Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

An Open Letter To Newly-Divorced Men – Spoiler: Tough Love Ahead

At the risk of sounding insensitive…. Oh screw it.

Disclaimer: I will be a bitch in the upcoming memo to divorced guys. Trust me, it’s for your own good.

Dear newly or almost divorced guys,

Once upon a time I was going to weddings every weekend. Some weekends I’d have more than one wedding to choose from. Open bars were fun. Some of the other wedding stuff (especially the showers) got old. At one point I was complaining and my mom said, “Be thankful. You’re in the early phase. Right now you’re going to weddings. In a few years it will be baby showers and divorces. And baby showers for people trying to avoid divorces. Then it’ll be second marriages. And then you’ll start going to funerals. So you’re in the blissful stage now.”

Well, folks, the train has officially stopped in Divorceville. Population: One million awkward guys.

I write this with love. And a little out of fear. But mostly out of social discomfort.

You guys are freaks!

There, I said it. Divorced guys. It’s like they went into some weird brainwashing cult, and came out minus any social decorum. They say, “It’s been awhile since I’ve been single.” But the behavior they display was NEVER OK. Not in college. Not in high school. Hell, the guys that were lucky enough to be my “boyfriends” in middle school had more tact and self-control than these guys (and there was no sex-having or anything in my middle school – so this truly was the sweet, innocent, first days of learning about love).

My point is, since you seem to have no social decorum, I’m here to help. The awkward you create is awkward for all of us. You will never find a good catch as long as you act this way. You’re not showing interest in someone, you’re showing blind, sweeping, desperation for ANYONE.

So, here are some ground rules. Continue reading

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I’m Single – That’s How I Wanna Be

I have had a weekend of feeling super adjusted and satisfied with my life. Mostly I just coast through weekends and don’t pay much attention. Then this weekend I hit a trifecta with a bonus moment.

First, hung out with some single friends Friday. One engaged couple, but the rest single. Had a fantastic time. Sometimes I feel like if I had a boyfriend or husband I’d miss those moments or at least occasionally have to pass. But, instead, we ate, drank and had a great time. Win.

Continue reading

Des and Brooks – Typical Doomed Relationship

I swore I’d never speak of The Bachelor(ette) again in writing, but I can’t resist. Someone drag my soapbox over here because I need to put all this poop in one generalized group and tell you what’s wrong with people in the dating pool.

  • People like Des want what they can’t have. The person they like doesn’t like them back, so to make up for it, they love harder. This makes them feel like they’re in love. What’s really happening is over-compensating. In Des’s case, this is compounded by feeling like she’s in a position of power. Don’t get me wrong, falling in love in like seven or nine weeks (or whatever the other sucker whose unrequited love for Des will send him on a spiral next week, and probably in real life as he watched how little she really cared said) is totally unrealistic. But I do think it’s possible in seven or nine weeks to know if you’re not the right fit. Hell, I think it’s possible to know in tow or three dates, honestly. If you don’t feel it you don’t feel it. Anyway, Brooks has always been unsure and distant, less emotionally attached than the others. And Des has always been drawn to this. Why? Who the hell knows, but I see it all the time.
  • Continue reading

    Lao Tzu – Philosopher For The Day

    I saw this quote this weekend and it made me look up more Lao Tzu quotes. Dude was a smart, huh? Take a second to step back and look at your life differently. This only stuck with me because I’ve been having a lot of anxiety lately. Prior to that, I’d also been having a really hard time sleeping. Of course, the two were related. But here’s the weird part: I have nothing to be anxious about! My life, for the most part, is easy. I don’t say that in a trust fund-having, laying by the pool drinking fruity drinks sort of way. But I say it because my parents are still alive and happy together, my family has no drama and we all love each other, my friends’ only drama is self-inflicted (as opposed to things like illness or crappy luck), I’m not loaded by any means, but can live fairly easily on what I do make, I don’t have a boyfriend or children. And any sickness I have is also self-inflicted by not-great diet or a sedentary job. So, bottom line, I am living the dream.

    But I’m anxious.

