Thursday, December 27, 2012

Online Dating At Its Worst

I have been online dating for the past few months. Yes I admit it openly.  It is 2012 almost 2013 yet I still feel this stigma from online dating.  Which is pretty funny because a lot of people have or have had an okcupid profile at some point.  In fact I have seen more than one person that I went to undergrad on there.  One person even called me out, oh the embarrassment!

Anyway, this is not my first dive into the online dating pool.  I actually tried it out a few years ago.  At the time I was going out on no dates, I mean none, zero, zip, well you get it.  I decided to stick my toe into the waters of the interweb.  I ended up trying just about everything paid and unpaid.  I had a great time.  A lot of the men came with stories, which also came with nicknames (I miss giving nicknames).  One person even turned into a boyfriend.

Since most of my experiences had been good, or good enough I should say, I thought that beginning online dating again this year would be fun and a good way to get over my ex.  It hasn't been fun....at all!  First, I don't know if dating in general has changed over the past few years or if I have higher standards.  Perhaps it is a little bit if both.  However, most a lot of it I have been experiencing has been TERRIBLE.  So terrible in fact that I delete my account every few months and decide to swear it off.  That is I swear it off until my friends go on all of these fun dates while I am sitting at home alone with my mom...

This afternoon after receiving a dumb message from someone I decided that for the rest of this post that I would share stupid messages from online guys.  Consider this your Christmas present  :)


Guy 1: Hi gorgeous
Me:  Hello
Guy 1:  I'm Jean ,will like to know more about you
Me: Ok like what?
Guy 1:  What's your interest ,you do for fun ,book ,movie ,food ,more
            a diner date ,exchange info ..if
Me:  Umm I wrote that all in my profile.  Did you even read it?
Guy 1:  Yes


Guy 2:  are you really that cute
Me:  Is this a trick question? lol
Guy 2:  I guess you answered the question very well...
Me:  What lol.  This is me.
(Silence for almost a month)
Guy 2:  Merry Christmas to you your friends and family

Guy 3:  Hi, Merry Christmas. how are you? My name is Baba and lives in London,UK . You look so cute. Lets consider this as two mature people and be straight forward. I will like to know you some more.I watched your images and profile and i respect your intelligence. I am single and want believe that u stand the reason why i am here. I enjoy going to parks, Cinema,s and come to conclusion wan,t to enjoy life to the fullest and can,t do that being single.


First message:  
Guy 4:  So when can I call you

This was after a few messages back and forth...

Me:  That sounds like fun. I want to do that for my mom soon. We shall see. My work schedule. Well I work two jobs. I am a lawyer during the week and I work retail on the weekends. Sounds like fun right?

Guy 5:  Hold on your a lawyer and you work retail sounds interesting..... Well big question for you I need your professional opinion on this could you text me <number>

Me:  Is it a legal question because I am not giving free legal advice lol


Guy 5:  Uh no pro bono Lol what happened to helping the community.It's nothing serious just a civil matter. Would have like to known if I could have filed suit or not. Do you practice in Maryland. How about this I will let you represent me if I have a case is that fair. See we can already have some common ground. Side note what do you do for fun


Me:  First of all...why is your name law student? Are you not a lawyer? Secondly, you don't even know what type of law that I practice. For the record I do child welfare law, it is very niche. And not everyone attorney is a litigator, in fact most aren't.



Guy 5:  I mean technically you can practice anything you want as long as your licensed know whether or not you specialize in that area is a different story ;). I dropped out to pursue a business venture back in 2010. Let's get coffee so we can have a healthy debate ;)









Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Grinch

This season I have felt a little down and a little moodier than usual.  Is it my period?  Maybe.  But I think it is more than that.  I think I am kind of becoming the Christmas Grinch  *cue suspenseful music*.

