Archive for the ‘Love Fail’ 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

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

    Jodi Arias: Don’t Poke The Crazy

    I generally shy away from calling people crazy. I think everyone (men and women, although I joke more about women, I genuinely am just joking) has some crazy in them. And when the right buttons are pushed, the crazy flares up. I think some are more prone to crazy, but generally the crazy comes from things like insecurity and unhappiness and feelings of unfairness. But I’ve seen friends who are generally level-headed have their buttons pushed until they’re about to flip out. And then they’re labeled as unstable. Are they really? No, I don’t think so. I think the situation and the circumstance and definitely the people make them crazy. Or crazier. The human spirit, ego and brain can only take so much stretching before it snaps. Some of us have more flexibility, others have more sense than to put themselves in a situation where you’re tested, and others seem to be better at acknowledging their actions are reeling off the deep end. Then there are the poor few who, despite these warnings, despite changes in behavior, despite having to know they’re being crazy, don’t turn their backs and jump in.

    Is it strange today’s the first day I’ve read anything on the Jodi Arias trial? And my only real exposure to the trial is on Twitter, where, admittedly I follow mostly sports guys. Yes, men. Some married, some not. The variety is there, but I’m mainly following guys. So my perspective is, “This broad is cray!”

    But this morning I decide to read a few articles on my own. Do I still think Jodi is crazy? Yes. And am I a huge believer in, “Don’t blame the victim?” Absolutely. I hate when people blame the parents of a kidnapped child, or the clothes-choices of a victim of rape, or the actions of a murder victim. But that’s what I found myself doing. And definitely not at first. At first I’m reading the stories thinking, “This girl is crazy! She’s obsessed with this guy after dating for less than six months?!” Then I read more and find out she converted religions for him. What the heck? And that HE baptized her!?! What the hell? And all that happened before they officially started dating.

    Then I find out that they broke up and he started dating other women and she became obsessed with him and stalked him. OK, so crazy, right? Nope. Reading a few more stories it sounds like they are one of those couples that breaks up but never really breaks up but never really gets back together. This is one of the most damaging relationships you can be in. I’ve been there. It makes you insane. It makes you feel inadequate. It makes you feel insecure and paranoid. It makes you feel like shit, basically. Why do they want me sort of but not totally? Why will they commit to others, but not to me? Why do they chase and won’t let me go, telling me they need me, but it feels like they’re using me.

    The answer is, these guys are being jerks. And girls. There are girls who do this, too. They manipulate their way into the lives (and generally beds) of the girl or guy who’s interested. They make you feel just wanted enough to keep re-trying. They’re vague and non-committal, and then when you think they’re really interested, they pull away and act like you’re imagining things. “I never said I wanted anything.” Even if they blatantly did say they wanted something. For a second. A fleeting second.

    As sad as it is, the Sugar Ray lyrics for “When It’s Over” capture this phenomenon. The entire song, really, but the one lyric that catches the most is, “When it’s over, can I still come over? When it’s over, is it really over?” I hate to sound old, but I feel like this problem has spread like STDs over the past ten or so years. I mean, I’m sure it always existed. But before cell phones and Facebook and constant access to chatting, this crap wasn’t as prevalent. But now? I hardly know anyone who breaks up and the breakup is final. There’s too much access to too many people. Mark McGrath was ahead of his time. Weird, right? Back in 2001 I had a cell phone, and I remember texting. But you got charged per text, so it was more of a fun thing to do, than the only way you get in touch with someone. Hell, two years earlier I didn’t even have a cell phone! Or, if I did, it was one of those you only turn on for emergencies. I didn’t have MySpace. I had email, but all you got in email were things like forwards or pen pal type letters. No one searched their own name online, and while there were beepers, the only real way to communicate with someone was in person or over the phone.

    A few weeks ago I laughed realizing back in the 90s, when you had a problem with a friend, they commonly showed up on your front porch to talk. Or they’d show up to see if you wanted to go do something. There was no mass-texting. And, honestly, it all sounds so exhausting. But that’s only because we’re so consumed with electronics and having virtual friendships. But the good thing was, there wasn’t a lot of booty calling after bars closed. Did it happen? Sure. But mostly people just went home, or went home with someone new. But it was even more terrifying to call someone who lived with his family, or roommates. These things sort of curbed the obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I get when you break up and you’re not ready to move on, it’s easy to want to go a little stalker to see if the other person is happy when you aren’t. Sadly, I’ve been that girl. But the one thing I was smart enough to do when I was 19 years old was say, “This is it. If we break up, we break up. We aren’t “friends.” We don’t still hang out. We don’t call each other. We don’t play the line between friends and more-than-friends. It has to be over. And you can’t come back. I deserve more. We deserve more.” And he was respectful enough to walk way, for real. Did it hurt? For me, more than I thought it could. And there were times I’d try to put myself somewhere just to see him. And I had friends who encouraged that (probably because I was so sad). But luckily, there weren’t cell phones. And we didn’t ever email each other. So aside from calling his parents’ house (wasn’t going to happen, I was too humiliated), the only way I could see him was to force chance and run into him. And even that was humiliating. I was like a drug addict, wanting just one last hit. But the truth was, if I saw him, I never said a word. And I’d generally run away before I did. And if he had led me on, I never would have moved on.

