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Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

I have a friend who isn’t exactly lucky when it comes to love.  They tend to end up associating with people who are already committed to someone else, people who are emotionally immature, people who simply aren’t good enough for them, and others who are incompatible in other ways.  I give as much advice as I can and I’m always there when they need to vent, but their situation never seems to improve.  Right now my friend is dealing with a person who has a significant other that they are committed to but wants my friend as a friend with benefits, but with some emotional attachment.  Just not too much.  It’s anything but clear cut.

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I have been all over the place when it comes to relationships.  I may not be the best person to come to for advice, but I feel like I know enough to be able to speak confidently on the subject.  I’ve been the heartbreaker and I’ve had my heart broken.  I’ve been used and I’ve used others.  I’ve been confident and I’ve been insecure.  I’ve learned a lot over the years and those life lessons have allowed me to grow as a person and be better overall.  As a result, I get bothered when someone I care about is experiencing trouble in their love life.  I don’t like seeing people make mistakes that I’ve made and I always want to do something to help (although I tend to keep out of their business unless they choose to insert me into it).

What I notice the most is that people who are unlucky with relationships seem to lack confidence in themselves and lack the proper amount of love for themselves.  They feel insecure in some fashion and allow that to control their emotions and feelings, often causing them to be paranoid or to feel that people aren’t being honest and straightforward with them.  They feel that they aren’t good enough, or at least that the person of interest thinks they aren’t good enough.  They over analyze things and drive themselves up the wall.  All these things combined work to destroy whatever hope exists of having a stable and healthy relationship.

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I used to be a jealous, paranoid little thing.  I was the girl who would look through your email after you left the room, check your pockets, and question your intentions with every female you so much as looked at.  It had nothing to do with the people I was with (for the most part) but was caused by my lack of faith in myself and my utter lack of confidence.  Going through school as the nerdy weird girl doesn’t exactly turn one into a strong young woman, and I couldn’t let go of the idea that I was inadequate in some way.  I completely destroyed my relationship with my college boyfriend (and his relationship with his best friend) because of my attitude.

I don’t regret losing that relationship, although it does suck that I hurt people, because it was a hell of a learning experience for me.  As were the relationships that followed.  With every failure came a bit of education.  I don’t have to be a supermodel for people to find me attractive.  I don’t have to be threatened by every female on the planet.  I don’t have to feel undeserving of love and affection.  I don’t have to worry about what everyone thinks of me when I enter a room.  All I have to do is love myself to pieces.  If I feel that I am deserving of love, I will get it.  If I feel like I’m the most beautiful person in the room, I will be.

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I wish I had a way to relay this to my friend, and to others who confide in me when struggling, but it’s not as if you can follow a set of directions and instantly gain the confidence that allows you to find luck in relationships.  It’s also impossible for anyone to understand what goes on in another person’s head and heart.  Advice can be sought out in any number of ways, but no amount of advice can change the way a person thinks and feels.  It has to come from within; a strong desire to change for the better and to welcome good things into your life.  Following a plan to better yourself and find a healthy relationship is a waste of time if you are still a broken person in some way.

For me, the biggest part of finding happiness is to have complete confidence in yourself.  You have to love the way you look and hold your head high, knowing that you’re turning heads and making people say wow.  You have to love your personality and know that people are attracted to it and desire to be near you because you bring them joy in some way.  You have to accept that other people’s negativity does not reflect on you or anything you have done; some people are just miserable human beings that want to bring others down.  You have to know that you are an incredible person that anyone would be honored to call their own.

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Part of this is never settling for less than you deserve.  I’ve heard people say that standards should be lowered if finding a date isn’t going well.  I could not disagree more.  Perhaps standards should be changed in order to broaden horizons, but they should never be lowered.  You should never settle for anything less than you deserve.  You should never sell yourself short.  If a relationship isn’t what you want, don’t just stay because it’s comfortable and familiar.  Move on and seek out someone who lives up to your standards, or even exceeds them.  Find someone who appreciates all you offer and has much to offer you in return.  Find someone who you can grow with, become more with, and be honestly and truly happy with.

The problem with finding a relationship is never that all the good ones are taken.  It’s never that you don’t know where to meet people.  It’s never being too old or too busy.  Those are nothing but excuses, and they are holding you back and making you appear unavailable and oftentimes bitter.  Stop making excuses.  Stop settling for “enough” when you deserve more.  Take a step back and invest time in yourself.  Heal whatever wounds exist from past loves and heartbreaks, from insecurities and uncertainties, and from whatever skeletons you keep in your closet.  Until you make yourself whole as an individual, you can never be whole and happy in a truly healthy relationship.

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Trust

I’ve been thinking lately about cheating.  NO, not like that.  Cheaters is one of my favorite shows, even though I barely catch it on TV anymore.  It’s somewhat fascinating to me to see people who trust each other so fully to fall apart because someone can’t keep their pants on.  I don’t mean that in a cruel way; it’s never a pleasant thing to see hearts break and relationships fail.  We all want love to conquer all and it simply sucks when that cannot happen.  But the thing that grabs my attention even more is the trust that the cheater is putting with their new partner.

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Sure, there are people out there who cheat in the dumbest possible ways, seemingly asking to get caught in the act.  But for every one of them, there exists a person who is shamefully good at being unfaithful.  They lead a double life effortlessly and mostly free of guilt.  At least one, if not both (or more) of the people they are with are being duped into thinking that they are the only one receiving love, sex and affection.  They play this game of balancing their lovers, never revealing their true colors and intentions.  They cover their tracks beautifully and leave nothing in question.  Even though it’s wrong, you can’t help but be slightly impressed at the way they keep blinders on everyone around them.

