Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why Men and Women Can't be Friends

 A recent experiment took eighty-eight heterosexual pairs who claimed to be friends and invited them to a coffee experiment. The designers of the experiment did not want to risk any resulting data leaking out to the participants and destroying the friendships. With this in mind, the city where it took place remains anonymous, but the participants were English speakers. Are you aware in many non-English speaking countries the concept of platonic friendship between a man and a woman is a laughable.

The couples drank coffee, then, separated for an interview supposedly about their beverage. The interviewer digressed into an offhand conversation about the friend. Questions regarding their friend’s hotness factor, or if they would ever consider their friend in a romantic fashion. The females assured the interviewer their friendship was only platonic. While the large majority of guys were very interested in becoming romantic partners. The few who didn’t confessed to an attraction to their female friend may have just been lying because they felt the question was suspicious.

Ah, ha, it is pretty much what every guy has ever told me, but I refused to believe. One male blogger grabbed this topic and told his tales of unrequited love where he stayed friends with a girl over thirty years in hopes he’d work his way into her bed. He did, after her last divorce, but then found he could no longer be friends with her. He has now entered The Twilight Zone of friendships. Things were good before they slept together. Truthfully, he was grooming her for romance. He had a goal, but once he reached it he had nowhere else to go. The things he did that made him such a wonderful friend from remembering her birthday to sending her positive messages when she was down, he no longer had any motivation to continue. Men are very goal driven. They are more about the hunt, than the eventual catch. Some men are more like catch and release fishermen. The two drifted apart after a thirty-year long friendship.

So can men and women never be friends? All the movies, magazines, and trendy books tell us we can. Women can be friends with men they don’t find sexually attractive. It is like having another girlfriend or a gay best friend. No man wants to find out he’s not attractive. His platonic friend will lie to him, and tell him he’s attractive, which he translates to having a chance with her.

My sweetie assures me that men do not talk to women they aren’t interested in. Even casual conversation with a stranger is meant as some type of hook to reel you in. The man who settles for the friendship role is playing the long game. Women argue that they have great male co-workers or long time family friends. The male co-workers are people you have to work with, but it does not mean there may not be some underlying flirtation there. That’s why people use the terms work husband, work wife, and emotional affair.

A woman engaged in this discussion pointed out she had several men friends that she and her husband shared. What she really meant was they socialized with several couples. Usually the women do something together while the men choose a different activity. Out of these long term friendships, when the spouses die it isn’t uncommon for the friends to marry. Some might say they marry simply for companionship, but who’s to say that male friend wasn’t looking for an opportunity especially if his wife died first.

Ironically, women who treat their gay best friend like a girlfriend taking him everywhere, and even dressing in front of him, were surprised to learn he was sometimes open to taking a walk on the other side. Women adore the gay best friend because he brings in the girlfriend quotient without any the competiveness, while still bringing the male presence. Most women realize on some level that male/ female friendships seldom work.

If this is truly the case, why do women offer friendship when they break up with a guy? Some believe they can be friends. Others like to keep the man on a string for back-up purposes. Most just feel guilty. They may occasionally comment on his status to keep the conversation going, but soon drift away with a new man. Defriending a man or deleting him from your cellphone seems so permanent and cruel, but it is the best thing you can do for both of you.

You won’t really be friends. Instead, you’ll be people who dated once. Your insistence to stay friends will keep all the broken dreams and hurt current by continuing to socialize. He won’t be comfortable sitting across from the table with you and your new man. He’ll compare himself to your date.  He’ll wonder what the two of you are like in bed over the appetizers. An intelligent man wouldn’t agree to this travesty. Why put your “friend” through this.

If you have a trusted male friend, keep in mind he may not want to hear your relationship tales. Well, he might if they’re bad. That way the two of you can gang up on your latest guy. Keep in mind; he may just have ulterior motives for disliking your most recent date.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Did Technology Kill Romance?

Back in the day, a girl used to wait by the phone for a call from a special guy. This was before email, twitter, cell phones, and texts.  These things, you’d think make it easier to communicate with the opposite sex.  Lack of face to face communication can complicate matters. In other words, a clever email may fall flat due to lack of comic intonation.

Cell phones have changed the face of romance. Many men and women watch while their date reads texts, and even tweet about their date as opposed to talking.  How rude is this? The woman is not giggling about a text from the babysitter as she claims. Another example was a couple I observed at a pricey restaurant the man texted constantly while the woman just looked irritated.

