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Author Topic: Mirror-Work GAL ideas....

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Mirror-Work GAL ideas....
OP: January 14, 2020, 03:16:02 AM
I think we use the phrase GAL (get a life) but it can mean different things to different people maybe.
And some of us feel pressure to do GAL things without quite knowing why/how. Or feel like a bit of a failure bc others seem to do it better. Or even feeling a bit yuk about the phrase bc we already had/have a life. Some of us are more naturally introverted and feel that GAL means having to be a different person. Others GAL like champions for a while and then see it as a distraction from some of our inner work.

Maybe it serves different purposes for different people?
Maybe it is less about Getting A Life and more about Building A Life in new circumstances?

I was/am rubbish at it. My path was one of tucking myself away in a metaphorical cave with a PTSD boulder in front of it to survive tbh. Which I am not recommending; it just seemed to be the necessary path for me lol.

But I am wondering now what my GAL/BAL should look like in 2020.
So I thought it might help me and others to share some experience and ideas of what works or doesn't work? And different kinds of GAL? And what you learned from GAL/BAL that surprised you?
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« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 03:18:03 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
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Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here

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Re: GAL ideas....
#1: January 14, 2020, 04:04:53 AM
Good points Treasur.

Maybe we should "eliminate" GAL because it is often used as a pejorative in every day life by most people.

So perhaps BAL is a much better acronym to use or even Re-BAL.  Rebuild a life because the life we all thought we had before BD was not always completely destroyed (it was for some). Some of us still had our jobs, our friends and family after BD.  Some of us still had to deal with children and their routines etc....   And some of us still had financial and physical control of our lives. 

So I would say that I did a Re- BAL.   

I looked at what I could do to keep me sane and what tried and trusted methods I could continue to keep me and my children on an even keel.   I maintained my job and my ability to earn.  I kept going with a couple of hobbies that I had always enjoyed and been good at. And for the rest I sought help in many shape and forms.  I had a therapist, my sister remained a rock for me and I read, took notes and learned as much as I could about MLC, depression and started re-training as a life coach as well as taking a very basic diploma in counselling.  Just doing that - something different but something that would directly help me grow was enough.

Now I am trying out new things; for example, I am freelance and in the early days of working for myself after 33 years of being "employed".  I was always good at budgeting but then that was when I was salaried and now my budget is so much tighter so I have also re-learned what to value as necessary and what not. 

What's important to realise is that life is constantly moving and BD throws all of us into a pit.  How we climb out of that pit is upto us and using the help on here and also your gut feeling is one way to start to rebuild a life or maybe better still ReBYL. Rebuild Your Life.
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Re: GAL ideas....
#2: January 14, 2020, 05:50:50 AM
I see GAL more as Keep Living Well.  Do all the things that were always positive experiences in your life.  _Especially_ if they are things you did with your spouse.  Do not let them take away things you like.

Get out of the house.  Even if you do not interact with people, just being out people watching can be good.  If your idea of a good time is reading a book in the corner of your living room, read a book at the park, or coffee shop.  Take extra effort to be kind to people in your small interactions and you _will_ feel better for it. 

Great thread topic.
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Re: GAL ideas....
#3: January 14, 2020, 07:08:00 AM
Treasur, coming to grips with my own introversion has been a huge issue for me during this whole process. I think being told to GAL, for natural introverts, is made even more difficult when we watch our MLCers go out salsa dancing, street racing or whatever it is they do lol. It makes us feel deficient somehow.

I was just going to post on my thread about this today actually. I was never told I was ok the way I am. Most people aren't like me and the reality is that makes some aspects of life harder, if only for feeling like an outsider at times among other things.

I am learning I get a lot of intrinsic value out of life and most people are happier with surface level entertainment. It's been a learning and growing experience in how to feel happy and satisfied in my own life. I think that's what GAL is about; but it's a custom plan tailored to each personality type.

I like the saying take care of you better. To me, GAL sounds like it's saying that we almost need to keep up with our MLCer to show them up and give them a what for. "I can go skydiving too! Paddle board with orca whales and enjoy cheese and wine in a hot air balloon too!".

