The Green Eyed Monster – Can A Little Bit of Jealousy Be Healthy in Relationship?

jealousy

We live in an age where everyone and their dog is ‘living their best life’. Well, that’s the impression we’d get if we believed everything we saw on social media. As much as we’d like to say we are all comfortable in our skin and don’t compare ourselves to those around us, that really isn’t the case for most people. Everyone has their insecurities. And sometimes when you find yourself thrown into something as fragile and precious as a romantic relationship, these feelings of jealousy can be amplified. Considering how difficult it is these days to find someone you find attractive, see eye to eye with on important issues, genuinely click with and actually want to consider having a future with (and also feels the same about you!), it’s understandable that when you find such a thing you are desperate to hold onto it (and destroy anyone or anything that threatened to destabilise it). With that I’m mind , I will be looking at the potential impact that green-eyed monster can have on a relationship and whether a little bit of jealousy ever has the potential be healthy in terms of one’s romantic future?

Types of Jealousy… 

In an age where you see people on Tinder admitting to having a wife/husband and kid at home but looking for a bit of fun on the side, it would be a bit naive to put all your trust in a person from the get-go. Add to that the fact that most of us are likely to have experienced some form of cheating, either within our own romantic relations or witnessed it amongst those close to us. It’s understandable that we are bit wary.

Of course, if you are dating someone who is somewhat attractive and vaguely charismatic you are likely to experience some competition when it comes to securing their affections. There are some folk out there that would argue the ‘love’, as with most things in this world, is a free market and so basic survival of the fittest type things. They have a fair point, I suppose but relationships aren’t always so clear-cut.

Beyond this basic form of jealousy due to the threat other posed by other (potentially prettier, smarter and maybe even more compatible) specimens being after your beau, there are also other types of jealousy that come into play. For instance, when half of the relationship starts to blossom and the other person feels a little left behind. Perhaps, your love found this exciting new job that allows them to travel around the globe, or their gym membership finally started to pay off as those all important abs started to pop.

However, I think it both cases it boils down to the same thing – a fear that the object of affections will leave you- whether it be for another person or because they outgrow you, doesn’t make that much difference.

Which Both Have The Potential To Be Destructive

Jealousy, like many things, is a normal human emotion however I think if you don’t nip it in the bud it has the potential to get out of hand. Obviously, seeing your partner getting hit on by some floozy isn’t the nicest of experiences. But its one thing if you guys roll your eyes at one another and go home and laugh about it later and another if you call her a ho, throw a drink in her face and make a scene about it (or as was the case with one of my exes punch a guy in the face in front of his wife and kids because he was making pervy eyes at your chick). And that isn’t as bad as it can get. How about when jealousy leads to paranoia and you start blaming your boy/girlfriend for the issue?

Relationships should have a positive influence in your life. If you are in a healthy relationship, surely you should want to see the other one go. Of course, you’ll miss them if they have to spend a year abroad for a job but its important to remember life doesn’t just revolve around you.  It’s OK to feel sad but if one person starts laying down ultimatums or preventing the other from pursuing things that could better their life – then this doesn’t bode well for the future of the whole relationship really.

So Can Jealousy Ever Be A Good Thing?

Generally, I’d would say a straight up no. However, it is just an emotion and its how much we indulge the feeling. I don’t think its that jealousy is an intrinsically attractive quality at all. But if the green monster does rear its ugly head from time to time, its not necessarily the end of the world. Trust is built over time and sometimes its flattering to see someone get a little possessive (or is that just me?). It’s also good to be kept on your toes in a relationship – we shouldn’t ever become to complacent or too comfortable to such a point where we let ourselves go. Whether we like it or not, ‘love’ is a free market and everyone has options so we should work at keeping things interesting. I think pangs of jealousy are fine, as long as you are able to reason things out in your mind and figure out some way to do whats best for both parties concerned.

Ringers share your thoughts. I expect my opinions are a little unconventional so go wild and tell it as is. Have you ever had a jealous partner? Or are you the one that tends to get jealous. What are the best ways to deal with the little green monster? Talk to me in the comments below.

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Book Review : The Unexpected Joy of Being Single By Catherine Gray

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As you all know by now, #englishrosiee recently took a much-needed sabbatical from the world of online dating.  As I found myself contemplating my Tinder hiatus, I stumbled across this book titled The Unexpected Joy of Being Single by Catherine Gray. To be completely honest, as much as I hated/hate the rigmarole of the dating game, I did find myself scoffing at this ludicrously titled book.  Although my initial thoughts were that this would be some silly Feminazi justification for spinsterhood, I knew better than to judge a book by its cover (quite literally) and seeing as the author is a Sunday Time’s Bestseller, I figured she probably had something worthwhile to say and there probably was no more appropriate time to read such a book than during a self-imposed period of singledom.

So, the book is part auto-biography, part self-help but with lots of factual insights into the realities of modern dating and being single. It starts by putting things into perspective – apparently more than half of Brits aged 25-44 are single. and increasing numbers of people are putting off marriage and babies till later in life (if they choose to pursue that at all). It’s reassuring to know, especially when you consider the stigma attached to being single. I mean, it’s normal for everyone and their dog to offer you dating advice and tell you not to fret because Prince Charming will fall from the sky when you least expect it. Ugh, not so long ago a Sri Lankan waitress in a Thai Restaurant offered to set me up with some dude from India (who can speak English – how lucky am I!!) because according to her my life would be OVER if I wasn’t married and knocked up by the age of 35. Sigh. Exactly.

I think there are probably single women in their 30s that will be able to resonate with the content. At first I literally felt the book was written for me and sent a friend a picture of one of the chapters titled something along the lines of A 33 Year Old Spinster (yup, there are days when I think that is me!).  The basic gist of the story is how the author goes from being a love addict (having desperate need to always be in a relationship for validation) to confidently embracing her single status.

The book also explore how, thanks to popular culture, we’ve been led to believe that single life is inferior to the traditional package of marriage, kids and happily ever after. It is also touches on some interesting economic perspectives as why people (may) feel more motivated into pursuing a relationship rather than remaining happily single. For example, single life tends to be more expensive. In many western metropolises, it is difficult for single people to get onto the property ladder. Its also more expensive to travel solo versus splitting the costs with a man-friend. But as she points out there are always ways around these thing.