What I never thought about until recently is how much trust goes into these affairs.  When Mike is unfaithful to his wife with Stacy, he needs to trust Stacy to keep her mouth shut, to keep her distance from his family, and to not grow too attached and do something stupid to reveal the entire ruse.  (fictional people, obviously)  Mike has to have faith in Stacy to either accept that he has a life away from her that he wants to keep, or that she won’t find him on Facebook or elsewhere and flip out when she discovers his wife and children.  There must be an enormous amount of trust put into Stacy upon beginning the affair, and it’s incredibly hard to trust a person with so much of your life and happiness.

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With social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others, it’s near impossible to keep your personal life 100% personal.  If Mike begins his affair with the intent to keep Stacy fully ignorant of his wife and family, Facebook can ruin that plan in a heartbeat.  Even without a Facebook friend acceptance, Stacy would be able to see the minimal details that would show Mike to be a family man with a woman he is committed to.  Photos on Instagram and Twitter can do the same.  More digging from Stacy could put her in direct contact with Mike’s wife, blowing his cover and making his poor spouse very unhappy.  It’s made even worse if Stacy is armed with text messages, voicemails, emails, or any other type of concrete evidence of Mike’s infidelity.

This type of trust confuses me.  If you’re married (or committed to someone in the same respect without the certificate) you obviously trust that person implicitly.  Trust is a hard thing to earn and to give, so it makes sense that it would go hand in hand with marriage (or similar commitment).  It’s not something you give to everyone, yet the cheater gives it to their new lover almost effortlessly.  They get flirtatious and cross the line, surely knowing full well that their new lover could tear their world down in a second.  Yet they trust this person not to do so.  They trust that this person will understand and respect the boundaries and rules put into place, even though they have no reason to respect anything.

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I imagine that while cheating, the trust does begin to bend a bit.  The cheater generally begins to lose trust for their spouse or primary partner, thinking that they are the one lying and sneaking around.  They project their activities onto this person, analyzing their every move and every word.  I suspect that they may even do this with the person they are cheating with, assuming that they are doing their own share of sneaking around.  The trust wavers, not because of the other parties, but because the cheater subconsciously acknowledges that they are betraying the trust of someone important to them.  But even then, the motivation to stop simply isn’t there.

Mike could have been called out by his wife on his activities that don’t match up to his stories, he could be called out by Stacy after she discovers that his background isn’t what he has presented it to be, but that still isn’t always enough for Mike to cut ties with Stacy (or his wife) and decide to live and love honestly.  Even in the face of failure, the cheater maintains the trust and faith that things will work out and run smoothly.  It makes no sense to put faith in something so broken, but people are out there doing it every single day.

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Trust is an important thing and it’s sad that these strange perversion of trust exists out there and gives cheaters validation to do what they do.  But it may also be their ultimate downfall.  When you’re doing something shady, any trust you give to your accomplice is tainted and destined to shatter.  You can’t play with someone’s emotions and then expect nothing negative to come of it.  You can’t assume that your penis pictures won’t see the light of day eventually after you tick off your new lover due to your inability to commit to just him/her.  If you’re going to trust in anything while cheating, trust in this:  It will fall apart and it will fall hard.  Secrets aren’t well kept when everything we do can be put online or emailed in a screenshot.  Everyone has their limits and eventually your “other” will get tired of that status and your secrets will be revealed.  Unless your trust also comes with total and complete honesty, it is destined to crumble and take you down with it.

Your Cheating Heart

A friend of mine recently ended a relationship, then learned that their ex had been unfaithful during their relationship.  I didn’t know my friend’s ex that well, having only met her once for dinner and a concert, and even then we didn’t speak to each other much, but the ex didn’t strike me as someone who would cheat.  My friend is one of the nicest people I know and it kills me to know that they had to go through that.  Even though the relationship was over when the news was revealed, the sting of being cheated on isn’t any less than it would be if it was revealed during the relationship.  Bottom line:  It sucks.

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The guy I had a serious relationship with prior to my husband ended up cheating on me twice.  It was during a time when we had to live apart due to financial hardships.  I found out he had slept with two waitresses I knew from a bar we frequented, and on one of those occasions where he was unfaithful, he ended up coming back to my bed almost immediately after doing the nasty with someone else.  To say I was devastated would be an understatement.  It was the only time I’ve truly been cheated on (to my knowledge) and it pained me for a long time afterward.  I tried to make it work but it eventually failed for more reasons than I can list.  The cheating was definitely high on the list of reasons I left though and is something no one should tolerate or have to experience.

One of the things that bothered me about my situation was that a mutual friend of ours had a front row seat to the cheating and didn’t say a word to me.  I was left blissfully ignorant until my ex got drunk one night and told me in an attempt to make me cry.  In retrospect, I can’t blame him for not telling me about the indiscretions.  Chances were that I wouldn’t have believed a word of it and would have just become angry at my friend.  It also was not the responsibility of my friend to break this news to me; he was an unwilling participant and just happened to be present during a date with my ex’s temporary new woman.  I was angry at my friend when I discovered that he knew, but I eventually came to my senses and quit blaming him (and the waitress) for something that wasn’t their doing.

