The Myth of the Other Woman

Yes. I said it out loud.

It is my belief that the idea of the “other woman” is a true myth.

And yes, I fully expect to get some backlash for that.

But, please, hear me out.

I believe that, like a fence, there are only two sides to the idea of the “other woman”:

  • the side where you get hurt
  • the side where the other woman gets hurt

Buried somewhere in there are different degrees of pain. Some of the pain lasts longer than the rest. This is a matter of perception, as most everything in life is. Other critical factors in the pain that is felt are the true level of commitment in the relationship, and the level of perceived commitment in the relationship of both the guy(s) and the gal(s).

Yes, I just inferred that it might be in your head. I can only say that because I have been there too – both when it is real, and when I manufactured it. As a writer and an analyst, I have a tendency to overthink  A LOT.

In reality, the idea of the “other woman” is not about the other woman at all; it is about you and the guy. It’s that simple.

At this point in our lives, most of us gals should have already seen both sides of this fence; and, depending on your perception, become connected to men who traverse both sides, and the middle. Needless to say, all of us have been damaged by it.

How much you are damaged by this scenario comes down to how you cope with your own identity, your honesty with that identity, and your honesty when communicating to your guy.

You become as damaged as you allow yourself to become.

The good news is that, like most everything in this life, you have a choice. Your choice is determined by the boundaries that you set for yourself, which in turn come from how you work through past relationships in conjunction with your own inner woman.

I, like many women my age, have seen my share of both sides. I have been hurt terribly. I have scars.

I have had to turn my back on a really good man because I chose not to be a part of jeopardizing his existing relationship after I found out that he and I were going down a dark path together. I have had to turn my back on two really good men because each of them overstepped the boundaries that I set for myself. The thing about that is I didn’t have a solid knowledge of those boundaries until I was already immersed in the situation.

In these cases, I was the other woman, just on different sides of the fence. They  were really good men who were struggling with their own issues and were straddling the fence in the middle.

But, I gave of myself to the best of my ability because it was the right thing to do. I didn’t point fingers, I didn’t get angry (well, maybe not too angry).

When I emerged, I was a stronger woman for all of it and continue to gain strength, wisdom, and can still love completely.

No matter what side of the “other woman” fence you are currently on, here are some pointers that I have tried and found to work well, if you have the strength to employ them consistently:

  • Be honest with yourself and your guy about exactly what type of relationship you both think you are in.
  • This involves a strong level of open communication.
  • Clearly identify – for yourself – what you will and will not put up with; then set the standard.
  • Be patient; sometimes it takes some time for an unfamiliar standard to become the norm.
  • When the norm is established, do not waver (too much).
  • Hold yourself, and him, accountable.
  • Be flexible; we are all people with our own demons and challenges.
  • When you get to the point of love, love completely and unconditionally, regardless of the outcome.
  • Protect your heart.
  • Remember that this is not all about you; there are two other people involved along with you.

This situation is not an easy one to navigate, particularly when there is so much bad and ill-informed literature out there. If you allow the bad advice in, it can result in empowering you to point fingers, label, control, and establish a selfish point of view in order to move through it. This type of advice will only complicate your situation.

Good luck being the other woman! If you’re lucky, you will learn to relax and enjoy the ride.

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

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Tales From The Dating Scene: Replay

Until recently, I would have told you that – based on my own past experience – it is impossible to get back together with an ex and sustain it.

The behavior patterns are still there. The same things that broke your relationship up the first time are likely still lingering and will cause distress and pain again.

I would also have told you that getting back together with your ex probably is not psychologically or emotionally healthy. As you put yourself out on that limb again, with the same person and the same behaviors that were toxic before, you again expose yourself to risk that you have already lived through and moved past (or hopefully moved past). Pain you already experienced.

Like sticking yourself with a needle over and over or banging your head against a wall, getting back with an ex is like a distorted type of masochism.ex image

That is what I would have told you.

Until recently.