In essence, the message behind the book is well intentioned and gives you a lot to think about. It is also reassuring to realise that you aren’t alone as 30-something singleton, and there is really nothing wrong with you (you really aren’t single because you are morbidly obese, ugly and dumb). However, I think it is mainly written from the perspective of a well educated, white, middle class woman in her mid/late 30s living in an affluent western city. In other cultures, it would be more difficult to have this ‘I am a strong liberated woman’ attitude when you factor in cultural, religious and various family pressures.  I think we are lucky in that while they can get irritating, most of the comments we get from family and friends are somewhat LOL-worthy and easy enough to fob off but I think in other societies the pressure would be more real.

So while I do agree with what Catherine Gray says about having to be a sorted single person before you can expect to be a functional part of a happy relationship and how people should try to date in moderation rather than out of desperation. There is a lot I don’t agree with. Of course its nice to believe that there are other forms of love – from your family, friends, dogs and various other sentient beings. But lets be real none of these compare to romantic love. Yeah, yeah I know what you are thinking. We live in an age where you can easily pay for sexy time if you have the cash money, hit up Anne Summers or use your trusty hand if you really are broke. But you already know my thoughts on the whole WISO way of thinking. Even beyond those basic animal instincts though, there are other elements of romantic relations that can’t be replicated elsewhere. So while periods of singledom are well and good, I don’t think this should ever be a permanent state of affairs.

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve probably had both my happiest times and most heartbreaking times thanks to relationships. Having a fulfilling single life can certainly save you the emotional rollercoaster that comes from engaging in human relations. But to me its, just that a happy medium, a safe haven essentially. And I think we should always strive for more. So yup, the #tinderhiatus was a good thing on many levels and as much as being back in the game will get infuriating, I’ll keep tindering along while still finding time to all the other stuff that life requires till Prince Charming makes an appearance.

Rinsers. Give me your thoughts on single life. Is it something that should be embraced and seriously considered as an alternative to the happily ever after BS fed to us by the media? Do you think people these days are legitimately single out of choice, or because basically they are unwanted, fussy or lazy? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

Lessons From #EnglishRosiee’s Tinder Hiatus

tinder hiatus

As our loyal Rinsers may already know, the latter half of 2018 was not the greatest period in #englishrosiee’s romantic life. Following the long-awaited break-up with the second major love of my life, I decided to get straight back onto the dating horse and fall onto faces at Mavericks (keeping it classy, right there!). The universe intervened and had me basically deported to my beloved Blighty. In hindsight, this was probably both good in terms of preventing my own social suicide/general self-destruction and also for the safety of the unsuspecting Tinder men of Cape Town. Of course, #englishrosiee being her unhinged self continued to keep things interesting with her failed intention of tindering up a storm in London Town. As fate would have it, the light and fluffy entertainment that she had hoped to find in her motherland didn’t materialise and instead she had quite the epic winter fling which ended as quickly as it began. Thankfully, before she had time to cause any more drama and bring shame on the family, she found herself on a flight back to Cape Town!

And breathe! After all that, as I’m sure you could imagine, it came time for me to take stock and call a time out on the whole dating business. Not only had all this drama made me bitter, twisted and hateful about dating but I found myself lacking the strength to engage in any meaningful conversations with humans in general. So, as I stood in long AF passport control at Cape Town International Airport, I decided I needed to take a proper break from all forms of dating paraphernalia and so there I stood deleting Tinder, Bumble and the like for the first time in +/- 3 years and with no handsome male specimen to fill the void that that those apps would leave behind.

Welcome to the Tinder Hiatus, my friends. An interesting social experiment, some might say. I’m not sure. Jury’s still out on that one. But it was certainly a introspective learning experience if nothing else and here are a few of my findings : 

Swiping Is A Time Killer…

Once upon a time #zlotybaby and I would laugh as we’d be out with friends and suddenly all take a break to swipe simultaneously. Of course, it seemed like a LOL at the time but the novelty quickly wears off. Swiping is time consuming. And it’s not just the swiping, it’s all the repetitive conversations you need to have. Most of which don’t lead to anything (soooo many TALKERS). Then if you eventually make it onto a date, factor the time spent getting ready for the date (I’m usually very minimal effort these days, but the first time I popped on a pair of heels, it worked in my favour), time travelling to the date (unless you become a pro and start suggesting the pub next door for happy hour drinks – it’s great for making a quick getaway), then the time spent on the date itself (yes, there have been magical first dates but let’s just say it’s a numbers game and the bad dates outnumber the butterfly-inducing ones quite dramatically!). So, all in all, modern forms of dating are time-consuming. Well done, #englishrosiee, for stating the obvious.

And You Can Achieve Great Things When You Remove ‘Swiping’ From Your To-Do List

So, the moment I stopped swiping I suddenly had a tonne of extra time on my hands. Add to this the fact that I took a break from booze (that friendly enabler that stopped me putting a gun to my head after many a bad date) and much of my social life went out the window. So yup, instead of living in a constant state of hungover and striving for a gold medal in the dating Olympics, I did lots of nice things. I inhaled lots of books (also scouted for boys at the bookshop, mind you!). I started planting vegetables (hopefully, they might survive longer than most of my relationships). Oh, and I did an infuriating 1000 piece puzzle. And also indulged in far too much Netflix. But follow my instabrag  (englishrosiee_rinsebeforeuse) to see more of the good things I did when I wasn’t swiping my life away.

Finding A Date Without The Internet is Hard

So when I decided to delete my dating apps I had no intention of not dating. I was just tired and bit disillusioned by all the groundwork. Of course, there are some guys that cut to the chase and after you’ve established they aren’t likely to be a serial killer you’ve got yourself a date within the next couple of days. But there are all those that need complete rundown of your life including what you favourite colour is and what your parents do for a living (no jokes). It got to the point when I just couldn’t deal with all this BS, but I was still up for a real-life connection.

