Relationships

It’s Complicated Until It’s Not

There’s no secret that dating was not always easy for me. Just look through the dating and relationships tags on this blog and you’ll find many rambles from a lady who was ready to wave the white flag.

When I was dating someone, I was usually left with more questions than answers. Does he like me? Do I really like him? When should I sleep with him? Will he judge me if it’s “too soon?” Can I actually see this going anywhere? Does he see this going anywhere?

I regularly contemplated the why of the whole thing. Why am I even dating? Is it worth all the hassle, and the first date interviews, and the stressing about what to wear? Do I even want a boyfriend?

That last question popped up in my head a lot. I was living on my own and starting a new career. I had this whole life of my own. I was already struggling to fit everything into my life. Did I really want to add in an entirely new relationship? Where would I find the time? Do I really want to bring a new person into my life, introduce them to my friends, have them meet my family, etc.?

So. Many. Questions.

By the time I reached my late 20s, dating was a very complicated ordeal. And it was. Dating can be complicated. Until you realize that it isn’t.

Eventually you’ll meet that person where the only questions you’ll be asking are “what should we eat for dinner?” and ” what should we watch on Netflix tonight?”

You’ll soon discover that if you have to ask “does he like me?”, the answer is either “no” or “not enough.”

There will be that person you don’t need to struggle to find time for. They will fit seamlessly into your life. Making time for them won’t feel like a hassle or obligation.

In its simplest form dating is easy. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy. Both boy and girl decide they want to spend as much time as possible with each other. I’m a firm believer in the theory that things shouldn’t be difficult in the beginning. The beginning is the time for butterflies and excitement.

When you find that person who makes you stop questioning, hold on tight. You may have finally found your uncomplicated ever after.

Getting in a New Relationship After Being Single Forever

This post has been in the back of mind for awhile now. I’ve wanted to write it several times but then thought against it. I finally realized that this is a blog about my life. It’s my journey through my late twenties and now my thirties. I’ve written so much about my shitty dating experiences that I should also include when things are going well, right?

I wrote once about a new man in my life and that ended shitty. I think that was part of the reluctance I had when it came to writing about a new relationship. But me and my man have been together for a little over 6 months now. He’s a big part of my life and this is a lifestyle blog. It makes sense that he’s going to come into conversation one of these days. He just met my parents for the first time two weeks ago so now it’s time my lovely readers meet him.

I may love broadcasting my entire life on a public blog but I recognize that not everyone may feel this way. That’s why I’m going to refer to the lovely man I’m dating as JR. (It’s part of his initials so it works.)

When people ask how we met, I usually say, “We went to High School together and recently reconnected.” All of this is true. But I am just leaving out certain aspects. By recently reconnected, what I really mean is found each other on a dating site. That’s right! Sometimes OK Cupid can work.

I was on OK Cupid for a very short time when JR messaged me. I immediately recognized him from High School. Before he even messaged me, I was on the brink of deleting my account. I had had enough of online dating. So after only exchanging a couple of messages with JR, I told him I was deleting my account and asked if he’d like to exchange numbers. I normally don’t do this. I like to talk for a little before exchanging numbers. I also usually just wait until the guy asks for the number. But in this case I knew that I would be deleting my account and I knew I didn’t want this to be the end of my interaction with JR.

So we exchanged numbers and I waited for him to contact me. He did; the next day. We spoke for a few weeks, met up on May 12th, and have been dating ever since.

It’s been really nice. And a lot of fun. But it’s also been a lot of adjusting. These past few years, even when I had someone, I still wouldn’t call myself taken. I was always single-ish. This is the first time in forever that I’m 100% not single. It’s been a little weird. Mostly awesome, but a little weird.

When you’ve been the single girl for so long, being in a relationship definitely takes some getting used to.

