Friday, 30 December 2011

saying what everyone else is thinking

No matter how good my life matter how many friends, or how many hobbies I have, how good my job/career/course of study is.
No matter how nice my house is. No matter how fit I am. How much money is in the Bank. How well stocked the pantry is.  How beautiful the view.
No matter how in touch I am with God.  My mother,  my kids.
No matter how fulfilled I feel.  How happy.  How content.
No matter that maybe sometimes I actually function better on my own - because I can convince myself I don't have the time to nurture a relationship.
When the exciting cusp of something new turns out to be  more like the edge of a precipice...When I feel like hopeful just became hopeless...It sucks being just me...especially on New Years Eve.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The year of the apple

Unashamedly borrowed (and slightly adapted)  from another smart woman...
May 2012 be your year of the apple....

                       Lady''s are like apples
                 on trees... The best ones are
              at the top of the tree.  Some men 
           dont want to reach up too high for the 
        good ones -  because they are afraid of falling 
   and getting hurt.  So,  they just pick the rotten apples
 from the ground that are easy,  but nowhere as good. So 
  the apples at the top think something is wrong with them, 
     when in reality,  they're  amazing.   They just have to 
         wait for the right man to come along,  the one 
              who's  brave enough  to climb all the way
                                       to the 

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

dating coaches and other people with terrible advice

I got sent a link for the blog of an American dating coach.  He writes a blog, runs a forum - oh and does private coaching for (mainly) successful smart attractive women who can't seem to attract men.

It was kind of interesting.  some of what he said made a lot of sense.  But there was also, as one might expect, a lot of contradictions, and a fair number of generalisations.  Like what ''all men'' thought.  Like how ''all women'' respond to certain statements or behaviours.

It is true to do you think?  Are all women passive aggressive...needy...demanding?  Are all men misunderstood hunters who no longer know how to act around women?  Is it really true that all men will choose friends-with-benefits if they are offered it, and all women will offer it, thinking its a pathway to a real relationship?

Yes, some women can be a bit scary - come across as needy even, especially when they're trying to be honest about how they are feeling.  And yes, I think maybe men are supposed to be the ones wearing the trousers, and many probably would take what was on offer if they thought it came without strings.  But isn't that just the simple reality of being a human being in this crazy mixed up post-30 dating world?

Talk about depressing reading!  What happened to two people meetings, liking each other, and then deciding to move toward a relationship?  Taking a bit of a risk, but doing it with eyes wide open, and slow steady breathing? That sounds a whole lot simpler to me.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

just like riding a bike

Two cyclists decide to take a road trip together.  They think they've got the right gear, a fairly good idea of their direction, if not their destination, and though they've not cycled together a lot before, have enough experience to consider undertaking the journey.

They start off and the road is easy.   The scenery is great, people smile and wave along the way.  They feel fit, energised, hydrated.  They chat a bit, enjoy each others company, travel side by side.

A bit further on, they come across some roadworks.  It's tricky, and they discover that they need to carefully negotiate the bumps in the road.  The road gets steep, and narrow in places too, and they find that travelling side by side is not always ideal.  They keep banging into each other.

At times, one surges ahead, full of energy, the other lagging behind, not as confident but trying to keep up.  At times they become disheartened, with the journey, with each other.

Occasionally, they come to a fork in the road.  One wants to go in one direction, one in the other.  Theres disagreement.  Negotiation.  One compromises.  They go a little further.

Finally the road starts to get a little easier.  The difficult bits become a little easier to manage, partly because the destination'seems closer, partly because they've covered that kind of ground before.

They realise sometimes it is better to follow each other, sometimes good to travel exactly side by side.
Sometimes its hot sweaty work and they want to stop.  Sometimes they slow down, take breaks together and just breathe in the air around them.  Sometimes they want to give up, but then appreciate that their journey is going to take perseverence and stamina.  That despite the unexpected lumps and bumps, it is still a wonderful experience.

They encourage each other in the tough bits, cheer each other on in the smooth.  Áfter a while they find a steady rhythm, start to be able to coast at times and enjoy the scenery again.  Now they know better how to manage the bumpy bits.  They make allowances when one, or both get tired, or slip in loose gravel.
People see them pass, can see how hard it's been, cheer them on.  Offer encouragement, but ultimately leave them to their journey.
It is their journey, rough and smooth.

