Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Say What?

I went to visit an adorable little baby this weekend. He was 3 days old and already had a personality. He liked being swaddled, he had a little snort, he was already a little guy. Who knows what ideas were swimming in his little brain or what smells he was attracted to, but grabbing fingers and making faces seem to be his favorite past times while awake.

Now, as a Lady of Leisure, I've had plenty of time to think lately. And as I stared into his tiny little blue eyes, I wondered what were the things that would have the biggest impression on this tiny little life. Would it be his surroundings? His parents? His friends? Would it be movies that would teach everything he needed to unlearn about dating? Would it be his favorite TV shows or the music he listens to everyday?

Well, I've been paying attention - and I'm ready to pick a beef with some of the music! Yes, you artist! You with your catchy song lyric and great tempo - I'm talking to you!

BRUNO MARS - GRENADE
So, I actually like this song, and listen to it often, but level with me here Bruno - what are we saying? You would catch a grenade for this girl, but she's likely to rip the breaks out of your car. That doesn't seem like a fair trade...or like unrequited love even. That just seems like you're a pansy. I'm sorry. I like you, a lot, but that's what I think. But people sing this song and they think it's romantic! We breathe this song in on the radio and sing it out loud at karaoke and start to think it sounds so lovely! The man would catch a Grenade for you, he'd jump in front of plane for you but you won't do the same! And thank Goodness, because we don't need to two crazy dead people.

Loving someone who doesn't love you isn't romantic. It's silly. A right of passage? Yes and certainly something we can all relate to, but, really? We are we chasing after someone we'd take a bullet for but who in turn doesn't only not like you - it seems like she'd like to let you take that bullet, Bruno.

Not a sermon- just a thought.

ONE DIRECTION - YOU DON'T KNOW YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL

Ah yes, Girl I love the fact that you have no idea how hot you are. That's the single thing I find the hottest about you - so please, be insecure, question your self confidence, have no idea that you're pretty. Don't you dare be empowered by that fact because the thing I like about you the most girl --- is you don't know you're beautiful.

I know I know, what are we teaching people anyway? Do we want girls to be self absorbed, conceded assholes? No, of course not, but to celebrate how attractive it is that you have no idea you're even a little attractive and triumph your insecurities... Well, that just seems a little chauvinistic doesn't it?

NEYO- LET ME LOVE YOU (UNTIL YOU LOVE YOURSELF)

You know how Whitney Houston told you that the greatest love of all was to love yourself? Forget all that. Lets take a short cut baby, and let me love you until you love yourself. Don't work on yourself, don't go through all that - nah, just be with me and I'll love you enough for the both of us. I got this don't your worry you're pretty little head.

Really? Again, I know we're trying to be romantic here but the message is a little...well, wussy.


But I guess that's what love songs are right? We feel like wusses when we're in love! Maybe I shouldn't be so tough. The truth is, from what I remember, Love, makes you feel crazy and love loss, even worse. I think I've been feeling numb for so long, its been easy to be cynical. But, yeah I do remember that! At one point in time, I would have caught a grenade for some douche bag that wanted nothing to do with. I did play on my insecurity and want guys to like me when I thought was ugly and started to feel that way too! And yes, I did want someone to love me enough for the two of us. We tend to loose ourselves in that state right? Yeah, I vaguely remember that feeling.

Fortunately, though unfortunately while we are in that state, it doesn't work that way. You know what's romantic? Being in love with someone who loves you. Falling in love, slowly with someone and being petrified of every step, that is romantic. Kissing someone in the morning who doesn't wish they were in bed with someone else. That's romantic. Being able to live without someone but truly enjoying their company, that's romantic. Having the confidence to know that you'll be okay if it doesn't work out -- that's romantic.

But we don't respond to those songs. They would be too upbeat and when you're down, you need someone to commiserate and thank God! Because otherwise you might really start to think you're alone. Instead we all sing along to the same songs at the top of our lungs hoping and willing ourselves to know that this is the last time we ever feel that way.

Maybe it is?

I dont' know. As you know if you read my blog - I have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm an expert at dismantling relationships and finding all the reasons it's not gonna work out, but trying positive for a change - I'll leave you with some romance. Besides, that baby I now know might benefit from being surrounded by romance. He lives in a University town - there are enough cynics around him anyway.

Bright Eyes- First Day of My Life



And for that matter - I like "GET LOW" too - regardless of the message - Forget the message. Everyone, put on your dancing shoes and go the Window - to the Wall....