I’ve been lying to myself in the past. When I was dating, I would give myself a 2-date rule. I figured that it would take more than one date to determine if I actually liked someone. Two dates should let me know for sure. Well, after my first date with JR, I knew 100% that I liked him and wanted to go on another date. I also lied to myself with some past dudes and made excuses for them. I convinced myself numerous times that the guy really did like me. He just needs time. He’s really busy. And so many more excuses. I was lying to myself. If a guy likes you, you’ll know it. If a guy wants to be with you, he’ll make time. It’s really very simple. I just made it way more complicated than it needed to be.

The word boyfriend feels weird. It took me 6+ months to share JR with you guys. When I’m dating someone, I tend to keep them to myself for the most part. It takes a lot for me to share the guy with other people and talk about him. If he does come up in conversation, he is usually referred to as “this guy I’m dating.” The first time I spoke about JR and called him my boyfriend, it sounded weird. It still feels a little weird. It’s just a much easier term to use than “guy I’m dating.”

But girlfriend is a nice one to hear. Not gonna lie, it’s nice being introduced as “my girlfriend.”

Holy Batman! There is not enough time. Work and friends and family and alone time was already a lot to juggle. Adding a relationship has made maintaining everything overwhelming. It’s something I am still working on. There is never enough time to do everything I want.

Alone time is so much more satisfying. I love alone time. I loved my alone time when I was single. However, when you’re single, alone time isn’t always a choice. Alone time comes cause you have nothing else to do. Since being in a relationship, my alone time has become significantly more satisfying. I adore the nights spent in my apartment alone laying on the couch and watching TV for hours.

Doubt doesn’t magically go away. After so many dating mishaps, it’s easy to be skeptical. Too many times I have grown tired of the person I was dating or slowly realized that they were growing tired of me. I am pretty secure in my relationship with JR and don’t usually question where I stand. But this does not mean that doubt hasn’t gone away completely.

Sometimes clichés are right. When you’ve been single for awhile, you’re going to hear a lot of the same things. “It’ll happen when you least expect it” is one of those sayings I heard the most. I always thought it was ridiculous. I am single but would like to find someone. In some way, I’m always looking. But now I kind of know what they mean. The first time I met up with JR, I did not want to go. I had just had a huge dinner for my nephew’s birthday. All I wanted to do was go home and sleep. I remember throwing some mascara on in my car right before I walked into the bar. Before the date even started, I was already thinking about how and when I could leave. I did not expect anything to come of it.

Fear is one of the biggest enemies. Being single is easy. Being single is safe. You only have yourself to worry about yourself. You’re not giving someone else the capability to seriously hurt you or let you down.

Relationships involve a lot of talking and compromise. As a 30-year-old single person, I was very set in my ways. I was used to being on my own and not having to rely on anyone. I never had to think about anyone else, ever. Those views don’t always make for the healthiest of relationships. I had to become reacquainted with having a new person in my life.

All those disasters, make this relationship a lot sweeter. Man was I fed up with dating. You guys read all about it. I wasn’t kidding when I said that dating shouldn’t be so exhausting. I was tired of it! I was done with dating sites, first dates, unanswered texts, etc. Knowing how horrible things could be out there in the dating world and knowing how difficult it is to find someone you really connect with makes my relationship with JR that much sweeter.

The Other Shoe Is Always Going to Drop

My favorite line when I start dating someone new is, “I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Those first few weeks/months of dating someone, things are as close to perfect as they’ll ever be. You’re both on your best behavior and trying really hard to impress one another. The guy never cancels, always texts on time. The girl always has her makeup and hair done, never complains. Everyone is trying to be the most perfect version of themselves.

I spend a new relationship just waiting to see when this blissful period will end. Because it always does. It tends to end in the most horrifically dramatic way possible. The guy doesn’t just stop canceling, he stops making plans altogether. He stops texting right away and instead takes 3-5 business days to respond with an “lol” or an “ok.”

This is never fun and it’s the reason why I always enter a new relationship with skepticism. I know the other shoe is going to drop. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.

However, there is something that I need to realize: the other shoe is always going to drop and that’s OK. What matters is how it drops. If it drops but I’m able to pick it up, slip it back on, and keep on walking, that’s alright. It’s when the shoe drops and breaks so badly that it’s cheaper to just buy a new pair than take them to get fixed, that I need to worry about it.