It's really easy to feel less than compared to than when you'd rather just watch a sunset on the beach with your son and get a ice cream cone at mcdonalds on the way home.  :-\

You just gotta do you and take care of you. It doesn't matter how as long as nobody gets hurt, it's legal and nobody has to clean it up the next day  ;D
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« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 08:03:35 AM by gman242 »

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Re: GAL ideas....
#4: January 14, 2020, 07:20:27 AM
Gman, you make a really good point about natural introverts. I am also strongly introvert and have come to accept I fill my tank in my own way and that’s how I feel stronger. I also feel weird about being told to gal, it’s a visceral panic to be honest. If I don’t get enough peaceful me time I just can’t cope with anything.
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Re: GAL ideas....
#5: January 14, 2020, 07:30:17 AM
Treasur should maybe write.  I’m not sure what - a memoir? Novel? Articles? In your quiet times.  And increase marketing for your coaching I guess .  And something like volunteer to listen to children learning to read at a local Primary school once a week as being with children is quite fun and schools are nourishing and optimistic places.

And I am going to keep
Exercising and maybe add yoga as I’m getting inflexible.  And I’d like to continue studying.  And I’ve begun flexible part time work helping in a school.
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« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 07:32:16 AM by Nerissa »

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Re: GAL ideas....
#6: January 14, 2020, 07:47:09 AM
I definitely always saw it as "your old life is gone, start building the new one rather than sit in a corner wishing/hoping it will come back." Not only is that wise advice if marriage ends, it also allows standers to continue living and not be stuck and unhappy while they are waiting who knows how long.
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Re: GAL ideas....
#7: January 14, 2020, 09:54:39 AM
Yes, Treasur, I too find the acronym GAL annoying.  I had a life.  It was a really good life until it was blown to smithereens.  I'm much happier with the positive connotation of rebuilding.

1.  It is gone.
2.  I can't magically recreate it, nor would I want to.
3.  It was too centered around my ex.  If that were not true I wouldn't have found myself flat on my a$$ when he left.

Ok, yes it might be more naturally easier for a dedicated extrovert to GAL in the sense of joining new things and making new friends. 

But that is an obstacle that can be overcome with effort.  As is PTSD.

GAL is an important part of healing.
1.  Sense of accomplishment from conquering a fear and trying new things.
2.  Something new to keep ones mind occupied so one doesn't just closet themselves and their world gets smaller and lonelier, possibly feeding depression even.
3.  Something new to talk and think about rather than rehashing the crisis month after month, year after year.
4.  Avoiding substituting the forum for the possible
codependence of a previous life.
5.  It's important that ones identity is not solely that of an online persona, and it's important to get feedback, accolades, praise, in real life rather than just having self esteem propped up in the virtual world.  People move on, and fade away from the forum.  That's not a long term stable base for healthy relationships. 

It's rebuilding a life definitely, and all aspects of it.  That can be a very positive outcome of this, getting to reconstruct a life and redefine ones self with all that we have learned by this experience.  It's a huge opportunity if one elects to think of it that way.  And attitude is largely a choice.  We can choose to allow MLC to be the defining factor in our lives for good or for bad.  We can choose how we want to spend our time, for the remaining time we have left.  If we don't believe we have choices we are stuck in victimhood.  Still a choice some seem to find valid.

It is not about going out on a hunt to find a new partner.  After we come through the initial stages of this, we are likely in a transition phase with redefining ourselves.  That's a poor and unstable base for beginning a long term new relationship in my opinion.  It's also a recipe for either ending up repeating history or hurting another person.  Again my opinion based on my experiences and those of some here.

It's about making goals, daily, weekly, monthly.  Depending on your personality, extrovert or introvert, do one new thing a day or a week.  Some do one big thing a week and one new small thing a day.

