The Sunken Place

I was 12 years old when I wrote my first suicide note and 31 when I wrote my last one. Yea, that happened. Both 12 year old me and 31 year old me had very different pain, that they tried desperately to hide from the world. Until, in their opinion, it was too much to bear. To say I have had to battle depression and anxiety, is an understatement. It is a battle I deal with to this day. And one I don’t often share.

I also never ever shared it with any of my previous partners. Until my fiancee. We had been together for about four months when I had an anxiety attack that I cleverly concealed with shots of tequila. What can I say? (Patron is a coping mechanism.) But then I thought “If I love this man, he has to see this part of me.” He had to see and understand my past pain and traumas. So I sat him down and told him everything. I put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself both personally and professionally and sometimes, it’s too much.

I can’t please everyone but I also want so badly to do so.

Sometimes I cry, for no reason. Sometimes I am unkind for no reason.

Sometimes I need help, but I am ashamed to ask.

This was all new to me, but also important. I needed him to see this side of me and to know what to do when I would find myself in The Sunken Place. Sometimes it’s a memory or social media or something in my environment that causes me to spiral. But more often than not, it comes out of no where. It creeps in and I don’t know what to do. And I need a safety net.

I needed to tell him because I needed him to know that sometimes when I’m trying to be strong for him, I am trying so hard to be strong for myself. And sometimes, it’s too hard to do that silently. When I had another anxiety attack I told him “Somethings wrong. I don’t feel happy and I don’t want to hurt myself, But I am scared and I don’t know what to do.” He asked what he could do and I cried and said “Just hold me.”

It may be the hardest thing in the world to open up to your partner and tell them what you need. And it may seem like you feel you have failed when you show your vulnerable side. But that is bullshit! They are your partner for a reason. They love the beautiful and the not so beautiful. You should never be afraid to ask for help. You should never be afraid to say “I can’t carry this alone.” And most importantly, never be afraid to say you aren’t happy and you just need to be held.

There is strength in admitting you need help. And there is love in the people who give it to you.

can you be friends with your ex?

I know! This is a highly loaded question. Mainly because I feel as if people have very strong feelings about the topic. And as well they should. Full disclosure- this is also a hot button topic between my fiancee and I. In truth, there should be no reason to be friends with an ex. For whatever reason, the relationship has failed/ended. So why keep a friendship after dating has ran its course?

So let’s look at this from both sides. I’m the kind of person that when we are done, we are sooooo DONE! I’ve deleted your contact, photos, songs that remind me of you. That’s it. For some people, that is the only way to heal and move on. But there are a few cases where before a relationship developed, there was a friendship. And no, I don’t mean a FWB kind of thing. I mean a “call me when you need a ride home from a creepy date.” or a “my family member died.” kind of friendship. I can think of two such men who fit this description.

Yes, there may have been a romantic past, but it doesn’t change the fact that we have genuinely been there for each other, years after said relationship was over. I mean, if it can happen in TV sitcoms, why can’t it work in real life?

On the flip side, I also understand that things change when sex is involved. And more importantly once you have had an intimate connection what is to say it won’t come back again. My fiance’s argument goes back to the “Can you be friends with the opposite sex?”. Meaning, it is hard for a man to be friends with a woman and not have some desire to be with her. As he put it, if given the opportunity, men would cross the line of friendship to gain something more. I would also like to argue that the same could be done vice versa. I have had male friends that once they became single, I made a move on. But we both wanted to keep the friendship rather than lose it.

So who wins the argument? Can you really be friends with your ex? I say it boils down to a few factors. First, communicating with your partner about the nature of your relationship/friendship. I can’t say in a perfect world that your man and your ex will watch football together, but your man does need to know that the friendship is not a threat.

Next, is time. For me, my two male friends are people I have known for over 20 years and the time we were together was almost 20 years ago. If there is a good amount of time between when you were dating, compared to your current relationship, this may make having the friendship a bit more palatable. And finally, the importance of the friendship vs the relationship. If it is a true friend, he or she may understand that out of respect to your partner, your friendship may need to take a back seat. It may help to avoid temptation, but it may also help in showing your partner your priority.

