Free Advice

At some point in the past year or so, Brock and I (sometimes independently, but often together) have become the go-tos for relationship advice for our friends. It’s a bit funny, really – Brock with his later-in-life first marriage and alpha male exterior and me with minimal dating experience and a spectacularly failed first marriage – giving advice. But our Mutt and Jeff approach seems to work. I have a tendency to listen and gently probe into underlying themes while Brock has a good instinct and an ability to drive straight into the issue at hand. I think we’re good at it for the same reason I’m good at teaching math – we had to work to get to where we are. And there’s a lot of thought and intent that accompanies that struggle.

Here’s an assemblage of some of the dispensed advice over the past year or so. Maybe a piece will speak to you.

On Being a Knight

There’s a high that comes from being a recuser, from being needed. It feeds the ego and lends a sense of security born of dependence. For the rescued, it is a way to avoid responsibility and yet have ones needs met. A relationship founded on this dynamic will always have a power and responsibility imbalance. By all means, help. But don’t enable. Because when you help someone more than they help themselves, you end up hurting both of you. 

On Having the Right Friends

The people you surround yourself with matters. Not only do they reflect upon you, they shape you. Before you sign up for online dating or scour your networks for a potential partner, examine your social circle. Do they embody the sort of life you want for yourself? Are they helping you become the best you possible or are they holding you back? As Brock says, “I’m the bobber on the water and I refuse to attach to anyone who wants to pull me under.”

On the Oxygen Mask Theory

“I know she’s in a rough place and I don’t want to leave her knowing that it will get worse.” My response? “You are not responsible for someone else’s well-being. That’s her job. Your job is to treat the relationship with respect and to take care of you.” I then told him how I used to tell my ex that he made me happy. And why that was a huge mistake.

On Making Changes

Brock was the guy that nobody every thought would marry. And then he made some significant changes in his life that led him to where he is now. I’m often asked, “How did you get him to change?” I didn’t. He made that choice and started on that path before I was ever in the picture. You can’t change another person no matter how long you wait. If you don’t like them as they are, move on. They’ll change when they’re ready, not when you are.

On Trust and Honesty 

“Relationships are built on trust. How can you ever establish a relationship when it is built on lies?” questioned Brock. Lying has a tendency to become a way of approaching the world and attempting to solve (or avoid) conflict. If someone is dishonest to others, don’t assume they are truthful to you.

On Fear

Cutting straight to the heart of it all, “Relationships that are held together by fear will never last.” And Brock is right. Whether it’s fear of being alone or fear being abandoned or the fear of not being needed, it leads to grasping, not loving. It’s sort of strange that only when you are in a position where don’t “need” the other person that you can allow yourself to truly be with them.



Thank you for sharing!

7 thoughts on “Free Advice

  1. Couldn’t agree with this more…I wrote something similar about the “Knight” and “Fear” theory and wasn’t worded as tactfully (it was called “we are all a bunch of users”) as yours.

  2. Jennifer – Albuquerque, New Mexico – First off, I am not very funny. Secondly, I am a full-blown geek; I like chess (it is my favorite game), I enjoyed writing research papers in college, I enjoyed statistics and any other kind of math. But, in my old age (47), I have learned to own my geekdom, it is uniquely mine. Third, I have manic-depressive illness which can make life a bit rocky sometimes, like when the medications are not strong enough to treat the illness, then it bites me in the ass…..hard. Most of the time, though, I ride the sine wave that are normal moods. It is an interesting disease to have though. You do a lot of self reflecting and exploration which can be rough, but you can see where you have made mistakes and you can take action to prevent that behavior in the future. Fourth, I have learned how not to settle for anything; bad medical care, toxic and angry people, bad food, bad relationships. I just will not settle anymore. I have already been there and done that. Fifth, I have learned over the years it is not cool to puke through your nose because you drank too much at a party or a bar. Sixth, I love to read everything from fiction to non-fiction to school textbooks. I do not remember learning to read. My mom says when I was about 3 or 4 years old, I picked up National Geographic and began to read it. Who knew? Seventh, and possibly last, I love music of all types except Rap. My favorite music to relax to is classical preferably of the Baroque period like Amadeus Mozart and Beethoven. I love going to the movies by myself. If you go on a Monday afternoon matinée, there is usually no one there so it is like having your own private theater. I am also a Nichiren Buddhist by way of spiritual belief. I am basically just a normal person who happens to be not funny :) .
    songtothesirens says:

    You make some very good points, and highlight nearly everything I did not necessarily wrong, but certainly not right in my first marriage. The only thing I did completely right was to cultivate a circle of friends who either had the type of relationship I want or lead lives that I admire and aspire to.

