Q&A Tuesday


 

Most every Tuesday I answer questions submitted by readers on my formspring.me account.  I invite questions or insight anonymously on the site and answer them in a post the following week. Submit your questions for next week’s edition by clicking this link.  Link opens in a new window.

When in a relationship, how much personal space do you generally find you need?

This is a difficult question for me to answer, mostly because I don’t think I’ve ever had any balance with regard to personal space in a relationship.  The Boyfriend and I went from casually dating to spend every possible moment together in high school, and then in college it only got ‘worse’.  Of course, at the time, I loved it.  I didn’t know that sometimes when I got frustrated, angry, or upset, that what I was really craving was some personal space.  It’s funny how you don’t know things when you are young, isn’t it?

Immaturity leads us to believe that physical proximity is the only way to make sure that someone loves us, that we love them, and that everything is ‘all right’. So you spend every possible waking moment either together, or planning your time to be together, or asking where the other person is.

From experience, I know that you lose quite a bit of yourself when you attach to someone so completely.  In a healthy relationship, there should be a distinct “you”, “me” and “we”.  But I let things get to the point that “me” bothered me, and any sign of a “you” was a sign of danger, and the only acceptable state was “we”. But when the “we” crumbled, I didn’t have a “me” left.  And that was probably the most depressing thing of all.

It’s incredibly important to me to have space, to spend time doing things I want to do.  I don’t want to be ‘that girl’ who never sees her friends because she has to be on top of someone seven days a week, keeping track of their whereabouts and doing everything with someone else.  It took a lot of work to get back to me…I don’t want her going away again.

Of course, there is a limit to how much space you need and at some point, you’ve got to be aware that you’re putting up fences to keep people out…and that isn’t conducive either.  But I think it’s far more dangerous and tempting to eliminate your own personal space.

This is the 100th Post on The Blind Leading the Blonde! Not too shabby since May, eh? xoxo! The Blonde.

Advertisements

Someone/Anyone


Fortress of Solitude
Image via Wikipedia

I have returned from the Thanksgiving holiday, mostly unscathed I think…well, fairly unscathed.  But at least there is good blog fodder to follow from a holiday spent with extended family, right?

The holiday was fairly typical.  I, of course, romanticized the idea of being at home for Thanksgiving with my extended family..in total about 25 people.  But then the reality comes in.  It’s crowded, hot, and annoying.  And I spent the rest of the break wishing I didn’t have to be where I was.

Things were mostly fine until I overheard a particularly nosey relative asking another family member if I brought anyone to dinner.  And by anyone, of course, she meant a boyfriend.  “No, I think she’s strictly business right now.”

A kind answer, diplomatic even. But the nosey Nellie persisted with other family members, inquiring about my relationship status, until she finally got to the source.

Nosey Nellie looked at me in a very, very pitiful way and then asked in a quiet voice.  Don’t you have annnnnnyone at all?”

The phrase “anyone at all” makes it sound like I am just rotting away in my Superman-style Fortress of Solitude, unable to catch anyone to be my boyfriend.  The truth is, I’ve not really put a lot of effort into finding anyone at all.  I could walk out on the street today and find anyone at all.  I keep waiting for someone significant.  And in the meantime, I’ve enjoyed the someones I’ve already got.

I’ve got lots of people.  I have a great family (hmm, except for you, Nosey). I work with good people who I am fortunate to be able to socialize with frequently.  I have good friends outside of work.  I am satisfied with the turns I am taking with my life, heck..I even have a fairly cute blog about the fact that I don’t have “anyone”.  I have myself, and lately that has been more than enough for me.  The relationship I have with myself is the most important one I’ve cultivated in the past two years, actually.

But how do you express this to someone, who clearly has a bottom line expectation that partners–significant others–are key?  I couldn’t sum up my entire two-year journey to Nosey Nellie.  And I didn’t really want to.  So I just made a joke out of it.  “Never again.”

She pointed out that I said that last year.  “Obviously I meant it then, didn’t I?”

I guess I’ve got to get new material if I’m not going to be bringing someone to Christmas.