The other shoe is always going to drop. That new period in a relationship I just spoke about – the one where everyone is on their best behavior – is nice but it’s not sustainable. Perfect bliss in a relationship isn’t real.

Relationships are messy and complicated because people are messy and complicated.

You shouldn’t want that perfect bliss to last forever because then you’re never really seeing the person you’re dating for who they truly are.

Now this isn’t to say that a person should do a complete 180 when you’ve been dating a few months and stop trying. But this is saying that a person shouldn’t be afraid to show different parts of themselves, even the not so great ones.

I’ve come to realize that I look forward to the other shoe dropping. Show me what makes you YOU. I want the authentic version. Not the version who is on his best behavior because he’s trying to impress me.

What makes you sad? What makes you angry? What are some of your annoying little habits that you kept in check our first few dates?

I am not looking for the perfect version of you. I’m looking for the real version of you.

This is exactly why not only do I realize that the other shoe is always going to drop but I look forward to it.

Nothing About This Is Fun

I recently did a search on Google. I searched “being single at 30.” Here are some of the headlines that came up:

30 Reasons It’s OK to Be Single at 30

Why Being Single in Your 30s is Better than in Your 20s

24 Reasons It’s Cool to Be Single in Your 30s

Being Single in Your 30s is Actually Pretty Great

Let’s cut the bullshit! Nothing about being 30 and single is OK, fun, or cool. Actually let me rephrase that. Nothing about being 30 and single and FEMALE is OK, fun, or cool. Cause do you know what all those articles have in common? They are written by women and about women.

We all know it’s women who should be worried about becoming old maids and spinsters after a certain age. Single men at 30 or 40 remain bachelors. There isn’t some derogatory term for them because they still have time. Men are never really past their prime. When they choose to settle down, they will.

Sure we’re past the point where a single woman at 25 is classified as an old maid. Women are getting married and having children later in life than they ever have before. But for as much progress as we’ve made, there is still a long way to go.

And I am going to be blunt here and say what the women in the above articles didn’t want to admit: Being 30 and still single sucks!

Now I’m not saying that I spend every night drinking wine and crying over a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. (That only happens every other night.) For the most part, I’m doing OK. I have so much other stuff happening in my life that I’m not constantly consumed with the fact that I’m single. But then something happens to remind me just how single I really am.

It could be getting the ever popular “Why are you still single?” question. Or it could be getting invited to yet another wedding and realizing that you’d have to put an ad out on Craigslist if you wanted to bring a plus one. Or it could be going to a function with friends and realizing that you’re the only one left who hasn’t coupled up. Or most of the time, it’s simply just that look you get for “still” being single.

People will never say it (unless you know assholes) but you can sense that they’re thinking it. “There must be something wrong with her.” And the really sad part is that you’re the one thinking it the most. “There must be something wrong with ME.”

In your early twenties being single is completely normal. It’s actually more of an anomaly to find yourself in a serious relationship. However, as the candles start to pile up on your birthday cake, you start to realize that you’re becoming an endangered species.

As much as those articles want to preach that being single is OK and fun, I think we can all admit that it’s not the norm. I bet every 30-year-single girl can count on one hand the other 30-year-old single girls she knows. But if she wants to list the couples, she’ll need twenty five-subject notebooks.

“What’s wrong with me?” “Am I unlovable?” “Am I incapable of falling in love?” “Will I ever find someone that I can stand for more than two dates?” “Will I have to wind up settling?”

Settling…This is a word you’re going to think about a lot. After your 50th horrible first date in a row, you’ll wonder if settling is worth it. I’d give up donuts for the rest of my life if it meant I never had to go on another first date ever again. But it’s almost impossible to find a person that you connect with enough where a second date sounds like a good option. Maybe you should lower your “standards.”

The elusive standards. I often think that my standards are too high. And they probably are. But here’s the thing: after 30 years of dating, you’re going to rack up a shit load of standards. I’m very adamant about the things I want in a partner and even more adamant in the things that I DON’T want.

