Self Care/ Self Date

I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more I enjoy my own company. Even if I am in a relationship. And for some reason, I have found that some people think this is a bad idea. “What do you mean, you want to spend time alone? You have someone in your life now!” But why does that mean I can’t enjoy my own personal time and space? Many blogs, articles and therapists will tell you that while you are in the dating pool of single life, that it is also important to show yourself love and date yourself. Go out on your own, buy yourself gifts, give yourself the attention you would want from a partner. I argue that, that same attention should be done when you are in a relationship, too.

Remember, all the things you would do on a Saturday when you were single? Perhaps they have changed now that you are with someone, but they don’t need to. Just because you have now become a “WE” doesn’t mean you have to lose the “ME”. A few days ago, I took myself out to lunch, got a pedicure, did some shopping and bought myself some flowers. And the whole time I thought, “Why don’t I do this more often?” Sometimes we feel guilty not spending time with our partner. As if to say, that we should only want to do things together as a couple. But you have to remember, that you had a flourishing life before your significant other came into it.

It is important to note that this potential solo time or self date, is something that can also help your relationship. Have you ever thought that maybe your partner shares some of your interests out of love, but maybe doesn’t want to engage in them all of the time? Believe it or not, this can be a good thing. It allows you to enjoy the things you love, without your partner growing resentful in an effort to appease you. Not to mention, time apart can be a good thing. Maybe there is a movie you really want to see that he could care less about. Our a restaurant you know she wouldn’t like. Take yourself out on a date and enjoy that time on your own.

I recently came across a TikTok by a woman who took the suggestion of going to a bar alone, in an attempt to find a guy who would be interested that she was out solo. She mentioned that she was disappointed because it didn’t work. I’ve done this often when I was single but took a different attitude. If you find someone, great. But how nice is it to enjoy living in your own space? Appreciating a great meal or a delicious cocktail?

The same can be said about solo dating while in a relationship. Go back to the things you enjoy doing on your own, but do it without guilt. The key of course is to let your partner understand the importance of this alone time. Never use it as a tactic in a fight. But rather explain that it is a key way to stay in touch with the person that you are who had her own desires and passions before you met them. You aren’t running away from the relationship, you are just taking care of yourself. And by doing so, you are being a better partner.

Full Griswold…or “How to Not Let the Holidays Ruin Your Relationship.”

On a recent episode of our podcast “Break Bottles, Not Hearts” http://www.anchor.fm/desiree-simone1, we talked about the stress the holidays bring not only on ourselves but our relationships. Whether it’s your parents, siblings, work colleagues or your significant other, this time of year has a tendency to make us go “Full Griswold.”

Much like the lovable dad, Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” we have the greatest of intentions when it comes to making a memorable holiday for the ones we love. But outside forces, sometimes far from our own control, conspire against us. So what do you do when this happens, and how can you prevent it from ruining this magical time of year?

  • Back away from the Turkey!: Or as I like to call it “A Reset”. One of the first stress factors during the holidays is the additional people in your personal space. Many of us do not have the luxury of a large home, so you are literally on top of each other. No wonder you want to punch your drunk cousin in the face. When this happens, back away. Simply remove yourself from the space. Take a walk, go for a drive, visit your local bar. Remove yourself for a time from the situation and try to remember, they won’t be there forever.
  • Taboo or Not Taboo: There are usually a few things that every family knows you can’t just bring up in conversation. From the cousin who always brings his “friend” to the political topic of the day, you may find some comfort in enforcing a Taboo Rule. Meaning, these are what we will not discuss in order for us all to enjoy a good meal. And if some people have a hard time obeying this rule, simply ignore them. Or in my case, be incredibly sarcastic. It’ll really pisses them off.
  • Keep it Small: Though you love your family and all 20 cousins, sometimes you don’t need to see them all. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that a small gathering can be just as much fun, and less stress, than a big one. So even though borders are opening, your home can remain somewhat close. Keep your entertaining minimal to keep your fun at a maximum.
  • Just Say No: Ok, I will admit, this is a hard one for me. But when the time and the occasion call for it, “No” is a perfectly good response. “Can we bring the pasta salad?” No Shelia, you add raisins to it! “Will it be ok if we come two days earlier?” How about, No! You have 48 hours in my home and that includes entering and exiting. “Would you mind if…” No Karen! To whatever you are going to ask me. Sometimes in the interest of family and sanity, you have to put your foot down and say “No”. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you someone who wants to protect their piece.
  • Let the Classics remain the Classics: I was dating a guy a few years ago and I had this wonderful idea of making the most perfect Christmas for his family and mine. I had this insane notion because I grew up with such amazing memories around the holidays. But it wasn’t until I became an adult in a pseduo-healthy relationship, did I realize that those memories were the work of holiday geniuses far stronger than me. Women who had years of “Better Homes and Garden” conditioning that I could never live up to, who cleverly hid their stress under petticoats and Cognac. In other words, the age old idea of the “Picture Perfect Christmas” is just that…old. Let it die along with the pressures of feeling like you have to live up to your mother, his mother or your grandmothers expectations. It’s great to pass on those traditions that bring nostalgia, but I’m here to tell you that anxiety, shouldn’t be one of them.