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The reasons people cheat are generally the same across the board.  One person feels ignored or unfulfilled in part of their relationship and looks to fill the gaps with another person.  One person feels inadequate and desires a person to tell them they’re beautiful and worthwhile.  The sex isn’t what it used to be or the conversations have run stale.  The cheater is insecure and needs to seek out people who will cure their insecurities temporarily with loving words and sexual attraction.  One person gets afraid of commitment and rushes into the arms of another in order to find solace.  The cheater simply gets a kick out of playing two or more people without being found out.  There are many reasons, but none of them are any good.

Not every relationship is meant to go the distance and it’s perfectly normal and fine for feelings to change and for people to want to move on to bigger and better things.  It’s unfair to yourself and to your partner to stay in a relationship that isn’t making you both happy.  The solution is easy though; be honest and move on properly.  Maybe the two of you need a bit of time apart in order to learn to be strong together, maybe you’re a few years away from being ready for love, or maybe you both need to stop holding on to something that doesn’t work.  It’s better to break a heart through a breakup than break a heart through infidelity.  It’s easier to come back and salvage a relationship that had a clean break than salvage one that ended because you decided to sleep around with other people.

Jealousy

I’m angry at my friend’s ex for their actions, not only because my friend didn’t deserve it, but because it was completely unnecessary.  The ex could have easily asked for some time apart, expressed frustration with some part of the relationship, or just said “screw you, I’m done.”  It’s difficult to do, but I’m glad I chose to end things with my college boyfriend instead of cheating on him when he moved four hours away from me for work.  Hurting someone with a breakup is rough but it’s worlds better than hurting someone by sharing yourself with another person behind their back.  It’s the difference between being the one that got away and the dirty whore that wasted two years of someone’s life.

I think my friend will be better off without their ex, but it’s still a shame that things weren’t handled properly so that at the very least they could have remained friends.  Thankfully, my friend is a strong and level-headed person who will get past this nonsense quickly and move on to someone who appreciates, loves and respects them.  The plus side to being cheated on is that it not only makes you a stronger person, it shows you the dirty side of love.  It’s a learning experience that allows you to avoid people of bad character in the future.  It discourages you from being a cheater yourself since you’ve been on the wrong end of it and know the damage it does.  It separates you from a person who didn’t deserve you and allows you to move on without guilt.  Cheaters may never learn, but that’s okay because the ones left in their wake end up shining like diamonds while the guilty parties stumble through the mud.

Our Own Worst Enemy

While screwing around on Twitter this morning, I saw a few random comical comments from a female that I could once call a friend but who I’m now unsure of where she fits into my life, if she even fits at all.  We have not spoken since the day I finally became fed up with her friend’s boyfriend and told him that I want nothing to do with him.  This was after he had acted very inappropriately and disrespectfully to me and to his girlfriend (indirectly), but I kept the trash talk out of it and just ended the friendship I had with him.  His girlfriend slowly cut me out of her life, but this one female has kept me around on her Twitter feed for some reason even though we no longer speak.  She’s favorited things I’ve said after the incident, yet uninvited me to two things we had previously planned.  And I don’t understand it at all.

I suspect the reasoning behind it, other than her loyalty to her friend, is that she sees me as wrong and ill-informed when it comes to the guy I cut out of my life.  She was drinking and distracted the first time he acted like a royal ass, not around the second time he acted inappropriately, and not present on Twitter enough to see the rest of it.  To her, this guy is amazing and a perfect match for her friend.  To her, I am jealous, bitter, bitchy or a combination of all three.  Since I have not defended my actions and not explained why I cut the guy out of my life, I am probably also seen as cowardly.  Truth is, there is no way in hell she or her friend would listen to anything I have to say.  It’s like that too often with women.  We get blinded by love and ignore everything else while treating other females like garbage if we feel threatened in any way.

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This is one of the main reasons I have a very small group of female friends.  This nonsense was a daily issue in middle and high school as we fought over boys and battled with our self-esteem.  I expected and accepted it as a teenager, but I’ll be 32 this year and I’m not okay with dealing with it any longer.  If I slip up and make a mistake, I will own up to it and make efforts to repair the damage, but if I am justified in my behavior and it just so happens to upset you, I don’t feel that I am in the wrong.  If I am hitting on your boyfriend, that is my mistake and I owe you an apology and must right the situation.  If your boyfriend hits on me and I tell him where to stick it, I have nothing to apologize for.  So why is it that I am seen as in the wrong and given the silent treatment in those situations where boyfriend was bad?  Why is he absolved of all wrongdoing while I am slowly pushed away?

Part of me thinks that certain females see me as a threat.  I don’t say that in an egotistical way and I’m not trying to claim that I’m so gorgeous, guys can’t resist me.  But I am confident and confidence can be sexy.  I’m married and I don’t care what any other man thinks of me outside of my husband.  The lack of worry about having to impress the masses has boosted my confidence, plus my husband makes me feel gorgeous, so I suspect that lends to females thinking that I could pose a threat to their relationships.  I was once that same shy little girl who was threatened by any woman who was pretty or that came across as sure of themselves.  But then I grew up.

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Another reason I feel that I’ve been pushed away by this female is the fact that I have chosen to remain absolutely quiet about why I became angry at the boyfriend, as I do not want to be the one who messes up the relationship.  If I could put her in my place and show her what I’ve seen, this would likely be a very different situation right now.  Sadly, I can’t do this and I won’t waste time trying to convince her of what I know.  I didn’t listen when people told me that my ex was a liar and a cheat, I just felt very silly when I found out the hard way.  If I had let loose with details, there is a small chance that I would have been heard, but it was too small of a chance for me to bother.  So I remain silent and look like the bad guy.  All anyone has to do is ask, but it’s easier to stick to the strange girl code of shunning females who threaten us.

