Through ‘Sickness’ and In Health – Man Flu and Other Drama King Diseases

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I’ve always been a firm believer of Survival of the Fittest. This was ingrained in me since I was a kid when my parents sent me off to school full of flem and snot, basically telling me to ‘man up’ because the common cold never killed a person and it wasn’t a crime to infect all the other children in my class… after all it wasn’t our fault that they had rubbish genes and weak immune systems. Although as a grown-up, infecting my colleagues in the office doesn’t really work in my favour as it ends up meaning I have to pick up the slack, I still rarely take a sick day. Because at the end of the day, no matter how pretty you are or how many PhDs you have, no employer will knowingly employ a person with a horrific sickness record.

I however do understand that not all people subscribe to my way of thinking. We all have different pain thresholds. Some people will cry like a baby when they stub their toe while others are capable of running marathons with a heart condition and fractured leg. Different strokes for different folks I guess? Sure, maybe I am unsympathetic cow. Luckily, for those who a genuinely sick (with more than just a cold) in most decent countries there will be certain safeguards in the workplace to protect them from having their jobs snatched away by healthier counterparts. But seeing as the purpose of this blog isn’t to discuss labour laws, today I want to discuss sicknesses and their impact on relationships?

In an attempt to keep things lighthearted and merry, I’m not going by serious medical conditions like Cancer, Paraplegia, HIV/AIDS, etc. Theoretically, we all know that if you truly loved someone you’d stick by them in sickness and in health, like those age-old wedding vows tell you to. However, the reality is probably somewhat different – the truth is we are a fickle generation that often bolt at the first sign of trouble – but no judgement from me. It’s understandable that not all relationships are capable of withstanding the pressures that come from dealing with such serious illnesses.

What I want to raise issue with today are not the genuine illnesses that I’ve referred to above, but with growing prevalence of what I’d like to call Drama King Diseases, the one which we are all probably most familiar with is the dreaded Man Flu. This is a crippling and debilitating condition which indiscriminately attacks just the male members of our species without warning. While, most women may regard this as nothing more than the common cold the boys will beg to differ on this.

Ladies, we are well aware by now that the alpha male is a dying breed. Long gone are those men that fought in the trenches…most boys (really, we can’t refer to them as men) nowadays wouldn’t be willing to hammer a nail into the wall, never mind go off to war without mummy there to hold their hand. While the independent woman is totally capable to going out to work, earning the big bucks, giving birth and running marathons…I think having to deal with these ‘weak’ men puts unnecessary pressure on a relationship and quite frankly is enough to send even an iron lady over the edge.

Seriously though, I have to say that any such dramatic references to Man-Flu or other Drama King Diseases should be seen as a red flag, especially in the early stages of dating. To exemplify, you’ve got a fun night of dancing planned with friends when the new beau starts complaining about a headache. The next thing you know he is heading to the doctor and BOOM there he is being admitted to hospital with a HEADACHE !!!

As the S.O of such a man, you’ll find yourself in a lose/lose situation. If you cancel your plans (because your lame man is overcome by his FEAR of tripping over his two left feet) and stay by his bedside nursing him back to ‘health’ you’ll spend the whole time wishing you were out on the town. If you tell him sort himself out and go anyway, he’ll a) probably run and tell mummy about  you and b) never let you forget the time you left him for DEAD to go party karate with your stupid friends. And there begins a slippery slope…

Oki dokes Dear Rinsers, its over to you. Do you think my rant was a little harsh on the boys? Do we really have a duty to stick by our S.O through ‘sickness’ and in health? Have you ever dated such a Drama King (or Queen) who suddenly happens to contract a serious illness when there is something that they don’t want to do? Do you think we should regard such ‘symptoms’ as red flags or am I just a heartless cow? Share your views and stories in the comments below… 

 

 

Review : Me Before You – Dating and Disabilities

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Yes, I know we haven’t written a Wednesday post in a long long time, so here is a rare treat for you.

This weekend I watched the movie that’s caused quite a bit of controversy in the media. I’d read the book by Jo Jo Moyes a few years ago and I have to admit that while it is essentially chick lit, it was quite the page turner – one of those guilty pleasures. Despite it not being the most intellectually stimulating of stories (it’s been dubbed as 50 Shades of Grey minus the sex), it did touch on some contentious issues which are rarely the focus of such accessible literature.