In the end, having the difficult conversation about your ex’s role in your life, is the best way to start. By all means, don’t bully your partner in seeing your point. But rather with any argument, step back and listen to their concerns. At the end of the day, choose love, over everything else!

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?

Do I make the cut?

In the world of dating and dating advice, more often then not, you will find countless lists of what a woman wants in a man. Certain requirements that she desires in a perfect mate. I myself have made many of these lists. I actually wrote one that had 100 (you read that correct) 100 things I was looking for in my “Dream Man.” I also wrote that list my freshmen year of college. Over the years, the list has changed and thankfully, got shorter. It focuses on characteristics that I want in a partner with whom I want to build a future with. But it recently occurred to me, that maybe men have a similar list. And if so, would I make it on my partner’s list?

One of the first things to consider when making a list in hopes to find said qualities in a partner, is to ask yourself if those are qualities that you possess. In other words, if you want him to be someone who is close with their family, are you in fact, close with your family? And if you had to do a deep dive into your own soul, what are the ten things that you bring to a relationship? Or better yet, what are the ten things you need to do better in a relationship?

Another point to consider is why a particular item on your list is important? Is a man who is financially stable important to you, because you need to be better with handling money? And if that is the case, wouldn’t that be a point that your partner would address on his own list? “I like a woman who has poor credit and a minor addiction to shoes.” Ok, maybe not as dramatic, but you get the picture. If an item on your list is an important quality you are looking for, is it something that you can match or are an equal to?

At the end of the day, we want to look at our lists and think that we are asking for our truest desires. But take a moment and think about your own self with an honest and critical eye. Do you have all of the things that your partner dreams of? If not, maybe re-examine your list again. At the very least, narrow it down from 100 to maybe 30 things. There’s no way he can be kind, loving, between 6’0 and 6’4 and speak French. That’s just asking for too much.

Can you have friends of the opposite sex?

Let me just jump right into this. Yes, but with conditions. Steve Harvey recently made news with his comments on the topic of having friends of the opposite sex. His thoughts, which are very valid come from the idea that a man has a woman as a friend when he puts her in the category of knowing he will never sleep with her. Meaning, we ain’t gonna bump uglies, then we can be cool. But if I have the chance, I’m taking the opportunity. And for this, some men find it hard to have a woman who is genuinely a friend.

Women however see a different point. We can see a guy as an actual friend and it has nothing to do with attraction or sexual chemistry. Yes, we can put you in the Friend Zone and yes, we can go from doing the nasty to being buds. It’s a transition that comes easy for us because we see that friendship connection more important than sex. This can confuse your male partner and in many cases, make them feel threatened. I’m here to argue that it shouldn’t.

So I, like many women, who over the years, always had more guy friends than girlfriends. Now at the moment, I am closer to my girls, but I have a handful of guys that if I needed to call in an emergency, have my back. Some of those I have had zero physical or romantic connection to. Some, we have had a past of intimacy. But years have passed, I’m engaged, or they are happily married with kids, there is no bond more than an actual friendship. Here’s how I have always seen this dynamic. It’s one thing to have those friends to hang out with over drinks or bond at a sporting event, but what about the person you call when you have a death in the family or you’re going through something like a divorce? In moments like that, a genuine friendship is so important, and one that should be bigger than what may have happened years prior in or out of the bedroom.

This is where the “conditions” come in. I think in order to have a strong relationship to the opposite sex, while you are in fact in a relationship, it’s important to be honest with your partner about the history of the friendship. Do I think they need to know all of the dirty details? No. But should they know in all honesty that there was some sort of physical past? Yes. But why? If it ever comes out that this little fact was never mentioned, your partner will inevitably feel as if it was hidden on purpose, when you may not see it that way. This is the tricky part of having friends of the opposite sex. What do you divulge to your partner?

At the end of the day, you have a friendship that may have been years in existence before your time with your significant other. If it is a real solid friendship, like the one you can call on if your mom passes or your baby is born, then I think those healthy friendships are indeed safe and valuable. Remember, if it ever feels like you’re hiding information or details, or if you have to proceed with caution, that’s never good. Treat both your friendship and relationship with open respect, and both should be able to live in harmony.

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

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.

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.