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

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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. 

 

 

Our Love Affair With Booze : Do Dating and Drinking Need To Go Hand in Hand?

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Despite 2019 getting off to a bad start with #englishrosiee FAILING at Dry January not once but twice, I’d like to have a phat brag about how I’m now almost 7 weeks sober (and my gin is well and truly in sight…Thank the blessed unicorns!!). This may not sound like a big deal to some, especially those that haven’t ever developed a taste for the good stuff but to put things in perspective, this is likely to be the longest I’ve been sober since I was probably 15. It really is quite remarkable.

Funnily enough, this extended period of sobriety coincides with a much-needed Tinder hiatus (more about that in another post!).  Being exiled, having to life in limbo teamed with experiencing a number of romantic setbacks within a matter of months, and bearing in mind that the UK in Dec/Jan is freezing AF, you really can’t blame a girl for hitting the bottle HARD. That said, if there comes a point when you feel like you are living life in a constant state of hangover, it’s probably a sign that its time to take a break from your love affair with gin.

Anyway, my booze-free life is soon to come to an end (yay for that! gin I missed you!). 10 days and counting. Something I’m slightly less thrilled about is that the realisation that unless I want to waste away the rest of my days as a sad spinster living out a sexless existence I’m likely going to have to reactivate my online dating profiles. Sigh. These two forthcoming events teamed with a chapter I read in a book called : ‘The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober – By Catherine Gray (horrific book title!) bought up some interesting questions about the synonymous relationship between booze and dating which I thought were quite blog worthy.

Do I Need Booze To Date?

Hell yeah! Nothing good ever started with a coffee date. Ugh, the thought of a coffee date reminds me of a job interview. And honestly, if you’d been on some of the horrific dates I’ve lived through you’d understand that alcohol is pretty much the only thing that made these encounters bearable (in the worst cases it also became a trusty weapon to be thrown in the face of a racist!). One thing that taking a long break from booze has taught me is that I have a very low tolerance for humans. Even among my everyday acquaintances, there are people that are just more pleasant when there is booze involved. Even when people don’t necessarily offend you, they just have more value when you’ve got a glass of bubbly in hand.

On the flipside, I also think I’m more dateable when I’m being boosted by alcohol. For a start, no-one can deny that there is nothing like a refreshing G+T to take the edge off those first date nerves. And of course, there are times when the conversation flows naturally and you meet someone with whom the banter just works. But booze does help one lose their inhibitions and get their flirt on more easily.

Each to their own, though. I actually really like the taste of booze, to the extent that chit chatting about the best wine estates is becomes a valid topic of conversation. As long as I don’t over-indulge, start crying and can successfully make it to the gym the next morning without smelling like brewery it’s all good. However, I know there are those that regularly turn into complete idiots when booze is involved and if you are one of those, then perhaps its best not to booze or at least hold back a little at the early stages of dating, at least.

Is Losing Your Inhibitions Such A Good Thing?

If you are one of those people that is blessed with a tonne of self-confidence and feel comfortable in all social situations, well good for you. For the majority though, socializing isn’t always easy. Its natural to feel a bit self-conscious when you are put into a new social situation. Booze helps take the edge off. I can’t say I care too much for the science behind it. But it helps us lose some of our inhibitions and make the interaction with our fellow humans somewhat less agonizing.

But of course, there is a fine line. For some losing their inhibitions isn’t simply a case of becoming a more engaging conversationalist. There are those who complete evolve into another species altogether when you add alcohol. Tops come off.  There are police escorts home (true story). Bar fights with bouncers (another true story!) Lots of meaningless casual sex. Losing your material possessions, waking up the next morning and having to change your locks/cancel all your bank cards. Having no filter, telling people what you really think of them, (in vino veritas and all!) , bringing shame on the family and generally causing offense wherever you go. The list of goes on…

Booze is fine in moderation. It can make dating easier for sure. However, have those beer googles on while essentially making decisions about your romantic future probably isn’t the brightest idea. Tinder (and the world in general is full of really #badhombres and their female equivalent) so its important to stay safe and keep your wits about you when you are out their playing the field.

Is It Possible For A Big Boozer to Date A Tee-Totaler? 

We live in an age where people marry their dogs so anything is possible. Jokes aside, I’ve dated them all. I once dated a guy who seemed OK with me drinking during the initial stages of dating. However, as the ‘relationship’ progressed his true colours were revealed by comments like : ‘Have a second glass, ALCHY! Go on!’. On the flipside, I’ve also dated a high-functioning alcoholic who thought it was normal to drink whisky for breakfast. Honestly, it becomes difficult when you spend your life worrying about a person every time they get into a car! It’s also worrying when you start to realise your ‘new normal’ is legit drinking a glass of wine after a 8am workout (to be fair though #balance!).