Whatever the reasoning, the bottom line is that the female who has yet to delete me from her Twitter and the female who has already done so are both reminding me way too much of my high school days.  I tried hanging on, as we have a mutual friend in the mix, but I no longer see the point.  To be so irate at me that you uninvite my kid to your own kid’s birthday party is just silly and I want no part of it.  I don’t want to associate with someone who thinks so little of me and I don’t want to associate with anyone who doesn’t have the guts to express what they are feeling and express why they are angry.  It’s cowardly and it shows that you know deep down that you’re angry for a stupid reason.

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Ladies, every female out there isn’t secretly plotting and planning, her mind set on tearing your life apart so she can steal your man, take your job, and laugh as you are left with nothing.  Not every chick who doesn’t like your boyfriend is acting that way because they are secretly crushing on them; often they see something you don’t and shouldn’t be ignored.  It is pointless and petty to treat each other as if we are all waiting to stab the other in the back.  I’m exhausted by it all.  I’ve taken the few seconds today to delete the female in question from my following feed and I’ve blocked both of these ladies in order to further distance myself.  If they want to talk things out, they both have my phone number.  In the meantime, I’m content in sticking them both in the past until we can all act like adults.

Til Death. Part Time Of Course.

I heard something the other day that annoyed me.  Because it’s secondhand information and because the person may not want me regurgitating their information, I’m going to be as brief as possible.  Single female, with children, dated two married men with the full and complete knowledge that they are married.  I suppose it’s all right to be brief in the description since this scenario is unfortunately quite a common one.

Being single with children is rough and I don’t think there’s a certain age range where it’s any easier than another; you either have children who don’t understand, preteens who are resentful, teenagers who act rebellious and unwelcoming, not to mention the depression and guilt that can strike any age when the child is left wondering why one parent isn’t around and doesn’t love them like they believe they should.  As a former single mom, I know how hard it is to date and shed the unwed mom image or the notion that you’re loose and your bad behavior is what landed you with a kid.  Other than the single moms I knew, guess who understood my dating dilemma best?  Married people.  I’m not quite sure why, but my married friends (both childless and parents) somehow got it and sympathized.  I can definitely see how a vulnerable single woman would be drawn to a married man who understood how lonely she felt.  That being said, there’s a very clear line there that cannot and must not be crossed.

To a single mom, a successful man is quite attractive and one who is a family man as well is even better.  Raising a child alone doesn’t make for the most stable environment, no matter how good you are at it.  To hear a man talk about the things he does for his kids after work and how proud he is of them could definitely be attractive.  To hear about how he pampers his stay-at-home wife could definitely make a woman feel a bit of jealousy and wish she was in the wife’s place.  That doesn’t justify trying to stick yourself there.  You don’t get a marriage license because it’s fun, you do so because a marriage is a legal binding agreement between two people.  If they choose to separate on their own without outside interference, so be it.  No one should insert themselves into someone else’s marriage, no matter how you feel or what promises the married party makes to you or lies they feed you.  If you’re giving up your goods, of COURSE the unfaithful married person will swear they’re getting a divorce or are already sleeping in separate beds, so long as you keep on taking your pants off.  Only a fool buys into that and only a fool puts themselves in that position to begin with.

I can’t imagine any man out there who would make me want to become a homewrecker.  Why would I want to teach my son that marriage vows mean jack shit by sleeping with a man who is promised to another woman?  What does that say about my self-esteem and self-worth?  What kind of woman does that make me at the end of the day?  If you simply want sex and no strings, there are plenty of single people out there who would be happy to roll around with you and never call you again, so there’s no excuse for going to someone who’s married.  If you want a sugar daddy/mommy, there’s also plenty of them out there who have yet to put a ring on their finger.  If you’re looking for love, do you really want the love of someone who is willing to cheat on someone they love(d) enough to marry?  I can’t imagine ever being secure with a man who left his wife to be with me; I’d always fear for the next new chick to come along and cause his eyes to wander.

Except for those instances where the married party fails to disclose their marriage, both parties are at fault for beginning and carrying on a relationship.  A man can throw the greatest lines at you, buy you diamonds, offer vacations, and come off as the most fantastic person to ever grace the Earth with his presence, but if he’s married he is OFF LIMITS.  Period.  His appeal is no excuse for carrying on with him.  As for the married part of this, don’t get married if you’re not done dogging around.  You can’t love your spouse AND sleep around, it doesn’t work that way.  Cheating doesn’t have a place in a relationship with true love; if you need or want to cheat, separate beforehand and then have at it.  If that’s too much work, keep your pants tightly belted on and keep your hands to yourself.

We all make mistakes and have moments of weakness, stupidity, bad judgment, foolishness, and regret.  It’s forgivable to fall in love with a married man, as emotions are tough to control.  It’s unforgivable to act on those feelings and taint his marriage, even if he says it’s all right.  It’s okay to want to recapture your childhood, find a sitter for the kids on Saturday, and go out and party like you’re in college.  It’s not okay to take a married guy home and give him an anatomy lesson.  Even if you find yourself in a near-perfect sneaky scenario, you’ve got to understand that people are smarter than you give them credit for and chances are, the spouse will find out, their kids will find out, and so will your kids.  What kind of piss poor parent wants to teach their child that marriage doesn’t mean shit and promises of love come with unfaithful acts and chances of catching a disease?

