Men

Is It Something In Our Water?

At thirty years old, I’ve done my fair share of dating. I don’t have a huge plethora of relationships under my belt [long-term ones, at least], but I’ve gone on plenty of dates and had several short-term relations with guys. I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 17, and I didn’t have a serious boyfriend until I was 18 – so, my dating years have pretty much been crammed into a 12-year period of time.

It’s safe to say that the first 18 years of my life were very shy and sheltered [of my own doing – my parents constantly encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone]. While this hindered my dating and relationship experience, it did, on the flipside, allow me silently grow independently and to objectively observe how other people acted in their relationships. It gave me the opportunity to learn what I did and did not want in my own relationships.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed in my short thirty years on earth is that many women stay in relationships that they know are toxic – not only for them, but for the significant other as well. We waste years of our lives on boys [sorry, can’t refer to these individuals as “men” – they haven’t earned that title] who treat us horribly. When there’s a breakup, we take them back when they come groveling. When they abuse us, whether physically, verbally, or emotionally, we forgive them when they apologize and swear it’ll never happen again [and yet, it always does. and we know it will keep happening again and again and again].

My question is: why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we consistently stay with individuals who treat us so horribly? Who have absolutely no respect for us as women or as human beings? WHY? I know every single one of us has warning signals – there are always signs telling us to GET THE FUCK OUT, and yet none of us listen to them. And none of us get out when presented with opportunities. I mean, we literally allow these relationships to hit rock fucking bottom before the light bulb goes on and we think, Hmm, maybe this relationship SUCKS ASS.

And, going hand-in-hand with the self-degradation of staying in these relationships, is this feeling that we need somebody else in our lives to feel whole. This is a HUGE problem, especially for women who start dating so young – we become dependent on our significant other. Teenage and early twenties are crucial growing years in our lives. We’re all on this hormonal roller coaster, we’re experiencing all kinds of milestones, and instead of growing independently and learning who we are and how to deal with conflicts, speed bumps, and curve balls on our own, we end up leaning on somebody else for support through trying times. And someday, when these relationships inevitably end [because young love generally does], we come out so lost and disoriented that the only thing we know is to jump into another relationship. Instead of having our own identity, we become who we date. We define ourselves based on whose bed we happen to be sharing [okay, not the best reference, but you get the idea].

Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t feel like you can’t lean on somebody for help and support when times get rough. Of course you should! That is absolutely what friends, family and relationships are for [among other things]. The worst thing you can do is keep things to yourself when they’re causing you unmanageable stress and anxiety. BUT, first and foremost, it’s important to know who you are throughout the entire process. Don’t lose yourself in somebody else’s identity. Know that the people in your life are there to support you and to love you from beginning to end – and the people who aren’t need to be given the boot.

Ladies, we have worked TOO DAMN HARD in these first world countries to be reverting back to the Victorian era and beyond. We fought tooth-and-nail for a voice, for the right to vote, to be able to work alongside men, to be able to fight alongside men. We’ve come so far from the days of arranged marriages due to social status, being forced to stay in bad relationships due to guaranteed social ruin from divorce, no right to vote, have a voice or have a say in our finances or really our own lives. Why in the world would we ever want to willingly go back to that life? To stay in a relationship that’s unhealthy and degrading when we have a choice not to? Do we like feeling like shit? Feeling like we aren’t good enough? Is it something in our water?

I speak from experience. Despite all my years as a shy woman, growing independently and learning from other people’s mistakes, I still ended up dating a dude with no respect for women or himself. He was controlling, manipulative, insecure and just an all-around jerk. All of these things stemmed from family issues, and yet he took them out on me. I justified my relationship with him – I would be broke if I left him. We have fun together. He’s got a boat and nice cars. He’s got that bad boy thing going on. The list goes on. Nine out of ten of my friends have been in similar situations – guys who don’t respect them and treat them horribly. They’ve all done the same thing; made excuses about their boyfriend to people around them, which ultimately meant they were just trying to convince themselves. But at the end of the day, you shouldn’t have to justify your relationship – it should just BE.

Just remember that it is NEVER TOO LATE to get out of a bad relationship. And regardless of how long you spend dating an idiot, it doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you any less of a woman. We all make mistakes, we all have to go through our own experiences and motions in life in order to learn lessons. Know that you are not alone out there. You are not the only or first woman to try pushing through a shit relationship. There are always other gals out there you can lean on and relate to when you’re feeling alone in the world. So don’t suffer through this sort of thing alone! Reach out to others – me if you’d like! Believe me, there are more of us out there than you think.

 

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This Is My Rooftop

You know when you’re absolutely elated about something, and there’s that expression, “I want to shout from the rooftop!”?

Well, this is my rooftop.

On this day, 365 days ago, I went on a date with a guy. A guy that wasn’t at all my type looks-wise, which used to immediately trigger a red flag. But after consistently dating my “type” and only ever finding idiots, I decided to step outside my box a little. What could it hurt?