What counted was they did it, and no matter how hard it got, planned to reach the finish line.  Together.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

human doing, human feeling, human being

I reached the milestone of 1000 blog views this week...without even realising it - because after six months of frequent and regular blogging I have  had - in case you hadn't noticed! -  a bit of a break.

Life has been exceptionally busy over the past month, on all fronts, and blogging just didn't register on the bell curve of important/urgent.  But now I'm back, a little worse for wear, but back none the less.

As well as the usual end of term/end of year/start of job madness I helped a friend through a messy and painful breakup, and saw that same friend re partner and  get on even keel again.  I commiserated, sympathised, celebrated...even felt a little grief for myself in there (yeah it's selfish but hey I'm allowed...).  I listened to another deliberate on the pros and cons of a 'second go'.  I cried with another as she faced up to a painful ending.

And in the midst and on the edges of this mad month, I had a kind of ''four seasons in one day'' experience of my own.  I am still sad and a bit confused about just what happened...what worked and what didn't, and why it isn't still working...but the benefit of being frantically busy is keeping my mind occupied.  I know that it's a luxury - one day, very soon I will have to process the mess of feelings that are currently whipping around inside my head.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

you know you're single when.... make packet macaroni cheese and eat the whole lot, on your own, in one sitting
...the song playing on the stereo is always your favourite end up throwing out milk and bread because you didn't use it up by use-by date can open a block of chocolate and know that none will ever be missing unless you eat it yourself
...there's always enough hot water for a shower that lasts as long as you want it to side of the bed never gets mussed up
...everyone tells you how LUCKY you are not to have to share your bed/TV/chocolate/life with someone else                      but you don't think it's necessarily lucky at all
...the house is always just the right temperature and the lights just the right wattage make a list of people to invite to a party and realise that the reason there's an odd number of guests is because you're there're never quite sure if you're bum actually does look big in that...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

the secret of longevity

The best book I have ever read about the reasons for failure/changes/endings in relationships is this one:

My experience is that most people are even less likely to share freely and easily in subsequent relationships,  often feeling they have been betrayed or distrusted before.

It takes a huge amount of trust to be able to share your innermost feelings with another don't you think?  As my wise friend describes start to trust another is like slowly getting undressed in front of them.  some things are easy to be honest about, others we show and then quickly cover up again.  There can be false starts...and going quickly doesn't equal reaching truth any's a process that takes time, patience and unparallelled honesty and trust.

I think it's important to maintain privacy...we don't have to share every single thought or detail of our lives...and what is shared in confidence needs to stay in confidence...but i do think it's vital to be honest and true with the information we do share.  An opinion given should be the true one...a reaction should be a heartfelt one.

If it's true that we uncouple because of a secret I wonder does it then stand to reason that we have the best chance of success when our relationships are devoid of secrets?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

feel the fear and do it anyway

As an ever hopeful youth, I think most of us would assume that we would be happily coupled by mid life.
At 30, or 40, or more, if there's been a major relationship failure, some some false starts, or possibly not even any starts at all, it is easy to replace that optimism, once held so dear, for other isms less than positive.

And often the result of this is that we look for all the 'signs''- the dreaded list is taken out and analysed, we search for instant confirmation and validation, we find a thousand and one excuses not to progress any possible friendships. 

What if, though, instead of choosing reluctance we chose to embrace the unknown?  Yes, it would be scary and could mean risking pain, but the possibilities of potential, in my view, far outweigh that.

I once dated a man who beleived in the concept of assuming success.  Even though that particular relationship didn't end up in success for me, for it's duration there was an overwhelming sense of anticipation and positivity.  Instead of telling each other we might do something...if in six months we were still together...we made plans as if that were a given.  In this case I should certainly have progressed this with more caution (perhaps planned for forever but looked more carefully at each day!)...but it was a truly liberating way to get to know someone.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

deal breakers and lists

So it seems that everyone I talk to has a list.  Some are vague, more of an idea of ideals, others are specific (hair colour? really...control issues;)).

But to have some bottom lines, that's important I reckon.

Most of the uncoupled people I know say that in retrospect they can see that in compromising a deal breaker, they knew they were risking the success of their relationship.  Usually related to a core value than a personal preference, it must be said.

They compromised on having children, not having children.  On religious and spiritual issues.  On matters financial (more about that in a previous blog).  The big life issues that need to be negotiated and approached with mutual agreeance.