Ha! But where to find such a thing? I initially had to romantic ideas of meeting the man of my dreams at a bookshop (well… until a friend had me watch the creepy Netflix series, You). All I did was spend money on books. I tried my old stomping ground aka the gym and as much as there is plenty of eye-candy, getting your flirt on when you can barely breathe and covered in sweat isn’t the easiest task in the world. Then of course you are told to try meeting someone through your friends. Most of my friends are a) smug married couples who just hang out with other smug married couples, and I don’t have the energy or inclination to be a home-wrecker or b) singletons themselves and too busy hustling to get lucky themselves that they have no time to concern themselves with the sad state of my romantic life. And with Cape Town being Cape Town, the one potential set-up that was on the cards has yet to materialize! So ho hum!

It really does baffle me how our ancestors managed to get by without modern technology to assist them on their path to happily ever after? I suppose back then they just had to settle for the boy next door, lie back and think of England.

There is a bit of FOMO

I’ll admit at first I only missed swiping when I was really bored having exhausted all the ‘fun’ apps on my phone and I just needed another distraction. But at some point, you do begin to wonder what you might be missing out on. Although, having now re-downloaded all these apps, I can honestly tell you that it’s not much. And Cape Town being the small world that it is, you’ll soon see guys you swiped/dated years ago are still doing the rounds.

But Eventually You Realise That You Are Doing Yourself No Favours By Being A Hater of Apps

So yes, while single life (read: not proactively dating but also not resigning yourself to life of sad spinsterhood) has its perks, and I can see it becoming increasingly comfortable and stress-free (I’ll write more about that in a follow-up post), its basically just a happy middle ground and nothing more. While it’s certainly OK to take a time out when you feel you are getting a bit disillusioned with the world of modern dating, I don’t think humans are meant to abstain from romantic relations for too long (because as my fave WISO always told me that is how you regain your virginity!). So…unless I missed the memo and someone out there knows of a more productive, organic way of finding happily ever after (or even just a bit of attention), it seems to me that dating apps are a necessary evil when it comes to modern romance. So must just accept it for what it is, take the good with the bad and continue plodding along.

So Rinsers. Have you ever taken a similar break from online dating? Did it do you any good? Do you agree that dating apps are a necessary evil when it comes to modern dating? Or do you have some alternative suggestions of ways to find #happilyeverafter? And how the hell did previous generations manage without such things? Pewk on the page in the comments section below. Please and thank you. 

 

 

Book Review : Everything I Know About Love By Dolly Alderton

Everythhing-I-Know-About-Love-By-Dolly-Alderton

Having recently reactivated my online dating profiles I made a rather scathing comment after being reminded of the limited type of men available to me in the Mother City. I’m afraid the comment is too un-PC, even for this blog (it involved some reference to Brit TV channel) so I’ll leave that to your imagination (and I’ll give you #zlotybaby’s famous 2 rand if you guess right). The friend I was bitching to LOL’d and commented that it was quite refreshing to see how my taste in men/romantic perspectives had changed so dramatically in the space of two years which subsequently made me think of a book I’d read earlier this year.

Following the abrupt end of a lovely winter fling just prior to Valentine’s Day (I have the BEST luck!) I picked up a copy of Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. It’s just the type of book you need if you’ve just been ceremoniously dumped, done something idiotic or simply don’t feel like you are where you should be in life or are feeling a bit sorry for yourself.  The book is an autobiographical account of how the author’s perspective on love changes as she grows up. I would also go as far as to say it is one of the best (non-intentional) self-help books I’ve ever read!

Basically it takes the reader from those embarrassing school girl crushes that we supposedly have in our teens (I was still acting like a teenager in my 20s – late bloomer and all!), through the madness of student life where you basically fall onto faces that you only have vague recollections of when your friends debrief you on the previous nights events (yep, we’ve all been there!), to your early 20s when you start to feel like you might be finding a purpose in life and getting things on the right track till BOOM the universe bitch slaps you with some god-awful life experiences!

It’s definitely a nice piece of chick-lit which will really have you LOL’ing. It’s an easy read but not in the usual trashy sense. In many ways, this book contains the sort of things many girls would have wished they’d known as a teen. I don’t know about y’all but I often find myself wanting to punch those older, influential people around me in the face for not telling certain things when I was growing up. To give you the most basic of examples, when I was a chubby (bordering on obese) kid growing up, I always thought I’d never get lucky because guys were only into those blond chicks with super model-esque figures. Not true. As I’ve grown up I’ve had first hand experience of how it really is a case of different strokes for different folks with ex-boyfriends feeding me doughnuts telling me they’d dump my skinny ass if I ever start looking like those yoga-bunny types I’ve always aspired to be (see kids, chubby-chasers are real!). Anyway, I’m sure you’ll also find lots of useful bits of information, you may know now but wish you’d known when you were younger!

It’s not all about romantic love, as the title may trick you into believing. It is also about the general ups and downs we experience growing up – partying hard, getting drunk, navigating the job market, learning to stand on your own two feet (and getting knocked down in the process), and having  a few good friends who are there by your side through it all. It’s basically a more real, less glamorous, more British account of Sex and the City. And I’ll pretty much say the same thing about it as said about the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel…it’s funny, but it’s super funny if you are a Brit. I mean there are some references that you’ll pretty much only get if you grew up in Blighty!

So, all in all, it’s just a really lovely, generally hilarious (but sad in some parts) book about getting older and muddling through life. And I think the best thing about the book is that if your feeling like a bit of a dumb-ass whether it’s a case of falling in ‘love’ too quickly or falling down drunk and making a fool of yourself, it’ll make you realise you are not alone in your stupidity. All the idiotic things you’ve done have likely been done before, and as much of a numpty as you might feel about it now, you’ll likely come out the other side just fine. So if you or one of mates needs a bit of a boost or a little reassurance, Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love, is sure to provide just that. Go read!

 

 

 

Why The Only Failed Relationships Are The Ones You Never Have

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Disclaimer : The title may be a bit misleading I’m not advocating pursuing a relationship with any unsavoury characters (serial philanders, wife beaters, emotionally abusive freaks of nature, etc) just for the sake of having a relationship. But anything vaguely legit is fine. 