Sure, my experiences are extreme. I don’t really like drinking alone and honestly, wine is much more fun when you share it with someone who is attractive and enjoys it just as much as you do. I also admit to having archaic views about gender norms. I’d don’t want to date a guy I can drink under the table, the same way I don’t think I could date someone who couldn’t run faster than me (its not hard,  I’m basically a tortoise in peanut butter these days!). By the same token, I’m also too old to be dealing with the drama that comes with anyone who needs alcohol to operate.

As I said, that’s just me. There are plenty of couples where one person drinks gin like its a finite resource while the other knocks back kale smoothies every morning. Its not that different from a savage meat-eater dating a raging vegan, is it really? At the end of the day, I think its not really an issue of whether someone drinks or eats meat but much more to do about a persons attitude to the substance. If a teetotaler is completely happy watching the significant other enjoy a glass of champagne, then its all good. If however, the reason behind this person’s sobriety is that they are some sort of religious fanatic who thinks that drink is the devil’s work, well then you might have trouble on your hand.

What About Wider Society ? 

So you’ve decided to agree to disagree on your reasons for boozing/not boozing or you’ve found a happy medium that works for you. Well, your problems don’t stop there. The fact is, at least in western societies so much of our social lives feature alcoholic beverages. If you’ve given booze for whatever reason : perhaps you found god, maybe you’ve sacrificed gin temporarily because you want to be at your best for your next marathon or there was one of THOSE incidents where you made a complete twat of yourself, fell into a bush or woke up next to someone you’d likely not recognise if you were to pass them on the street. But then you start dating someone who does drink in moderation. It may be no big deal between the two of you but how about when it comes time to be exposed to their wider (most likely to be drinking) circles.

I recently hit it off with a someone who was taking a very reasonable break from the bottle (as I am now). However, I told him in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t going to survive Christmas with my fam unless there was alcohol involved. It was quite flattering how quick he was to call time on his booze hiatus. But in retrospect, even though what I said was 100% true, I do feel kinda guilty about being a bad influence.

Look, I’m not saying who your significant other mixes with with necessarily has to be a massive issue in the future of your happy relationship but it is something we need to bear in mind. I guess its also a matter of how regularly their wider circle features in their life too.  At the end of the day, relationships are about compromise. For instance, I’ve been to church before for the sake of a relationship  and it wasn’t a big deal (yay for free wine! Jokes!) but if they wanted me to be there every Sunday. Hell no! So I suppose, the same goes for the odd booze fueled/free social gathering – if there are two reasonable people involved it should be somewhat workable.

The Perks of Being Sober In A Relationship – Alcohol Fueled Sex vs. (Somewhat) Sober Sex

Finally, booze is great and all but there must be some advantages to being sober. Otherwise Dry January wouldn’t even be a thing. Right? Of course, life is generally more productive when you aren’t constantly hungover but there must also be repercussions for dating and relationships.

For a start, I definitely think I’m less likely to tolerate mediocrity on dates if there isn’t alcohol involved. Having a clear mind will also likely help one make better decisions when it comes to the type of relationships to pursue. And then there is also that all important bedroom factor in relationships.

There is lots of boring scientific reasons as to why sober sex is actually better from a physical point of view. But lets put science in the corner for a moment, surely bouncing around when your full of alcohol, the room spinning around you and being on the verge of pewking up that late-night kebab all over your latest conquest isn’t that much of appealing option. Waking up next to someone you don’t really find that attractive the morning after can’t be much fun either.

But the biggest reason why sober sex should be better than its alcohol fueled counterpart probably ties in with a lot of what I have to say about WISOs vs. Relationship Girls. I wonder how viable it would be to have a one-night stand stone cold sober?! Hmm…million dollar question, right there. But probably not going to happen.

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And breathe. That dear rinsers is all I have to say. And boy do I need a gin after that rant. Clearly, the #soberlife is going to my head. So yup, we live in a world where alcoholic beverages play a central role in social activities, including dating. While its not impossible to date someone whose booze consumption levels are significantly different to yours, it is one of those things that one needs to consider when deciding how and who they date. All in all though, I think it shouldn’t really be about whether or not someone drinks but more about the reasons they are the way they are. For me, it’ll always be about moderation on one hand I genuinely love booze but I also love waking up early, functioning like a human being and make the most of my life. So here’s hoping I’ll be able to find a unicorn that feels the same.

Rinsers, Do you think there is a synonymous relationship between drinking and dating? Do you think its easier to date with a glass of wine in hand? Is it something people can compromise on or does the pressure from the world around us make it hard? And what about its relationship to sex – Is sober sex so much better? Is it really likely that people ever have one-nighters which can’t be blamed on the booze factor? Lots to think about there so go wild in the comments.