Let me share with you some things that I have learned during this new journey:

  1. Be extremely honest with yourself and with each other – where you are at now, and what you learned – both good and not so good – the first time around.
  2. Discuss the above from the beginning of this new journey – DO NOT DELAY. If you delay too long, you risk falling back into the same patterns.
  3. Recognize the great things about yourself and your ex. Now that you both have absorbed the bad behaviors, it is the perfect time to focus on the positive and good.
  4. Identify specific behaviors that you want to change this time – and share with each other. It is important to regain trust in each other. This is a fresh opportunity to grow and mature – together.
  5. Trust is not built in a vacuum. Take those small steps together to build that trust again, slowly.
  6. Relax, slow down, and let go. Enjoy the time together without clenching on too tightly.
  7. Try to reduce, if not eliminate, frivolous expectations.
  8. Maintain separate interests, friends, and goals. Do NOT lose yourself in the other.
  9. Do new things together and foster new experiences and new memories.

By no means am I suggesting that getting back with an ex is for everyone.

positive

But, one of the advantages of getting back with your ex is that you already know what you are getting into. Sure, some of that is irritating. But, on the other hand, there are sure to also be some enjoyable things that you honestly missed. Short of your ex being a murderer or being just plain extreme, it is that much less that you have to struggle to learn over again than if you were to get into a relationship with someone new.

You already know whether the other snores, how they take their coffee, how punctual they are, or how long they spend in the shower. What makes them laugh, what them smile, what makes them happy. Instead of re-learning that about someone new, you can take that same amount of time investigating the awesome things about your ex – just in case you both did not have time to do that the first time around.

In this way, you forge a new, stronger relationship. Who knows, it might be the second chance that you’ve both been waiting for.

ex-boyfriend-300x239

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Thoughts for the Days in February

February 1 ~ “Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties.” ~ C.S. Lewis

February 5 ~ “The devil whispers ‘You can’t withstand the storm.’ The warrior replies ‘I AM the storm.'”

February 17 ~ “You ride the waves and don’t ask where they go.” ~ Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth by Primitive Radio Gods

February 29 ~ In a perfect world, a hug really would make all the pain and hurt go away.

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

How To Survive As An Independent Contractor

SuccessThe growth of the contingent workforce – that part of the workforce that works for an organization on a non-permanent basis –  is not a new trend. In an article written in April 2011 by Joshua Wright (Data Spotlight: Independent Contractors On The Rise on http://www.economicmodeling.com), it was indicated that as of 2010, the number of independent contractors had increased by more than a million since 2005. Across all industries for which data was available, the percentage of independent contractors rose. Now in 2014 and 3 years later, I have no doubt that, with the economy heading in its current direction, the trend has picked up steam.

Whether you label yourself an independent contractor or a consultant, being your own boss can be a risky proposition. As an independent contractor, you assume the responsibilities that are traditionally the burden of the corporate entity. You must market your product or services, assure payment of invoices, pay your own taxes, carry your own insurance, and manage your own image.

The fears that accompany these responsibilities can be formidable, particularly if you have a family to take care of or other long-term financial goals and responsibilities to maintain. Workflow can be inconsistent from contract to contract, which means cashflow can vary drastically.

What can you do to increase your success as an independent contractor?

Network constantly. View every person you meet as a potential for new business, whether directly or indirectly. That person knows people, who know more people. Word of mouth is a powerful tool; nobody likes the risk of hiring someone they don’t know. Networking groups are helpful, but by no means should membership in these groups be the only means of connecting with potential work opportunities.

Keep your horizon clear by considering everything. I am a firm believer in peeking into open doors, even when they don’t look the way we expect. Some of my most successful endeavors have been a result of this approach. Not only does this expand your income opportunity, but it can contribute to a larger network, a broader perspective, and an expanded skillset.

Maintain and grow your skillset. Speaking of skillset, always be on the cutting edge of what is going on in your industry. You can do this by reading, attending industry conferences, experimenting with new techniques and software applications, networking. Oh, and you can also take classes now and then. The worst thing you can do to your career as an independent contractor is to stagnate by not paying adequate attention to what you bring to the table.

Stay positive. There is nothing more to say about this. Too many negative thoughts can kill any great idea or opportunity. Be positively pragmatic by understanding the risks and by identifying at least one advantage for every disadvantage.

Don’t burn bridges. Review the idea of networking discussed previously, particularly the part about “word of mouth”. People talk. Who you become in a conflict will stick with you longer than you think. Negative talk due to inappropriate or destructive behavior will get around eventually. Remember that independent contractors are scrutinized much more in the job process than their corporate counterparts. Be discreet, principled, and positive in every situation.

Be your own best advocate. Remember, you are your own advertising and marketing department now. Doing quality work will ultimately be the last word. But, don’t be afraid to speak about your strengths and abilities.