Turns out, it really couldn’t [and didn’t] hurt.

It was a fantastic first date. He immediately checked the first box by successfully finding [and knocking on] my apartment door. My roommate and I used to joke that a guy was a keeper if he could find our apartment, because nobody we dated ever could. He took me to Old Town Sacramento, and gave me a little historical blurb about our city while he toured me around the streets. We stopped at a bar for a drink and ended up dancing to a live band with some fun, lively elderly couples. After that, we headed to Torch Club to keep dancing, and then bounced around to a couple other bars and sampled some beers in honor of it being Sac Beer Week. We closed out our date at Kupros, where some friends of mine came to meet us [and my poor date thought that was my SOS call – it was definitely not]. The conversation was easy and natural – we never had an awkward moment or felt the need to fill a pause. I didn’t expect to be swept off my feet so quickly, and I guess neither did he. But by the next day, we couldn’t wait to see each other again and had already made plans to get together that evening.

To say that this person has changed my life is an understatement. I had believed for so long that there were no longer decent men out there – in fact, I had pretty much come to terms with the fact that I would probably be 35 and heading to a sperm bank and doing the single mom thing [and I was actually okay with that]. Everyone tells you that you’ll meet somebody when you least expect it, and I can definitely attest to the fact that that couldn’t be more true.

One of the biggest issues I discovered [and struggled with] over the years of my dating journey was that so many guys carried baggage and assumed that all women were going to treat them the same in a relationship. If my ex cheated on me, then it will be just as easy for you.

True, but not a fair judgment to make when you’ve only just met a person. I pushed a lot of men away because of this – because they couldn’t give a new relationship a fair shot. It was so refreshing when I met my boyfriend, who was open about his fears, but wasn’t afraid to push through them in the hope of possibly building a relationship with me. And, to be honest, we’ve definitely had our ups and downs in this department – turns out I also have insecurities and baggage from past relationships. But I am a lucky gal to have found a guy who is willing to work through the problems together, as a TEAM.

When my boyfriend and I first started dating, I immediately loved our easy compatibility. Again, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve never struggled to get along. We’ve never had a childish argument – we’ve never yelled or screamed or pushed each other to our limits. We are comfortable sitting together in companionable silence. We’re okay with sitting in separate rooms and doing our own things. And I love that we enjoy doing fun things together. We both like to travel – we’ve gone to Glenbrook, San Francisco and Santa Cruz together, and we’ve got several more trips planned this year. We both love beer and wine, and often times will go grab a drink together after work, or meet friends downtown to bar hop. After dating a guy who didn’t really socialize or drink, I knew that was something that I would require in a future boyfriend.

Of all of the things that I love about my relationship and my boyfriend, I think the number one thing that I love most is that he is the most personable, loving, caring and compassionate human I have ever met. He actually cares about my life and the things that I do every single day. He genuinely wants to hear every single detail. He fits right in with my family, converses easily with my friends, and meshes so will into my life. I couldn’t have picked him better if I had built the man myself.

This is definitely a bit of a bragging post, because I am super proud and happy to be with the man I’m with. But, in addition to that, it’s a post to reiterate the fact that there are good people out there in the world. There are men and women out there who actually do want a long-term relationship – who do want to get married and have babies and commit their life to somebody else. And as much as I am not proud of my previous relationships, I wouldn’t change any of the experiences that I’ve had, because they all prepared me for this one relationship. They gave me the ability to appreciate the fact that I have found an incredible human being, and I have not and will not take him for granted.

Happy One Year Anniversary to my other half; to the guy who makes my heart full and who completes my life. Every day, but today especially, I am so very grateful for you.

The [Computer] Key To My Heart?

It should be abundantly clear by now that I am extremely forward thinking when it comes to feminism and the importance of being an independent woman [or man, for that matter].

That said, I am very old fashioned when it comes to dating. I’m still holding out hope that I’ll meet my prince charming the traditional way [aka – not the internet].

In this day and age, however, the importance of cocktails and a one-night-stand seems to be at the forefront of every twenty-something’s mind, and, call me crazy, but I highly highly doubt that Mr. Right is lurking in some dark corner of a divey bar. Not impossible, but definitely not probable.

Despite my best efforts to meet a guy the normal way, I decided I couldn’t very well write off internet dating without actually having tried it. So I did. Well, sort of.

I chose Match.com as my dating platform. While I’m sure a small handful of you have had success stories via Tinder or POF, I was never brave enough to ever meet anybody face-to-face. I figured with a site that required payment to proceed, the creepfest would be more diminished.

That was a false hope.

Okay well kind of. There were actually probably a lot of great guys on the site, but seriously.. I have never had so much trouble navigating a website. Here’s a little tip, Match.. SIMPLIFY.

FOH REALZ.

Within thirty minutes I had, like, 95 emails in my inbox telling me that people viewed my profile, they liked my profile, they winked at me [da fuq is that? Like a Facebook poke?], they sent me a message, they favorited me, they’re interested in me, they want to instant message.

