she read anymore, other than perhaps I hadn't had any recently uncomfortable conversations with her about them.  But low and behold there I go writing something incredibly personal, bearing my soul and desires, to find out that yes indeed she is an active reader.

Naturally I have had a little bit of writers block as a result of having her as an audience.  So here I am trying to look at this logically and deal with it head on so I can move past this.  Overall I am incredibly proud of my writing, and I enjoy that I write about subject matter that really fuels me.  And up until that last post I had no discomfort at all with my parental units having a little peak into my soul and how I think and process information as an adult.  Thus I have reached a conclusion about this whole thing.  I am so incredibly blessed and lucky to have the support that I do from my immediate family.  They may not support the actual words that are written, but they still read, and they try to find a common ground or a base acceptance of what I am trying to accomplish here.

Let me share a few polite ways that they have come up with to show their support with difficult subject matter.  The first is "[I am] trying to make sense out of what is happening in [My] life... [I] want to understand... i love that!".  Your "writing is helping me to understand myself more and opening the door for me in the healing process".  And of course my absolute favourite, "when I read some of these blogs all I can think is Goddamn it, that child of mine!"  Mega points if you can guess who said that last one.  But reading these comments from those that I share a bloodline with, really gets me thinking about just how incredibly lucky I am.


Imagine my fortune in being able to share my thoughts in a public forum and not be reprimanded or shunned.  If it was not for how I was raised I don't think I could have been nearly as honest in portraying this personal aspect of my life.  I should let you know as well that each of my family members has bridged their own battles in openness and honesty.  Their bravery in their own lives has given me the courage to push my envelope just a little further without the fear of rejection.  I used to curse in my head just how much sharing was done in my family, that very few subjects were taboo and I learned a lot about life at a very young age.  I did not understand just how valuable this viewpoint would be in my development.  I learned very early on that my friends were not raised in quite the same way.  There was an open door at my house for almost any conversation, void of judgement for the most part anyway.  


So here is my humblest thank you for all my family and giving me support even when it is really difficult.  I am able to continue writing in large part to all the little things that you have done and said over my lifetime.  I began by writing this blog for selfish reasons, (ridding my writers block) and ended up with more joy and positivity as a result.  So thank you to my family for being who you are with all your faults and strengths as I press forward with my own discovery.  Asking as many questions as I can and finding answers in my own way.  Question Everything.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

But How Can You Know What You Want...?

"But how can you know what you want, till you get what you want, and you see if you like it?" (Into the Woods the musical).  This quote pretty much sums up where I am at right now.  Some new questions and very few answers have sprung up on me and I am trying to determine the yays or nays to the scenarios.  My biggest critics are those close to me.  My best friend used to ask me once a week "so are you monogamous yet?".  My answers were always the same but I found myself answering with a range of different emotions ranging from calm laughter, to annoyance, to an almost childlike defiance, to an acceptance that people just may not understand. 

One thing I have learned on my journey is what I do not like.  I do not like being told what to do or how to do it.  I have always been someone who needs to try out different paths on my own and experience things for myself.  If nothing else I come out with a greater understanding of where others come from.  So what question is really plaguing me right now?  The idea of where to take my relationship from here.  What are the next levels that I want to take it too.  I was recently talking to a gentlemen who was a swinger.  I was being my usual inquisitive self, and one thing that struck me about his lifestyle was how he was able to befriend the women that he and his wife brought back into the bedroom.  I was absolutely intrigued by this level of respect that he had for the other women.

Could I ever find a way to love or even have a friendship after intimacy with someone other than my lover?  This has been a stickling factor for me.  Being raised with the notion of one lover and one relationship at a time fear and panic has scared me out of any opening up of things as a couple.  I know this is too much information for any of my readers who actually know me and I am really sorry that you have to make eye contact with me in the future after reading this.  This is a legitimate fear though.  I am not married, I do not have implicit security in my relationship so I realize I need to artificially create that aura.  Once I create that sense of independence and confidence within myself I think things will get easier.