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Relationship PTSD

If you've been watching "Episodes" and you've ever broken up with someone only to try and rekindle the flame after a bad break-up, you saw Sean and Beverly's attempt at make up make out and instantly knew, he couldn't go through with it. Not because he was a bad guy and couldn't get over his wife's cheating, albeit sort-of-kind-of-getback-at-you-sex. He kept seeing Matt LeBlanc's rumored an anaconda sized manhood shagging his wife. He was traumatized and still suffering from severe relationship PTSD or R-PTSD.



Sean is not alone. Many of us bring lots of baggage with us into new relationships. Divorced people and monogamous people in long-term committed relationships are the worst. We may as well has bags that say:

*CHEATING ISSUES
*DADDY ISSUES
*PRIVACY ISSUES
*TRUST ISSUES
*FINANCIAL DISTRUST ISSUES
*YOUR MOMMY ISSUES ISSUES
*CLEANLINESS ISSUES
*FRIENDS ISSUES

and so on and so fourth. We are a wreck!




I asked on Facebook what kinds of R-PTSD people  bring with them into new relationships and the responses were hilarious and sad all at the same time.

My friend "Lindsay" sent me an email saying that her ex-husband's mother was incredibly controlling. She's been dating her new boyfriend for a month and everything was going well. His mother called her to invite her to lunch and Lindsay promptly broke up with her boyfriend. "It was too much pressure," she confided in me. "He was great but I just had visions of her ruining my life and wearing white to my wedding and demanding to sing at my baby shower".

Lindsay may have over-reacted, but after 10 years with the same husband thinking that this was it for her, the thought of an overbearing mother in law who found her phone number by looking through her sons phone without any warning was one sign too many.

"Meg" wrote to me about a similar PTSD experience regarding Facebook. Her ex was having an affair with a woman on Facebook and as a result she tends to be incredibly overbearing with her new boyfriend about it. "I don't care, I don't have anything to hide so I just give her my password," her boyfriend Allan told me. Meg appreciated his patience, but admitted to me, "I don't want to be this way.  I don't want to be mistrusting, but I was with my husband for 8 years and that happened. How can I keep my guard down after just 9 months?" she asked.

I have no idea Meg. I will say that if you're new boyfriend is going to cheat on you, he's going to do it regardless of whether you have his Facebook password. This paranoia mostly affects you, the traumatized one, but also has an affect on your kids, your co-workers and your new relationship. Luckily for Meg, she's in a relationship with someone who lets her, as she herself said, "be crazy".

And thank God for those patient people out there who date those of us afflicted with Relationship PTSD, because we are a handful!

"Alana" confided in me that once a month she asks her boyfriend if he wants to break up with her. They've been dating for 5 years. "I just like to know where I stand" she told me.  And its not only women who suffer from Relationship PTSD. "Jacob" sent me an email the length of a novel explaining to me that his ex always use to come into the bathroom while he was pooping. True story. He said it bugged it him out so much that it lead to their lack of sex and eventually the demise of their relationship. He now has a locked door policy in the bathroom and says weekend getaway trips with girls he's dating have been pushed to the three month mark and beyond.

My friend "Erin" constantly asks her fiancé if he wants her engagement ring back.

On my end, I can tell you that as a fellow R-PTSDer, I too have my many moments of crazy. I am the most confident person in the world, except when it comes to relationships. I still wonder when I can call or when I can text or if its okay to post a photo or if he's going to realize I'm crazy at any given moment and tell me where my daddy issues and I can go.

But there is hope for us! Relationship veterans have to be in relationships with very patient people. If you're not a patient person and can't' take a little bit of crazy, then you probably should date someone whose never been married or in a committed long-term relationship that went awry. They might be a little saner or at least do a better job of hiding it. Because isn't that really what differentiates us anyways? Us veterans of relationship war to the table with all of our bags - labeled not willing to commit anymore time than we need to if you're not up for it from the get go.

But we're not all bad! There are many benefits to dating a Relationship Veteran.

*We generally cook better.

*We generally communicate more...much more than you may be accustomed to (It's something we learned in couples counseling).

*We are planners because we have been, but we're not making long term plans for while.

*We generally will be nicer to your parents (because anything is better than the in-laws we had that now hate us).

*We love your "alone" time because we miss ours.

*We love your kids, because they aren't ours.

*We tend to want to have more sex with you...because we've been married or in a long term committed relationship that went south and probably spent a lot of time...not having sex.

*We are generally more independent, because we've had to be.

