Changing Your Last Impression

I’m not sure the reason but people often talk to me about relationship problems they’re having. Maybe it’s because I seem to be open and accepting, that I readily share my experiences with them or that I rock jean shorts.

Regardless, one of the problems I’ve been hearing from people as of late deals with their concern over the last impression that a former partner has. Usually this is expressed as something along the lines of “I can’t make my ex believe the reason that I left them. How can I get  them to understand?”

Usually I inquire about the nature of their relationship, the reason for them leaving and what their former partner thinks about the situation. While this can be useful information and I may be able to offer my suggestion for approaching the situation differently I always put emphasis on this one huge fact; you probably can’t.

I can hear you saying, “Wait isn’t he supposed to offer a solution?” The answer is yes, I am supposed to give you something to help you along, though it may not technically be a solution. Also, quit judging me already for fucks sake!

There are two big reasons that immediately come to mind that may cause someone not to believe you.

The first one is going to be a toughy because let’s be honest; you could be lying. I know you didn’t come here to get berated, but we’ve all had that person whose breakup reason was just a line of bullshit. For instance, the woman who told me that a 20 minute drive to see me was an obstacle was a bullshit reason. On the other hand, the girl that broke up with me in grade school because I threw rocks at her and her friend was completely legitimate (to be fair they started it – I think). So lies happen in relationships and let’s face it you could be that person. Are you really being honest about your motivations?

For the record, a break up is the perfect time to be completely honest. Just make sure to be kind in the process. Honesty is not an excuse to be mean. If you want the person to believe you though be as transparent and honest as possible. Forget about saving face and be prepared to admit a few things you did wrong (or that they felt you did wrong). Say you’re sorry for what was a mistake, but don’t apologize for your emotions or make them apologize for the way they feel.

Admitting these things and fessing up may be what it takes to earn your former partners trust. I’ve found that honesty is an amazing thing.

So assuming you have already been completely honest and your ex doesn’t believe you it’s important to remember another thing. The person you are petitioning may have their own reasons for not believing you.

They may be protecting their ego, guarding against more hurt or dealing with a myriad of insecurities. You can’t help them (or you as the case may be) on this front. You’re just going to have to lay out your case as truthfully as possible, hope for the best, and then go your own way.

They may eventually put some weight behind what you’ve said and believe you. Sometimes, people need time to process everything and gain some distance before they can even start to consider the merits of another person’s reasoning.

On the other hand, they might always feel like you lied to them. There’s not much you can do. Just as you want them to accept what you say, you may have to accept their explanation and move on. It’s shitty, but true.

Well, that’s pretty much all I can think to say on the subject (abrupt ending anyone). It’s not rocket science of course, but I never promised you the world cupcake. Sometimes though, it’s nice to read someone else’s thoughts just to get the wheels turning. To that end: I hope you enjoyed.

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Sometimes Love Isn’t Enough: State of the Relationship Address 3

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I just had a two month relationship end and I’m heartbroken.

I never thought this would happen to me; that I would be so in love with someone and them with me but that ending the relationship would be the best way forward for me. It’s kind of like a movie where there are irreconcilable forces at work which drive two lovers apart. Except at the end of my story there’s no metamorphosis which causes one or both people to change, making them get back together and live happily ever after. Real change is hard, sometimes it never happens. Reality can be shitty like that.

A general statement of why we separated would be that our relationship consisted of a continuous cycle of highs and lows. The highs were amazing and those moments led me to believe that we would have a wonderful future together. The lows on the other hand were unbearable to the both of us, but in very different ways.

This high-low cycle would repeat itself every 4-7 days and I struggled emotionally and intellectually trying to cope with the varying circumstances and the different treatment I would receive with each mood. I tried to handle it, but I couldn’t.

Instead I started to break. One moment I felt like I was allowed to be happy and the next I wasn’t. I felt like my every move was being acted out under surveillance, my every word transcribed and analyzed to be used against me. I started to doubt my own experiences and my thoughts. I lost who I was as a person and I felt like I was sinking. One day I realized that the happiness that took me two years to build was gone. I knew I had to stop the cycle while there was still enough of me left to do so.