    Continue reading

    Expectations Versus Reality: Why Marriage Is Hard

    I replied to this post this morning, but didn’t get nearly enough characters. That never happens, right? So here’s my expanded response. And beyond that, how I feel about marriage, and that it often comes down to an expected image versus the reality of what it is.

    I think the issue with marriage is multi-dimensional.

    First, women feel like they’re a failure if they don’t get married. Or like marriage is a goal. It’s not a goal. But many of my friends have been searching for someone, anyone to marry them. For some, they wanted to be married as soon as their early 20s (or even in high school, I guess). For others, they figured they’d be married by their late 20s, so as the mid to late-twenties creep in, they start to panic. Then, my favorite group of girls are those in their 30s. Clocks are ticking. Emotions are running high. “Why doesn’t anyone want me?!” The whole thing is absurd.

    Ladies, you are not a failure if you don’t get married. It just means you haven’t found the right one, yet. You don’t settle for anyone who comes along. Or you’re running off the good guys with the crazy you’re carrying around, only thinking of marriage and children. Relax a little. I promise life’s not that much of an uptick when you’re married. Don’t you have any friends to witness? You do? Why do you think it’s going to be so much better for you?

    Beyond that, “rewarding” marriage with this huge wedding that’s “the best day of your life” only exacerbates this issue. Why doesn’t a girl get “her day” unless she gets married? I think this is one of the stupidest popular things in the world. Don’t reward something you don’t want abused. Reward exercisers with an open to post all the time on Facebook? They’ll abuse it. Reward heroin addicts with “the best high you’ll ever feel?” They’ll abuse it. Many girls have dreamed about their wedding day since they were children (I can’t relate, honestly). But when you dream about something that hard and that long, you want to realize it. Stop making it about the wedding. And for Christ’s sake, parents, tell your daughters you’ll throw them a party for just them if they want it (this is assuming you’d finance a wedding anyway). Go all out, wedding style. Give them the same budget, etc. But tell them, “You get one wedding. Whether you get married twice, get married after your single party, etc. this is all we’re paying for.” Takes the pressure off. And maybe will make the wait worth it. Just like finding the right guy.

    Second, I think there’s a huge image versus reality issue with marriage (and children). Mind you, this is also exists with things like careers, buying a house, etc. Throughout our childhood we’re overwhelmed with “true love” and “soul mates.” Almost as if it’s easy if you find “the one.” Is any relationship easier/better/more enjoyable if you find the right one? Yes. Obviously. But there’s no magic person that if you find him, marriage is easy. Some things make it easier like finding a good match who agrees on high-level things like beliefs (both what’s right and wrong and religion), how you want to live, money, traveling, etc. Do you have to match up perfectly? No. But if you agree on right and wrong, and approach life the same way, it’s a heck of a lot easier. I’ve met guys who get me, but they like do smoke pot on the side. I don’t have a social problem with pot, but since it’s illegal, it’s not something I’d want in my house (until it’s legalized). Does that make me a prude? Sure, but it’s something I’m not comfortable with. I don’t want to have a record or not be able to keep my job because of some casual habit. Again, I’m NOT judging the use. I simply don’t want it in my house. Therefore, it’s not really a compromise I want to make. The same thing can be said for religion, for those who are very religious. Do you need to have the same core beliefs? Probably if you’re going to raise a family together. It’s not impossible to raise a child Jewish and Catholic, but if you’re both very religious, it will be hard. I mean, look at Andrea and Jesse on 90210. That’s all they fought about until they both cheated. OK, they were also young. And annoying. Anyway, my point is, you need to have a baseline. Now that I’m older and have a financial process that works for me, I know I couldn’t marry someone who believes in credit card debt or financing almost anything except a house and maybe a car. I have absolutely no moral objection to debt, but in general, it stresses me out. I need someone who looks at money, saving, spending and retirement similarly to me. Or we’ll fight. Probably a lot.

