Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

With some resolve

Last year, I decided to take the advice of a very good friend, and go where I am happy - not where I think I should be. He told me I shouldn't settle for someone who wouldn't let me be myself, or who made me feel like I had to change.

It took some doing - a love cleanse, a few bad dates, and a guy who wouldn't go away - but I did find someone who makes me very happy. It turns out, it doesn't show up the way you expect, or when you're looking. Happiness shows up on its own terms - not yours.

I've learned to be okay with that. Things really do happen the way they're meant to happen. Once you learn to trust that, it seems things do start to fall into place.

So, for 2012, I resolve to keep on accepting. I resolve to keep on enjoying, and learning more about Trooper - and about myself.

I resolve to shine.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


On Christmas Eve, Trooper and I had a couple of different plans that sort of got squished together, time-wise. I have to admit - I panicked a little.Turns out, I'm not very good at mixing my schedule and priorities with someone else's. I texted Baking Suit, and thankfully, she was able to talk me off the ledge.

Trooper had something he wanted to do in the afternoon - which meant we had to go to a later church service, which meant we'd be a few minutes late for dinner with my friend's family. I was worried, too, because I wanted to change my outfit. Sounds stupid, I know, but I didn't feel my best in what I was wearing. I needed a boost of confidence, since I was introducing Trooper to new people - and two of them are my ridiculously-pretty friends.

But all of that was my concern - not his. I had myself all worried about silly stuff, and I was missing out on the good stuff, like enjoying time with Trooper, and what he wanted to do. I let myself get wrapped up in the idea that what I was worried about was more important than his worries - like who was winning the game.

In the end, I calmed myself down, and it all worked out. I reminded myself that just because we don't have the same priorities, doesn't mean mine are right. It means we're different, and dating isn't about figuring out how to get him to take on my priorities.

It's about learning to take on each other's.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Greatest gift

In case you're wondering, Trooper and I spent a lovely holiday together. We had dinner with a couple of my "families" and exchanged gifts together on Christmas Eve. I made (what would pass for) breakfast on Christmas morning.

As far as a gifts, he gave me a lot more than I gave him. That's always a little awkward, no matter what the relationship (unless it's a parent and child, I suppose). When you're searching for balance, and trying to sort out your place in each other's lives, it's important to feel...equal, I think, and like you get as much as you give. Otherwise, it's easy for one person to feel taken advantage of, and the other person to feel useless. 

But I also think that in any relationship, there's one person who wants to take care of the other; and each person wants different things. For instance, I like "stuff" while Trooper is more of a minimalist. He likes nice things, but doesn't feel like he needs a ton of anything. So giving him stuff isn't a big deal - but for me, having lots to open (big and small) is just fun.

He also gave me one of the greatest gifts anyone can; he spent time with me, and he gave up his time to go and have dinner with the people who matter most. It turned out it meant a lot to him to be invited.

So, I guess dating - and gift giving - isn't just about finding balance, and each other's place. It's also about learning each other's priorities, and what makes you both happy. You can learn a lot about a person based on how they handle holidays, and gifts, and families and busy schedules. 

After all, there's no greater gift than the chance to bring someone new into your life, and learn all about them - and what they can teach you about yourself.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Trust and confidence

I mentioned earlier this week how I'm learning that, in a solid, healthy relationship, outside friendships (even with the opposite sex) are okay. 

A couple of commenters thought this made sense; others disagreed, and stuck to the adage that men and women "cannot be friends; the sex gets in the way." 

One commenter admitted that one of her close friends is a guy who she "hooked up with a long time ago" and her boyfriend is okay with that. But, she says she would not be okay with him hanging out with a woman, especially one with whom he'd had a relationship. 

It takes a lot of guts to admit something like that; it's probably true for a lot more people than are willing to admit it. It's also very insightful; the commenter knows she can trust her boyfriend, and unlike so many others, she's not blaming him for her own self-esteem issues.That alone takes a lot more confidence than she may realize. 

I think any time that your partner, especially if you've been together a while, has something (hobby, relationship, success) outside the "unit" - it's scary. When you allow yourself to count on someone being around, anything that gives them a little independence from the relationship can make you wonder. 

It's even worse if you're insecure. "Oh, I'm very confident," some people respond. Fine - confidence is an attitude; it's how you present yourself to others. It's very possible to be confident on the outside, and still a little unsure of yourself on the inside. 

