Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why You're Not Married Continued.

A friend of mine alerted me to an article which has garnered a lot of attention. Tracy McMillan wrote an excellent piece in The Huffington Post which looked at why you’re not married. She believed it’s not men’s fault but we women are to blame! Initially I thought hang on……surely us females aren’t to blame for why we don’t have a ring on our finger. After reading her views I discovered she had some interesting things to say considering she’d been married 3 times. Here are her main points with my interpretation. Whilst I don’t agree with the titles she gave for each point the underlying theme made sense.

1.     You’re a bitch! Her definition is that you’re angry. Now I’m pretty sure if people were asked to describe me angry would not be on the list. Or would it? I never considered my self to be one of these angry females. Not until an ex brought it to my attention. He stated that my anger wasn’t very endearing….WHAT?!?!? Me and my defensive self found this accusation very hard to swallow.
People assume that because their not angry in social settings that they can’t be angry in a relationship (our anger is often rooted in pride). I’m generally not an angry person but once in a relationship I confess my expectations get the best of me sometimes. I don’t communicate effectively; this in return turns to frustration as I feel my partner isn’t listening to my needs. Like a volcano I erupt! Plus I felt I had to put up this pretence that I will not be walked over blah, blah, blah. Past relationships can really mess you up!
I think many females come across angry without realising. Our tone, our mannerisms, the angry scowl etched on our face 24/7 doesn’t help. Smile ladies it doesn’t hurt! Men can deal with it but they’d rather not. It’s too much head ache they just want a simple life.

2.     Your shallow Terry said that character should be what you look for in a man. It kind of refers to last weeks post about expectations. I have to wonder who in this day and age really still goes by the he has to be tall, drive a certain car, earn a six figure salary, etc. Do these men exist? I’m sure there’s a few but I’m not sure how many have good character.
I’ve been caught up with the materialistic things that a man can offer but underneath it all there wasn’t any integrity. The materialistic things don’t really mean much in the end.

3.     You’re a slut! A friend with benefits never works! I’ll do a post on this at a later date. You can try convincing yourself all you like that your okay with the situation but you’re not fooling me. Men and women view sex differently we hear this all time yet I think some women go into this thinking they can change the game. Sex will not make a man fall in love with you. It most certainly won’t push him to marry you. What man is going to want a marry woman who is promiscuous? As Terry said there comes a time in your life when you’ve got to let that stuff go. 
      I’m not here to judge and whilst I liked Amber Rose (disclaimer I’m not calling her a slut) and Kanye West as a couple. I knew there was no way in hail he’d marry her. Men are protective and no husband wants pictures of his wife half naked scattered over the web, posing provocatively with other women, etc. Yes I know he contributed too many of those images but believe me he’d told himself she was not wife material. She may be for someone else out there. Friends with benefits maybe, wife NO!!! Husbands do not want any man seeing their wife in this kind of light.

4.     You’re a Liar in other words you compromise your true feelings. Women do this time and time again. A few female associates of mine are in the friends with benefits zone and are not happy. Some have expressed they wanted more, most haven’t. If a guy has told you he doesn’t want a relationship you better believe him. We as women settle too much and the pressures of society, biological clock don’t help. However that doesn’t mean you have to rush into a situation your not happy with. Life’s too short and it’s too draining emotionally to be putting up with rubbish. I admit I’ve compromised my feelings in the past. I guess fear held me back and the whole rejection issue took over. The end result was that I wasn’t happy. The longer I compromised the harder it was to get out and more hurt was inflicted.

5.     You’re selfish! I often wonder if Diddy will ever get married. He’s so consumed with his Business Empire, career, twitter, etc. I can’t see where a wife fits into the equation right now. You have to be honest about yourself if all you think about is you, you and you. Then marriage will be a problem. I can honestly say I’m not at a place for marriage right now it is all about moi. With my degree, juggling work, no children and my burning desire to travel the world. I’m not pushed to put anybody else’s needs before mine. Apart from family and friends of course. I’m being honest! Not ready for that level of commitment just yet!

6.     You’re Not Good Enough. This all stems down to self worth. You’d be surprised how many women lack this. Some try and mask it with make up, clothes, hair yet deep down they don’t love themselves. If you don’t love you, you won’t be able to love someone else. While these things may grab a man’s attention it won’t always keep them there. Sooner or later the real you will emerge. I lacked self worth in my younger years hence some of the bad decisions I made and why I settled in some destructive relationships. Tracy McMillan posed the question how many of you are looking for a partner who is your equal? Marriage is about respecting the other person as an equal. You need someone who is going to balance you out. If a man is going to date and go on to marry you. He’ll do it because he loves you for you…flaws and all.

Of course men play a part in marriage, but I think women focus too much on what the man is going to bring too the table. Stop criticising and concentrate on yourself first. One of the principal things I’ve taken away from this Counselling course thus far is self awareness. I need to be aware of my thoughts, my behaviour with clients, my hidden thoughts (they do come out), my body language, my tone, what’s said, what’s unsaid, my values, etc. Truth hurts but if you don’t even know how you come across/behave. Then how are you going to have successful relationships? Thoughts! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

High Expectations Can End A Relationship.

The difficulty with expectations is that there centred on what ‘YOU’ think the person should do. Hence the problem it’s about you, not us/we. My expectations have caused problems in previous relationships. I don’t know what it is but as soon as we've crossed the friendship zone my outlook changes. The friendship formula which was clearly working suddenly adjusts due to my perception of how a relationship ‘should’ be. Some of my thoughts have been that he should now act a certain way. He should up the ante with the phone calls. We’re in a relationship so she should be more open with his feelings. The recurring word here is should and there lies the problem.