    But when you’re 18 years old, or even 22 or 26, you look for romance over compatibility, and yes there’s a difference. I had a boyfriend who did everything right on paper. He was so romantic. Grand gestures, small things, sweet things. The best thing that ever happened to me was him dumping me when he realized we weren’t a match. He will be the same “perfect on paper” guy for every girl he dates. And the girl he ends up with will be lucky for that. But he’s smart to have realized he could find someone better than me. And the good thing for me is I also realize how good a boyfriend CAN be. And that it’s not too much to expect of a 30 year old what I got from an 18 year old. So you learn and grow. And I honestly believe someone who really loves and is right for you won’t ever walk away. If he does, he doesn’t love you THAT much.

    Beyond that, someone saying, “Marriage is work” doesn’t resonate with a 20 year old, who generally hasn’t “worked” at anything (I know I hadn’t). You don’t realize how hard it is until you live or witness it. I’ve learned a lot from simply getting older and seeing friends who had fun dating grow apart when they share responsibilities. It IS hard. It’s hard to raise kids inside or out of marriage. It’s hard to maintain a house or keep track of money or have a job. So sharing these things with someone else can sometimes magnify issues. When you’re alone, it’s all on you. When you share stuff, sometimes a messy person makes it harder. Or a less present parent. Or someone spending money you don’t want spent. But at the same time, you also have someone to work through issues with, hold the ladder as you climb onto the roof, or help clean up puke at 2AM. So it’s give and take. And having the right match in a person who truly loves and is committed to you is what makes marriage better than being single. But simply being married doesn’t guarantee that. It has to be the right person. And even then, there will be days it’s harder than others.  But try telling that to 20-year old me.

    Finally, I don’t think saying, “You don’t understand how REAL commitment or covenant” works. That’s like the argument we keep having about abstinence. We’ve all found it’s hard to make that work. I mean, sure if you meet the right person when you’re young and both are on the same page, and both are mature enough to get married, it can work. Or if you have willpower of steel and can deny yourself basic human pleasures. Is it possible? Yes, everything’s possible. People give up gluten and sugar every day. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And honestly, when you love someone, it’s hard to say no. Especially when you’re a teenager or in your early twenties when you have so much going on hormonally. Much like I think we should be teaching kids to at least respect themselves, and be safe, and to wait until they’re actually ready (not pressured) and really love someone (don’t just want to get him to stay), I think marriage and relationships should be approached the same way. Can you white knuckle out abstinence? Yes. Can you white knuckle out a marriage? Absolutely. But who wants to? I think waiting for someone you trust and love is the more important thing. I have friends who have gotten married just so they can have sex, which is such a bad decision. And I don’t mean so they could have sex with anyone, but because they wanted to do “the right thing,” but waiting IS hard when you love someone.

    And sometimes marriage actually makes people think, “Welp, married now.” like it’s a reason to give up or worse, as if you possess something. But I honestly think this is in the minority. People joke about this, but those first years, they’re always sneaking off to be alone because they want to be because it’s new an exciting. The “work” part is when the “new” becomes the “norm” and it seems silly to have a “date night,” but still totally necessary. As children come into the world, they have to be a high priority, but your marriage still needs to be first. Or at least your spouse shouldn’t feel second to the children, and chores, and work and whatever else.

    I’m not expert, I’ve never been married. But I’ve witnessed a lot of marriages run the course. I’ve witnessed people being letdown with reality versus their expectations. I’ve seen people consumed with having children when they can’t, then being overwhelmed or let down when they do. I’ve heard people fight about things they knew existed when they were dating, but either ignored or it didn’t bother them because it wasn’t “forever.” Perspective changes as your reality changes. Expectations change as you live more life with a person. And when your reality doesn’t merge with the image you had of your future, it can be a big letdown. Those who move past this are the ones who realize not realizing your fantasy mate, life and future doesn’t mean you can’t still be happy.

    Or that’s when you finally realize you made a mistake.

    Middle Aged and More Disenchanted

    I had an eye-opening experience this weekend in a fabric store. Well, not really eye-opening so much as I finally tried to figure out why some stereotypes seem to be fairly consistently true. And this stereotype is that middle aged women are bitchy. Sorry, ladies. It’s not all of you (soon to be us), but it’s such a big majority, I know something’s going on to make it that way. Men seem to get more relaxed and sweeter the older they get (even the pervy ones). But women seem to hate life and everyone who’s in it with them.