Listen ladies, the guy isn’t leaving his wife for you.  I don’t care what he says, it’s not going to happen.  It’s pillow talk to make your dress come off quicker.  Even if it’s just a fling, it’s still an equal amount of wrong.  There is not one single solitary reason under the sun that makes it okay to get involved with a married person.  Chicks have enough trouble being taken seriously and not being just a pair of boobs to the majority of guys, don’t devalue our gender more by making it okay for a married man to make you his piece on the side.  Have some self-respect.

Not Even Women Know What Women Think

My husband and I went for hot chocolate at work today and were helped by someone who I’ve never met before but my husband and mother-in-law used to see a few times a month when they would go for coffee or ice cream.  As we traveled from the register to the end of the counter while she prepared our drinks, there was a bit of conversation exchanged between her and my husband about not seeing him for a while.  If our order has taken any longer than it did, I might have started to get uncomfortable because she acted as though I was invisible, choosing only to make eye contact and hand drinks to my husband.  In her case, I’m inclined to write it off as her being shy, but nearly every woman I know has had a situation where they have stood idly by as a female chats up their man while they stand there feeling invisible OR has been the woman doing the ignoring.

I touched on this a couple of years ago when working at a physical therapy office.  There were certain patients that demanded different behaviors from me as a female; one who expressed discomfort when any female therapist would even make eye contact with her husband, one who preferred we discuss her boyfriend’s care with her and not with him, one who insisted on watching when her husband got massages (these were fully clothed, mind you), and a variety of other habits by women aimed to limit the amount of verbal communication and physical cues aimed at their significant other by another female, even though there was no intent other than a professional one.  That place aside, I can think of an endless amount of examples of situations where female A talks to a male while female B stands by, arms crossed, clouded in jealousy, anger, confusion, or discomfort.

Not every interaction warrants an introduction, so girlfriends and wives will often find themselves standing idly by while a female from the past greets their man and doesn’t bother to acknowledge their presence.  It’s in our nature to want to claim our territory and tell this mystery female that we are the woman in this man’s life, whether she cares or not.  There’s also a bit of insecurity that tends to pop up, especially if the female in question happens to be attractive.  What strikes me as funny is that these interactions between our men and the mystery chick are in general very respectable and innocent, yet us females overreact and behave as though this woman just ran up and began dry humping our man.

Part of the reasoning for this stems back to the sometimes myth and oftentimes fact that men and women cannot be friends.  Men always have an agenda to get laid and women have one to find love, or vice versa, or maybe they desire both.  Regardless of intent, men and women can’t maintain a friendship without letting physical attraction and romantic feelings interfere.  Being married to a man whose closest friend is a very attractive female and being a chick who has always had a large group of guy friends that haven’t crossed the line into boyfriend territory, I put little stock into the thought that people of the opposite sex are doomed to fail as friends or fall into bed.  However, in this world where we utter things like “well if someone like Demi Moore can’t keep a man, there’s no hope for the rest of us,” it’s really no wonder we let our emotions get the best of us and get irrational.

Females treat each other like garbage, which is in direct contrast to how we claim we want to be treated and how we claim to value ourselves.  We rationalize our jealousy and protectiveness over our man by saying it’s not him we don’t trust, it’s the other females.  We lie and backstab each other like there’s no tomorrow and we’re quicker to blame the other woman than we are our man if we catch him being unfaithful.  We call women sluts when we don’t approve of their outfit or are simply jealous that we couldn’t pull the same ensemble off.  I’ve said myself that the reason I prefer male friends is because woman are so hateful to each other.  This attitude we have is also another big factor in why we feel such discomfort when our man addresses another female.

I lost two of my best friends in Georgia soon after they got serious with their girlfriends (now their wives) and it still doesn’t make sense to me.  Men I’ve never dated, men I couldn’t date due to being an a serious relationship, were pressured by their ladies to quit talking to me because for some reason the friendship we had bothered them.  Nevermind the fact that I went out of my way to be nice to them and befriend them, nevermind the fact that I was careful to put extra distance between my male friends and myself when they were present, the simple fact that I was a girl and was their friend made them lay down a “it’s either her or me” ultimatum and was the major factor in putting two friendships to rest.

I consider myself to be a confident and secure person, comfortable in my marriage with no doubts that my husband only desires naked time with me, and yet I still notice things like the girl in the coffee shop averting her gaze from me and ignoring my “thank you.”  The thought of my hubby having naughty thoughts about her is laughable, and still this annoying voice in the back of my mind asks me “why do you think she’s not saying anything to you?”  Is this simply something that is wired into women?  Am I doomed to have these thoughts pop up forever?

The coffee girl didn’t bother me, but here I am so perplexed by the behavior that I sat down and wrote this blog.  I suppose what really gets to me is that I am no longer that little insecure girl who expects every man she’s with to run off with the first big breasted blond he sees, and as such, I should no longer give a damn about the behavior of other women when it comes to my husband unless it is extreme and inappropriate.  If men are like this too, I’ll feel slightly better about the whole thing, but I’d honestly just love to remove that little part of my brain that is determined to act like a drama queen because there’s no need for it.  If you take anything away from my rambling here, please let it be that there truly is no need for any of it.  Uncross your arms and relax, stop driving yourself mad with crazy thoughts of boyfriend thieves, and find your comfort zone in your relationship and in life.

