Dear future relationship me…

First, take a moment and breathe. You have so much constantly on your heart and in your mind that you forget to find peace in the here and now.

Right…now that we got that hippy crap out of the way. Let’s get down to it. Your past is in the past. Every now and then, the memories of old loves, lost pain and regret will rear their head in your current relationship. But it is how you address them, which will make you and your partner stronger.

Because a previous relationship didn’t work, does not mean you are a failure. (Feel free to read that part over again…and often) What the past gives us is a wonderful gift. It’s called “perspective”. Learn from the mistakes, repeat the things that work and honor how far you have come. You are now in a better place.

Dear Me…listen to your partner. You can not preach how he does not listen to you, if you are failing at doing the one thing you shame him for. Listening means more than hearing what he says. It also means listening to what he doesn’t say. In the moments of deep silence and concern, listen to his needs. He may need that silence. He may need your support. He may also just need to fart. There is a lot to learn in the silence, and there is nothing wrong with listening to it.

Finally, Dear Me…be honest…with yourself. If you feel anxious, express it. If you demand more, require it. If you need space, ask for it. If you desire intimacy, nurture it. You are already leaps and bounds ahead from where you came from. You have the scars and love to prove it. But never forget that the work in a healthy relationship first starts with you. So be honest and true to your own needs and emotions. Never doubt them, silence them or ignore them.

And in the future, if you could be a little kinder to yourself, that would be great too.

Love,

Desiree

That’s a hard “no”

When I was in a college, I remember going out to the club with my girlfriends. I recall feeling particularly cute that night, but my main goal was to have fun with my friends. Whilst twirling about on the dance floor, this super cute guy came up and started dancing with me. I wouldn’t say he was flirting but I thought “Why not make the first move?”. I went to the bar to grab a drink and wrote my number on a napkin. I came back to where we were dancing, gave him my number, winked and said “Call me!”

I kind of knew in that moment he probably wasn’t going to, but I was so proud that I had the balls to even ask. Then to turn around and leave like a boss?! I always wondered if he thought I was weird for pulling such a move, or if maybe he was impressed. Either way, I cared nothing about rejection in that moment.

Men and women alike fear rejection when it comes to dating. Society has told us that men have to make the first move. And now that the “norm” has made it to where a woman can also approach a guy, some women don’t even try for fear of rejection. But what harm comes from asking? Whether asking for someones number or to try a threesome, you can either deal with rejection or worse yet, never knowing the answer.

A guy friend of mine once told me that men have it harder because it is assumed that they are “use to” or “ok” with rejection. That it becomes part of being a guy. This made me sad if in fact that is true. It’s never great to hear “no” if you’re trying to pursue someone or if you like someone who isn’t in to you. But keep in mind, behind every “no” is someone who will emphatically say “yes”.

In the course of my dating career, I have made the move most of the time. I’m kind of an aggressor. I know, shocking. My girlfriends often find this amazing. “What if a guy says ‘no’?” Ok. And? I accept that I’m not for everyone. So I will find the everyone who is right for me. You can never let your fear of rejection, or your unknown fear cripple you when it comes to dating and love. If so, you will spend more time on the sidelines wondering why you can’t make it to the big leagues.

So my challenge for you is to make that big leap. Open your mind to the possibility that being rejected isn’t the end all, be all. That if someone says “no” it doesn’t mean, you’ll never hear a “yes.” Be confident in your approach and learn from whatever happens. Either way, if you come out with at least a good story from it, all truly isn’t lost.

Welcome to 40

I recently read an article on MSN about the 40 things that become more difficult once you turn 40. I will spare you the details, but needless to say, this article basically made it sound like you slowly begin to die and become a hermit when you hit the big 4-0. Now I would like to think that I am an exception to the rule. For one, I am the only one in my close friend group who doesn’t have, nor plans on having kids. And two, I still love tequila. Now more so than ever.

But of the long things on the list that made my eyes roll, there were several that came up that gave me pause. They all pertained to dating and sex. It’s a no brainer that some things do become more challenging with age. Have you tried yoga after the age of 25? Dating of course becomes a challenge mainly because finding singles in this age group is tough. But sex? Now this is where we have a problem.

One of the points made was finding time for sex. Ok, life happens. Work and kids happen. I heard a term recently called “Maintenance Sex”. Basically it’s when you have sex just to have it, so that the intimacy isn’t lost. Think of it like a dental cleaning. You do it because it’s time. But I hate thinking of sex in this manner. You mean to tell me that after 40, sex becomes part of your weekly to do list? Sheesh.

