Emotional Detachment

I’ve been working a lot lately on detachment and not allowing myself to be ruled by my emotions. I hate letting other people have so much power over me and how I’m feeling at any given time. What other people say and do says so much about them and says practically nothing about me, so why would I let it affect me so deeply?

The other night I was at a bar with a friend whom I’ve had a very complicated relationship with. She assumed I was going to watch her dog while she was away on vacation and when I said I didn’t want to do it (because she wanted me to stay at her place in the deep valley, which is 45 minutes away from my work, friends, and life) she called me a “selfish asshole.”

I’ve never watched her dog in the history of our years long friendship so I had no idea why she assumed I would suddenly be up for the job. Not only that, but to stay 45 minutes out of my way for free was a tall order to ask of anyone. So I had no idea why she reacted that way. It definitely received a, “woah” response out of me, but it ended there. I didn’t let it affect me and I continued on drinking with her for a couple more hours.

I was really proud of myself for having let that comment slide so effortlessly when in the past I would’ve responded much more angrily and I probably would’ve changed my whole attitude for the rest of the night. But I just brushed it off and let it go.

I know my friend wouldn’t want me to say yes to that favor just to ease her stress and yet feel resentful and angry for being made to stay out so far away from my apartment. And I didn’t want to agree to something that would make me feel unhappy just because my friend wanted to save a couple bucks.

So I learned a double lesson in that moment. When you ask someone for a favor, you should never tie any expectations to the response. And when you disappoint someone and they call you a name, remember that it says so much more about them than it does about you.

However, after I had patted myself on the back several times for that interaction I wondered how I could translate that to my romantic relationship. In friendships it’s so much easier to feel less attached to outcomes because you aren’t intimately involved with those people. Detachment tends to become a much bigger challenge when you are opening your heart so fully to someone spiritually, emotionally, sexually, mentally, and physically.

I started to wonder if it could be possible to interact with my boyfriend in the same way I had interacted with my friend. Could I have zero expectation when I ask him to do things? If I want to hang out with him and I ask to see if he’s free and he says no, sometimes it sends me into a deep spiral of fear and distress. Partly from past stuff and partly because I allow the fact that he isn’t available to suggest that I’m not a priority because he isn’t ready to drop everything for me like I usually am for him.

And as I type it here now it seems so pathetic and sad. When he is out of town for work and he doesn’t have the opportunity to say no to me I am happy as a lark. So in essence what I’m upset about is the fact that my boyfriend doesn’t do everything that I say and want whenever I say that I want it. My desire to control him and his actions is terrifying and will do nothing but upset me every time.

Sometimes there are larger things that I ask of him, such as coming home with me for Christmas, that when he says no make me think that he doesn’t value our relationship or see a future. I mean, can’t he just sacrifice a couple fucking days simply to make me happy? But see what the problem is here? I’m allowing his actions to either make me happy or not happy. What will happen if I go home to see my family and I’m by myself? I’ll have an absolute blast playing 19 rounds of card games with my brothers and sisters in law. Would I miss and feel his absence? Definitely. But I don’t have to allow his non-presence there affect the entire relationship or suggest that he isn’t invested in me.

And the danger of implying those things is that he will want to get further and further away from me. Because he feels as though he is walking on eggshells and that everything he says and does affects my happiness. That is too much pressure for anyone to handle and the only natural thing to do is to pull away as to not constantly give someone so much disappointment caused by you and only you.

It’s not a change that will happen overnight but it’s one that I’m willing and ready to accept and work on. I alone am responsible for how I feel. I can blame it on him all I want but the only thing I can change is myself. So if I am committed to him and this relationship, which I am, then I need to zen the fuck out and be happy regardless of his actions.

Keep Going or Give Up?

How do you know whether to give up or keep going in relationships?

I think about this at least once a month. “I want to give up. It’s too hard. I’m disappointed all the time. I’m unhappy. I’ll never get the future I desire with him.” Those thoughts run on a loop in my head anytime I don’t get what I want or have my expectations dashed by him. Sometimes I feel like a petulant child or that I’m pinning too much of my happiness on him and other times I feel like he goes out of his way to disappoint me and show me that I’m not his main priority.

But then I think about having to start over with someone new and it sounds awful. I say to myself, “just hold out longer. Keep your mouth shut. Be agreeable. If you’re patient and cool you may get what you desire.” And then that dialogue runs on a loop until I convince myself that it’s really not that bad. But I think the problem lies in trying to decipher if I’m being too pushy and controlling or if what he is and who he is isn’t enough for me.