Once upon a time, a more judgmental me vowed never to date a divorcee. I told myself I had too much self-respect to be someone’s second wife and take on all the associated emotional/financial baggage (and possibly little people) that came with that. To be fair, I’m still not too sure how I feel about it. In all honesty, I’d love more of clean slate if at all possible (yeah, yeah I know we by the age of 30 pretty much all of us have few notches on your bed post and a few issues to boot!).

Whether it’s your marriage that comes tumbling down after a matter of months or a case of you not even making it down the aisle after dating someone for half a decade, there is no doubt that when a long-term relationship comes to an end you have to deal with a bunch of ‘ agh shames’ because as society sees it you’ve failed at something. And not just anything, the most important thing in the world ever. You’ve failed at happily ever after. Pass the tissues.

Of course, some of people do marry their first love (great sentiment and all, but some of us are more inclined to try a few things at the buffet before knowing what our fave is). As this isn’t the case for the majority of us, what really is the a viable alternative to having a bunch of FAILED relationships to your name? Being a 30-something virgin still waiting for the one to materialise…don’t get me started. Sigh.

So today dear rinsers, I’m going to be smashing a huge slice of humble pie into my face and telling you why (even in the cases where they end in divorce) there is really no such thing as a failed relationship. And also why collecting failed (human) relationships is still a better option that living out a sad, (often) sexless, lonely existence. Here goes:

Broken Relationships Help Establish Deal Breakers You Never Knew You Had

When I was a chubby kid that boys never noticed, I was pretty much willing to date any bloke that paid me the slightest bit attention. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I hadn’t put too much thought into it to be honest. Obviously, we all have some basic deal breakers even from the start. For example, I’ve always known I didn’t want to date a convicted to felon. But there are also things we only realise matter when we a being forced to compromise on them within a relationship. On the flipside, there maybe things we initially thought were non-negotiable but actually in the grand scheme of things realise aren’t such a big deal.

Relationships Forces You Out of You Comfort Zone

Of course, you could say that about any human relationship you engage in. However,  I do think romantic relationships have this extra potential to push you further out of your comfort zone partly because of the fact that you driven by desire to impress the object of your affections.

Sure, some people will criticise you for being you other half’s shadow and lacking your own identity. But identity isn’t something static. Surely, we aren’t the same person, with the same interests, passions and motivations that we had in our teenage years. So taking an active interest in what makes your other half ticks is much more than a basic bonding experience, it can potentially change you (hopefully only in positive ways).

Look, I’m not saying you such start snorting cocaine because some dude you fancy swears by it. But within reason, forcing yourself to try new things isn’t bad. At worst, you’ll give it go, realise its not for you and never do it again. (but at least your beau should appreciate the effort). And you never know, you might discover something that you really enjoy, that challenges you and makes you a better person.

Lets just say I had many wasted gym memberships before I found a romantic interest who could show me how to do all these super cool big man things.  And sure, the relationship has come and gone but at least I have some muscles to show for it!

A ‘Failed’ Relationship Provides Opportunity for Introspection

It takes two to tango and also to up a relationship. In the aftermath of a breakup its normal to feel a bit sorry for yourself and blame the other person. But once the dust settles, you’ll probably realise you weren’t an angel in that situation either. When I look back to relationships I had in my early 20s I can now admit I was a bit of a spoilt brat (I’m an only child so sue me!) and I’d throw my toys out the cot every time I didn’t get my way. Those relationships would have collapsed in any case but my nitpicking and lack of anger management abilities certainly didn’t help things along. Now that I’m older and somewhat wiser, I’d like to think I’ve learnt to pick my battles and know when to take a breather rather than letting a minor disagreement turn into World War 3.

Admitting you have flaws which contributed to the downfall of a relationship is never nice. However, becoming aware of your shortcomings is the first step in working on yourself and finding ways to overcome these issues. Whether its a bad temper, insecurities, a tendency to rush into things or poor personal hygiene being  given the insight to fix the issue could also help you develop into a better human in general thereby making you a more viable dating option for the next potential hottie that comes along.

Mistakes Provide Good Lessons

If you try hard enough you should be able to find something positive in every relationship. There are some however that really are overwhelmingly bad such as ones where you emerge from the destruction with your self-esteem in tatters after being called a morbidly obese time and time again. In such cases, a bit of analysis will probably reveal that there were red flags from the outset that you chose to ignore. Hopefully, nothing too disastrous should happen (i.e. you don’t end up in jail or worse, knocked up!) as a result of your poor dating decision. Regardless, having a handful of dealings with such shady characters should enable one to develop enough street smarts and become a better judge of character so when the next deadbeat comes along you’ll be able to quickly spot the signs and save yourself the heartache and drama by simply NEXTing that person!

And Relationships Give You The Best Sex

I know there will be some WISO (we still don’t know if such a thing exists) who will beg to differ with me on this one. But I’m sticking to my guns here. Relationship people get better sex.

I did recently have someone tell me I didn’t need to be in a relationship (or Tinder) to get lucky. No shit Sherlock! But I still don’t think a one nighter with even the most smoking hot sexpot in the world ever can compare to bedroom acrobatics with someone you actually have feelings for and don’t feel repulsed waking up next to the next morning. Oh yeah, and unlike a one-nighter which is somewhat unpredictable, when you are in a relationship you have the good stuff on tap. Just saying.

Finally….Consider The Alternatives? 

If you’ve recently come out of a relationship or marriage it is bound to feel horrific. Add to that this sense of failure which is no doubt put on oneself but also exacerbated by wider society, and things start to look pretty bleak. Can there really be anything worse, than having a ‘failed’ at happily ever after? Believe it or not, YES..

The way I see it, there are two alternatives both of which are infinitely worse. You could opt to be ‘brave’ and stay in an unhappy nightmarish relationship to avoid looking like you ‘failed’ at something. Lots of people do. We’ve probably all held onto a toxic relationship for longer than we should have at some point in our lives. And if you’ve experienced this you’ll know it is a hellish experience and one which I’d say rarely has any benefits. Despite the fact that it is horrible being in a relationship where you spend most of time avoiding each other and cursing the day your other half came into being, there are plenty of people who’d rather have the facade of a happy ending than nothing at all. I’ll take the failure. Thanks.

