Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blogging about relationships

People keep asking how I feel about blogging about my relationship with Trooper, now that he knows about the site. In fact, Trooper even commented that maybe I should have kept the site a secret; that knowing he can see what's here might keep me from being completely honest.

The truth is, it's not an easy balance. On the one hand, writing about us and him when he didn't know made me feel like I was lying. I'm a lot of things, but a liar is not one of them. But, knowing he might read what I have to say does make me more cautious about what I share.

Does that mean the blog suffers? Well, only you can make that judgement. I share personal stories when they make sense; mostly, I try to share my perspective on how it feels to transition from being a practically-professional singleton to - someone in a relationship. It's not the most difficult thing I've ever done - but it's not exactly easy, either.

One rule of thumb I'm trying to enforce is that I don't put it here until I've talked with him. So my most personal, private, intimate thoughts? That's tough. There are times when I'm hurt by something he says or does, or worried about where things stand. I over-think, over-analyze and generally over-worry things to death. It'd be nice to write about those feelings; sort through them, hear other opinions, etc. But if I'm not ready to talk with him - it seems like I really shouldn't be sharing here, either.

I don't think it matters how new a relationship is - or how good, or how easy. There will always be times when you wonder; there will always be questions, and concerns, and things you're just not sure how to say.

When I have those questions, if anything, I think having the blog forces me to work through them, and to keep the lines of communication open. So in that sense - I think having a blog is actually helping my relationship.

Of course - it's important to tread carefully.

Besides, the internet is a big place. There's more than one little corner for my not-quite-ready-for-Trooper thoughts.  *wink*

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sing the words

Trooper has a lot of funny, cute quirks. One of them is his knowledge of all things musical. For every situation, his mind comes up with a random soundtrack - and he sings the lyrics, basically serenading life.

I have a fairly common name - and it's in a lot of songs. The other night, Trooper was singing me a medley of {Insert Real Name Here} songs - until he came to one that required the lyric, "I love you." He sang right up to it, and then mumbled the sort of silly stuff people mumble when they don't know the lyrics. Except - he knows; everyone knows this song.

Even me - so I realized right away what he wasn't saying.

I suppose I could have gotten upset, or been a little hurt. I mean - he couldn't even sing the words in a lyric. That can't be good, right?

But I didn't get upset. I didn't even feel upset. Instead - I giggled.

I thought it was funny, and cute - like his other quirks. He asked if I was laughing because I knew what the next lyric should be. "Yup," I said, and kissed him on the cheek.

He laughed, too, and gave me a big smile. Then he said, "This is some good blog material, huh?"

That's the thing. When you find someone who makes you smile, who supports what you do, with whom you can laugh and who says and does the sweetest things - sometimes you just know that person is the right one.

Even if neither of you sing the words.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dating survival kit

There are certain things I never leave home without - some things, I even have duplicates with me just about everywhere. For example, I have lip gloss in my purse and my car. I always keep deodorant, a toothbrush, hand-lotion, hairspray and perfume in my car.

If I'm going on a date, some of those things might end up in my purse, too - just in case I have an emergency in the restaurant, or I end up in his car.

I think the things we need, or where we need them, changes based on the status of the relationship. For example, having deodorant or hairspray in my purse is no longer a big deal to me, because I leave some at Trooper's house.

I think the point isn't that you might even need anything - as much as it is that knowing your favorite "things" are available just makes you feel better (read: less stressed, more confidant).

This post from How about we, 10 Things that should always be in your purse on a date, sums it up nicely. The things that make you feel confidant and pretty should be with you - at all times.


1 - Lipstick and/or chapstick
2 - Deordorant
4 - Tissues
5 - Pain meds (allergies are not an issue for me, but sore knees might be)
6 - Cash
7 - Phone (which includes a book app)
8 - Powder (I like to shine, but c'mon)
9 - Mints
10 - Safety pins/sewing kit


Perfect - no water required.
1 - Change of shoes (just in case those super-cute heels fail before my date does)
2 - Nail clipper and clear nail polish - for manicure emergencies
3 - Phone charger
4 - Umbrella (make it a purse-size, just in case)
5 - Mini-toothbrush

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Second Annual Bachelor Auction

Remember this event from last year? Well, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Capital Region is hosting their Second Annual Bachelor Auction on Saturday, March 31. Once again, the event is being held at Vapor Night Club in Saratoga, NY. Once again, a date with one of  the areas 15 most eligible bachelors will be up for grabs!