More than that, it's also possible to be confident in every part of your life, but maybe a little insecure over one small detail. 

I was once that woman who had no confidence in my relationship; at the end of the day, it truly was my own insecurities and self-doubt that caused me to feel that way. It wasn't about whether I could trust X - I just didn't trust myself.  

I didn't trust that I was good enough. 

It had nothing to do with him, or how he treated me, or how I thought he felt about me. It had everything to do with how much I didn't think I could do, and how threatened I was that X might "find out" what I couldn't do well. 

Thing is - eventually, we all have to come to terms with our weaknesses, and either accept them or overcome them. Once we do that, it won't matter who we meet, or what the circumstances. Once we trust ourselves - trusting them, and the situation, is that much easier. 

There's no definite answer for how to find self-esteem. Hell, even the most confident people struggle with it on a regular basis. Once you accept that it will be a life-long journey with its ups and downs, the closer you'll be. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I'm not really sure why I've been thinking about it so much - maybe because I've been buried in address and gift labels for weeks now. But I've been thinking a lot about labels, and their affect on people.

It turns out, Trooper and I have "labels" - of the official variety. I told myself that just because I was given a title, that doesn't mean I'm going to act any differently. I mean - why should it, right? No matter what name we give it, what we're talking about is a two-month old relationship that is going really well, and makes me very happy.

I believe where we are, and how we feel, is what should dictate our behavior - not the names we assign.

But I'll admit - since we started throwing the titles around, I've found myself...feeling a little different. Like, I have new roles and responsibilities - and rights. I caught myself the other day, when I was about to assume myself into his schedule - but I yanked myself back before it was too late. Phew.

It seems silly to me, not to mention unfair. I think one of the reasons things have been going so well is they have developed naturally. Nothing between us is forced or manufactured; that's why it works.

If I let myself get caught up in labels, I'll make assumptions, and set expectations. Basically, all that ease and comfort will start to unravel.

It got me thinking - is this why some people are so afraid to take that next step? Are people afraid that making something official is the beginning of the end? I've heard people use that as a reason to not get married; that marriage "changes things." I always wondered, "How?" How can just naming the relationship change it?

Maybe because we get so caught up in what we think the label should mean, we forget to just be ourselves? We get so focused on what we think people expect, we forget to just be true to our own feelings?

There's no way I'll be perfect. I know I'll slip and give into the expectations now and then. But I'm grateful I'm seeing this now, and hopeful I can remain true to myself and my own feelings.

After all - we know how I feel about other people's rules.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just friends

I was reading the other day that men and women can not be just friends; because the guy always wants to have sex with the woman. I also believe that Rob Reiner, with the help of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, have already covered that for us.

I used to think that was true. In fact - I used to have a real problem with X having a female friend. That ended badly; and isn't really the subject of this post.

Nowadays, I do think that men and women can be just friends. I have quite a few male friends. As it turns out, the ones to whom I'm closest are usually guys I once dated (or, you know, married then divorced).

I guess that's because that whole pesky sex-thing is out of the way; we've been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. It's not a lingering issue that stands between us and an honest, platonic friendship.

When I first started dating, I never thought I'd be okay with my significant other having friends of the opposite sex - and I certainly never would have imagined I'd be okay with exes. At first - I wasn't. I would worry and fret (and yes, facebook stalk), constantly thinking I was about to have the rug pulled out from underneath me - again.

I recently discovered that I no longer feel that way. Well, not as much, anyway. Trooper has plenty of female friends. Some are exes; and some are friends with whom he spends time. When I first found out, I thought I'd be bothered; I expected to be worried, feel insecure, and maybe even get a little mad.

I was surprised when that didn't happen.

I was so surprised that I actually asked a couple of trusted friends if they thought I was being crazy for not being upset. They assured me I was not.

Apparently, this is what happens when you're secure enough in yourself, sure of what you want, and you're in an open and honest and healthy relationship (at any stage).

Huh. Go figure. Here I thought it was all just a myth.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Your own story

"You and your boyfriend are welcome for Christmas dinner...."

That's what my friend's mom said to me the other night. Then she caught herself, put her hand over her mouth and said, "Ooops...I forgot. I'm not supposed to use that word." 


I'm not afraid of the label - but Trooper and I hadn't officially discussed using them, and honestly - I don't like to jinx myself. That, and I'm always afraid I'm too old to use the word "boyfriend" - but that's a different post. 

