I’m really good at sabotaging relationships. I wish I wasn’t, but I guess it’s just how I’m wired. Usually it’s because I overthink it, but there are many ways to sabotage a relationship, all of which I’m equally gifted in — except for one, and that is, the art of pulling away when you feel you’re getting too close. Perhaps you’ve experienced it.
Psychology Today reported on this way that people close themselves off in relationships, thus self-sabotaging themselves:
I can’t tell you how many people pull back the moment things get close. Caring about another person deeply is a truly painful thing. It makes us value them more, ourselves more and our lives more. Inevitably, it reminds us of time and loss. On another level, love challenges an old and familiar identity. It thrusts us into maturity and forces us to separate from our past. When we get close to someone, it shifts our tectonic plates. It is a poignant and powerful thing that can erupt a dormant volcano of underlying emotions—things we’ve buried and sat on for years. In order to not let these emotions demolish a flourishing relationship, we have to face these deeper scars. We have to recognize the ways we’ve been hurt and understand how those wounds inform our current behavior. This means being willing to feel pain without trying to numb ourselves or gloss over the feelings that come up. We cannot numb pain without numbing joy.
Personally, I’ve never done this, because my problem is, I get too close. But I’m reminded of an ex who did this to me.
When you’re single, hearing your best friend refer to herself as “we”, can be annoying; “we” as in, your best friend and her boyfriend. “We” as in, “Oh we love/hate/don’t care for that/him/her.” It can be kind of tiring and the more someone “we’s” the more prone to eye-rolling you get.
But really, there’s nothing wrong with being a “we”. Dare I say we even celebrate the “we’s” of this world?
Because it’s just so hard to find someone in this world. Someone you really connect with, and who, miraculously, connects with you. Someone you love, and miraculously, loves you back. It really is like a miracle sometimes that out of all the billions of people in this world, you’ve found one who tolerates your quirks and even adores them. That’s worth celebrating.
Falling in love is a tricky thing. It takes so much time and then takes no time at all. It’s a balancing act of knowing when to be selfish and when to compromise. It’s forgiveness and trust and discovery. It’s confusing, but exhilarating. Difficult, yet so satisfying. There are many different kinds of love, but the trickiest of them all is the love we must fall in with ourselves.
You see, we can’t expect to give ourselves fully to another person, to trust that it’s right, to be a strong partner, if we’re unsure about ourselves. How can we expect someone else to be happy with us if we aren’t happy with us? We all know this to be true, but, man, is it easy to forget. Let us never be too stubborn to deny ourselves the help of these simple reminders.
There was a big song that came out a few years ago called “Finding Out True Love Is Blind.” Remember that? It was a guy doing his best Mick Jagger voice singing about different kinds of girls that he was going to do things to. The summer that came out, I had a goal, comrades. And that goal was to make out with the lead singer of that band. “I can do this,” I thought. “He isn’t even super attractive.”
But I never did. That would have required for me to actually do things, like go to their shows. That’s effort, man.
I love androgynous men and I can sum that up in two words: David Bowie.
Yes, I hold Sir David Robert Jones entirely responsible for my fascination with androgynous men and that’s just hunky dory with me.
It’s not that I only date men who look better in skinny jeans than I do (although that always happens). It isn’t that I always date men who are prettier than I am (that has happened). I don’t choose it. It’s just what attracts me. Not always, but more than not.
A lot of people don’t understand this. Especially men. They’re baffled. And I understand why. Most of the adult male’s life, is, I believe, about being strong, muscular, hard, unfeeling, and you know, manly. And what does that all mean? What does “manly” really mean? Is David Bowie not really a man because he wore eyeliner and tights? He got so many women, though!
I really don’t mean to offend anyone with this piece. I hate the idea of fetishizing a group of people. I’m saying, let’s be honest, we all have certain looks we’re attracted to. Some men like women who are “natural” looking (like the no-make-up make-up. Like Gwyneth Paltrow or something.) Others are into Zooey Deschanel-type girls. The quirky ones. Some dudes are Courtney Stodden fanatics; big tits, big hair, big heels — that’s what they want. And I want men who are comfortable enough with their feminine side to not feel the need to wear a sports jersey every single day at every single waking moment.
And I realize that my type is not everyone else’s type. Some women think my type of guys is the absolute worst type to like. When Bowie sang, “You got your mother in a whirl/she’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl” he was singing it while women were firmly shaking their heads, not Beatle-esque squee-ing of “OH MY GAAAAWD, YES!” And that’s okay!
But you find me a man who rocks skinny jeans better than I, and….well, that’s it for me.
What’s YOUR type?
You’ve just told your friends a very long story about a guy you went on a date with who you either 1. didn’t click with at all or 2. clicked with but then he did something that ruined the date. You’re telling them you’re not going to see them again. And that’s when they said, “Just give him a chance.”
You know what? No.
For many of us, flirting is fun and effortless — as natural as breathing. For others, they’d rather stick toothpicks in their eyes. But hang on, terrible flirters — maybe it’s not that you can’t flirt — but just that you haven’t found the right flirting style yet.
Dr. Jeffery Hall, assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas and his colleagues conducted a survey to determine the different types of flirts. The survey was published in Communication Quarterly.
“People often find themselves frustrated or unhappy with their ability to get others to notice them,” he says. “If we know more about what we do, and the likely outcomes of each style [of flirting], then it may give us insight into why we end up where we do.”
So what are the five styles of flirting? Dr. Hall breaks them down.