And yet, I love her. Does that sound weird? Fucked-up even? It no doubt reads that way and yet if you’ve been in a similar situation you’ll probably understand. In fact, maybe that’s the only way to really comprehend it all. You see, it’s not that she wanted to do any of those things to me or make me feel that way. Rather, she was gripped by fear and insecurity which led to our ruin. The effects it had on her were no picnic either I’m sure. No . . . we didn’t mean for it to go down like that, but it happened nonetheless.

It’s hard for me to go through this knowing that we could likely still be together if I wanted to (or so it was at one time). I miss so many things about her. I miss the way things seemed natural and easy with us in a way I had never experienced before. I miss her caressing my body as if she were worshiping me. She had the darkest brown eyes I had ever seen. So wonderfully dark and glossy that it was near impossible to tell where her pupil stopped and her iris began. I’ll never get to gaze deeply into them again or kiss the spot where her nose meets her forehead. I’ll miss all those funny expressions she made when we were goofing around and the way she jokingly said she “was very serious.” I miss the life we had begun to lay out together and the feeling that it had the very real potential of being the best relationship I ever had. I will miss so much more of her than anyone else will ever know.

Yeah . . . this really fucking sucks. I want to go back and tell her I’m sorry, I made a mistake, we can start over again and that I love her. Only two of those things would be true. She tells me I gave up on her and maybe I did, but it was to save myself. It wasn’t a mistake (I wish it was) and I can’t go back no matter how much I want to.

As of this writing, it will be a week since we went our separate ways. This is also the day that I’ve hurt the most.

Between the pouring of tears (of which there were many writing this) there are a few glimmers of hope. Every now and then I find that my happiness is reemerging. I’ve also started to work on my dating profile. I have no immediate desire to start dating again, right now dating feels like doing a disservice to what we had, but the fact that I can see a future where that can happen is a promising sign for down the road. The profile is just a small step among many.

For now, I’m healing through hurting in that cathartic way that only pain can sometimes do. While I know that this will eventually pass, I also know that this is something I must experience. It’s where my head and my heart currently reside and that’s okay.

 

A postscript to my former lover: If you read this I hope you know that I love you very much and that I’m extremely grateful for all the wonderful moments we shared. I’ll never forget our time and what you meant to me. With all my heart, I thank you.

Men and the Culture We Create

In talking to women I’ve been able to notice a few common threads when it comes to their dealings with men. One in particular has troubled me from the moment I realized the implication.

Usually we’re talking about dating and the horrible behavior that people bring into that sphere of interaction. Too often women tell me things men have said to them or done to them that were truly abysmal and then passed it off as being normal.

While I am appalled by the behavior of the men, I’m equally if not even more horrified by the culture we have created in which this behavior is deemed normal or expected and goes unchallenged. Whether it be guys that feel entitled to grope women or the actual site of women walking with their keys in their hand ready to use it as a weapon against men, we have created a environment where toxic masculinity is just thought of as normal. This social construct disturbs me to my very core.

This article and the author’s experiences brought the horrors of guy culture to the forefront of my mind.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-i-wish-men-knew-about-that-creepy-guy-at-starbucks_us_572b6ddde4b016f37894e05d?

Divorce at 20

I divorced in my mid-thirties, oh and again in my late-thirties, so I can only relate to a smattering of what is said here. However, I can fully understand how the twenty-something demographic is overlooked as it pertains to divorce. If you’re going through divorce I think there is something here for you regardless of your age.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philippa-moore/getting-divorced-in-my-20s-made-me-a-better-person_b_9360484.html?utm_hp_ref=divorce&ir=Divorce

Dating Will Break You

I was going to write something about how I’m in love with dating. I’m sure I still will pen that article, but I wanted to take a very brief moment to share something else. Something almost the opposite of that. It’s not edited or poetic. It just is.

