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.

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.

The Help You Need

The older I get, and the more serious of a relationship I find myself in, I come to a point where I feel that outside help will be a benefit to my partner and I. And I mean more than just talking to your girlfriends, your crew, co-workers or parents. I mean…professional help. I’m going to say something that may seem a bit controversial, but hear me out. “Every couple…even you…should speak to a counselor/therapist/mediator at some point in your relationship.” To be honest, I’m not sure how some couples make it without outside help.

Think of it this way. How many things do we do to prevent issues with our automobiles? It’s like preventive maintenance for your relationship. We regularly get our oil changed, tires rotated, etc. The same approach should be done with anyone that you plan or are planning to spend a substantial amount of your life with. But why? What’s the point of seeking outside help?

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Just like you shouldn’t drive a car off the lot and when it first shows issues do you take it to a shop; the same shouldn’t be done with a relationship. You can go along the road of life, hoping your relationship  runs smooth and maybe you will have one bump that requires attention. Or that one bump, because it hasn’t been treated sooner, becomes a huge front end blowing problem. You do the work to prevent bigger issues. Now, is this to say that it will work all the time? Hell no. There are some major issues that are unforeseen.

For most couples, the biggest issues usually revolve around four things: Money, Children, Sex and Communication. Some of these are issues that can be tackled before problems occur, simply by having in-depth conversations. And I mean, the conversations that may be uncomfortable. For example, I don’t want to have children. I never really did. I’ve always been very frank and open about this, early on in all of my major relationships. And with the exception of my marriage, I’ve always told my partner there is nothing they can do to change that fact. So the conversation became, “If you want to be with me, this has to be something we both agree on, or you need to be with someone else.”

That isn’t a fun conversation and it can bring up bigger issues down the road. But for me, having that talk early on, saves a lot of heartache. But what if you’re someone who is ok with say, not having kids and your partner at first feels the same way, and then over time that changes? What do you do? Well I promise you, issues will arise. The conversations will turn into disagreements, then to bickering, then to arguing or worst. That’s where getting outside help can be of benefit.

For one, it allows a neutral party to sit and listen to both sides and give counsel that doesn’t benefit that person. Whether we want to say it or not, when we ask our friends or loved ones for advice, there is always a part where it can benefit one person in the relationship more so than the other. It’s natural, they’re your friend. A third person outside of your circle can look at things truly objectively. Another reason to talk to a professional, is to shed light on any potential issues that may come down the road. “Ma’am, you’re gonna need an alignment soon.” AKA “So how do you get along with her mother?” This is a great time to openly and honestly, talk about things that may be on your mind that you fear to bring up in casual conversation. Or maybe even things, that you haven’t really thought about, but should talk about.

And what kind of help should you seek? I’m not going to tell you that you need to see a licensed therapist/counselor or a minister or even a doctor. Find someone who works for both of you. It could be any of the aforementioned professionals. Most importantly, it should be someone that you both trust and can speak openly with. The important thing to remember, is that this a process. I’m not also telling you that you should speak to someone weekly or monthly. But that you should give it a try. Maybe you will find that like a tune up, it’s something you do every few months. Either way, there is no harm in lifting the hood of your relationship and see how things are running. In the end, it will truly help it perhaps run a little smoother.

That is…unless you’re planning on an upgrade! (lol)

What makes me so special?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my dating past. I am a firm believer that your dating past brings you exactly what your present and future can be, as long as you learn from it. Meaning, are you making the same mistakes and getting the same results, while at the same time, blaming your dating partners? Have you ever wondered what makes you so special? And why would someone want to be with you?

A friend of mine is in a new relationship that seems to be blossoming. She’s one of these women that for years I wonder, why the heck guys don’t see how amazing she is. In a lot of ways, she reminds me of me. Loud, funny, highly career focused, no kids, lover of booze. For a while, I was afraid all those things held me back from finding a great guy. And again, I found myself wondering, “What makes me so special?”

Over the years, the question of finding someone who makes you feel special, was always one that I tried to answer. I need a man to treat me like the goddess that I am. The older I became, however, I realized that I need to tap into my own blend of special, and love and appreciate that, before anyone else can. Believe it or not, our moms were right. “You have to love yourself, before anyone else can love you.” Who knew?!

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All you can hope, is that the next person, your person, that you end up with, sees something magical in you, that no other partner ever has. At the end of the day, that’s what makes that relationship “The One”. And a lot of that, comes from not only loving the  things that make you “special”, but the bad, the ugly, the insecure, the annoying, the flatulence. So here’s to finding and loving what makes you special. Here’s to first appreciating it on your own and the beautiful dating process, that will lead you to find someone else, who will think that you’re not only special, but pretty darn groovy, too!