One could argue that opposites attract and that some conflict and disagreement is healthy - and whilst I can agree with this to a point, I think when it comes to the really 'big questions'' of life, it's probably wise to be at least on the same page as your potential partner.  Relationships, are tricky enough to negotiate without throwing life sized obstacles in the path right at the start.

I guess if I'm honest I have a bit of both.  A few ideals, one or two deal breakers, and a loose list of preferables.  There are a few things I don't want to compromise, and some I'm open to discussions on.

What are your deal breakers?  Have you ever compromised one? what happened?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

it's not me, it's you

There is an art to being let down gently.  Or so I'm told.

For your further entertainment a selection of excellent rejection lines I - and others like me - have been given...

The good

- I'm just not ready for a relationships (yes really truly I have lost count of how many times that particular chestnut has been handed to me)
- I need to work through some stuff with my ex
- I need more time to think about this, can you give me that?

The bad

- I really like you but only as a friend
- You're not really my type...but my friend really likes you
- I don't want a relationship but a little fun might be good

The ugly
- sorry you're too old for me
- if I were a different person in a different place I'd marry you
- i'm just not attracted to redheads
- I want to be with someone I am proud to be seen with (tacit: and that's not you...)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

just like buses

Ok people i admit it.  the cynics were right and so were the optimists.
You wait and you wait and you wait and then 4 come along at once....

So, about the fleet...

A couple are on fairly new routes.  One would appear to be on a detour.  One is a special charter which doesn't make this journey often and may not come this way again for a long time.  One appears to be unsure of it's destination.  Some have started in this direction and been diverted.  One has been out of service for a number of years and only recently back in commission.

As I stand at the station there's an odd sense of anticipation but also of wariness.  

Some of them are well maintained, others could use a little attention.  One or two are carrying far too much luggage and even the odd extra passenger.  Some are built for speed, others for safety and comfort.  Most have been transporting for a while and have good reviews.

Most buses travel the same routes over and over again.  They are supposed to be on a timetable aren't they!?.

So how come a handful are turning up at the bus stop all at once....

Monday, 24 October 2011

the age of chivalry is not dead!

I know...I can prove it!
For all those world weary women out there who think that the man with manners is a dying breed I would like to brag about the one I have recently met who
- irons regularly
- is always on time
- phones when he says he will
- apologising for using bad language (bloody is bad language right...?)

A little beacon of hope in the dark world of dating...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Clearing out and moving on

I heard about the demise of three different relationships this week.  That's a lot of people I know going through significant life changes.

I commented to one that I was sad to hear about it but could offer the consolation of them not being the only one I knew of.  What was going on that so many people were going through this right now I asked? "Spring cleaning" was the slightly wry response.

Actually I think there's probably a fair bit of truth in there. It's tough but it also kind of makes sense to me. Possibly even more than the New Year New You things we read about.    Maybe as we systematically clean houses, or wardrobes, or gardens, there's internal stuff being sorted through as well - which just might lead to making a clean sweep of our relationships as well as our physical space.

The positive way to look at it would be consider the ending as a fresh start.  There's a cliche that says something like that - in order to begin something new, one has to end something first.   Pretty sucky if you're the one being swept out but exhilarating and exciting (and maybe a little scary) if you're the one holding the broom.

Have you ever taken time to ''spring clean'' a relationship?  Or chosen this time of year to make a fresh start?

Monday, 10 October 2011

stop looking

Don't you love how this is advice is nearly always handed out by the coupled?  They say ''if you stop looking you'll meet someone great".

Well that's terrific advice. THANK you coupled people for sharing your wisdom:(
I nod and smile each time I hear it, and wonder if they met their someone great by not looking?

Why do people say that?  And why is the assumption made that all single people are trying to hunt down a new partner?  It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if you're single and you're friends are too, that there's a chance that some of them will couple up? And it's logical that single people are probably not going to make a habit of just hanging out with couples - even if they are happily single.

I meet a lot of single people in my work and social life.  Some of whom are open to meeting a partner and some who are not.  Some I am interested in getting to know better, some I am not.  Some who seem to be interested in me, and most who don't.  (usually the ones who like me are in the category of ones I'm not excited about getting  to know better but that's another story...).

Does that mean I am looking?  Well, only by default.   I am not actively dating.  I'm not on any online dating sites.  I'm not handing out my relationship CV for appraisal.  Sure, I'm open to the idea of meeting potential partners, but I'm putting my energy right now into making  new friends.

Maybe if it's the right person I might be keen on seeing where that may lead.     But I am not analysing every single man that crosses my path that's for sure. I figure that means I'm not really looking.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

you to me are everything...