At the end of the day, may your days be merry and bright. And may all your holidays end with wine!

Would You rather? Couples edition

During quarantine, I like much of the world, became obsessed with ways to pass the time. I am happy to report that I made only one loaf of bread. My fiancee and I did find ways to entertain ourselves by playing games. Whether it was board games or video games, it may the time stuck at home a bit bearable. I will also admit, that I come from a family that enjoys playing games and finds great joy in being competitive. There may or may not have been a Spades game circa ’78 where my mother and uncle didn’t talk for weeks.

Recently, getting into a normal routine post quarantine, I found myself missing the times my fiancee and I would play games. And it made me think of something fun that we could do. And then I remembered one of my favorite kids games… “Would You Rather.” I’m not gonna bore you with some concept of rules because it’s quite simple. You’re given two choices and you pick which one you’d rather do. And since I have a sex and dating blog, it only makes sense that my questions were a bit more adult in nature.

So if you are dying for a fun night in with your significant other, trying using the below questions. Feel free to let me know how you did. Oh, and for extra fun, make it a drinking game. If you wouldn’t do either question, take a shot!

Play on!

  1. Would you rather loudly orgasm every time you coughed, or cum every time you sneezed?
  2. Would you rather sleep with someone on the first date, or wait three months?
  3. Would you rather have unbelievable sex that lasts ten minutes or average sex that lasts an hour?
  4. Would you rather have sex with the lights on or off?
  5. Would you rather have sex on the kitchen table or in the shower?
  6. Would you rather accidentally send a naughty pic to your boss or your mom?
  7. Would you rather say your ex’s name during sex or your partner’s best friends name?
  8. Would you rather wrestle naked with your partner in jello or pudding?
  9. Would you rather use hot wax or ice cubes?
  10. Would you rather nipple sized fingers or finger sized nipples?
  11. Would you rather french kiss Betty White or Miley Cyrus?
  12. Would you rather walk in on your parents having sex or them walking in on you?
  13. Would you rather sweat a lot during sex or have horrible dry mouth?
  14. Would you rather pay for sex, or have someone pay you?
  15. Would you rather have your partner sleep with your best friend, or your enemy?
  16. Would you rather have a one night stand with someone who was super hot, or someone who was great in bed?
  17. Would you rather your partner be an ex-porn star or your sibling be an ex porn star?
  18. Would you rather be someone who cums too quickly or someone who never cums?
  19. Would you rather have sex with Rihanna or watch her have sex with your partner?
  20. Would you rather have sex with someone who was a biter or screamer?

I got your back, boo!

Breakups are never easy. They aren’t fun, are emotionally taxing and just suck in general. Lucky for you, you have me. I’m a professional when it comes to being there for my friends. Oh, I’m a hot mess going through a breakup myself. But I have always had a great gift of having my friends back when they go through heartache. I guess it comes from my personal philosophy of giving to others what I’d like to receive. You know, that “Do unto others..” yada yada

All jokes aside, there are times that you have to be counselor, motivator and coach when a friend is going through a breakup. There are a few things that we all should consider when being a good shoulder to lean on.

First, remember that not all break ups are the same. Just like not all relationships are the same. I would think this is a given, but I am always amazed when I hear someone say “Well, like when I broke up with XYZ, he did the same thing…” No he didn’t, Stephanie! We all love and grieve differently. And in essence, a break up is a loss. So what you went through and processed emotions, will be different from that of your friend. So remember to understand and accept that.

Second, don’t give your friend a timeline for their own healing. Read that again, and also apply it to your own life. Sure, it may take a few days, months or dare I say, years to get over someone. But that is on your friends own emotional calendar. All you can do is be supportive and honest with them. Sure, sulking for a year or more might be much. But unless you know the deep inner workings of their romance or unless the breakup involves kids or a marriage, time may heal all wounds and that time may take a while. So it’s not up to us to give a friend a deadline to deal with their emotions. But do make them bathe after the second day.

Next, sometimes your two cents isn’t necessary. If you’re like me, when you go through a break up, you think of about a million things that you did wrong. And getting outside criticism isn’t always helpful. You know what I mean. The “I told you so’s!” Judgement is criticism disguised as advice. So don’t put your negative Nancy view of love onto someone who is hurting. And finally, be present. Being there for your friend during a breakup has nothing to do with your own heartache, or crappy job or family issues. Be aware that this is their time to heal and your time to listen. I don’t say this often, but, it’s not all about you. Be a lending hand, a strong support, a warm hug and most importantly, the friend who brings over the good Bourbon.

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.

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.

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.

I Messed Up

During this unprecedented time of social distancing and self quarantine, you may have found like many of us, that you are spending more time with your partner. They say the true test of any couple is to see how well they travel together. I say, sharing the same space for days and not wanting to throw a pillow at them on an hourly basis after the third hand of UNO, is also just as important of a test.

