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Thirty Three

Well, it’s finally happened.  I have reached the point in my life where my birthday is no longer the big deal I once thought it to be.  My birthday is this Friday and I will be spending eight and a half hours of it at my desk at work.  I’ll be attending a promotion ceremony for a coworker, chasing around civilians for their time cards, and fielding calls and emails that are too boring to even mention.  I have zero plans to go out and drink or party or get myself in trouble, although my husband is likely planning to do something amazing for dinner that evening.  All my excitement about the next few days is reserved for the two WWE events in June that my husband and I have tickets for, and the gifts that he’s worked so hard to make perfect.  But as far as my birthday itself?  Who cares?

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Let me assure you, my reluctance to make a big deal of a day that comes around every year has nothing to do with my desire to still be in my 20s, my inability to organize a perfect party, or my friends and family failing to make this into the huge production I secretly desire it to be.  I would much rather celebrate someone else’s big day and allow them to be the center of attention so I can enjoy myself than be the person of the hour and have all eyes on me.  I don’t expect my family to go for broke to make my birthday a huge deal and I’d feel horribly guilty if they ever did so.  I’m perfectly content with my age and the stage I’m currently at in life and sure as hell wouldn’t trade it for my 20s.  Unless we’re talking my metabolism from ten years ago, which I will gladly accept.

I’ve been watching an acquaintance of mine go crazy over her birthday, which is around the same time as mine.  She’s organizing two days of events and trying to get the maximum amount of people involved.  I keep seeing her stress about who is going to what event, who wants to do what, and a whole lot of other things that don’t seem like the kind of things one should worry about on a day they are meant to be having fun.  I won’t be going to her big event, as she scheduled it on my birthday and I feel weird about celebrating someone else’s day on my own with a bunch of her friends that I don’t know.  Unfortunately, my decision seems to have hurt her feelings, but I’d rather just have a quiet evening with my husband followed by some quality time with the child.

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Right now, there are so many amazing things set to happen that my birthday is the least of my worries or concerns.  Not only do we have a WWE Pay Per View to attend and a Raw to get to the following day, but we have some major life changes in our very near future that dwarf any birthday when compared side by side.  (Not a baby.  No one mention a baby.  There is no baby.)  It would be selfish of me to try to make this Friday into a big production when we have so many other things going on.  Not only do I not care about turning 33 all that much, I have no desire to put anything else on the back burner simply so I can feel like a princess for a few hours.  I don’t know what my husband has planned, but I know he’ll make me feel special and spoiled, and that is more than enough.

My birthday should be whatever I want it to be.  If I want it to be just another day, throw me a happy birthday wish and be done with it.  I promise it’s not some weird female trick in order to get presents and surprise parties.  Hell, you can even forget about it entirely and I won’t be put off or offended.  If I snap one day and try to organize the biggest party ever, you should decline to attend guilt-free if you so choose.  I’ve lost count of the birthday celebrations I’ve had to skip due to financial issues, scheduling conflicts, or just because I didn’t feel like going.  And that’s okay.  Birthdays shouldn’t be about how many people can be forced to celebrate your day.  It should be about what you want to do, who you want to do it with, and what kind of happiness you can find with whatever you receive.  The way I see it, as long as I’m smiling, the day went exactly as it should have.

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Who We Love

Week after week, month after month, the post that consistently gets the most views on here is one I wrote about the pros and cons of same sex marriage.  It was written sarcastically, with the cons being silly things that people either speculate will happen (the sanctity of marriage will be destroyed) or things that are actually pros (same sex couples would earn the same rights and privileges as heterosexual married couples).  “Pros and cons of gay marriage” is the search term that directs the most people to my page as well, beating out every other topic I’ve ever covered.  While I’m happy that it’s on the minds of many, I have begun to worry a bit that there is a need to do research on the good and the bad that could come from legalizing same sex marriage across the board.

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Whenever I think about my own marriage, one thing that never comes to mind is the way other marriages are affecting my own.  The simple truth is that my marriage and everyone else’s are two separate and independent things.  Not once have I ever been positively or negatively affected by another person’s union.  My marriage becomes no less real when someone gets divorced for the 5th time or when two women say their vows under the moonlight.  My marriage is no less real when two loving men get married, nor is it less real when a woman marries a man for the sole purpose of getting her hands on his bank account.  I don’t care why two people choose to get married because not only is it none of my business, it just doesn’t affect my life, family, or personal happiness.