...and other love songs of it's ilk all proclaim that in one person all we need, all we want, and all we seek can be found.  wow, what a responsibility - not sure that I want to be someones everything!

I wouldn't mind, however, being a most-things, an almost-everything, or a just-about perfect.

So, if this person is the one we choose over all others, does that by default mean that they (for want of a better expression) "tick most of the boxes"?  That raises the question of which MOST things should our partners be.   I get that they might not like the same sport...the same food...the same house design as us.  I get that some of the things they are passionate about might not be the same too.

But what about the BIG things...?  If say, one of my fundamental requirements (needs, wants) in a partnership is that the other person has the same spiritual beliefs as me, then I am doing myself (and them) a disservice by choosing to ignore that for the sake of other qualities.  Similarly, if I am really really crazy about a particular hobby that takes up a lot of time, is it fair to seek others to share this if my potential partner doesn't?

I don't think it's realistic to expect a partner to be all things to us.  I think there are aspects of our lives that we need to separate away from our romantic/emotional entanglements.  I think we can get different needs met, and offer different things, to other people. But by my reckoning, the primary relationship should meet the primary needs.  That's why we choose to partner with that person. Isn't it?

What needs to you want met by your future partner?  Which don't matter?

Friday, 7 October 2011

it's JUST a date

I read it, I paid attention to some of it, and now I've just put a piece of advice into practise.

Somewhere in the depths of that book, the author tells us that it's the man that's supposed to do all the work (see yesterdays blog for more on this...).  But he also offers some creative ways to get the guy to do the work, without having to do the asking.  It goes like this:
Instead of the girl asking for a date, you say something like ''so when are you going to ask me out", which supposedly gives the guy a clue that you are interested but still gives him the chance to feel like he's in control.  Well it all sounds a bit convoluted to me, but I'm prepared to give it a go.

So today, after waiting patiently for a week, I rang ''call me call me guy'' (who, it should be noted, has given me his phone number several times...'just so i can ring if i want to'') and left a message:
Hi it's me.  Sorry I missed you...but if you would like to ring me back and ask me out, I'd be glad to say yes.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

call me call me call me (why won't he call me...?)

The past four months of blogs have been fairly general - I've been happy (more than happy!) to share my opinion on the life of the uncoupled, and the trials and tribulations therein.  And now perhaps the time has come to share a little more of myself. So let's start at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start...).

I have bleated on rather a lot about the importance of standards, hinted at some deal breakers, and impressed upon my readers my beliefs about due diligence and listening to the opinions of others.

And so, it is with some trepidation that I share this morsel with you...yet smug in the knowledge that I have followed my own advice (yes truly I have!).  But there it is, I met a man....

He comes with great references, he's gainfully employed, he shares some of my interests, he's the right age, the right height, the right marital status.  Our values match.  We have a similar sense of humour and get each others.  Conversation is easy.  I feel no angst or nerves (well...maybe a little...).

So what to do about this?  The dating books all tell me I should be playing hard to get...making him work a little...not being the one making the first move.   Read one blog written by a young guy and he'll tell you this is rubbish, that it's all equal these days.  Read one written by a woman and she'll agree.   Read another and get the opposite opinion.  So which is it?  Are there rules any more?  I thought it was supposed to be the man who was the pursuer?  Who put in all the hard yards at the beginning to get his girl?

Does doing nothing make me feminine or passive?  Which is better?  Is he shy, nervous, completely unaware...or are you going to be the first person to say...he's just not that into you....

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

it's a date!

There are literally dozens of websites/blogs/forums dedicated to the pitfalls and perils of dating.  There's just as many with a focus on dating nightmares.  People love to share those stories...don't I know it;)

But apart from cheesy ''10 ideas for an awesome first date" type lists, usually found on internet dating websites (well, duh...), I haven't found a whole lot of great-date stories from REAL people.

So, for your reading pleasure, here are some of the good experiences I've had in the past 3 years.  Not all dates by the true sense of the word, but they all involve a girl (that would be me) and a guy at the same place, at the same time, on purpose.