The following was my list:
Join a church, Book club, Daily workout, Rock club, Meet ups, Ballet, Yoga, Coursera classes, Adult Ed classes, Foreign film nights, Investment classes, Monthly budgeting so not existing on previous savings, Bowling, Try a new food/dish a week, Nails done, Hair done, Facials, Massage, Hiking, Horseback riding, Volunteer at church, homeless shelter, pet rescue, with Vietnam vets, political groups, travel, Camping, Create 2 new businesses-eggs don't belong in only 1 basket, Marathons, Tai Kwon Do, Opera, Theatre, Symphony, Wrote Books, Employment education, Cleaned my house, built a flower garden and a food garden, a couple new jobs for new challenges, Meditation.

Those are things that I did for me.  Not to be more attractive to my ex. 

Those are things that I either didn't have the time to pursue with my focus on ex or wouldn't have done because ex wouldn't have been interested.  He would have sulked, been passively uncooperative, and been threatened by my independence.

And those things are part of my new life.

It's not about who is better at GAL.  That's an outside focus. It's about doing something new to challenge yourself and stimulate your mind, for your own sense of self, achievement, and self esteem.  And to remind yourself that we have much to be grateful for and a life to live to the best of our ability.  That the world is a big place, especially outside the forum, and there is more to life than rehashing pain year after year. After a while, that just gets old and there is nothing left to talk about that hasn't been said already over and over.   

GAL requires action not just thinking, planning, or talking.  Its not about excuses.  It's about taking action.  It's not about money or inability to find something one likes to do.  GAL doesn't have to require dozens of people being involved.  It's about choices.  Introvert or extrovert just defines choices of GAL.  It's about feeding ourselves and our souls, and healing in a way that suits our needs and personality, unique to each of us. 

I've never heard anyone regret choosing to GAL.  I've read many people say they regret not doing it sooner though. 

My opinion and thoughts.
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Re: GAL ideas....
#8: January 14, 2020, 11:43:57 AM
As an introvert who's always tried to push myself out of my comfort zone, because I thought it was abnormal not to be social, this conversation is hitting home.  STBXW is a social butterfly and talks to anyone.  Whenever we used to go out, I used to ask her (beg her) to please keep me near when we would be in a room full of strangers (like her school reunions.)  Invariably, she would leave me to try to talk with people I shared nothing in common with.  I would always want to leave early, and I felt that I was ruining her night out.  Eventually...  guess what?  I quit going, because she wouldn't meet my simple request and I didn't want to spoil her night with friends.  That's not a great recipe even in a non-MLC marriage. 

Immediately after BD, I went into my own GALing tunnel, trying to force myself to be more outgoing, so that she would see I wasn't the passive, stay at home, emotionally ignorant person she was accusing me of being.  She monstered when I went out, and in reality, I wasn't enjoying myself.  I was doing it for the wrong reasons, and it wasn't about me.  It was about her.

Anyway,  I'm enjoying this discussion.  I really appreciate the vulnerability everyone shows on HS.
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Elephant in the room has been addressed.  No further action atm.  Weighing my options.
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Re: GAL ideas....
#9: January 14, 2020, 12:17:33 PM
GALing has nothing to do with being introverted or not.
It certainly doesn't mean you have to match the MLCer's actions and party hearty.
It does not mean you have to date.
It does not necessarily mean you need to be non-characteristically social.

GALing mean meeting your needs in a non-detrimental way.

If you enjoy reading - then read.
If you like listening to music - then do that.
Galing is not being a social butterfly unless you wish to become one.

The first question one should ask themselves is - "Am I happy just the way I am- post BD?".
If you are - then great - you are obviously doing the right things.
If hermiting yourself is "your thing" and you are happy doing that - then there is no problem.

The problem comes when you are still trying, years after BD,  to heal  and you still don't feel whole.
Then you have to take a look at yourself in the mirror and ask - what is missing?

The purpose of GALing is not to try to become something you don't want to be.
The purpose is to "build a life" without your spouse being right by your side.

GALing is about self care.

Take a Look at the family Therapist - Virginia Satir's Component of Happiness Mandala:

How good are you at these individual sectors?
No one is 100% in all of them.
Where do you need more attention?