And yes the hard cold reality is that I may not like it, and I may for a short while dislike myself, but what if I don't?  Are the risks involved really worth not taking a chance and experiencing what thousands of people have experienced for hundreds of years?  And here is one key difference between myself  and out there, I want to share where I am at.  I do not want to be secretive in my desires and chances that I am taking.  The gentleman I was discussing this with holds his anonymity first and foremost.  He said he is most great full for never meeting anyone in public that he has played with.  His life is on his terms and in a secret box.  Therefor there is limited access to acceptance by society.  There are stories out there of all of these open relationships gone wrong.  And that is how our society demands it.  Politicians ruining their marriages or political careers because of infidelity, and the like.  But where are all the success stories?  Where partners are striving and being better lovers and parents because all their needs are being met?

All I ask is put your judgment on the shelf and consider the possibility that I am not the only one out there who fantasizes about more in my relationship.  I have questions and few answers, but I am taking a leap and making sure that I get to taste all that I can in my short time on this planet.  Perhaps some of you will live vicariously through me, or perhaps I will lose many readers.  Either way I can only be who I am. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Trials and Lots of Errors

When I first met my boyfriend he told me that he wanted two girlfriends, that he had had three at one time in the past and that he didn't want monogamy.  My first reaction was great, I don't want anything serious either.  I was also incredibly pleased that this guy knew what he wanted, and wasn't afraid to put it right out there.  He said I could be on board or get out now, entirely my choice.  I wondered how this man who eventually wanted children thought this was going to work, but of course it was very early on.  My own experience as I have written before was monogamy as the only key to ultimate happiness.  My impulse was life is short, lets see where this takes me, and I can always get out at any time if I'm not happy or comfortable.

We have been together for well over a year now, and looking back upon everything that I have encountered over this time its astounding.  There are situations that I have been in where in a monogamous relationship would have been the end of everything.  But here in this new relationship world I have tried to understand, talk and work through these challenges within my nature.  Which leads me directly into an even bigger question of whether or not this is my nature or if society tells me its my nature.  I am constantly questioning how far and hard I can push myself while still having a smile on face.

There are two phases that I have gone through so far with my partner.  The open relationship prior to being in love and the relationship after that point.  When you are with a person who is just amazingly fun to be around, charming, and a great person the reactions are on a spontaneous level.  Each event plays through just like little sketches where you are not quite sure what the end result will be.  There is excitement in determining if this will ever make a movie or just remain little short stories.  Plus you have the added benefit and possibly detriment of not having the full story, so you're not ever sure what the end game could possibly be.  There is an err of mystery surrounding each new experience and for me I was able to just react and know I could get out at any time.

One challenge I deal with is that I generally do not react positively to new situations.  I have a major wall up that goes back to my childhood and the challenges that I faced there.  Newness can be bad and scary, that wall goes up and boom things can spiral quickly downwards.  And thus I have reacted to new people with many negative outcomes.  As well I create rules and guidelines out of fear of my negative reactions which ease me into new circumstances.  This is frustrating to men, and I recognize that.

Generally men perceive a reaction women give and store that in their memory vault, if the reaction is good sometimes this is overlooked, but if the reaction was negative they find a way to not repeat that scenario.  Which is a tactic I wish more women had (I do not), the ability to not repeat the same mistake twice.  Rarely do you see an intelligent male repeat something more than once in the exact same way that yields any sort of negativity.  Yes they can overlook positive feedback easily, but not the negative.  It is stored somewhere in male land and I guarantee that if you asked your partner he would have a few things that he won't ever do again with you.

But I digress.  I am complicated in that I need to experience things more than once, and sometimes two or three times before I decide if I like it.  I am too quick to judge on the side of no, and so I need a bit of time to be swayed or shown the ups of yes.  I feel bad for the men I am with too sometimes, I am complicated and frustrating.  I make baby steps everyday in trying to conquer my battle with my impulsive no, however there is a deep rooted fear that things will go to far and I won't say no when I would be appropriate.  This leads to the open relationship in phase two, where there is now love and a commitment.  As well a much clearer understanding of the bigger picture.