Trooper has been acting like we're a "couple" for a while. When I told a couple of my closest friends what was happening, they all reacted the same.

"He's totally into you." 

"You're in with this guy." 

"You're totally in a relationship - whether you know it, or not." 

The thing was, I felt that way, and I felt like I could trust Trooper. He's such a great guy (and no, I'm not just saying that because he might be reading). He's wonderful to me; sweet, kind, confident and honest and I have no reason not to trust him. If he's behaving like he likes me - it's safe to believe he does.  

I guess a part of me is was just worried because I don't always trust myself to read signs correctly. But, I've learned and grown a lot, and I've gotten better at relationships - partly because I've learned about other people, but mostly because I learned about and improved upon myself. 

In other relationships, I looked for signs; and when the signs I wanted weren't there, I looked for anything to point in the direction I wanted. I saw only what I wanted - and ignored the signs that were right in front of me. The conversations were forced; I couldn't be 100% honest because I was afraid of what the guy would say, how he'd react - and of the truth. 

With Trooper, I've never had to force anything, and I've never been afraid to be honest. Our conversations are always natural and comfortable. I'm able to be honest with him, and he with me. Maybe that's because we're both secure in who we are, and what we want - and I'm sure it doesn't hurt that we both really like each other. 

So, when we talked about the labels, it turned out we were already on the same page. Like everything else with him, it was simple, and comfortable, and easy. It felt right. So, maybe I'm getting better at reading signs. 

Or maybe it's less about reading others and more about knowing your own story.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Little bits...

Just a few thoughts to end your week (or start your weekend)....

- I told Trooper about this blog (Everybody wave!!)... He's such a cool guy, and took it totally in stride. 

- That said...he did make one suggestion. He thinks I should call him Bigger instead of Trooper. No - not because of that - get your minds out of the gutter! Because he's bigger, and better, than Big. 

- Blogs of Note really brought a lot of new visitors to my little corner. If you're new, welcome. 

- I'm totally tapped, time-wise, and want to make sure the community stays fresh, and we have plenty to chat about. That being the case, I am happily accepting guest-posts. Got something dating-related you want to get off your chest? Send me an email.

- If you enjoyed the Flowchart for Daters, outlining at which relationship stages to give a gift, you may also enjoy this helpful guide from iVillage - The right gift for every relationship stage. A vibrator that moves to the sound of his voice?!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

White lies

The Free Dictionary defines a white lie as, "An often trivial, diplomatic, or well-intentioned untruth."

You know, like telling someone that you like an outfit (when you really don't) to boost her confidence, or telling a date you had a good time (when you really didn't) to spare his feelings. Or:
  • I know I sent that email...
  • I'll be ready in five minutes...
  • Oh, your baby is adorable!
You get the idea. 

For the most part, I try to avoid white lies, especially when dating. To me, a white lie is something best told to someone you won't see again. If the relationship continues, you may eventually have to fess up (depending on the lie). But still, they come in handy now and then, especially when I'm first getting to know someone. 

For example: 

"I blog sometimes..." Translated: I'm always writing something, and you'll find me everywhere if you google my real name. And then there's this other blog....

"Sure, I'm friendly with my ex..." Translated: He's one of my best friends, we're on each other's facebook, we still exchange Christmas gifts, and if this continues, you may eventually meet him. In fact, I'll be texting him after we say goodbye. 

"I like my job...." Translated: No, I really don't, but I want to make a positive first impression. You'll find out soon enough. 

"Of course I saw that movie..." Translated: I don't remember - but it's entirely possible that I did.

To read some other white lies daters typically tell, click here

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sound of rejection

No sound is louder than the silent sound of rejection.

Unfortunately, it's just something you have to get used to when you're doing the online-dating thing. You scour profiles, find the perfect person and it seems like you're their perfect person. You spend hours crafting the perfect email - the right balance of smart, witty and fun, only to be met with....


It happens; it's all a part of the game.

Read about it over at Singles Warehouse.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Write your own rules

"Maybe you can offer some insight?"

That's what my friend said to me the other day. My poor friends - they're never sure what they're getting themselves into when they ask for my advice.

Specifically - what's the time-frame for first kisses - and beyond?

Personally, I'm torn on this issue. I've said before, I don't really follow "rules." I think sometimes, we need to do what feels right - and write our own rules.

Relationships involve people - and people are unique. You can have all the rules you want, but things will play out differently with every new date, because the players are different. You might be a strictly 3-dates-before-a-kiss kind of girl - until you meet that one guy who is a game-changer.

