When To Say BOY BYE!

My friend had to knock some sense into me the other day about my relationship. I was feeling sad and depressed and very much like a victim in my current circumstances. I had assumed that feeling was coming from the fact that I was scared of losing my boyfriend, since I had just confided in her that I didn’t think the relationship was working anymore. And she told me that she didn’t think I was sad about that, she felt I was sad because I wasn’t being true to what I want. That for a little over two years I had been lying to myself.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You have been in this same cycle pretty much since the two of you have been together. He isn’t providing you what you want and you have continued to accept that.”

As the saying goes, what we put up with we end up with. Subconsciously I’ve known for a long time that that is what the problem in our relationship has been, but I was avoiding much conflict about it because I didn’t want to let him go.

Any time I feel sad or want to complain about my circumstances, this particular friend serves me up a healthy dose of tough love.

“If you keep accepting things for the way that they are then you are in a much worse position than moving forward. Do you feel good right now?”

“No,” I admitted.

“Exactly. You’re accepting nothing but crumbs from him and then trying to emotionally manipulate your way into getting what you do want. You’re never going to get it that way.”

I had to meditate on that for some time. My boyfriend accuses me frequently of being emotionally manipulative, something I believe has been practiced into a habit since early childhood. (I blame it on being the middle child.) It’s interesting to me that I use that technique and my friend suggested it had to do with my constant need to control.

You see, it takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you want and not accept anything less. It takes courage because the alternative is potentially losing someone you care about. But if they aren’t willing to meet your needs then they aren’t the right person for you anyway. In an effort to not lose him I keep the tightest hold that I can onto him while acting desperate and borderline hysterical in the process.

It has taken a long time for me to understand the difference between the things that I need and the things that I want. It turns out, you can really tell what you need by how you feel about not getting that thing for days/weeks/months later. For example, my boyfriend was out of town on my birthday. Not for work, and not because of some preplanned trip. He was out of town because his dad had a free plane ticket for him to come home and he couldn’t turn it down. Not even the celebration of the birth of the person he loves the most could keep him from going on that trip. And so, he went and didn’t invite me, and so I was left spending my birthday giving my friends excuses for as to why he wasn’t present.

I was upset and angry when he told me and we had a massive fight about it. And I was upset many weeks and months later. But then I started in with all the excuses in the world for as to why it makes sense that he wasn’t there for me. He has to see his son, he comes from a family that doesn’t celebrate birthdays or holidays, blah blah blah. I was the lowest priority on the totem pole and I (begrudgingly) ACCEPTED that position. I cried and I told him how hurt I was and how unacceptable that behavior had been and then allowed everything to go back to normal. He gets a hall pass for missing his girlfriend’s birthday? Wow, what a doormat I am.

And the thing that feels the worst to me is that I’m a very strong and confident person in my real life who never accepts less than what she wants. It’s become increasingly confusing as to why I would allow that to be okay in my intimate relationship. The more it happens, the more I come to expect it, the more he thinks it’s okay. I’m on this vicious hamster wheel of disappointment and yet I’m so AFRAID to get off.

Well, FUCK THAT. I’m done. I’m done being this sad girl who is able to do nothing more than express when I’ve been slighted. I’m an empowered woman who will no longer accept a bunch of bullshit excuses for treating me like an afterthought. The women who get what they want are the ones who say, nothing less than that will do. If you’re not willing to step up, then BOY BYE. I’m channeling my inner Beyonce so don’t give me a baseball bat or I will smash up some windows.

There is this fear inside of me that wells up that says, I’ll never love someone as much, I’ll never connect with anyone as much, I’ll never be as attracted to someone as much and YET…I’ve felt that way about at least 3 other men in my past so I guess I’ve been wrong every time. Fear is what will keep you complacent and stop you from growing and moving forward. I have to get clear about what I want and what I can’t accept and only vibe from that place. I will never be happy otherwise.

If I need my boyfriend to be present for my fucking birthday then that is what I’m gonna get. It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant the request can seem. If it’s important to you then make sure that you get it. The result of not getting those things is built up resentment, anger, frustration, and eventual breakup anyway. Leave with dignity so you don’t have to leave when you’ve become a shell of a person and are so beaten down that it might take months, or even years, to recover.

 

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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.

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.