This is for all those moments when you want to say everything to that one (or twelve) persons in your life that you just can’t say. This is for you. This is for you to say to your yous.
Because sometimes you’re not ready. Because sometimes, it’s too late. Because sometimes, you need to practice before you can actually do it. Because sometimes, you just don’t want to.
I’m now going to address all of the different Yous in my life. As in, more than one person. As in, this is not all about one person. And then it’s your turn.
Yesterday in typical morning fashion, my best friend Gchatted me to catch me up on what had I had missed being out the day before. She had finally met a new “distraction” on Tuesday night. After the requisite flirting, he finally said to her, “Well, if you ever want to hang out, you know…find me through the avenues.” WHAT? No, what does that even mean? Not only does is it not make any literal sense, but it’s also the worst mixed message ever (Yes, Berger; there ARE mixed messages). It’s so vague and passive that it could have just been a nice gesture, trying to get out of looking like a first class A-Hole.
Being a veteran, my friend wasn’t going to let this ambiguous crap fly. She told him whatever sentence he had just strung together made no sense. He responded, “Well, I’ll give you MY number and you can text me yours if you want. I would never ask for yours, because you’re a lady.”
Ok, this still makes no real sense, but it least it was clear that he was interested, but being a weirdo about it. So, she texted him. They volleyed until she fell asleep. Game, set, match. Your move dude…MAN UP AND PLAN A DATE.
When Aaliyah released the album, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number in 1994, I was 10 years old. I definitely didn’t appreciate what she was singing about at the time, but as I get older, I am starting to wonder whether I agree. At a high level, yes, I agree that (after a certain age) age is only a number, but to be honest I can’t say that I would feel comfortable dating someone significantly older (or younger – I don’t ever want to be a cougar). But, once you’re in the working world it’s much harder to know exactly how old people are, and, unless they’re wearing a wedding ring, there’s always potential.
In high school, I only dated people who were in my grade. Even then, I thought that freshmen were off-limits for seniors and had pretty rigid ideas about what was age appropriate and what was not. I distinctly remember the first time I dated someone who was three years older than I was (17 and 20). It was the summer after I graduated from high school, and we went out a few times, but I just thought that he was creepy for being interested in someone who was basically still in high school (psychologically, at least).
Throughout college, I only dated people who were in the same year as me until my senior year when I met a guy who was four months younger (YOUNGER!) than me, and a junior. I remember making a thing of it for a few months and then just being like, well I guess this is happening. It was really only annoying when I turned 21 and then had to wait for him to catch up so that we could go out together.
As I read Megan’s list of dating questions from last week, I couldn’t help but answer all of them in my head. They were all such great questions! Having been an active member of the dating pool for about fifteen years now, I’ve become somewhat of a trusted source for dating advice. So Megan, I have a few answers about dating for you [UPDATE: My boyfriend was reading over my shoulder as I wrote this and got very involved, so the answers have perspectives from a boy, a girl, and a couple.]
If you’re an adult, do you have a crush on someone or are you just “interested”? Is the idea of having a crush synonymous with the years of braces, AP Calc exams and prom?
No not at all! As an adult you can both have a crush AND be just interested in someone, and probably at the same time. Being an adult is mega confusing because we have accumulated way more feelings and experiences to make us over-analyze every situation. A crush is when you know someone, think they’re groovy, and want to kiss them on the lips in a dimly lit bar. A crush is something that develops over a long period of time, and typically from afar. Being interested in someone means you don’t think they are heinous, and the thought of dinner/drinks/drunken make out with this person isn’t terribly revolting, but you’d definitely need more information.
Is there a difference between flirting and talking? Like when people say, “We’re just talking,” when asked about his/her romantic situation with another person, what exactly does that mean?
Finkle is Einhorn. Einhorn is Finkle. Flirting is talking. Talking is flirting without dotting your “i”s with hearts.
What conversation topics aren’t off-limits or boring or too revealing on a first date?
It’s best to stay away from your
irritable bowel syndrome, fat-shaming mother, deep seeded fears about whether or not you can bear children, awful boss, bad roommate situation, credit card debt, insecurities, politics, religion, and your absolutely out of control friend, because the company we keep is a reflection of ourselves personal problems.
I need to confess something and it’s not going to be easy – the thought of selling my body for money has crossed my mind once or twice. I am not proud of it. I am even more shamed by what my college Women’s Studies professor would think or, say, my parents who paid good dollars for said college probably so I never have to think that thought. But during my flings with unemployment and subsequent Showtime’s Gigolos marathons I have had the passing thought – those dudes kind of have it made.
This brings me to the topic of the gray area entrepreneur, Jacqueline Samuels, who has opened up a snuggle spa, a cuddle concierge, a spooning salon that is the Snuggery. Turns out, American culture is chronically deficient in non-sexual touch – I guess we just go straight for the junk and maybe save the cuddling for after. Maybe. Probably not. Probably we have a really early appointment we have to make in the morning so let’s do this again sometime. Well apparently that’s our first mistake. Are you feeling anxious with the weight of the world on your snuggle-stunted shoulders? Perhaps consider treating the afterglow as the main event. Numerous studies (that seem to be clogging my pacifist-filled Facebook newsfeed) have shown that cuddling raises the levels of the oxytocin hormone that creates calmness, helps with depression, reduces stress and addiction and ups your immunity. And as we Californians know all too well, where there’s promise of inner peace, there’s a new age buck to be made – I’m looking at you, Lululemon.
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