Taking Our Time

I’m no stranger to falling quickly and wanting to move fast when dating. But I also made it to thirty without being married because I never actually followed through with those steps, mostly because it didn’t quite feel right with those people. You know the reasons it wasn’t right–there was a different reason for every person and I’m sure you’ve experienced some of those reasons. It just wasn’t a good fit and didn’t seem like the payoff was worth the risk. Or deep down you just didn’t believe the person’s words because their actions said something subtly different.

taking your timeI love this quote. There’s something magical about feeling relaxed about taking your time with someone (not that I’m not going “squee!” inside constantly and doing ridiculous shit–because I AM). But there’s something nice about being able to tell yourself that this could be a good person to actually take your time with–not because you have doubts and want to make sure he’s the right one, but because you’re enjoying the chance to fall in love with someone and you don’t want to rush it or slow it down–you just want to experience all of it as it comes.

When Dating Goes Bad

Why men are confused about me, I’ll never know. I’m fairly straightforward and most people who have been around even a few months know the most basic things about me. Why men who want to change me or have a certain “type” of woman even approach me, I’ll never know. But word to the wise, take me as I am or fuck off.

Kisses.

After I posted a photo on Facebook about being on Tinder, an old friend from Texas hit me up. He was cute. An asshole, but cute. I figured, ‘What the hell? I can always just flirt.’ Flirting is fun. He was single. I was single. Fun, right?

Not necessarily.

A few days into things he talks about how he wants four kids. Four. 4. F-o-u-r. Okay, fine. He’s from Texas. I get it. They think everything has to be bigger to be better. The problem is, I don’t even know if I want children. I got a puppy and she’s adorable, but even as I’m writing this, she’s chewing up the lid to my water bottle. The one that I need for MMA class. Yesterday she destroyed a roll of toilet paper and the day before that she dug through the carpet. If a puppy is this annoying, how bad are kids? I was a nanny. I know the answer to that. (Hint: Very.)

I explained to Texas that I wasn’t sure I wanted to have kids and if I did, two would be my max. I was already starting to feel like this was the type of man who thought his ideas, dreams, hobbies, and things he wanted would trump mine. It turns out I was right.

The larger issue is that I’m a writer and as such, it’s a challenge to balance motherhood and writing. My writing comes first. I’ve heard plenty of writers who are also mothers talk about this difficulty and quite honestly, I don’t want children badly enough to sacrifice my career for it. And because I don’t already have kids, it’s easy for me to say no. At least for now. It’s important for me to say no for now anyway because I’m so busy. It’s times like these that I wish men could carry babies.

Texas said “That’s fine,” which really seemed to mean, “I’ll convince you otherwise later.” That’s not how this works. That’s not how ANY of this works.

We continued talking about kids–because that’s what any normal person would do a few days into talking, right? Turns out he was adamant about breastfeeding. As in, the lady needs to breastfeed or else. His kids WILL be breastfed and that is final!

Again, problematic for many reasons. One being, they’re my breasts. Two, it’s painful. Three, what if the child doesn’t “take” to breastfeeding? Four, again, they’re my breasts. Five, what if I don’t want to breastfeed? What if I want to work?

I was breastfed. I think there’s an amazing case for breast-is-best, but I don’t know that I will have the time to breastfeed a child if I’m say, in the middle of writing a novel. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

Should this be a deal breaker for a guy?

No, but the fact that he had such strong opinions about a woman’s body and life was a deal breaker for me.

It gets worse, though.

When I first started talking to him, I had been really adamant about not wanting to connect with men with sex first. I wanted friendship. I wanted to see if I liked the person and then see things develop from there. Friendships turned relationships are the absolute best. But there are few men who really can do that without pushing. He was no exception. He kept bringing up sex and finally I was frustrated enough to give in. Big mistake.

There was a moment in our conversation when he asked me if I would swallow his cum and I said no. It wasn’t like I said I wouldn’t kiss him, but he reacted really badly. Almost like he was throwing a tantrum. Almost like he demanded it. I told him he had been watching too much porn. He flipped out. The funny thing is, when I called him out on it, he backed off from what he said. Then I called him out on it again a few days later and he turned the tables on me. I was a hypocrite and had double standards, he said. I was an elitist who showed no empathy, according to him. When I wanted to talk about sex, it was okay, but when he didn’t, it wasn’t. He considered this a double standard.