What does affect me is the sad fact that same sex marriage isn’t legal in this country as a whole, nor it is legal in many places around the world.  It affects me because unless things change, I will not be able to see some of my friends have weddings they deserve in the future.  They won’t be able to do so many things that I can easily do with my husband.  They are barred from these things because their union makes people uncomfortable.  It’s immoral in the eyes of many because the bible says so.  It’s feared because of outdated notions on what love and marriage are.  It’s wrong to so many people for reasons they don’t even understand.

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There is no reasons for a pros and cons debate when it comes to same sex marriage because there are no cons.  What, it makes you uncomfortable?  The woman popping her gum in the hallway at work this morning made me uncomfortable, so can we legally ban her from chewing gum in public?  It goes against your religious beliefs?  No one is forcing you to marry someone of the same gender or attend a gay wedding, so I’m unsure of how your beliefs are being affected.  Gay marriage will destroy the country?  Legal or not, women are loving women and men are loving men.  Nothing has been destroyed yet by that and it sure as hell won’t be destroyed if we just bite the bullet and let everyone get married.

While I do worry that the pros and cons are searched so often, I do hope that it’s being done because people are slowly coming to accept the fact that the right thing to do is to make marriage legal for all consenting adults, regardless of gender or preference.  Interracial marriage was once looked at as critically as same sex marriage is.  With the exception of a small group of idiots, we now look at the idea of making interracial unions illegal as silly.  In the future, the idea of same sex marriage being illegal will also be a ridiculous notion.  But how long do we have to wait to get to that point?  How long do we have to make couples wait before they are no longer made to feel as if their love is wrong?

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If you don’t support it, that’s your right.  Don’t go to certain weddings, alienate certain people, and do whatever makes you happy.  Post Facebook updates expressing your displeasure, write angry blogs, and leave comments on news sites.  But don’t think you have the right to control what others do with their lives.  Don’t think it’s okay for you to control who someone else marries and loves.  Don’t selfishly wonder how it’ll affect you if two men say their vows and the state recognizes that union.  The rights that leave you free to believe what you want, worship who you will, and say what you wish are the same rights that should allow any same sex adult couple to get married.  Stop wasting time searching for an easy reference pros and cons list and just let people live their lives.

Six Years

Six years ago today, I stood in a church in the office of a priest, silently hoping my white skirt was appropriate for the occasion.  My little boy played on the floor with toy airplanes that were graciously loaned to him by the priest who stood before me.  To my side was the man who would very soon become my husband.  Our rings were blessed before being placed on our fingers, our vows were recited, and our lips met.  We became man and wife on that chilly Friday afternoon, nearly two months after obtaining our marriage certificate and only slightly over two months after I had moved 1000 miles to be with him.  To say we moved quickly would be quite the understatement.

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I’d be lying if I said that things were pure bliss for us from the start.  Love as strong as ours still can’t manage to conquer all.  We’ve been through some rough patches and we drive each other crazy at times.  The thing is, my worst moments with him are still better than my best moments with anyone else.  I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who loves me with such passion and I’m happy to say that I can match that passion and then some when it comes to my feelings for him.  He is my world and I don’t ever want to be without him.

In the past few days, I feel as if he and I have been rediscovering each other.  We are nearing the time in our marriage where statistically, we’re meant to have a wandering eye and in danger of falling victim to the so-called “seven year itch.”  He and I have found the opposite of that.  I’m more into him now than I was during the puppy dog love/honeymoon phase where everything is new and shiny and exciting.  I’ll spare you the details, but I can honestly say that we’ve been acting like high school students whose parents are out of town.  Getting a break from being parents definitely helps as well (the boy is visiting family over Spring Break) and we’ve been taking advantage and giving each other the attention and affection we both deserve.

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I’m so in love and finally realizing exactly how lucky we both are.  True, it’s only been six years, but some marriages don’t even last for half of that time.  Some marriages are sexless, emotionless arrangements that people are just too comfortable with to leave.  My marriage is flawed just like everything else in life, but it’s also pretty perfect.  I look at my husband and see beauty.  He accepts me both when I’m beautiful and sexy and when I’m a crazy crying mess of a human.  We complete each other and thrive together.  I’m over the moon that we’ve made it to six years and I see so much for us in the future.  My heart is fully and completely in the hands of Jamie Curtis Baker, the only man in this world who knows exactly how to handle it.

 

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.

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.

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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.

