Falling through the Looking Glass











{June 20, 2014}   The All Encompassing “Ex”

Ex, without, un, former, etc.

If something is an ex-smoker, they are someone who once had the experience of being a smoker, but has since discontinued that behavior.

If someone is an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, they are without you. Formerly of you. Discontinued of you. They no longer hold that role with you. They have done something that has made them incapable of holding and sustaining that role.

So what does that mean for you?

They are exs. They are without you. That means you have to let them go. 

Even if they are your amicable ex and you two get along just fine, you are still having to redefine your relationship with them and restructure your view to build something new. That means you still have to stop seeing them as your ex.

Hanging on to past relationships can range from being downright annoying to dangerously unhealthy. If you find yourself constantly thinking, talking, or bringing up your ex, the biggest question you need to be asking yourself is why? What need is being sustained or fulfilled by interjecting this former person into your life? Are you wanting validation, attention, justification?

If so, I am willing to bet that whatever need it is, your ex is not fulfilling it properly or healthy. They’re your ex. They were a square peg in a round hole so you had to reject them.

The kicker is sometimes you were their square peg and they needed to reject you. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but as I spoke about in my last post,  that doesn’t mean you are absolved from considering your role in the breakup and where you may need to rebuild yourself.

The key is to let the ex go and move on with yourself. Learn what you can but then continuing learning and growing. Don’t dwell. A past relationship is a step. It may take you higher but only if you keep walking.

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It happened. You didn’t think about it, and it happened. The person you’re crushing on happens to be a single parent.

This doesn’t mean that it is an automatic deal breaker, unless you don’t want or hate children, then by all means go away and leave them alone at least in a romantic sense.

But if you do want kids or at least don’t mind them, there raises the question of what happens now? Single parents do have special considerations all their own.

 

What are your boundaries, investments, and expectations?

Do you want to be involved with the children immediately, after a certain point, or never? Are you willing to be friendly or share your family with the other parent should that happen? Are the kid(s) going to be yours or are they just going to be little roommates?

These may seem like silly questions to ask but they are important questions. When it comes to anyone with children, especially children not of adult age yet, the key is to not start something you cannot finish. Again, if you don’t want kids or do not want to be a parental figure, then you need to leave the single parent alone. Parents are package deals. You can’t just change the wrapping and expect the contents to magically change too. If you don’t clearly establish what you want before you initiate a relationship, then you’re not going to be compatible and it can hurt more than just the two of you.

 

What is the relationship between the family and the other parent?

When you get involved with a single parent, you’re adopting the kids as well as the other parent regardless if you like it or not. Even in the case of an absent parent you still have the baggage and the issues that come with parental abandonment and that takes a long time to acclimate to. The age of the children are very important with this. A six month old isn’t going to be as invested in having a replacement parent as what a sixteen year old may have.

If the other parent is really involved and active with the kid(s) then that means you will have to build a relationship with them eventually even if it is just practical civility. If you cannot handle that or don’t want to share with someone else, then you need to say thanks but no thanks to the crush and move on.

 

Are you ready to be a parent?

If the answer is no, turn around, walk away, have a nice day.

Look, if you’re not ready to at least try and love their kid(s) you cannot really love the single parent.  A  parent has obligations and responsibilities that a single person doesn’t. They can’t just drop money on something or go off on a vacation at a whim unless their gifted as wealthy. They have to keep up with doctor’s appointments, school assignments, custody transfers and everything else that may come in the way of what you want to do or what you’re capable of. A good parent will fulfill that responsibility before being a partner.

Now notice I didn’t say they should always choose their child(ren) over you. On the contrary, sometimes fulfilling their responsibility to their children can mean that they stand up for their right to be an adult and have an adult source of happiness separate of their child(ren): you. But if they’re blowing off their kid’s dance recital because they rather go to a party with you, don’t believe for a second that a decision like that won’t come back and bite you and your relationship on the butt.

 

How is the person you are crushing on dealing with being a single parent?

Are they always stressed trying to make bills or deadlines? Are they always complaining about baby-drama? Do they have a good support structure around them already or are you all they got?