To summarise, Me Before You is the story of Louisa Clarke, a slightly eccentric but very sweet 20 something who despite all her potential finds herself stuck in a dead beat village somewhere in rural England. After getting retrenched from her job at a local cake shop, she is forced to take a job looking after Will Traynor, a very handsome ex-City guy whose once-very active lifestyle has been destroyed thanks to accident which left him quadriplegic (and suicidal – this is what caused all the controversy from disabled rights groups). To start with, the poor chick has to deal with his sarcasm and bad moods, but eventually he starts to warm to her and so the story goes…. (I’m trying not to ruin it for you).

I think for the purposes of a dating/relationship blog, Me Before You poses two main questions. Number 1 – How likely is that an average girl could fall in love with a disabled person, who is effectively incapable of taking care of himself? Totally possible, when it’s Will Traynor, an incredibly good looking, eloquent, public-school boy (who own’s a castle) and wants to open your eyes and give you access to the finer things in life. But I do think the movie sugar-coated things a little bit. The sad truth is we live in the overwhelmingly superficial world of Tinder where most girls swipe left if the guy has a lazy eye, never mind being confined to life in a wheelchair. Sure, real life Louisa Clarks do exist but they are rare. The majority people are likely to be more like Will’s ex (who couldn’t handle the challenges of dating a quadriplegic guy and subsequently ditched him for his best friend).

The second contentious issue the movie deals with is that of euthanasia/assisted suicide – and whether if you truly loved someone you’d help them end their own life. It’s a complicated issue, the morality of which clever people have been debating for yonks. Its probably not something that belongs on a lighthearted blog like this but I do think as trashy as the book/movie may be it did well to address a tough issue and get the mainstream talking about it, at least to some degree.

Would I recommend the movie? For sure. Despite the fact that it has faced criticism for dumbing down the plight of people dealing with disabilities, Me Before You, is a little bit more thought-provoking than the average happily-ever-after chick flick, so I would definitely say it is worth watching. Oh and if you do plan on watching it at the cinema, do yourself a favour and take tissues. The film had most of the cinema in tears (even the guys)!

So, over to you dear Rinsers. Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts on it? Do you think I’ve been a bit hard on the Tinder generation? Do you think there are people out there that still see past the superficial? And what are your thoughts of euthanasia? Go wild in the comments below….   

 

 

 

The Sixth Sense – When The Ex Just Knows You Are Moving On

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Relationships, and other lesser-romantic encounters, end for a variety of reasons. Some break-ups aren’t monumental. It’s not always a case of him having a Ashley Madison account or her leading a double life on the other side of the world and stringing you a long for the LOLs. Sometimes its just a matter of two people not seeing eye to eye or having issues that, despite all efforts, just can’t be overcome. I do believe it is possible to exit a relationship while still loving the person you are leaving behind. That connection that you’ve built over time (be it a few weeks or a decade) doesn’t just end that day you change your Facebook status back to ‘single’.

That connection that transcends the parameters of a formal relationship (or informal FWB in some cases) is the focus of in today’s post. In particular, the sixth sense, that your exes have when it comes to your moving on with someone new. Let’s look at some examples. We all have ex-factor where things end but not on bad terms so you try and stay (just) friends, you keep in touch, share a bit of witty banter, etc. Naturally, you try to keep things light and fluffy so there is never any discussion about potential new relationships (surely, I am not the only one who thinks this may be a little awk?). After a few months of single alone time, one day there you are beautifying yourself and getting ready for your first date with some dude you’ve met on Tinder when there is a knock on the door…and it’s none other than the devil himself!!! You chitchat a bit and eventually get rid of him but you arrive bleary eyed and generally bleak for the first date and that’s not exactly the best start for a blossoming relationship now is it?

Just a coincidence? We wish! There are even those boyfriends past, who despite the fact that they themselves have replaced you, somehow manage to find a way of using this ‘sixth sense’ to stop you from moving on. It’s  hard enough trying dealing with the trials and tribulations of dating, and sifting through all the deadwood out there trying to meet some half-decent human beings without throwing your past into the mix. And what’s worse about these exes with the sixth sense is that they often know you better than you know yourself. As much as we all know better than to compare people, its so easy to be nostalgic. Even though a potential new suitor may shower you with flowers (and badly written declarations of ‘love’), your past knows you well enough to know that the only flowers you won’t kill are the plastic ones!