Not good at nutrition - and keeping good care of your diet?
Maybe you are a newbie - and hardly eating at all?
Then GALing for you at the moment is about eating regularly and choosing nutritious foods.

What about sensually? 
Do you feel like an untouchable?
Then maybe part of your GALing would be to get a massage on a regular basis.

What are you doing to nurture your intellectual side?
Perhaps you go to a lecture, or you join a club like the rock club LP joined.

Are you feeling isolated and not liking it?
Then you will need to work on gaining a few more platonic relationships.
Volunteering for a good cause puts you in contact with lots of people - and some you may bond with.
Or joining a hiking club - or someone on here is involved with being on a softball team.

Sometimes you try something and you realize you don't like it - or it isn't a good fit for you.
Fine - but it does not give you a "get out of jail free" card for you to sit on your hands.
Then you need to try something else.

Can it be frustrating?  Sometimes.
Can it be rewarding?  Yes.

The point is - all of us need to nurture all of the the different sectors.
Some areas we are very strong in - GALing is about firming up the areas we need more attention to.
And periodically even after we are successfully on our feet, we need to take a look at our self care - just the same way you do a period health check-up.

Perhaps those who say they are introverted simply didn't appreciate the full concept of GALing - and for those I have outlined the above.

A cautionary note:
There is a difference between not knowing what self-care is vs simply being stubborn and refusing to do proper self-care.
"I can't" often can be translated into "I won't".
Only you - the LBSer can do a self-assessment and know where you are.


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Re: GAL ideas....
#10: January 14, 2020, 01:50:40 PM
I also don't like the acronym "GAL" and feel I'm way behind others in terms of what I should be doing at this point in time. It seems many of us are introverts and prefer being alone or at home much of the time? Before the "event" I was a bit more outgoing. I liked to travel, read, window shop and try different food via new restaurants. I kind of lost my interest in everything except reading which became somewhat of an addiction as I was and still am occasionally plowing through two-four books a month.

I found joining forums where others discussed similar interests to be helpful, like engaging in one over a popular TV show (Reddit). I also like the deal (SD) and points/miles forums (FT). I found forcing myself to go out to actually be helpful as I don't mind roaming around shops alone. Have you tried meetup dot com? I'm thinking of doing something with that since everyone will be in the same position, strangers! Might be fun. I also think like Nerissa in that you could be a writer. Maybe the next Harry Potter book author!  ;D You're good at understanding and empathizing with others too so maybe you could be an online counselor or mentor?
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Re: GAL ideas....
#11: January 14, 2020, 04:41:29 PM
Well, guess I should've read this before I posted. Some great insights here !
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Re: GAL ideas....
#12: January 14, 2020, 06:02:43 PM
For me Gal looks very much like Armids post.
It was looking at the areas in my life that I was lacking something to fulfill me and filling my own cup.
Wether that was time in nature, exercise, friends I could confide in, so fun activities, something creative, ways to feel accomplished or ways to just have experiences.

Gal for me is whatever fills my empty cup.....wether that’s solitude or activities or something mentally stimulating or some time in the woods with God.

Gal is about meeting my own needs first and learning to be attuned to myself enough to figure out what those are.

I absolutely love the graph. That’s basically what I referred to when examining my life.
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Re: GAL ideas....
#13: January 14, 2020, 08:22:21 PM
I swear, semantics will kill us all.....

I was fortunate that by the time I arrived here, I had found it's where I found my coloring groups, offroad buds and hiking crazies. Driving off road saved my sanity because for a day or a weekend, no one was left behind. The group I traveled with made sure everyone was safe. I needed to be in control of something, even if it was my car poised on the precipice of an 80 degree angle and screaming "Banzai" as I careened down the hill and have a bunch of strangers care about whether or not I was alive at the bottom.

Getting/gaining a life was about recognizing me as an individual,  what I like, what I don't.  It was about trying something and if I didn't like it stop doing it. It was about filling my own tank instead of sitting around bemoaning my fate, which sometimes included sitting around and watching tv, something I rarely did before. It was about learning that's it's ok to be an introvert with extroverted tendencies. It was about getting MY life (I'll  GAML with the best of them).