 

 

The Sex Recession – Are We Living In an Overwhelmingly Sexless Society ?

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Apparently, stats show that rates of sexual activity are declining (well, at least in the Western world where they have enough time/money to research such things!). But honestly, I didn’t need some complicated research paper to tell me that, its obvious from the world around me. Sure, people might claim to be sexually liberated and free to discover a whole host of weird and wonderful sexual activities – sex with men, women, elderly people, groups of people, best friends, randoms from the club, randoms you’ve held a five minute conversation with…and if things get really tough you can always pay for it and if you are broke you can have a healthy sexual relationship with your hand (I’m told sex toys are getting pricey these days!). We live in a world where pretty much anything goes. But if you ask me, its all a bit of a facade.

Sure, in our 20s it was easy enough to hit the club and if you were somewhat pretty/handsome and on the pull you’d be likely to end up taking some generic guy/girl home for a one-nighter. Things are different the older we get – we have other priorities and wild nights become few and far between. By now you already know what I think about relationship girls vs. WISOs – relationships require more effort and may look a bit boring at times but in my experience, those are the people getting the best sex on tap. The WISO story is a bit of fairytale – even the hottest girl on the block is unlikely to be bedding a different bloke every night and even if they are, the bedroom antics are probably less than satisfactory.  That said, people are taking longer to settle down but surely that shouldn’t mean they have to be pretty much celibate in the interim, right?

I get angsty if I haven’t had any action in a few months ( and like I mentioned last time, my biggest concern when being deported back to my homeland was that of regaining my virginity due to lack of opportunities to get lucky) but then again I take comfort in knowing that the situation is so much worse for others. I’ve heard of those who’ve had sex droughts that have lasted years and worse still there are those that in their 30s that are not only still waiting to have that cherry seen to but are yet to be kissed. Oh my! It really is a sad state of affairs. It really does look like we are sexless generation. Sigh.

This article provides a in-depth look into the reasons why this maybe the case. Factors mention include the growing popularity of porn (you have a access to all your wildest sexual fantasies without having to interact with a dumb ass human – win/win apparently!). DIY/Sex Toys (again, why bother interacting with humans when you can DO you), the prioritization of career/education/independence over relationships (after all, your job/degree won’t wake up one day and decide to vacate the house leaving you with nothing more than a cat for company – true story of a tinder boy!), the Tinder mirage (yes, people call it the hookup app but in reality we all know its easier said than done to meet a compatible match and it is more of a time-killer than anything else) #metoo (not in the sense that consensual sex is a bad thing but our preoccupation with consent makes it harder for people to make the necessary moves), our obsession with technology killing our chances of meeting someone organically (e.g.the moment we have some downtime we are glued to the screens of our smartphones), the paradox of choice (there are so many options to explore, that we are all to afraid to settle for a relationship which could offer us stability and regular sex!), our obsession with looks/the increase in obesity (we aim too high and dismiss people that could potentially be a good match or the basis of looks. And increasing rates of obesity in an age where people are obsessed with looking good, makes it hard for those people to get laid. Plus, its not unheard of to be fat and fit,  but sure, obesity probably makes the cardio aspect of sexual activity a little more difficult!).

And this doesn’t just apply to single people either. Of course, I still stand by my belief about relationship people having better/more regular sex than the WISO and its male-equivalent. However, I realise that my argument is all good theoretically but isn’t flawless in reality.  I mean I’ve heard of people in relationships who’ve admitted to scheduling sex (spontaneity is overrated it seems). Then there are decade long long-distance relationships where the two parties only physically meet each other for 2 weeks of the year (Skype sex counts, maybe?). And worse still, there are those in relationships, and even marriages  who don’t engage in any fornication at all. I think you’d be surprised how many married people sleep in separate beds. Why ??!?? I just can’t deal.  I once had a friend at high school, who at the age of 15, still believed that her parents had only had sex twice in their lives, once to make her and once to make her brother. Everyone scoffed at the idea and awww’d at her innocence. A decade or two later, I’m beginning to think she may have had a point.

I’m sure there are some people that’ll say I’ve got it all wrong and to them, I probably come across as some sex-obsessed man-eater. Surely,  relationships shouldn’t be based on copulation? And I agree that there is more to a good relationship than regular orgasms. But that said, I certainly think it should be part of any healthy relationship. Of course, you don’t expect people to be going at it like rabbits once the relationship is more established and there are obviously other priorities in play. But it should still feature, right? Otherwise, really whats the point of all this dating/relationship malarky anyway? For company? Get a dog. To have someone to talk to? Stop being a Billie No Mates and find some friends. So that you won’t die alone? Well….there is no guarantee this isn’t going to happen in any case. Your husband/wife/life-partner, etc may just kick the bucket before you. An idiot once told me, we come into this world alone and we’ll leave alone. He had a point. To procreate? So, you’ve passed on your genetic code. Now what? Surely, intimacy is what sets romantic relationships apart from all those we have with friends, family and sentient beings.