Apparently being more spontaneous is harder after 40, which can translate to the bedroom. I truly do get it. But the thought that sex just dies or becomes an after thought as you get older is something I don’t agree with. And something that I honestly fear. What I have noticed is that the amount of times may have decreased, but the level of intimacy and awesomeness has increased. (I may or may not have high-fived my fiancee last weekend afterwards)

My point is, don’t let lists or society or your old Aunt Barb tell you that Shady Acres is just around the corner once you turn 40. Like life, it is truly what you make of it. And if you come across that MSN article, for Gods sake, don’t read it. You’ll feel old. Now if you will excuse me, I need to call the pharmacy to have them re-fill my blood pressure medicine.

The patient partner

This is one of the posts that I debated about writing. Not so much because it intimately highlights my partner, but because it truly exposes me. But at the start of my blog, when it was in its baby phase, I always said that I wanted to talk about the real things that happen to me. Even if it makes me look like a sad hot mess.

In 2016 I was diagnosed with Lupus. Very few people know that this is something I have suffered with for years. A short little health lesson. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that has no real cause for how it develops and no cure. To sum it up, my body looks at healthy cells and tissues and attacks them as if they a foriegn. In other words, I am kicking my own ass.

Some of the awesome symptoms of my Lupus are difficulty breathing, low blood sugar, circulation issues, fatigue, swelling, arthritis and joint pain. All of that sounds like so much fun, doesn’t it. Having Lupus makes you good at a variety of things. Having to reschedule plans with friends, being tired by 6 pm, hiding your pain from others, tons of blood work and my personal fave, countless doctor appointments.

I told my fiancee when we first started dating about my health issues. But I never went into great detail about them. Dating should be fun, right? So I didn’t want to bore him, or worst yet, scare him away with my health crap. Over the almost two years we have been together, my symptoms have unfortunately become worse. Date nights happen more often at home. Staying up late isn’t really an option. Intimacy has changed and I can’t hide the pain as well any more.

Last weekend was an eye opening moment in my relationship. I had what we like to call a “Lupus flare”. It is when you have an onset of multiple symptoms that hit you like a wrecking ball. I spent 8 hours on my couch wrapped in a blanket with a heat pad in absolute pain and exhaustion. When you have a flare, all you can do is rest and ride it out. The crazy part is that I looked fine. That’s a common trait for most autoimmune diseases. You look “normal”. But my body felt far from fine.

My fiancee remained calm and nurturing. He made sure I had my meds, forced me to rest, watched crap tv with me. He made me laugh and did a ton of other things to get my mind off the pain. Of course, he too can’t hide anymore. Once in a while, I would see him looking at me with such fear and worry. 2 years together has also seen 2 hospitalizations that lasted over a week. He actually proposed three days after my first hospital visit. As he put it, “I couldn’t lose you, so I couldn’t wait to ask you!”

For many of us who suffer from an autoimmune disease, we carry such worry, pain and fear for those who love us. We never want to add more stress to their world and if we could, we would wish it all away. But a true partner will love and stick by you, in sickness and in health. I know the past few months have been hard on my fiancee for a variety of reasons, my health being one of them.

But we have to remember, that the real test of any relationship, is how you endure through the hard times. Whenever I have a good day, I try my best to make it a great one with him. We go out, we have amazing whiskey, we laugh hard, we remember why we fell in love. I cherish those days so much and I hold on to them, when other days feel less than great.

So for the loving and patient partners out there, let me say thank you. We know that you would take our pain away if you could. And we are forever grateful for your love and support.

In search of a sugar daddy

Years ago, I came across a website called “Seeking Arrangements”. I found it after watching an episode of one of my favorite MTV shows “True Life”. The episode tackled the lives of Sugar Babies. I am sure you have heard the term in some form or fashion over the years, so I won’t bore you with the details. But what I will say, is that ever since watching that episode, I have been fascinated by the Sugar Baby/Daddy lifestyle.

So in my fascination, curiosity and small level of desperation, I signed up for the site. Don’t judge me, it was for “research”. The premise has single men or women looking for a “baby” that they can spoil, support or “sponsor”. The term “sponsor” was what really drew me in. A man, who has never met me, is willing to give me money for things. It could be clothes, jewelry, shoes, etc. On the site, you also have a variety of other “sponsorship” or support. Rent, travel, house hold bills. It all seems too good to be true.

Or is it?