No Love Lost

I’ve been married for slightly over five years now, about as long as my two previous longest and most serious relationships combined.  I’ve gone from being a paranoid nutcase to a happy nutcase, settling into married life and becoming part of something I never thought I would have.  I’d be lying if I said it was an easy journey; my husband and I butted heads quite often in the beginning and we still do so now in a much gentler fashion.  We threw ourselves headfirst into a relationship after spending less than two days in each others company, relying solely on the emotions we felt through our digital relationship and the confidence that we had found our other half.  It was a big risk but one I’m so glad we took.

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Every happy ending is prefaced by heartbreak, and I definitely experienced my share before finding happiness.  It taught me a lot and has made me sensitive to others who are unlucky in love, turned off to relationships for personal reasons, or stuck in bad situations.  Too often, I see friends on Twitter venting about failed relationships or feeling as if they are not meant for love and destined to be single forever.  I’m always glad to see the handful that are comfortable with their single status and immune to the pressures of finding someone and settling down, but they are sadly outnumbered by the miserable crowd who wants nothing more than to find true love.  Dating can be rough and it’s quite the challenge to find someone who fits your needs to a T.

The desperation to find love can make even the most intelligent person turn into a lovesick teenager, reaching out for anyone who will give them a chance.  I’ve seen strong-willed men and women crumble at the feet of a person they want to love but who is all kinds of wrong for them, sacrificing parts of themselves in order to appease the other person in their search for happiness.  I was that person once, always anxious to hear those three little words and willing to do whatever it took in order to hear them.  It was never something I admitted, not even to myself, but that need grabbed hold of my life for far too long and kept me prisoner.

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Desperation is what kills you.  Half the time, you’re blissfully unaware that you have become desperate, but it’s clear as day through actions and words.  Maybe you’re unable to enjoy a girls night out because your pretty friend is getting attention from men while you go ignored.  Perhaps you cling to flirty words on Facebook, regardless of who they come from, because you want to feel pretty and wanted.  Maybe you feel pangs of jealousy whenever you see a couple holding hands or a post on Twitter talking about love.  Acknowledging the signs and adjusting your behavior is key, but it rarely happens.  It isn’t fair that everyone else is happy while you’re lonely and stuck on the outskirts, and it’s natural to have a strong desire to change that.

When the emotions cloud common sense, people make mistakes.  Some will settle for a person who isn’t good enough for them just so they can have someone to cuddle up next to at night.  Some are looking to fill a gap left by a previous love and show a lack of care for who they choose to fill that gap.  Some are quick to sacrifice friends in order to maintain their relationship, siding with their new love without question or thought.  They blame others for any hiccups in their relationship but never blame themselves or the person they are with.  They shut themselves off from the world, creating their own little universe around this “perfect” person.  It’s a dangerous path to take, but countless people are walking it right now.

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I hate that I’ve lost friends because of their relationships.  It stings a bit to know that I can be cast aside so easily in favor of some girl or guy, but it saddens me more to know what a big mistake they are making.  True love does not require one to break friendships and become someone different.  Love does not give ultimatums, spoken or otherwise, that cause a person to compromise parts of themselves in order to keep the relationship going.  Love does not say “your friends aren’t worth it, take my friends instead.”  It shouldn’t be selfish, closed off, take it or leave it, or hurtful in any way.  Love shouldn’t make you choose between that person and the rest of your world.

I lost a lot of friends when I was with my most serious ex because I chose him over everything else, casting everyone aside and immersing myself in an unhealthy relationship.  I know too well when someone else is doing the same and it pains me to see it happen.  Just as I ignored warning signs that flashed in front of me, I see people turning a blind eye to all kinds horrible actions from their love.  And there is nothing I can do about it.  I didn’t allow anyone to help me and let advice slide right off my back, so why should I expect anyone else to do any different?  I can only hope they come to their senses before wasting any more of their life on a person who isn’t good enough for them.

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Good things come to those to wait, right?  Annoying saying, but it’s true.  As I’m typing this, I’m listening to a coworker on the phone with a friend, talking to her about her failed marriage.  In regards to her own marriage, after listing complaints about her husband, she said “well, I guess I could do worse.”  It’s a perfect example of someone who failed to wait for a good thing and decided to settle for what was available, leaving her needs unsatisfied and her heart desiring something more.  At nearly 60 years old, she is venting her regret for not having a better husband.  That shouldn’t be anyone’s reality.  Take a deep breath and take an honest look at your life.  If you want better, go out and get it.  Just be patient and be smart about it.  No one should be forced to settle for anything less than what they truly deserve.