Society, culture and the media contribute to people’s expectations within relationships. They indirectly alter our views and shape our way of thinking. I find it hard to not be influenced by all these outside sources. Don't get me wrong I'm not one of these women who have a long list of criteria but my expectations have been high at times. One of my exes even threw this statement at me during a disagreement.  

I don't think there's anything wrong with expectations. I guess the problem lies with finding the balance between healthy and unrealistic ones. I.e. I expect my partner to not be physically abusive. Compared to I expect my partner to ring me every day during my lunch break. High/ unrealistic expectations can really damage relationships. I can’t speak for men but I think women are sometimes more guilty of setting these high standards that men simply can’t attain. We then get frustrated and don’t communicate properly which leads to resentment and a lot of anger.

I think some of the reasons for these impractical expectations are that we get into relationships for the wrong reasons (loneliness, feeling of fulfilment). If you don’t know what you want, are unhappy with life. How can someone else help you? Our partners aren’t there to fix us or make us happy. I’ve been guilty of this way of thinking. Little wonder our expectations can’t be met.

Sometimes we have this checklist of requirements that need to be updated as we all grow and change throughout life. What you may have wanted in a partner 4 years ago has probably changed. Experiences, your outlook on life, where you’re at are all factors that will change what you thought you wanted from your other half.

We hear it but probably still haven’t grasped that men love differently. Women thrive of being wooed, honoured, and loved. We know what we would do for a man but feel miffed when it’s no reciprocated the way we’d expect. The amounts of times I’ve sulked when previous partners haven’t done what I’ve perceived as show me they care in the way I wanted.

Every body has expectations. Isn’t it better to set them too high than too low? Are men’s expectations as high as women’s? Or is that different things hold different meanings too either sex?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is It Ever Okay To Date Your Friends Ex Partner?

This is a very touchy subject. I recently spotted a quote which said 'Of course you can date the ex-partner of your friends...the question should really be is it possible to keep your friend in the process?' I received a lot of mixed responses when I posed the question. There were the obstinate No’s to the why should you step in the way of love? Here are some issues that need considering if you’re thinking of dating your friends ex.

Why do you want to date them?
I think people sometimes get caught up with the fantasy of how their friend’s relationship looks. Although they don’t know what goes on behind closed doors romanticism takes over. They want what their friend have not necessarily their partner and can’t differentiate between the two. I think we’ve all done it at some point? I’ve looked at certain friends relationships and thought aw I’d like that. Maybe this is the problem? Or is it a merely a lust situation? Does this new relationship have potential?

What's your friendship like?
I guess this is the real question, how much do you value your friendship? I have some good friends who I can’t imagine having that conversation with. Hey me and (insert name) like each other and want to see whether this friendship could progress. Some of my friends are like family and it’s just not worth the drama it may bring to the table. I’d like to think that if you ever have to cross the dating the ex partner bridge that you can be upfront and honest about the situation. There’s nothing worse than your friend hearing through the grapevine about your activities.

What are the possible outcome/consequences of your decision?
Is this person worth potentially losing a friend ship over? This question should be at the forefront of your mind. The flip side is that both parties may have healed and moved on. You and your friends ex could go on to have a long fulfilling relationship. Even if you do receive your friend’s approval the fundamentals of your friendship will change!

What were the circumstances behind the relationship ending?
If your friend ended the relationship there’s more possibility of them being okay with the situation. However if they were dumped they may still be harbouring feelings of rejection, hurt or resentment. How long were they together? The longer the relationship the more memories, emotions attached. More importantly was their closure. If not, this will make thing difficult for all parties.

People are protective.
I think this applies more to men. I believe they are more territorial and have the mind set of I’ve dated her. She was mine….hands off. Even if you do get your friends consent there are certain emotions, baggage, memories that will undoubtedly be triggered the moment he/she see’s the ex with friend.

I’m not an advocate for people dating their friends ex partners. However things are never black and white. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trust Your Gut Instincts

It's important that men and women trust their gut instinct. I'm not suggesting you leave a relationship over your intuition. Just pay attention because after a while that little niggling voice inside your head will get louder. I met a guy who seemed to tick enough boxes for me, but something didn't quite add up. He was very attractive, worked hard, respectful, generous, charming, blah, blah, blah. The downside was that he lied about any and everything. Now whilst I couldn't prove it I just sensed that something wasn't right. Things eventually came to a head and my suspicions were proved right.

Or maybe the time when I thought an ex boyfriend of mine was cheating. My gut instinct had been screaming for a long time to get out but I stayed way longer than I should have. Surprise, surprise my suspicions were right. Why did I ignore my gut instincts? I guess it was a fear of my intuition being true. That this guy who claimed to care would lie to me on so many levels. Sometimes we’d rather be in denial about certain things. We don’t want to acknowledge or face up to the truth that something isn’t right. Fear I may loose this 'friendship', self-doubt, fear of bring alone, all of the above.

I think intuition is vital when dating/finding love. You can just feel/sense whether someone is good for you. To be honest there were alarm bells ringing with the above characters but I chose to ignore them hoping my gut was wrong. We have all the head/ heart debate. Do I go with what I feel in my heart, or the thoughts in my head?

Another reason we sometimes ignore out gut instinct is that our emotions get in the way. They sometimes cloud our judgement and affect our intuition. It's like our minds get all hazy and we're less accurate with that gut feeling. It blinds our rational at times and whilst our instincts are saying steer clear. Our emotions are craving for everything to be ok, for things to work out fine.

I guess the key is to trust your gut instinct a bit more. On the flip side if we didn't ignore our gut instinct once in a while we may have played it too safe and avoided certain relationships which at some point gave us a tinge of happiness. Not forgetting the all important experience that is necessary to grow and make better decisions in the future.

What are your thoughts?
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