Reclaiming My HEA is a monthly feature where I share my progress through my separation and divorce. It also includes snippets of a therapy exercise where I imagine myself in a healthy relationship. The purpose is to remind myself of what a supportive, caring partner would be like, to try and offset the effects of over a decade without one.
Dating sites take awhile, especially when we're still in the middle of a pandemic, which makes physically meeting new people difficult. I'm still moving ahead, but I'm also trying to take a more comprehensive approach.
After some careful self-reflection, I've realized that one of the reasons that I've been so uncomfortable with moving forward is because I'm afraid of failing to recognize the signs of another bad relationship. I'm working on that, but I also decided to tackle one of the underlying causes: touch deprivation.
In the 1960's, an experiment with baby monkeys showed how crucial touch can be. It is just as critical as the need for food. One of the issues with my former relationship was a complete lack of physical contact. As this pandemic has carried on, I've been unable to meet up with friends which has meant no hugs or other contact. I've always been a cuddly person and I think that deprivation has affected me more than I realized.
One of the things I've been thinking about for the past year is whether or not I wanted to get myself a pet of my own. My boys each have a pet. The 16yo has a service dog, Lynyrd, and the 13yo has a cat, Neelix. Both pets enjoy being around their people but aren't really cuddlers. This suits the boys perfectly, since they aren't cuddlers either.
But I am. And I'd love to have a pet to cuddle with. I think it might help me more than I realize.
So I've decided to pursue adopting/rescuing a cat of my own. It will have to be a young cat, in order for it to adapt to the household.
Maybe this will be the first step toward becoming a crazy cat lady... or maybe it's going to be the start of a path that will lead to me being happier. Only time will tell.