As a fairly young but kind of old chick (49) I have lived through my share of tainted love, survived the teen angst years and ran screaming through my twenties, skidding all the way into my thirties. I’ve had my heart stomped on, hung out to dry, and fed to me more times than I’d care to admit. I’m no expert on love or relationships, if there is such a thing, but I’ve gleaned some great insight from these eye-opening experiences and I’d like to share them with you.
Lately, I’ve noticed an upswing in the phenomenon I’ll call “the revolving door” among women (and a few guys if I have to be honest). In laymen terms, this means that ladies are desperately trying to find a man to take care of them and when a relationship (if there was one) ends they’re back on the hunt to find a replacement without coming up for air. This must stop. Aside from being brutal on the heart, it’s easy to become bitter and jaded, thus, making us vulnerable to guys who may not have our best interest at heart. If your intention is to be in a committed union this might be the blog for you. Ready for some hard truths?
- You don’t need a man to make you happy. Sure, they’re handy to have around, especially when there are big, hairy spiders to slay and you need a tire change. The truth is, you can learn how to change a tire from YouTube videos. Hell, call me and I’ll show you how to do it. If you rely on another human being to fulfill your needs you are doing it wrong. You need to be comfortable in your own skin, with your own company, before you can appreciate what you have to offer others. If you have to depend on the company of others to make you feel good about yourself, you need a therapist, not a dude. It’s your job to make you happy.
- Sex and love are two different things, and mean something different to men and women. You do not have to sleep with someone to get them to like you. If you’re doing this already, stop. There is no mystery when you give it up after the first date. No judgements here, just solid advice. We have become a society of casual hook-ups and women are paying dearly for it. Here’s some trivia for you: The more sexual partners a woman has in her lifetime increases her chances of developing cervical cancer. Think about that. Protect yourself and stop throwing your body at guys to get their attention. If you really want a guy to like you give him a chance to get to know you. If he doesn’t want to get to know you, move on. RESPECT yourself. You’re worth it and you won’t regret it.
- Meeting people on the internet is completely alien to us old folks. I met my husband the old fashioned way; in a bar, where my mom told me not to meet people. Back in the day, people met face to face not browser to browser. I’ve seen some weird shit go down when people began “dating” someone they’ve never met. Have you ever seen MTV’s “Catfish”? Watch a few episodes. That’s all the education you’ll need about the subject. If you feel like you have to meet guys online then do your research. You cannot be too careful. Notice the bold italics? They’re there for a reason. Google the hell out of anyone you’re really into and learn how to sniff out a liar. Do an image search. Look up their criminal records. Behind a computer screen people can pretend to be anyone they want. Remember the “Catfish” episode when some poor soul thought he was dating Katy Perry? Some people are master manipulators. Take care of you.
- Remember the phrase, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got?” If you’re feeling like every relationship is a repeat of the movie, “Groundhogs Day”, you need to take a time out and breathe. We’re all on this earth to learn and grow. We cannot learn and grow if we don’t take the time to reflect on how we may have contributed to the demise of a relationship. This isn’t easy. I dated someone once for three years. This man constantly lied to me, cheated on me with my “friends”, and denied all of it. I finally left. I spent a long time behaving like a victim and hating him for what he’d done to me. Then I had a revelation; my “ah-ha moment”. I had allowed this guy to hurt me for three years. I was a victim the first time I discovered his infidelity but, after I went back to him, I became a volunteer. The real question is why did I let him treat me so badly? Why did I feel I deserved that kind of treatment? A piece of sage advice from the brilliant Maya Angelou: When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them. It is never easy confronting the truth when it means having to evaluate how we are culpable in difficult situations, but we must do it in order to grow. It’s called growing pains for a reason.
- As much as I love my husband, whom I’ve been with for 18 years, it isn’t his job to make me happy or to take care of all of my needs. I covered this in the first paragraph of this blog but it bears repeating. He’s been beside me through funerals, weddings, births, and we’ve lived through some of the worst things a couple can go through. We stopped relying on our friends, who didn’t know how to support us, but leaned on each other. We have each other’s backs. We argue, we nitpick, we get on each other’s nerves but we are tight. We learned how to work together because our first marriages were nightmares. We didn’t repeat past mistakes. One of the most important things I’ve learned was that it’s not my husband’s job to make me okay with myself. It’s not his job to fix my awful childhood, my messed up parents, or my insecurities. That’s my job. His job is to listen if I need to talk. His job is to wrap me in a bear hug if I need one. His job is to make me laugh if I’m having a crappy day, but it’s not his job to fix me. Again, that’s my (and maybe my therapist’s) job. Men aren’t meant to carry the world on their shoulders. Sometimes, it’s the man that needs propping up. And that’s your job.
- For single moms: Please, please, please do not force your children to meet every man you date. Ideally, they should only be meeting when you’ve both decided to be in an exclusive, committed relationship. Do not parade every man you meet in front of your kids. And, for Pete’s sake, do not allow men to sleep over when your kids are home. Do you know how awkward it is for kids to wake up to a strange man in the kitchen? I do. Your number one priority must be the safety and well-being of your babies. Hopefully, you’ve done your homework and checked your sweetie’s criminal history long before you introduced him to your little ones. Reality check: Some men only date single moms to gain access to their children to do awful things to them. YES, THIS REALLY HAPPENS! You can never be too careful!
- Finally, love yourself enough to know who is worthy of your time and affection. Be picky. Walk away from anyone who hurts you, lies to you, and doesn’t make an effort to be with you. Be yourself. Jump in with no expectations and no judgements. Have fun and keep it light. Take care of yourself and don’t put any pressure on yourself or anyone else to perform a certain way. Never compare your relationships to anyone else’s; each one is as unique as a snowflake. Always trust your instincts and keep that third eye open; its God talking to you.