Now, I've never been one to wait for a kiss - or much else, for that matter. Does that mean I run around sleeping with every guy I meet? No. But it does take an awful lot for a guy to get to date number two. Sometimes, that means things can move quickly - sometimes it doesn't.

It depends on the guy. I write a new set of rules with each one.

"Why is it we're willing to write our own vows, but not our own rules?" Sex and the City

Friday, December 9, 2011


Any time my little corner of the interwebz gets recognized or promoted, I'm pretty excited. It doesn't take much to please me, I know - just don't tell any of my dates.

I'm pretty proud of this blog, and the fact that people have approached me more than once for advice, insight, perspective - and the occasional giggle, even if it's at my expense sometimes. Hey - I'm here to help. I mean yeah, the fame and fortune is nice and all... (Kidding.)

Anyway, just thought I'd mention that Girl's Got Shine was Blogger's Blog of Note on Wednesday, December 7, 2011!

Check it out, and while you're at it, check out the other Blogs of Note. There are lots of terrific little corners of the interwebz.

And if you're new here because you found me on that page - welcome! There's plenty of shine to go around.

Wrap it up

Assuming we're still together, Christmas Day will be exactly two months since my first date with Trooper. Someone close to me recently observed that it's so nice that I "have someone" during the holidays, the toughest time to be alone.

This person is also happily married to a freaking prince...

So while she's right that it is nice to be with someone for some parts of the holiday - I don't think she realizes all the challenges it presents. When a relationship is new at holiday time, it raises more questions than it answers. Like, does it mean anything if we spend time together on Christmas? Or is it too big a holiday to hope for, so soon into things? Does it mean anything if he doesn't ask me to meet his family, or doesn't want to meet mine? And the all important...

Should I get him a gift? 

I happen to know Trooper got me a gift, so I know I'm okay in at least getting him something little. I've already placed my order with Amazon Santa.

But in case you're looking for some guidelines, How About We posted a helpful flow-chart to help daters figure out what to give to whom, and when. Click here to see that post.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Price of doing business

This story about a woman who supplemented her income by dating guys she met online broke a couple weeks ago. I heard it from Cute~Ella first, and then Kristi blogged about it over here. I stayed quiet because...well, because everyone was already talking about it, and I wasn't sure what I could really add.

Then this morning, I guess ABC was talking about it on a morning show, and a friend texted to tell me about it. Her question was, "Why is this news?"

That's what I said. Because, let's face it - this girl didn't invent anything.

I've joked before that I've gone on dates when I'm short on grocery money. Now, I've never set up a system, and gone out with men purely for that purpose - but I have agreed to a date when I was less than interested, simply because I really couldn't afford to buy food that week.

Is that awful? Maybe. Bad for my karma? I'm sure. But original? Most definitely not.

Neither is the concept that men take women out on expensive dates because they're expecting hoping to get "something" in return. If some guys treat women that way, why is it surprising that some women respond accordingly?

When I go on a date, whether it's the first or the fifth, I go with an open mind. If I meet a guy and I know there's no chemistry, I wouldn't continue to see him. On the flip-side, when I meet a guy I really like, I call it off with everyone else, even if it means I have to eat ramen noodles for a week.

Maybe that's where I differ from Ms. Manhattan-on-a-budget. But I still don't think I am in a position to judge her (and really, neither is anyone else). While what she did might seem hurtful over over-the-top to some, the truth is, we've all done something while we're dating that others might find questionable.

If you're single and dating, there's always a chance you'll give more than you get, make a bad decision, hurt someone whether it's intentional or not.

That's just the price of doing business.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Signs everywhere

There are a million signs that a guy isn't into you. There are also less obvious signs that he is into you. My problem has always been reading the darn signs. I misinterpret and misunderstand when I'm forced to guess or wonder or try to read between the lines.

I'm getting all kinds of signs from Trooper. Signs that I think (and hope) mean that he is into me.

- I once read that spending all your time at his place is a sign he's not into you - which, I suppose, means that spending time at your place means he is. Following this logic, I was pretty happy when Trooper made an effort to hang at my place - and when he said he'd like to do so again. Score.

- Texting? He does it all the time. Even just to say he's thinking of me. And he flat out told me that he looks forward to hearing from me during the day, too.

- He asked me for a picture of myself, for his phone. And one day, while we were sitting eating ice cream, he randomly suggested we take a photo of the two of us together. That has to be a good sign, right?

