The Object of Your Attention

I feel like I’ve suddenly discovered the key to a long lasting, healthy relationship. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been listening to so much Abraham Hicks lately or if it’s just the result of becoming a healthy, more mature adult, but either way it’s as if suddenly a lightbulb has gone off in my brain and I hope to never treat my relationships the way I did in the past again. 

And here it is: do not make your partner the object of your attention. 

Meaning make yourself, your career, and your interests the focal point of your life and have your relationship be secondary. I know this sounds crazy. But all of the problems, at least for me, always exist when I’m putting too much attention on my boyfriend and the relationship. That’s when I start expecting too much and appreciating nothing and suddenly he becomes the source of all of my issues and unhappiness. 

I have severe ADD and SO MUCH excess energy. I can multitask 7 different things at once. My brain is a calendar and can categorize everything. I LOVE to be busy and have lots of things on my plate. I have a desperate need to be stimulated and challenged. Imagine what happens when I look to my partner to fulfill all of those requirements for me. 

My life is always going to have a huge compartment that needs to be filled up. I don’t like being alone for too long, I can’t stand not having upcoming events or social engagements, I go crazy if I’m not doing something creative everyday. So it becomes a constant pursuit to make sure I’m doing enough of all of those things, not only because it fulfills me on every level, but because it takes my full attention away from my boyfriend. 

The very best example of this is to look at how men treat relationships. It’s very seldom, at least in my experience, that a man over the age of 25 makes his girlfriend the center of his universe and the main priority of his life. Men have an innate desire to hunt and gather, aka work, so usually that takes the main precedence slot. The nice thing is that most men want to work hard and build a career in order to support a woman and/or a family, but they aren’t spending their days pining and overthinking over how it’s affecting the relationship directly in that moment. 

Men and women are different, I get that. Women are more emotional and tend to obsess about their lovers, (errr wait, maybe that’s just me?) and the more time we spend with them and the more energy we put into the relationship the more we want. Ammiright, ladies? We’re putting this insane amount of effort into showing them we care about them and that they have all of our attention and we get pissed if they’re not doing the same. We have this “attachment vibe” that is hard to break. 

And when things get to that bad place, people always tell you to “focus on yourself” and to “let go of the attachment” as if it’s some easy thing that we can suddenly wake up and just decide. But with time and a constant shift in the mindset, it can become more of a habit. The easiest thing to do is treat your life how you did while you were single. Not sitting around and waiting and hoping that some man will fill up your time and energy. 

We are not kept women who need to hide behind our men or become too focused on them and what’s going on in their lives. Independence is the key to growth and self-sufficiency. What happens if the relationships suddenly implodes? No one should be in a relationship constantly thinking about that, but it’s a very real outcome that would leave a dependent person in complete and utter shambles. 

I’ve been almost forced to learn how to function in this way since my boyfriend and I are currently long distance. I never would have chosen this as my current situation but, here I am, and I can either deal with it or end the relationship because of the neediness and separation anxiety. At times it gets too hard and I get to the bad place of wanting to be done with it all, but then I remember why I’ve stayed for so long and how much I love him. And once I decided it was worth it to stick it out I constantly shifted my mentality to focus on subjects that did not have anything to do with him. It has made me so much happier overall and it’s done wonders for the relationship. I’m not so focused on what he is or isn’t doing for me, how often he has texted me that day, or when he’ll be back in LA and for how long. I’ve let go of the control I so often want to have and it’s been like an orgasmic release for me mentally and emotionally. 

Before I made that shift I was in such constant despair and even broke up with him for 2 months because of it. Because of my jealousy that he was making something other than me a priority. Because he was following an impulse to further his career. Because he was doing his best to create a better future for us. What a monster. 

During my PMS week I always go back to my old ways of thinking and verbally abuse him in my head. But as long as I continue to understand that those feelings are fleeting and do my best not to express them to him, my relationship will continue to flourish. One day we will be together all the time and I will think back to when I had this space and freedom from him and miss it. 

The reason most people think that a relationship works best when the man is more in love with the woman than she is with him is because this mentality comes NATURALLY in that situation. The woman focuses on herself and her life because she doesn’t care what he thinks as much as she did with her emotionally unavailable ex-boyfriend with whom she always walked on eggshells and felt a sense of neediness and desperation.  

This is not to say that we shouldn’t put any effort into our relationships. Every relationship requires work and balance. But the most successful my relationship has ever felt was when I was being as SELFISH AS POSSIBLE. Try it and see how it works for you. It’s not about games or manipulation, it’s about the freedom and peace that comes from the perils of attachment. 

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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 Tinder Generation

I think that the birth of Tinder and its quick rise in popularity can tell you everything you need to know about my generation and its attitude toward sex and dating. And the fact that it has become the norm and an accepted form of online dating has created a ripple effect into dating as a whole.