The other way to avoid a ‘failed’ relationship is not to engage in one at all. A prospect that doesn’t ever bear thinking about if you ask me. By now you know my feelings about WISOs (they don’t exist) and 30-Something Virgins. Lets stop kidding ourselves by saying we are above all this relationship drama or are waiting for the ONE to come along. Most people have to do some soul searching and sift through the deadwood before they find the person they want to be with forever (or the foreseeable future as this generation would have it). But you could die tomorrow with your V-card still in tact waiting for this unicorn to fall from the sky.  Who in their right mind wants that?

And the point to all the prattling on. Well basically, failed relationships are better than no relationships ever at all or a farcical happy relationship. Life is about taking (calculated) risks and although heartbreak is the WORST most people who’ve been through it will tell you that things do eventually get better. Meaningful romantic relationships give us important life skills, teach us what we can/cannot accommodate in a relationship and provide some useful insights into our own shortcomings which may not have been revealed had we remained single forevermore.  Romantic relationships also have a special kind of dynamic that you can’t get elsewhere.There are people out there that will tell you there are other sources of love out there – friends, family, puppies, etc but they aren’t quite the same. So keep at it, make a few mistakes, take a break from dating if it all gets all too much, but take no notice of the world has to say about success and failure when it comes to happily ever after. Because its all a matter of perspective really.

Oh and  as for the million dollar question. Am I going to compromise on my rather lofty ideals about divorcees? Hmm…I don’t know about that. To be fair, I am a fan of living in sin so I’ll probably end up giving the guy a lot of jip about his starter marriage. One thing I can say for certain though is, if presented with a divorcee/relationship failure and someone still in possession and their V-card, its a no brainer which one I’d go for! The good sex 😉

Alright Rinsers, over to you. Do you think its better ‘to have loved and lost than to have never loved before’? Or do you think its better for your emotional well being to stay away from relationship altogether and opt for a bit of no-strings attached fun? And does holding out for the one and trying nothing in the interim come with its own problems? Go wild in the comments section below.

 

Chasing Stories – Keeping Life Interesting or Just Another Excuse for Drama?

chasing stories

As of very recently, I’ve removed myself from all forms of online dating. It’s mainly because I’m a bit disillusioned by it all. Even for the Queen of Laziness, who would rather meet someone face to face following just a handful of messages, it has come to feel that all the effort that goes into all the mundane conversations rarely reaps any benefit. Sigh. It’s also probably because deep down the writer in me likes to chase a good story which in my book would never begin with the line : ‘Once Upon A Time I Swiped Right…..’. Despite the fact that the vast majority of couples around me seem to have met online, a small part of me doesn’t believe that apps and computers really have a part to play in my love story.

Don’t worry, I’m not giving up on happily ever after (as I mentioned I probably like a stories too much to do such a thing). My new plan of action (which no one expects me to stick to) involves basically hanging out in somewhat poetic places where I think Prince Charming could potentially be hiding. Think bookshops, libraries, art galleries … and gyms (a man with big man muscles and brains – a girl can dream!). And in the end (well at least until I feel the need to call time on the Tinder hiatus) letting love find me (as it does in fairy tales!).

But is this strategy of ‘chasing stories’ is necessarily such a good thing or does it actually have potential to do more damage especially when feelings come into play? Would  approaching dating and relationships in a more pragmatic and less romanticized manner be more effective in terms of landing oneself the man and living happily ever after? Let’s see….

Does ‘Chasing A Story’ Just Lead To Drama?

I won’t lie part of the motivation behind the break from actively dating is that there is a little bit of hope that it’ll calm my life down a tad.  Then again, perhaps it’ll make no difference as drama will always find its way to me.  I have been told that I probably secretly enjoy a bit of commotion and therefore open myself for all sorts of heartbreak.

I mean the rush that comes with trying to manoeuvre one’s way around a small-village-like -ity while trying to squeeze one, two or maybe three dates into a night can be somewhat thrilling. And just recently, I invited a Tinder date to a single’s party only to ditch him almost immediately for a somewhat more interesting prospect.  I’m seriously lucky I didn’t get bitch slapped for that stunt.

And to be fair, if you gave me a nice wholesome guy with a decent office job, I’d probably bitch and moan about how much time he wanted to spend with his mum and go running straight into the (nice, strong, gym bunny) arms of a man who’d rather be conveniently shacked up with a ‘cougar’ while keeping the active wear obsessed chick  around because she is pretty to look at and provides a bit of banter.

‘Love’ Stories Keep Life Interesting

Of course, we all know that bad boys give us good stories but its not just about them and the associated drama. There can be happy stories too. Love (and life in general) shouldn’t be about always doing the sensible thing. It should involve at least a handful of risks and few adventures. Naturally, as we get older we have more responsibilities to consider when making major life decisions but isn’t there something nice about letting a holiday romance escalate into a long distance love affair, which may not have the fairy tale ending but did give you the opportunity to test your limits, throw caution to the wind and relocate to the other side of the world on a whim!

Perhaps you consider such nonsense a big waste of time, resources and money but at least such things build character and provide stories for future generations. I mean it’s got to be better than resigning yourself to an arranged marriage or a sexless existence.

Just A Matter of Perspective – How Do We Define What Makes A Good Story?

Maybe for me, a good story always involves some epic highs and lows, big drama, a bunch of adventures with a hot man and of course lots of butterflies (and perhaps a few disagreements). But then again maybe for others the greatest love story of all time simply centres around finding happily ever after with your bestie from high school. Some may argue that running off to deepest darkest Africa in pursuit of love is not all that different to saying escaping the green and pleasant land, marrying a member of ISIS and jetting off to Syria to fight for a noble cause. Different strokes…

At the end of day , playing it safe is likely to spare you some tears and heartache, that’s for sure.  However, sometimes taking risks and making mistakes makes for a better story or at least a learning experience. And while incorporating a little drama into your life can keep thing interesting, I think its important to know when to draw the line and walk away before things get out of hand. If you can manage to keep you wits about you and ensure that no-one suffers from much more than a bruised ego, there isn’t any harm in having some fun. Life can be bleak and boring , so giving people something to talk can’t be the worst of crimes, surely.