Keep precise records. Not only will a daily log help keep you on track and accountable, most times it is necessary for invoicing and taxes.

This is by no means a finite or definitive list; success is subjective, to a degree. I hope that every individual who reads this post will have other ideas about what works and what doesn’t and that they will post it, comment, and contribute to this knowledge base.

Bottom line is that the traditional makeup of the workforce is changing. Many more of us are choosing to be our own boss. And, thanks to networking and social media, the information we need to be able to do that more successfully is right at our fingertips.

© 2010-2014 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

The Dumping and The Spin

dumpingSo, you say you just got dumped? Friend, job, boyfriend, husband, wife…? That sucks and I feel your pain.

I am here to tell you that who or what did it to you is irrelevant. Really…and in more than only a literal sense.

What is relevant is that it came out of the blue like hot shrapnel, ripping through your perception of your very existence, your own reality. Drilling holes through your ego, your perseverance, your compassion, your memories, your stability.

Questions reel through your mind. Questions about why and what did you do wrong or what could you have done better.

Bottom line is that right about now, you may be lying in the dumpsite, crumpled and sore, wondering what just hit you and slowly awakening to a brand new kind of reality.

The pain, unfortunately, is still there. You are probably wondering when it will stop, but you would be happy if it would just dull down a bit.

It threatens to drag you lower as each day passes.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there and the pain isn’t going away soon, and it certainly isn’t going to feel better on its own.

Kick in the ass

A swift kick in the ass is due!

It needs a swift kick in the ass, from you.

If you want to get closer to less pain, you have to change the way you think about what has just happened.

When you change your mindset, you alter your approach. As issues of pain become non-issues, you can emerge from the devastation.

SpinIt’s time to put a positive spin on as many elements of the event as you can.

Let’s use a breakup as our example to illustrate only some possible symptoms of the pain you may be experiencing:

Positive Spin #1 – Are you nauseous and/or lack an appetite? If so, look on the bright side of it; you might be losing weight. Just think of how many months and hours at the gym it might have taken for you to lose that final 2 or 3 pounds.

Positive Spin #2 – Did you used to spend a lot of time and/or effort doing things a certain way to please your ex? If so, look on the bright side of it; you won’t have to worry about those anymore. Just think of all the free time you will have to pursue other things.

Positive Spin #3 – Are you losing sleep over it all? If so, look on the bright side of it; you now can use that free time to get caught up on movies, TV shows, or a good book that you missed before because you were wasting time with your ex.

Positive Spin #4 – Are you dreading the dating scene? If so, look on the bright side of it; you will now have the opportunity to meet and really get to know the other people in your life.

Positive Spin #5 – Are you distracted and unable to focus? If so, look on the bright side of it; you can use that lack of focus to delve into something creative and new – something that within the confines of the failed relationship would not have been possible.

Positive Spin # 6 – Are you feeling empty, possibly rejected? If so, look on the bright side of it; you can use the energy you generate from those types of thoughts to get connected with a stronger you and your higher power.

I think you get the picture now. And, I know I’ve missed a bunch of issues. Please feel free to comment if you know of other “spins” I might have missed here.

The takeaway from this post is that you can and will survive this. There is another side; a side that is brighter and more promising if you let it be.

And after you reach that side, there is an open door just beyond it, waiting for you to enter.

Open doorWhere God closes one door, He already has in mind another door for you that is so much better.

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Thoughts From April

~ 4.1.2013
“I say goodbye to weakness, so long to the regret, and now I know that I’m alive.” ~ Diamond Eyes by Shinedown

~ 4.2.2013
Love is more about mutual wanting and being wanted than about needing or being needed. Need, spoken or silent, seeps desperation and whispers “OK, you’ll do.” Want is deliberation and thoughtfulness and screams “I choose you.”

~ 4.3.2013
“Take a lesson from a (wo)man who’s seen both sides. I make the best of the worst and it hurts, but it gets me by.” ~ Better Days by Saliva

~ 4.4.2013
“Except for the good Lord up above, I answer to no one.” ~ Answer to No One by Colt Ford

~ 4.8.2013
Even when people say they get you, they probably don’t get it enough to be able to apply it during the rough times. Chalk it in the column labeled “Things You Have to Live With.”

~ 4.9.2013
I forget, often, that it’s not always all about me.