Single and Thirty is a whole new landscape and it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s not always OK, cool, or pretty great. There’s going to be a lot of suckage. And I think that’s something that all newly 30-somethings or soon-to-be 30-somethings should be aware of.

You’re allowed to feel lonely and stressed about living the single life. There isn’t something wrong with you cause you’re not constantly living the “Thirty, Flirting, and Thriving” life.

Wallow in your own self-pity every once in awhile. Cry over a cheesy Nicholas Sparks movie. Eat an entire sleeve of Oreo’s and wash it down with a bottle of wine. You’re single so there’s no one there to judge you. (See, being single has its perks!)

But also know that finding love in your thirties is a very real possibility. And it can be done without settling or compromising on your standards. It’s just gonna take a little more work.

Dating Shouldn’t Be This Exhausting

I’m tired.

I’m tired of the first dates. I’m tired of the same conversations over and over again. I’m tired of making online dating profiles. I’m tired of sorting through dating profiles. I’m tired of waiting for a text back. I’m tired of trying to decode what the text means when I finally receive it. I’m tired of getting my hopes up just to be let down.

I’m tired.

I don’t know when dating became this exhausting. Before last year I had taken a significant break from dating. I went on a few first dates here and there but hardly ever a second one. I did date one boy for a few months but it never went anywhere. He was a great guy and we got along well. However, it was more of a friendship as I never had any physical or romantic feelings for him. For about two years, I was mostly out of the dating scene. And overall I was happy and carefree. I didn’t have much to stress over.

Then early February of last year I met a boy. I’ve spoken about this boy before. He was the one who cooked for me and had GREAT hair. He was awesome and I pushed him away. Right after that I met another boy longterm readers should be familiar with. The infamous almost relationship boy. He was trouble from the beginning and gave me more stress than I could handle. Then in the very ending of December I met a boy who seemed like he could change my ways and outlook when it comes to dating. Turns out he couldn’t.  (After writing that ridiculously corny “things are different this time” post, I was honestly embarrassed to write about things not working out. But this is a blog about my life and sometimes in life things don’t work out.) He strung me along for much longer than necessary cause he was too much of a child to admit that he didn’t want to date anymore.

I can’t help but feel like dating needs to be easier than this. When did it get so complicated? When I was on my dating hiatus, I would randomly feel lonely and long for someone. But these feelings were fleeting and never lasted. After going about a year and a half with almost always having someone in my life, I question whether dating is really worth all this effort.

I recently finished reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari.* It had a lot of great insight into the modern dating scene. One thing that really stuck with me is that it seems that we all want the same thing yet do the complete opposite. Most people are looking for a real relationship without any games. They want to be honest with their partner and expect the same. However, in reality this is not how people act when it comes to dating at all. It seems that we’ve lost all basic human decency when it involves dating. We forget that behind that text message or dating profile is a real-life person with feelings and ideas.

Why can’t we just be honest with one another? Sure no one likes to be blown off. But do you know what’s a lot worse than being blown off? Completely being cut off without any explanation. Why can’t we just respond to a text when we see it? Enough of the waiting game.

I don’t know when or how dating became this difficult but I do know that I’m exhausted from it. I need a break. Maybe when and if I decide to re-enter the dating scene, I’ll be a little nicer and so will the people I come across.

*I highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you’re single or in a relationship. It’s funny and insightful. I also randomly found myself reading passages in Aziz’s voice which was so entertaining.

Dating Advice From Someone Who Is Horrible at It

As you all know, I’m not so great at this whole dating thing. Never have been, probably never will be. I don’t see myself becoming the next host of the Millionaire Matchmaker anytime soon. (Actually, considering that the host of a friggen matchmaking show is single maybe I could!) I spent a large portion of my 20’s dating and making a lot of mistakes. But along the way I learned a lot. I’ve always been better at giving other people advice but not being able to give myself the same advice.