"With great power there must also come great responsibility" (Stan Lee).  I know for a fact that I have a real opportunity to obtain everything in life that I want.  I have the choices and the knowledge in place that I will achieve my goals and live an incredibly fruitful life.  There are fears that I have regarding the unknown and life right now is a bit unstable while working towards my current dream.  But I will get there, and I will get there my way.  Enter in my boyfriend who also knows exactly what he wants in life, and is working towards his own goals, and experiencing his own frustrations within that.  Ultimately though driving himself towards a life that will make him fruitful and happy in his own right.  I see the potential of a great power couple here, driven and independent, with an understanding and working knowledge to be able to support each other during times of challenges.  And with a guarantee of a lot of fun and new circumstances to experience.

There are many trials, and I will make many errors along my journey.  I do not have a crystal ball so I cannot know if we will be each others partners in the long run, but I will not let a little fear keep me from experiencing the benefits and trials within the relationship that I have chosen.  I have jumped out of a plane, meeting new people and having my boyfriend meet new people is a cake walk in comparison.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Questioning Everything, And Finding a New Relationship Equation

I have written a few blogs lately, that give a personal insight into who I am, and perhaps a bit of why I am living the lifestyle that I do.  I have also written a few blogs on my past relationships and lessons learned also giving rise to where I am in my life.  If you are still reading up until this point and I haven't scared you away, then it's time to start writing about some of the struggles and positives in my current relationship.  My rule has always been never ever bitch about your boyfriend to your friends or family.  I have said a few negative comments here and there, but when things were going anywhere but south, then my conversations were geared in the positive.  Or I just didn't discuss anything at all.  Living by the mantra, "if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all".  And I hope this still holds true today.  If things aren't overall making me happy I discuss them with my boyfriend first, try to come to a resolution or a halfway point and move on-wards and upwards.

I am not going to use this forum to discuss any material not discussed with the parties involved first.  I might come to different conclusions or change my mind, but overall this is a place to share my experiences and perhaps help someone out there.  This is not a place I want to use to vent my frustrations as a diary, but rather an honest look into my relationship in hopes of opening communications to other couples or single people who are introspectively looking into what they need to be happy.  For me being honest is easy if I am asked a specific question, and day by day it gets easier to look inside and answer the why I am who I am.  Like I wrote about in my previous blog, my happiness increases as I am able to look at the flaws that hold me back and work towards improving myself. Of course with the understanding that I am improving myself for me and not for anyone else.

In my previous relationship I was completely monogamous.  If I was told that I was being cheated on that would have been the end of everything.  I had only known monogamy as a working rule of a partnership and that was the expectation.  Humans are astounding in their abilities to adapt to situations, and I am no exception to this rule.  So although the cut and dry monogamy was in place from start to finish, there was a lot of sway on what the definition of cheating was.  First there were no strippers, and any porn had to be viewed behind closed doors.  I was jealous and extremely insecure.  I had landed a man but really I had no idea how, why, or if I could ever do it again.  Then I found out that friends of ours broke up over a lap dance, and I thought that was borderline insanity.  So my hard and fast rule evolved to men need to do what they need to do as long as there is no touching.  I then had a friend tell me that her boyfriend never watched porn at her request.  Which I promptly replied must be a lie as all men watch porn.  But as I said that I realized I had no idea what type of porn my man watched, or even his own frequency.