~ 4.10.2013
The concept of “All good things must come to an end” has ruined it for the rest of us. I would much prefer to live in the fog of bliss and happiness than to have to think that the happy feeling will go away some day.

~ 4.11.2013
If you tell me only what I need to know, you can expect back from me only what I think I need to give you. Chances are that’s not enough.

~ 4.12.2013
Happy feelings are always there. Only the faces and places change. ~ as paraphrased from a comment by my good friend, Paul D. Thanks, Paul, for the insight!

~ 4.13.2013
“And if you let me inside…on and on I’ve got nothing to hide.” ~ All My Life by the Foo Fighters

~ 4.15.2013
Sadly, Memory Lane eventually becomes dark and dingy.

~ 4.16.2013
Damn it if it ain’t always those bitter hearts that rain on the parade.

~ 4.17.2013
“‘Cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door.” ~ Uncle John’s Band by The Grateful Dead

~ 4.18.2013
“I don’t need to fight to prove I’m right. I don’t need to be forgiven.” Baba O’Riley by The Who

~ 4.23.2013
If you put your all into every relationship, no time spent loving someone is wasted time.

~ 4.25.2013
There are some days where survival is only possible because of the perfect blend of indifference, loud headbanger music, and constant activity.

~ 4.26.2013
“I’m not afraid to die. I’m not afraid to live. And when I’m flat on my back I hope to feel like I did.” Kite by U2

~ 4.30.2013
“Wherever you look, it’s always the same. So many people playing the same game. Didn’t imagine it would end up here. Now that it’s faded, it all feels so clear.” So Clear by Junip

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Christmas Miracles

There is only one true Christmas miracle. That miracle is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. So, before I even begin, I would like to draw attention to that fact.miracle-birth-christmas-card[1]

On a smaller note, there do occur, on a daily basis, other types of miracles. These miracles may be less significant on the larger scale of things; but, they are nonetheless a reason to hope.

These miracles are all around us, if we only open our eyes to them.

They are in a smile or helping hand at just the right moment, a check or money that you didn’t expect, or a shoulder to lean on as you are preparing to go it alone.

These are the types of miracles that occur daily if we open our eyes and hearts to their everpresence.

I spent this past Sunday unpacking Christmas decorations in preparation for celebrating the season again.

The backstory is that I have spent the last two years in a hiatus. I hid from joy, from happiness, from pleasure as I dealt with the pain and frustration that was part of my journey at that time.thCA2P77HU

I have made it out of that and am on the other side, standing strong with my kids and facing a new life. What better time to pull out the Christmas cheer in a big way.

But, I was worried as I moved the boxes from my garage to the apartment. I was mostly concerned about what type of emotion some of the items would evoke. So many memories of sweet times. What would it feel like to see, touch, and hold those things after so long a time and so many missed steps and repetitive broken family experiences? Tangible memories of a time long gone.

Obviously, I was not prepared for the joy I felt in pulling those items out. I definitely was not prepared for the positive spin I was able to put on an event that I was sure would bring me down.

Small Christmas miracles.

I had four strands of lights packed in one of those boxes. Each one of those strands was fully functional. No missing lights. No tangled mess. No thought or need to waste time fruitlessly trying to figure out which fuse needs to be replaced or screaming at it when it still won’t work…Miracle #1.thCAR06NTK

The same Christmas decorations that had brought on the same emotions all these years evoked the exact same emotion of warmth and comfort as ever, despite me and my worrying…Miracle #2.

It is possible to reinstate and recreate family holiday traditions, regardless of the tragedy of loss and heartache. Where there is a will, there is a way. Cookie baking, decorating the apartment together, fun, and frolic…Miracle #3. DSCF1573

I found real paper Christmas cards in my Christmas supplies. It has been at least five years since I sent ‘real’ Christmas cards. What a cool idea to go retro and buck the hold of the e-Card wave!…Miracle #4.

I also found the Christmas storybooks. I wonder if my teenage kids will tolerate reading Christmas stories out loud like we used to when they were little?…Miracle #5.

I am thankful to be in “the here” now. I choose not to look back. Dwelling on what was is counterproductive to the “what is and could be”.  The daily small miracles in my life are not back over my shoulder; they are right in front of my eyes. All I have to do is keep my eyes wide open to see them in all their splendour.miracle_of_christmas[1]

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss