Thursday, April 26, 2012

Are you generous or attractive?

Seems like there's a dating site for just about every person, situation, or possibility. I don't judge; if it feels right, and doesn't hurt anyone, I say rock on.

I'm intrigued by the idea of a travel dating site. went live on April 9, with promises to pair generous members with attractive members. The generous members pay for the trips - airfare, accomodations, dining.

So what do the attractive members do? Other than agree to accompany the generous members on the adventures, it doesn't appear much. Oh, and look attractive, I guess.

Sounds like dating for a purpose, right? Exactly. In fact, that's what the site's founder Brandon Wade seems to do best. He also runs,, and Says Wade,
All my websites have one theme in common - generosity. Generosity goes a long way when it comes to dating.
Uh huh. Thing is...I thought there was already a name for people who date others for their "generosity?"

No date? No prom

This has to be one of the worst things I've read. A teenager in PA is being banned from her own prom because she doesn't have a date.

Can you imagine? Her date backed out after she paid $95 for prom tickets. She's already invested money in the dress and the shoes. She's ordered the flowers. She's willing to go solo, but her school - Archbishop John Carroll High School, which is run by the Philadelphia Archdiocese - won't allow her.

When I had my senior prom 20 a few years back, most people wouldn't have had the courage to go alone. Definitely not any of the girls I knew. A few went with groups, and didn't have a particular date - but not solo.

I think this young woman should be applauded for her courage and her confidence. Instead, the school is holding her back.
For them to say that we're not good enough to go unless we have a guy standing next to us, it's just kind of sickening.
I agree. It is kind of sickening.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vacation tips

Trooper and I are planning to take a vacation together this year. I'm excited about the idea of getting away, seeing someplace new, and making some memories with him.

That said - it's a little stressful, thinking about spending a full week with someone who I usually don't see more than a few times a week. Sure, we've spent entire weekends together - but this is a whole week. Six days; seven nights.

It occurs to me, though, that this is an excellent opportunity to see what we're made of as a couple. As Dr. Maya Angelou once said:
You can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: A rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
Trooper has already seen me at my worst. But it'll be interesting to see how we'll handle those things together.

These tips on how to go on vacation without killing each other are excellent, and very timely. Some of them are just common sense for enjoying any vacation (like, "be reasonable about what you'll get done"). But I also think it's a good reminder that it isn't your vacation (meaning, just yours). It's about the two of you spending time together - so the agenda isn't the same as if you treated yourself to a getaway.

There are, to my dismay, no tips on how to get the boyfriend to carry your luggage. You can bet that will be included in the tips I post after the trip.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Real thing

We're always looking for signs, especially when it comes to dating. We always want to know if it's the real thing without having to actually ask - so we read signs. I'm personally very bad at that - I tend to misread to the extreme. I either think things are going really well, when the guy is actually totally not into me - or I think it's totally wrong, when in fact, it's the real deal.

So I actually have to ask.

But there are signs that can help even the most challenged dater figure out if what's going is the real deal, or just another filler-date. How About We has a great wrap-up of a few signs to look for.

My personal favorite? You're both breaking all the rules. I think if you've found the right guy - you're going to write your own rules, anyway.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Are you single?

I've said before, I believe I'm single - but not available (which I firmly believe facebook should add as a relationship status option).

But if you are truly single (as in, not dating anyone) - what stage are you? How About We helps us figure that out, with the Eight Degrees of Singlehood.

Where do you fall? Have any to add?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

High maintenance

X used to say I'm like Sally Albright; the worst kind of high maintenance woman - the kind that thinks she's low maintenance.

I say no to that - because I know I'm high maintenance.

Since getting divorced, and breaking up with Big, I have said more than once that it's possible that I am not meant to be with someone else. I can be really, really annoying. It's tough to work that into a relationship, and most aren't worth the effort.

See, most of the time I'm mild-mannered and laid-back. Every once in a while, something tests my patience. And sometimes, my patience fails - and GGS goes over to the Dark Side.

That happened this weekend. I was on edge - I had to deal with a problem, but was having a tough time finding the right customer service. I was coming off a bad week at work, and had gotten very little sleep.

I wasn't completely out of control. {I mean, I've been worse. Way worse. Chalk it up to personal growth.} But it was the worst that Trooper has seen. I was afraid I took my stress out on him by being a little short, and quiet - and not being very nice during an enthusiastic debate.

But he put up with me. He let me be cranky, reassured me with a hug - and then (nicely) told me I was being a little "off."

I like it. It's nice that I can get cranky, and he accepts that it comes with the territory - but he's also not afraid to call me out on my behavior, and let me know if I'm being unfair. Its cool to be in a relationship that's healthy enough to make those conversations work, without turning into a full-blown war of words.

I'll always be high maintenance; I'll always be a work in progress. I guess the same could be said for relationships. You're constantly learning about each other and adapting and adjusting to accommodate each other's little quirks.

And the right ones are worth the work.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Relationship status

I have facebook friends who change relationship status the way I change shoes. Personally, I don't understand that - unless it's a pretty permanent thing, and really is a defining part of your life - why is it relevant? I suppose that's another blog.

But thanks to these friends, even though I stopped displaying my relationship status on facebook years ago, I know they've added some options over the years. Out of curiosity, I looked at the options the other day. The choices, in no particular order:

  • single
  • married
  • in a relationship
  • divorced
  • in a civil union
  • engaged
  • it's complicated
  • widowed
  • in a domestic partnership
  • separated 
  • in an open relationship

Seems to me that a few are missing. My suggestions:

  • in denial (it's over, but you're not willing to let go)
  • hanging on (he's left; you're convinced he'll be back)
  • wallowing (you've accepted that he's not coming back, but won't admit you're single yet)
  • bitter (you've admitted that you're single, but you're still angry)
  • crush (you really, really like someone, and have therefore built a wall to keep everyone else out)
  • stalker (your crush is two steps away from having a restraining order sworn out against you)

I suppose an argument could be made that any of these could be covered by "it's complicated." I would argue that if any of these (or any other "complicated") apply - you should consider just removing the relationship status from your profile.

Not that everyone doesn't appreciate the warning.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pay up

Who should pay for a first date? Some guys say, "Well if I offer, she might think I'm chauvinistic. But if I don't offer, she thinks I'm cheap. Girls are so complicated."

Not really.

But, just in case you're the sort who likes to over-think this kind of thing, Urlybits (via the Frisky) has a flow-chart to help you with the analysis.

Thanks, Baking Suit.

Incidentally, if you want to know what I think:

  • Whoever suggested the date, should be prepared to pay, and make a sincere offer to do so. 
  • I like a guy who insists on paying for the first date. It shows me he believes in a certain amount of tradition and etiquette. 
  • A guy offering to pay is also an indicator that he wants a second date.
  • If a guy is chauvinistic, you'll know long before the check arrives. 
  • All that said...a guy not paying isn't a deal-breaker, but it will also be something I remember.
  • Also, if the guy suggests the date - and the place - and then expects the lady to pay? That's just wrong. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Unsolicited advice

Though I fumble and bumble my way through dating and relationships and romance, I have developed a no-nonsense approach to that part of my life. Enough that some people seem to think I'm a good resource for dating and relationship advice.

Go figure.

Occasionally, though, someone will bring a problem to me without requesting advice. It's usually a friend who just needs to vent. Other times, I'll pick up on a problem without even having a discussion. It's pretty easy to see when someone you know well is going through a rough time - especially when it's something you've been through yourself.

But someone (actually, that someone was Big) once told me, "Unsolicited advice is criticism." He was right. If you offer someone advice when they don't want it - or worse, haven't yet realized there's a problem - it sounds critical. 

I don't want to come across as critical, or judgmental of my friends. I do want to offer them the wisdom of my experience, and maybe save them some heartache.

I also walk a fine line between protecting someone's privacy, and feelings - and using situations to share my experiences here. After all, even if my friends don't want my advice, someone else might be looking for insight on a similar situation. Then again, I don't want to reduce my friends' suffering to something as trivial as blog fodder. 

So, from time to time, my posts may feel a little vague. Or, I may dig into the archives for something random from my past. It's just my way of offering up a little wisdom, without throwing someone under the bus. 

Please, don't judge me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Misconception about divorce

There is a misconception about divorce that has always irked me a lil' bit.

Divorce is hard. It tries your patience, breaks your heart, raises your blood-pressure, and tests your friendships. It's a heart-wrenching decision that doesn't come easy, no matter your situation.

Having children doesn't make divorce more difficult. Different, yes - but not more difficult.

I got divorced with no children - and I struggled with the choice. Personally, I think how you handle divorce has a lot to do with who you are - not your circumstances. Whether you have kids or not, it still sucks to feel like a failure. It hurts to know you let someone down, or wonder if you should have tried harder. It's still really tough on your self-esteem.

When I told people I was separating, the reaction I got more than any other was, "At least there are no children involved." As if that was supposed to make me feel better. I never planned to have children. My marriage was my life - and it was over.

How could anything make that easier?

Kids are absolutely affected by a divorce - just like they're affected by any change in the family dynamic. Often, the marriage (or at least some sort of relationship) existed before the child. If the couple stays together, then the marriage outlasts the childhood.

The parent-child relationship is totally separate from the marital relationship.

Yes, having kids adds an element to a divorce. So does owning property together, or a business. So does a prenuptial agreement.

If two people aren't handling a divorce well, something as simple as owning a china pattern can complicate matters.

Of course, kids are affected by the divorce - but good parents will keep that to a minimum. If two people are willing to put their kids in the middle of a divorce, then guess what? That kid wasn't having a great childhood anyway, married parents or not.

Every divorce is different. I know people who have separated after 9 months of marriage - and others after 30 years. Kids or no kids - nothing makes divorce easier.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Perfect storm

I've talked about this before, but this is one of those issues that you can come at from all sorts of angles. Men and women - can they really be just friends?

Let's just say a perfectly happy couple meets a single guy. They all have things in common, including kids about the same age and in the same neighborhood, so they hit it off right away. Over time, they develop a close friendship.

But what if the single guy starts to develop a stronger connection with the woman? I think if the marriage remains healthy, that's fine. I also think it's fine if the husband knows that the friendship is there, and all three understand the boundaries.

But any marriage can hit a rough spot at any time. So what if the marriage hits a rough patch at the exact same time the single-guy's friendship with the wife takes off on its own?

Don't get caught in the rain.
That's like the perfect storm of trouble.

I've said before - there are no rules when it comes to relationships. Every person is different, so every couple is different - and that means every relationship is, too. But just like anything else, there are fundamentals that always apply: Communication is key, trust is an absolute requirement - and a suffering relationship needs to be nurtured, not undermined.

It's one thing to complain to your girlfriends about an inconsiderate husband, or how you wish he was more romantic. They'll empathize, and let you sort through your feelings.

But complaining to a guy-friend? Without even realizing it, he may start to shadow your view of your husband with his own "take." That's especially true if he has his own feelings about love, marriage - or you.

I absolutely think men and woman can have healthy, platonic friendships. I even think that's possible when one (or both) of them is in a romantic relationship. I think the trick is to not only set boundaries, but pay attention to how the needs of your relationship may change as you go through ups and downs.

After all, we can handle most any storm. The trick is to be prepared, and know what you need to protect yourself.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Missing you

My vacation is slowly winding down. Want to know something cool? I really, truly missed Trooper. 

Not the, "I hope he didn't forget all about me" sort of missing. Certainly not the, "I wonder what he was up to while I was gone?" sort, either. 

Just an honest, genuine, "I'm happy - but I'm happier when I'm with him," sort of feeling. 

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but it really is for me (and I bet a few others out there). It is so easy to get used to someone in your life that you don't even realize that you don't really want them there anymore - you've just accepted they belong. 

You get stuck in a rut...and you just figure that's how things are supposed to be. You give up being happy in favor of being comfortable or content or secure. You don't even want to risk questioning how you feel, because you know the answer might not be easy.

I know a lot of couples who never take a break from one another. Who never take time to reconnect with others in their lives - or even with just themselves. They never risk, never question, and never take a deeper look at how they're really feeling.

It's nice when you've learned not to make that mistake. 

It's even better when you learn that the person from whom you took a break, is someone you really, truly want around.

Which is totally worth the risk.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

So, I'm on vacation - and not with Trooper. I took a week to spend some time in a beautiful place (for free), and enjoy sun-soaked days bonding with my favorite family-members. Despite a slightly rough start, and the occasional hiccup, I'm loving every second.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I have to confess...taking vacations away from my "other" has always made me a little nervous. I think there's a part of me that feels like the only reason people like me is because I'm right in front of them. Sort of like a squeaky wheel gets the oil mentality. I guess I just worry that a person might realize his life is better/happier/quieter when I'm not around.

Now, I used to let that affect my decisions. I would talk myself out of doing things separately from my SO - and in a million years, never would have done a trip like this! If I couldn't avoid the separate trip or outing, I was usually miserable the whole time, worrying about what might happen when I came back.

Not this time.

I guess you could say this is another lesson that I've learned. I finally realized that, if a guy doesn't miss me when I go away, he really doesn't like me all that much when I'm around, either. I understand that if going away causes a problem in a relationship, that issue already existed. If the trip doesn't bring it to the surface, something else will. I don't have to worry that my absence will cause me to lose him, because if it did - he was never really mine, anyway.

There are no guarantees - but realizing that, and freeing yourself from the worry, is almost as comforting as if you were given one.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Online dating - safety first

I didn't write this post, but I do think this is an important topic. When I would go on a first date with any guy, I always did my research before-hand, drove myself, and made sure at least a couple of friends knew where I would be. Safety should always be first, regardless of how you meet the person, but it's a definite concern when you meet someone online.

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.

Hey ladies, there are lots of fish in the sea…and if you’ve decided to try your luck and cast your rod in the giant waters of the world wide web, there is a good chance that you could reel in some amazing catches. But because you never know what’s lurking in the murky depths of the internet, you also run the risk of luring in a shark or two. So before you bait your line in some possibly rough waters, be sure to secure yourself with the proper floatation device by checking out a few safety tips for each leg of your journey.

Step #1: You’re thinking about online dating… If you haven’t had any luck dating by traditional methods and you’ve been toying with the idea of dating online, it’s imperative that you do your homework before settling on the first internet dating service that you come across. Not only should you pick a site that is chalk full of available bachelors, but you should also pick a site that has a reputation for success and offers features that allow you to communicate with said bachelors in the safest way possible.

Step #2: You meet a guy online… So you’re using your online dating service and it has delivered some compatible prospects—score! But no matter how handsome the guy is in his picture, no matter how charming his emails are, and no matter how badly you may want to give into his requests to meet up immediately—don’t rush into things! You never know if the guy really is the Porsche-driving, Channing Tatum look-alike, doctor that he claims to be or if he’s some jobless creep sitting in his mother’s basement just waiting to take advantage of an innocent online dater like yourself. For this reason, take your time getting to know your match over the web and never reveal the following details about yourself right away:  

  • Last name
  • Home address
  • Work address
  • Personal email address
  • Phone number
  • Financial information
  • Any other material that would separate you from the next online gal

Step #3: You are preparing for your first in-person date... When the time comes for the first face-to-face meeting with the guy you’ve gotten to know online, it can be very exciting. As you spend hours fixing your hair, trying on countless little black dresses and practicing your most flirtatious smile in front of the mirror, one thing you mustn’t forget to do before you head out on your hot date is review your safety smarts! So be sure to keep the following advice in mind to have a safe (and fun!) date:

  • Spread the news. You’re sure to dish about the new man in your life right? So pre-date, don’t forget to dish to a friend or family member about the guy and where the two of you are going.  Keep your cell phone by your side should things go awry and you need to reach your emergency contact.
  • Be your own chauffeur. Of course you want a gentlemen to pick you up in his horse-drawn carriage and sweep you off your feet—but to be safe, it’s a good idea to use your own form of transportation when meeting someone you don’t know. If he really is Prince Charming, there will be plenty of time for him to impress you with his gentlemanly ways later.  
  • Keep the drinks virgin. That glass of Merlot may sound great when the first date nerves are getting the best of you—but if you give in to alcohol and throw all good sense out the window in the name of a little fun, the guy you just met may wind up getting the best of you in the end. So for the first few outing with your online match, say no to alcoholic beverages in order to remain aware of what is going on around you at all times.  
  • Trust your gut.  As a woman, you know that your instincts tend to be dead on. So be sure to listen to them when they tell you that your date has some serious psychopath potential. If the guy is making you the least bit uncomfortable, there is no need to hang around and wait for the check. Grab your gear and haul butt outa there to a safe place!