Cell phones complicate relationships in so many ways. The smart phone allows you to check in at various locations, or your app does this automatically . While this seems to be an attention-getting device, it actually chases potential dates away because they don’t like where you went. There used to be times where certain aspects of your life remained private.

Technology allows you to fast forward through relationships. Needy gals or guys send numerous emails, voice mails, texts, even write on your wall after your first date. Text protocol is you should never send a second text until someone responds to the first one.  This allows the person to decide quickly this is not the person for them. Kinda killed the romance for the needy individual too.

If you are thinking about dating someone, the accepted practice is to Google him. By typing his name in quotes you’re able to pull up basic information, profiles, and even arrest records. Going more than three pages deep for the first date is excessive. Problem is often the information is old and wrong. A man who is divorced remains married on an old site. Who’s a girl to believe, the Internet or her date?

Cell phones tell a tale about the state of your relationship. If it is good, he actually wants to talk to you. He even tells you he loves you when you call. Not so good when he texts you, but still spells out I love you. The relationship is on the skids, when he texts, and abbreviates everything. People often use texting to break up because it so much easier than seeing someone’s heartache. They also don’t have to make excuses. As bad as that is, it’s not as bad as reading it on Facebook.

In England, one-third of recent divorces label Facebook as the cause. Facebook seems to be the ultimate snoop not only telling everyone where you’ve been when you automatically check in somewhere. It also alerts everyone who you are talking to also. A casual conversation you had with a high school mate didn’t go unnoticed. What could have been a meaningless conversation raises suspicions. Add to that a persistent ex who stalks you and makes provocative comments on your wall leading to the belief you’re back together. Sometimes you might be the culprit when you tried to search for old lovers late at night. Unfortunately, they chose the light of day to respond to your overtures.

Facebook allows rejected lovers to constantly monitor exes even to the point of knowing when they won’t be home to cause a little mischief at their former domicile. Rumors get started online that practically race around the world.  A woman can discover through her guy’s status change that she is old news. There is even a video of her replacement with a gushing commentary. This is so wrong, and heartless. Where has our sense of decency gone to? Not to Youtube, that’s for sure.

Sure, you’ve probably seen a few poorly filmed videos of someone bemoaning their fate because they were dumped. More popular is elaborate revenge videos where the wronged or possibly wronged woman enacts an elaborate scheme to get revenge on her guy, make that former guy. Everything from vandalizing his prized car to decapitating his vintage collection of Star Wars figurines seems to be fodder for these angry females. Are they filming this for the police?

We wonder why it is so hard to keep relationships together anymore. We hardly do any work to get them started. Electronic messages go awry…maybe it’s you or the weather. The text you sent never arrives, your cell phone is dead, out of service range, or worse yet the wrong person gets the message. Which brings up the subject of sexting? Is it ever a good idea to send a nude picture of yourself that could accidentally go to your mother or favorite uncle with the wrong push of a button? Even if you send it to the desired person doesn’t mean he won’t share it, or even put it online.

Technology has caused us to be less accountable in the romance department. People no longer worry overly much about breaking up. Instead, they block all calls and messages, and change their status on Facebook.  Has your man dropped you? Check his Twitter feed.

Any man or woman interested in a little action on the side has dozens of sites that cater to married people.  Twenty years ago, a man might contemplate cheating, but seldom found a willing partner. Now he has hundreds in his own locale. What does this say about us as people? If you want to know, type the topic in and thousands of blogs will come up on the subject.

It is odd that we have the ability to communicate with anyone in the world, and yet we seldom bother to talk to the people we are sitting right next to. I experienced this on a date with a gentleman who felt the need to respond to every text. He’d make a disclaimer that it wasn’t a girlfriend, when I could clearly see a woman’s photo and name. Needless to say, I didn’t see him again. Of course, if he really wanted to impress me, he would have turned off his phone.

It’s sad when turning off your phone is impressive. When your date looking into your eyes as opposed to staring at a phone screen is all it takes. It is a step in the right direction, maybe even be a romantic step.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Finding You in a Relationship

The other night I was at my women’s group and my job was to impart knowledge I gained through life experience to the younger women. I searched my mind hard for some wonderful information, maybe even a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, but I kept coming back to the same thing. If you can’t be yourself in a relationship then you don’t need to be around that person. If someone ridicules you for being who you are, then he does not love or support you. Remember actions always speak louder than words.