But if you’re like me, this time has proven extra difficult because you have nothing but time. Time to think and re-think and question. Question not only yourself, but your role in the relationship and your partners intent. True story: I messed up. I’m not proud to admit that, but I did. Months ago I did something that made my partner question and doubt my love. I did not cheat on him with another man, but I did break his trust. During the subsequent months, we have tried to move past it. And I’m not gonna lie, it’s been hard AF.

When you break the trust of someone you love, the process to regain it is a constant challenge and battle. It’s one that requires work on BOTH ends. That work revolves around two key factors, trust and time. If you’re like me and you were the person who broke that line of trust, you have to understand that the path to moving on is going to take time. And then more time….and perhaps a bit more time after that. It’s not a quick fix, and it’s not something that can be erased over night. So during this time, you have to sit and wait and be patient. You have to be PATIENT. (As an only child, this is the most difficult thing for me to do in the world!)

Standing away from each other

For those who were hurt, it’s going to take trust. It seems ironic that the thing that was broken, is the one thing that you will need to relay on the most. You will need to come to a new level of trust that makes you work together on the issue. Notice I said “together”. As much as the transgression might have been done by one person, the two of you have to work in tandem in order to move on. A big part of that is getting to a point where you begin to trust your partner is making an effort to make amends and move on. This level of trust is not easy to come by and will take…time.

In the end, this is a long and winding road that will involve both parties putting in serious work. It involves no judgement, releasing the past, looking forward to the future and most of all, forgiveness. This will not be easy, but if the relationship is worth it, if your partner is worth it, anything is worth the fight.

Love’s Soundtrack

I am very protective of a few things in dating relationships. For one, you must love football, and if you don’t, you must understand and be ok with the fact that from August through February, you aren’t dating me as much as observing my madness into College and Professional Football. Two, you must show some form of passion in your life. Whether it’s your job or your family or your love of Kitesurfing. Show me that there’s something that fuels your soul and gives you a thirst to wake up everyday.

I ┬áhave that kind of passion for one thing…music. For me, the soundtrack of a relationship is just as much a part of my dating life, as the other persons preference in whiskey. I can almost point with clarity, any particular part of my past significant relationships to a song. Or a soundtrack, or movie theme, or angsty 90’s rock ballad.

For a while, certain songs I held so sacred, to not tie them to a particular guy. That’s the power of music. The beauty in a love song. The joy in a rock anthem. The soundtrack of any relationship consists of four main components.

  1. The Song That Started It All
  2. The Song That Made You Fall In Love
  3. Pain
  4. The Immortal Classic

Unknown

The first, the Song That Started It All. If you’re like me, sometimes this song is as random as the circumstances around first hearing it . This isn’t nesscarily the song that played on your first date. Or even your first kiss. Sometimes it’s the song that plays on the way to the first date. The song that you hype yourself over to remind you that you need to get back out in the dating pool. Or maybe the song that was playing at the bar when you met with your closest girlfriends to talk about the date the night prior. Whatever it is, it’s the song the kickstarted the romantical hot mess that you’re about to enter

Number 2, The Song That Made You Fall In Love. For me, these are best left to fate. The melody that randomly pops in your head when you’re both out for brunch. You later wonder, what was the cause for the tune to just magically appear in your head, and why at that time? It makes no sense. Maybe just as much since for a football loving whiskey girl to end up with a baseball fanatic tequila drinker. Either way, this is the song that makes you smile because it later becomes “Our Song”. I love when I meet couples and I find out that they buck tradition for a more obscure romantic hit. This song should speak to who you are as a couple and what you both bring to the relationship.

Pain. Pain is number 3. I know it seems odd to think that “Pain” should find a place on a relationship soundtrack. But let’s be honest, pain and love go hand and hand. You can’t have one without the other. I think every relationship has that moment where you can stick it out, or you just cut your losses and run. When this pivotal part of courtship happens, it’s usually faced with a song that sums of the fear, pain, heartache and sometimes resentment, that comes with consensual monogamy. Pain for me is usually a classic R&B, B-side melody, that only plays on the radio on the artist death day. Whatever it is, Track Pain brings meaning to a relationship just like the love behind Track 1.

Number 4 is The Immortal Classic. Whether this relationship is “The One” or the one for now, this song is the track that lives on past both of you, and the gooey center of perfection that was your romance. Sometimes, this song is one that is recommened by outside forces. Friends, who mention it to you in passing and it seems to play out of the blue every time you’re out together. Or an undiscovered classic told to you by a parent. Either way, this is the song that at the relationships end, will forever hold that place of equal cherished hit and regretful melody.

No matter what the songs are in the 4 components, they should be songs that touch your soul. They should make you feel more than just the meaning behind the lyrics. They should bring joy and love, heartache and romance. Songs that remind you that the person is worth the fight, or worth their nasty habits to look past and see their big heart. No song is perfect, no love is perfect and perfect is an ideal that doesn’t really exist. What does, is a great melody, soul changing lyrics and a body of work that can bring two people in love like nothing else in this world can.