So if you can take a little crazy, try dating a Relationship Veteran PTSDer. We keep it interesting...for sure.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Learning to Walk

Life is made up of a series of "firsts"whose outcomes inevitably determine the relationship issues you'll have forever. 

If you were successful at taking the ever exciting first steps right away and walking was something you picked up quite easily and naturally, you're automatically programmed for earlier success. You are more of a risk taker. You haven't been soured by failure and disappointment. If in turn, you were a late walker, you either tried harder, which put you on a hard working track, or you gave up and found new ways to signal you needed things, forcing your parents to do your bidding, until you had no choice but to walk. Either way, all of those firsts set off a chain reaction that has inevitably sent you on a certain relationship educational track. 

My first kiss happened at the beach. I was 12, he was 11 1/2 and we were all playing a game of truth or dare. It was only suppose to be a peck kiss, but I went for it. I made the first move. He was horrified, but curious enough to go with it for a moment. Our short romance lasted a mere 3 days but it thrust me into the "take charge" educational track eventually thwarted by divorce (more on that later). 

By contasts, my good friend Anne, was first kissed at age 15 also on a dare, but the boy seemed not too excited. She didn't feel like he wanted to pick her. It left her feeling like she wanted to be picked. She wanted someone to want to be dared to kiss her. Admittedly, she dismissed perfectly nice, handsome, shyer men in college because she was still holding on to this notion of being picked. 

So all of these "firsts" happen and you finally meet "the one" and you think, "thank god that's over, so now I can relax and not worry about it." But you find out, as any married person will tell you, that once you get married, that's where the real fun begins. The theory of raising children and whats acceptable to you or what you discussed six years prior when you were dating and in your twenties is probably different from what you're thinking now in your thirties. All of those firsts that lead you to this person are things that haven't escaped your system, that will affect the relationship you have with your children, your in laws and all of the new relationships that come with being married. So fine, some people can make it work and stay together, adapting to each others beliefs of marriage and child rearing and others decide that the gap is too wide and that Johnny BeDaring who picked you at the sorority formal in college is not who you pick to have a life with.

Well let me tell you, there are a whole new set of firsts that come with being divorced. First new apartment, first new bar outing, first new emergency contact, first time you let someone hold your hand...in public, first time you introduce someone to your friends. Sure, I still remember the dashing 12 year old  boy that made me think a boy like that could like a girl like me, but I remember the first boy that kissed me post separation, that made me think that perhaps I too could be happy one day, even more. His name is Gabe by the way. Which seemed a little prophetic. My male counterpart showing me that I too could want all of the normal things that people wanted, that I had wanted once upon a time, but was too scared to explore and ruin, since everything I touched seemed to turn to shit.  

Once you pass the really sad and icky someone-should-really-instituionalize-me part, the dirty little secret of divorce is that you get a blank slate of do overs. It's actually the only gift that comes with it, so embrace it my newly divorced friends. That, and the occasional weekend to yourself away from your kids if you have any. You get to have all of those firsts again, as an adult with just as much motion sickness and butterflies as before except this time you feel like you shouldn't let yourself for some reason. You've been here before, you should know how to handle it, right? But you don't. Post divorce you, is a whole other set of rules and its okay to be really nervous about it. I would even tell you, to embrace those nerves because there is a whole new dating world for you to explore!

I think I heard a few of your hurl all the way over here, but its true! I know, no one likes dating when you have been accustomed to the simplicity of marriage. He always picked up the phone, you never had to guess what he wanted, it was comfortable and even if it was miserable, it was the devil you knew right? 

Well, the devil you don't know, might be better. I am in my first relationship post divorce. My first one. First relationship Facebook status change, first person I've called my boyfriend in four years. First person I have suggested my parents meet. First person whose parents I've met and let me tell you, it has not been without the occasional run to the bathroom and cry because you have no idea what you're doing movie moment. 

I don't know what I'm doing. I have no clue. The last time I was in a real relationship, people didn't text. I don't know what the rules are. I have no idea when I'm suppose to be cool and when I'm suppose to be vulnerable. I'm making this up as I go along, people. I have no idea if it's going to work out or not, but I'll tell you that for the first time in many years, I really hope that it does. 

And that's exciting! There is a whole new world of firsts out there. My first post divorce dates for better or for worse are impacting my relationship now. My first post divorce job is evening affecting my career choices now. You are a different person, now. A stronger, faster, funnier (trust me) version of yourself. You're learning to walk again and this time without the aid of your parents but  probably cuter shoes. 

But just incase you're still not ready to move on -- here's a list of movies to get you through it...one baby step at a time.