I was so overwhelmed with the sudden onslaught of activity that I almost deleted my profile right then. To hell with that $40 for 30 days, right?

Okay not quite. I don’t think Match gives refunds if you only sign up for an hour..

I stuck it out for 21 days [ish]. I took my time, filled out my profile, answered all the questions, added some pictures. And after all that, I gave my number to two guys who, as it turns out, don’t even live in Sac. Super awesome. $40 dollars and some wasted time later..

Okay, okay, okay.. I can’t get too opinionated about this because, to be completely honest, I just did not have the time or energy to devote to trying to meet somebody online. I know a lot of people that have had a lot of success with it, but, alas, I am not one.

Hmm, but I haven’t tried kissing frogs yet..

Swine Flu

For many people, trust is something that must be earned.

For others, like myself, it is something that is given freely. Why shouldn’t I trust you until you [potentially] give me a reason not to?

I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said that this is a mentality that I am able to stick to 100% of the time. Especially at this stage in my life, smack dab in my prime for settling down and starting a family.

Which brings me to my point of this post: Where have all the good men gone?

No, but seriously.. Where are they?

Nearly every guy I’ve ever met has some sort of commitment issue, and it almost always boils down to one of two things: a fucked up family or a fucked up break up.

Okay, I get it. I don’t have a messed up family, but I’ve had more than my fair share of bad relationships.

So, just because a few people hurt me doesn’t mean that the rest of the men that I meet will.

Right?

The truth is, I really don’t know anymore.

I have a handful of guys that I associate with, but it’s by no means on a regular basis. My network of friends is mostly just all women. So it came as a surprise to me when, last week, two men that I hadn’t spoken to in at least ten months, contacted me out of the blue, within 24 hours of each other. Two men who do not know each other in any way, which means that these were two completely isolated incidents.

The beautiful thing about social media is its ability to share all sorts of information about the people you network with. So, because of Facebook, I happen to know that both of these guys are in relationships. One of them for almost a year, and the other for several months. Both relationships are serious enough that the couples have traveled on extravagant trips, and one pair actually lives together.

So imagine my surprise [and utter disgust] when both of them contact me for more than just casual conversation [aka “sexting”].

The first guy backed off when I said that I’m not into that, especially when a man is already spoken for. The second guy would not let it go. “It’s completely natural to want other people. I would go crazy if I couldn’t contact other women. It’s just the way I am. We have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.”

Um, EXCUSE ME?!

It might be natural to be attracted to other people [I mean, who the hell hasn’t posted a #MCM or a #WCW of their celebrity crush on Instagram?], but it is not natural to want to converse inappropriately with people who are not your significant other.

And you, sir, may have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy, but does your girlfriend know anything about this policy? I have been in your girlfriend’s position. I have gone through my boyfriend’s phone because I’ve been suspicious, and I have stumbled upon the sort of conversations that made me see red. And let me tell you, there is no worse feeling than thinking that you just simply aren’t enough.

How can we live in a society where there is so little commitment to the ones that we supposedly care for? So just because you take her on fancy trips and you let her live in your million dollar flat in San Francisco rent-free, you think you can do whatever the fuck you want?!

And you all wonder where the saying, “Men are Pigs” came from..

SHAKING MY EFFING HEAD.

Listen up, fellas.. Here’s a bit of advice: don’t continue a relationship with somebody if they aren’t fulfilling all of your needs.

And, on the other hand, don’t you dare judge a woman because she sleeps around and doesn’t want to commit to a man – because THIS IS WHY.

I’m not saying that the ladies are perfect. I know there’s a reason that you men act the way you do. Some woman out there broke your heart because she wanted to have her cake and eat it too.

But don’t risk a relationship that could potentially be “The One” because you’re afraid.

And this goes for EVERYBODY.

I, personally, have wasted enough [read: too much] time on relationships that never had a chance from the get-go. I’m all about the “fixer-upper.” Like a moth to a flame. So I try to be honest now when I just don’t feel like it’s going to work out. That doesn’t make me a bitch and it doesn’t make me heartless – it just means that I’m not going to lead you on.

The fact of the matter is, we are all going to get our hearts broken at some point. It’s how we learn what it is that we do and don’t want in a relationship, and what we will look for in the next person or people we date.

But if we never put ourselves out there, how will we ever know?

There are some people who say that humans were not wired for monogamy. That may have been true in the earliest development of the human race, in which procreation and survival were the only two reasons for our existence. But that cannot be true anymore. We have progressed too much over time, and we have so much going on in our lives. To say that we are on this earth simply to sleep around is clearly not giving us enough credit.

With the everyday stresses of work, money, family – we have come to rely on the companionship of others to help us through our daily grinds. Isn’t it natural that we’d seek out one person to be our rock and our foundation through it all?

I’d like to think so.

Life is just too damn short to be wasting your time, and, for that matter, anybody else’s time.

So clean out your sop bucket and prepare for a new meal.