IT always makes me wonder, and I think Barbiedoll said this best, why so many hear through a "wound" instead of hearing the spirit of "Find a way to keep your spirits up. Go do something you might like. Maybe you'll love it, maybe you won't. Look beyond what was."

Bedazzle your life with whatever makes your motor hum.
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Re: GAL ideas....
#14: January 14, 2020, 08:38:33 PM
And now for my list of activities.
Drive off road. Or back road. Or take the long way home.
Color. Books, drawings, your hands, rocks, whatever
Create something. Bake bread, do a craft, make a book shelf, build a gazebo, grow vegetables.
Escape room with someone or someone's
There are escape rooms in a box and online
Play Artemis with your online buds  or gather all your geek friends in your living room with their laptops so you can see the view from your ship together (look it up, you might like it)
Visit open houses
Test drive cars
Go Geocaching ( treasure hunt with GPS coordinates )
Take a day trip. Anywhere.
Take a weekend trip. Anywhere.
Do 10 knee bends. Celebrate by coloring.
Replace the batteries in all your remotes. Marvel at how much better they work.
Stand in the sun if it is out. Make snow angels if it's snowing. Find someone with a moon roof in their car if it raining. Stare up into the rain falling on the moonroof. Watch flowers close up as it gets dark.
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« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 08:39:58 PM by OffRoad »
When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

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Re: GAL ideas....
#15: January 14, 2020, 10:03:25 PM
I agree with Offroad - has been a wonderful social outlet for me.

Great posts on this thread.

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Re: GAL ideas....
#16: January 15, 2020, 08:08:53 AM
Ok I still don't like the term GAL.. lol. I agree with LP mostly, for the reasons she's stated about not over focusing on your hurt and instead, occupying your time and mind with other activities. I agree with someone else who posted that maybe we can re-title it self care.

My issue is specifically, is that it get's lumped into the whole "how do I get my spouse back" thing. Most people run into that when they're new to MLC and I think we give people the idea that if we lose weight and suddenly become more interesting, the spouse will take notice and start coming around again. Like the 180 we preach here, has a different meaning out on the WWW. It means that if you're more interesting and suddenly doing something you don't normally do, you'll make your spouse jealous. Here, I think it means wait, think about what you're doing before you react to your MLCer and to not repeat negative or co dependent ways of interacting.

I think GAL means something different to everyone, because everyone's situation is different. To me, it just means be more of myself. I've always had a large variety of hobbies that I've done, but xw became a 10,000 gorilla in the room who also made me depressed and at times she actively prevented me from perusing my hobbies. It was xw who sat in bed depressed for years, while I begged and encouraged her to have friends and hobbies.

I have a lot of my own self validation and esteem issues to work out, but GAL hasn't been one of them. I think maybe as introverts, we don't like the term because it implies that we're not keeping up with the other kids. I think introverts have been told at various times in their lives to "go out and play with the other kids" and it's harder for us to self validate when we have this socially acceptable, status quo we're always comparing ourselves to, when there's no logical reason for comparison at all. So yeah, we can GAL, but it'll be more slowly because we need more down and process time. And also for us full time parents, it's that much harder. I really am proud to be around so many dedicated, full time single parents.

My list of hobbies?:

visiting historical places / museums
road trips
DIY house projects and home improvement
writing and performing music
airsofting / working with & mentoring teens and the community at large
writing freelance blog articles, books, short stories
collecting records & CDs
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« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 08:17:02 AM by gman242 »

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Re: GAL ideas....
#17: January 15, 2020, 09:08:45 AM
GAL has been difficult for me, but I feel I've done the best I can when I have the kids full time. I'm sure other single mum and dad's feel the same.
I'm am also admittedly a little introvert. Not completely, but I struggle in big groups and am better in more informal smaller groups and one to one.

For me, I did the dating, joining the gym, going on hikes with and all sorts of other things, but I felt it was something I was forcing myself to do. I have had some nice dates though and I'm not opposed to exercise, but I struggle to fit it all in and it was exhausting me and trying to find someone to watch the kids. It became a real chore and I didn't like that.

