Dumping his ass

Rule #52- Getting Off The Sidelines (and Going on a Date)

Via National Maritime Museum, Magnus Manske

Just like when knowing someone is worthwhile and a good match for you, and you can just feel that tingly feeling in your bloodstream when they walk into the room, it’s also important to make the distinction who NOT to date. Or more importantly WHEN not to date.

On the one hand, there is a lot of pressure if you are single to date. Because maybe, just maybe, the next blind date you go on will turn out to be the one. Now, I’m not saying that they won’t; just that sometimes you might feel pressured into going out on dates you don’t really want to be on, with people you don’t really want to be with. Worse yet, you might convince yourself, for any number of reasons, to give people a chance – just one more date, and one more – when they aren’t really right for you.

The problem is finding a balance between not dating at all, and not getting “out of shape”.

Well, dating isn’t exactly a muscle, but it does  require exercise and growth. If you never go out on dates, or form relationships while waiting around for Mr. or Miss Right (that person who will be the right fit for YOU), how will you know what to do – hell, or what to look for when they come along? The fairy tales that nourished our mind’s as children perpetuated this myth that when the right person magically appears, everything will just fall into place. But what we tend to ignore is that fighting the dragon was a hell of a hard job.

The only way to build a relationship is with a lot of hard work. The only way to know if the relationship isn’t working for you,  or if this person isn’t working for you, or if the dynamic  between the two of you is just not right, is experience! And unfortunately for us, experience demands quite a bit of sweat, tears and heartache!

While some lessons are best learned the hard way (you hopefully won’t repeat mistakes that burned you the first time around after you refused to heed the sage advice of others), This may be of help:

1. Don’t date unless you feel like putting the effort into this person. Because if you don’t feel like investing your time in them to “see where it can go”, there really isn’t any point in starting something up. Mostly because this isn’t fair to them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give people a chance, but if you do decide to give things a go, then do it properly.

Sometimes. it’s also important to recognize potential. If you meet someone special, or have a click with someone new, give it a chance and see where it goes. It might not work out, but you will have learned something new. Every interaction, be it good or bad, teaches us something, provided we are able to look deeply into ourselves and the relationship and reflect on it. And I promise you this (cliche warning) – when that someone does come along, you will be glad that you learned all those lessons beforehand.

2. Don’t go on a date with someone you intend to dump at the end of the evening!  Whatever your motive is, pity, pressure from your mum or even the prospect of a free dinner, just don’t.

3. Go on dates with people you feel you already have things to talk about, or in common. If you already have a good starting point, be it attraction or things in common, there is probably a greater chance it isn’t going to be a complete waste of an evening.

4. The less you get out, the more you are not going to want to go out. Because let’s face it, the thought of staying in your warm bed with a hot water bottle, and all the episodes of the shows you haven’t  caught up on, is way  more tempting than having to make small talk with a stranger. But you have to break this cycle! It’s time to stop dating your laptop (even though it may very well be better company than your prospective date) and go out!

5. Maybe it’s time to un-friend zone that really cute guy/girl that you have been constantly flirting with for months (or just admit they were never really in the friend zone to begin with)! You already know you have tons to talk about and that you will both have a good time. You probably shouldn’t come to this decision lightly (not to mention out of desperation), but it’s probably worth considering.

6. Learn to open up more to people. Not dating for ages will probably make you suspicious of new people, and make it harder to open up to them, connect on a deeper level and form a relationship. My advice is to make some new friends as an exercise, or open up more to your old ones; it’s important you learn how to trust again, even if you were hurt in the past. You need to learn to be vulnerable with people, because let’s be honest, it’s vulnerability that is the basis of a good relationship.

7. Go out with friends more! No I don’t mean necessarily to pubs and dancing, but rather to social events. House parties, concerts, singles mixers in the religious denomination of your choice. There is a much higher chance that you will run into new people with whom you have more in common if you already share a social circle, community or some interests, like God or your favorite band.

8. Reclaim your mojo!  Chances are that if you haven’t been on a date in a while you probably don’t feel all that secure about the whole thing, so do something to reconnect with yourself. Try salsa dancing or yoga or buy that new dress or those new shoes you’ve been salivating over, imagining how jaw-droppingly good you would look in them. Getting in touch with your body, or just plain pampering yourself, will make you feel much more confident in you – and by extension, with that special someone.

9. Sometimes it really isn’t a good time to start a new relationship (stress from work/family issue and so forth). It’s perfectly fin to put your foot down and tell your pestering  aunts (yes, even the ones that only exist in your head), that now is not the time to start something new, because you just don’t have the emotional and mental capacity for it. That said, “I’m focusing on myself/my career at the moment” is sometimes not just an excuse we give to someone we’re trying to blow off, but a line we may be constantly repeating to ourselves in order to avoid putting ourselves out there.

