Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Idea of the "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

I don't know if you watched the video in my post two days ago, but I HIGHLY recommend doing so before you read this, just so you understand where I am coming from. If you have watched it, then read on!

This is for all the crazy ex-girlfriends in the world. You know who you are, and most of us have been stamped with that inglorious name due to some random childish behavior. We have called too many times and hung up. (DAMN YOU, CALLER ID!) We have driven past his work to see if he is REALLY there. We have gotten insanely jealous of something that really meant nothing. (This, by the way, is how we ended up being the crazy EX girlfriend.) Too often we are all lumped into a category of mentally unstable and prone to fits of rage through no one's fault but our own. All stereotypes are made from an element of truth, and this is no exception. Many a male friend has asked me what the "deal" is with crazy behaviors like these, and I have to be honest, I rarely have a legitimate answer. So, like anyone that would want an answer, I went to someone that just may have it: my fiance. What makes him the source of all things female in my life? He is the youngest of 3 children, both of his elder siblings being of the female persuasion. So he got to see the teenage and young adult craziness at it's finest.

"I think it's the rather fun combination of societal programming, immaturity, insecurity and emotional thinking that forms the 'crazy-quilt' of young women in relationships. There is no one thing, it's just a stew of hot molten psycho. "

First off you have got to LOVE the term "crazy-quilt". I am adopting it as my own, thank you very much.

"It's happened to every girl I have ever known between the ages of 14 and 22."

This caused me to look back on my own self-made quilt of crazy. Sadly, I have to admit it's true. Looking back at my teenage and younger adult years, I was ripe with insecurity and acted in such a fashion that makes me cringe today. I know I have called so many times that my fingers hurt. And I know I have attempted to control situations that had nothing to do with me. So, why? Why would I put myself through that sort of hell, knowing full well that it will end badly if I keep it up? But that compulsion to know his every move just tugged at my stomach, causing me to press onward.

Now, I know that my mother cautioned my against this manic behavior, telling me that it would lead to disaster, but I knew better. (Lord, don't we all at that age?) I "knew" that if I gave him an inch of space that he would abandon me. Just like I "knew" that if I let him hang out with his friends, he would cheat on me. Oddly enough, this is just a self-fullfiling prophecy. The more we put that stranglehold on them, the further they run. There is such pressure early on in our lives to find a man and settle down. The best I can say is that the pressure cracks us when we are young and trying to MAKE it happen.

This is all well and good if you are 16, 17, 18, 19, etc, but what if you 26 and still pulling this garbage? That's where the problem lies. If you FREAK when you can't reach him and decide that he is OBVIOUSLY screening your calls and is breaking up with you, so you go out, get wasted and sleep with some other guy, there may be a problem. (I'm just sayin'!) This is the behavior that so many men loathe. This is what keeps them thinking that we are all the "crazy ex-girlfriend". (By the way, if he breaks up with you, going to his favorite hang out so you can "accidentally" bump into him is a really bad idea. DO NOT DO IT!) The trick to this is you can't make someone like you more than they do. If they are going to like you more, they have to come to it on their own. Calling them 97 times a day and hanging up, or "randomly" showing up at their house with a plate of their favorite meal is creepy, not cute. If you have to ask your ALL of your friends to find one that thinks what is most obviously a bad idea is a good idea, you should likely avoid said idea at all costs.

We all just want them to like us, but they will never like you if you aren't you. You are NOT a girl that sits by her phone, waiting for him to call, just in case he wants to hang out. If you are that girl, stop being that girl. He isn't calling for a reason. You have to be interesting on your own. Get a hobby. I don't care what it is. There are so many things to learn in this world. If you aren't into socializing, learn knitting or crochet. Okay, this isn't the coolest of hobbies, but it's something, right? I guess my point is, you aren't going to attract a man with a butterfly net and pin him down. You need to attract a man with who you ARE, and if even you don't like it, they why should he? There is a cool girl in all of us, we just need to find her and take her out for a spin. So go find YOUR inner cool girl and take her for a ride. You just may like who she is more than you thought!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What We Will Be Chatting About Tomorrow...

Watch this and learn!

Tomorrow we tackle passionate people and the need to listen

Monday, August 10, 2009

Love is NOT a Battlefield (Or a Game for that Matter)

We all know the infamous 80's anthem by Pat Benatar, crying out "We are young, heartache to heartache we stand! No promises, no is a battlefield." If that wasn't enough, Jordin Sparks has gotten into the game, declaring that "You better go and get your armor." There is a distinct problem with this though, love isn't supposed to be a battlefield, love is not a war. Love is supposed to enrich our lives, making us joyful for each day. Love should bring joy, not a tear. If love is hurting, I hate to say it, but you're doing something very wrong.