But I don’t mean it.  I do want to have someone in addition to all the other someones I’ve got. I want someone to do the stupid stuff with…like watch a marathon of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries, or drive through the racetrack that’s full of Christmas lights and listen to really, really horrid Christmas carols.  Maybe it’s time to get serious about this pursuit.

But not because I need just anyone.  Because I need someone.

 

This week I want to talk about bringing significant others to holiday functions, some other holiday-related things that happened, and what the status of my OKCupid profile seems to be.  Stay tuned! xoxo The Blonde.

Okay, Cupid.


Cupid  Awake ~ Antique Lithograph
The Cupid Shuffle

Well, at the urging of two friends I decided to check out some online dating sites.  The first one I’ve signed up for and actually put effort into posting a profile on is OkCupid.  I chose OkCupid (OC) for 2 reasons:  a) The Boyfriend met his current girlfriend there (or so he claims) and b) it’s free and I’m not sure how committed I am to this whole thing. Yes, I realize those are completely ridiculous reasons to choose a dating site, but that’s pretty much me in a nutshell–completely ridiculous.

First off,  my biggest fear in online dating was being ‘seen’ by someone I know.  I realize online dating isn’t something to be ashamed of, but I didn’t want to be seen.  So imagine my surprise when my first greeting in my inbox was from…who else?  Facebook Boy.  Why even bother to send me a message after our awkward attempt at a date that he canceled at the literal last-minute? Okay, cupid…

By and large the other messages all have the same message.  “You sound cool.” Seriously, sifting through the OC inbox I have just yielded 12 out of 26 messages that, somewhere in the first few subject lines, say “You sound cool.”  Is this code for something? Am I missing out?  Okay, Cupid…

The first day I was on there, a very nice looking and normal sounding person messaged me and asked some interesting questions, so I played along.  I wrote back twice and by the end of the day he asked me to meet him at a bar to watch a football game.  Same day.  I politely declined and haven’t written back.  Hello, Craigslist killer.  Okay, cupid…

Overall, I’m unimpressed with OC aside from the funny things they’ve sent me that are entirely unrelated to me finding a date.  They sent out a flow-chart-to-my-heart based on questions I’ve answered.  I plan on posting that next week.  It’s very strange but probably somehow accurate?

The final straw, I think, with OC is the fact that I received a very strange email the other day congratulating me.  Here’s the email text:

We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid’s most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you’d like to know.

How can we say this with confidence? We’ve tracked click-thrus on your photo and analyzed other people’s reactions to you in QuickMatch and Quiver.

. . .

Your new elite status comes with one important privilege:

You will now see more attractive people in your match results.

This new status won’t affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match’s answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You’ll be shown to more attractive people in their match results.

. . .

Suddenly, the world is your oyster. Login now and reap the rewards. And, no, we didn’t just send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see.

 A) The profiles I’ve seen haven’t been any better or worse looking that before I received this letter.  B) Were you making me look at the bottom of the barrel before you determined that I wasn’t a freak-show? Okay, Cupid…

Overall, I don’t think OC is the place for me.  I am willing to try other online dating sites, but I’ll be honest when I say that I’m not sure I even put enough effort into this OC pursuit.  Several individuals wrote me, and I wrote back, but eventually my interest waned and I stopped logging on to reply.  I am not sure how to approach this online dating concept, and to me…emailing back and forth on some website just seems like it may never get to the ‘real deal’ for me.

Q&A Tuesday


Most every Tuesday I answer questions submitted by readers on my formspring.me account.  I invite questions or insight anonymously on the site and answer them in a post the following week. Submit your questions for next week’s edition by clicking this link.  Link opens in a new window.

How do you deal with friends who have monopolizing/controlling significant others? How do you avoid being that person yourself?

I am sorry to report this, but I suppose I should be honest… I was that person.  I was 16, though, and sort of not really in the most healthy position.  So I would say that now that I have grown up over the past ten years..I’ve seen what a shitty relationship can do to two people, how miserable you become (especially within yourself), and I just know that I don’t want to be that person again.  So..I suppose that’s how I’m avoiding being that person—I just know that I don’t ever want that again.