He complains that I get my heart set on timelines and goals and if he doesn’t meet those in the time frame that I have decided on in my head then I get upset and pick a fight or try to end it. And I’ve definitely done that. I’ve definitely been close to ending it 4 or 5 times and ended it for real for 6 days once. I don’t want to be the girl who cried wolf but I also don’t want to be the girl who held out for as long as she could stand for a guy who was never going to give her what she desired in the first place.

And he almost has a point, I guess. If he tells me things will happen but they just haven’t yet, shouldn’t I just be patient and relax and know that he just takes more time than me with all of these milestones? But what it he’s just telling me these things will happen to shut me up and keep the peace? He might keep delaying progress until his face turns blue and then I’ll be in a worse position than I was before with even more time wasted and resentment built up.

Relationships are hard and they take work and we have done so much work and have made progress but I just don’t know if it’s enough. I don’t want to feel like I’m begging him to move forward with me all the time and I don’t want to feel as if I’m waiting for the moment when I’ll finally be happy.

Sometimes it just feels like it will never be enough. Never enough time, energy, attention, or care put into cultivating our partnership. I feel like I’m giving everything I have on my end and not getting enough in return. No one wants to be with a needy person and if that’s the vibration I’m putting out, then he will feel that and want to pull away. So at times I don’t even blame him for the way he behaves, but if I’m not getting enough of what I want then obviously it’s going to manifest itself somehow.

Isn’t the point of being in a relationship to share all of the important moments with the person you love the most? Do I just have to come to terms with the fact that I will be going alone to most events and experiencing a lot of life without him or with friends instead? Is that so bad? Or do I want my boyfriend to always be there with me all the time for everything?

Maybe adult relationships are about separate people with separate lives doing their own thing and coming together only to enhance each others’ lives. That sounds really nice and independent and shit, but what about those moments when I feel more alone than I did when I was actually alone? Because you only miss someone who isn’t there. You don’t miss someone you don’t have. When I miss him it feels worse than being single.
I should be grateful and appreciate what he DOES do, right? I need to focus on the ways he tries to make me happy and respect the progress that he HAS made, no? But then why am I always in tears about things that he has failed to do and opportunities he’s missed to bring me even the slightest bit of joy? But if I give up, will I be MORE sad than I am now?

I definitely don’t expect too much. I expect way less than I would’ve in the past because he’s forced me to lower those standards. So the result always feels like I need to express to him that I’m not fulfilled and walk away to find my desires elsewhere.

And then the cycle starts over with someone else at some undetermined point in the future when I’ve kissed enough frogs to find someone suitable. And then what if I don’t like that person as much? What if I realize I’ve made a huge mistake and he won’t take me back? Assuming that this person is good enough and respects me, what if I discover the same problems and then I’m back in the same position after even more years of waiting, wishing, pushing, and hoping.

“Just keep going. Stick with the one you love so much. Give him a break. Relax. Focus on yourself/your career/your friendships for happiness.” This is the cycle of thoughts I usually settle on. But I honestly don’t know how many times I can keep doing it.

So will it always be something? Will I never be satisfied? Once I get the things I’m asking for now is there going to be some earth shattering glow of happiness that will suddenly wash over me? Why can’t he just fucking do everything I want so we don’t even have this issue to begin with?!

For now I guess all I can do is take a breath, have a glass of wine, and wait for the PMS to pass.

The “I Don’t Want To Have Sex Yet” Dance

For most women, a first date is a pleasurable event. If you are going out with someone who you even remotely like, a first date is a great time to get to know someone new, see if there is chemistry, and assess compatibility levels. There is usually very little pressure, so you can just enjoy getting dressed up and going out even if you don’t meet your soul mate.

At the end of the night, for both the guy and girl, there is usually some slight anxiety surrounding whether to kiss or not. Sometimes you will sit in the car for 20 minutes and talk mindlessly about surface level subjects while gauging if there is interest in the kiss. The female will sit with sweaty palms wondering whether or not she should just get the hint and say goodnight, while the male is usually wondering if his breath is okay and how he can go about doing it without seeming awkward.

But this is small potatoes compared to what comes next.

Once you get that first date under your belt and you feel pretty confident that there is a mutual interest, most people move on to a second date. The second date means there is progress in the relationship, which also means there will probably be progress in intimacy, if not then, then in the near future.

And from there is when all of the questions come in.

“Is it acceptable to sleep with him on the second date?”

“How many dates should I wait to sleep with him?”

“How fast is too fast and at what point do you know he won’t just hit it and quit it?”

