Guys

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.

When You’re In A Relationship, Every Day Should Be Valentine’s Day

I’m generally not a huge proponent for Valentine’s Day. If you’ve been following my blog, you know this.

In my personal experience, Valentine’s Day has historically made women feel bad about themselves since about the age of 11, when junior high happens and people actually start “dating.” Valentine’s Day becomes a popularity contest – which girl can come out with the most flowers, candy and cards?

Truthfully, until yesterday, this holiday made me downright sick.

And not just because of how it clearly singled me out from a young age as somebody that guys weren’t doting on, but also because I don’t believe that there should just be one single day where we spoil our loved ones and do nice things for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s absolutely romantic that a man will take the time to send his gal flowers or her favorite box of chocolates. But what about the rest of the days of the year? Does he get a “get out of jail free” card for the rest of the 364 days?

What I’m saying is, I hope all of you are thoughtful ALL of the time. Not just on Valentine’s Day.

Yesterday, my boyfriend surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of long-stemmed red roses, which were delivered to my office [I’m going to sound toooooootally hypocritical here, because I was feeling pretty special that I was the only one in the office who received a flower delivery – I know, I know, who am I?]. He also knew I was getting my hair done, and secretly paid my hairdresser ahead of time. Such a sweet guy.

But, he doesn’t just do sweet things for me on Valentine’s Day. A couple of weeks ago, he brought me flowers and wine because he knew I had a stressful day at work. He makes the bed every morning because he leaves for work after I do, and he knows I feel better if the bed is made every day [yes, I am one of those people].

For my boyfriend, I didn’t really get him anything yesterday. He’s really into Aperol Spritz’s from living in Italy for a semester a few years ago, so I got him a Spritz cocktail book. A silly gift, really, because he’ll probably never make any of the drinks, but I thought it was appropriate. I’m really more into cards [and, to be completely honest, I totally forgot that people do things for each other on Valentine’s Day. It’s been so long that I’ve actually celebrated one with a boyfriend that it completely slipped my mind].

But I try and do nice things for my boyfriend all the time. I try and keep the house clean, I surprise him with buying his favorite foods, or things I think he’ll like, from the grocery store. I leave him love notes when I’m going out of town and won’t see him for a few days; I bake him treats and cook him dinner. I try really hard to make sure he knows he’s appreciated, and he does the same for me.

I’m not saying that it’s not a wonderful feeling to be so appreciated on Valentine’s Day, because it’s an amazing and heartwarming feeling. It’s so much fun to receive flowers and little gifts from somebody who cares. But we shouldn’t eliminate our love and affection to just one day. Don’t be afraid to constantly tell your friends, family and significant others that you love them, and take the time to show them you care. Life is too short to limit ourselves to one day out of the entire year.

On that note, I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. I capped mine off with a lady date [my Galentine – because V-Day isn’t just about the people you date], and a late night cuddle sesh with my guy.

Relationship Timeline: What is “Socially Acceptable?”

Despite the fact that I spent about a year or so doing the online dating thing [match.com, dating apps, etc.], I always envisioned myself meeting somebody in a more organic way – like in the grocery store or in a bar or something along those lines. And even though online dating is more the norm these days, I was still never able to fully let my guard down to anybody that I’d met online.

I actually ended up meeting my boyfriend at a restaurant [his restaurant (I’d link the website, but it’s undergoing construction and not quite up and running yet)], through a mutual friend. It was natural, not online, and through a trusted mutual friend of both of ours. It was perfect, and exactly the way both of us had hoped meeting someone would go.

After our first date, neither of us could wait more than 24 hours before seeing each other again, and this progressed as the months went on. I had rented my own apartment a couple of weeks after we went out, but it essentially became a [very expensive] storage unit for all my crap, as I probably spent a total of 30 days there in the five months I had the spot.

Every relationship develops differently. I have friends who sleep with a guy on the first night, and a relationship stems from it [highly unusual and generally doesn’t last]. I have a girl friend who moves in with a boyfriend the minute they start dating [literally, you guys – I’m talking within the first week they are living together. and no, these relationships don’t last long, either]. I have another friend who makes a guy wait 90 days before she will be intimate with him [mad props, GF, maaaaad props]. And I will admit, I have judged all of these women because I personally would never make those choices in my own relationships.

But who am I to judge? Is there really a rulebook on how to have a relationship? And a good relationship, at that?

NO, there isn’t. Because if there were, I would own it. We all would.

The reason I bring this up is because I moved in with my boyfriend after we’d been dating for six months. I’m talking officially moved – as in, terminated my lease at my apartment and was no longer living out of four overnight bags and a single drawer in my boyfriend’s dresser. We had both wanted it to be sooner [if I remember correctly, I believe we started discussing it around the three month mark], but I held it off because I was worried about what my family would think. Which, in retrospect, shouldn’t have mattered – they knew [and know] how happy I am with this guy. But another part of me was like, “how much do you really know somebody after only a few months?”