  3. SassaFrassTheFeisty – Indianapolis, IN – I'm a mother of two-mostly amazing-kids. This is my journey towards healing from the ruin of my marriage and 10 year relationship to my kid's "dad", my stories of dealing with really good and really bad days, learning to cope and move on. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 with mania and ADHD-look! Something shiny!!-and Postpartum Depression. I love completely and passionately. Just don't piss me off, because I'll burn that bridge-and I'll stand on it and watch the flames consume everything. Sass 101 First-As my name suggests I am a Feisty Lil Thang. I tell it like it is. It is no holds barred on my blog. If you expect fluffy puppies, rainbows and sunshine, exit Stage Right because it ain't gonna be here. If you expect no cussing and positivity, and that I pray to a God or deity, exit Stage Left. That's not here either. What's here is real, honest, raw and truthful. This is my journey through the last 18 months from the separation of my husband and the JOYOUS roller coaster my family has been on. Oh yes, I did forget to mention-I am a sarcastic quick witted one. Sasscasm is trademarked by the ever Butch Blah. Don't mess with her Dragon, he eats assholes for breakfast. We have a tribe here that is very exclusive-seriously. If you're lucky enough to enter, you are worthy enough to partake in our Femme Speak. If not, just nod your head yes, and move on. I have Bipolar 1 with mania and I cycle into depression 2 times a year. This year has been an exception to the rule considering this year has just been shit. I've been to my local psych hospital twice in less than 10 months-once for depression, once for a psychotic episode resulting from over medication. YAY! Piss on that shit. If it hadn't been for Blah, I never would have gone. Thank you Blah. I lurve you! I have 2 kids-a boy I call NSLM-Not So Little Man-because Anxious Mom has her LM. Didn't want to steal her LM's thunder :) And I have a daughter referred to as Monkey-it's self explanatory. They are also referred to as my Heathens-yes I can call them that because I gave birth to them, I know them and they act like Heathens at times-just thank the Good Lord they aren't Hellians or I'd be in jail. I have an almost 5 year old purebred Red and Black German Shepherd named May-she's momma's baby, and Monkey is on her THRID guinea pig in about a year-thank her dad for that one. This one is S'mores and he's a wheeker and fat and fluffy. My kids and I live with my parents, because I'm not stable or healthy enough to work and live on my own. I have FINALLY found my magic pill cocktail-for now-and I have clarity for the first time in my life. I no longer use the word "stable" I use baseline. I've been on a lot of meds over the years, and since the last med I was on and overmedicated I have become med sensitive-SUPER YAY. I'm good at recognizing side effects and can tweak a med time better than a dr. Not cocky, just fact. I'm that in tune with my body. I'm also very emotionally charged. My emotions have always ruled my decisions, and I don't see that changing, but I am now better to stop and think things through before making a decision-some of the time. I'm mouthy, but I have a huge heart of gold, and I get hurt easily. And when I talk about people on here in my life off of WordPress they get their own special nicknames. DB-Douchebag. BBFL-Best Bitch For Life-My best friend in Alaska that I HOPE I get to see soon. EG-English Gentleman-a guy that I've bee talking to for a year that lives near Scotland and is on an 8 month trip around the world, and will be stateside in January. I can't wait to meet him in person! Cute Neighbor Guy. There were two guys that were named for the states they lived in, and I think I've deleted everything about Florida but the last post-Thank you Andrew for the title, you brilliant dictionary, you. Then there are my most supportive friends here: Anxious Mom, Andi, Zoe, Diane, Morgue, Blah, Chris, Sparkly Pants ;) Victo, Tessa, Bipolarfirst, bp7o9, Vic, Kitt, Leslie, and my newest BUDDY Andrew. I know I've forgotten some people and I SERIOUSLY apologize given the state of my brain haze, I hope you don't hate me!! I know you don't, I'm just overly dramatic. No I'm not...yeah, yes I am. ;) So, if you can't handle my sarcastic tongue and my cursing that can make sailors blush, the lobby exit is in the top right corner with a little X. That being said, I hope you new arrivals aren't just looking for blogs for numbers-this isn't that kind of blog. And I rather like interactive people on my little slice of the crazy pie-well, more like peach cobbler because it's my favorite but ANYWAY. I don't follow back just because you follow me. I may not be too picky about my food, but I'm picky about my men and the blogs I follow. With that, I shall bid you Welcome to Sasstopia, and may you stay to be among my Sassafrains. Reggie my Pegacorn is tethered out back as he doesn't do well with new people. I shall be shining my spork launcher on the table, next to my melon baller and grapefruit spoon all soaked in syphilis. If you have any questions, fucking ask. I don't do vague. LOVE YOU! <3
    sassafrass20 says:

    Oh how I needed this a long time ago-but! I wouldn’t be where I am and who I’ve become without these lessons and faltering. I have only recently come to realize and ACCEPT that I don’t need a partner. Yes, I want someone to share my life with, but I don’t NEED them. Huge steps for me-also acknowledging my fear of being alone and abandoned. I am the classic rescuer, and I am really fighting myself to not be her anymore. Big changes, relatively short time, all for the better!

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