One of the first reasons that I believe I have a grinchy disposition is because of my experiences with the holidays.  I grew up in Illinois as an only child.  The rest of my family lived hundreds of miles away in Maryland and Virginia and I only saw them about twice a year sometimes only once a year.  Christmas used to be a fun time for me putting up the tree, decorating the house, and even admiring the lights of the neighbors.  But at some point either when I was in middle school or high school it was no longer fun for me.  I ended up dragging up our fake Christmas tree from downstairs by myself.  I put up all the decorations, by myself.  My parents had no desire to help me anymore.  After awhile I had no desire to to engage in Christmas decorations anymore either.  To this day I don't partake.  Sickness surrounded my family around this time too so it is just kind of a sad time anyway.

Over the past few years I have really started looking at Christmas differently.  It hit me the most through the most recent sermons that we have had at church.  Christmas is becoming increasingly commercial and secular.  I know that the Christmas decorations at my part time job were up in September!  It doesn't bother me because if anything I find it funny that many of my non Christian friends also celebrate Christmas with their families.  Christmas has turned into more about the gifts and the presents and less about the birth of Christ.

Would everyone hate me if I stopped giving and receiving presents for Christmas?  I just feel that we should focus more on spending time with each other and doing good deeds rather than spending money on presents that no one truly needs.  Does anyone else agree with this?


Friday, December 21, 2012

When One Door Closes

I think the saying is "when one door closes another door opens."  This is a statement that I have always believed in theory but not in practice I guess.  But perhaps I should have, because things always end up working out in that way right?

Here is an update on what seems like my never ending drama with my ex.  It has been over three weeks since our meeting that never took place and a little over two weeks since I sent my response to is apology email.  I have not contacted my ex AT ALL, not as he contacted me.  Even though he has still been on my mind, I have no desire to actually reach out to him, and I am feeling pretty good about it.

Much to my surprise closing the door on my ex has actually opened the door to some new people.  In fact, I actually went out on a date this week.  It was nice and he is nice.  I won't go into further detail because I don't want to jinx anything but it is definitely nice to get out there again, even if it is for one good date.  Now I feel like I have been meeting other new people as well.  I even recognized that I have been able to go places and hang out with people in the past that would have caused tension for me because of my ex.  I now have this renewed feeling that I will not end up being the cat lady.

For the past few weeks I have been thinking about the impending holidays and realizing that I will not be sharing it with my ex.  For so many years I had longed to have someone to kiss when the ball dropped and four two year I had that.  Realizing that I wouldn't be doing the same this year made me feel anxious, sad, and hell I am still contemplating taking a Tylenol PM and sleeping through New Year's.  However, I am also a little bit excited to start 2013 fresh full of new possibilities (which I will write about more next week).

So before I retire to bed since I work at an inhumane hour tomorrow, let me toast my bottle of water to closing old doors and opening new ones!  Cheers :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Review of: It's Complicated...

So on part of my quest for love and my love of discussions, I enjoy reading books and articles and sharing them with you.  For the past few weeks based on the recommendation of a friend I have been reading the book It's Complicated (But It Doesn't Have to Be)  A Modern Guide to Finding and Keeping Love by Paul Carrick Brunson.  Mr.  Brunson is an African-American matchmaker who was recently had a show on the OWN network called Lovetown, USA.

I enjoyed this book.  Although there was some of the same practical advice that you would find in other books written by matchmakers I thought that this book was much more down to earth and...real.  A good deal of the book focused on self love.  Which I think maybe the most important point that people miss out on when trying to find love.  A lot of time people look for their mate to complete them.  The truth is, you have to be complete on your own.  All a mate does is compliment what is already there.  Brunson also spent some time to suggest that some people may need to seek counseling before they begin dating.  Looking back at some of the men that I have dated, I know that have some issues that stem from way before we met, but refuse to acknowledge them.

The other thing I enjoyed about this book is that he told the reading to "know your relationship vitals."  These are basically your hard line rules for things that you want out of the relationship.  He even said that marriage and monogamy may not be for you but you have to know this about yourself upfront.  I think I have realized more as I am getting older the things that I do and do not want.  Now I just need to be stronger when I see those red flags coming up.

Without giving too much of the book away I would say that it is worth reading.  So if you have some time over the holidays pick it up.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Erasing the Stigma of Mental Health

I have been thinking about writing about the topic of mental health for the past few weeks.  Well actually maybe it has been on my mind for the past few years, but the issue was something that I have been wanting to address on here for awhile.