If they are not capable and content with their role, you need to wait and watch before you throw your bid in. Being a parent is incredibly stressful even in the best of situations. You throw in legal matters, financial issues, or hateful family and that person doesn’t need a relationship, they need a friend. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be their friend and allow that friendship to naturally progress, but trying to start a relationship out of a tumultuous time is a horrible foundation.

If their becoming a single parent came from less than ideal circumstances like death, abandonment, or rape, then that person may need a lot of time to process their feelings and regain their identity and adapt to their new responsibilities. They deserve their moment to heal at their pace. And your chances with them will be much greater if you wait for that process to stabilize.

 

Will your family and friends support your decision if you start dating?

I’m not saying you should be paranoid before beginning  a relationship, nor do I expect you to know everything. But knowing if your mother is going to turn into an impossible nag or your best friend will be pissed that playdates will be in your future is important so you can have a plan to deal with it. Are you going to wait until the relationship is serious to tell people? Are you going to be strong enough to stand up to their criticism? Will holidays or family gatherings turn into an ordeal? A responsible single parent will offer you their expectations and issues from the beginning for your consideration, you should be able to do the same. Again, being a single parent is hard enough without Christmas turning into a bitchfest because the partner’s child was ignored in favor of all the “real” grandkids.

This doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker for you two, but again, knowing where the mines are keeps you from blowing off your leg before you make it to the finish line.

 

Single parents often get a lot of negative social perceptions. They are trying to do the role of at least two people in one body. Some single parents are complete deadbeats and those should be avoided like the plague. But for the quality one that has caught your eye, just do a little extra soul searching before you approach them. Make sure that you’re ready for that kind of investment because it is tough, but the returns can be awesome. As I said, single parents are a package deal. And who doesn’t love a bonus feature?



{November 14, 2012}   Why you are still a single woman…

There are some significant differences in being a single man compared to being a single woman.  I don’t always understand women, even though I am one. But I do find women also have certain social habits that can be either a negative or a  positive in building healthy relationships.

1) You can’t change him. Don’t try.

This is very disrespectful. It’s very hurtful to have someone tell you they accepted everything about you but…  No one should change unless they feel compelled to change for themselves. And the best changes are the ones done for the individual. For example, if you want your partner to be more confident, unless they feel they should be more confident or express their confidence in a way that pleases them, then it will be harder for them to maintain their change. You should never expect anyone to change. It’s unfair and it’s cheating both of you.

2) Avoid double standards or accidental hypocrisy.

It’s not fair to be upset if your partner does something that annoys you when you do that action yourself. I know this is hard to accomplish, especially in emotional or mental matters. But it’s very difficult to engage with someone and ask things of them when you are not willing or capable of meeting those requests in yourself. Most of this is not done on purpose, but if you really want to help your partner understand your needs or work on their concerns, if you work on something they need, then you two can build something together that is more worthwhile and important.

3) COMMUNICATION!

This is very much in tune with the post I made for single men. If you haven’t explicitly told them, assume they don’t know. Are you making yourself clear? Do they understand what you mean by certain things? No hint dropping! Just talk. If you’re not sure if you’re going to come off right, just preface the discussion with how you’re still trying to figure out how to word your emotions and you would like their help working through it. Again, if you want the communication to have absolute security, then you have to be willing to accept what they say with the same compassion and empathy they are trying to accept yours.

5) Complaining how no one likes you makes no one like you.

Make a list of what you want in an ideal partner. Confidence? Sense of humor? Intelligence? Physique? Doesn’t really matter what qualities, but as long as they are multifaceted. Now, do you have these qualities in yourself?

If you embody the qualities you want in a partner, not only will it help you be a stronger individual, quality attracts quality. It gives you credibility and a good foundation in how you can and want to set your standards. It will also help you build your perspective to properly identify these qualities in potential partners and avoid more fraudulent personalities. In pursuing these qualities, you are more likely to be in more feasible situations and crowd to meet people more in tune with your goals.

If you think you are too fat, too poor, too stupid, too whatever for a relationship don’t cry in ice cream. Go do something for yourself. Attend a class, start a workout, begin a project, plan out an improvement to the trait you don’t like about yourself and do something for you.  Don’t worry about romance, take care of you and all will follow.