I’m smart enough now to that any guy who demands I do something in bed, or throws a fit and attacks me when I say I won’t do something, is not going to work for me. If anything, that’s a really dangerous sign. And I’ve had at least one experience with a guy who made me realize that it’s not even worth it to continue talking to someone like that.

Beyond that, doing whatever you want in bed can be fun, but the cool part is that you (as a man or woman) get to decide what you are comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with. You get to say no whenever the hell you want and usually, the person you’re with likes you enough to just drop it. Maybe they love that. Maybe they’re disappointed, but most guys are just like “Okay.”

It gets even worse, though.

I get asked to mentor people all the time. I can’t mentor everyone. I have a small handful of close friends that I will do anything for, and another small set of writer friends who I help out when they need something. Beyond that, I work with my clients and that’s about all I have time for. My expertise is social media and branding, which is a big hot thing right now. Everyone needs social media credibility and few people know how to make it happen. Those of us who were into social media and blogging years ago have ridden the waves and survived. We’ve grown with the technology and even influenced it. Many of us are entrepreneurs in our own right.

And he wanted to be one. Usually, that’s really hot. In this case, it wasn’t, because you can’t be a great entrepreneur by riding someone else’s coat tails.

I got the vibe that he might not have been as interested in me as he was my “following” and “influence.” (Barf to those buzz words, anyway, but that’s what he called it.) I like giving people the benefit of the doubt, though, so I waited it out and decided to try to suspend my judgment for awhile. I’ve been known to make harsh judgments right away and later end up liking someone. But as time went on, he asked me to help him create a following online where he could share inspirational stuff. First, I think inspirational stuff can be done very, very well. People who do it right: Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Buddhists. But you know those looney self-help people? I don’t like that stuff. He said he’d pay me, but that bothered me even more. I was confused. Was this a professional relationship or romantic? I was offended. Anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem helping friends out, so if he had a question, I could answer it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get paid; but I didn’t want someone dating me just for what I could teach him. That’s just weird. And selfish and egotistical.

The day he told me he wanted to start a YouTube account to make money came after the day I’d posted on Facebook about all the millionaires on YouTube. Naivete makes people think that just because there’s a millionaire doing something that they could be the next. Internet millionaires earn their money, just like all the other millionaires in the world. It’s hard work, great work, talent and knowledge that make people successful. (Unless of course you’re born with a silver spoon. Then it’s your parents’ hard work/talent/etc.) It’s incredibly naive to think that you can just walk onto the scene and own it without having done anything.

People don’t just gain millions of followers by being online. Even celebrities don’t. It insults me actually, when people think creating a following online is sooo simple, and this was the impression I got from him. I got the feeling he thought because I could do it, anyone could do it, which means he didn’t value my intellect and skills. Look, I’m not saying I’m a fucking genius here but I work hard. Throw a little respect a girl’s way if you’re trying to woo her.

And don’t ask me for help creating a Twitter handle.

What Makes Me Feel Beautiful

Someone recently asked me the question “What makes you feel beautiful?” I smiled and I thought about this new guy I’d met named Jay*. A few days ago we were talking before bed and he texted me “Good night, beautiful.” It wasn’t the first time he’d said it and there had been other men who said it to me recently–that I was beautiful, or sexy–but when he said it, it made me feel beautiful. It made me blush. I got that warm feeling in my stomach that all crushes start with. I liked hearing it from him. I knew he meant it and it wasn’t about sex or trying to get on my good side. It was sincere.

Just last night, though, I had one final talk-turned-argument (for closure’s sake) with the person I’d spent the past three plus years in love with. I’d told Jay about him and Jay asked me what it would take for me to get over him. It made me think for the first time that maybe there was someone out there that would be worth getting over him. Someone who made me feel the same way. I thought the answer would be that when I lost weight and got (what I considered) hot again, but the more Jay asked me certain questions, the more I realized I could-and should-get over him now. Why wait for someone who didn’t even tell me I was beautiful when there was someone who had no hangups about telling me now?

When I was talking to the now ex-love last night, I started thinking about the fact that he never once called me beautiful. When I would ask him if he liked my hair or something I was wearing, he wouldn’t even answer. One time he said he liked brunettes and later I died my hair brown and he said it didn’t look good. I wasn’t used to this. Usually men had no problem complimenting me or finding me attractive, and although I didn’t expect it (nor did I always believe they were sincere), I appreciated it.