- A kayaking trip down a river, barbeque on the shore, and then back in the dark in the kayak as the glow-worms came out
- A long drive, a walk on the beach at dusk, a picnic of coffee and chocolate as the sun went down
- Home cooked dinner on a stormy night, a power cut and hours of conversation by candlelight watching the storm
- A walk through a forest in the pouring rain, sheltered by a gigantic umbrella
- A shared trip to a deli, to buy rich and delicious ingredients to take home and cook - and eat - together
- A late night dancing date that didn't start till 10 pm but went on til nearly dusk
- A phone date from two different parts of the country...that lasted all night

What about you?  Have you had an AMAZING date recently?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

breaking bad habits

Ok I'll admit it...I have always been a bit hopeless when it comes to bad boys.  Well, more accurately, reformed bad boys.  The really bad ones don't hold much appeal - the values and lifestyle are not exactly compatible with the life of a responsible single mother...

A (single male) friend told me, somewhat smugly and with  seemingly great authority,  that the bad boys always get the girl.  And those same ratbags are apparently also rather attracted to the 'good girls''.

So why is it  that women are so often attracted to the ratbags?  Is it the element of danger, the lure of being able to reform them into ''good guys", the fact that maybe they get life more than the conservative nice ones?  If you're a woman reading this, can you shed light on it?

And why do they like the nice girls?  The idea that the niceness is just a front? The appeal of something they don't possess themselves?  Guys...can you enlighten me?

For sure, opposites attract.  It's certainly not uncommon to find a downright naughty boy with a super sweet and conservative girlfriend (although I haven't yet found the converse).

I even went out of my way to avoid that particular group of singles, but somehow they kept finding me...Call me a slow learner but it even took me a while to work out that just as women can have a veneer of nice, so can men.  No matter how conservative the dress, or how 'reformed'' he appears, a bad boy at heart is still a bad boy at heart.

So what's this girl to do?  Well, first of all I realised (yes I know, I'm a slow learner...) that the red flags that pop up are actually there to be taken notice of.   I'm more than happy to be friends with a ratbag, but it's never going to go further than that.   I added a couple of deal breakers to the (short but concise) list.  I've enlisted a couple of trusted friends in the evaluation process.

I've defined what characteristics those ''bad habits' all shared.  And I'm avoiding them.

I guess you could say I've set some standards for myself.

And next time, it will be the nice guy that get's the girl.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

me time

Today as I was allowing my  coupled friends to vicariously enjoy my 'single Saturday nights'' in recollection, one remarked that it seemed that at those times, I got to be the real ME - not the mother, the employee, the ex-spouse, the friend, the mortgage-owner, the volunteer....just me.

I'm trying hard not to allow being uncoupled define me.  Sure, this blog is about my life, and maybe the life of others, as a single in a couples world.

And I'm not afraid to admit I have days when I am really really unhappy about being a single person, and in particular a single parent.  Many is the day that I think 'this is not what I signed up for!''...Just as there are  as many days that I wonder if I will ever be brave/mad/open enough to really be ready to get re-coupled again.

But, there are many positives in my life as a single and one of them is that I how I have learned to carve out -and really appreciate - chunks of time just for me.  

And it's true - when it's just me, I get to be me.  No expectation, no responsibility and no accountability, except to myself.  Those precious hours are all about doing the things that energise me, but that are not necessarily - in fact are not usually at all - about giving out to other people. I do things that I love, things that I would probably have never experienced unless I had become single, and have also gone back to things I once loved before coupledom.  It's good for my spirit and soul, and is often a timely reminder that I am no not have to be defined by just my relationship status.

Monday, 26 September 2011

tell me what you want what you really really want

I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want!

Actually, I don't know that I can...but I can tell you what I don't want....

- I don't want a father for my kids, they already have one - although a great mate would be awesome
- I don't want an entourage of exes and past loves, either in physical or emotional  form, sharing my relationship  - although a healthy and friendly rapport is all good
- I don't want to be responsible for someone elses happiness, finances or social life - although I'd be glad to share all three with the right person
- I don't want to spend my Sundays alone for ever - although the odd solitary one is just fine
- I don't want a short term see what happens, doomed affair - although I'm also not seeking a firm commitment from the first date!
- I don't want to have to compromise my values and beliefs - although I'm open to explore new ones
- I don't want to give up my life as i know it (friends, interests, lifestyle) - although I'm excited about the possibilities of getting new ones of all three

Sound negative?  Maybe...I guess I could turn all these comments into positives - but where's the fun in that!
It's only in knowing what you don't want, that allows you to seek that which you really do.

