~Saturday, August 24, 2013
~Friday, August 23, 2013
This last post took forever to write. I wanted to list what I learned from dating like I had done for blogging. But I still wrestle with the fact of whether I learned anything at all. All those self-help books, all those bad dates, did I ever really get better at it? I think I just got really, really lucky.
South Carolina Bestie was a little kinder in her observation. "I think it's a little bit a both, Sarah," she told me. "I think love has got to be a little about luck."
I think I matured too, and I think this may be the single biggest factor. Being empathetic, realizing that maybe someone is having a bad day and it has nothing to do with me. Not getting excitable. Calming the fuck down. This post. This advice.
Turned out Dr. Kodiak was right. It is a wife-able quality.
So what did I learn? I thought for sure the Internet was going to bring me my future husband. I thought the Internet was the premier place for average-looking people like me. I am not the girl that gets approached by strangers unless they are really, really creepy. But the Internet didn't work for me. What did work was joining clubs aimed at people within my demographic. It placed me in the vicinity of other people who shared my lifestyle and interests. It also placed me way outside of my comfort zone and was really hard for the first few months. I had no one to bring me into the group; I did it alone. I was thankful to meet nice people such as The Leader and a few girls who made me feel welcome. And to meet Lawyered, who became a lifelong friend.
What I did learn from the Internet though: if you are chatting with a guy and his picture and conversation just don't do it for you, don't make the date anyway thinking that you're being shallow and you may be wowed by his great personality. I have never been swayed by one of these dates. Go with your gut and don't waste your time. Save your makeup.
I learned that I still make mistakes with boundaries, letting people take advantage of me because I'm afraid of being rude or hurting someone's feelings. I think this will be a lifelong struggle of mine.
I learned the difference between a good man and a bad man. More importantly, I learned the difference between a man who just takes up space and a man who will enlighten you. I dated lots of men who weren't good or bad people; they just didn't have anything to offer me. Abraham makes me a calmer and more patient and all-round better person.
I learned that Harvey was right when she said dating her husband was the easiest thing she's done. At the time I mentally scoffed. Yeah, dating for her was easy because she did it in college where she was surrounded by a never-ending pool of boys. Dating isn't easy in your twenties. Forget it in your thirties. But being with Abraham was the easiest thing I've ever done. I've never had to question whether being with him was the right decision; there was never a decision to make. The married woman was right: dating the right person is easy.
I learned it's never too late to start over. You can feel stuck and you can change your life. It's through small steps.
I learned to never give up. You only have to meet the right man once.
Love, Sarah at 1:53 PM|
~Wednesday, August 14, 2013
He Loves Me Not is turning eight this month. Eight years.
I hope I've grown in those eight years. I mean, I know I have. The first page of my blog reads of a scared 24-year-old girl, not of an engaged 32-year-old. But steps I've taken were so small that they didn't feel like leaps and bounds. It's only with time you can turn around and realize you are nowhere close to where you started.
So I guess I'm supposed to inject some wisdom of what I learned from writing a dating blog for eight years.
Be real. The reason I started this blog is because I was desperately lonely and I wanted someone to know how I was feeling, all of the ugly thoughts and emotions. I didn't feel comfortable attaching that to my real name, probably because at the time I was being harassed on a different blog with my real name on it and I couldn't take any more shame or rejection. But I think as humans we seek connections with one another, and this is formed not by being polite and proper, but by being real and honest.
Find your style. This is not my first blog. This is actually my third. One's been outright deleted and one's been taking up space on the ol' Blogger server. Despite being penned by the same author, they did poorly, receiving an average of 60 visits a day. This one, back when I was posting three times a week, received about 1,000. The difference, I believe, was that this blog had a clear, defined style while the others were hodgepodges of links and quips of funny conversations and day-to-day life. The posts on this blog read like chapters in an ongoing story. I used lots of dialog originally because I didn't trust my interpretation of conversations. I wanted to present impartial dialog so someone could tell me what the hell was going on. Eventually I found my style and ran with it. I didn't need pictures because my words painted my pictures. I preferred simple web design so as to not distract from the writing.
Love and hate your commenters. This is probably my biggest struggle. People! They love to help! Bless their hearts. But also the Internet is a trove for the worst people on the planet. Be prepared for lots of unsolicited advice. Also be prepared to read in detail what a terrible human being you are. It's your blog, so it's your rules. My rule was to weed out trolls by not allowing anonymous commenting. You are within your rights to delete nasty, rude comments.