It really bothered me–this inability for the ex-love to compliment how I looked. Of course there were many other amazing traits that made me fall in love with him in the first place, but this was something that hurt me. And it wasn’t something I’d read on Cosmo’s “Ten Signs Your Man Isn’t The One.” (Just kidding, maybe I do read Cosmo.) It was something I started realizing hurt me even deeper than I thought as the result of receiving compliments from someone else I started caring about. It wasn’t about the compliments. It was the ability Jay had to actually verbalize how I made him feel and how he saw me. Communication is key and if you feel that someone is amazing or attractive, shouldn’t you be able to say it?love

I think that’s why it made it much more meaningful when Jay said it. He told me I was beautiful in a moment where I least expected it. I had just finished saying “I can’t date you. You’re too young and you live far away. I can’t do long distance anymore.” He said he understood about the distance and we discussed why his age would be problematic and then before we got offline, he said “Good night, beautiful.” I blushed. I felt butterflies. Magic. All of it. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t like Jay. It was that I did like him but I’d tried a few long distance relationships and they just didn’t work.

But still, his compliments continued, despite that we started meeting other people and my feelings for him grew the more we talked and the more I felt understood deeply by him. And as his compliments continued, I realized what I loved about them was the fact that he said how he felt and if I was going to “get away” then he was going to make sure I knew how he felt about me.

What woman doesn’t want that?

*Not his real name.

 

Stepford Husbands: Write a List, Let God Manufacture Him

Patrick-Dempsey-and-son

Recently I was talking to my friend about wanting the perfect family, like we’d always dreamed of. Our conversation inspired this post.

On Writing a “Perfect Husband” List

We were taught this: ‘If I write a list of what I want in a man or a family, God will make it happen’ but you know, this isn’t Stepford, where men are created in a factory based on a list of criteria. There are very normal guys who want to date you, but probably won’t fit your list. Maybe you’ll like one of the guys who likes you or maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll date the guy you think is perfect for awhile and find out that even though you’re deeply in love, it isn’t working. I know we were taught to make it work, regardless, but it’s okay to let go. Maybe you’ll fall deeper in love at 50 than you were at 20. The point is–love and family isn’t as predictable as our pastors taught us. Some people are “unlucky” with love. Others get lonely and want a relationship. Neither person is wrong. Love never works out like we want and this is the reality of life; when it comes to love you can say what you want all day long but that doesn’t mean the List Guy will come waltzing in and rescue you from being lonely. In fact, this mentality sets relationships up for failure because we have all these expectations of how men and women should act (we think men should ask us out or they aren’t a “man”; and men think we shouldn’t be emotional because they put it on their list; or fill-in-the-blank with all the expectations we have from society, religion and culture and you have a big mess). We asked for it on a list, so we should be able to demand it from that person, right? Wrong. Our pastors were wrong.

Not that you can’t have what you want to some degree. I mean, you get to choose your partner and you can settle down anytime you want to with whomever you want to. It’s just that life isn’t a bed of roses and neither are relationships. Even the Perfect Guy is going to disappoint you from time to time; not because he’s a bad guy but because he’s a human.

At one point in time, being a wife was our number one priority. I have a feeling that your creative dreams are much more important to you now, and your ideal guy is probably very different now than it was then. Now, it’s probably more important to you to have a partner who supports you for your creative side and for the strong, determined woman you’ve become. Sometimes women who fit your profile (and mine) don’t settle down as soon as other women simply because we dream of making a living off being creative and that’s a hard thing to make happen while we’re supporting ourselves at our day jobs. That’s not to say our life choices are more important than women who choose to be mothers (and VICE VERSA); but it will explain a lot when you find yourself like me, 32 and your life looking a whole lot less traditional than you expected it to be. It’s okay. You will make sacrifices for your art and your career that other people won’t make and you will stay up all night rehearsing or learning new skills or working on your own projects without pay. The hard work will pay off one day, though, and even though your life won’t look anything like what you expected it to look like, it will in many ways look better than you could have planned and you will be more content because of that. Even if you don’t have the List Guy or his babies.

Things That Terrify Me

I recently started dating someone. Let me preface this by saying my luck with relationships is terrible. They’ve all ended (lately I’m the dumped not the dumper) and left me single and rather happy. I’m good at being single. Really good. I have a lot of fun and when I say fun, I mean that I’ll have to explain that later on my NSFW blog and my journals (which ironically I don’t share here).

So one thing I’m afraid of–terrified of–is falling in love, again. It seems like right when I let myself go I find myself falling and no one is there to catch me. Call me melodramatic, but it’s true.