Guys for sale - what could be better? Last year, this event raised over $11,000 for the foundation - proving that guys are, in fact, not completely useless.

This year, proceeds benefit the AFSP's Out of the Darkness walk for R.I.T.A - a walk to benefit suicide prevention programs. The walk was started in 2005 by friends and family of Dr. Rita Leighton, who died by suicide in 2004. 

As if bidding on good-looking bachelors to raise money and awareness for a good cause - last year's Hostess, Amanda Talar, will be back this year. 

Tickets are already on sale - visit here to make your purchase. There are a limited amount of VIP tickets, which include a meet-and-greet with the bachelors before the auction. If you're planning to bid - I highly recommend the VIP ticket. 

Follow the event's facebook page for details on the bachelors, as well as entertainment and door prizes for the evening. You can also check out pictures from last year's event. 

Not interested in bidding? Come out, anyway! I'll be there - and no, Trooper is not on the auction block. It's a fun night out for a good cause. Grab your favorite outfit and accessory - and your good friends - and come have some fun for a cause. Hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What to do when you're in love with your best friend

A while back, I issued an open call for guest posts. I'm still getting responses (thanks, everyone) and working my way through them. A busy-blogger's dream-come-true.

This guest post comes to us from Sabrina Jackson, a guest post contributor who enjoys writing about dating and relationships. In addition, Sabrina also owns Free Dating Sites, where she focuses on educating singles about safe methods of online dating.  


You’ve been best friends for what seems like forever, he’s the one you call about any and all happenings in your life, and he knows everything about you from the scar on your left pinky toe to your embarrassing and borderline inappropriate obsession with Justin Bieber. 

Well, he knows everything except for the tiny fact that you have feelings for him (your friend, not the Biebs) that are more than friendly. And if these feelings for your best guy friend are growing increasingly stronger as each day passes to the point where all you can do is daydream of his perfect smile, his unwavering ability to make any bad day right and the rush of unabated bliss that his laugh has the power to inflict upon you, then you very well could be on the brink of going crazy. 

Because of the implications that come with harboring such a high-risk crush, you are probably confused and unsure of how to handle the situation. So that you don’t continue living in such a tortured existence, be sure to check out the following tips for dealing with being in love with your best friend:

Analyze the situation. Stop going back and forth in your mind and come to a decision to either accept merely a friendship or to take the plunge and tell him how you feel. If he is already involved with someone else, it’s best to leave it alone. However, if he’s single, think about your feelings and if they are strong enough to warrant the chance of possibly losing him as a friend if he isn’t on board the same love boat as you. Look for hints and clues that he might be interested in exploring things with you in a romantic way—if signs point to yes, then what are you waiting for?  

Be honest with him. Telling your friend your true feelings is no doubt difficult—the chance of rejection is terrifying, and the possible loss of a friendship if he doesn’t feel the same way can be even harder to face. But if you really feel strongly about this person, it is best to be honest so that you don’t have to continually ask yourself “what if?” He might be taken off guard by your revelation so if he needs time and space to soak it all in, be sure to give it to him. Communicate to him that there is no pressure and respect his feelings either way that he wishes to take them.

Explain that you want to remain friends. If the conversation where you confess your undying love and devotion doesn’t go as planned, do your best to hold it together. Even though this isn’t the outcome for which you hoped, if you can handle continuing a relationship that is defined strictly as friends, explain to him that the friendship is important to you and that you’d like to salvage it. Things might be awkward for a while, but with time and sensitivity on both ends, things can get back to normal.

Take it slow. Should your best friend tell you that he has feelings for you too, that is great news!  Some of the greatest and strongest relationships start with a friendship—and most likely, since you are already comfortable with one another, the transition from friends to more than friends should be an easy one. But like any relationship, it is crucial to take things slowly so that you don’t get in over your heads when changing up the dynamic to which the two of you have been accustomed. Have fun getting to know each other in a new way and see where it leads!


Thanks, Sabrina!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Make a list, not a type

Several years ago, I was talking with a friend who was in a long-term relationship with a guy she loved a lot (they've since gotten married). I wasn't seeing anyone special at the time, and we were talking about how tough it was for me to find guys worth dating.

"Have you made a list?" she asked me.

I had not. It had never even occurred to me. I mean - I knew what I wanted in a boyfriend - in my head. Basically. That was good enough, right?

"I made a list," she said. "I wrote down exactly what I wanted in a guy, and anytime I met someone who didn't fit into what I wanted, I didn't date him. Then I met John, and I forgot all about the list. A few years later, I found it, crumpled up in a desk drawer. I read it - and realized John was everything on the list."