Marry Me

The radio failed me this morning on my drive to work by giving me more morning talk shows than music, so I gave up hope and settled on a station with the least annoying morning talk show.  Today, the co-hosts were discussing marriage, specifically the undisclosed line in the sand that some women draw as their cutoff date on when they want their man to propose marriage.  Their opinion was that every couple should have this line and should plan to be engaged at a certain point in the relationship, otherwise they are wasting their time and should leave their partner and move on with their life.  They had numerous women phone in, all sharing the opinion that the line in the sand is vital and that the lack of a ring means the relationship must end.

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I will be celebrating my five year wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband on March 28th, so I’m obviously a fan of marriage.  There wasn’t time for me to even consider drawing a line in the sand with us; we made things official on my husband’s birthday in November, moved in together two months later, and were married two months after that.  We knew that we loved each other so much that the commitment of marriage was a given.  There was no pressure and certainly no ultimatums.  We were lucky enough to immediately know what we wanted and to be on the same page about it.  I’m happier now than I was when we first met, and I’m eternally grateful to have found my perfect match.

I can understand why some people feel the need to draw that line in the sand and to either promise themselves that they will leave after a certain time without a ring or to promise their partner that they are done if there is no engagement.  I do not understand why people think marriage is the be all and end all though.  Marriage is fantastic but it’s certainly not for everyone and certainly isn’t a mandatory stage in everyone’s relationship.  I suspect that part of the reason the divorce rate is so high is because people see marriage as mandatory in order for a relationship to move forward, rush to the altar, and then realize that they weren’t ready to attach themselves to someone legally.

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Discussing your future with your partner is vital; you have to ensure that you both are traveling along the same path and that you want the same things.  Ultimatums, spoken or silent, are simply not part of a healthy relationship.  Why would anyone want to marry someone that threatens to leave if a ring isn’t placed on their finger?  I don’t see how that act contains any love or respect for the individual or for the couple.  One woman who called in to the radio show said that she told her boyfriend that if they were not engaged after a year of living together, she would walk.  They were monogamous and in love, head over heels in her words, yet she still thought it necessary to put an expiration date on their love if she didn’t get her diamond.  Instead of the surprise and joy of her man popping the question unexpectedly, she got a ring right on schedule at the year mark and was able to plan her wedding.  She got what she wanted, but not in the proper way.

It’s one thing to tell your partner that you can’t continue on if they don’t get a job, don’t work on their drinking problem, or don’t agree with you on whether or not to have children.  These are things that can seriously impact the relationship; no one wants to commit to someone who freeloads, behaves badly, or can’t give you the family you want.  You also have the right to present an ultimatum if your partner refuses to become monogamous, as most people aren’t okay with sharing their partner with other people.  That monogamy, however, does not need to come with a ring at a certain date, or at all.  Many people are perfectly happy without marriage or with waiting until later in life when they are financially and emotionally stable and can plan the absolute perfect wedding and honeymoon.

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We should desire to be married because we love the person we are with and because we want to make the commitment to them in front of family, friends, God, or just privately to each other with the assistance of a priest or clerk of the court.  Getting married out of fear of losing a person is simply wrong.  Where is the love in that?  Why can’t a couple be happy together without a marriage certificate?  Why can’t a person ignore the pressure from friends and family to get that ring and live their life for themselves?  Why can’t we rid ourselves of the idea that you must be married by a certain age, or else you’re a failure?  Why can’t we decide for ourselves how important marriage is to us instead of having society do it for us?

If you want to be married and your partner is fully against the idea, then you may need to end the relationship.  If both of you are on board with marriage, move forward and don’t worry about the when.  The important thing should be that you both desire to make that commitment in the future and that you both wish to plan your lives together as a couple.  Stop wasting time stressing about the when and live in the now.  Don’t throw away a good thing simply because you won’t be walking down the aisle before you’re 30.  Be grateful and happy that you have found love and enjoy what you have.  Marriage is simply one stop on a long road as a couple.  There is no rule about when that stop needs to be made and there’s no need to speed past all the other joys of a relationship in order to get there faster.  Be happy, be in love, and allow things to run their natural course.

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.

Be Mine

Happy Valentine’s Day/Single Awareness Day!!  Today is the day that far too many people will be making themselves miserable.  Perhaps they are single and annoyed by coworkers receiving flowers or gushing over the new piece of jewelry they got from their significant other.  Maybe their current love interest isn’t as involved in this holiday as they are and they are let down by the lack of fanfare.  They could be stressed out by the pressure put on them to plan the perfect evening or buy the perfect gift, or maybe they are unsure of their current relationship status and lost as to what to do today.  Either way, this day of love and romance has the power to bring strong people to their knees.