And when it comes to the reasoning behind why we are such a sexless generation ? I have no clues. I don’t think it is enough to blame porn, dating apps or obesity rates. The only thing I can think of is that maybe its just a case of messed up perceptions. Maybe the fact that the media bombards us with sex the whole time spurs us to spend much of our lives thinking, talking and even blogging about sex but less time actually getting in on the act. Who the hell knows? Just seems like a sad, sad, situation to me.

So Rinsers, Whats your take on this sad state of affairs? Are we living through a sex recession? Is it something we need to be concerned about? Is bedroom acrobatics all that important or are there bigger things we should be worrying about when it comes to human relationships? And is it more of a problem for the singletons or does it apply attached people too? Tell me you views in the comments below. 

The 5 Types of Friend That Emerge In The Aftermath of a Break-Up

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Some fool once told me that a break-up was probably the worst thing that had ever happened in my somewhat ‘privileged’ life.  And to be honest with you, the idiot had a point. That said, I don’t think we should really minimize the impact the end of a significant relationship can have on person’s life. Break-ups are traumatic. Sometimes they legitimately warrant a mental-health day, or heart-break leave as they call it Japan.I mean if people take sabbatical for the death of their pet goldfish, I think it’s fair to indulge in a bit of self-care when a part of your heart has been brutally ripped out.

As important as some me-time is, I also believe it’s important to have a solid support network. Spending too much time alone following such an upheaval can a) give you too much time to overthink everything resulting in even more mental torture and b) result in you seeking solace from the loneliness in the arms of someone familiar. And the whole story of letting an ex escalate into a FWB is a story for another post entirely. So, yes back to that support network who are basically required to become babysitters/therapists in a post-break up period. As there is such a lot to address in the aftermath of a epic break-up, you often find that each person reacts differently to the task at hand. Everyone brings their own unique perspective to the mix and serves their own (not necessarily equally important) purpose in your life.  Here is a basic breakdown of the different type of friend you’ll encounter following a break-up.

The I-Told-You-So Friend

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight. It’s nothing special. Having people who tell you after a decade long relationship that they knew you were doomed from the start isn’t really helpful. In some instances, they may even remind of a specific occasion in the early days where they called it and warned you of the risks and what was to come. While these folks aren’t necessarily all bad, they just seem to want to use your tough time  to make themselves feel like a smart and what they have to say isn’t particularly nice or useful. Listen to them if you want (maybe they have some insights into your patterns) but take everything they say with a pinch of salt. Remember that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be able to stand somewhat removed from another person’s romantic relationships and offer a critical eye. Furthermore, remind them that they you’ll only ever truly regret the risks you never took (and they good sex you never had!).

The Realist

Sigh. These are the friends you probably have a love/hate relationship with at times. These are the people that don’t beat around the bush. They call you out on shit. They won’t indulge your stupidity. They are basically your eyes when you’ve be blinded by  love.  They’ll SHOUT at you if they have to – online and even sometimes in public places. If you are weak human (like myself) they are likely to make you cry.  You might find yourself having to be on the defensive with them at times and finding new genius ways to justify your actions to them (not that they’ll fall for it). There are also probably going to be times when you question why you are friends with such a mean-spirited person. But once the dust settles, you’ll come to understand that the tough-love they dished out was just what was needed to make you see the error of your ways and that they actually always had your best interests at heart.

The Virgin Inactive/Hater of Men

An interesting one. And one which strangely happens to find its way into my life in a post-break up period. They may fight your corner but they do it in their own unique way. They’ll hate on your ex or screw that, they’ll hate on the male species entirely. Sometimes this ranting and raving about ALL men being lazy, dysfunctional, broke-ass cheaters may be tonic but it gets a bit tiring. Eventually, you’ll realise that they’ve had such bad experiences with relationships (or such little experience in the case of the 30-something virgins) that they’ve given up on happily-ever-after (and sex!). But that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a sexless existence. I personally find that these people are a reminder to get back on that horse a keep tinderingand  believing that Prince Charming (or at least some good experiences) are still on the cards ,and that a life void of amazing bedroom acrobatics doesn’t even bear thinking about! So with these ones, ignore their advice/hateful comments and enjoy the distraction they provide, and be glad you haven’t been out of the game as long as they have.