    Just in my short time at the fabric store I encountered five (yes, five) bitchy women. And there were probably less than fifteen people in the store. First, some lady was complaining to the lady cutting her fabric. I didn’t listen very well. I just avoided because I feel sorry for employees who are getting yelled at by someone who doesn’t even want the problem fixed. They just want to complain.

    Second, I was back in the back corner of the store and got some batting. There was what I believed to be a cutting table in the same area, but no one at the table. And I didn’t know how the store worked, if I had to take the batting, closest to this table, to this table for cutting or if I could take it across the store. So I did what I do in all situations where I don’t want to get yelled at (by a bitchy middle aged woman) and trolled Facebook until someone came to help me. Finally a (middle aged) woman comes around the corner, exasperated, and says, “She’s coming. I had to get her.” I said, “OK.” Clearly making it known I wasn’t motivated enough to look, so she would be first in line.

    Said employee soon comes around the corner and asks me what I need. Fire-breathing, already grumpy middle aged woman customer gets GRUMPY, mean-mugging me with hate daggers. I start to answer (to say I was here second) and she says, “You just want some of that cut?” And I’m paralyzed. Knowing the not so friendly customer service lady SHOULD HAVE handled this better, and now I’m the bad guy. And that it’s possible the customer is going to pull a machete out of her purse and mow us all down. I finally say, “Yesbutshewasherefirst.” (All in one quick, frightened word.) And the lady says, “I know that.” Jesus. Really? OK, so why don’t you help HER? And she says, “If you want that cut, you need to go over there.”

    Fine.

    At this point I just want to leave the store.

    Luckily the other cutting table is (wo)manned by a younger girl who cuts my batting. In the meantime some lady with a cart comes through behind her, and clearly can’t fit. I mean she, minus the cart, might have been able to fit, but even that was a stretch. There simply wasn’t room for her to be wandering around back there. And she stops her cart right next to the girl (who is mid-measure). And stands there. Awkwardly. And quite pissed. Finally the girl notices her and the lady says, “I’m just trying to get by here.” I know the girl wanted to say, “Why don’t you go back the way you came?” But she just smiled and squeezed in close to the table.

    Finally, on my way out, the store was setup kind of strangely so it was hard to form a line. I ended up behind a few people and stood between two display racks. I know I was the first person there because when I came up to the register I couldn’t decide where to stand, but as the line moved forward  a lady was standing on the other side. She SHOULD have seen me standing there (I thought she was shopping). And she verbally huffs at me like I just cut in line. With my three items (versus her cartful), she was noticeably pissed at me. Apparently for being in the store. I don’t know?

    Anyway, rather than curse the day I’m middle aged and bitchy because it seems like this is everyone’s destiny, I decided to think about all of the reasons they are the way they are. Mostly because I want to avoid the same destiny, but also so I can understand and feel sorry for them.

    So here’s the list of things I assume are making them grouchy:

    1. Hormones – We gotta throw that one out there, I guess. I don’t know anything about this, though.
    2. Marriage – The more of my friends that get married (and divorced), the more I realize a lot of people get married to get married, and then later regret it. Some of these friends will stay married because it’s “the right thing to do.” That can’t make a person happy.
    3. Life ain’t always what you think it ought to be – They’re disenchanted, like me. Life didn’t turn out the way they dreamed it would. And rather than it being a new phenomenon, it’s gotten old and now they’re pissed.
    4. Exercise – If I don’t workout, I’m a bitch. I’m not saying anything else.
    5. Disrespected and Misunderstood – Most of these women acted as though they expected to be disrespected. Maybe they feel like no one respects them, and expect it, so they’re bitchy all the time because they’re recalling those past events. Maybe they feel invisible. I know as a kid I felt like that a lot. And when I did, I’d throw a tantrum to get my perspective heard. This is honestly where I’m putting my money.

