I’m not dead!

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…Just a lazy girl with way too many blogs. So, like the rest of you, right?

I just started up a new blog with a girlfriend of mine. It’s in it’s infancy, but I figured I’d let the few of you following this blog know in case you want to find me there.

I may begin posting here again as well…jury is out on that.

Anyway, head on over to Matter to Spirit if you want to find my words. Thanks!

Ignorance vs Knowledge

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The phrase “ignorance is bliss” exists for a reason. It’s meaning and all of it’s variations (You can’t miss what you never had, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, etc etc) gain credence with each passing year of life as we slowly but surely realize: the more you know about something, the less you can ignore.

I wrestle with whether ignorance is a positive or negative thing when applied to relationships. Would your friend be better off never knowing her man cheated on her? Can mediocre sex be satisfying to someone who has never experienced mind-blowing chemistry? Should the habit of dull nights on the couch be satisfying to a couple that has never truly been on an adventure together? Should someone who has never known what it is to be treated like the world’s greatest treasure accept being undervalued?

In short, can ignorance be a good thing if it serves to benefit a relationship or is it simply a less direct form of settling?

It is said that the less partners a person has, the more satisfied they are with the one they end up with. With little emotional, sexual, and romantic experience, needs and wants are less matured. This inexperience is exactly why so many people romanticize their first love. It is easy to spend your first serious relationship convinced that your partner is the end-all, be-all. Not knowing what else the world has to offer, this person is not only good enough; they are the best conceivable mate. We look back later in life at a sea of firsts, an inexplicable feeling of perfection that has never been replicated. The reason that magic is never found again is because it is largely a product of emotional innocence. Knowledge is a one-way street. The second we know more about our needs and our wants, there is no going back.

So who has it right? Will those who marry their high school sweetheart wake up one day wondering what they missed, or are picky serial-daters sabotaging themselves by raising expectations in a low expectation world?

Online Dating Services vs. Face-to-Face Interaction

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I am not exactly sure when it happened, but the dating game has changed in recent years. Suddenly, an awful lot of lonely people in all age brackets are abandoning the tried and true practice of face-to-face interaction and are instead looking for love on the internet.

Initially, it does sound more logical, efficient, and cost effective. When faced with a choice of either a buffet of dating sites, or the same old bars you visit every weekend, who wouldn’t consider something like Match.com? Instead of getting dolled up,  going to the ATM to get cash for the drinks you’ll be buying yourself, and settling in at a bar filled with the same characters you saw seven days ago, why not just stay home? You’re more likely to have a meaningful conversation from the comfort of your bed with a stranger online than over blaring music at a bar. Instead of screaming “WHAT’S YOUR NAME? RICK? OH, NICK? WAIT… WHAT?” you may actually be able to understand a word your new friend is saying.

All discouraged single people have to admit that there is some appeal to pajamas and a laptop over a binding corset and $60 bar tab. When you think about it, why would anyone opt to put themselves out there…literally, when they can lay at home and virtually shop for a mate? These websites calculate compatibility and expedite the entire process. You no longer have to scan a room full of faces and take a gamble. Online dating sites do the math for you. All you have to do is strike up the virtually risk-free conversation. You can safely hide behind your computer and reject/get rejected by others without the painful awkwardness that would otherwise ensue in person. If contacted by someone unappealing, it is far easier to just ignore their message than dodging them on the dance floor all night. It’s simple, quick, nearly painless and people are far more likely to express their interest.

So now I am wondering- has this become a complete game changer? If singletons are no longer meeting each other organically and are instead skipping all of that get-to-know-you nonsense, is it actually working? Is explaining your wants, needs, and personality quirks to the net the future of finding your next meet-cute?

It may be efficient, but I’m left wondering how worthwhile this all really is and whether it qualifies as more or less of a high-risk situation in comparison to regular dating.

The fact of the matter is, there is a stigma to online dating websites for a reason. Anyone who has actually used one will tell you this. Speaking from experience, the people on there are either looking for a quick lay, are rebounding, desperate, or at best are completely socially awkward. They turn to these websites because “normal” dating has failed them in some way. Maybe they aren’t over an ex, and needed a distraction. Maybe that guy you’re talking to has mass-messaged the same five word greeting to eight other girls and is chatting all of them up at once. Maybe that neck-up photo of that pretty girl was taken five years and 30lbs ago.