You must be hot. You must be easy. You must be game.

If you’re not, I can just open up my phone, swipe right and meet up with someone else.

Just like anything else that has been made easier with advancements in technology, why would you want to try and meet people the old school way when you can just shop for people online.

And that is what Tinder is. It’s online shopping for people. There are so many options that aren’t even offered in the store! You don’t even have to interact with someone if you don’t want to! You just swipe, text, and meet! It’s so awesome!

It cheapens dating and makes people seem disposable.

I can’t believe that so many people I know use it and think it isn’t at least somewhat problematic. You can call me a prude, you can call me judgmental, and you can say I’m not hip to the future of dating. But in my experience, the people I know that use Tinder are fresh out of a breakup, need to get laid, or are bored. File all those people collectively under a bold headline that reads: Lonely and Desperate. In the moments when I’ve been lonely and desperate I’ve actually considered downloading it.

If you are lonely and desperate and don’t use Tinder, you will probably find some other similarly impersonal method for getting your rocks off. You might go to a bar and pursue the prettiest, drunkest chick in the room. However, at least you have to exercise some sort of effort and have a decent amount of game. Tinder makes everyone the laziest version of themselves. Guys send out pick up lines to 20 different girls and go with the one that responds. With a never ending arsenal of supply and demand, you will probably never strike out.

I was on Reddit the other night at around 3am, as I tend to do when I can’t sleep, and I came across a sub-Reddit entitled “Showerthoughts.” Someone posted this thought: “The worst part of Tinder is that it only helps you meet people who are at a place in their lives where using Tinder seems like a good idea.”

Many people who commented argued that it’s about being “sexually open-minded” and knowing what you’re getting and keeping your expectations low. In my opinion, it’s bad enough that we are called the “hook-up generation” now we are going to be called the “hook-up with total fucking strangers without any real-life interaction beforehand generation.” We might as well be Joaquin Phoenix in the movie “Her.” Let’s just skip even being with real people and have phone sex with operating systems!

One guy on the comment thread told this story: “a buddy of mine who is about my age – late 30s – met a girl on tinder who is 21, a law student at NYU, from a rich family, and smoking hot.
she came over to his place on a friday night for their first date. they smoked and talked for a bit before she asked him if he wanted a blow job. he obliged. she obliged. now this 21 year old beautiful overachiever comes over on the odd weekend, blows him and leaves.
as a married dude with children i find tinder more awe-inspiring than the northern lights.”

There have always been girls who are like this since the beginning of sex. However, my fear for my generation and especially for the generation behind me, is that in order for girls to compete we feel we must dole out blow jobs and smiles and pretend not to care. Because if not, you’re getting replaced by someone who will.

It may not be that serious of a problem. Maybe Tinder simply amplifies problems for you that are already there. And maybe I really am a prude and way too judgmental. But social media in general makes dating very challenging as it is. I don’t want to have to compete with the 75 strangers’ photos on your phone if I don’t impress you. And I especially don’t want to have to feel like I’m too challenging because 15 out of those 75 girls are DTF RIGHT NOW.

There was an “article” on playboy.com that several of my male friends were reposting on Facebook entitled, “16 Tinder Girls Who Totally Get It” and featured beautiful young women with bios that read like this: “I am the perfect booty call boyzz! I play lots of softball so don’t worry I know how to stroke a bat and play with balls but I mostly like them in my mouth!” This bio was from a 19 year old.

Another one reads: “Kind of girl you would take home to your mom but would blow you on the way there.” This is just a hunch, but she probably gets lots of right swipes.

Sex sells, as it always has. But don’t those make you just a little sad? Because Tinder is based solely on how hot your picture is and how witty and/or sexy your bio is, it’s showing women that it’s the only way men will be into them. It’s like selfies. If you aren’t validated by a bunch of strangers liking your photo it’s probably doing some damage to your self-esteem. It’s their choice to be involved, of course, but how could that not trickle into how they handle themselves in real life?

Just like all online dating in general, I get that it’s an easier way to meet people. But somehow society has managed to meet people and date and get married before there was the advent of the internet so I don’t know why we find it so challenging now. Oh wait yes I do. It’s because, Tinder. People would rather have their noses stuck in their phones swiping left and right then look up and around at all the people they meet on a daily basis.

People will argue that Tinder is only supposed to be used for hook-ups. But so many others will argue that they know someone who met their current boyfriend/fiance/wife on Tinder. Maybe they are true stories, maybe they are just urban myths to make people feel better about themselves for using the app. Or maybe that’s just what we have to accept about our generation. That the sexual relationship comes first now and then comes the real relationship.

Obviously my personal opinion isn’t going to stop people from using Tinder or make it go away. I guess my real fear is that I will be forced to join Tinder just to keep up.