“Do I have to wait for him to have the exclusivity talk with me first?” (Yeah right, but most self help books tell me to!?)

“How far CAN we go without it being pretty much sex anyway?”

My mind always goes into panic mode as soon as I know I will be seeing a guy for a second time. It’s pretty rare, as I am of the “one and done” mindset, so when it happens, all of the above questions start swirling through my brain. Formal dating means that there are “rules”, unlike with hooking up, so if you make an error early on it could mean game over.

When it comes to sex, we all know that men typically attribute a lot less emotion and value to the physical act. It’s less likely to make them feel attached or vulnerable as it is with women, so they don’t have to worry about it as much. In fact, a lot of men tend to lose interest in a woman if she gives it up too quickly. So knowing this, most women I know tend to put a lot of emphasis on waiting to have sex if they truly want a long term relationship.

So, therein lies the predicament. How is one to gauge when it is appropriate to sleep with someone and how can one stop it from happening? Because we all know that once the making out starts it’s damn near impossible to stop it from escalating, especially if there is alcohol involved.

Here are some easy ways you can avoid the whole mess until you are ready:

1. Don’t drink alcohol after the first date. (I don’t know about you, but that is not realistic for me.)

2. Don’t go to either of your places. (And keep making out in the car? That’s awkward after one time.)

3. Make it a day date! (FRIEND ZONE.)

4. Be on your period. (Haha, ew.)

5. Tell him you are just not ready yet. (You can get away with that for one night. After that, you start seeming like a tease if you are continuing to escalate the making out/foreplay.)

Inevitably for me I usually end up back at the guy’s place after the 2nd/3rd date. And almost always the scene goes something like this:

*Hand up my skirt*

“Stop,” I say. (Btw, STOP usually means a yellow light to most guys and most girls usually intend for it to be taken that way.)

*Unhook the bra*

*Try to take off my shirt*

“Stop.”

At this point I will usually stop whatever we are doing to cool out for a minute. But it will just start up again 5 minutes later.

“Okay, I’m gonna go now.”

“Stay. I won’t try to have sex with you,” he says, lying though his teeth.

“Okay,” I say, naively, sometimes actually believing it.

*Get into the bed*

*Start making out again*

*Hands roam everywhere*

*Sex*

END SCENE

“Well gee, Lover Lo, why the hell would you sleep over in his bed if you weren’t planning on having sex?” You ask. That’s a perfectly legitimate question, which is why I usually end up putting out.

That’s why this is such a challenge. Because we want it just as much as the guy wants it. We have to keep dodging and dancing around until we just can’t take it anymore, and sometimes that can only last until the end of the night of the first date!

Most guys will tell you that how fast you sleep with them has little to no bearing on whether or not the relationship will have longevity. My brother is engaged to a girl he met in a bar and slept with that same night. But more often than not men like a challenge, so I am under the impression that we should be more willing to give them that.

Here’s to hoping that I can test this out with the next guy. I don’t know how long I will make him wait or how I will be able to pull off not progressing to the bedroom too quick, but I’m still single after 6 years, so I am willing to try.

 

xx,

 

Lover Lo

 

 

 

People Will Always Disappoint You If You Let Them

“People tell you who they are, but we don’t listen. Because we want them to be who we want them to be.”

In case you would like to know, that quote is from Mad Men, the greatest drama on television.

I’ve dissected that quote in my brain over and over again. I understand it on an intellectual level, but I wanted to really get what it meant on a more comprehensive and symbolic level and realize its implications in my own life.

I think what it really boils down to is expectation. Expectation of who we think or want a partner to be and our subsequent disappointment when they turn out to be something different, that is, themselves.

I’m not going to blame Disney or romantic comedies for putting some sort of fantasy relationship in our heads. I’m going to blame all of us as a whole for not being good listeners and ignoring red flags.

In acting class we study human behavior to its core. We learn that there are several factors and circumstances that can shape a person’s belief systems and lifestyle. That guy from North Carolina who moved to LA to do blue collar grip work for TV and film? He will probably still retain some of his Southern charm and values. He will probably also vote Republican and have no desire to extend himself beyond his line of work. He enjoys watching college football and relaxing on nights and weekends with a beer and some grilled food. That guy from New York who moved to LA to be a producer? He is probably impatient and pushy and always on the go. He is answering emails every 5 minutes. He is very social, but sometimes also superficial, because he is constantly trying to make connections and further his career. Of course I am generalizing, but you get the idea.