Don't you think?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

layers of complexity

A few weeks a go I ruminated on why I think it is so hard to re-couple a second or third (or more...) time around.  I suggested that is it because the older we become, the more 'formed'we are and therefore the less flexible we get.  Our values and belief systems are stronger and (hopefully) we have a far clearer view of what we want from life.

It was suggested to me by a recently re-coupled friend, that he believed that the bonding process is also much slower when we are older.  At 20, or even 30, we seem to connect with someone far more quickly and easily - possibly also because we are more open to change and other perspectives that we are as we get older.

I think there's lots of truth in this - if a couple meet when they are young, they not only have less expectation but there is also a whole lot less baggage coming into their relationship.  And I think that as we become more complex human beings - which with any luck comes with maturity, rather than age - we become more 'layered'- and consequently as  there are more layers to uncover to reach the essential us, the place of true bonding is slower to be uncovered - possibly even harder to find.

This is not to say that we can't have that "instant zing" or feel we have a strong attachment or affinity with someone early on in a relationship, but more that the true bedding down - the development of that deep, meaningful connection, takes more time.

I also think we bring a heap of people into new relationships - every one we have had an emotional, or physical connection with has left an imprint, no matter how slight or how deep, and they are carried into this new relationship too.  Even the most satisfactorily resolved breakup, was with someone we once gave a piece of our hearts to.  And that has to contribute to how we are as people, and how we 'do relationships''  now.

Little wonder then that there are so many false starts and unhappy endings on this journey to meeting our soul mates (assuming you believe in "that kind of thing" - which I do).   We load in so much expectation, and as well as having to peel back our own layers, have to take the time to get beneath those of the other person.  It IS a process that takes time, makes us risk our own vulnerability, and also insists that we address the very things that make us who we are at the deepest level.

Monday, 19 September 2011

the man drought

I heard on the radio yesterday that the man drought in NZ is officially over - well for 6 weeks anyway.  Apparently something like 70% of the visitors here for the RWC are men.

Not terribly helpful for those of us either a/ not into rugby, or b/ not really prepared to move to Georgia/Romania/Argentina when they all go back home.

Is it true?  Is there really a shortage of men?  I was at a function last night where there were more men than women.  Significantly. In fact some of the men went home because they were so over-represented!  Nice, decent guys who probably fit most of the criteria on my previous blogs.

Talk to the women and they'll tell you all the good guys are taken.  Talk to the men and they'll tell you there's not many good women to choose from.  I suspect in this online-dating age,where there appears to be such choice and range, we've got a bit fussy in our old age.  The same old problems and deal-breakers keep turning up.

Too old, too young, too afraid of commitment, too intense.  Spends too much, not generous enough.  No kids, too many kids.  Not driven enough, too focused.  Not healthy enough, too committed to their sport.
Doesn't like to go out, doesn't like to stay in.  Too much energy, not enough energy.  Too highly principled, too laid back.

No wonder we're all still single:)  

Saturday, 17 September 2011

find just one single benefit

"The autonomy of singledom is attractive, or is that just what we tell ourselves to make it more bearable?"
So started the response to a previous post I made.  Which got me to it true?

I'm not sure that I would go so far to say that being single is unbearable.  But I do think that there are times when it can begin to feel that way.  It's really easy to wax lyrical about the sad side effects of being single and even easier to get quite proficient at rattling off a list of all the wonderful benefits...

- there's no one to answer to
- my money is my own
- my space is my own
- my decisions are my own
- I can parent as I choose
- I can live where i want     etc . etc. etc.

But, following the theory that says "more than one reason is simply self-justification for a decision"(actually that's my theory but doesn't it sound great!) is beginning to sound blatently obvious to me that if we were really truly really happy about being single we wouldn't be trotting out 101 reasons why it's so fabulous, we'd just be getting on with it.

Probably not a whole lot different to the miserably-coupled who spend all their energy on justifying why they stay in a crap relationship.

Today, as I sent out invitations to a circle of friends, to arrange a grown-ups only dinner party, I realised that it was looking like being all couples. And me.  At these moments being the single one is bearable, but only just.  And frankly, I'll be seriously considering finding a date for  the night as 11 people at a dinner party just isn't right.  I've done the Bridget Jones thing before and it ain't pretty!  None of friends give a hoot, it's me that doesn't want to be the only single in that particular couples world  It's like a patent reminder of what might have been.  Ick.