Some will use these websites in a moment of weakness. Their profiles will be active for a hot minute before the creepiness factor wins out over curiosity. It will be looked back on as “just a phase” and they will return to looking for a mate the way their parents did. For others,  e-harmony, Plenty of Fish, etc are the equivalent to throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. They will rely solely on communicating with the opposite sex this way, and they will likely remain single for a very long time.

Along with the questionable quality of the people on these websites, part of the problem is the lack of risk for embarrassment. Without the potential for consequence, human beings behave badly. If you are an attractive woman, five minutes on a site like OK Cupid will make you hate men. If you are a man, you will wonder what gives these desperate women the right to be so selective with their responses.

Considering all of that, to say we are streamlining the dating process with the use of these services is not entirely correct. The internet is a truly wonderful and powerful tool in all aspects of life, but with this new ease of communication comes the loss of something greater. Think about the power people feel behind the safety of their computer- would you look someone in the eye and allow your mouth to speak those words you’re typing?

Love and Maintaining your Identity

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In a young relationship, it is easy to immediately lose sight of yourself and mold your daily life around that of your partner.

This occurrence is normal, and typically socially acceptable during the brief window of the honeymoon phase. It is a common rhythm that so many of us fall into without even being aware. The new relationship takes precedent over everything else, and the slow decline of alone time goes unnoticed. More often than not, your single friends and their increasing irritation will be the only concrete indication of the fact that you have begun to orbit around your mate.

The tiny voice in your head will try in vain to remind you to call your friends back, or get your ass to the gym. It will inevitably be drowned out by the much louder, more insistent excuses that you’re so eager to accept. Commitments are broken, evenings at the bar with your friends are replaced by nights in front of the TV with your mate.

That said, the honeymoon phase is not ultimately a disaster simply because it is – in most cases – exactly what it claims to be. A phase. The intoxication of novelty eventually fades, and once again sober, we rejoin our lives already in progress. A new, more balanced rhythm is created, and we make room for new love instead of letting it run the show.

Disaster only strikes when this behavior is not just a phase.

We all have those friends that fall off the face of the Earth the second they find someone who can tolerate them.  Suddenly they develop new interests that sync up with that of their partner. They are enveloped by an entirely new social circle.  This person will not be heard from again until something goes wrong, and they need a shoulder to cry on, or a wingman to help seek out a rebound. That friend will then repeat history the second they latch onto someone new.

What I will never understand is how the aforementioned friend doesn’t realize that these relationships failed likely because they gave up their identity. Willingly, freely, eagerly they threw away their alone time, single behavior, friendships, social life, career focus, and probably good grooming habits all to be fat and happy. They allowed their life to revolve around their love, and their happiness to be completely dependent upon it. Ultimately, all they have is their partner, and when they no longer have that, they return to reality empty handed.

People who perpetuate this pattern illustrate how vitally important maintaining your identity is to the health of a relationship. Sharing interests, friends, and special moments together is equally as necessary as spending time apart.  Too often, one or both members of a couple forget to blossom as a separate entity. Once someone becomes completely emotionally/financially/socially dependent on their relationship, they are giving love a death sentence.

Part of a couple or not, each of us must never forget who we are, or how to stand on our own two feet. We are all unique and interesting in our own right, and those idiosyncrasies are the very things that will attract/ have attracted a mate. When you enter into a relationship, consider the consequences of losing yourself- what does that leave for your lover?

And where does that leave you when you’re alone again?

Break-ups and the Hazards of Dating in a Digital Age

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Break-ups.

We all go through them at some point. How each of us chooses to navigate them varies. Some morph into workout-beasts and replace emotional pain with physical, just to attain that fleeting endorphin high. Then we have the wallowers who camp out on their couch, pint of Ben and Jerry’s in hand, box of Kleenex on the table and Casablanca on Netflix. Party animals will dance and drink it all away, hoping the first rando club make-out session they have will somehow suck the pain out of them via their mouth.

Regardless of how we choose to deal, there is one thing all of us in our 20s to early 30s have in common. It’s something our parents, older siblings, and every generation before ours can’t possibly understand. It is a product of our own making, a game changer that every generation following ours will be forced to cope with.

It is the downright evil combination of social networking and failed romances.

I’m not even just referring to your Facebook photo graveyard of that five minute relationship you had with whatshisface, or trips down memory lane on your blog.