Right now, today, people are in a relationship where they can’t be real. I know I certainly was; more than once. Often men and women have an ideal mate, and try to make whomever they are with into that person. Some men will pay for plastic surgery to shape the woman into the centerfold they want. Ironically, these same men leave their altered women because in the end she wasn’t who they wanted.

The stress of trying to remake yourself to your mate’s requirements is phenomenal. First, you throw away the concept that you are okay. Every day you force yourself into a mold that does not suit. Maybe your significant other tells you this will make him happy, make his parents accept you, even help him advance in the corporate world. I imagine some people live their entire life being something they’re not, but most people break.

In a brief moment of clarity that usually occurs after the person who insisted on all the changes decamps. The relationship is full of doing things you never liked, associating with people you couldn’t stand, spending money on clothes that didn’t suit, even vacationing at places that were more about being seen than enjoyment. I realized this at breakfast yesterday.

My husband and I went out to breakfast at a pancake house on our way back from running early errands. The restaurant is located in a grassy strip off the highway in a ramshackle building, but the food is divine. It reminds of one of those places they would discover on the Food Channel.  As I dug into my jalapeno laced eggs, my husband commented that I was the only woman who would ever go to the restaurant with him. Why is that I wondered?  He explained it was in the wrong part of town; it didn’t have cachet, or name recognition. It wasn’t expensive enough. The right people didn’t frequent it.

His words made me realize his dating relationships kept him from doing whatever he wanted to do. I could understand. I’ve been out with men who only went out to nice places to work the room. On the other hand, I’ve been to dives so bad I feared for my general safety. Seldom did a man ask what I wanted to do. In case you’re wondering, the pancake place was my pick. I liked it because the food was good. I really thought that was the purpose of going out to eat.

Those other women who insisted on going to a crowded, expensive trendy restaurant in the upscale section of town were doing two things as far as can tell, maybe more. They were trying to make my beloved husband into an acceptable mate who squired them around to pricey, popular restaurants. They tried to get recognition and value through other people. Look! I am eating at the same restaurant the mayor frequents.

Ironically, while these recognition seekers did not allow my sweetie to do what he wanted, or be himself, I wonder if they even have a clue who they are. They are chasing a current recipe for success encouraged by the media, and companies that have something to sell to get you there.  Drive this car that is vastly out of your price range, and people will call you cool. Wear these ridiculous clothes and every woman will envy you. We only allow sophisticated people in this restaurant.

I learned early on that all those other people you think are so concerned with your life aren’t. You may walk into the door of a popular place, and they look up briefly. They aren’t acknowledging your wonderful outfit or that you are part of their rarified world. Instead, they wonder who let in the cold breeze. Five seconds later, they don’t even remember you.

People who are so concerned about what others think never take time to accept the people as they are; instead they want this prepackaged version. Once you accept yourself and others where they live, there isn’t this desire to run around trying to impress people who are at best annoyed with you.  In my women’s group, we have one member who tells long-winded stories of her glorious childhood, exotic vacations, important people she knows, and various honors conferred on her. I am unsure if her stories are true or not. The one thing I do know is that people aren’t impressed. In fact, they are anxious to get away. Some people never grow out of this vicious game of one upmanship.

Be the real you now. Find out who that is. You may have spent so much time denying you; it may take work to find you. You will find there are many people who like you better as you. I used to volunteer to do everything at work to make people like me. It didn’t work and just wore me out. The next year I didn’t volunteer and even refused extra duties. The result was my co-workers liked me when I was “bitchier”. They even told me so.  They felt it made me more real, a person they wanted to know. Be yourself, and you’ll attract people you’ll enjoy being around.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Perfect Match

Back when I was reading dating profiles, I read one where an older, not athletic man declared he wanted a young, long legged natural blonde with a shapely figure and violet eyes to pamper him.  I thought it was a very chauvinistic thing to say, besides I wasn’t a blonde, nor did I have violet eyes. Only person, I’d ever heard about having violet eyes was Elizabeth Taylor, and she certainly wasn’t blonde.