As it always seems to go, a lot of my friends have come to me for relationship/dating advice. I never understood it really. It’s like asking the vegan what’s the best way to grill a steak. But I liked it. Hearing others’ experiences in dating and giving my own perspective, has also helped me learn a lot about my own dating life.

So I have decided to bestow some of my words of wisdom to you, my loyal readers. Please keep in mind that I do not claim to be an expert at dating. (I admit to being horrible at it right in the title.) But these are just some of the things I’ve learned along the way dating and hearing about the adventures in my friends’ dating life. Also, all of this stuff is coming from my personal experiences. I am not excluding people on purpose but I feel as though I can only give proper dating advice to girls dating boys. It’s all I know.

Sex is and isn’t a big deal. When you’re first dating someone, a lot of emphasis is put on sex. Just do a quick Google search of the phrase “when should I sleep with the guy I’m dating?” You’ll get a million hits. And every single article will have a different time frame. As confusing as this may sound, my thoughts on sex when it comes to dating is that it’s a big deal but in the same sense, it isn’t. When you’re dating someone new, sex is just another part of getting to know them. You should never be using sex as a way to get something that you want in a relationship, i.e. him making things official. But sex also does change the dynamics of a relationship. If you’re already liking someone, the feelings may very well get deeper after you have sex. You need to be prepared for that. In the end, no one can tell you when you should sleep with someone except for you. Just do it when you feel comfortable, and ONLY when you’re comfortable.

Do not get trashed on a first date. This is coming from someone who loves her alcohol. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. However, getting drunk on a first date is never a good look. And this goes for both guys and girls. Have a drink or two to settle your nerves but keep the sloppy drunkenness for at least the third date.

If there’s nothing there, you can’t force it. This past year I implemented a two-dates and then I’m done rule for myself. I do believe that you can sometimes be unsure about a person after a first date. You feel like there may be something but you’re not sure. There’s nothing wrong with going on that second date to find out. However, if after that second date you’re still not sure, it’s best to just end things. You cannot force feelings. If they’re not there, they’re not there. Forcing it is unfair to the person you’re dating and to yourself.

Don’t string someone along cause you’re bored and/or lonely. This is just wrong on so many levels but I feel as though we’ve all been guilty of doing this at least once. Even if we lied to ourselves and claimed we really liked the person. No, you just like the attention they’re giving you. I’ll go back to my previous point: if you’re still not feeling it after the second date, cut ties.

Go into your own wallet every once in awhile. This may be an unpopular opinion and you all may not agree with me but I’m going to say it anyway. I think the guy should pay on the first date. Even if the girl does the whole “would you like some money?,” it’s just to be polite. She doesn’t actually want you take her money. Now with that being said, your man shouldn’t be paying for every single thing, every single time. If you’re both working, there is no excuse for you not to dip into your wallet even once the entire time you’re dating.

There’s nothing wrong with meeting a potential spouse online. I have this friend who is obsessed with the perfect love story. She wants some epic tale of how her and her husband met that she can one day tell her grandkids. It’s a great idea but usually doesn’t work that way. Do you really think you’re going to fall in the middle of the street and right before a taxi runs you over, a Ryan Gosling look-a-like is going to scoop you up in his arms and save your life? Sorry, this isn’t a Nicholas Sparks movie. More and more people are meeting their significant others online and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The majority of single people these days probably have at least one dating profile, most have more than one.

Rejection is just a part of dating. I am going to be blunt here: not everyone is going to like you. Have you liked every person you’ve ever come across? Have you ever come across a guy who seemed really cool and even thought he was cute but felt absolutely nothing for him romantically? These things happen. And they are going to happen to you. You shouldn’t take it personally. Just move on because there is a guy out there that will realize just how amazing you are.

Having standards is one thing but being too picky is not good. Keep your standards. Don’t settle for a dud just because you’re scared you’re going to wake up one day at the age of 50, alone, with a dozen cats. There are some things that you shouldn’t compromise with in a relationship. However, there is a such thing as being too picky. The guy you’re dating isn’t perfect and neither are you. Don’t drop him the second you discover something you don’t like about him.