For some reason, we twentysomethings feel the need to share every second of our lives. From 140 character or less thoughts, outfits of the day, destinations, and thousands of self portraits, to (what should be) very intimate relationships. As a culture, we love to hate over-exposing ourselves.

Years of living this way has created some bizarre habits. Suddenly this generation’s creepy penchant for instastalking, facestalking, tumbl-creeping, etc has become the norm. These behaviors have effectively turned break-ups into an unrecognizable, nightmarish version of what they once were.

Worse, I’m not entirely sure many of us truly take issue with this. That inherent masochistic urge to look up an ex resides within most people. The temptation to see if your ex is as sad as you are, or maybe what your replacement looks like lies dormant for a bit, and then rears it’s ugly head. Then maybe it spreads to your boyfriend’s ex, because you need hard evidence that you are an upgrade. Suddenly you find yourself habitually creeping on Ex/Boyfriend’s Ex/Girlfriend 2.0. Disgusted, you swear never to look again.

But fingers have minds of their own. Breaking the habit of indulging your morbid curiosity to view the life or lives that have gone on without you is next to impossible.

And so here we are. Forty years ago, when my father broke up with his last girlfriend before he met my mother, he walked away wounded, but stringless. No claws in him, no eyes on her. To stalk someone, you had to stand outside their house and risk police intervention. The internet, social networking sites, blogging- all of it has made break-ups into something most of us are not emotionally equipped to contend with. Where have the days of moving on gone? Why have we accepted that it is normal to be stalked by ex lovers, ex lovers of lovers, lovers of our ex lovers?

Why are we content to be forever haunted by ghosts of our past?

About this blog

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Also conveniently found in the “About Me” section! But let’s be honest, who reads that shit?

I’ve never been an easy sell. I don’t fall in love often, quickly, or eagerly. In the past I’d even say I earned myself the somewhat dubious reputation of a serial dater.  Once upon a time I considered myself the friend you avoided setting up with your respectable single friends, cousins, brothers. I didn’t do sleepovers or get close, and just about everything out of my mouth was an involuntary stock response to the same old questions I’d been asked for years.

Basically, if I dated you, odds were I’d dump you. The process leading up to that moment was probably drawn out, full of excuses and misdirection. In a foolish attempt to spare your feelings and my own, I’d avoid telling you anything true. My insistence that nothing was wrong and inability to share anything deep about myself were just because I needed time, certainly not because I saw things going nowhere. I’d be tired, cranky, feel sick, but it wasn’t you. I’d give you the crumbs you needed to survive until they were no longer enough, and then I’d cut off the supply entirely.

Hell, even my current boyfriend- the love of my life and the man I want to marry- was repeatedly dumped by yours truly. Repeatedly. Nice, right? (Don’t ask me why he stuck around, just high-five me)

Anyway, that’s not to say that I gave nothing. For every man I’ve ever been with, I’ve given some little piece of myself to him. And he has, in some way or another, given something to me. A life lesson, a memory, an embarrassing story to exploit.

So here they are. All the men I’ve loved, the ones I’ve loved to let love me, and the one I’ll love forever.

At the end of the day, good or bad, love or loveless, we’re all a little damned if we date.

X Bomb

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It’s truly disconcerting to know that somewhere out there in the world, each of us has at least one of our very own time-bombs.

With no way to safely disable it, approaching it in an attempt to do so is never a safe course of action. Odds are you’ll end up destroyed or at least maimed beyond recognition.

If you choose to risk an explosion, people around you will look at you and wonder why you did this to yourself, why you were cool and collected one moment and the next you’re a ghost of your former self.

And so most of us know and live by the school of thought that it’s altogether better to keep these bombs where they belong- far away and unacknowledged.

I’m referring of course to the X bomb, for which ignorance is really no solution either. The problem with the X bomb is that you can drop it in a sentence, or a cautionary tale with minimal fallout…but when it’s dropped on you, it’s a whole new mushroom cloud.

What’s worse is that once you’ve buried the X bomb and moved on to that aforementioned willful ignorance, there’s really no way to predict precisely when it may fuck up your shit.

We all know and accept that they become a dangerous part of life, and it’s a risk we all consciously choose to take. When you love someone, you realize that somewhere down the line it may just blow up in your face. We decide love and a potential trail of these bombs is worth it, we tread lightly and hope for the best.

So…all I want to know is, when do these fucking things become inert?