Someone’s career, hometown, age, upbringing, social status, religious and political views, and values will tell you everything you need to know about what you can expect from them in the future if you’re paying attention. This guy that I was interested in for a while in college was from bumble-fuck Indiana, drove a truck, loved guns and hunting, was a lineman for the football team, and listened to country music. He was dashingly handsome and we got along well on the surface, but it never would’ve worked. Not just because I hate country music and guns, but because the circumstances of where he came from and how he was raised tells me we would clash on an intellectual, spiritual, and emotional level.

So let’s say you like someone a lot who manages to have the same sorts of interests and values as you and is from a similar background. Congratulations. Once you’ve filtered out incompatibility, it’s important to see someone for what they can and are willing to offer you. If your expectation is marriage, don’t date the 23 year old singer of a band you love. If your expectation is financial stability, don’t date a loser who claims to be a writer but who never writes. If your expectation is someone who is extremely loyal and faithful, don’t date a famous professional athlete.

It’s not about being harsh or bitchy, it’s about knowing what you want and not wasting your time and emotional energy on someone who will let you down and leave you disappointed. You have to be very discerning and listen intently to what others tell you on a first date. Don’t come out of the gate with, “Do you want marriage and kids because if not then let’s just end it here”, but do make sure you are aware of all the information that is being presented.

One of my better qualities, that I picked up in my late 20’s, is my ability to recognize right away when someone isn’t right for me. My friends call it “way too picky”, but I call it being able to quickly perceive someone’s essence. Why should I waste my time with someone who isn’t who I want them to be? If they aren’t offering me what I need then there is no reason to give them more than one date.

This guy that I used to work with and whom I always shared a sexual chemistry with, recently “asked me out”. (I put asked me out in parentheses because I was under the impression that that was his intention.) He said he marked the day we discussed on his calendar and was very excited. The day came and I hadn’t heard from him and it was already 5pm. I texted him to see what the plan was and he informed me that he was with a client shooting photos and he would get back to me. 8:30 rolls around and I decided to meet a girlfriend for a drink because, fuck him. He texts me at 9:30 telling me he wanted to come meet up with us, with his client in tow. My friend had to leave, but the 3 of us proceeded to have a drunken night of debauchery. He told me all about how he was couch surfing and was really excited that at this point in his life he has nothing tying him down. We drunkenly made out at the end of the night and it was fun, but completely pointless.

24 year old me would’ve hung out with him again after that and slept with him several times and probably would’ve become attached and it would’ve ended with me demanding him to be my boyfriend. 30 year old me knows that it is a dead end road. I want a relationship. He wants to have fun. He didn’t tell me that, but the context clues told me all I need to know. So when he texted me the following week saying that we should hang out again, I politely declined.

I have a friend, we’ll call her Lexi, who jumped right from a separation from her husband to dating another man. The other man happens to be married. Of course he claims it is completely on the rocks and that he is on the way to getting a divorce, but he nonetheless is in a government recognized commitment with someone else. She chalks it up to the universe giving her what she really needs and so-fucking-what if the timing is wrong. This guy is telling Lexi (not literally of course) that he is a cheating piece of shit. He is telling her that he doesn’t value marriage or vows and that he is quick to trade-up to the next pretty young thing. He is selfish and impatient and wants to flee the ship when things get hard. Does it sound like the future is bright for the two of them?

Another friend of mine, we’ll call her Haley, is in love with this guy who just got out of a relationship. His wounds are super fresh and he feels emotionally broken. He really likes Haley and even asked her on a date and kissed her afterwards. But then he told her, “I’m just not ready to date again. I really like you but it’s just too soon.” So, even after this right-on-the-nose exposition that he gave her, she still loves to call me and say, “but he does x and y and I know he likes me and he came to my comedy show..” and blah blah. Honey, he said he wasn’t ready. Cut your losses and let him go. If you’re a masochist, keep him in your life as a friend whom you wish were more, otherwise stop holding unrealistic expectations over his head and move on.

You have to ask yourself what you want at all times in every facet of your life and constantly strive to seek that out. If your job isn’t giving you the raise that you think you deserve, then maybe your talents should be taken elsewhere. If a friend of yours is constantly flaking on every engagement you ask her to be a part of and it bothers you, stop asking her to hang out. People will constantly disappoint you if you let them. If you have enough wisdom to know that no one is perfect and that you aren’t going to jive with everyone, you will be much happier.