- Facebook - he's "checked in" with me tagged, basically announcing to his facebook universe that we're spending time together.

The biggest sign of all? He tells me how he feels. I don't have to guess, or wonder, or prompt him for a response. He's just honest.

Finally, a sign I really can read.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I used to have a "type." Then, after dating for a while, I realized that having a type often meant I would shy away from guys because they didn't fit the mold. For a while, I went on a date with just about any guy who asked, to make sure I wasn't walking away from someone worth keeping around. 

Sounds like a big waste of time, right? I definitely went on some lousy dates - but I learned a lot, so I wouldn't call it a total waste. Process is a better word; I had to go through it to learn more about myself, and what my real deal-breakers are. 

So what are they? 

* A job - or at least an idea of what he wants to do. In this economy, plenty of people are unemployed or underemployed - but there's a difference between a grown-up who had some bad luck, and someone who never bothered to grow up. 

* Live on his own. Again - while I get the economics, it just isn't for me. In fact Gardner had never lived anywhere but his childhood home. While he shares it with siblings now, and not parents - the point is, he'd never had to live on his own. I take care of myself, and I expect any SO to be able to do the same. 

* He's gotta like cats. I know, I know - it seems silly. But I love my kitties, and I know I'd never want to give them up. I considered it briefly, when thinking about dating someone who was allergic. The thought made me absolutely sad. 

* Previously married, or experience in some sort of committed relationship. Seem strange? Maybe. But I dated a guy once who had never been married, and had only been in one long-term relationship. He had trouble "getting" how compromise and balance in a relationship were supposed to work. I'd prefer to date a guy who has already learned those lessons. 

* Non-smoker. I tried; I really did. I just don't like it. 

* Tolerant of others. By this, I mean he needs to be politically and socially open-minded, and not judgmental of lifestyles that differ from his own. 

Now - maybe some of those are unfair. Everyone has their quirks, I suppose. But this article from the dating blog over at How About We lists some really picky deal-breakers. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Online herpes

Gardner texted me the other night. He asked how I was, and I said I was good - and then mentioned I was seeing someone. He responded by saying he wasn't sure why I'd say that.... Let me back up.

You may recall that the last time Gardner and I spoke - it didn't exactly go well. We basically broke up, and not on good terms. We were never just friends; we went directly from dating to not speaking at all. The last time we spoke, I wasn't seeing anyone; now I am, so I figured I should disclose that upfront. Whether he was reaching out to rekindle the dating, or just to be friends, it's new information, and seemed important to mention.

So that's why I said that.

In what seems to be normal Gardner fashion, he responded by saying, "I wouldn't have thought meeting someone meant you cut off all communication with the opposite sex. Silly dating rules."

Obviously - I haven't cut off any communication with anyone from the opposite sex. My friends are all still in my life, and there's no reason that would change.

Gardner wasn't my friend when Trooper and I met; we stopped talking before that ever happened. A fact which he was apparently overlooking.

I replied by saying, "The fact that we aren't friends has nothing to do with my relationship status. It has everything to do with snotty comments like that."

Suddenly, Gardner was being sarcastic, and was only reaching out because he "cares." Just so we're clear - he shows up after more than a month of no communication, immediately makes a snotty comment about me and my choices, then back-tracks when I call him on it. And he wonders why we aren't friends?

As Cute~Ella pointed out, he is totally the herpes of my online dating life.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Less than half

A friend and I were talking the other day about meeting new people, and how important it is (or isn't) to have things in common. He was a little concerned that a woman he met only has one real hobby - and it isn't one that he shares.

I said I didn't see that as an issue. It's not like they need to be tied together at the hip all the time. So, she goes off and does her thing, and he'll do his. If she only has one thing she's really into - she'll probably be open to just about anything when they are spending time together.

He thought about that, and agreed. It's not as if he wants to meet someone with whom he shares everything. Everyone needs time to themselves. If you share every hobby or interest - you'll get sick of each other pretty quickly.

On OK Cupid, one of the profile questions asks how much you want to have in common with a significant other; Everything, More than half, Half, Less than half. My answer is Less than half; but I've seen plenty of people who want to have More than half, or even Everything, in common with their "other."

That seems...boring to me. Half the fun of meeting someone new is learning and experiencing something new. If we already share everything, I won't learn anything - and I can't teach anything, either.

Guess I'm just a less than half kind of gal.