So, for me GAL was continuing what I was doing and trying to do it to the best of my ability. I love my trips around Europe, so we've been on some driving holidays that have been fun and cheap. We've been to France, Germany, Holland, Belgium. I've done these trips solo and once with my sister and niece. We are heading to Spain in June and if Thomas Cook hadn't have gone bust we would have just come back from New York and Florida.
We've done plenty of weekends away around the UK. We always meet people and they have increased my confidence so much.

I've focused on getting my house renovated and I reduced my working hours. The working hours gave me the time to breathe and clear my head a bit. There was too much stress with looking after kids, a home and working full time.

I go on really big walks with dog. I used to take the dog on the park, but we go on epic walks that the kids can come with me. I have some great countryside on my doorstep. We go out on our bikes too, when the weather is better. I enjoy this. I just really enjoy spending time with the kids.

I invested in a counsellor who has helped. I want to make new friends. My counsellor has helped with this too. So, I am making an effort to talk to people when I can. She set me goals to find things out about people. I have done this at my kids school by talking to parents, talking to colleagues I wouldn't ordinarily need to chat too. Sounds silly, but it's improved my confidence in just striking up conversation with people.

I've got more into looking after my skin too. Sounds ridiculous, but this makes me feel good too and focus a little more on my appearance. This sounds a little MLC, but it isn't. I get up slightly earlier for work. I straighten my hair and put a bit of make up. It makes me feel better. In my dark times, I would drag myself out of bed, shout at the kids, stress about getting to work one time and end up exhausted by the time I got there. That is gone! Ha!

So, for me, it's just about focusing more on what I can do to improve my life and enjoy it the best I can. I'm not obsessing over my ex anymore, but it does still happen. Just not as often.

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Re: GAL ideas....
#18: January 18, 2020, 05:06:58 AM
See I think, and after reading everyone’s responses I may be alone in this ha!
But, I fell pregnant with D8 very young. I gave birth 3 days after my 20th birthday. And so the time from D8 being born to BD. I was so scared of looking like a “statistic”. I didn’t do things normal 20year olds did. I stayed home even when my mum had D8 and or the kids. I lived a life I felt that being a Mum was. I kinda felt a bit like I was acting. Don’t get me wrong, I Ofcourse LOVED being a mum and wouldn’t change it. But now I think, would it have killed me to have a girls night then? However I then found myself a forced introvert. Naturally I’m a extrovert. I love going out. I’m a confident and bubbly person. But I spent a lot of my time in the house cooking cleaning being a mum I had no friends. I had Clington and that was it. Well that ended well didn’t it. At the time my friends were only really interested in planning stuff with me if I was out getting drunk. They didn’t want to go park and feed ducks. So they started dropping after the first few cute baby visits.

So when the Bomb dropped I didn’t even had friends I could talk to about it. Hence how I found this forum and hence how I read about GALING. And so I forced myself to message random people on Facebook. We started attending play date with the kids. Then when Clington has the kids, we would go to a pub. Or a night club. I spent a lot of my time “GALing” drunk in nightclubs with friends. BUT, and I guess this is the thing. It’s a bit like my GALing is reliving the life I should have lived years ago. If that makes sense.

I mean, Ofcourse I still go out and get drunk. I may be a mum but at the same time, I’m still only 28.

However, I don’t always go out and get drunk. Sometimes I stay in and watch a film on Netflix. Sometimes I go to the cinema. Sometimes I meet friends and we try and new restaurant.

I guess for me, my GALing May look a bit higgledy piggledy but I’m not getting a life, or building a life. I guess I’m sort of finding my life. Working out exactly who Sacha is when she’s not a LBS or a mum. The Sacha underneath it all.
  • Logged
Me - 28
H - 35
3 children together D3 D6 D8 (D1 D4 and D6 at the time of BD)
Together - almost 8 years

BD & MLCer moved out - November 2017
OW discovered - December 2017
Moved in with Ow - November 2019
Ow met children - December 2019


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