Friends With Benefits With Marriage?

My husband and I watched the movie The Freebie last night, starring Dax Shepherd and Katie Aselton, who also directed the movie.  It centers around a married couple whose sex life is less than satisfying; they are very much in love and communicate wonderfully but can’t seem to connect on that physical level for some reason.  After months of a sexless but happy existence, Shepherd’s character, Darren, brings up the idea of taking a night off from marriage.  A freebie date with someone else, no holding back and no strings attached, one time only, no questions asked.

I enjoyed watching The Freebie and won’t ruin it for you; it’s currently streaming on Netflix if you’re one of the few who haven’t divorced them yet.  The film did result in a bit of conversation between my husband and I and got me thinking a bit about how married and committed couples deal with the physical side of their relationship when everything else gets in the way.  No, my husband and I didn’t grant each other a freebie and no, we have no plans to in the future.  The most we’ve ever discussed is something many couples do; the celebrity free pass.  The celebrity one is an easy one for couples to bring up because the chances of it happening are slim to none.  A husband can give his wife permission to bang it out with Brad Pitt because he knows it’ll never happen, just as a woman can give her girlfriend a free night with one of the lovely ladies on The Real L Word with the confidence that they’ll never be in the same room at the same time.

Talking about a free roll around with Emmy Rossum is totally different from talking about doing it realistically.  Lulls in a couple’s sex life can happen and unfortunately, like the couple in The Freebie, it often happens after marriage or another type of serious commitment is made.  Jobs and housework and children and pets and bills and friends and scheduling and LIFE just get in the way of that special time that used to be so easy to find together.  The comfort zone is also a factor.  Women stop wearing sexy lingerie, men stop shaving every day, you burp and fart in front of each other without shame, and you enter almost what can be described as a friend zone.  Things slow down, the passion dies a bit, and nighttime cuddles turn into sleeping back to back.

It can be considered a turn-on to think of you and your mate going off one night for a hot ride with someone else, knowing that you’ll be coming back to each other afterward, stronger and more in love than ever.  Whoever you have your tryst with will make you more appreciative of what you have at home, plus it’ll rid you of the urge to see what things are like with someone else and will rid you of the fear of knowing that the person you’re with is the only person you’ll be seeing naked for the rest of your life.  Excluding porn, of course.

For someone like myself, even imagining some woman with her hands on my husband is enough to make me cringe, so I don’t even want to imagine all the other body parts she’d be rubbing on him.  I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to pick up a guy to take home and bang, nevermind being able to face my husband the next day, even having his blessing to do the nasty with someone else.  Call me old-fashioned if you will, but when you get married or enter into a civil union, you’re committed to being with one person and one person only from then on.  If you’re unwilling or are one of those people who likes to share, don’t make that commitment.  You can pretty it up however you want, but stepping outside of your marriage or commitment, blessing or not, is still cheating.

The stigma of being a cheater aside, what about the other consequences of boning a stranger?  Condoms aren’t foolproof and don’t protect against everything.  How is your relationship going to be after one of you brings home a nice case of herpes?  What if a pregnancy results?  What if the person you chose to have your free date with decides to broadcast your roll in the hay to the wrong people or develops a connection to you and wants more or has a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend that now wants you to suffer?  If you’re “responsible” and choose a friend to have your free date with, how will that affect the friendship?  Will there be jealous feelings every time you all are in the same room?  But most important, is one free fuck worth your entire relationship and the live you’ve built together?

I can’t say I’m lucky to not have this problem because honestly, this isn’t a problem people should have.  You shouldn’t have to resort to sleeping with other people in order to fix your sex life.  Problems aren’t solved by running away and seeking someone else.  If you’re unhappy with how often you bump uglies, try to initiate it more often or dress sexy, plan a massage or a bubble bath, take them out to dinner or cook a romantic one at home, or maybe just rent some good porn and watch together.  Or maybe, just watch The Freebie.  If my night was any indication, I’m pretty sure it’ll have a positive outcome for you.

The Unofficial Guide To Love

Everyone that thinks they know what they are talking about ends up giving relationship advice at some point in their life.  That includes me; I’ve both given and received my fair share over the years ever since I discovered the shocking fact that I can in fact hold hands with a boy and not contract cooties.  A year or so after I had my son, I decided to quit giving advice.  I never listened to people who gave it to me and I’m sure people didn’t listen to me either.  I realized that if my friends tell me the truth and I dislike it, I won’t listen and will resent them for trying to help.  If they decide to take the easy route and feed me white lies, I’ll resent them later when I find out that they secretly though my boyfriend was an idiot.  When I decided to move over 1000 miles away to be with my now-husband, 3 out of 4 people I told responded with something along the lines of “this is a bad decision, it won’t last.”  So for these reasons, I now refrain from giving advice and simply try to be helpful by listening and making neutral comments.  That doesn’t mean I still don’t want to dispense advice, of course, and what better place to do so than here?

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE FAITHFUL, STAY OUT OF A RELATIONSHIP:  Common sense, but time and time again people who aren’t ready to be monogamous find themselves in a committed relationship against their inner wishes.  Often it results in scenarios that would be great for an episode of Cheaters.  If all you want is sex, there are plenty of horny non-committal people out there.  There’s no reason to break someone’s heart because you still want to spread yourself around.  If you’re with someone who informs you that they are this type of person (or shows signs of being so) either adjust yourself so you’ll be okay with sharing or get rid of them.