    So to all of you middle aged women out there, everyone in this world isn’t bad. Don’t assume they are. It’s a bad color on you! Save your rage and unleash it on someone who truly deserves it. If you’re that unhappy in your marriage, get out. If your hormones are out of control, see your doctor. There are natural ways to try to remedy it. Get in a little bit of a workout everyday. It’s not hard to break a sweat. It burns off some rage. And if you’re pissed about your life or getting ignored, then do something about it. Do you wish your life had turned out another way? How would that be? Find a tiny step to fix it. If you always imagined you’d have taken a trip to Italy by now, start saving today! If you thought you’d be able to spend more time with your grandkids, then start hosting dinner at your house! If you don’t want to support your leaches of children, cut them off. Tell them by the end of this year they need to be financially solvent and independent. For good. (This is assuming they aren’t 12 years old.)

    Whatever it is, change it. Sure, life sucks and people suck. But that doesn’t mean you have to ruin your day before it’s bad. Or ruin someone else’s. Get it together. You aren’t getting any younger.

    The Bachelor, After The Final Rose

    Alright, I’ll preface this by saying I only watch The Bachelor in passing because my friends watch it and it’s fun to have something to talk about. I think the whole show is a hoax. And I’ve been slacking this season watching because everything Brad says seems scripted, and he’s an awful actor. However, I forced myself to hunker down for the last two episodes because I also am known to buy a gossip mag or two. So here we are, watching the After The Final Rose show. Which usually is the best part of the show anyway.

    First of all Chantel (excuse me if I misspell anyone’s names)… Everyone’s giving her gruff for getting emotional even though she’s moved on and is happy. Here’s the problem, it’s embarrassing to get dumped on live TV. And more embarrassing to get played. She simply wanted Brad to tell her he had feelings for her. In a private setting, like most breakups, he would have. In this national audience setting where Brad seemed contractually bound to marrying the hell out of someone, he was smart enough to know he couldn’t do it. So he had to say he was falling for Emily the whole time, this sent her on an emotional, revisiting the humiliation tailspin, and when he called her out on crying, she cried more. I don’t think any of this is an abnormal reaction. No one likes to “not be good enough.”

    But Emily. Oh, Emily. First of all, I think Brad’s a total tool. And how anyone fell for him is beyond me. Sorry, Brad. I mean, I’m sure you have good characteristics and traits, but this whole show was so forced. You didn’t seem genuine. And those girls had to feel that. But Emily… I agree they made her come across as boring. Because in our warped little world, boring equals nice. And they wanted her to be the nice girl, while Chantel was the “wild” girl. It was like Vienna and Tinley from last season, only the bachelor picked “the other one” this time around.

    But I think I’m the only American who didn’t care for Emily. Not that I think she’s an awful person or anything like that. I think both are probably nice people. But I DO NOT see them as a fit. Emily clearly doesn’t trust Brad. And SHE needs to get counseling (if she’s not already) to deal with her grief. I think she’s done what’s common when someone dies, and building them up to be someone they weren’t. It’s common when someone dies to remember all the good things and forget all the bad, all the struggles, all the heartache. No relationship is perfect. And I think it’s a natural part of grief to put that loved one on a pedestal. But in this case, it’s keeping her from letting anyone else in. Which is also OK in this case, because I don’t think Brad’s right for her anyway. If she’s questioning this already, she should cut ties and move on.

    And the whole bring in the crew to salvage hope thing? Hilarious. VERY cult-like. I’ve read that ABC practically owns everyone who’s on their shows. And if they want to keep getting the job, H or B, under the table (or out in the open, I guess) they have to do what ABC wants them to do. I respect that, too.

    But what the rest of the world should realize is you can’t really save a relationship by sheer will. And no one’s a failure for realizing that outside of the picturesque dates where ANYONE would think they’re in love, it’s not what they thought it would be. It’s like they were on a huge honeymoon during those giddy first stages of meeting someone. Eventually it comes crashing down. And the crash is that much harder when 1. you were so high to begin with 2. you can’t see each other in person 3. all of your baggage comes out at once, and the whole world is watching, expecting.

    Overall, if Emily said, “I love you” in that condescending way one more time, I was going to reach through the screen and physically remover her from the couch. She’s obviously having a hard time getting over the “reality” of reality TV. And who she’s becoming because of the hurt of that realization isn’t good.

    That, coupled with their “anger issues” and having a child in the mix is scary. Well, that and Chris Harrison is a tool, too.