The other thing I’m terrified of is getting close to people. I’m good at it, but I’ve been betrayed in ways that give me nightmares. I don’t like vulnerability. In fact, I find myself already trying to hide my vulnerability with jokes or comments that I don’t even mean with him, because let’s face it…when your previous boyfriends don’t reciprocate the kind of love you feel for them, you end up feeling a bit like you were born in the wrong century where love affairs happened to people and they fell into them…hard. Today people just call you “co-dependent” or say you care too much.

This relationship is different in some ways. We’re long distance and I’ve only done that once. Me and the other LDR met in my home town and he informed me shortly after we met that he was moving to Washington. I didn’t care. I was swept away. It was incredibly romantic. I mean, he romanced me in ways that only seemed to happen in movies. There were trips to Spokane, walks in the park, candlelight dinners. And it was the first time I had sex with someone who I loved. One time he flew in to see me and I surprised him with my own version of romance-a hotel room filled with rose petals, candles and music playing. When he walked in the room, he grabbed me and started slow dancing with me to “our song.”

Within six months we were talking about me moving up there and marriage and babies-and he meant it. His parents loved me so much and I loved them.

And then he made a mistake–saying he wasn’t ready for me to move up there–and I freaked out on him. I had been planning my move already and my dad was going to help me bring my stuff from California to Washington. What went wrong on his end wasn’t even that tragic. All he meant was that he wanted to pay for my apartment and bills and couldn’t at the moment (what with just moving and starting a new job). But I was like, “Who does that? I can pay my own bills. Just fucking let me be there with you.” And just like that, I was mad and he was misunderstood. I told him if he wasn’t serious then he should just break up with me and let me get over him. So we ended it over a misunderstanding.

Three weeks later in an incredibly romantic gesture, he flew to see me and took me to dinner and begged me to come back to him. And I….refused. What the flying fuck? I was already in a new relationship-dating a terrible person-really, not a good guy-but my pride was in the way and I couldn’t get past my anger and hurt. I was so hurt. And I sent him back to Washington alone. Then when I broke up with the loser/terrible guy, I emailed Washington boy (for years…even THIS year)  and begged him to come back. He told me he didn’t love me romantically anymore and now he doesn’t even respond to my emails.

At least my tragic love life makes for GREAT stories, right? For a writer that’s awesome. I should really pat myself on the back for taking so many broken hearts for society.
So after reliving the Washington memories, there’s already this feeling of “Is it doomed?” with this long distance relationship. I mean–someone has to move or it’s just not going to go anywhere. I love where I live and life is awesome here–except I don’t have him. And he loves his school and he’s doing fucking amazing there. He can’t move here.

Maybe I’m already preparing myself for the broken heart because I know they hurt so bad and in my life, they are inevitable. The thing that sucks about this time is that no matter how much I try to numb myself, it’s happening. I can’t help it. I’m litterally trying to protect myself but he hooked me already–in the first few weeks. The romantic things that were said and done left me feeling things for him that I haven’t felt since Washington. And it’s been several years since then-sure I’ve had relationships since then. But it’s been a very long time since I’ve felt something this sincere and this deep. In fact, I literally am in tears all day today and I can’t help but think it’s because of him/this. The helplessness I feel because I’m falling and I can’t stop. I can’t protect myself.

And then there’s this one small detail. Where he lives. He lives in the South, but not just anywhere. He lives where the bane of my existence lives. My Lex Luthor as one friend put it. The whole incident that inspired this blog–living in a cult. It happened in his city in Louisiana. And the only thoughts I have of that place are nightmares and memories of me wanting to kill myself. So, as if long distance relationships aren’t hard enough, there’s that one small detail-his location-that has had me tense for weeks.

Life is so ironic sometimes and love leaves no prisoners.

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”

(quote and photo from Facebook)

Kim K Splits from Hubby

Kim Kardashian filed divorce papers today from Kris Humphries stating “irreconcilable differences”. I keep up with the Kardashians, so this was surprising. Not that I’m really surprised, because I think money and fame (and insanely perfect looks) can really make it difficult to have the kind of uncomplicated relationships us normal people have (in comparison).

The sad news? Kris Humphries on the divorce: “I love my wife and am devastated to learn she filed for divorce. I’m committed to this marriage and everything this covenant represents. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make it work.”

Aw, I feel bad for the guy.

 

The One Who Got Away

Following yesterday’s “near breakup” Chris and I are still together.

But we still have the same questions:

Will it work out?

Will we be in the same place as we are now two years from now?