At first, it sounded like creating a "type" for yourself - which I've always felt was a bad idea. If you lock yourself into needing a guy with a certain look, or a certain job, or specific beliefs - you tend to overlook wonderful people. I think having a type tends to make us focus on the less-important qualities in people.

But my friend wasn't talking about creating a type. She wasn't talking about assigning characteristics to the perfect guy. She was talking about making a list about yourself; what's important to you.

Is it important to you that a guy be ready to commit, or be stable. Or maybe you would like a free-spirit who will join in your adventures. Maybe it really want children of your own, and someone who shares that dream is important to you. Or maybe you want to raise your family in a particular place, or with a particular faith, and finding a like-minded someone is important.

The point is, the list is about figuring out what you want, and then keeping yourself open to finding a person who lines up with those goals and dreams. He might be tall or blonde or rich or smart - or none of the above. But he can make your most important dreams come to life - and that's what's important.

I'll admit, I've never written a list myself. But after that conversation, I started to really take inventory of myself, and what I wanted in a relationship.

I guess it really doesn't matter if the list is on a piece of paper, or on a file on your laptop - or just in your head. The point is, you better know what you want before you go looking - or you'll keep finding the wrong guys.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Girls have cooties, too

I was talking to a guy-friend at work the other day, recapping each other's Valentine's Day celebrations.

Me: How was your V-Day?

Him: Good. I had a meeting with a bunch of old, married guys (that is voluntary on his part, and happens every week). She and I will do something this weekend.

Me: WAIT!!! You kept your regular meeting instead of spending V-Day with her?!

Him: Yes, she said she didn't mind. Besides, it's also her birthday and she was going to her parents' for dinner.

Me: Oy. You cancel the meeting and take her out.

Him: We're not officially "boyfriend/girlfriend" so there's no obligation for that.

Me: You have to behave like a boyfriend before someone will call you a boyfriend.

Him: I do! She doesn't behave like a girlfriend.

That stopped me. Let's just suppose that he's the one who has asked to define the relationship, asked for more commitment and wants to move things forward - and she's not. She wants to keep things the way they are, says she "enjoys spending time together," and isn't ready to commit. She has, in fact, never committed to a long-term relationship.

That all sounds an awful lot like....a line a boy normally gives.

And you know what I say about boys...

So I guess girls can have cooties, too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love is a fairy tale

Last week, I posted this photo on facebook - and holy hell, did it get some reactions.

One guy said, "Uh, the real world isn't as glamorous as cliches and positivity posters."

No kidding, jackass...and in the real world, pumpkins don't turn into carriages, either.... was how I wanted to respond. But I kept it cool and nice (as much as possible) because it was my personal facebook and some of those people actually know me.

I understand that love isn't a fairy tale. I think all women understand. In the real world, any relationship has ups and downs, challenges and bad times. I'm sure there were even some unhappy moments in Cinderella's happily ever after. Prince Charming leaving his socks on the floor, or the Queen being overly critical of Cinde's cooking - whatever.

The point of the picture isn't that love is a fairy tale - it's that it should have fairy-tale-worthy moments. It should include butterflies in your stomach, and silly smiles, and flowers for no reason. The point is that every girl deserves to feel like a princess.

The point is also that, even when you're working at your relationship, the ones that are honest and healthy won't feel like work. And even when things are looking hopeless, if this relationship is really meant to be - it will.

The point is not to lose hope, and don't give up. Honestly, I can't think of any advice that has more real-life application.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Keys to communication

"Could you also go ahead and tell us how exactly do we talk about our concerns without sounding overly possessive or bitchy? That would help."

That's the comment that a reader left for me on a post about communication, and drawing the line. Specifically, I was saying that couples should be able to share concerns without accusing or giving orders.

Great, GGS  - you've said what to do. Now what about the how?  Fair question.

I touched on it a bit in that post. "Tell him...and by tell him, I don't mean accuse or order him.... You shouldn't tell him what he can and can't do; he shouldn't tell you what you can and can't say."

Let's take the example from another post I did, also about communication. To sum it up, I found a post from another woman on Trooper's facebook timeline. I was upset, and wanted to say something, but wasn't sure what, or how.

I ended up waiting - and I did eventually say something. But I successfully managed to say it without starting a fight, or coming across as being "that girl."

Wait. It seems, at least for me, that I react more strongly at first, and then after I've had a chance to process the information, I calm down. If I'm angry and I say something right away, it's so raw, I usually end up overreacting. By waiting, I give myself the chance to decide if it's really worth saying anything at all, and if it is, I've usually calmed down enough to discuss, rather than argue.