At times dating will break you. I had a date tonight that was pretty good, but at the end of it she said, “I’m not romantically attracted to you.” I was fine with this, thanked her for the honesty and said good night. Later at home it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I want to be with someone in a meaningful way and it seems like I’m so far away from this. I want to have someone to love and I want to be loved. It’s such a simple thing but yet so hard to achieve.

Tomorrow, I’ll dust myself off and jump back in with both feet. I’ll eventually find someone that will have made the struggle worth it.

For now though, I’m going to cry and that’s okay too.

Man Writes Letter to His Cock

As I get a little older I find a lot of wisdom in what this guy is saying. I’ve found that my cock is influenced not only by my biological state but my mind as well. In fact, guys tend to view their dick as a separate entity all together. If you don’t believe me ask yourself what names you, or someone else, has called your cock by over the years. There has to be a healthier way to regard this sensual part of the male anatomy.  Give this a read and tell me what you think.

http://www.jaysongaddis.com/a-letter-to-my-cck/

State of the Relationship Address 2: Growth hormones

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I’ve been enjoying the freedom of being single as of late. With that relationship shift came a greater leeway for dating, which meant new sexual partners and experiences as well as personal growth. It has been good to find out that there is a dating scene for someone approaching 40 (that’s me) and that there is a whole group of people out there who find me desirable. Until now, I had no indication that any of this was the case. It’s been a lot of fun but there’s been something missing and I’m starting to wonder if the lack of a strong emotional component has something to do with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been seeing (just as good a word as any I suppose) someone for a couple of months and when we’re together I’m definitely encountering some emotions, but they’re a product of the intense physical connections we’re sharing and not necessarily centered around romantic love. I know she would say the same of me in return because she‘s super fucking cool and we openly discuss stuff like this without any reprisal.

When we’re together in the throes of lust I find myself wanting to tell her that I love her. Now I do love her, but it’s in a platonic way not a romantic one (I’ve told her this too). Thankfully I didn’t say anything, but I noticed that when I thought about saying I love you that my level of arousal would increase.

It’s possible that I have the need to say I love you in order to put the experience in familiar territory since most of my sexual experiences have happened while I was in love. I think maybe there is something more at work though which is simply that a part of me wants to be in love.

In the past, I’m pretty sure that in both of my relationships where I have expressed my love that I initially said it too soon for that very reason. Thankfully, both of those relationships lasted long enough to where that hasty sentiment became a very real emotion.

Regardless, this realization has left me longing for the prospect of something more significant from my dating experiences. This all happened in pretty short order and that was something I wasn’t expecting. However, I can tell my slutty phase (and I mean that in the most positive way possible) is in decline because of it. I’m sure I have space for other hookups if the proper person comes along, but I can feel the urge building to accept something a little more serious should a relationship move that way.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t progress through the stages of life so quickly. Whether you want to call it a rebound, sowing my oats, sexual liberation or what have you it’s only been two months since I started sleeping around. I wonder if I should be moving on from this place in my life so soon.

I had a friend tell me once that she was always impressed by how readily I accepted what was in front of me and just logically worked through it at a superhuman pace. While part of me wants to say that she is prone to exaggeration, I’ve had proof that this really is the case.

When my second wife and I decided to end the marriage portion of our relationship (meaning we’re still friends) I experienced almost no jealousy or anger. I had worked through most of those emotions when we opened up our relationship nine months prior. Instead, I spent most of my time working on making sense of our conversations and understanding what had happened. Again, my friends remarked on how well I was doing. Apparently this had been a subject of conversation where they had marveled at how I was handling things. The result of my self-work and evaluation was that a month after my marriage had ended I felt perfectly comfortable dating.

I would say that I’m lucky except that I’ve been working on becoming this kind of person for the last twenty years. It’s not been an accident nor has it been easy. It’s taken an enormous amount of emotional work and some pretty deep soul searching and confidence building. This is why I have very little trepidation about shifting my relationship focus.