    But that’s what it seems like every couple does now. They break up, but it’s never over. And often times, the one who is hurting more can be manipulated and used. And after awhile, that person tends to snap. “Snap” means a lot of different things to different people. Some people make a spectacle of themselves, getting really drunk and bawling publicly. Others will go to the new person in their ex’s life and try to warn them. Partially in an attempt to “help” the other person, but really just to hurt the ex. Others will post stuff online, true stuff, not-so-true stuff, private stuff, blatant lies. And the progression goes on. And there are times I see girls who have been used and lied to and manipulated and led on for so long, I wouldn’t be surprised if they snapped and tried to beat the crap out of the guy. Or worse, kill him.

    And you know what? These guys know what they’re doing, but they think it’s her fault for letting it happen. In those cases, both people are actually victims. The one being lied to and led on is a victim while it’s happening. Then when they react and respond, the tables flip and victimizer becomes the victim.

    No one wins in these situations. And in the case of Travis Alexander, he paid the ultimate price. And so did Jodi. She seems delusional, but is this really coming out of nowhere? Travis was allegedly very open discussing that he had a crazy stalker. Why did he keep bringing her into the fold? Why didn’t he move on and allow her to move on? Why did he keep her on the back burner? Or even just off to the side of the stove, warming the pot only when the soup threatened to go bad with food poisoning. Or maybe he didn’t care if the soup went bad as long as he could still warm it up occasionally and keep warm near it.

    I hate to trample on the grave of a dead man. But I do think it’s important enough to see how something like this can get out of hand. We, as human beings, need to have more respect for the dignity of others. If you don’t care enough about someone to be with them, then let them go. Allow them to heal and move on. Don’t keep dumping salt and gangrene in the wound. Don’t keep tearing it back open at your leisure, when it’s convenient for you. Realize the person you have no feelings for has feelings for you. Don’t laugh at her expense or dismiss her as nobody. Don’t continue to follow her on MySpace and post on her wall about how she’s making the hotness factor of her new town increase just by being there. Don’t have sex with her and take pictures when she shows up unexpectedly.

    Simply close the literal and figurative door on the relationship. The sooner you make the end clear and definite, the sooner everyone can move on with their ego and self-respect intact. And the better off everyone is.

    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.

    Thru The Years: Swapping Places And It Feels Good

    Now that I’ve settled into life past the 30 year old mark, I realize it’s not as old as it felt when I was sixteen. In fact, thirty has been a pretty good decade so far. Got rid of some carryover (carry-on?) baggage from my twenties and am happier than ever being single. It’s liberating, actually. I’m not sure exactly what it is. Like most things probably a combination of several factors.

    First, the general self-esteem you get as you grow up. As your self-worth grows through compound interest and the time value of confidence, you realize not only do you not NEED anyone, but you also don’t want just anyone. This, my friends, is my favorite part of being over thirty.

    Second, social pressures seem to ease a little. There are a few different kinds of pressure. Familial pressure (coming from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and all of THEIR frends) eases if you’ve been alone for awhile. The human brain is incapable of NOT adapting. If you’re alone for awhile, those who used to notice and comment simply stop noticing. Those who have parents whose happiness seems to hinge on their child getting married and having babies? I can’t relate, but empathize. Not sure if that ever goes away unless you pay for them to get therapy, or get remarried to someone else, or find something that will occupy them and make them happy.

    The same general eventual adaptation to being alone happens with your friends, of course. But, the friends who were so pushy also start to see how great being single can be as opposed to marrying just anyone. Men complain about nagging, how much work parenting is, and joking (or not) about being single again/choosing better next time. Women are annoyed by filth, lack of intimacy/magic and being only a mom/wife, rather than her own person. While it’s always easy to think the grass is greener, there is often times a gap between the fantasy and reality of marriage and parenting, for both sexes. And on those days, they see how their ingle friends are genuinely happy and not crying themselves to sleep in a puddle of lonely misery.

    And, finally, the more of us singles there are out there, and the more divorce numbers climb like STD rates, the more everyone appreciates holding onto your S card. Forever or until it’s right. Ignoring the social norms pushing us all toward marriage is a big relief on many people feeling like failures until they do get married.