The Wing Woman

Now here is a fun one. Mine buggered off to Butt Fuck Nowhere and truly left a void in my life. The wing woman/man has no time for self-pity or over-analysis. They won’t necessarily give you a shoulder to cry on. But they’ll bring the wine, the gin and the PARTY. This is the person who tells you to snap out of it, put on your hottest dress because you guys are hitting the town. This is the buddy who shows you that no matter how much you’ve convinced yourself you’ll never get back to that happy place without YOUR person, there are in fact plenty of fish in sea.

The Cheerleader/Feeder

So, I saved the best till last. These people are your biggest fans. They’ll drop everything to be there for you in the immediate aftermath –  to pick up the pieces, debrief, cry and drink copious amounts of gin with you. They’ll also be there to reassure you that the whole relationship was not a farce but that you also did the right thing. Even if you relapse, and go back and forth with that SO forever and day, they won’t judge (well, they’ll at least try to conceal their judgement). They understand that we are all human and at times this requires us to do illogically insane things. Regardless, they’ll put aside their own agenda and do whatever if required to help you deal (which includes asking if you’ve eaten yet and ensuring that you are kept well fed and hydrated even when you think your entire universe is caving in).

There you have it. My little sentimental moment. Don’t stress – I’ll be back to my old bitching and moaning ways soon. Clearly, folks will approach a break-up differently depending on their own experiences and perspectives. Some will bitch and moan, others will hate on your ex and get angry on your behalf, some will scream at you until you get your thick skull around some basic facts, while others will assist you in finding your next conquest. Whatever the case, each babysitter will do their shift and serve their purpose and together somehow all these different approaches come together and things eventually start to make sense.

P.S. Boxing people is very bad and it is possible for a person to be in more that one of the above categories. 

So Rinsers, tell me is there a type of friend who assists you on the road to recovery after a break-up that I’ve missed? Do you think some perspectives that are most useful than others? Or do they all have a part to play. Holler in the comments below.

 

Who Has The Best Sex? The WISOs vs The Relationship Girls

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So, this post is partly inspired by watching Chesil Beach, a movie that wanted to make me put a gun to my head as well as a conversation I had with a self-confessed WISO. For those of you who are new to the blog, WISO (a term coined by #zlotybaby) stands for Woman Interested in Sex Only. Just like a unicorn, a WISO is a rare creature – it’s debatable whether they actually exist. While the male versions can easily be found roaming the clubs, a true WISO is harder to find. You often think you’ve found her – the chick who seems to be a hit with all the guys, she may arrive at the party alone but will never leave empty-handed at the end of the night and oh, how she’ll brag about her fantastic sex-capades till you are a green with envy. But simply, scratch the surface and you’ll probably find that behind that behind that sexually-liberated exterior lies a little girl (perhaps with Daddy issues) who just wants to be loved. That said, who am I to judge what people actually want.

Anyway, back to my conversation with a WISO, it came as quite a surprise to hear her say that despite all her numerous rather wild sexual encounters in fact none of them had left her truly satisfied (sexually as well as emotionally probably!). Just to make it clear no experience was good enough for the WISO to go back for more Ho hum. That is not what I had expected to hear. You see, I always felt popular culture portrayed sexual liberation/promiscuity as something fun but probably requires a certain level of good looks and confidence to be able to maintain. But, I think the reality is a little less glamorous and a bit bleak, to be honest. Having watched my fair bit of trash TV, I can’t see it being much fun, when regardless of how hot or pretty you are, a guy from the Jersey Shore calls you an Uber as soon as the deed is done (maybe post-coital cuddles are overrated!).

On the flip side, I think those branded as somewhat prud-ish get a bit of a bad rap. No, I haven’t done a U-turn on my attitudes to being a 30-something virgin. But, you know what I mean, there is only so far one can go when it comes to glorifying sex between a run-of-the-mill monogamous couple (Although the 50 Shades Trilogy had a good go of it!). But just think about it. When it comes to sex, there can’t be much that beats it being in a happy, healthy relationship. Look at this way, unless you permanently live on different continents (remember I said happy and healthy) then you’ve got sex on tap…whenever and wherever you want (within reason – but you know lunchtime delights on the days you work from home aren’t too shabby!). This leads me to my next point, practice makes perfect. Unless you are weird like that odd couple in Chesil Beach a) they’ll be too much sexual tension to hold out on the deed till your wedding night and b) even if your first tussle is mind-blowing, you’ll give it a second shot (and a third, fourth and fifth….). And in turn, this means you can try out everything in the kamasutra (provided your relationship lasts that long) until you figure out what works for you. Finally, despite all the body positivity stuff that gets bandied about I don’t know many people that are so OK with their own naked bodies (or those of others) to actually want to strip off in front of a different person every other night without wanting to pewk in your mouth.