His profile was an example of why there are so many single people still looking, but not finding. They will never find that perfect mate because he or she doesn’t exist. I think I know women being one, and all. Still, I don’t understand them entirely either when they based their decision to date on how he looks. Now, if he looks like someone that just walked off America’s Most Wanted that’s different.  Aren’t we as women totally put out if we think a man rejects us if we’re not a shapely blonde with violet eyes?

It makes us angry coming out of the gate. I admit there may be some women who resort to violet contacts and a push up bra hoping to catch the man’s interest, but it won’t work. This is a guy who is seeking a mythical creature, not unlike many women out there who want a man 5’10” or taller, fit, dark hair and blue eyes. He should be a high wage earner, no children, clinging ex-wife, or stalkerish ex-girlfriend lurking about. He has unlimited leisure time to accompany the woman to chick flicks, picnics, and romantic getaways. This is a movie hero, not a real man.

I finally met the man of my dreams. He treats me like a princess. With him, I feel like one. Ironically, many women passed on my prince of a guy because he wasn’t 5’10”, or had dark hair. He does have children, and a peculiar ex. This mythical perfect man guy doesn’t exist just like the violet eyed blonde.

There are so many contradictions here. A high wage earner puts in long hours, and will not have the time or inclination to go paddling down the river, or lunching alfresco. He’ll probably want to golf with his work buddies to either cut loose or plan the next week’s business deal. If the man had no exes or children, it is indicative he doesn’t want a relationship or is incapable of maintaining one.

As for all the physical appearance criteria, are we fourteen? I am taking a chance here since my husband will read this, but I will tell you about my brush with divinely handsome. I went out with two movie-worthy handsome guys. One I only dated once because he was so lacking in personality. The other I dated him a few times in hopes he’d get better. My reasoning was how could someone that handsome being so lacking in other qualities. He wasn’t mean, very well groomed, but lacking in the intellect and responsibility. They both were tall, dark hair, and neither had blue eyes. Both were in love with themselves because women had told them how wonderful they were. Luckily, I didn’t join that fan club. This happened all back when I was a young, long legged brunette. After that, I’ve had a prejudice against movie star handsome men.

It’s not an unwarranted prejudice either. Men that good looking do not value you. They know for a fact if you get in a fight today they’ll have a new chick by nightfall.   One reason is women are constantly crushing on men who meet the Hollywood standards of handsome, tall, gorgeous hair, and buff body. With this in mind, even married men are hit on, while some actively encourage the approach. They feel it is their right. With this in mind, Mr. Gorgeous looks a little less wonderful.

If you want a tall guy and you live in the US, keep in mind only about 11% of the men meet your standards. These same tall men may be too old, too young, gay, or married. Really slims down your odds of finding the perfect one. All you women who want dark haired guys with blue eyes, you’re really going for a rare fellow. Dark hair usually pairs with dark eyes. Those beautiful china blue eyes pair most often with blondes and redheads. Maybe you do find that perfect man that so many women in the US are looking for. Congratulations, but guess what he doesn’t find you that special. Because of this he will not value you or treat you well. You may find him as disappointing as I found my movie star guys. Later on, I refused to go out with anyone more attractive than me. It may not have been a perfect plan, but it eliminated me seething as various women fawned over my date.  Yes, they did do this, hoping to cut me out of the picture and insert themselves. So no ladies, it is never as wonderful as you think it is going to be parading around with your too handsome fellow.

Women, and men waste their time trying to hook up with a movie star-like dates. Men can be slower to realize they’re being played when they hook up with a beauty queen. The only reason they tolerate such bad behavior is they believe other men envy them. In actuality, other men might want to have sex with their girlfriend, and may already had, but they don’t envy him being played like baby grand piano. Women usually wise up faster when their pretty boy goes bad, and moves on. Not always, Elizabeth Edwards is a good example of this because she knew her husband was a player, but chose to support him for political purposes and to preserve the façade of a family unit.

The sad truth is when you are passing over men with the wrong colored hair, or even no hair. Someone else is picking up a perfectly wonderful man you discarded. I am so grateful for women who never chose to meet my sweetheart and discover what a wonderful man he is. Some men would have pushed for a date even though they didn’t meet the height requirements confident they’d wow the woman with their sense of humor, but not my man. He figured if he wasn’t all the things they specified how could he’d ever had a chance? I understood I closed any profile that specified the exact type of women they wanted.