After all, it’s not like I’m going to be proposing to every man or woman that I go on a date with. Statistically I’ll be going on quite a few more dates before I find someone for the long term. However, I am ready to select my partners in a way that doesn’t necessarily undercut my chance of long term success which is something that I couldn’t say before (self-sabotage anyone?). Somehow this feels like a healthier place to be. Time will tell if I’m meant to be here. For now there’s no pressure, this is just another part of my story.

Former Hook-up Artist Turns Over New Leaf

Neil Strauss was popular for having written a guide to picking up women. One of his more deplorable techniques was to try and lower a woman’s self esteem so she would sleep with him. A sure sign that his self-esteem was pretty low at the time also.

However, here he seems to have pulled his life together in a more positive manner. I’ll let you be the judge.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/10/neil-strauss-the-game-book-truth

I Don’t Shit Rainbows

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If you were to read my dating profile you would see that it lists a number of progressive ideas about sex positivity and gender self-determinism. Listing that info is a double edged sword. On the plus side, these are views that women don’t encounter much while perusing through men so it definitely sets me apart. Also, listing this allows me to attract quality people. Someone who is homophobic isn’t likely to show interest in me if I list myself as a pansexual feminist. A thinning of the herd that I’m wonderfully happy with by the way.

However, I often feel as if I’m fetishized to a degree. I get the impression that some of those folks expect me to be the most evolved person to walk the face of the Earth. If I show up to a date and I don’t have rainbows shooting out of my ass (a known carcinogen by the way) or pieces of the mountain top I was meditating on still stuck to my clothes people get disappointed. I can appreciate the enthusiasm but the expectation feels unrealistic and oppressive.

What I do is for others in a general sense and I don’t fucking care if it looks like what someone else expects it to. For instance, I identify as cisgender because I agree that failing to do so creates an accepted group (those happy with their assigned gender) and an outcast group (those happy with their non-assigned gender – i.e. transgendered). The same goes for allosexual. I don’t feel like asexual (or demi or graysexual) people should feel like anything other than normal so I categorize the level of my sexual desire. By doing things like this I’m helping to create the kind of world in which I want to live.

Did you catch that last part? The world I want to live in. My actions are for me too. How’s that for enlightened? Even if what I do primarily has a benefit to others, it also helps me to become the person I wish that I (and everyone else) was. It makes me happy to be who I am. It’s that whole, be the change you want to see shtick.

Ever since I was called a racist at 17, all I’ve ever wanted to do is be a better person. That impetus has brought me to where I am now and I’m reaping the benefits. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and for the first time I’m starting to cultivate a group of friends with shared values. My friends, dates and other random people tell me the nicest and most heartfelt things and I know it’s because I have done the same for them and that I’ve created an environment where they trust me. Moments like those bring tears to my eyes when I think about it. I’m finally having the intimate meaningful connections with people that I’ve always wanted to have. It’s such a wonderful place to be.

However, I’m not perfect. I’m still just a clump of electrical and bacterial processes that we call human. As confidant as I am I still have insecurities that can occasionally lead me to be emotionally unhealthy. I’m working on it. Sometimes I get excited about a topic and I realize that I’ve been talking for 5 minutes and unintentionally monopolizing the conversation. I’m working on that too. I’m a radical sometimes to a fault. I’m wondering how to work on that or if I even should. I also use profanity. I’ve no plans to work on that at all because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Okay look, I realize that most of you who read this will never meet me (I mostly blame you), but you can extrapolate this into your own life. Whoever, you’re in the process of idolizing make sure you do a reality check on what it means to be human.

People are wondrous and beautiful creatures and we exist in a myriad of ways, but obviously we’re not perfect. Sometimes our imperfections make us beautiful. Other times, it’s how we deal with those imperfections that make us shine. Either way we all have work to do and that’s okay.

Mal, a character from the television series Firefly, said it best, “It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sommbitch or another.”

Hell, I don’t even have a statue made of me unless you count voodoo dolls and burning effigies.