6) There is no such thing as a pretty, pretty princess.

If you are waiting for a man to save you, not only are you wasting time you could be saving yourself. Negative personalities, emotional vampires, assholes, whatever you want to call them have a knack for being able to hone in on people with confidence and emotional issues with the intention of exploiting them. It’s better to be single and working  for a healthier and happier you than to be in a relationship with such toxic people.



{November 11, 2012}   Why you are still a single man…

I am weary of seeing and experiencing certain problems and issues that men around me have been struggling with. I feel compelled to point out some of these problems and offer possible solutions to aid in improving these matters. And while I have been accused of being harsh sometimes, well, it’s because I care about your feelings guys. Yes. I care about your feelings. Please go dig them out of the closet and see if the warranty is still valid because they deserved to be used.

 

1) If you are in the friend zone, and you don’t want to be there then stop being her best friend.

Yes, I said it. Don’t move in with her and be her “bestest roomie”. Don’t be the on call shoulder that 24-7  answers with ice cream and a hug. Don’t always be the DD who promises not to let her leave with someone that holds her hair all night because she drank too much tequila.

I understand this can seem like a bit of exaggeration, but it is very easy for a guy who is really that close of a friend to be loved as a brother and not a partner. Stay friendly yes, be there yes, but within bounds of reason. The best bet would be to just ask her if she ever considered you as possibly more than friends. Then you can begin a conversation to help explore that.

 

2) Don’t ever lie to her, especially a lie of omission.

If she asks if you mind something and you honestly do, then say so!  If she asks if you like her and you do, then say so! I understand that you can be afraid of ruining your friendship, but a lie will always hurt a friendship. Either the pressure will build in you or she may be hurt later that you couldn’t tell her.

 

3) If you don’t tell her directly and clearly, then she doesn’t know.

It’s annoying as hell when girls drop those cryptic hints about what they want. It is just as annoying when guys do it too. If you are too scared to say something at the beginning of a hopeful romantic relationship and what is presumable a healthy friendship, then this isn’t a very strong precedent to set for the rest of your interaction. If you cannot talk to her with full freedom, respect, and safety, then your relationship doesn’t have the chance to be the dreamland you want it to be.

 

4) No guts; no glory.

There are 7 billion people on this world, with women outnumbering men by higher margins every day. If you don’t ask her out, someone else will. If you don’t follow through on the commitments your relationship is progressing to, someone else will. At least try to build a chance with her before someone else does.

And if you get shot down, the same logic applies. There are more women out there. And people will notice how you pursued the first one. Girls talk. If you have a reputation of handling rejection with class and confidence, that is seen as a sign of quality. No one likes a sore loser. And if you are emotional and whine, mope, or get angry that girl as well as all the others around you are watching you regardless if you realize it or not. No one is going to feel like they’ve missed out in a situation like that.

 

5) Stop picking incompatible people!

If you want a religious person, you’ll have more luck at your local house of worship than a nightclub. If you want a compassionate and caring person, you’re probably not going to have good luck at a dog fight. Now there are always exceptions, but that is exactly what they are: the one in a million exception. I’m sure you can find one bear in the city, but it would be a lot easier and have better variety if you go looking in the woods.

Don’t complain how the person you’re into isn’t how you want them to be when they aren’t into what you are. If you are a person who doesn’t want children and only wants to travel don’t try to build a relationship with the small town girl who wants five kids and doesn’t want to move. Don’t start something you can’t finish. Don’t ever expect people to change. EVER.

 

6) Get dating advice from reliable sources.

Lesbians are actually very good guides on how to talk to women. Happily married men of a similar or compatible generation are good. Your little sister/cousin/family member could be good. I stress family because you never know if that friend-that-might-as-well-be-family may have a crush on you. But if you know that’s clear, then ask them. And of course, you can always ask me. I will do what I can to help you out.

 

And in closing, I think I will leave you with the best pick up line ever!

“Hi, my name is _______. What’s your name?”



et cetera