The “What are we” talk isn’t all that important. You’ve been dating a guy for a little while now and things have been going great. He texts you and makes time to hang out with you when he’s not working. It’s obvious that he’s into you. The only thing that hasn’t happened yet is the “Where is this going” chat. That’s fine. There’s no need to bring that up when it’s early in a relationship if it’s pretty obvious where you stand.

But if you’re feeling unsure/uncomfortable about something, speak up. If you find yourself constantly questioning where you stand with a guy or feel that things have suddenly changed, then speak up. You have the right to know if you guys are on the same page or if you’re wasting your time. A conversation like this can be scary and you may not always get the response you’d like but it’s always better to bring it up sooner rather than later.

Things Are Different This Time

Well I haven’t been around in awhile. I did not want to start 2016 completely neglecting this blog. It kind of just happened that way. I don’t have a working laptop at the moment and the new job does not leave me a lot of time to sit and write a post. (I did some of my best blogging at my old job.)

I’ve been missing blogging and reading posts from my favorite bloggers. But other than that, 2016 has been going really well for me. My job as a Young Adult librarian has been a lot of fun. I still haven’t fully won over the teens at my library but I will! I’m not above bribing them with chips and cookies. They will like me! I’ve also found a place to live. I will once again have my own place by February 15th. I’ll also be purchasing a new laptop to go with my move so blogging will go back to normal eventually. (You all can rejoice!)

Additionally, remember the nice boy who’s tall and makes me laugh I spoke about in my last post? Well he is still very much in the picture. Things are going really good. It’s no secret that I have a tendency to overthink things so I can honestly say that things are going scarily good. Boys normally fall into one of two categories for me. Either I really like them and am attracted to them but they’re assholes who don’t treat me so great or they are so nice to me and are so into me but I feel nothing towards them. But this guy. Man, it’s different. He’s so incredibly nice and he likes me. But I also really like him and think he is just the cutest boy ever! (I know, I know. I’m corny! I can’t help it.)

Anyone who has read even just a handful of my posts will know that I am not very good at the whole dating thing. Things never seem to work out. Things just feel different this time around. I’m not pulling many of my classic-Liz moves that I normally do when I like a boy.

  1. I don’t analyze every word of every text I send him. If there’s something I want to tell him or just want to say “hi,” I send him the text without even thinking about it. I don’t spend hours debating whether I should send him a “What’s going on?” or “What’s up?” text with my friends. (Something I have sadly done many times before.)
  2. I’m not afraid to let him know I like him and be affectionate towards him. This is going to be very shocking to hear, but I have a bit of a wall built up around me. I don’t normally like letting a guy know I’m into him for fear of being hurt.
  3. If he doesn’t answer my text right away, I don’t stress. I know it’s cause he’s probably busy at work or just hasn’t had a chance to answer me back yet.
  4. I haven’t spent hours obsessing over all the things that are wrong with him. I like him and I haven’t tried convincing myself that there are so many reasons why I shouldn’t like him.
  5. I’m myself around him. This is a big one. Normally when I like a boy, it’s almost impossible for me to be myself. I don’t do it on purpose but I’m just thinking so much that it’s hard to act natural. When I’m with this boy, I’m incredibly goofy and the conversation just flows easily.
  6. I have no problems initiating plans with him. This coincides with point number 2. Normally, I avoid coming across as clingy or as though I like a boy too much by never being the first to make plans. I’ll usually make the guy do all the work.
  7. I don’t feel the need to constantly talk about him. Here comes another shocker: I’m usually pretty insecure when dating someone. I normally spend a lot of time chewing my friend’s ears off with every detail about what’s going on with the guy I’m dating. I think I’m subconsciously looking for reassurance that things are going well.
  8. I’m not worried about the future or “what we are.” This is still all new. We’ve been hanging out for about a month now and I’m just enjoying the time. I’m not overthinking labels or where this is all headed. I’m just enjoying my time with him right now.

I’ve been very un-Liz like and I’m really liking it.