Thus I went home and started asking some tough for me questions.  And again the evolution of our relationship grew to include a more open perception of porn. And with each of these little steps my insecurities actually lessened.  Which honestly surprised me very much.  I dearly value my ability to asses all sides of an argument and come to a fair concise conclusion.  Give me facts and I will generate and solution that is fair and equitable for as many parties as possible.  What I lacked in my previous relationship was the knowledge that I have now.  Like I wrote about before, those childhood games that we play that teach us how to read people I soaked up like a sponge.  My happiness is in part due to being a social creature and getting along with very different walks of life and finding ways to accept them for who they are.  Of course now with better parameters in place to ensure that I am not taken advantage of or treated poorly for my acceptance which leads me to where I am at now.

I don't feel as though I was ever given the information to properly make a decision about my sexuality.  There is only one man for every one woman, there is only monogamy as the key to your happiness.  Your job is to search and search until you find that one perfect match, and it is socially acceptable to admit you found the wrong spouse, divorce and go out there and try again.  This equation for happiness has never worked out for me because I have never believed in love at first sight, or that one true love.  To add to confusion I also don't agree with divorce.  Its a baffelling conundrum that I live with each day.  The only way to make a relationship reach an equilibrium without having that basis for a one true love is to adapt, mold and bend your viewpoints to better align with the mate you are with.  Make the best out of what you have because it will be the same shit different pile anywhere you go.  And if you make the decision to have a family you are in it for the long haul and you need to make it work.  However this is the model that I want to live by and my beliefs for me alone.  I do not judge anyone who lives by different beliefs, we are all individuals and that makes humans an incredible species.  Honesty is the key to a relationship and when that is broken then all the rules are broken.  As I stated before, in my previous relationship inside monogamy, cheating was a boundary, the agreed upon terminable offence.  Any agreed upon term must be respected, and adhered to in a loving and healthy relationship 

I have gone out and questioned relationships, why they did or didn't work. I have been told that I seek tough men, and a hard lifestyle,  and to consider that my life could be much more pleasant with just a simple loving man at my side.  I have been told to not seek challenge in my relationships but to just seek a partner.  I came to the conclusion that if those were my two options for men types in this world then I was really in a terrible position.  I have thus taken my happiness into my own hands, and not left it up to my partner.  I now seek what make me happy on a day to day.  I am constantly asking the question why does or doesn't it work for myself and others.  By doing this I am creating my own relationship equation that will afford me the happiness that I desire.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

An Introspective: My Own Happiness

I have a flaw, well I have many flaws but one of my largest hindrances in my relationships is effective communication when something is bothering me.  As I completed the writing of my previous blog,  I realised that I really am so much happier.  So I asked myself why I am happy right now, and the answer is nothing is eating away at me.  I just do not have any waiting for a fight or issues in my emotional "outbox".  The majority of my time on this planet historically had been spent trying to resolve family issues or learn how to accept people for who they are.  To move a step forward to find the goodness and love them, even when they repeatedly would hurt me.  I would therefore keep my mouth shut about any issues that would arise and I would look past, grin and bare it.  This was how I learned to forge relationships with my family, which lead to friendships, which lead to sexual relationships.  Be who I am, but allow the person to be who they were and be the bigger person even if they said something to offend or hurt me, after all it is who they are.  I am overgeneralising a bit here, especially when it comes to acquaintances.  My foot has gone in my mouth many a time with people who have irritated me in passing by or early on in our friendship.  But when it came to love of friends and family, then this holds eerily true for almost everyone.

There is an incredibly obvious downfall to this approach, things get too big to handle.  Not dealing with issues when they were small, allowed them to grow into monstrous thorns in my future interactions.  Resulting in one of two things; there would be an emotional eruption by yours truly or else just a complete cut off from the person as I could no longer accept them.  I am fairly easy going, especially now as I get older, so has taken me a long time to really see the pattern here in my relationships.  But I finally have a little clarity, and what's more I have support in changing this terrible flaw.  As I am writing this with the hindsight is 20/20 approach I have a flood of examples to choose from in illustrating this flaw of mine.  It's almost scary how many I have to choose from.  I'm 90% sure that if you know me in person, you will probably know of an example yourself and that is really humbling.  If you don't have an example, perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who I have never ever fought with, or even had a disagreement with.  This may not always be a good sign, or I am just that awesome to be around???  Nope, I most likely have just been passive and overly accepting of you being who you are and finding an inscrutable way to see you for your positives.