My first boyfriend and I were together for about a year-and-a-half. So, not that long, but at the time it seemed like a huge milestone. We were very compatible from the get-go. He was three years older than me, so of course I was feeling pretty damn good that I’d landed an older guy for my first real relationship. But around the one year point, he did a 180 on me out of nowhere. He started getting really insecure and treating me like crap. This could have been because it was around that time that I started to come into my own – I had started shedding the layer of shy younger girl – and he no longer had a doe-eyed girl under his control. He tried to manipulate me, he tried many different ways to break me down in order to gain back control, but as I started to see his true colors I decided I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore, and I let him go.

I personally knew this person for A YEAR, and I thought I really knew him, before he showed me his true colors. It’s scary, really, that you can think you know somebody so well, and yet not know them at all.

I semi-recently had a friendship end – a friendship with a gal I thought was my soulmate and BFFL. We talked on the phone every day, texted constantly – at the beginning of our friendship, she was unemployed, and would come visit me at the coffee shop I worked at every single day for almost my entire eight hour shift. We were as close as any friends could be. So you can imagine the shock and hurt I felt when out of nowhere she stopped reciprocating the friendship. I knew this girl for five years – FIVE! And in every inch of my mind, I knew her. And, yet, at the end of it all, I didn’t know her – not at all.

This was my hesitation when deciding whether or not I should move in with my boyfriend after only six months. And I am not the type of person to carry baggage from one relationship to the next. At least, I try really hard not to. I know that no two people and relationships are the same.

In the end, my parents were totally okay with my decision to move in with my guy after only being together for six months. They were happy that I was happy – and they could see how comfortable and compatible he and I were.

I still pose this question to all of you, though: is there an appropriate dating timeline? Do you think that people should wait a certain amount of time before they sleep together? Move in together? Get a dog together? Have a baby together? Are there time gaps that society deems necessary before taking the next step in your relationship? I want to hear your thoughts!

Mama’s Boy vs. Boy Raised By Mama

We’ve all heard the age-old saying of “how a man treats his mom is how he’ll treat a woman.”

In my experience, this is only half true.

There’s definitely proof that the way you are raised and the environment you are raised in effects your adulthood and the people you choose to surround yourself with. I’m a bit of an exception to this rule, as for the entirety of my twenties I chose to hang out with people who were really not like me nor did they have the same background as me. They were content with partying every single day and working minimum wage restaurant jobs for the rest of their lives. I was not raised by parents [or a family, for that matter – grandparents, aunt and uncle included] who ever surrounded themselves with people like that. I definitely went through a rebel phase and strayed off my chosen path of life a bit.

Because of this, I have dated my fair share of guys. Most of them with lots of baggage and their own sets of issues. And nearly all of them had little to no relationship with their mothers after adolescence. None of them treated me well, and none of them ever felt their behavior was wrong.

About a year-and-a-half ago, I finally came across a guy who had an amazing relationship with his mom. And until a few years prior, his parents had been happily married and they had been a very tight-knit family. My instant thought was “JACKPOT. There really are still good men out there.”

Here’s the thing about that guy, he didn’t end up treating me right, either.

Know why?

Because he was a mama’s boy.

What is a mama’s boy, you ask? A mama’s boy is a guy who will always put his mother before you. She is the number one lady in his life and always will be. A mama’s boy is a guy who acts like he’s still latched onto the tit, and so does she [sorry to be blunt, but it’s true]. His mommy dotes on him – nothing he does could ever be wrong! He is perfect in every way, and because of this mentality she’s instilled in him, this is how he will be in a relationship. You will always be wrong, and he will always be right. He will always have a very immature attitude about everything, because mama treats him like he’s five so of course he’s going to act like it [tantrums, you ask? yes – whiny about everything, and lots of extremely childish arguments and games].

So, yeah, he treats his mom well, but does that really sound like a guy you want to date? Coming in second, ALWAYS, to mom? Don’t get me wrong, I think it is extremely healthy [and attractive!] for a man to have a great relationship with his mom. My boyfriend keeps in touch with his mom – he says and does nice things for her. He loves her and tells her so. But he doesn’t call her whining when he doesn’t get his way. And she understands that he’s an adult, and while she will always be his mother, there was a point where she could no longer treat him like a baby and could only give him her best advice to steer him on the right path in life.

Ladies, be mindful of this mama’s boy type – and don’t mistake him for a man who loves and respects his mother in a healthy way. There ARE good guys out there! If you come across a mama’s boy, don’t waste your time and effort in trying to get him to put you before her – it’s a dead end street and truly an exhaustive waste of energy. Life is short, but it’s not THAT short – you deserve to be happy and to find the healthiest and happiest relationships that the world has to offer. Don’t forget that!

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.