I think the best comments were ones that created discussion or shared feeling. There are people that root for you and pray for you, and they are just the best. There are people that make you cross cities and states and sometimes countries to meet. I have my Canadian wishlist and my United Kingdom wishlist. As a whole, my life has been more fulfilled by the relationships I established with the commenting community.
To thine own self be true. Sometimes commenters can be right. Sometimes they can read the dialog and put together perspective that you are too close to see. And sometimes they can be grossly wrong. Sometimes they will tell you to not take a chance on a Jewish man because you are different religions. Listen to your gut and trust it.
Love, Sarah at 11:44 AM|
~Thursday, August 01, 2013
I read Why He Disappeared somewhere between Valdosta and Abraham. Actually, I think it was in the beginning months of Abraham. And I don't know whether it was because I was already in a good place mentally and emotionally or because I was already dating someone and happy with him, but this book made the biggest impact on the way I interacted with men. I read it with an open mind without looking to be saved. I guess I was just ready to receive the message.
And I was wary. The book is self-published, which usually means terrible writing with terrible, offensive humor. It is neither of those things. I found myself writing down passages that were revolutionary to me:
- "There are plenty of times [in dating and previous relationships] when there's absolutely nothing to learn."
- "It's easy to get stuck on how things should be. But we can't spend our time worrying about how things should be - all we can do is focus on how things are."
- Regarding men taking you out on a date: they do the driving and the paying and the wooing. Other advice books say all you have to do it show up. Not true, says he. "We're putting on a show. The least you could do is applaud."
- "For men, relationships are generally of the low-risk, medium-reward variety. It's not nearly as deep or meaningful as a lifetime partnership with a woman, but, then, it doesn't have to be."
- "The only things that reveal how a man feels about you are time and effort."
And then, this game changer:
Because what's easy to forget in those moments of insecurity and annoyance, is that your boyfriend has chosen you above all others. And if he's dating you exclusively, he ultimately wants to please you. I swear. Men may be selfish and we may be clueless, but we don't like hurting you... You can avoid tons of conflict just by remembering that your boyfriend doesn't want to hurt you.
I don't know why this hit me so hard, but it did. It was one of those moments where I had to put the book down, stand up, and walk away to digest the information. I carried a lot of hurt around with me: getting dumped by my first love, getting dumped by the unimportant boy who spawned this blog, being hurt so mentally, physically, and emotionally by S. Boys were adversaries who had no problems knocking you down. To read something so simple as We're not out to hurt you. I swear, changed the way I normally would have interacted with Abraham to the way I did interact with Abraham.
Those weekends early on when he was busy, normally I would have screamed and cried and told him I wasn't a priority and therefore he didn't like me. I would have forcefully tried to change this pattern. But I instead treated him like he wasn't being busy just to hurt me. It wasn't always all about me. I treated him like he was busy because he had plans and he knew he'd see me another day. And we didn't fight. To this day, we never fight. I can count the number of times I raised my voice at him on one hand. But I would be lying if I didn't admit that Abraham makes things easy on me by being a thoughtful and caring and generous person. Like I said, it's not always about me.
I loved this book. The advice is simple, straightforward and full of common sense. No games. No waiting 90 days to "give the cookie." No refusing a date for the weekend after Wednesday. Just treat your man kindly. After all, you chose him.
To win a copy of this ebook, leave a comment!
Love, Sarah at 1:18 PM|
Love, Sarah at 1:17 PM|
~Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I have three more books to give away before I launch the new blog, so I might power through them.
Next up is the Tarot for Love & Relationships. Laugh, that's fine, but I also thought this book was really fun. It tells you how to lay out cards for tarot readings, then it tells you what each card means in a love context. I didn't use them too often, often knowing in my gut the real answer, but I found that the cards often confirmed what I already knew.
I used them once on 5k Guy. He was no one special, just a guy who sparked my interest before I decided what to do with the Christopher situation. And I'll never forget what the book said. I flipped over a card and read the corresponding description, and it read something like "This guy just likes doing activities; he isn't into you." And I remember sitting on my bed staring at this card with my mouth agape. 5k Guy was so into my 30 Before 30 list that he started offering to accomplish my goals with me. I thought it meant he liked me, but in the end I think he just really liked lists. And this card also said he liked doing stuff and to not confuse it with feelings. I had never seen that card before or again.
I think it's a fun way to organize your thoughts and feelings. I'll throw in the (cheap) tarot deck I bought to go with it. Leave a comment if you want it!
Love, Sarah at 11:27 AM|