I have a family member who every few years or so manages to gossip and put herself into a position of wedging a rift between my best friend and I.  This has been going on every 3 years or so since I was about 9.  The same pattern always occurs, this person builds up confidences in all the family and really good strong bonds and relationships.  Then there is a disagreement between 2 people that does not concern her, however she has these confidences and decides that it is her duty to try and fix or solve the problems.  I am either one of the two people involved in the issue or more often I am asked my opinion or knowledge about the issue.  As I have mentioned before I am a straight shooter whenever I am asked a direct question and we have a fairly small family.  The result of my honesty is each and every time she tries to bate my best friend and I against each other.  Wham bam there is family drama that I get to make apologies and make atonement's for.  I`m sorry that I cannot give specific examples and this sounds concluded, but I am trying my best to protect the identities of any of my family members who may read this.  The lesson that I learned was to keep my mouth shut whenever there are issues.  I didn`t ever want to fight or be put in a position where I could be swayed to give an opinion.  And I learned this lesson so well that it branched into all my adult relationships.

Which is a great example of why I so desperately try not point out any even seemingly little things.  I too quickly have seen how even a tiny or innocent comment has evolved into a large family battle.  These battles suck, no one wins, and everyone involved gets hurt.  So I have spent years avoiding conflict of any kind, as a direct result.  Like I mentioned there have been many many instances along the same lines of the example written above.  So what has changed and what has allowed me to try and work past this flaw making more real relationships that now have the potential for growth?  

For one, the realisation that if there is a person, even family who constantly makes me feel bad about myself or sabotages my relationships, then I can not interact with them without first letting them know.  This is such a taboo in my family, and I know there will be some major flack for it, as I have been raised that family is first.  When the most recent occurrence of the example about happened last year, I wrote a very passionate email to the person.  I tried to brainstorm out a few ways that I felt we could stop discussing any other member of the family behind there backs, thus breaking the potential for something to be said out of context.  I also requested that she give me feedback for things she would like me to try and change so we can slowly rebuild a healthy relationship free of this very painful pattern that has been developed.  I did not receive a reply.  I parted ways in the most mature way I could, where the door is open if she would like to discuss having a healthy relationship in the future, but with a clear indication that I would no longer keep things inside until they reached a fever pitch, or were drawn out of me in her manipulative tactic (whether for good intent or not).  

The next thing which I am taking in very baby steps and uses a lot of bravery on my part, is to only take a couple of minutes to decide if I need to bring something up that's bugging me.  I historically would take hours or even days coming up with a well rounded argument weighing all the pros and cons, and in my head formulating my plan to discuss in great detail.  I was very afraid of saying something in the heat of the moment, or misspeaking, so afraid that I would ensure emotions were completely out of all dealings with issues I had.  Now I take 5 minutes or less to decide what the issue is, and trust that if it took me a whole 5 minutes to decide that when I speak about it my intelligence will kick in enough to articulate my thoughts.  Even if emotion sneaks into it, it is better it out there quicker and allow both partners the same time to discuss or think about the issue if need be.  

With these two little changes in place my happiness level has gone up exponentially.  I don't have the lingering feeling that there is a major issue I need to give thought to.  I have the ability to send an email or try and bring up an issue in a timely manor.  If the issue can't get resolved then it is not the end of the world for the person not to be a part of my life, family or not.  Its a sobering thought to realise how your family interacts with you plays a role in your adult relationships.  Spend some time thinking about how you bring up disagreements or issues with your partner.  Try and take it a step farther and think about how you learned to fight with your siblings or parents and what was necessary for resolutions.  I would love to hear your stories, so please add your comments or find me on twitter @k_ghislaine.