And the solution to this ‘Sixth Sense’ problem? I’d love to tell you I had the answer. But I’m still working on this one. Sure, the Sixth Sense exists BUT we can still choose not to allow it control things and effectively stop us having a future with someone new. The truth is, it’s not always a case of better the devil you know. Things always end for a reason and unless there has been a miraculous turn of events you’ll find that the issues that plagued past relationships still exist today. Of course, its not always easy to cut all ties and draw a line in the sand, especially in a small world like Cape Town. But we should at least endevour to  move on so that when paths do cross we are in a better position to objectively evaluate the situation instead of allowing the ex’s Sixth Sense to trick us into becoming all nostalgic about the past.

OK Rinsers. Do you think it is possible for ex loves to have this sort of Sixth Sense and use it to sabotage our chances of future happiness?  Or is it just an excuse for person’s own unwillingness to let go of the past? Do you have any experiences with the Sixth Sense phenomenon and what are you tips for fighting it? Answers in the comments below.

 

 

 

The Ghosts of Boyfriends Past

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Despite the heartache and stress involved in relationships (and dating) I believe that all of these experiences serve a purpose. The good experiences teach us what works and the bad ones well they are they to show us what we don’t want in a future partner. But today I want to question how the experiences with boyfriends/girlfriends past have the ability to negatively cloud our judgement when it comes to blossoming new relationships?

With break-ups being as painful as they are, most of us (unless you are some sort of sadist) strive to avoid making the same mistakes over again and aim to learn from what went wrong in past relationships by acknowledging our own patterns when it comes to the people we get  involved with and (aka spotting the glaring red flags).For instance, with a little bit of self-reflection you may establish that the reason many of your past relationships ended in disaster was because you could handle life with a needy mummy’s boy and subsequently come to terms with the fact that you the type of girl that just can’t settle for anything less than an old-fashioned alpha male. Then imagine, you meet a seemingly decent guy who ticks most of your boxes – gainfully employed, sporty, good conversation and treats you like a princess – BUT alas there is one little flaw – at the age of 45 he still lives with the OLDS. The alarms bells ring ! Is it history repeating itself?

On one hand, I would say you should give yourself a huge pat on the back for being sharp enough to spot the red flag and for being honest enough to acknowledge it as an issue. We are shaped by our past traumas and such situations it is natural for us to have reservations about getting involved with someone who shares certain similarities with past partners. While it is certainly not unreasonable one does need to question whether such comparisons with boyfriends/girlfriends past is fair on new suitors? Or whether we a choosing  to focus on an isolated aspect of someone’s persona could result in us ignoring all their positive attributes that could have potentially made them our Prince?

Sure, knowing your deal breakers is important when it comes to being successful in dating. While being open-minded and dating anyone and everyone who shows an interest in the hope of finding your Prince Charming is nice in theory, it will also definitely serve to waste a lot of your precious time (don’t forget that bio clock is busy tick tocking).The next thing you’ll wake up aged 30 with nothing more than a hell of a lot of ‘interesting’ dates under your belt but no happily-ever-after to show for it.

The key here, I think, is to be reasonable and question how much your deal breakers are shaped by bad experiences from the past rather the real tangible problems.  Ask yourself whether you are in fact allowing those big bad exes win by allowing them to haunt your future? Don’t use your tumultuous past relationships be an excuse for your ‘forever alone’ mindset. Just because a black man cheated you don’t mean that you should dismiss a whole race as being Ashley Madison members (true story of a real life sad spinster).  Ultimately, things like this are never clear cut. There is a fine line between learning from our past relationship experiences and using them to establish our non-negotiable criteria and not allowing our judgement to be clouded by the ghosts of boyfriends (or girlfriends) past.

It’s your turn now Rinsers. Do you find that past experiences have a considerable impact on current relationships? Are you still haunted by the ghosts of boyfriends (and/or girlfriends) past ? And can these feelings/issues been detrimental when trying to form new relationships? Does establishing deal breakers based on past relationships say more about you than it does about the people you are dating?