This country has seen several gun-related incidents recently.  First the the Colorado movie theater shooting, the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide, the shooting in Oregon, and today's shooting in Connecticut.  People are so quick to talk about gun control.  Some one to use that same played out phrase "Guns don't kill people, People kill people."  But with all of the gun rhetoric we are missing a bigger more dangerous point.  There is still a massive stigma around mental health, and this stigma is now proving to be more deadly than ever.

People with mental health issues have always been looked down upon in this country.  Someone is treated as less than a person if they see a therapist and if they have to take medicine it is as if they have the plague.  But why is there stigma in place?  According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) one in four adults experience a mental health disorder in a given year (www.nami.org).  I am sure that you have a friend, a family member, or even a co-worker who you know seems like they could use some professional help.  Yet we continually pass these people by and say nothing.  If someone has a heart condition we tell them to go to the doctor right? Why should a mental health issue be any less then going to the doctor for your physical health?

The truth is, many times physical problems can be manifestations of mental health issues.  Have you ever been super stressed and then end up with a cold?  Or maybe when you are feeling sad you suddenly feel more fatigue?  The body and the mind work in tandem.  You must keep most in check in order to be the best you.

The time must stop where we are scared to go to the psychologist or the psychiatrist. The more that we have  open and honest discussions about mental health, and the more it is acceptable to seek mental health treatment we will see less of the massacres and suicides that are plaguing are nation.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guy Friends Please

For years I have been told this idea  that it is hard to make friends after a certain age.  You know after college and after you settle down into a job meeting new people is nearly impossible, right?  Until recently, I never believed it.  Why?  Because I am a people person.  I meet and make new friends all of the time, so I didn't see the big deal, until recently.  While making new female friends is no big deal, it is making guy friends which has become my problem.  I love my girlfriends and everything, but sometimes I just need to talk to a guy.  Maybe because I like to hear his perspective on life or just because I want to talk about sports or something different than clothes and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  I realized that my plethora of guy friends has dwindled.  Now many of my male friends are either in a relationship or in a different state.

Now I am on a quest to make more guy friends but how do I start?  Last week I literally interviewed a bouncer at the bar to see if he was a qualified friend.  Ok, so that is a little corny, but I was having a bad day and it passed the time pretty well.  But this can't be the real way to do it, right?

Then there is this fine line between being just friends or being someone that I potentially want to date.  It reminds of When Harry Met Sally.  The whole premise of the movie was that men and women can't just be friends with someone because someone wants to sleep with the other person.  Now I do not believe that this is a steadfast rule, but I do think that it is accurate most of the time.  

The thing is when I meet a guy I am not first thinking that he would make a good friend.  No, I first assess if he is someone who I would date.  Then if he is not a person that I find that I find dateable, then I move into assessing whether he is friendship material.  The truth is, this should happen the other way around.  Because as the saying go, don't friends make the best lovers?  

So what are my perquisites for a guy friend?  Well he has to be funny.  He has to like sports that is a definite.  He has to be willing to listen to me and give me advice about guys, and I can give him advice about girls.  He just has to be a nice guy who I can trust.  Maybe someone I can hang out with once in awhile.  You know like a road dog that is ready to get up and go somewhere without asking a million questions like what should I wear and does it matter if I look cute or not.  I guess he is like one of my girls without being girly.  And probably it would help that I am not attracted to him.  I just feel like that makes things too complicated otherwise. So I don't think I am asking for too much am I?

But let's back up.  What happens when we date a guy and then decided that he isn't someone we can see a future with?  Do we say hey let's be friends?  Maybe sometimes, but most of the time I would say at least for me, he becomes someone who I never talk to again.  I have been on many dates in the past (despite my drought right now).  I actually went through my phone to see how many people that I have dated (dating meaning have gone out with at least once) in the past who have remained friends, 6.  That is it.  Think about how many other guys who I have dismissed but who could have been great friends, and might have had other great guy friends who could be my friends now?