Will we ever be on the same page (re: marriage/kids)?

I’ve always dated younger men and I’ve always had these same questions. Five (or so) years ago, I met Matt. He was nearly everything I’d ever wanted in a boyfriend and we had a great relationship. But months down the road, our age difference and the geographical distance between us took it’s toll. He got distant emotionally and when I pressed him he said, “It’s not love. It’s everything else. I love you but it’s just not working.”

Sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes you need all the other pieces to the puzzle–living close together, like personalities, similar ages or stages in life, similar goals or priorities.

It’s the worst feeling in the world to break up with someone you love amiably, having no hard feelings.

Matt and I broke up in 2005 and a few months later he flew back to see me and asked me to come back to him.

It was too late.

I was already dating someone new. Ruben. Ruben turned out to be a terrible boyfriend (nice enough, but unintelligent and always trying to change me). I should’ve gone with Matt. He took me to dinner and we talked and he told me sorry. He didn’t want to lose me.

I was stubborn. I wanted it all. I wanted perfection. I wanted to move to Spokane, Washington months earlier and since Matt had acted uninterested, I stubbornly said no. I let him walk away. I’d given up on “us”.

Two years later, I tried to get Matt back. He refused. He’d had too many broken hearts and didn’t trust women. I tried and tried and tried for months. He finally stopped emailing me back.

It’s happened to me before…twice before. I lost Jason when I was 17. I broke up with him in order to prepare for Master’s Commission and their “no dating” rule. I was stupid for breaking up with Jason, but I was zealous and dumb. I thought in order to love Jesus more, I had to be single like Master’s Commission taught me.

Jason never forgave me and went on to be happily married. He and his wife just welcomed their first daughter.

It took me over ten years to get over Jason. I’ll always love him. He was the one who got away. My first true love. The one I still believe I should’ve married, instead of letting go.

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Do Age Differences Matter?

I met Chris about two years ago in college. I was actually dating someone else at the time, and Chris became one of my good friends following my breakup.

I started developing feelings for Chris and we started dating in June. In about a month, we’ll have been dating a year. We never fight, rarely argue and I couldn’t be dating someone more perfect for me.

Some of you who know me well or follow me on Facebook or Twitter know that yesterday was a rough day. Chris and I almost broke up.

We didn’t fight and we weren’t arguing. Actually, neither of us wanted to break up. We just felt like we have a really complicated future (if any) together.

I’m 30. I want to buy a house, get a dog and another cat and finish up my book. After it’s published (*if it gets published*), I want to start a family. Yes, I have a very specific timeline but it’s flexible. I do have to consider this though: my doctor says I should have kids before 38 years old. She says that having them younger is actually better if we’re considering the health of women’s eggs. I’m not ready to have a kid yet. In fact, some days I don’t want to really have a child. I like to sleep. I can’t really afford one yet. I don’t want to be a chauffeur or a housekeeper and I like my alone time.

Most of all, I’ll have to put a stop to all my weekend trips to Europe.

Just kidding. I don’t have those.

Chris is 23. He’s in a band about dinosaurs called Dinophilia and he’s an excellent writer and editor. He loves good wine and good beer. We have a lot in common and we get along great.

But, we’re significantly far apart in age. No matter how much “age doesn’t matter” it really does, especially in our relationship. We’re not Demi and Ashton. For one, Demi already had kids when she was with Ashton. Maybe that would help Chris and I.  Maybe I should run off and get knocked up.

So, what do you think? Do you think age differences really matter? Do you think two people can work through their age differences and find a middle ground, a compromise without giving up who they are and what’s best for them?

I’d love to hear your point of view and advice.

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Boy Problems

Ever have one of those days when everything makes you cry?

No?

Yeah, me neither.

Actually, I’m lying. I have those days at least once a month, sometimes more. It really depends. I can always depend on a good “Cry Day” if two factors happen around the same time. First, I have to be having boy troubles. Second, I have to have forgotten to pick up my prescription refill for my anti-anxiety medicine (which is an SSRI and must be taken at the same time everyday, or at least everyday, to prevent Cry Days.)

Why can’t everything just be perfect in life? I mean, my life is pretty damn good. I live in Paradise. The weather is always between 60 and 70 degrees. Seagulls always fly overhead, and I have a nice coastal breeze outside my house. I like my job. I like my hobbies. I have great family and friends. And then it happens…

The inevitable.

Boy problems.

I’m thirty years old, unmarried and without children. I really don’t need to be having boy problems.

I do, though. I always do.