Admit your part. When I finally did ask Trooper about the woman's post, I started by saying to him, "So I was facebook stalking you the other day..." I suppose some people would say not to do that because it opens you up to criticism. But I say the best defense is a good offense. By putting it out there, you take away his ability to put it back on you. You're saying, "Yeah, I did something wrong - but look what I found."

Talk, don't write. I was home alone when I found the post. If I wanted to say something to Trooper right away, it would have to be over the phone or in a text. In my experience, though, these are the sort of conversations you want to have in person. When you're asking a question, body language is key, and you can't read facial expressions over the phone, or tone in a text. Plus, if you have stumbled upon a larger issue, you don't want it to be easy for him to disconnect or ignore.

Besides, waiting til you can talk in person helps with rule number one - waiting. It also shows him that you're serious, and you respect him enough to say something in person. Anybody can be brave over text - it takes a real woman to speak her mind face to face.

Don't accuse. Never assume you know what's going on. Whether you found a suspicious text or email or facebook post, or whatever, you only have a small piece of a much larger puzzle. Tell him what you found - then be quiet. Most people prefer to fill a silence - especially a guilty person. If he has a simple, reasonable explanation, he'll surely offer it up. If not, or if he turns things around and jumps on you for "accusing" then you know something is up.

Don't be afraid of your feelings. Just because you don't have the right to accuse doesn't mean you don't have the right to care. Does texting his ex-girlfriend bother you? Do you object to him going to a strip club? Whatever it is, it's OK to tell him how you feel - but it's not OK to tell him what to do. "It bothers me that you're texting her," is not the same as "I don't want you texting her anymore." You're entitled to your feelings - and you deserve someone who will respect them. But you can't order someone to care about you.

Trust your instincts. If you've waited it out, and decided you're still upset - it's worth saying something. There really is something to a woman's intuition. If you've waited, and owned your part, and asked without accusing - and things still feel off - they probably are.

I'm no expert, and I've made my fair share of mistakes - including breaking every one of these guidelines. That's why I know that while nothing is perfect when it comes to communication. But there are certain keys to better communication - which is all anyone really needs.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Single on Valentine's Day

Unless things go horribly wrong in the next five days, I don't plan on being single without an SO this Valentine's Day.

However - it's the first V-Day in a while when I will be in a relationship. I'm all too familiar with flying solo on a day serving as a constant reminder of all the things your love life isn't. So, for those looking to "survive" the day without a romantic partner - take heart. It's easier than you think.

Don't make it a big deal. It's one day. Most of your friends will make such a big deal out of this one day - they'll set all sorts of expectations that won't be met. Look at it this way - on February 15, they'll be lamenting the date that wasn't all it was supposed to be - and you will have completely moved on.

If having plans is that important - make some. Last year, I went to dinner (complete with a shared dessert) and shoe shopping with a great friend. Shoes, food and friends? Easily the best V-Day I've ever had. No single friends, or schedules don't work out? No problem. Treat yourself to a movie you really want to see, or a restaurant you've been wanting to try. Don't want to venture out solo on that day? Understandable. Try some takeout from that Mexican or Italian place that you love, and put a chick flick in the DVD player.

Make it special. Maybe there's a pair of shoes you've been eyeing, or a new piece of jewelry you really want? What about a splurge on an expensive purse? Go for it! You're single and fabulous - and you deserve something fun just as much as your non-available friends. No time like the present. Bonus - the girls with the dates will all be stuck at dinner with boys - you'll have the dressing rooms all to yourself!

Send cards to those you love. You don't have to be in a relationship to have love in your life. There are all kinds of love besides romantic - and they all deserve to be celebrated. I have cards for friends, kids, family - even kitties. Why not? It's all love - and I'm lucky to have it in my life.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love isn't an algorithm

Baking Suit sent me a link to an article about online dating site algorithms, and whether or not they actually work.
If dating sites want to claim that their matching algorithm is scientifically valid, they need to adhere to the standards of science, which is something they have uniformly failed to do. In fact, our report concludes that it is unlikely that their algorithms can work, even in principle, given the limitations of the sorts of matching procedures that these sites use. - Researcher Eli Finkel
I don't actually know what any of that means. He may very well be 100% right.

What I do know is, dating sites have worked for me. Both sites I've used faithfully (Plenty of Fish and OkCupid) say they use algorithms to suggest matches. Both ask questions about personalities and preferences, and say they use the answers to determine which users are the best matches.