I’ve never been through my own WISO phase but to be completely honest it doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m sure there are still some people out there that’ll claim that WISOs have the best sex and its all about knowing your own body and blah blah. But I just don’t buy that. They’ll probably also tell you that relationship sex lacks the spontaneity that the WISO has….but that’s not strictly true. We’ve all heard of couples getting jiggy on the plane, in a field, on the roof of a church, etc…it doesn’t sound all bad.  After all, there have to be some benefits to stability and life with ole faithful 😛

Alright Rinsers, do you dare to share your stories in the comments below? What’s better relationship sex-capades with the one your love or no-strings-attached fun times? Or is there a time and place for both? Or … maybe not? Go, wild peeps….

Review : The Break by Marian Keyes

 

breakThere are times when your mind is filled with traumatic life issues and you need to find a trashy novel that doesn’t require too much mental capacity (maybe just a Matric certificate though!) to escape your reality and make you feel better about your sad little existence. This was one of those times.

The Break is the tale of Amy, a 40-something PR executive whose husband Hugh has decided to take ‘a break’ from their marriage (hence the title). Hugh emphasises that they are not breaking up and this is just a break. The parameters are set for a defined – he is taking 6 months to travel around South East Asia and after this time he’ll return a fixed man so they can pick up where they left off (oh, and he’ll possibly sleep with other women if he gets the chance). There is no room for negotiation. He is leaving – bags packed, tickets booked and those all-important announcements made of social media. Poor Amy doesn’t have much choice in the matter.  Although the feminazi types may demand she stand up for herself and refuse to let him dictate the rules, the truth is they are old(er), have 3 kids and financial assets together so throwing your toys out of the cot isn’t much of an option.

As much as she left with no other option but to accept the situation. There is a silver lining (kind of).  She is also free to do what she pleases during the 6 month break. Although to be fair it really isn’t a level playing field as he swans off to sow his wild oats in Thailand she has to schedule sexy time around balancing a job, her old parents and her three daughters. On top of that, the story reminds us as much as we may call for a break in a relationship it’s something that’s easier said than done especially in the age of social media where your life is no longer just your own but a form of entertainment for everyone around.

Ultimately, behind all the funny bits, the story supports the idea that in reality relationships don’t always conform to a given model. There is a lot of pressure for people of all ages to keep up appearances for the sake of those around them whether that means kids, parents, friends or just general society. But sometimes as unconventional as things are you have to just go with it and let life take it’s natural course. People are sure to judge you no matter what you do but the truth is as much as people may think they know your life as it is portrayed on social media nobody really sees what goes on behind closed doors. The elements that could be described as possibly the more mundane parts of a relationship – the friendship, understandings, familiarity, day to day division of labour and the in-jokes.

So, if your looking for an easy read and a little bit of reassurance that not everything has to fit into those parameters that society wants human relationships to conform to then this  is just what. It’s not highly intellectual reading but a pretty good reality check with some great LOL moments thrown in.

Rinsers, Have you read the book? What are your thoughts? Are you someone who’ll try different things in order to make a relationship work? Or do you think there is a set formula for relationship success? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

What If You Don’t End Up With The Love of Your Life?

Dear Abby

‘You’re not my ex, You’re the love of my life’ 

What would you do if you heard such words? Would you :

a) slap the fool and burst into tears

b) throw yourself into his arms, say all is forgiven and sail away into the sunset

OR

c) Say ‘Well, sadly for you those two things aren’t always mutually exclusive’, have a bit ponder, write a blog post about it (then swiftly move onto bigger and better things!)

Fairy tales and Hollywood movies have us all hooked on the concept of ‘Big Love’. You know, the kind of story where your eyes meet across a crowded room, a twist of fate results you both walking down the same street and the same time or he sweeps you off your feet and takes you on a magic carpet ride. Of course, these stories contain a few hiccups and miscommunications along the way, a village full of provincial fools that has decided your guy doesn’t look quite look like a Prince so they try to slay him or some ho-bag that tries to get in between you and your man. Whatever the case, because this is ‘The Love of Your Life’, everything falls into place, you iron out the issues, punch the bad people in the face and subsequently live happily ever after. THE END.

But the thing is in real life, love doesn’t always work out that way. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a total cynic (yet!). Probably because I’ve been there and done that, I still believe in (elements of) Big Love. I still believe there are real life stories that are worth telling your grand-kids (although I honestly doubt they can ever involve Tinder).  However, as we all know things don’t always go plan and there maybe some alternatives to that happily ever after bit. Yes, if you are lucky, you may only ever fall in love once in a lifetime and  marry that person, move to the burbs, adopt a puppy (because happily ever after must ALWAYS involve puppies) and perhaps pop out a few of those crying things.