I see that your question asks about a friend.  And I truly believe that it is perfectly normal to care about your friend and want the best for them.  When we see something happening to our friends, especially at the hands of another person, it makes us rightfully angry and upset.  Someone we love is being hurt! Who wouldn’t have a strong reaction to this?

The way I see it, when someone we care about is being monopolized and controlled, you have two options.  You can either say something to your friend, or you can keep quiet.  Each option has pros, cons, and consequences. 

Saying something to your friend is a slippery slope, but sometimes it’s necessary I suppose.  When you speak up and tell your friend that you feel like their S.O. isn’t the best match for them, you run the risk of driving the friend away from you and into the arms of the controlling and unpleasant significant other.  Sometimes, if the person isn’t ready to hear this honesty, you actually fuel the controlling fire more.  You create this strange “the world is out to get us” scenario for the couple and they turn in for support. 

On extremely rare occasions, friends might be receptive to hearing your opinions on the nature of their relationship or the characteristics that you feel make the S.O. less than a perfect match.  However, I must warn you.  Be gentle with your words.  Making strong statements like “I hate her” or “He’s an awful person” might actually turn the friend away from you even if they know what you’re saying is the truth. It’s hard to come back to someone if you’ve made another mistake and you assume they might give you the “I told you so” speech.  Be gentle, and realize whatever you say is permanent, at least in your friend’s mind. Saying things gently will at least open their mind to the possibility that they are in a bad situation.  It’s not your job to make up their mind for them! It’s your job to give them the facts and let them come to the best conclusion on their own.

If you say nothing, you will probably be miserable because it’s hard to watch a friend.  But maybe you can support them in other ways, by encouraging them to come out of whatever it is that is keeping them in a bad relationship.  Remind them of their best qualities, what makes you value them as a friend.  It may require effort to be this supportive, but I think this is probably good energy you’re putting into this friendship, rather than negative energy required to either talk about them behind their back or nag them to their face.  (Yes, I need to take my advice sometimes..sigh). 

In the end, I think how you interact with a friend with a controlling/monopolizing significant other depends on the situation.  You’ll know whether it’s right to step in and say something, or let it ride and foster a friendship in other ways.  It sucks that there are people out there in relationships that are toxic, or individuals out there that are hurting people we care about.  But you can get through it, I am sure.

Kiss and Tell


The last date I went on a while back ended with a goodnight kiss.  Against my better judgment. Mostly because I felt guilty for not doing it. It felt wrong and I ended up not wanting to see him for a second time because he made such an issue of the kiss on the first date.  I sort of felt stupid for doing something I wasn’t comfortable doing.  And I also felt stupid for being 25 and falling victim to something so petty.

I’m about to blow your mind, folks.  Are you ready?

I’m a fairly modest girl. Don’t adjust your computer screens. You read it correctly. I am fairly modest.  Most of my friends and family would be shocked and try to disagree with that statement, but I know deep down in my heart its the truth. 

Sometimes I feel like I get a bad reputation having lived with The Boyfriend and having admitted to a very serious affair with The Friend.  But this is certainly not a case of any port in a storm or anything like that.  I can count on my right hand how many people I’ve kissed.  I can count on my ring fingers how many people I’ve had full-blown sex with. 

I went on three dates with The Boyfriend before I kissed him.  Three dates.  Of course, I was 15 at the time and it seemed right at the time to take things slowly. We dated for about a year before I decided to have sex with him.  It’s not something I regret, not something I wish I had saved for a husband.  But it is something I’m glad I didn’t throw it around earlier than I did. 

It is not a hard and fast rule that I have, this refusal to kiss on a first date.  But it is something I can tell you I rarely feel interested in doing.  And it worries me.  Senseless worry, but worry nonetheless.  I worry that I will be judged prudish.  I worry that I’m missing out on something good when I turn someone down.  I worry that I’ll compromise my own feelings and give in.  I worry that I won’t compromise and I’ll miss out.

Am I weird? Is it too old-fashioned to want to hold off?