At it’s core, the sugar baby/daddy lifestyle is about companionship. Yes, there are those that have a certain level of intimacy, but what I did find most often, is that a “daddy” wanted someone to spend time with or accompany them on trips and events. So why the money? Why pay me for it? It does give off a vibe or prostitution. You’re trading yourself for some form of income or gifts. But there are other cases where the gifts are truly just that, no strings gift.

Some men and women (yes, there are Sugar Mamas) enjoy lavishing their babies with actual gifts. I was talking to a friend of mine recently who told me about a guy who got her some gifts recently. He enjoyed making her happy. I don’t think they have ever met, but both people got something out of it. My friend got to buy some great clothes, and the benefactor had the knowledge that he was making her happy.

Around the time I started to dive into this article, a guy on Instagram reached out to me about being his sugar baby. It sounded a bit like a scam. You know…wayyyyy to good to be true. Scammers also live in this world like any other world of dating. It’s easy to waste someones time and very dangerous when you are luring them with money or gifts. I called said scammer out and to my surprise, he was annoyed. That’s ok dude, I don’t really want to fall for your Nigerian money scheme.

But over the years, I have known several friends who have had successful “sponsored” relationships. In only one case, was a sexual relationship involved. The others enjoyed gifts, money and other perks. I’m not gonna lie, I wouldn’t mind being showered with gifts, but at what cost? Must I entertain you? Do I need to pretend to care about your daily life? Do I want to be nothing more than arm candy? Is an Hermes purse worth my time and dignity?

I’m still very curious, so if you’ve ever been involved in such a relationship, I’d love to know your thoughts. Calling all babies and sponsors!

Pay me what you owe me

I saw a hilarious tweet about having your ex pay you for emotional distress and how much one would ask for. It got me thinking if I would even want emotional distress money from an ex. I mean, I’ve moved on, right? But then, I could always use more money.

It is no surprise that some relationships sting more than others. And when they are over, the pain of recovery takes time. And worst of all, there are times you never get what you really want…closure. Sure, if a relationship ended, a check would be nice. But we put closure above anything when it comes to moving on from heart break.

I once asked a friend of mine if she felt she was “owed” closure. Meaning, do you deserve having your ex explain the cause of the end of your relationship? Or do you just want your ex to acknowledge it, and the actions that may have led up to it? At the end of the day, no one is owed closure. Even writing that I feel like a hypocrite. But when I take an honest look at even the most painful of breakups, the ones where I felt I “deserved” closure, I saw that over time, that need became less and less.

What we want is to put a pretty bow on the end of that chapter, in hopes that turning the page is easier. But that simply isn’t true, and isn’t real life. Sometimes you have to go through that pain to come out on the other side. And for some people this process prevents them from moving on to something better. We hold so tight on the “What if” of an ex, that we miss out on great future possibilities.

I asked that same friend of mine if she would feel better with closure, and of course she said yes. But I then asked her if she would honestly feel better without. Over time, won’t you have found peace and moved on? Yes. And in some cases, finding out the “Why” of the end of a relationship, can make things worse. So why put yourself through that?

Whether your ex gives your closure, or if we had the ability to get a fat check from emotional distress, moving on is the best reward. You can look back and see your personal growth. Sure, I can name at least two ex’s that I would easily request $10,000 in emotional damages. But let’s be honest, they couldn’t pay it anyway. Hence why they are an ex!

Temptation Island or bust!

Along with my love for “90 Day Fiance” quarantine also introduced me to another reality show gem. Temptation Island. This show has everything. Hot guys, gorgeous girls, beautiful locale, tons of drama, shots of tequila and of course…temptation. If you don’t know the show, let me explain.

Four couples set off to a private island to explore if their relationship is worth saving. The men and women are separated from their partners and put up in stunning villas. Now, here is where it gets tricky. Each villa has 12 singles, all vying for their attention. The idea is to see if you will be tempted, or if you will stay committed to make your relationship work. I know! It has hot mess disaster written all over it. It also has me wondering why a couple would ever put themselves through something like this?

Let’s be clear. Temptation is everywhere. It can be small, like walking past a cute guy. Or a girl sliding in your DMs to say she thinks you’re cute. To something bigger, where how you respond to temptation effects your relationship. Temptation can also be flattering. Someone asks you out not knowing you’re in a relationship, or says you’re hot, can be very flattering. You think to yourself “I still got it!” But what do you do after the message or the text or the comment?