Everyday should not start with a fight, or turn into a fight, and if it does, it is time to figure out why. If there is love, there should be patience. If your partner is tired and stressed and snaps at you, it may not be in your best interest to start a fight over their attitude. Look deeper. How is work for them? Are there familial issues? Are they in pain? There can be any number of reasons for their behavior, but you can bet that the aim is not to inflict pain on you. If you listen to these songs, you may miss out on the bigger picture, the actual problem.

As an added bonus, I thought I may address another problem I have seen with younger girls and romance, that love is a game. I cannot stress how wrong this is. To use someone's heart or emotions for personal gain is immoral! How would you feel if someone manipulated you to get their way? If you are using your "wiles" to get your family, boyfriend, girlfriend or anyone to react a certain way, you are playing their love for you like it was a game.

You can watch any number of romantic comedies that have the heroine using her God-given assets to play men like puppets. Don't know what I am talking about? Go watch "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" and carefully watch Amy Adams character, Delysia. She flits from man to man using sex to get her apartment from one man and a part in a play from another man. She got so deep at climbing the metaphorical ladder, that she almost misses the forest for the trees. If someone becomes so obsessed with getting what they think they want, they may miss the chance to get what they need.

Deep down, people are "pack animals", we crave closeness to others like us, to manipulate those around you may lead to a deeper loneliness than any of us can comprehend. Be kind to those that you love, in all ways. Be understanding, because you never know when you will be having a bad day. The last thing you will want is to have to go and get YOUR armor.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The "C" Word

Sooner or later, this happens to almost all of us. We are floating through our lives as normal, content in our existence, when our partner uses five little words. "I slept with someone else". And in that moment, the universe cracks. Five words ago, everything was fine. Five words ago, I knew my heart was beating. Now what? Now, with a stunned look upon your face, you feel as though you can barely breathe. The damage is done. Where do you go from here? How do you look that person in the eyes anymore? How do you even go to sleep in the same bed? Can you? Is it possible to forgive such a heinous transgression? That answer can only be found by digging into your relationship. Some of the answers aren't pretty, but to heal, you have to know.

1) How long have you been together? Has it been a month, a year, a decade? This matters. If it's only been a month in the relationship and already they are involved with someone else on a physical level, then is it even worth patching up? The emotional tie isn't as strong as someone that has been together for nearly a decade. For that you have to weigh the pros and cons. You also have to ask yourself the next question.

2) How long has this been going on? Was it a one time screw up? Is it an affair with all the emotional tangles that go hand in hand with that? If it is only once, and you have history, then therapy may be in order (as well as time to heal so you can eventually forgive). Sometimes partners mess up big, but if there is an affair with someone that they have been involved with for any length of time, the questions get even harder.

3) Were they safe? Even if they say they were, please please please get tested right away at your physicians office. I cannot stress the importance of that. You have no idea what kind of person they may or may not have been with, and it is in your best interest to give yourself peace of mind.

4) Were you even emotionally well matched to begin with? There is the chance that you may not have even been right for each other, and that is what prompted them to stray. They may feel unsatisfied, hell you may be unsatisfied. That is in no way an excuse for the behavior, but it is a reason and an excellent jumping off point for the healing process.

5) Can you forgive them? You may think you can, but if you look as them and all you think is what happened you need to consider the idea that you may not be able to get over it. If that is that case, a trial separation and therapy may work. It is a huge emotional task to begin to forgive someone for that sort of betrayal, but if you want to make it work, it is possible.

If you have considered the idea of cheating on your partner, think of this question for yourself: Are you prepared to inflict that kind of damage for someone you care about? If you are no longer emotionally invested in the relationship, please consider telling them. In the grand scheme of things, breaking it off would be like yanking off a Band-Aid where an infidelity would be open heart surgery without anesthesia. This is someone you care/ed about. Heartache is easier to get over than heartbreak. You owe it to them to be honest.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Importance of "Me" Before "We"

We are all guilty of it, being relationship crazy before our parents can even utter the word "hormone". We rush into the first relationship that we can, then break up over some nonsense, and wash, rinse, repeat. The stress we put on the "we" is astounding. Too often we are looking for our soul mate before we even know how we take our coffee. Girls desperately want to be a part of a whirlwind romance, losing ourselves in the idea of love rather than actually falling in love.

Most girls start dating in high school, and I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. Hell, I did that. Girls will spend most of high school worrying about if their boyfriend is cheating on them, or if their crush is interested, or crying in the bathroom because she is going through a break up. High school is a time for self discovery, not for the never ending tragedy that is young romance. When we are young, we don't even know the characteristics we value in our friends, let along someone we are dating.