I guess the lesson of this post is that I should be just as open to making new guy friends as I am to dating guys.  And perhaps, male friendships should take the priority of male relationships, well maybe lol


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Stronger

So on Tuesday I received an email from my ex.  I honestly thought that he wouldn't have had the balls to contact me.  But he decided to email me, a very un-ballsy way to apologize if you ask me.

I will paraphrase his apology because I don't want to put all of his business out there.  Basically he said that he was sorry and that I probably still hate him and he gets it.  He said he was having some family issues that had stressed him out.  And that he didn't handle the stress the correct way and that he was sorry that he hurt my feelings.

When I read this I hesitated.  I at first contacted some of my trusted guy friends.  They both agreed it seemed legitimate.  That he had a decent excuse but blowing me off for it was not the way to handle it.  I debated whether I should even respond, as I declared a few days ago that I was done with him.  However much I want to be done, and I mean really done, I don't believe in kicking people when they are down either.  So I decided to respond.

My response:

I am sorry to hear that.  Perhaps if I had been armed with this information from the beginning I would have reacted differently.  A friend is supposed to be there for you when things like this happen.  I thought we were friends.  But since you didn't feel like sharing this with me sooner puts that into question.  Normally in situations when I am blown off I get mad but I eventually let it go.  Throughout the years I have tried to be there for you, I have tried to help you, I have listened to you, I have been patient, and understanding even when i don't think you have really deserved it.  I have been a good friend and a good girlfriend. But you continually shit on me time and time again.  I think you have made it evident that you don't want anything with me much less a friendship. I can't keep being hurt by you over and over again it just isn't healthy.  There has to be some sort of change.  Since you aren't changing, I am.  I hope everything works out with your kids and you.  Have a good evening.


So far he hasn't responded.  I doubt that he will, at least not right away.  I am partially bothered because if I do something wrong and I know I am wrong, I go out of my way to try to smooth things over.  I want him to do that, some grand gesture to show that this two years was not a waste.  It doesn't have to be a trip, or jewelry  but those would be nice, a card would even suffice.  But I get nothing, and I probably won't.  And I think this is what stopped me from ending things sooner, because I knew that he would not care enough to fight for me.

My friends think that while my words were strong they were not enough and didn't really provide closure.  I disagree.  I feel more empowered then I have ever felt.  Part of me wishes that he would have never contacted me.  Part of me feels sad because I do care about the issues that he is going through.  But it is almost a new year and I need to start off fresh.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Am I Like Rihanna?

So I have been thinking about the post topic for the past few days.  A few days ago Rihanna posted a picture of her on Instagram kissing the head of someone who looks like Chris Brown.   Now if you follow pop culture like I do, you know that the troubled twosome have been re-kindling their friendship for the past few months.  It appears that the the picture was just a culmination of what we all knew what was going to happen:  Chris Brown and Rihanna getting back together.  So when I thought about this and what happened to me this weekend it made me wonder, am I like Rihanna?

No I am not talking about our party habits, nor our sense of style, or even our personalities (even though I know I am fab).  No I am talking about this pattern of returning to those who have hurt us in the past.

So here is my story.  I know a few weeks ago I pledged to no longer talk to my most recent ex.  It lasted a few weeks or days, I don't really remember, before we were talking again.  He never questioned why I stopped talking to him, things just went back to normal I guess.  On and off we both had suggested seeing each other, since we haven't seen each other since March.  I decided that what better reason to reunite but while watching football with our rival teams playing this past Thursday.  He took off that day as he normally works at night.  I was working in DC so it was not out of my way.  We agreed to meet somewhere in DC, which is a neutral location for both of us, thus guaranteeing that it would be a friendly meet up and nothing more.

So why did I want to see him?  Well it had just been so long I missed him.  I mean this had been someone that had been in my life for a few years and we still talked, although not as frequently.  I also wanted to talk to him in person about things.  I feel like text messages cannot give me the truth and potential closure that I may have needed.  And it is nearly impossible to reach him via phone.  I felt like if we were going to attempt to be real friends and not diving in the the gray area of more than friends but less than a committed relationship that at least for me there needed to be some clear boundaries.  Because clearly for someone that declared that they only wanted to be friends the banter was overly friendly.  If you want to be my friend, just be that, without sending confusing mixed messages and later backtracking and acting as if I am crazy for playing along.