    Women feel this pressure in their twenties. Our self-worth is large defined by how desired we are by the opposite sex. If we are attached, we are valued, beautiful, respected and complete. If we aren’t courted, we are somehow appraised at a lower value. And through this time, the men are in a position of power. They have the ability to legitimize us as worthy or otherwise. This results in a lot of highs and lows based on a questionable resource.

    However, as we move into our late 20s and see the marriages of our friends reach their five and seven year marks (and some fizzle out), we realize how important choosing the right mate is. We are also reaching a stride in our careers and generally are financially able to take are of ourselves, afford luxuries we used to think we needed a man to buy (or split the cost of – like vacations, rent, houses, cars jewelry). And it hits us – we can provide everything we NEED. And furthermore, why would we want to get in a relationship with a guy who could take it all away? Spending our nest egg, making our house smell like feet while hosting his friends very weekend because our place is nicer than his, then cleaning up their mess because he doesn’t gleam, picking up the tab because we earn more, being dragged down by a no-motivation, slacker, likely alcoholic momma’s boy. Yeah, suddenly our standards skyrocket to where they always should have been.

    Meanwhile, these guys we used to put up with don’t know how to treat a woman respectfully, don’t know how to put in more work than a post-bar text, and suddenly find themselves alone when this no longer cuts it. They know there are smart, beautiful, interesting women out there, but they can’t seem to get their attention. They dip into the pool of younger girls for awhile. Then become desperate.

    This happens generally around their 30th-35th birthday. They realize they’re getting “old” and are alone and the women they’re dating now aren’t as interesting at they used to be. Many of their buddies are married and that’s really how they always saw themselves anyway. They think, “OK, I’m ready.” But the girls of their dreams don’t crawl out of the woodwork like they always imagined. They start to panic. Try to settle with any girl who comes along. But their baggage they picked up in their twenties still follows them: drinking until they’re sloppy and belligerent is ok for a 22 year old, not a 32 year old, their dinky, dirty, grimy bachelor pad apartment near the bar district doesn’t scream sexy, and their inability to look forward in a career or be able to manage finances isn’t exactly quirky and sweet anymore.

    Suddenly the tables have turned. Women don’t need men, and men are desperate.

    It’s called poetic justice, people. And apparently it’s what your 30s are made of!

    Author’s note: While I am cynical, I want to be fair. I know a plenty of women with the same issues I’ve listed freely as men’s issues. And also know just as many men who are great catches. The point is, I’ve noticed the trend of women getting into their thirties and approaching men the way men did in their twenties, and vice versa in men (who act now like we did in our 20s). This is a generalization for illustrative purposes.

    Marriage: Finding A Family And Babies And A Real Life?

    OK, I’m not a fan of Kim Kardashian, but I also don’t hate her. Her voice annoys me, but otherwise, I’m neutral on the subject. Since there’s not much else going on in celebrity gossip these days, I have read a little about her marriage and divorce. I won’t speculate on whether the marriage was a sham, the divorce is a ratings grabber, or if the Kardashians are evil. I don’t really care. Hollywood is Hollywood. What irks me is part of Kim’s statement:

    “Everyone that knows me knows that I’m a hopeless romantic! I love with all of my heart and soul. I want a family and babies and a real life so badly that maybe I rushed in to something too soon. I believed in love and the dream of what I wanted so badly.”

    So, here’s the thing. I think lots of girls are searching for the “family and babies and a real life” when they get married. It floors me that Kim, as tight as she claims her family is, was searching for that. I’m not saying the statement was fabricated. I don’t care if it was. The thing is, THIS is why many people get married to the wrong person. Would I love to be married to an awesome dude who gets me, makes me laugh, and treats me great? Absolutely. Can I marry any schmuck on the street who shows interest and hope he becomes that person? No. But this is what many women (and even men) do. They’re trying to create something with the wrong ingredients. Can you make a cake if you don’t have flour or eggs or sugar? Probably not. Sure there are crappy vegan versions of cake that are OK. But if you want real cake, the moist kind grandma makes, then you can’t half-ass the recipe with substitutions for the key ingredients. Trust me, I’ve had those cakes. You’re better off with the real deal. Even if it means waiting two weeks (in marriage terms years and years) until you can find all of the perfect ingredients (in marriage terms, the right person).

    I don’t want to be eating crappy pseudo-cake the rest of my life. And I also don’t want to be married to the wrong man. Plus, really, I don’t even know Kris Humphries. Or whoever he is. But the very little I’ve seen of him, he’s been a douche. That’s like substituting salt for sugar in your cake. I’m surprised she lasted 72 days.