For the record, I am not saying that we shouldn't date in high school. On the contrary, actually. I am saying we SHOULD date, and date a lot! The more people you know, the better you know yourself. If you pigeon hole yourself to one person all through high school, you miss knowing what you like to do, the things you enjoy, and even learning what you want to be! You find yourself creating all of your plans on the idea of spending time with someone, waiting to make plans with friend on the weekend so you know what "we" are doing. You then find yourself applying to the same school to be close to one another. Let look at the truth here, how many people actually stay together for a long while after high school? No one I know, and certainly not me.

By equally distributing your time with friends and different guys, you learn more about yourself. You find yourself being more involved in life, even learning who is worth spending time with. To learn your own personal strengths and weaknesses is one of the most important lessons we can learn before we decide to commit to one person.

Take a breath, and take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Like it or not, this is who you are stuck with until the day you die, you may as well know her. After all, she will be your best friend.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When It's Time To Leave, Just Leave

For me the hardest part of any relationship is knowing when enough is enough. Every partnership can have it's breaking point. When both people have been wracking their brains on how to make it work for months, even years, on end, then it may be time to part ways. This is never an easy thing to do, and it rarely is pretty. Some girls say that they want to remain friends with their exes, but that cannot always be the case. Sometimes the hurt is just too bad and you cannot forget that easily.

But how do you know when enough is enough? How do you know that it isn't a copout? Look back on your relationship, no matter then length, and it will be easier to tell than you may care to admit. The fights have progressively increased, getting more and more resentful over time. Your partner cannot meet your needs and you feel jilted. There can be a skewed amount of effort (one person trying harder than the other), and it weighs on them. If you feel that you have given all you can possibly give, and feel tapped out, it is likely time to move on to greener pastures.

So you decide its time to make a graceful exit, but how do you do that? Some say break it off quick, like removing a band-aid, and I tend to agree. Be honest about your feelings, but be tactful. This is someone that you once loved. You may even still love them, so to leave with kindness is the best way.


1 - Over an e-mail. This is cruel and impersonal. If you have even been so intimate as to kiss the other person, then you owe them an face to face explanation.

2 - Over a text message. This is even worse. You couldn't so much as take the time to turn on your computer to tell them the truth, you hid behind your phone.

3 - On Facebook/MySpace/Twitter. Do I really need to say that announcing your break up to the whole world BEFORE you have even told your partner is a bad idea? Yeah, I didn't think so.

4 - Have you friend, tell his friend, tell him. Too many times I have heard of spineless women start a game of telephone to break up with their boyfriends.

As a side note, a simple rule of thumb: If you don't have the strength to be honest and break up face to face, then don't date until you do. Life if full of unpleasantness, and hiding from it does not simply make it disappear. We all have to face life head on, because we only get one chance. There is no do-over.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Thing About Excuses

In today's society, divorce is not only an option, its sadly more commonplace. People don't work as hard at staying together anymore, the moment there is even a tiny bit of resistance, we throw in the towels and call out the lawyers. It's tragic. It would be different if there were real issues, like someone was a habitual cheater or abusive in some way. It's not though. Things like money being tight or hating our jobs drive us from one another. We gave up before it even got tough. What does that mean for us as people? So what if you hate your job? I haven't met a single person that hasn't hated their job at one time or another. Money problems are something that almost everyone has to contend with, grown ups have debt. Big shocker there I know.

What is the point of all this? Simple really. We have turned in to people that make excuses to not try. Trying is hard, and can get ugly. It's easier to roll over and play dead than to sweat through the issues at hand. TALK IT OUT! If you are at the point in your relationship that you are deeply committed to one another, be it through marriage, living with one another or even with children, for the benefit of all involved, try to work it out. Nine times out of ten, issues can be worked through. If the problems run deep, it's okay to enlist the help of a professional. Therapists are not satan. They will not steal your soul then turn around and sell it on the black market to any idiot with a credit card. They are here to help. Sometimes just talking about your problems with someone removed from the situation can put things back in perspective, make things less scary.

Now, maybe I sound a little preachy, but I cannot stand to hear one more person tell me that they can't make their marriage work cause they are "tired of the stress" or "money is too tight" or "all we do is fight." I am not trying to say these aren't real problems, they are. These are not marriage ending problems that can never be worked through. These are not deal breakers.

Take a breath. Take a moment. Close your eyes. Remember why you started this journey in the first place. You may be glad that you did. There is someone that made you start down this path, get that in your mind before you go all in and you fold. Life is not a game of poker. You can't just walk away from the table when you are done losing. Sometimes you have to trudge through the bad to get to the good again. Life doesn't have a do-over, and there is no restart. It's time that we stop looking for the easy way out. It's time that we look to our grandparents, back when divorce wasn't an everyday word. Back when the vow meant something. Trying to make the little things make sense doesn't hurt, in fact, at this point it can only help.