Saturday, July 18, 2009

Compliments and Touches Needed

Something my first (real) husband said to me when we initially met, really struck a nerve with me and I still remember the impact it had. He had been in divorce proceedings with his wife for nine months and before that they had pretty much been living together but leading separate lives for quite awhile. They had not been intimate for a long time and during the divorce he really recognized how much he missed the physical contact of a woman. So to counteract that feeling, he'd schedule frequent haircut appointments just so he could have a woman's hands touch his head. I remember feeling so sad when he told me this. I didn't realize it at the time but his admission was pretty deep for a guy - most would probably not admit their vulnerability to a new girlfriend as he did to me.

The lack of physical contact (hugs, kisses, hand holding, back rubs, not to mention sex) takes a toll on those of us living alone. My divorced guy friend recently told me that what he misses most about having been married is not being able to sleep next to someone anymore. What I miss is the absence of those little confidence boosters I'd get from both my husbands in regard to the way I looked. I miss those compliments and find myself feeling almost like a faceless blob when I venture out in the world. Do I look good anymore? Am I still pretty? Should I cut my hair or keep it longer? Do my outfits look nice? It helps to hear something positive about your outer appearance even though I know to some extent it is vain. Not hearing these remarks has made me start to wonder about how I DO look. I'm not someone to brag about myself - I don't think many of us are - still, it gives such a boost to know that the care you took into applying your makeup, doing your hair or choosing your outfit is noticed by someone. I'm not expecting anyone to say I look beautiful - a simple, "Your purse is cute" would be more than enough!

Ever since my husband died, I've noticed how few of us offer compliments to others in our daily lives, as well as heart-felt thank yous. So I've made an effort to do so everyday, wherever I am - the grocery store, at work, with my sons' friends, when I'm with friends. I always try to say nice, positive remarks. At work I compliment polite kids to their parents, nice outfits, jewelry, purses, etc. I let customers know that I think the gift they've chosen is nice, or the colors of their towels is really the in color for the new season. They are all genuine remarks and I do it because I think all of us need to hear more positives. It's funny though, because you'd think with the Law of Attraction and all that I'd be getting some compliments back for all those that I give but so far they're not being returned to me with much frequency.

On to my little secret weapon. Whenever I'm feeling starved for compliments, I go to Carson's to try on clothes in a dressing room. I don't plan on buying anything but I can try some new outfits on and see how I look in a full length mirror, and even catch my backside too. I can see how my hair looks from all angles, practice my smile, toss my hair over my shoulders. Not the same as hearing I look nice from someone but a way to assess myself and hopefully come out with an appreciation for my appearance. Kind of like what my husband did when he went to get a haircut - trying to find a substitute to give him the feeling he was missing. This is my way for now. I'll fit that in next week - it has been almost a year since I've gone clothes shopping anyway.

Today I am grateful:

1. For the continued cooler weather since our Central A/C isn't working.
2. For having the opportunity to sleep in a bit this morning.
3. That my guy friend fixed my broken downstairs commode (out of commission since February).
4. That my son chose the cheaper soccer shoes on sale (and they cost me only $22.00!).
5. That I didn't have to work until closing today (so I didn't have to clean the public restroom and now I have a moment to read a magazine before bed!).


  1. i know what you mean. i miss being touched. my husband always held my hand, touched my shoulder, or rested his right hand on leg when we were in the car, no matter how short the trip. he was always touching me and i loved it. (my first husband had never touched me that way and had stopped touching me altogether when i became pregnant with my last child.) i miss my husband's warmth in bed, even his snoring. God, what i wouldn't give to be going to bed knowing he'll be snoring all night long. i would sleep like a baby with my cold feet tangled up in his legs. he never minded my cold feet.

    it's hard to be alone and think about the future. i very much like your idea of going out and trying on clothes. i hope you keep finding the time to do it. also maybe get your hair done, even if it's only a wash and trim. your husband was on to something there. i hope you get a good night's sleep and wake rested and ready to face another day. i like reading what you are grateful for. it humbles me and brings me up short, making me remember to be grateful for the things i still have. thank you.

    peace always

  2. I also would give anything to hear the snoring again. I complained about it but now it would be soothing music to my ears!