Alright Rinsers. Share your thoughts. Do you ‘chase stories’ ? Or do you steer clear of such potential drama ? Is it better to play it safe or pursue adventures despite the risk of being bitch slapped or having your heart brutally ripped to shreds? We look forward to hearing what you’ve got to say on the matter.

 

 

 

 

 

How Upfront Can We Be About Dating Deal Breakers in an Overly-PC World?

DB

When I think how I’ve spent almost three years of my life airing my somewhat old-fashioned views about dating, gender roles and lifestyle choices on this blog, I’m quite surprised that I’m still alive. Especially, considering how vigilant the PC police are nowadays. Single ladies are reminded everyday about their ticking biological clocks. And regardless, we are all busy people who have a limited time on this earth. We cannot afford to waste time going on dates with people we know we are incompatible with from the outset. Sure, it’s good to be exposed to people with different world views to your own but that doesn’t necessarily need to happen in the dating space, if you ask me.

I’ve already voiced my views about how I think it’s not only OK, but 110% necessary, to be unapologetic about your dating deal breakers. But I understand that not everyone thinks like me. The world we live in is overly PC. It seems that sometimes that people are striving for some sort of ideal where we are all equal, things are always fair and nothing sets us apart from others and we all live happily ever after. But let’s face facts, that is not so and is unlikely to ever be the case. The world isn’t perfect, everyone is different. Some differences are out of our control and others are a result of choices that we’ve actively made.

Anyway, back to the point of the post. What irks me most is that although we are all well aware that the world isn’t just and people have differences of opinion, yet this obsession with being PC sometimes makes it very difficult for people to be open and honest about things that are deeply important to them and this in turn has the potential to do untold damage to others around them, especially in the realm of dating and relationships.

Let me give you a examples through couple of recent incidents which provided the inspiration for this post. We all know how superficial Tinder is. To my detriment, I rarely waste my time reading a person’s full profile unless it’s a actual match. As in life, most initial decisions about a person are based on the image they portray in those first few moments. But I’ve learnt the hard way that this is probably not the best way to go about things.

A Hunk On Wheels 

So about the first encounter. I was chatting to some Tinder dude who seemed perfectly nice until one morning he questioned me about why I was awake at 5am. I told him that was happy hour at the gym to which he responded with a whole bunch of alternative places I could be instead. While rolling my eyes, I replied by saying : ‘I take it you aren’t into fitness and a healthy lifestyle ?’ (Remember it was 5am when I am really in no state for civilized conversation with anyone except maybe the treadmill!). Anyway, he ended up silencing me by firstly revealing he is actually confined to a wheelchair (awk!) and then referring to himself as ‘my hunk on wheels’ (cringe!). I did double check his Tinder pics and turns out you should never trust a profile which only includes headshots. #rookieerrror! After some deliberation, (un)helpful advice from my friends (someone told me to reiterate that being active is hugely important to me!)  and even a quick google search (you can ask the internet pretty much anything these days) I decided the best course of action here was to remain silent. In any case, I would be branded a nasty able-ist person and would be spending the rest of forever burning in hell for having such a deal breaker.

Drug Dealers vs. God Botherers

The second encounter involved a rather dashing guy who became rather cryptic when questioned about his career. He disclosed only that he ‘worked with people’. My first guess was a drug dealer. The second, a priest. Lets just say he stood more of chance had he followed the former career path. He tried to back track somewhat by saying he was actually a pastor and not a priest. Unfortunately, there is no room for god in any of my relationships.  Subtlety was never my forte so this little romance ended before it began with me telling him that ‘I’m not really into god.’. It was a real shame though as he had pretty nice biceps (probably from waving all those BIG MAN bibles around!). Sigh.

 

How Much Are We Obliged To Reveal from the Outset? 

Hmmm…Yes people are horrible. The world is full of nasty ISTS ….racists, sexists, able-ists, age-ists … the list goes on. As much as I don’t condone these attitudes, I do believe everyone has the right to have them (although perhaps like in my case, it might be best to keep silent about these things at times). Whether its through choice or by circumstance, we are who we are and there are certain things we cannot/should not have to change about ourselves. That said, I also think we have a duty to open and honest about certain things from the get-go.

I don’t think either ‘the pastor’ or the ‘hunk on wheels’ were the most evil people in the world but they simply wasted my time. And while I found it much easier to be dismissive of the pastor (partly because religion just tends to annoy me and I get great joy our of antagonizing god-botherers), I think in both cases they could have revealed the truth much earlier on. The disability issue is sensitive but being open about it from the start would have just saved some awkwardness in the long-term. Imagine the poor chicks who don’t cotton onto the fact before a date – should they have to sit through the date out of sympathy or because the PC-police would likely accuse them of being able-ist? No! And ‘testing’ people’s character is never a good way to start a relationship.

Of course, nothing is ever black and white when it comes to human relationships. Sometimes deal breakers that are clear as day get overlooked because we are sucked in by a person’s charisma and good looks. And there are some cases where you don’t realise a deal breakers is a deal breaker till you’ve had some experience of it. Relationships are a learning curve. And I suppose the more of them we have, the more we learn how much we are able to tolerate/handle.

That said, the other party also has some responsibilities. Most notably, not to waste another person’s time by strategically concealing the truth or prolonging something by giving a persons false hope. Just generally, people also need to feel less governed by political correctness. Nobody should have to feel bad about rejecting a potential suitor based on their ability to carry heavy weights or procreate, religion, race or sexuality. Of course, its sad that we have to live in a world where people have to hide their disabilities or their sexuality because they feel the need to conform to what society wants. But, Tinder is not the workplace and you will not (as yet) face a law suit for dismissing a person on the basis on some arbitrary factor. That said, what does hiding the truth ever really achieve. Whether its tricking a girl into going on a date with you by cleverly concealing the fact you have wheels or sleeping in her bed for 6 months of her precious child-bearing years when secretly you know you’d rather be snuggling with her brother, you are essentially doing nothing more than wasting somebody’s time as well as your own.