Thursday came.  I was excited but fairly nervous.  Yet the whole time I was plagued with this feeling that he was going to cancel.  Why?  Because was always notorious for that, both while we were dating and when we were in a relationship.  So what happened?  He backed out.  I wish I hadn't deleted the message (because I am deleter not much stays in my phone these days).  He texted me, not called ( the coward way out).  The text said something about sorry I have to cancel.  I am having mixed feelings and I am hungover.  Now you have another reason to hate me.  I texted him back to ask him if he was serious.  No response.  So I called him.  He confirmed the information that he sent in the message.  I promptly told him something to the effect that he was no different than before.  That I am tired of his bullshit and to have a nice day and nice life and that I was done.  When I got back to my seat (because I am at work, and he has the uncanny ability to piss me off while I am at work), I texted him a message saying unless you can be a real friends don't contact me again.

That was Thursday.  I haven't contacted him since, nor have I heard from him.  I am not surprised though.  Why? Because He is a coward.  He always has been maybe always will be.  He was too afraid of what I was going to say to him, of what was going to happen.  Meeting at a bar in DC to watch football, sounds like something stressful right?  Umm no.  And the thing is, he has shown this repeated pattern over time.  So why would I think things were different?  What incentive has he had to change?  None.

I feel disgusted.  I am disgusted in him, obviously.  I don't know what kind of grown ass man behaves this way, especially someone who wants to be my friend.  I am disgusted that he didn't really apologize and he never has and probably never will.  Part of me waits for a sorry card to come in the mail, or a gift, but I can keep waiting forever because for someone who cares about nobody but himself, it is never going to come. I feel stupid for all the times that I apologized to him over and over gain for trivial things that made him upset but how he has never batted an eyelash at the egregious offenses he has done to me.

But maybe I am more disgusted in myself.  I am disgusted that I dated this man for two years, despite the red flags that I saw throughout our relationship.  I am disgusted that I could continue to care for and maybe even pine after a guy who obviously has no respect for me as a girlfriend or even a friend.  I am disgusted that I am willing to give a man chance after chance who does not deserve it.  And it is obvious when we made the plans how wrong I felt because I didn't even tell most of the people I knew what I was doing, nor did I tell them what happened after he cancelled for the billionth time.  Why?  Because I knew that I was going down a bad path.  Then when I was burned I didn't feel like hearing I told you so, and what were everyone was thinking, because from reading this post I think that you can tell that I have beaten myself up more than anyone else can.

And while I was angry on Thursday and ready to be done, and while I am still angry today and still ready to pretend that I never met him, part of me wonders if in a few days, a few weeks, a few months if I will let him back in my life.  I have endured more heartache from one thoughtless man than I can stand. How can I be so strong in so many other facets of my life, and so weak for this one person?  And although I know my situation with this ex does not compare to domestic violence I wonder if Rihanna and I have share the common trait of letting people back in our lives who have proven time and time again that they do not deserve us?  Is this beginning of a pattern for me?  Will the next person I date just be my ex 2.0?  I hope not.

Unlike Rihanna there is one thing that I a benefit from.  Age.  I am just too damn old to put up with someone else's bullshit.  I think my loneliness has a lot to do with why I even still communicate with my ex in the first place.  My friend's grandmother used to tell her that you have to get under someone to get over someone.  Now, I don't agree with that principle at all, but I do get it.  A new person will take your mind off of the old. The truth is I do want to date.  I do want to find a new person to love.  BUT, I do not want to take up with just anyone.  I just want to be with someone who truly cares about me, and someone who loves me as I love them.  But until then, alone I am.

As for the ex thing.  I am ready to let it go.  I hope he heads my warnings and doesn't contact me.  It is time for me to truly move on and to break this cycle.  I don't want to be the non-famous version of Chris Brown and Rihanna, because that is not cute nor is it healthy.