JEALOUSY IS HEALTHY IN SMALL DOSES ONLY:  When I was younger, I was a very jealous person.  It tapered as I got older, but was still around when I first got together with my husband.  Why it was there doesn’t matter, what mattered was that it was unnecessary and had nothing to do with my husband; he had given me no reason to be jealous of anyone else.  It’s okay to have little pings of jealousy when a gorgeous girl or hot guy checks out your other half or maybe throws a flirty comment their way, but if it’s not a big deal just let it go.  It causes nothing but problems when you’re overly jealous in situations that don’t call for it.

LISTEN TO THAT ANNOYING INNER VOICE:  If something inside yourself is telling you “this is wrong,” “is he cheating on me,” or “I don’t think this is working” maybe you should listen up.  I ignored the little voice telling me that my son’s father was a psychopath, the one telling me that my college boyfriend probably only loved me because he was on drugs, and the countless other warning flags my mind threw at my heart.  Had I taken it seriously, I could have saved myself from a world of heartache.  When things are right and the relationship is strong, you won’t get those warnings because your mind will be at peace and happy with what you have with your other half.

THE URGE TO LIE SHOULD FADE AND THE EASE OF HONESTY SHOULD EMERGE:  The first couple of dates with someone new are like a job interview.  You want to put the best you on display.  Sure, I drink on occasion, but I rarely get drunk.  You’d only be the second person I’ve ever been with.  I don’t mind if you go out with your friends.  I was at my mom’s house all night.  If you’re not committed to someone, lie all you want, but if you’re trying to settle down you’ve got to knock it off.  Love can’t be based on lies.  If telling the truth to your other gives you that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach, there is definitely something wrong, either with your ability to be honest or their ability to have a reasonable reaction to your news.

NEITHER OF YOU SHOULD EXPECT TO CHANGE YOURSELF OR CHANGE EACH OTHER:  Having to adapt and start putting the toilet seat down or quit leaving your laundry on the couch is one thing.  Everyone has to tweak their behavior a bit in order to keep the peace.  If you met your sweetie while she was dancing on the bar downtown, it’s hard to justify being upset months later about her crazy partying.  Date someone heavy into a certain religion and you shouldn’t be surprised when that religion encompasses a lot of their life and yours in turn.  If you’re going into something with the mindset that eventually the other person will stop certain things, change certain things, or become someone else, you’re doomed to have it fail.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIKE EACH OTHER’S FRIENDS:  But you do have to tolerate them.  My husband’s former friend was married to a female that I was never quite comfortable around.  To be honest, I wasn’t all that comfortable being around his friend, but I had the best time I could around them because it mattered to my husband and his time with them was limited due to distance.  At the time, they hadn’t done anything that would give me a valid reason to complain so I went with it.  I also had the option of simply not hanging around them, but the bottom line was that they were important to my husband and as his wife I should be supportive and accommodating.  Don’t be that person who keeps your guy/girl from their friends.

IF YOU HAVE TO ASK ANYONE IF YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING BY BEING WITH THAT PERSON, CHANCES ARE YOU ARE NOT DOING THE RIGHT THING AT ALL:  If you’re questioning the relationship, you probably have doubts and concerns and you probably already know deep down that you don’t belong with the person you’re with.  People generally ask “do you think I should be with him/her” because they want it to work but know it won’t; they are seeking confirmation from anyone that what they are doing is right so they can feel justified in continuing the relationship.

DON’T LOSE YOUR INDEPENDENCE:  It’s easy to get sucked into a whirlwind of love and emotion and forget who you are.  It’s also easy for the wrong person to take advantage of that and attempt to control and/or isolate you.  The signs are easy to see as long as you keep your eyes open.  If people are constantly saying “we never see you anymore” or if every one of your activities is planned around your significant other, you’re probably in danger of losing your individuality.  Having time apart is just as important as having time together.

LOVE YOURSELF:  Simple, stupid, and important.  Don’t allow yourself to be abused or taken advantage of.  Don’t let someone else control your actions or thoughts.  Learn to be happy with who you are and be happy alone.  Become self-sufficient.  Focus on your weaknesses and find ways to become stronger.  People are always saying that you can’t love anyone else until you learn to love yourself.  As sick as you may be of hearing it, it never stops being true.

Cheaters Never Win… Except When They Do

Today I took (and passed) my first test in my Accounting Essentials program.  Since it’s a distance learning program, I completed the exam on paper and entered my answers onto the website to be graded and recorded.  It was slightly nerve-wracking since I haven’t taken a test like that for somewhere around 7 years, but I completed it with good results and have nothing to complain about.  While I was punching my calculator and scribbling notes over lunch, my coworker came up to me and said “You know, you can get all those answers on Answers.com.”  It would be an easy way to get an easy A.

I’m one of many who cheated in school.  It started out as sneaking glances into my textbook during an exam while the teacher was looking the other way or peeking at a neighbor’s paper to see if my answer matched theirs.  In high school, I shared in a passed note containing the test answers a couple of times.  I also learned how to input answers into my graphing calculator to pull up later.  A few girls, who were later caught cheating, started printing the answers out in very small font and taping that small bit of paper to water bottles to keep on their desks during exams.  In college, I didn’t cheat to benefit my grades, but I did write term papers for various people in exchange for money or beer.