Sadly though, the world isn’t fair and we don’t all get dealt the same hand. So here’s what those fairytales don’t tell you. Sometimes we do meet the ‘Love of Our Lives’ but we don’t necessarily get to stay with them forever and live happily ever after. Ugh, surely this makes that little girl inside of you wanted to stomp the feet and burn all the Disney memorabilia she ever owned! I’m sorry!

The truth of the matter is that in the real world, love doesn’t conquer all. Sometimes the people we love do unforgivable things. Love may not resolve every conflict. It certainly can’t cure Cancer. Love doesn’t always bridge religious or cultural differences either. There are also times where love can’t fix a person who is totally off the rails, unhinged and  determined to self-destruct. And what about when life pulls you in different directions? You want to pursue a career that takes you around the world and they are happier living in a small town close to their family (mummy’s boy! Jokes!). It is possible to have ambitions that are bigger than a relationship. And sometimes you are forced to let go of someone you love because it’s best for them or for the both of you. And there are other instances where you have no choice in the matter whatsoever.

But none of this means that the love wasn’t there in the first place. The fact that you don’t end up together doesn’t mean that the whole thing was nothing more than some stupid farce. While the end goal may (or may not be) happily ever after, just because you didn’t get the result everyone is after doesn’t mean it was all for nothing. If it was even partially a good experience that you can look back somewhat fondly well then it’s probably better some of those seemingly solid marriages out there.

So, yeah you don’t always marry the ‘Love of Your Life’ but it’s not the end of the world. Who knows what the future holds for any of us? Maybe that particular chapter was intended to help us grow up and know how to act when a more pragmatic match came along? Perhaps it was a pretty important stepping stone on the yellow brick road to happily ever after?  Or what’s to say there can’t be another ‘Love of Your Life’ around the next corner. Because those fools who wrote the fairy tales may have just forgotten to add the plot twists. And even if you don’t get the white dress and the dream wedding, at least having an epic story to tell is better than dying a virgin!

So Rinsers…Do you think it’s possible to have a the ‘Love of Your Life’ but not end up with them? Or do you believe that if it really is love it will conquer all? And is it possible to have more than one epic love story in a lifetime? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

The Importance of Being on the Same Page

heartsicknessIf you observe humans, you may notice that among all the other problems they are facing in their relationships there is the issue of not being on the same page. Let me share a few thoughts about it in my post today.

When you like someone it is somehow tough to suspend your wishful thinking about  this person’s feelings about you. However, as convenient as it may be for the time being to delude yourself about the nature of your relationship, it doesn’t benefit you long term. A girlfriend of mine complained to me once about men behaving like they’re in a relationship and yet not really believing they’re in one. She said that their behavior often reminds her of someone who moves like a runner, behaves like one, even wears the appropriate clothing and yet claims he’s not a runner. This is not a good analogy, however, to why people are less invested in a relationship than what we would like them to be, because unlike the runner such people don’t behave like runners, we just imagine they do. I mean honestly, it’s more like they put their running shoes on every six months.

I recently saw a typical example of this at a party. It was an interaction between a man and a woman, who are some kind of an item. The woman kept touching the guy and he remained entirely non-reactive to her touch. She kept using the terms such as “dating” and “seeing one another” and he didn’t use any of these terms, nor react to what she was saying in any way. She said that he’ll be meeting her family very soon to yet again, no reaction from his side. You’d assume that if he was truly a “runner”, he’d react to any of these cues, instead of looking around as if he didn’t hear them. I mean, does someone really have to always say things for people to get an idea that they’re not agreeing or liking something? Why do we tend to assume that someone not reacting to what we say is agreeing with what we say? Wouldn’t life be easier if we made sure that, for instance, we are in a serious relationship with someone who’s worth presenting to our parents and not just someone we can have fun with and that’s it?

Perhaps we are often so comfortable in our delusions that we would ignore even clearer messages about where we’re at. What makes me think about that is that I have seen people expressing themselves very clearly, like for instance saying they won’t get married or they won’t have children and other side just ignoring it and still hoping for these things to happen. A male friend of mine kept mentioning an upcoming proposal from his side, with his girlfriend replying every time he did something to the extent “Do you think it’s a good idea at this point?”. She wasn’t opposed to the idea of marriage in general but their relationship reached the point in which she was really unhappy. EVERYONE knew that. He kept ignoring her complaints and doubts about the future which she kept voicing both publicly (only if prompted by him) and privately. Eventually, while he was busy ignoring her and planning the perfect proposal, she broke up with him. He seemed to be the only person who was surprised by it. Surely, it’s easier to read between the lines (or in this case, just read) and decide that something won’t work on one’s own terms and try again? Why do we keep ignoring the signs of an upcoming catastrophe, especially if avoiding it is possible (like for instance, my friend could have focused on making his relationship better rather than keep fantasizing about the future)?

