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More Joaquin talk ahead. If you are offended by my continued stewing over him, you might want to opt out of reading this post. I know I’ve beaten a dead horse here; I need to continue exploring my feelings.

I also feel the ridiculous need to remind everyone that my feelings for Joaquin in no way jeopardize my feelings for Hayden or conflict with them in any way. I love Hayden. I also love Joaquin, just as I love many people in my life, but not in a romantic way. I thought I had always made that clear so I apologize if I hadn’t.

I was talking with Jill today. Joaquin came up in conversation when she was talking about legal advice. And we were also talking about our emotional vulnerability in our post-separation worlds. I was surprised to learn that both of us were a bit cold and unemotional before getting married. Now, 20 years later, we both tend to get attached to people strongly and quickly. Marriage changed us.

Last week she had given me advice on my draft text to Joaquin. (I never sent the text.) She brought up the topic again today. I laughed and told her that when I re-read the draft now, it sounds confrontational and angry which is odd considering that wasn’t how I felt at all. She said something interesting.

She said, “Do you think you subconsciously worded that text the way you did so that Joaquin would have reason to disappear? If so, you might want to think more about that.”

I was stunned. It was a light bulb moment.

I have a hard shell. I am rough around the edges. I can be curt. Or at least, I used to be. My friends used to refer to me as Ice Queen in my early to mid 20s. Once someone crossed or disappointed me, I was quick to move on and didn’t look back.

However, that’s not who I am now.

Since separating from Mars, I become easily attached. It happened with The Blond Mandarin. It happened with Colombian Hottie. It happened with Tex, which is why it was so hard for me to let that relationship go. And it obviously happened with Joaquin.

Mars and the kids cracked my shell to let the light in. I’ve done a complete 180.

It’s possible I respond to emotional issues this way out of habit. It’s an instinctual reaction. I noticed it when I posted about Hayden’s unresponsiveness 2-3 weeks ago. I noticed it during many disagreements with Tex.

I tend to mask my emotional pain as anger. I’ve always known I’ve done this. In fact, I remember even bringing it up to a therapist about 10 years ago, i.e. that I specifically struggle with the emotions anger and sadness. I think it’s because I never learned to manage those two emotions during my childhood.

It’s clear I need to be more aware of this. And it’s clear I need to closely monitor my responses when I’m sad to accurately reflect my feelings so that they’re not confused with anger.