Obviously cheating is wrong, spare the lectures.  But if we’re being totally honest here, sometimes cheating can be pretty harmless.  Sometimes you forget to study for a portion of the test.  Sometimes you study the wrong thing.  Sometimes you’re so overwhelmed with information that must be learned that you can’t immediately cram it all into your brain in time for that crucial exam.  Maybe you forgot to do your homework.  Perhaps the in-class assignment is beyond your understanding so you partner with the smart kid and let him supply the answers.  Once in a while, it’s nice to have a bit of assistance.  I’m in no way suggesting that everyone start brainstorming creative ways to beat the system because there are very serious consequences if you’re busted, but I see nothing wrong with copying someone’s homework answers down the morning before class after you realize you completely forgot to do an assignment due in 5 minutes.  Once in a while.

Obviously I could get an easy A by visiting various sites supplying answers, as well as quickly finish my program by researching the answers beforehand and submitting them as soon as I was able.  I would absolutely love to get this program done with at lightning speed so I can put more on my resume other than “enrolled” or “in process.”  I’d love to be able to say a month from now that I finally have that coveted piece of paper from an accredited school that says I officially know what I’m doing.  Sadly, this is one of those things that sounds too good to be true, and whenever you can say that about something, it’s probably not worth doing.

Accounting is math.  Lots and lots of math.  And letters pretending to be numbers.  Oh, and weird terminology.  You can’t fake math.  Either I learn this stuff now or I don’t learn it at all.  I’m paying a nice chunk of cash out of my pocket for this education and not just so I can get a piece of paper saying I’m certified, but so I can get a better job in the field I’m currently in and make more money while I decide what to learn next.  Maybe I feel different about cheating now that it’s my beer money that is paying for my education rather than the HOPE Scholarship, but there is no way in hell I will be tempted into taking any shortcuts with this program.  Maybe I’ve grown up a bit as well, who knows.

The point is, cheating my way through this means throwing my money away and embarrassing myself with future employers when they discover that my education didn’t teach me a thing because I’m unable to work my way through a problem without a reference guide or a workbook.  I won’t do it for the same reason I won’t put “certified mechanic” on my resume; if I don’t know how to do something, a piece of paper stating that I can isn’t going to make it true.  Although imagine the possibilities if writings words on paper translated into reality…..  I suppose that’s a whole other story…

Run My Relationship!

How do I know he’s the ONE?  Am I in an abusive relationship?  How can I tell if she’s cheating on me?  Should I spy on him if I think he might be talking to his ex?  Is there a quiz I can take to find out if we’re a good match?  Should we get married?  Should we break up?  What does it mean when she says “nothing is wrong?”  Why doesn’t he listen to me?

Without fail, every single day I see at least one news article, quiz, or some sort of “Text us for an answer” commercial regarding relationships and how to get the answers on how to properly manage your love life.  I’m asked to text my name and the name of my lover to 88999 and find out if we’re meant to be, otherwise I run the risk of being left at the altar.  I’m prompted to check my zodiac sign against the sign of my love to make sure we’re compatible.  I pass by articles that implore me to read the 10 signs my man is cheating.  I’m told I should take the quiz to find out if I’m too controlling, or possibly the quiz to see if my husband and I know each other as well as I think we do.  I should definitely read the article about the secrets to making my man have eyes only for me!

When I was in middle school, we had this game where we would assign numbers to our name and the name of our crush and through a weird mathematical formula that I have since forgotten, we would find out if we would fall in love or were destined to be apart forever.  It was fun.  We were 12.  There comes a point in life, normally after girls outgrow their training bras and guys are forced to shave every day to avoid a 5 o’clock shadow, where a person needs to stop relying on other people, games, or media to tell them what to do in their own relationship.

It’s a safe assumption that if you feel that you must read an article or take a quiz to find out if you’re in a bad relationship or if your partner is cheating, the answer is most likely YES.  When I was abused, I knew it.  When I was cheated on, I was aware of it.  If you’re taking crazy steps to define your relationship or answer suspicions, chances are you’re in an unhealthy relationship and need not look any further.  The simple fact that you showed that much interest in an article spelling out the signs of an unfaithful partner is a clear-cut sign that either your partner is cheating or your relationship lacks trust and communication.  Why read an article about “Why Guys Do ____” when you can just ask your boyfriend or husband?

My husband of almost 4 years isn’t compatible with me according to our zodiac signs, and yet here we are.  Our taste in music is so different that Match.com would never put us in the same room together, but we still fell in love.  We didn’t use a quiz, didn’t test the compatibility of our names (although I imagine having the same name counts for something), and didn’t consult an online psychic.  We used these funny things called brains and followed these weird emotions associated with the heart.  We (gasp) talk to each other.  A lot.  If we ever took a compatibility quiz, it would be for fun and not something we used to test the longevity of our marriage.  We’re secure with each other and with the strength of our love and relationship.

If you’re secure with your love and want to take these quizzes for a laugh, go for it!  If the results upset you, obviously you weren’t as secure as you thought.  No quiz, no article, no bizarre online source can tell you how to handle your relationships.  No one, regardless of credentials, can give you valid guidance through these types of mediums.  Don’t bother reading past the headlines; if your interest perks when you see “Does He Really Love Me?” take a break and analyze your relationship.  Although an anonymous quiz may be easier, it won’t be effective or constructive.  Open the channels of communication between you and yours and see first hand if you’re meant to go the distance or if it’s time to abandon ship.

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