My Side of the Bed


A Sleeping moon in a cap.

 

One of the toughest things I learned to do after I ended my long-term relationship and moved out on my own was sleep.

Sleep should come inherently, to humans, I know. But the first couple of weeks I spent in my new apartment were rough, and I attributed my sleepless nights to a new space.  I am a creature of habit, afterall, and being in a new house with new sounds certainly couldn’t do my sleep pattern justice.  And I was sleeping on an air mattress, so surely that could add to the problem. 

But when the mattress came and I had a nice bed with new sheets and I still found myself sleeping terribly, I realized it had to be something else. I had all the space in the world in my bed and it just didn’t feel right.  At all.

I slept in the same bed as my ex for nearly five years.  Even in college, I lived alone and we slept comfortably in a twin bed.  The positions were predictable, comforting.  Most people were disgusted at the idea of us sleeping in a twin bed together at the age of 19, but honestly, when we finally moved into an apartment and got a queen sized bed, it seemed too big to us.  We preferred to sleep very close taking up less than half the bedspace.  And I will freely admit that despite The Boyfriend having a severe snore (to the point that others have thought he was dying…), I somehow became trained to use this sound as my very own sleep machine and was lulled to sleep by the grumbles of a deviated septum so very easily. 

But I moved out and I had to re-teach myself how to sleep in a bed, alone.  Every night I tucked myself in to ‘my’ half of the bed, but it just seemed unnatural.  It was quiet, and cold.  Having my side only on served to point out to me that there was another side to that bed.  A side that was empty and probably wouldn’t be full again for a long, long time.  I never thought of myself as much of a cuddler or physically affectionate person.  But sleeping alone in a queen sized bed is probably the most lonely thing I’ve ever done in my life. I wondered how I’d ever get over the feeling.

To snap myself out of it I stopped sleeping in the bed for a while.  Who says sleep has to occur in a bedroom? I moved myself out into the living room and slept on the couch for a while.  I treated bedtime like nap time.  I got a blanket and a pillow, turned on the tv, and kicked back to let my eyes get droopy.  Instead of moving to the bedroom, I just rode it out on the couch.  That lasted probably six months.  Then, oddly enough, I moved back into the bedroom, but made myself a pallet on the floor.  That only lasted a couple of weeks. 

Even two years later, I hate the cold spots in the bed.  But I find myself laughing when I wake up now, because I’m usually sleeping diagonally in the queen sized space, no regard for ‘my’ side.  The comforter and sheets are wrapped entirely around me. I sleep with the television on instead of the deviated septum sound.  And instead of worrying how I’ll ever sleep alone, I wonder how I’ll ever let someone back into that bed without kicking or crowding them. 

Have you dealt with the single-bed issue? Either losing someone or adding someone? Tips, tricks?

Q&A Tuesday: Now In Theatres!


Cover of "To Kill a Mockingbird (Collecto...
Cover via Amazon

 

What are your favorite types of movies?

Cute question.  Typically I would say “I hate movies”, but I’ve realized lately that’s not true.  As I get older I enjoy movies, both the experience of going to a movie in a theatre (or drive-in!) and watching one at home.  When I was younger it took a lot of effort to sit still and concentrate on a movie, but as I get ‘older’ it’s become easier.

I enjoy all types of movies.  I like comedies, dramas, thrillers (but I don’t care for gross thrillers like Saw or it’s billion sequels), even action movies.

Maybe I should just tell you some of my favorite movies of all time.  Shawshank Redemption.  I could watch that movie at any time.  The Birdcage.  The first “R” rated movie I saw in a theatre, but beyond that a hilarious movie that makes me laugh literally until I cry almost 15 years later. To Kill a Mockingbird.  The original with Gregory Peck.  Gone With the Wind.  I love watching that DVD from start to finish.  High FidelityDirty Dancing. Wizard of Oz. Steel Magnolias. Almost Famous. Zoolander.  The list could go on, but I won’t bore you all.

Thanks for reading!