Temptation is really an emotion in judgement and will power. When I think of temptation in relationships, I like to think about a cupcake. Many of us have been on at least one diet in our lives. If you haven’t you know someone who has. And you may have heard them or yourself say something like “I was doing so good until I went to work. They had cupcakes in the office and I was so tempted. I caved!” Sure. You caved and had a delicious treat, but it’s not like the cupcake was doing anything. It was just a delightful confectionary treat. You made the decision to eat it.

Now, this isn’t to say that real life works the same way. In many cases, the temptation becomes dangerous when we engage in it. Think again about the cupcake. What if it could talk? Or send you pictures of itself putting on icing. (Can you tell I really want a cupcake?). It then becomes harder to just walk on by. This is where judgement, has to outweigh will power.

When you are tempted, what deeper desire is it bringing you? Is it appreciation? Attraction? Adoration? Respect? If it is something that you can pin point that draws you toward the temptation, you can then look to see what it is you may be lacking that is drawing you away from what you currently have. Like the cupcake, the attraction is the dessert. You’re tempted because you don’t have it, and on a diet, you don’t get to eat it. So what do you do? You either recognize this, or your give in with some form of justification. “I’ll go to the gym and burn this off.” You can do that, but the act is done. In relationships however, it’s far worse. You can’t just talk about it and move on. You have succumbed to temptation.

So when this happens, what do you do? If you can’t recognize prior to the act what is drawing you toward the temptation in order to understand how NOT to engage in it, you need to then be honest. Honest with yourself and your partner. Countless couples are tempted and are able to hide what may have come from the temptation. But if you do cross that line, it may prove difficult to stay silent. And that’s where honesty comes in. Even if you didn’t cheat per say, being honest about being tempted is just as important. It shows your partner that you value them enough to speak truthfully. It also reminds you that you either had a choice to give in or not.

Temptation is hard. And some people make it harder by actively being the temptor. However, take the time to recognize what is really underneath the temptation. At the end of the day, loaded sugary carbs never really hurt any one, but diabetes kills.

The sexiness from within

When I was a young little thang, I remember wanting to be called “sexy” so badly. I felt that if a guy found me “sexy” I was doing something right as a woman. They desired me, they craved me. They really wanted to screw me! “Sexy” then became this term that annoyed me. I didn’t want to be an object, even though I was walking around like one. But I still wanted to be wanted.

It was only years later that I realized that “sexy” is more so a mindset that I need to convey, rather than an appearance to portray. I love asking people “What makes you feel sexy?” The key word in that sentence being FEEL. What does sexy feel like to you? Whenever I think about this in my own life, I have found that my answers don’t always involve the bedroom. I think I speak for several woman who would honestly say, they don’t necessarily feel sexy while doin the nasty. So it really is the moments prior to intercourse where we find our sexy.

For me, I feel the most sexy on stage. For those of you who don’t know me very well, I’m a former professional entertainer. Though most of my friends would tell you that I still perform in some way or another. But being on stage was me at my most sexy. And it all boiled down to one big element-confidence. I felt confident in myself, my talent, my ability to entertain and move a crowd. I felt sexy AF!

Anytime I find myself in my true element, it feels electric. That electricity is evident in what I do, say and act. And to me, that is what “sexy” is truly about. Finding that thing that makes you feel electric and alive. Sexy doesn’t mean SEX. Though for some, it just might. And if that’s the case for you, then let your freak flag fly. But what gives you that charge that shakes you up and makes everyone in the room take notice, just might be your sexy.

So my homework for you is to do something that you enjoy, I mean, really enjoy. Talk about it and engage with like minded people and challenge yourself to find what lights you up. And when you do, ask yourself “Is this my sexy?” Who knows? It could be. So shout out to all you future sexy stay at home moms and baristas. The world is so here to see your magic!

What I learned from 90 Day Fiance

I spent most of quarantine like a lot of you. Aimlessly walking around my house trying not to go slowly insane. I didn’t have the luxury of working from home, as due to COVID, my entire department was laid off. In between self pity and countless bottles of Jameson, I discovered a gem of a show called “90 Day Fiance”. I’m not going to insult you with the details of the reality show hit, but I will sum it up as follows:

Long distance and cross cultural, love meets tv cameras and national judgement.

This show has everything. From aspiring rappers, to sugar mama Karen’s, to sweet country boys, to more sugar mama Karen’s, to Ukranian women who may or may not be real, to you guessed it…more sugar mama Karen’s. For the life of me, I never understood why these women would send money and gifts over so freely to these dudes. But in reality, it’s like watching one of those Nigerian email scams in real life, only the guy on the other end isn’t a prince.