My sister was shocked when I closed a profile that specified someone exactly like me. “You’re it. Why’d you close it?” She wondered aloud. I closed it I tried to explain because he was so narrow in expectations of what he would accept. The type of woman he wanted may not have been the best match for him. How true is that for all of us?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ghosts in Your Closet

Do you have any ghosts in your closets that are keeping you from a relationship right now? Let’s face it, we’ve all been in relationships, or even marriages. They leave their mark on us, but we don’t have to keep their baggage in our home or heart.

I remember when my mother got remarried to a widower. He insisted on placing a poorly painted self-portrait of his dead wife on the wall of the living room. Most of you think a man wouldn’t be so insensitive. You’d be surprised. Plenty of people have framed photos of their exes with children in their home. They defer getting rid of the picture because their children are in them. You mean to say, there are no pictures of just the children? I really see no reason for you to have photos of your ex around. It implies you’re keeping them because you like to look at them, you might get back together, or you felt he was a catch and like to show off his photo.

Maybe no photos, but you have other things from the relationship. The table the two of you bought at an auction one rainy Saturday. The sexy black dress you wore on your honeymoon. Diamond earrings you use as your go-to jewelry.  Why should you get rid of these things? Every time you use it or wear it, you revisit buried memories.  These usually aren’t bad memories. They are of a happier time; you rewrite your old relationship making it more like spaghetti sauce commercial with al fresco dinners and green hills in the distance. Your current relationship suffers in several ways. The time you spent on rewriting old scripts isn’t employed on making memories with anyone new. No one can measure to this rewritten man and times. You may even overlook the things that drove you apart. No man enjoys sitting on another man’s couch.

Put the shoe on the other foot. His favorite tie is a gift from his super sexy ex. You hate the tie and think it should go. Is he wearing it because he misses her? Does he think about her when he puts it on? You might insist he get rid of the tie. He refuses and now you think the ex is more important. See why it is never good to have physical reminders hanging around?

People dispense energy anywhere they go. Often when you go to battlefields, prisons, even concentration camps you have the sensation of oppression and despair. On the same hand, you can go to theme parks and immediately have a sense of excitement because so many of the visitors left all that energy behind.  When a relationship ends, whether it is due to death or circumstance, there is an energy imprint.  Usually it is the last emotions you experienced which were probably grief or betrayal. That’s why it is so important to move to a new house or apartment when starting a new relationship.

A friend had to move into her fiancé’s ex-wife’s house. Her fiancé had lived in it for several years.  She walked through the houses recognizing another woman’s stamp. She’d wondered if they often fixed meals together. Maybe rolled around on the living room carpet. She certainly could imagine what they did in the bedroom. You might say she could have thought these things without living in the house, but why would she? There would not be constant reminders of the ex-wife everywhere she turned.

I am a practical person so it is hard for me to toss valuable items. When I entered into my new marriage, I did not want ghosts from the past to be hanging on. I made an effort to clean house of unwanted memories, as did my husband. I sold items on Ebay and Amazon. My daughter took a truckload of furnishings to her new home. All the rest went to Goodwill, local missions, and DAV making it a tax write-off.

Getting rid of all the items was surprisingly freeing. I believed I had jettisoned all my old relationship stuff before I was amazed how much stuff I still had. I not only moved out bad memories, I made space for new good memories with my husband. It is surprising how much negative energy a pair of forgotten boots, television set, and paperwork generated in my home.

The two of us started over in a new smaller home without any reminders of previous relationships. It is good to walk through the front door and know what we have is exclusively ours. I did bring with me family heirlooms associated with my family only. I specify this to let people know you don’t have to get rid of a necklace your grandmother gave you because you wore it often with your ex. You only rid yourself of what is significant to the prior relationship.

Some people have a hard time of letting go of something an ex gave them. If that is the case, maybe you aren’t ready for a new relationship. Other people don’t have the money or resources to buy all new stuff. It doesn’t have to be new. It only has to be devoid of association with your ex. My sweetie kept furniture he bought after his divorce since I was the only woman who ever used it. He could look at the couch and not remember another chick perched there. If you can’t totally clean house, do what you can, then replace one offending item at a time.

Maybe you think things shouldn’t have this power over us, but think how you felt when you bought it together, or when your ex gave it to you. Do you want those ghosts in your home? Do you want to be haunted by a previous relationship?