I Can’t Choose


I left work that afternoon and went back to his house where I had been for two weeks.  My usual routine was to be picked up at 5:00pm, go back to his house, and sleep straight through until morning, where I’d be dropped off at work.  It was pure misery.  I missed my dog, I missed my bed, and I missed eating.  I hadn’t eaten dinner in two weeks, either. 

That afternoon at work I was at my breaking point, but nobody knew it.  I cannot remember exactly what happened on the ride home, but I walked into his house and turned around.  “I want to go home?” I said.  I am sure it was half-hearted.  I didn’t want anything.  Well, that’s a lie. I wanted somebody, anybody in this situation to pick me, to choose me, to ask me to stay.  But nobody ever did.  I bounced between them clinging to words to which I applied meaning that probably wasn’t there to begin with. 

 I packed my bag and got in his car.  My God, I didn’t even own a car then.  And he drove across town to take me back.  On the way I was silent, but he talked.  “You’ll just be unhappy when you get there.  Nothing ever changes. I’m not doing this again. “

 I didn’t have an inner voice then.  The dialogue that ran in my head was his; and most of the time it was what he was really saying. 

“You’re just giving up.  Like you always do.  Anything that is hard, you don’t want to have anything to do with it.  You just throw your hands up and say ‘Nevermind!’”

We got closer to home and my stomach churned.  It was becoming increasingly evident to me that I didn’t have any clue about what I truly wanted.  I couldn’t make up my mind.  I didn’t have an original thought in my head.  I couldn’t remember the last time I did, actually.  My mind was blank.  I rubbed my eyes and hoped something would come to the surface but it didn’t.  My palms began to sweat, my breathing was shallow.  Either a marching band was playing in the backseat or my heartbeat was literally busting out my eardrums.  I couldn’t see straight.  Two more miles, I’ll be there.  One more mile, this will stop.  I see it, I see the finish line.  The tears streamed down my face.  I didn’t know if I was happy or sad.  I still can’t tell, actually, when I recall that moment.

I opened the door, stuck a foot out.  He’s home, I’ll go in.  “Does he know you’re coming?”

I texted him as I walked out the door.  He said to come on, we’d figure the rest out when I got there. 

I didn’t know what to say. So I lied. 

“Then I’m going with you.  I’m going to make sure he takes you back, what’s your plan if he doesn’t? I’m going to tell him what you deserve and how things are going to be from now on.  We’re gonna have ourselves a little chat.”

I didn’t want that, did I?  I wanted him to disappear, for the month to have been a dream.  For things to go back to the normal we had enjoyed for so long.  It was messy, but it was better than this. Maybe. Maybe I didn’t want that. Maybe I wanted to get back in the car. Who knows? Who cares? Someone just tell me what I want.

I shook my head, and begged him to let me leave.  I was so close.  I turned to walk and he grabbed my wrists.  He stared me straight in the eyes and he gripped them too tightly.  “You don’t want this.  You don’t want to go back.”

Blank .  Nothing. 

I blinked a few times, stood for a minute or so. 

“You.  Don’t.  Want.  This.” He shook my wrists with each word, as if it would wake me up and I’d suddenly realize he was correct.  He didn’t know it, but there wasn’t anything in there to wake up. I would never make the choice, because I didn’t know how.

We stood for too long. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think.  He pushed me toward the car.

I got back in the car.  He drove in silence.  I cried in loud, heaving sobs.  He pulled over and told me to stop.  I stopped.  I walked into Walgreens and bought ibuprofen, Pringles, and a Mountain Dew.

He texted back and asked where I was.  The ‘other he’ took my phone.  The next day he gave it back and there was the “don’t come back” message.  It was over and done with.  I never had to have an original thought on the matter.

Sometimes I am thankful I didn’t go back in, but sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if I did.  I guess what I regret was that the choice wasn’t mine. I can’t get closure because I didn’t make the choice. Even if I chose, for myself, to walk away, and I was still sitting here today in the same position…it would be an easier pill to swallow because I did it. But as it stands, I didn’t. And it is what it is.

I swear to you, to me, to anyone who will listen that I will NEVER be without a choice EVER again.