You just have to accept that part of dating is risking getting hurt, but that isn’t an excuse not to try! 

Rule #50- People Don’t Change

via christopher, russavia, wiki commons

Change is a tough issue to tackle when it comes to relationships. I think we, as humans, need to believe that people have the capacity to change, to better themselves, but when it comes to the way we see partners or potential partners, the belief that change is possible usually comes with a few caveats, namely — if you kick off a relationship by betting on the possibility that your partner will change in some way, you may be getting yourself into a sticky situation.

I’m not saying people can’t change, I’m just saying that they probably won’t. Are you dating someone new? Are you considering reconnecting with that one particular ex that you just can’t shake the feeling was “the one that got a way,” a missed opportunity?

It’s probably best to start off by asking yourself: What’s changed? Why is this time any different, why are you any different? If you couldn’t make it work the first time around, why will it work now? Is your new boyfriend a serial monogamist who switches girlfriends every six months and it’s never his fault? Is he incapable of holding down a job, or deciding on a career? Can he not stick with any one city, or degree program, or plan for more than a couple of years? These things are too important to be overlooked, as they could very well point to an inability to stick with a relationship.

Why are you any different?

1. First of all you need to ask yourself why you are any different, or more specifically why the relationship is any different from any other aspect of your partner’s life. If he/she can’t hold down a steady job, or they move around every couple of years, what’s to say they aren’t going to get up and leave you too?

It’s important to ask yourself why this relationship is any different from anything else your partner is incapable of following through with…  It’s vital to notice not only how the person you are dating interacts with you, but how they treat all of their commitments: they may be the most wonderful, sweet, and giving person, but if he or she can’t live up to the other obligations they have going on, it’s very likely that at some point in the future, their commitment to you will also prove to be too much for them. So make sure you don’t end up missing important warning signs.

2. Rule #2 goes out to all those people who think they can change the person they are dating! You can’t! That just doesn’t happen outside the realm of chick flicks.

Start seeing your relationship for what it is now, and not what it has the potential to become if only he gets a steady job, or ends his porn addiction, or stops lazing around, or stops being selfish or uncommunicative, or stops blaming others for his shortcomings. Because if you don’t, well, you might be in for a rude awakening six months, or ten years down the line. But more importantly than that, you should like, respect and admire the person you are with for who they are, and not for who they will become if only they start or stop doing something.

If you need a project, take up knitting, not relationships, because at least knitting doesn’t have the built-in  danger of blowing up in your face.

3. If the person you are dating has a bunch of dirty habits that you can’t stand (or even just one) they are most  likely going to keep at it (yes, I’m talking about anything from smoking too much pot, to being a selfish jerk, to cheating on you). Either dump them or learn to live with it.

No, I’m not completely cynical, and I do believe there is the possibility that they will try and work on it for you. But that means that for starters you can’t fall into the beginning-of-relationship-trap of pretending that it doesn’t bother you. Moreover, you have also got to accept that he may just might continue forever to bite his toenails in bed, and that’s that (or do that other thing that drives you completely insane).

4. Thinking of reconciling with an old flame? First ask yourself this, where are you at? Are you still the same person you were when you two first dated? Because if the answer is yes, and the break-up was also your fault (as you know, it takes two to tango), you may be unhappy to discover that history has the nasty habit of repeating itself. Also, maybe they haven’t changed, but you have — maybe that starry-eyed person you used to be doesn’t exist anymore.

Ok, so maybe you are still the same person, just a little bit older and wiser, and just maybe this relationship isn’t the right fit for you anymore. But I will say this, just keep humming this as your new mantra because it will save you a lot of time, tears and anger: “people don’t change.” I do realize that this is probably the hardest truth about humanity for people to accept because it appears to negate lofty ideas about change and redemption.

Be it a part of their personality, a worldview, or behavioral pattern, people tend to treat all aspects of their lives in the same manner. So stop looking at your relationship as separate from all other things in your someone’s life, because it aint! It’s just another part of who they are.

The truth is, you will be much better off if you learn to accept your partner for who they are and not for what you wish that one day they will be. Because entering a relationship with a person as they are, and not as they might, should or will be, is always the safer bet.

Rule #49- Phone a Friend

via c. kennedy garrett, carelessly growing away from you

Ages ago I wrote a post  on why you shouldn’t overshare every little personal detail about your relationship with your friends. But it hadn’t occurred to me then that the reverse is also true: undersharing can be just as big a problem as oversharing.