The Advice You Give

When I started my blog 8 years ago, it was because I wanted to work through some issues. A girl might look like a Power Ranger but I need help. What I never expected but has turned into a happy surprise, is my ability to give advice to others. You’ve heard that doctors make the worst patients. The same goes for those who write dating blogs. I may not always listen to my own advice, but the advice I give is darn good!

A few days ago, my college best friend called me. She needed some advice about whether to pursue dating a guy seriously or to let him go. We caught up for a few hours and I realized very quickly, a lot of the advice I give, sounds scarily…like my mother. I have to laugh especially since I don’t have kids. I don’t have many moments where I can go to my mom and say “I get it now”. It does, however happen several times when giving advice.

The advice that I give comes from a place that splits my head and my heart. Most of the time, when my friends come to me and I hear their concern, my first response is something that I’ve heard my mother say countless times, “It sounds like you know what to do, you just have to do it.” And in classic mother fashion, sometimes the thing we know we NEED to do, is the thing we don’t WANT to do. But why is that?

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Because deep down, even though we often seek out the advice of others, we already know what we NEED to do. Sometimes, we want to even be talked out of those things. We have our mind made and know what we WILL do. But hearing advice gives us insight one way or another.

I’m always happy to be a sounding board for my friends. Often, they do the same for me. And I will continue to give advice, whether they listen to me or not. Just remember, the advice you give is often the advice you need to take. Be a better patient, then a doctor!

2019- The Year of “Don’t Repeat”

I can’t stand New Year’s Resolution. Full disclosure, because I can never keep them. Who can? You make grand plans to stick by a resolution and by mid-January, you realize that that pound cake won’t eat its self. So instead of resolutions I try what I like to call “Don’t Repeat”.

Rather than a goal or a resolution I want to keep but know I won’t, I focus on things that brought me no joy or success and focus on not repeating them. The classic “Learning from Ones Mistakes” mantra.  I’ll admit, I am the Queen of screwups. And I wear my mistakes with a badge of honor. But even someone like myself has to stop and make an effort to not make the same mistakes again, hence “Don’t Repeat”.

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So if you are like me, and need a checklist to get you into 2019, might I suggest my list of 2019 “Don’t Repeats”

  • Tinder Dinner Dates- Sure, it gets you out of the house and yea, it’s a free meal. But it’s never just dinner, and it’s never worthwhile in the end. Let’s just say “Wanna meet for a drink and maybe make out?” I mean, let’s put the rules of the game out there before we enter the field.

 

  • Concern for your Ex- Yes, you have a civil relationship with them. There is no following on Social Media or even a saved phone number. And maybe they went through a hurricane. That doesn’t mean you have to be the one who reaches out because you were “concerned”. You’re not. Not really at least. You want to know that THEY know the f*&^ed up. Surprise, surprise…they still don’t

 

  • Looking Cute for Others- BITCH!!!!! Make the winged liner as strong as your personality and as sharp as your tongue for no one else, but yo DAMN self! Trust me…it won’t go unnoticed!

 

  • Cheating on Your Expectations- Earlier in the year I talked about how a friend was trying to set me up. When she asked me what I was looking for in a guy, I gave her a rather detailed top 5. She thought it was shocking and for a moment, I  began to doubt whether those things were really necessary. Then it hit me. If I had found any guy in 2018 remotely close to the characteristics in my top 5, I wouldn’t still be looking. This isn’t to say that my expectations are high, but I know what I want. And in 2019, rather than thinking what you are looking for isn’t realistic, ask yourself if it’s realistic to waste your time on what you AREN’T looking for.

 

  • Losing Sight on Me- Ladies, we all do it. We meet that guy, we click, we start dating and then we morph into another person. We know we’re doing it. Our friends, family and co-workers see that we’re doing it? But why? What do we get out of it, except an emergency trip to our therapist on New Year’s Eve. We know what makes us great. And we also know what makes us a hot F*&^ing mess! So why not accept that and accept that the person who will ultimately be your right match will love both…equally. Let’s stop playing the charade of the perfect hostess, the girl who’s eyebrows always match or the super excited hockey fan (Bitch, you know we ain’t ever been to a hockey game). Instead let’s take this kick ass chick into 2019 ready to make mistakes, learn from them, kiss a lot of frogs, meet a prince, challenge herself, fight for what she deserves and changes the attitudes of others around her with her smile. It’s not impossible, so let’s show the world how it’s done!