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I used to care a lot about Valentine’s Day.  In middle and high school, students would put together a flower exchange.  You would pay a dollar and have a carnation delivered to the person of your choosing, having it noted that it was from you or doing a “secret admirer” type message.  These flowers meant everything; you had to collect quite a few to proudly carry with you throughout the day.  If you were lucky, your boyfriend would bring you a little heart-shaped box of chocolates, or maybe a five-pound box like the one my friend received one year that made us sick by 10am.  My girl friends and I would compare notes and see who had the best boyfriend and who needed to trade up for next year.  We were ridiculous.

The last time I recall thinking Valentine’s Day was a big deal was during my freshman year of college.  My boyfriend and I wore matching red shirts and went to a fancy dinner in a crowded restaurant.  It was overpriced, the service was slow, and we were crammed in with dozens upon dozens of other couples who looked pretty miserable.  He bought me a necklace I didn’t want because my mother pressured him into getting an expensive gift, flowers I didn’t care about because his mother said it was necessary, and I went home at the end of the evening wondering what all the fuss was about.  It seemed like such a waste of time and money, all for a few hours that were pretty forgettable with a person I haven’t seen in about a decade.

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I’ve been happily married for nearly five years to a man who loves me to pieces.  During that time, we’ve had quite a few romantic evenings, experienced amazing things, giving each other wonderful gifts, and done countless things for each other to show that we care.  We do these things because we want to and not because we have a set day in February where these things are mandatory.  I don’t demand jewelry because the Jared commercial says that is the only way I’ll know I’m loved, and he doesn’t demand I cook dinner in pink lingerie (although I’m certain he wouldn’t mind that at all).  Today is just Thursday and that’s the way it should be treated by everyone, single or attached.

I’m not saying that the only way to celebrate love is to ignore the 14th though, just that we should ignore the commercials and silly suggestions and gestures.  I don’t know why chocolate diamonds are the must-have item right now, but I know they’re unnecessary and I know that it’s silly to blow a bunch of cash on them out of some silly obligation to impress a lady.  Boxes of chocolates are always fun, but it seems more fun to surprise someone on a random day with a selection of Godiva than it does to grab one of those heart-shaped boxes from CVS and present that to your sweetheart.  If you desire to show your love interest how much you care, show them in your own way and not the way that is dictated by the people who are trying to sell you things.

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If you’re single, today isn’t a day for sadness or for feeling lonely.  Relationship status does not dictate personal happiness and a lack of romantic love on the 14th doesn’t make you less of a person.  If flowers mean that much to you, send them to yourself.  Take the day and do some personal pampering.  Get some friends together and have drinks over dinner.  Be a little petty and laugh at all the stressed out couples trying to secure a table at the go-to restaurant.  Hit Redbox and have a movie night.  The day doesn’t have the power to make you happy or miserable; that lies on your shoulders alone.  If you don’t give it the power to bring on negativity, it can’t do so.

For the parents out there, it’s part of your job to show your children that Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a light-hearted holiday that they should have fun with.  In elementary school, the entire class will get a card from each classmate and will exchange other goodies and do fun arts and crafts.  Do your best to make sure that the light-hearted attitude doesn’t fade as they grow, replaced with a need to impress, a need for gifts, and a need to have the ideal day as dictated by others.  If your daughter watches you pressure your husband into buying you expensive gifts, you are teaching her that behavior is acceptable and pushing her to do the same to the love she will one day welcome into her life.

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Love is a simple and complicated thing all at once.  It is a wonderful thing to have and makes getting out of bed in the morning well worth it.  It is too big and too powerful to be confined to a single day during the year and comes in too many varieties to be looked at as narrowly as the commercial world does.  We all have love in our lives in one way or another, and while it might not be exactly the way we want it, we should feel lucky that it is there and happy to have it.  Spend your Valentine’s Day living in that happiness.  Appreciate what you have and do so in a way that brings you the most joy.  I don’t care how many times I hear that kisses begin with Kay Jewelers, it will never become the way my kisses begin.  I choose to love in my own way.  You should do the same.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

It’s My Party

I heard a rumor last week about the daughter of one of my coworkers.  Her husband walked out on her last weekend after only six months of marriage and they are now headed for divorce.  My coworker is now forced to put her retirement on hold for at least five years in order to pay off the extravagant wedding the estranged couple held.  The validity of this particular story isn’t really important here because this is a story that countless couples can tell you about themselves.  A pair meet and fall in love, plan a wedding that is miles away from what is within their budget, and then their monumental marriage turns into a miserable mess, leaving behind a trail of heartbreak and empty bank accounts.