So I guess this whole deal breaker thing is more complicated than I initially anticipated. Rinsers, what are your thoughts?  Should political correctness really need to infiltrate the world of dating? Are some cases of dismissing people based on arbitrary factors more legit that others? Feel free to hate on me in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

What to Watch Out For When You Start Dating Someone

sea-sunset-beach-coupleYou’ve made it past date three and you’re already imagining yourself in a wedding dress or writing down a proposal script? Hold your horses! You should still be looking out for potential bad signs at this stage. It’s quite easy to pretend you’re a completely different person for a short period of time. I’m sure, you’ve had the experience when after a glass of wine or two you were behaving like a much more confident version of yourself? Early dating is a little bit like that. Putting your best foot forward is natural but it also can be quite deceptive.

First of all, you should make sure that the person you’re seeing is actually available to fully pursue a relationship with you. A friend of mine met a guy once. He lived in a different city and visited hers every second week for work. He was always at his best behavior when he was with her and kept in touch when he was away. One day on a weird hunch she Facebook stalked him and it turned out that he was friends with a married man and a father looking like his identical twin… Of course, it wasn’t a twin but her man was a cheating bastard. I’m not saying that you should ask people to provide you with a certificate of no impediment before you get involved but listen to your intuition. If he’s covering his phone, always having conversations away from you, blocking your access to his social media, something may be up. Another signs such as never meeting his friends or not being seen out with you, may be a sign of him being involved with someone else too. He doesn’t necessarily have to be married, it may be that he has a girlfriend, a number of back pocket girls waiting for him or is just a player and wants to keep his options open. Guys, times are changing, females can be sailors too!

The problem of unavailability isn’t limited to the marital status only. Commitment issues and other emotional issues can be a similar killer for your happily ever after. The bad signs for commitment issues are: making little to no effort, spending little time with you, making things about sex only, lack of affection, not communicating with you apart from when you’re meeting up, keeping you away from a personal life in all possible ways, openly flirting with other women, telling you about other women to make you jealous, talking a lot but not following up… The list is long but I think we’ve covered the basis. It is similarly problematic if someone is a walking disaster and doesn’t keep their shit together. If you’re just after a break-up and so is your love interest, chances are you’re bonding over a broken heart. You can have a rebound but emotional pain isn’t exactly a recommended recipe for mature, long-term love. Someone who’s telling you long teary stories about their ex-spouse or childhood traumas on the first few dates is oversharing. Think about it: doesn’t this person have friends to tell them about such issues? They don’t even know you yet! Don’t fool yourself, thinking that you have something special because of it. Clearly their problems are still very fresh and/or undealt with if they can’t stop themselves from talking about them when still trying to impress someone. Sharing builds intimacy, oversharing a dependency. Don’t forget about it.

You should keep your eyes open and follow-up also on the things that strike you as weird. One swallow doesn’t make a summer so don’t obsess about something that’s only been mentioned in passing. At the same time, if you hear about something repeatedly, it may be worth investigating. A good example is my ex mentioning his mother 21 times on date one that I conveniently ignored. The more someone mentions something, the more he or she is attached to it. People may be downplaying their tendencies to impress someone they like, especially if that person doesn’t share their views (pretending that someone is less religious than they are in reality is just one example). However, it’s usually easy to pick up on such things. In other words, it’s up to you to hear exactly what you hear, when someone tells you about how your Zodiac signs are compatible. On the receiving end, don’t minimize the issues you care about. Maybe your collection of healing crystals will freak someone out but isn’t it easier to deal with it early, rather than spend eternity hiding your treasures from your spouse? Instead just imagine how many crystals you could have with a partner who’s also into these things!

To sum up, in the early stages of dating you should look out for the signs of your partner not being able to commit to you, being an emotional mess and a needy person, as well as for any worrying anomalies in what they’re saying. Last tip: As sex can complicate things and cloud your judgment, rather keep your legs together/your pickle outside of the jar, till you make up your mind about someone.

What are the things you think people should watch out for in the early stages of dating? Any stories about how you ignored a worrying signal? The comments section is all yours!

 

 

The ‘Pull A Pig’ Prank – Why You Need a Thick Skin to Play the Dating Game

 

SOPHIE-STEVENSON-1

We live in a cruel cruel world. It seems the Age of Tinder people are becoming more and more superficial by the day. Lets be honest…how much can you tell about a person a couple of profile pictures? What’s to say that smoking hot guy with the six pack isn’t a serial killer? Nothing. Yet, he’s more likely to be swiped right than the chubby dude with a pleasant smile, standing in front of a fancy BMW (that’s most likely not his!). See, superficial. I told you! None of us is above all this fakery. Who can honestly tell me that they haven’t spent considerable time perfecting their selfie face to get that angle just right to catch the attention of some computer geek trawling an internet dating site (or in the case of those no longer playing the dating game just a few more likes on Instagram).

All things considered, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise then when you hear sad stories about mean things that people do to one another under the guise of ‘dating’. The latest tale to hide the headlines and go viral  is that of the ‘pull a pig’ prank. For those of you don’t know this is the (MAJOR NATIONAL NEWS) story of 24 year old girl, Sophie Stevenson, who met a Dutch dude, Jesse Mateman, while on holiday in Barcelona. According to the chick, they had an intense holiday romance (he on the other hand describes it as a one night stand) and carried on communicating when they returned to their respective countries. After a bit of back and forth, they arranged for Sophie to travel to Amsterdam for a romantic reunion. But it wasn’t to be. When she arrived there was no sign of Jesse. Turns out she had been stood up and after a few hours received a text (displayed above) saying she’d ‘been pigged’. Basically, it was all an elaborate joke whereby guys challenge each other to get a date with a woman they see as overweight or unattractive simply to ridicule her and get some kudos from their mates.

Naturally, feeling humiliated by the whole stunt Sophie decided to take action and took to the media (well, one of those rubbish UK morning TV shows that only unemployed people without a life get to watch) to share her ordeal with the world  and hold Jesse accountable. Not taking these accusations lightly, the Dutchman sought legal assistance and plans to hold Sophie liable for any damages he suffers a result of her accusations. Furthermore, a crowd funding page has also been set up to help the girl recover the funds she’d spent travelling to Amsterdam. Oh my!