Plenty of Fish once suggested I was a 98% match to X; OKCupid said I'm a 97% match to Big.

Both good relationships. Ultimately, neither worked out long-term - but that was about chemistry, and personalities. Fundamentally, we were good matches, and both were worthwhile people in my life.

Obviously, the algorithms used on both those dating sites recognized something about each of us, and could tell a relationship might work. I don't think you can count on an algorithm for any more. Love involves people, and will always be imperfect. Sure, we can identify with a particular personality type or astrological sign or whatever - but everyone is the sum of their own individual experiences.

The beauty of online dating is being able to identify those things that are most important to you, and find like-minded people. From there, you can find those with whom you feel the "spark," and with whom you want to build a relationship.

Which is really all dating is - and an algorithm is as good a place to start as any.

As luck would have it, CNBC is airing a show called Love at First Byte: The Secret Science of Online Dating. It airs tonight (February 9) at 9pm.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Single, not available

I referred to myself as a single woman the other day, and someone said to me, "But you're not single." 

"Um...sure I am," I responded. 

The way I see it, I live on my own, pay my own mortgage and various other bills, mow my own lawn, shovel my own driveway, and take my car to be fixed. Among other things. 

If I wasn't single - I would have someone to share all those responsibilities. Yes, I can ask for help - but Trooper is free to say no. It's not his responsibility - just like I don't have "responsibilities" at his home, either.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. I'm happy to be on my own. 

The way I see it - I'm single, but not available. I'm happily monogamous with Trooper, and love spending time with him, and am excited to see where our relationship is going. [Personally, I think it's going pretty well.]

All that being the case, I'm certainly not available to anyone else - and neither is he.

We're both single, but not available - until further notice.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Something I'm learning is that relationships require a lot of compromise. Despite what some think, I'm even aware that sometimes I'm the one who has to compromise.

Who knew? 

Any-who, sometimes compromise means watching a sport you don't enjoy, making small-talk with people you don't know, eating food you don't really like. 

It also means you might have to stay up later than usual, and take a day off from work so you don't have to get up early the next day, or ask to leave the party early. 

So, I'm off today - but I'm tired. I lost a vacation day, not to mention I gave Trooper a whole Sunday evening of my life, doing something I normally wouldn't do.

Was it worth it? 

You betcha.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Drama queen

I'm currently in the middle of a Sex and the City Marathon, watching the full series from start to finish. In a season three episode, Carrie was at a point in her relationship with Aidan where everything was going well, there were no worries or uncertainty. Basically, it was the relationship she'd been looking for.

And she was scared to death.

Carrie started to wonder... Do we need the drama to feel everything is OK? Does it seem more real if we're worried or unsure or jealous or nervous?

A few days later, I caught myself stirring up drama in my own head, and I started to wonder if Carrie was on to something. Just after a conversation with Trooper had left me a little disappointed, I went to look at his facebook profile (yeah - terrible idea - I already know). I happened upon a post from a woman asking, "R U single?"

I don't know why she was asking - or why she did asked via public wall post. When I got to thinking about it later, I realized all she really had to do was visit his profile, and it would have been pretty obvious that he is not single.

That, and the fact that she said "R U" means I don't really need to take the post seriously.

Not to mention, if I needed to be concerned - she wouldn't need to ask, she'd already know.

But that didn't stop the wheels in my head from turning. Mostly because I was already in a mood. I started thinking about how upset I was, and how I just wanted to say, "Oh, so who is SHE?"

Then I realized that - even in my head - I sounded like a bitch. I wouldn't want to talk to me - so why would he? I wasn't even making sense.

That made me wonder - why was I so upset? Was I just trying to create drama, in order to feel better about the conversation that upset me? Rather than just say what was really on my mind, I was going to invent this other issue that didn't even really exist, and wasn't important at all.

Who does that?

I don't think it's a trust issue - I have no reason not to trust Trooper. If anything, I think it's an insecurity issue (my own). I'm used to things being uncertain, and having to keep a wall up to keep my heart from breaking. When things are going well, there's a part of me that's worried it can't last, so I look for reasons to doubt, so I can put the wall back up.

That won't work.

Luckily, I stopped myself from being bitchy, or accusing, or being rude or mean - or basically making an idiot of myself. I set the phone down, stepped away from facebook, and gave myself a good talking to about the importance of communication, and realizing how lucky we both are to have each other.

I guess you could say I took a dramatic pause.