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The wedding day is often described as the “best day” of one’s life.  It is the day that every little girl dreams of; the day where she can be a princess and where all eyes are on her.  It is the day where men find their other half and are able to make that person a permanent part of their family and a permanent part of their heart.  It is the day where two people become one while their friends and loves ones look on with tears in their eyes.  It is a special and sacred day, one filled with joy, laughter, and the hopes and dreams of what the future has in store.  No one goes into this day with divorce in mind, at least no one with good intentions and a good head on their shoulders.

I’ve been to two weddings in my life.  The first was when I was about 13, and the second was a year and a half ago.  The first was insanely extravagant and pricey while the second was planned on a budget and was beautiful without being flashy.  My own wedding isn’t listed here because I didn’t have one; my husband and I exchanged our vows in an office at a local church on a Friday afternoon after he got off of work.  I’m not going to say which way is better because it’s obviously different for every couple.  What is important, however, is why you are choosing the particular way you exchange vows.  Are you going down Path A because it’s what you want or are you choosing it because of what other people want, how they will judge you, or any other factors that don’t put you and your spouse-to-be first?

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The wedding day is about the union between two people who are taking the first of many steps along a loving journey together.  It’s great to be able to include and accommodate others so they can share in our day, but while doing so, you cannot forget that it is YOUR day and not theirs.  You don’t need to ensure your flower arrangements are prettier than your cousin’s arrangements last year, you don’t need to pay extra for an open bar because your brothers insist a wedding isn’t complete without one, and you don’t need to choose an exotic location for the exchange of vows because mom wants the best photos possible.  It’s not their wedding.

There often is a bit of guilt that comes into play when you have family members picking up the tab for certain parts of your big day.  That said, simply because they offer doesn’t mean you have to accept.  If you do accept, nothing is keeping you from letting them know that you have specific plans that you are sticking to; they can either be accepting of that fact or they can choose to reconsider and not offer any monetary support.  A loving and supportive family member will understand that this is your day and will refrain from forcing too many of their wants onto you.  Every loving couple deserves to have the “best day” of their lives be for them and about them.  It doesn’t matter how outlandish you find it as long as they are happy.

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If you are lucky enough to be able to plan your big day with only your own wishes and dreams in mind, but unlucky enough to have those dreams come with a hefty price tag, you need to begin getting your priorities in order.  Is it worth beginning your marriage with an enormous debt just so you can have lobster and beef wellingtons  at your reception?  Should you splurge and book that vacation to Hawaii because your new in-laws promise to pay for it, even though you know they can’t really afford it?  If you can’t find happiness in your big day without that hefty price tag, perhaps you are choosing to wed for the wrong reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against expensive things and definitely nothing against being nice and trying to appease your guests.  If you can afford to go big, do it!  If you can manage to plan things in such a way that will make everyone happy, go for it!  But in doing so, don’t sacrifice your own happiness and don’t put yourself or anyone else into a massive hole created by wedding debt.  When you go that route, you lose track of what a wedding day is meant to be.  The magic is lost, replaced with stress and bills and headaches and cranky guests.  It’s just not worth it.

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The wedding isn’t what matters in a marriage.  It sure as hell isn’t what makes a marriage, but can definitely be what breaks it if you’re going into debt and alienating family and friends.  Perfection doesn’t equal happiness, money doesn’t buy it, and your parents don’t dictate it.  Happiness will enter your marriage when you go into it with a smile on your face, free of worry and stress.  Having a reception catered by top chefs doesn’t make a marriage stronger than a union who chose Quiznos as their caterer, having a team rush over to pic up subs as soon as the vows were exchanged.  The price tag on your wedding bands has nothing to do with the strength of your bond.  It’s all simply extra icing on a cake that is perfect and delicious as it is.

We skipped a wedding and I have zero regrets about it.  Our union was what mattered and our path stayed true to that without putting us in debt, causing unnecessary stress, or being inconvenient to anyone.  Had we gotten divorced, not a soul could call our wedding day a waste of time or resources.  The choice to renew vows is also available and is something we plan on doing down the road when we have the extra cash to throw into it and the desire to have some sort of ceremony.  Doing things on our terms was an easy choice for us and should be an easy choice for everyone.  If it really is the best day of your life, you owe it to yourselves to make it all about you and what you honestly want for the first day of the rest of your lives.

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