Last but not least, there are the pity party people. They know they’re not on the same page with someone because after all, no one would like to be on the same page with them. They choose their pattern of pity: someone always choosing someone else over them, someone always cheating on them, someone always marrying the next person they date after them. Life is a tragedy, there’s no hope. Such people leave notes in books they give for birthday to their boyfriends of two months saying that they’ll never have to be alone, if only the boyfriend will have them (true story). I mean even if the person wanted to one day be on the same page with you, how could they if you’re setting yourself for a disappointment religiously believing your pattern must repeat itself?

I don’t really know the answers. I’m just putting the questions out there, hoping that maybe you have something interesting to tell me Coming back to my initial topic: it is very important to be at the same page, if we want to achieve our romantic goals. People looking for fun should be having fun and people wanting babies should be making babies. Why instead of that, do so many people keep kissing the frog hoping it’ll turn into a prince, even if they have a lifelong experience of knowing that it’s not true? Frogs are frogs, princes are princes and you can’t make a whip out of shit (a Polish saying). Please tell me, why are you still trying?

Comment, Dear Rinsers, please.

Stepping Stones – Just a Matter of Perspective?

stepping_stones_of_memory_by_nwwes-d3krg59

Have you ever felt that your the guy/girl everyone dates before they meet the ‘one’? Are you the girl that finds a guy who is at a tough spot in his life, invests your time and energy helping him get his life on track and as soon as he does you find him moving on to bigger and better things and leaving you in his tracks?  Today, dear Rinsers, I’ll be talking about stepping stones – the people used by others to build them up and help them reach their goals – merely to be discarded once they’ve served their purpose. I’ll also be questioning how justified our perception of being a stepping stone really is or whether it is just part of a person’s broader victim mentality.

Most of us don’t marry the first person we date and that’s a good thing. It’s important to experience a few different (good and bad) relationships to figure out what it is we actually need in a partner. And as easy as it is to say you wish you’d never laid eyes on an ex in the aftermath of break-up, I find that in many cases we can look back and draw something positive from the experience. Perhaps it was an ex that encouraged you to pursue your dreams or gave you a reason to take your first international flight. Or maybe it was something simple like them being there too look after you when you were sick.  Some relationships help us develop our character in a positive way by pushing us to get out of comfort zone, become more confident or just help us think about someone other than ourselves. Given a bit of time and space, I think most of us can look back at an old relationship and see that both parties took something valuable away from it.

Of course, if you do an ‘innocent’ Facebook stalk (we are all guilty of it!) and find that your past five ‘problem’ ex boyfriends married the next chick that came along, it’s natural to feel a bit hard done by. After all you spent all those long nights giving pep talks, massaging egos and driving their lazy asses to job interviews only to have the ‘new improved’ version of the dude snapped up by some other chick. It is a bit irritating if nothing else.

But enough of the self-pity! Let’s try to solve this problem. Firstly, if it really is the case that you date ‘problem’ people just to ‘fix’ them and hand them over to the next girl that comes along, then maybe it you need to be a bit self-reflective. There are some of us out there that like solving problems to the extent that we seek out such projects. Maybe this is your pattern and you need to make a change instead of feeling like a stepping stone once the problem is out of your life.  Secondly, sure you feel you wasted a lot of time helping your partner but ask yourself whether the arrangement was truly one-sided or did you also benefit from being with them. Chances are it worked both ways (come on, even if all you got was sex!!)…so you really weren’t that much of stepping stone after all.

At the end of the day, I think it is all about intentions. If the other party got involved with you knowing full well that they had no intention of pursuing a future with you but only saw value in what you could help them achieve then its fair to say they led you on and used you as a stepping stone to get somewhere (or to someone) better. But if you both entered into the partnership with hopes that something good would come of it and in the end of the day that didn’t materialise, it’s a little unfair and immature to keep tabs of who did more to help the other in a relationship. Of course, there are some horrible social climber type people in the world that are motivated solely by self-interest but I still have a little faith in human nature.

Yes, it’s natural to feel a bit used and abused when a problem child whose been fixed up moves on without you but try not to beat yourself up about it and thinking of how you could have done things better. Investing time, effort and little bit of love into a relationship isn’t a crime and not something you should regret, holding back on the other hand and constantly worrying about the worst case scenario of you potentially being used as nothing more than a stepping stone, well that attitude isn’t really going to help you find happily every after now is it?

OK Rinsers. Have you ever felt like you are nothing but a stepping stone? Do you have regrets about putting your all into a relationship only to have it thrown back in your face further down the line? Or do you think its just a matter of perspective? Are people who consider themselves stepping stones just wallowing in self pity? And should this whole potentially becoming a stepping stone thing even feature when one considers how much effort they put into a relationship?  Talk in the comments below.