Because there are those of us out there who are too shy/embarrassed, or for whatever other reason don’t talk about things that probably should be talked about.

In these cases, it’s usually postmortem that things start coming out.

Suddenly, after a break-up, you decide it’s alright to start talking about those problems you were incapable of voicing while you two were still and item. You start telling your friends about all the crap you went through during the relationship, and all the red flags you were too blind to see.

So, why SHOULD you talk to people about your relationship issues?

1. They are your friends, and have a vested interest in your well-being! (One would hope).

They care about what you’re going through and usually want to help. Even if they can’t offer you any productive advice, sometimes it’s great to just have someone take the time to listen.

Moreover, sometimes, just saying things out loud makes us see them differently and think about them in a new light.

2. They too have relationship experience! You don’t have to take their advice, but sometimes people can bring up points that are worth mulling over. New angles that hadn’t even occurred to us.

Maybe they went through exactly the same thing a few years ago and have some great input. Maybe they were too embarrassed to tell you about something similar that happened to them earlier because they thought YOU wouldn’t understand.

3. You know that feeling you get when you’re in love with someone, that you’re the only two people in the world?! (The bad kind, where you think no one else has ever gone though this, and no-one can possibly ever understand you?!). Well you ain’t! And it helps to know someone else has been exactly where you are, and got through it.

4. Your love-goggles might be on so firmly that you can’t  see the situation for what it is!

That’s why it’s important to introduce the person you are dating to your friends and family, they might be able to point out things you are too giddy with love (and hormones) to notice.

Sometimes, the people around us are just a little bit more objective, and can offer you an outsider’s opinion. Trust me, they aren’t trying to sabotage your relationship, they just care (unless of course they are, and then you might be better off with a therapist’s opinion).

5. If you’re scared to tell your friends about what’s going on in your relationship, you either have to find new friends that you trust not to judge you, or ask yourself why you’re afraid to tell them what’s going on.

If you’re too scared to hear the truth from someone else, then maybe you should be asking yourself if this person you are dating is good for you.

If you’ve found yourself at the point that you feel you need to hide what goes on behind closed doors from those people in your life that care about you most, maybe the relationship is what needs reconsidering. 

That said. Don’t forget that they are just that, not a part of the relationship, and you should take their advice with a pinch of good sense.

6. That said, take other people’s advice! If you’ve asked for it, and everyone has told you to dump your cabbage head girlfriend/boyfriend, they probably didn’t all have a secret meeting behind your back to gang up on you, they probably just see something that you can’t. Don’t ignore them! 

At the end of the day we all need support, and sometimes support from the person you’re dating (even if they are the most wonderful, loving and caring person in the world) isn’t always what you need. Your friends and family have been there for you consistently through every good and bad thing in life. If you shut them out of your relationship you’re basically snubbing your emotional safety-net, and come on, everybody needs to know they have an emotional safety-net, just in case things don’t work out. 

Rule #37- The Shift

via bugflickr

We’ve all gotten that awkward phone call from a close friend (that usually comes at an inconvenient hour of the night) telling you, in rather panicky voice, that they just got dumped. 

This is generally followed by a stammering rant about how ‘out of the blue’ the whole thing was, and how “things were going SO great before”…

Now, if there is one important lesson I have learned in life, it is that things are never just “out of the blue”.

We are all human, and as such, we are predictable. I don’t mean this in a mundane, condescending sort of way, but rather that most of our actions follow some sort of pattern. We are indeed creatures of habit, and even those people we classify as ‘unpredictable’ are predictably unpredictable.

So now that I’ve given a long convoluted introduction, let me explain.

Most people won’t just get up in the morning and decide to break off a relationship. There are signs, hints, changes in behavior; all of which, unfortunately, we tend to purposefully ignore — either that, or we are not paying enough attention to the other person.

I don’t for a second underestimate how strong denial/faith can be. I’m just saying that we can, and need, to train ourselves to be more perceptive of what’s going on in our relationships.

Rules for Paying Attention:

1. There are always signs.

I really wanted to emphasize that, because when you know someone well enough, you should be able to tell when somethings is wrong or has changed.

Their tone of voice, the amount of times they call or text you, how much sex you’re having. Some of these changes occur naturally with time, some are caused by stress or other factors.

You don’t need to over-analyze every tiny, little, minute shift in the relationship, but most of us don’t pay enough attention to these things — or to each other.

2. Be more attentive (also, to the little things). 

Changes in someone’s behavior might not mean they are about to dump you but they may very well indicate that something else is wrong (with work/family/their pet), and they probably need support, someone to talk to, or just the understanding that they are going through a rough time.