There is a lot to learn from a show like this, but the biggest thing I learned was compromise. Or in some cases, the lack thereof. In a recent episode, this lovely Ukrainian woman is engaged to this sweet simple country boy from Washington. They could not be more opposite. He loves beer, she doesn’t drink. Like me, he finds joy in a Tomahawk steak, shes a vegetarian. The latter came up recently when she watched him in horror devour this gorgeous piece of meat.

Side Note: I totally respect vegetarians and vegans, but I mean, a beautiful piece of medium rare filet in a garlic butter sauce? Chef’s kiss!

Any way, the woman asked if he would try giving up meat for a week. He sheepishly agreed as she says to the camera how doing this was a sign of respect to her and a good compromise. It caught me a bit off guard. My first thought was “compromise”? What are you giving up for him? He doesn’t have meat for a week and you get to sit back and enjoy not having the smell of bacon in your house? But then it hit me. Oh yea, she moved to another country for him. Big compromise.

The thing about relationships, is that they are chock full of compromise. Whether big or small. Women will look past the toilet seat always being left up, if you don’t judge us for eyelashes you find on the counter. You take out the trash, I’ll put away the groceries. But then there are the bigger ones. Where do we live in relation to our family members? Or different religious beliefs? Are you a smoker and your partner isn’t?

Learning to balance compromise in a relationship, rather than it being a punishment, is a huge part of making it work. Compromise, like communication, isn’t easy and doesn’t happen over night. It’s the basis of that tried and true piece of relationship advice “Pick and choose your battles.” You can either make something into a huge deal or stop and ask “Is this something that I can compromise for?” Because maybe, you are doing something that drives your partner up the wall, but silently, they haven’t judged you for it.

Compromise. It’s the name of the game.

Love and four legged friends

Sometimes the internet wins with pairing you with just the right content. I’m not talking about the heartwarming military homecomings or the kids who accidentally swear in front of their grandparents. Although if you send those to me, I will always watch them and laugh. No, I’m talking about something that crosses your social media path and make you say “Why didn’t I think of that first?” For me, that was meeting Sheryl Matthys, the Founder of FetchaDate.

After a few tweets back and forth, I asked Sheryl if I could interview her because I thought her app was brilliant. FetchaDate pairs singles with other like minded individuals who love their pets. You can either have a pet, or be in between pets. And it’s not just for cats and dogs, any pet is accepted. The gerbil, the hamster, the cute and cuddly python. Is that a thing? Well for another python owner, it is! FetchaDate acts like other dating apps, where you create a profile and matches can be found based on age, gender and geography. But what sets it apart from other dating apps is having your pet be the focal point and acting as your…wait for cuteness..WING PET!

FetchaDate originally started as “Leashes and Lovers” in New York City. Matthys, who is originally from the midwest, found NYC to be, not the warmest town in the world. That all changed however when Sheryl got her first Greyhound. She noticed that the city began to be a bit more friendly. People were more engaging with her and her dog. “Leashes and Lovers” then grew into meet up groups in trendy cocktail bars, a successful book: “Leashes and Lovers: What Your Dog Can Teach You About Love, Life and Happiness.” and to its current incarnation, the app FetchaDate.

What Sheryl noticed was that there was a market for singles looking for love, who also loved their pets. During our interview we laughed at how some people have to understand that as a single pet owner, your home may have poop in a corner, or hair on your jacket, or a four legged friend who sleeps in your bed. For non pet owners like myself, this was a hard part of dating for me. Meeting a great guy who would then go on and on about his Boxer, and how I could absolutely care less. But for singles who share a love for their pets, much like a parent to a child, finding someone who shares the same passion can be hard.

Matthys mentioned that some of her former “Leashes and Lovers” friends would comment that they wouldn’t bring a date around their pet until a few dates in. Almost to act as an emotional protector. If you don’t like my cat and my cat doesn’t like you, then its “Sayonara”! What sets this app apart from others in creating meaningful connections and having those connections made through your four legged friend. Or your winged, scaled, hard shelled companion.

I can’t tell you how many singles I know who are unable tell you the last great date they had, but can show you the last three videos of their dog doing the most hilarious thing in the world. That’s the beauty of pets, their unconditional love. It’s what we as humans are yearning for. FetchaDate recognizes that in this ever changing dating world, in order to find meaningful connections sometimes we have to take our phone for a walk. And hope he plays well with others.

You can find FetchaDate in the app store for iPhone and Android.

http://www.fetchadate.com

iPhone: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/fetchadate/id1523043155

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fetchadate