Stop trying to make people who you want them to be. Let them be who they are, and you be who you are, and find the one that matches naturally.

xx

Lover Lo

I’ll leave you with this quote from the amazing Meryl Steep:

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

Heartbreak For The Highly Sensitive Person

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I always used to wonder why I would be the only one in my family or friend group covering my eyes in a movie theatre during a super violent war type film or sobbing at the tear jerker ending in something as silly as a romantic comedy film. It was so embarrassing for me one time when I went to see “The Help” with my best friend a couple years ago and I was crying so hard that I was shaking my entire row of seats in a packed house theatre. I almost had to leave and compose myself in the bathroom, but I didn’t want to miss any of the movie. My friend looked over at me several times and laughed a little at my mascara smudged face and offered tissues from her purse. Her eyes were a bit misty, but she was nowhere near the level of my agony.

I had always been thought of as the “tough” girl who never cried and hardly showed emotion when I was younger. I prided myself on not letting little things get to me and never letting anyone see a vulnerable side to my personality. But a lot of people know, and I discovered, that the toughest ones are the ones who are covering up the most. Through acting classes my true feelings had to be unlocked in order to truly emulate other people and experience empathy, and boy did I experience it. And once pandora’s box was opened, there was no going back. I can’t help but feel everything so deeply now. My own feelings and the feelings of others. And through my most recent teacher and mentor, Diana Castle, I discovered that I am a “highly sensitive person”.

The personality trait “the highly sensitive person” (HSP) was made popular by Elaine N. Aron Ph.D in the 90’s. The characteristics, such as crying easily, being sensitive to smells, sounds, and light, and being emotionally reactive, describe me to an absolute T and I finally was able to identify why I have so many issues in my relationships with friends and lovers.

Fights with my friends or boyfriends can turn really nasty and hurtful because I only think from an emotional standpoint and not rationally. If they hurt me I want to hurt them even worse to experience what I’m feeling. When I get angry I get MORE angry than most people and when I am hurt I am MORE hurt than anyone else. So when a relationship ends for me, I absorb a debilitating blow that affects me so much that sometime I think I’m going to die of heartbreak.

I have been trying so hard for months to get over my most recent “lover”, who I felt I needed to cut out of my life because he couldn’t commit to me, to no avail. I have good days, but I also have really bad days where I can barely make it through without crying. And it got me thinking: out of the 3 times that I’ve been in love I have been an absolute mess of the most epic proportions after the breakup. More than most people would be. And I know this because I am a nosy little fuck and also a good listener to my friends who have been through the same thing. They ain’t dealing with what I have to deal with. My friend who’s husband had been cheating on her for 8 years seems to be doing okay after 4 months. If that were me, I would never leave my house and probably take up heroin. My brain and my emotions churns NON-STOP. It’s so awful and distracting. Everyone deals with things differently, but to even be able to go out at night and have a good time like her at this point would be torture for me.

For most people it probably takes a good solid couple weeks or maybe months to get over an ex-lover. For me, it takes sometimes years for me to come to terms. I just FEEL ALL THE FEELS for so long and so intensely. I care and I hurt and I cry more than the average person. It’s really not fair. And it’s no wonder that I’m so afraid of being open and vulnerable. If I do my heart will take a major beating when it inevitably ends. So it’s smart to just avoid it all together, right? Well, no. But I do have to be more careful who I open my heart to. I have to make sure they’re worth it and that they deserve me.

When I’ve had my heart broken I go through so many different stages of emotion. But it usually starts with depressive sadness to the point where I become a shell of a person. I have to read self help books to ease me through the process and to know that I’m not alone. Then it develops into anger and cynicism for life. And then it turns back to sadness and extreme attachment withdrawal. Finally it turns back to anger once more and throwing my body at someone else to help numb the pain. It’s super fun. Not.

The relationship between my most current ex lover and myself is not over, that I know. And it makes me wonder if that’s why I’ve been in so much pain. Because it’s over right now by my own decision when there is still so much passion and love between us.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not trying to move on and experience other opportunities. But it does mean that no other guy is going to be able to have my heart until it’s TRULY done between him and me. Our timing just hasn’t lined up, but if and when it does I hope we can actually have a real relationship and the pain will subside.

It’s quite the hard-knock life for HSP’s like me. If you are not one of these types of people, you lucky bitch. If you are, I’m sorry and I hope that you can relate. The good news for HSP’s is that because we experience everything to it’s greatest potential, imagine what we’re like when we’re happy! We are SO HAPPY!!! And when we love we love SO MUCH. So a relationship with us will be full of affection and attention, however, we may stab you in the eye in the middle of night if you cross us. But it’s worth it. 🙂