Dear god! Is it just me or have things just got totally out of hand? I mean, sure, I feel sorry for the girl. Being called a fat pig is never nice but seriously aren’t there bigger problems in the world. I was called morbidly obese but you don’t see me doing TV interviews about it! The truth is the world can be a mean and horrible place. People are ‘braver’ than ever before when it comes to telling you what they really think. People feel free to lose their filter when they are hiding behind a smartphone or computer screen. Believe me, I’ve had guys comment on my gummy smile, my wild curly hair and even accuse me of misleading them by putting up pretty pictures on dating profile which wasn’t a true representation of myself. Of course, it’s normal to feel offended by such comments but I don’t believe we need to dwell on it and blow things out of all proportion (the dude is no better here – getting lawyers involved, really?)

But this story is not unique and quite frankly didn’t need to go viral.  The world is a horrid place and while there is no doubt bullying and name calling is wrong but do we really need to go such lengths for ‘justice’ or in some cases is it better just to brush it off and carry on with our lives.  There is a time and place to stick up for yourself and times to look pitifully at the guy who called you names and remind yourself that he’ll probably never amount to much. Chalk it up to experience and move on. Alternatively, turn the scenario on its head and make the best out of a bad situation. She was left stranded in Amsterdam not a South African township surely you could take the opportunity to explore a great European city (or sample THOSE brownies!).

Either way, I don’t think there is any need to publicize what was essentially a private interaction between people. While calling people pigs is certainly not nice, it isn’t a criminal act either. If you ask me, this is just an example of the Jeremy Kyle effect (if you haven’t heard of the show it’s like a UK version of Jerry Springer – a reminder of everything bad about Britain and a big part of why I left my homeland). Why the hell do people need to shout about their divorce, cheating spouse or the fact that don’t know who their baby daddy is on TV? And what’s more why is the public so fascinated by this trash? It’s hardly news worthy (the BBC really need to up it’s game!).

Anyway, let me stop my middle class rant just there. Look, I’m not saying people shouldn’t stand up for themselves. But the truth is that anyone that interacts with other humans is bound to have their feelings hurt at one point or another. Whether it’s in the school play ground or while you are roaming the Tinderverse not everyone you cross paths with will be a sweetheart. You need to develop a thick skin and pick your battles (imagine taking action against every guy that ever offended you). Calling someone morbidly obese isn’t cool but maybe instead of feeling like a victim you should just ask the lad if they have what it takes (matric certificate would be a start) to become a professional dietitian and tell you such a thing legitimately. Not everything needs to go to court (or trash TV). Sometimes it really just a case of sticks and stones.  It is also important to be self-reflective and see what you could have done differently – perhaps next time get the guy to do the travelling or have him pay for half the ticket? I have limited sympathy for people who do silly things like send nudes and sexts and then start crying when those things are plastered all over the internet.  Yes, relationships are about trust but you shouldn’t need to drop your standards and be totally naive about human nature either. We’ve all been humiliated by mean guys/girls it’s part of the sad reality of life. And on the flipside, most of us have probably done some not-so-nice things in our day too (e.g. trying to prolong an encounter with a mummy’s boy just so you could potentially have a date for a wedding!) but we all live and learn. With time hopefully we all get more mature and stop with such childish activities.

Ugh maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh. I guess there are some realizations which just come with age and experience. So over to you dear Rinsers, do you think this chick was right to go on TV and shame the Dutch prankster? Or do you think this school yard mudslinging gone to far? Is she nothing more than a woman scorned? And are there times when we have to take accountability for being too naive and falling for the wrong people? Do you think you need to have a thick skin to date these days and has anything similar happened to you? Share in the comments below.

 

 

Review : Everything, Everything – An Epic Tale of Forbidden ‘Love’ and Life on House Arrest

Everything, Everything

I rarely find time to watch movies these days. But when you stuck on a a long-ass flight there is often no better way to kill time. So this weekend, despite being severely sleep-deprived, I caught up on some popular entertainment…Actually, it was just a lame excuse to indulge in a soppy teenage romance movie.

Everything, Everything is the story about a 18-year-old girl, Maddy, who suffers from some hectic immunodeficiency condition which basically means she is allergic to everything which means she is confined to living within the four walls of her rather swanky but somewhat futuristic house (a bit far-fetched I know!). To top it all off, thanks to her prison-like living situation she doesn’t have much actual contact with humans apart from her mother, her nurse and the nurse’s daughter (she does have access to the internet though so I guess that counts as human contact by some people’s standards). A bit of bleak situation, hey?

Well…things to get interesting in Maddy’s life when a she starts to make contact, via longing gazes through the window and iPhone conversation, with her new neighbour, Olly.  Because of the bond that these two kids form, Maddy is eventually forced to question her rather unconventional living arrangement. Her crush/love for the sickeningly-sweet boy next door gives her a reason to get her head out of her books (pretty much her only escape from the house arrest situation) and develop a curiosity about the outside world (the type of curiosity that somehow makes it possible for a girl who has never worked a day in her life to obtain her own credit card and book a holiday for her and her man to Hawaii – naughty, naughty!).

Maybe, I’m just getting cynical in my old age, but to be honest the story is just a little too simplistic. But I guess it’s sort of suitable for the type of kids that are yet to have any experience with complex real-world human relationships. There is a bit of  a (slightly sick) twist involving an somewhat unhinged mother at the end but I think even the teenyboppers should be able to see it coming. On a positive note, it’s not a terrible to movie to watch when you are sleep-deprived. It doesn’t require too much brain work. And I guess there are some relevant threads in the story e.g. why people need to get out into the world, have their hearts broken and generally have a few life experiences if they are going to grow up to be well-adjusted, functioning human beings. That said, I know people who haven’t been held prisoner and still they are 30-something virgins. Go figure.

Watch the movie. Don’t watch the movie. It’s not mindblowingly revolutionary nor is it particularly offensive. It’s essentially a children’s movie but then again so is the Lion King and that’s actually probably more true to life. If you are at a loose end, I guess it’s slightly more entertaining than twidling your thumbs or watching paint dry.

OK, over to y’all. Have you seen the Everything, Everything? What were your thought’s on the film? What lengths should parents be willing to go to protect their kids from the ever-present dangers of the outside world? And nowadays with everything the internet provides for us, is there really any need to leave the house and physically meet people? I mean, is it really that different from all the internet dating? Some questions for you to ponder dear Rinsers.