Just like we make time for work, the gym and our friends/family, It’s important to make time for just the two of you to talk, catch up, and stay in touch with what’s going on in each other’s lives.

Otherwise, you are likely to miss things. 

3. If you do think something is wrong, don’t sit around and wait for the other person to bring it up(or worse yet, ignore it).

It may be terrifying, but you need to bring it up. This is not a conversation you want to have hanging over your head. If your partner is unhappy, it’s better to ask, than spend the whole time worried sick that they are about to dump you.

Rule #24- T.M.I, Thank You Very Much!

739px-Smoking_Beauty_Just_Woke_Up

via AlMare

We all have, what a wise woman (and her screen play writer) once referred to as: our S.S.B-Secret Single Behavior; things we would only dare do behind a locked door, alone. (gosh, how would I ever write if I couldn’t quote Sex and the City?!).

Naturally, in a relationship, we either have to give up on some of our little vices, or learn  how to hide them better.

As close as we are to the other person, there are some things we just don’t want them to know! 

Personally, I like to sit around in bed in my undies, binge eat crisps, and watch old episodes of coupling. Not that my behaviour is particularly outrageous/disgusting (albeit, some people might argue that there is nothing worse than crumbs in bed), it’s just something I only like doing solo.

So, at what point  is it ok to start letting our guard down, and what things are just never a good idea to share? 

Rule for NOT Over Sharing: 

1. Everyone has their little gross habits, things that are only considered horrid if done in front of someone else. What I’m saying is, that some things don’t need to be shared; it’s perfectly fine that your boyfriend doesn’t know everything about you. This in no way means that you don’t have a healthy, open partnership; it just means that you have boundaries.

Boundaries are important! They allow us to maintain our own personal space within the relationship.

 2. Different people have different lines they will/won’t cross before their silver wedding anniversary. He may find it perfectly normal to wax his chest in front of you; if this is something you don’t wanna see, ask him nicely not to do it when you’re around ( and don’t make him feel like a leper for it!).

3. The walls will come down slowly, that’s just the way it works; there is no need to rush, or force the inevitable.

Whether it’s leaving the toilet door open when you pee, or telling your boyfriend about that time you got really bad food poisoning in Bolivia, you should be in a place where sharing these things feels comfortable (for the both of you).

Rule #19- The Subtext Of A Text

via JohnnyMrNinja

via JohnnyMrNinja

Text messages can be very annoying; they are ambiguous, convoluted, and you can never be certain of what the other person really meant.  They don’t convey anger, insult or a joking manner.

I personally dislike messaging for fear of deadly misunderstandings and other mishaps. That aside, I would like to address one particular phenomenon; the modern mating cry, otherwise know as, ‘the booty call’ (or text).

Last week I had just nestled into bed, it was after midnight, and my cell beeped; “awake?” The male in question is a happily attached guy friend of mine; who honestly just wanted to chat. I don’t blame his ‘innocence’ on the subject; text messaging is the wild west of inter-human communication, the grey area of relationships.

Whether you are dating, undefined, or just “getting coffee” at three am, you may be a victim of unintentional sexting. 

Rules for Clear Cellular Communication:

1. Unless your looking to sleep with the other person (which is also fine), don’t text them after midnight.

(There are extenuating circumstances to this, like: you are walking home and it’s pitch black outside and you think someone is following you).

2. Add smilies/winks/sad faces when you’re messaging. It may seem silly, but it helps convey emotions better and can save you a lot of grief.

3. If you are not interested, be clear about it! Fight the temptation to flirt back or string him along (just because it’s Friday night and you are bored). 

4. If, like me, you too have a confused male friend who texts you at all hours of the night (and subsequently pisses off your boyfriend); break it to him gently that it is inappropriate. 

(This also means you have to abide by your own rules). 

5. If you are having casual sex, make sure that you are both clear about the nature of the relationship.

The more open you are about this with each other, the less of a chance you have of getting hurt.

The ‘Worst Date EVER’ Competition

800px-Exhausted_and_Frustrated_Collapsing

via Callee MacAulay

In honour of All Hallow’s Eve, it’s time to break out some horror stories. Honestly, there is NOTHING more frightening and horrifying than a bad date.

How does the competition work?

You tell us (in colourful detail) about the worst date you have ever been on. I mean come on, we’ve all been on at least one horrific date in our life. The kind of date that wants to make you permanently give up on the opposite sex and join a nunnery/monastery. 

What do you win?

A lot of sympathy from our dedicated readers (which, let’s face it, is a lot better than a real prize).

So get writing and post your tales of horror and woe in the comment box at the bottom!

 What traumatic tales do you have to share with us?!