Overall though, I think when you're content, truly content, with your state - be it singled, coupled, half way there, half way back...then you can just live in that and enjoy it, without having to continue to make lists of all the reasons why it is (or isn't) such a great place to be.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

sharing the load or going it alone

I'm sure one of the most appealing things about being coupled (from the uncoupled point of view of course!) is the fact that there is someone to share stuff with.
Share housework, kid stuff, errands.
Share a bed.
Share the ups and downs and trivia of the day
Share whinges and whines and celebrations.

The longer I live alone though, the less excited I am about sharing.  I've got used to my own space and making my own decisions.  I don't mind doing housework on my own and I have enough friends around me to usually be able to find someone to celebrate or commiserate with.  I quite like my own company, even though I am energised by people.

I do miss having some warm feet in the bed on a cold night...but I'm pretty ok with having that to myself most of the time too.

I have come to accept, even enjoy the solititude of my evenings.  Being connected via the internet and phone is mostly enough, and I am often busy with work, or meetings or something, at least a couple of nights a week.

There are things I miss sharing for sure.  An adult to reflect on the day with.  Someone to have coffee with in the morning.  Sometimes I would like to be able to share my kids:)

I wonder if if my growing independence will make me selfish (although unlikely as long as there's two small people in my life and house).

Does this make me one of those people edging to the ''part time lover'' camp?  I don't want to become so self sufficient that there is no room, or inclination for a significant other in my life.  I also don't want to be so independent that a potential suitor would put me in the too hard basket!

Is there a balance?

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

taking care of yourself - one for the boys

There's no doubt about it, women like a man to look good.  No more, and no less that the men want the women they are being seen with, or that they are seeing, to look good too.

In some ways women are probably more look obsessed - we can spend AGES getting the right dress, the right hair, the right shoes.  We worry we look fat in something.  We worry about wrinkles and grey hair.

I subscribe to a number of single person blogs.  One is particularly scathing of the dating world and offers tips for men (from a women's perspective) and vice versa.  After yesterdays contribution - make that gentle lecture - to remind the women that they need to care for themselves, I thought it only fair that the guys got a turn too.

So, you can either get the hard unudulterated truth here:

or read on for a list of random observations shared by my women friends....
(a cautionary note...some of these things contradict each other...I told you it was a list of random observations - don't shoot the messenger!)

- muscles and firm bodies are great.  we all know that.  but we also know that as we get older it's not so easy to acheive.  just make a bit of an effort.
- being overweight or out of shape isn't really the issue.  the issue is if you care about it.  if you don't give a damn, that tells us (rightly or wrongly) that you don't respect your own body.  so we wonder, would you respect ours?
- we like men that know what a toothbrush is and isn't afraid to use it.
- some guys sweat a lot.  those guys need to use appropriate toiletries. a lot.
- if you're struggling with your wardrobe, ask for help.  But if you don't want us deciding what you wear, then don't take us shopping with you.
- tshirts just shouldn't be tucked in. ever. well unless you're at a funeral. and it's your own. then it doesn't matter.
- if your car is full of rubbish and we have to negotiate to get in the front seat, you can forget a second date.  car full of crap = house full of crap = life full of crap
- if we want to be rescued, we'll let you know.
- short fingernails. and toenails. always.
- women love guys who can do guy stuff. fixing things.  making things.  helping with stuff.  we just do. even if we say we don't
- when we say ''so what are you up to this week'', we're not interrogating you. we're just interested
- please let us pay for things sometimes. you wanted an independent woman right? so let us be one.
- for most of us, there's extra small people involved.  we want you to like them.  but you don't have to parent them. especially at the start.  thanks anyway!
- when you ask us what's wrong and we say 'nothing'' and you know it isn't NOTHING - let it go!!! we'll tell you when we're ready.
- deep down, just like you, we just want to be wanted and love to be loved.  it's pretty simple really.  

Monday, 12 September 2011

taking care of yourself - one for the girls

When my marriage ended, I stopped eating.  Not on purpose, it just kind of happened.  In the space of about 8 weeks I lost 10 kg's.  I didn't even notice at the time - until I went to buy a new pair of jeans (usually a size 14), and discovered I needed a size 8.  I thought I looked terrific.  Everyone commented on it.  Everything I wore looked great - even a swimsuit.

But the reality was that I was way way too thin.  I got sick a lot.  I picked up every germ going.  My muscle tone was almost non-existent.  Fast forward 3 years and I'm in much better health.  I'm not the super slim person I was then but I'm definitely better for it - even if everything I wear doesn't look so great!  I don't do huge amounts of exercise but I do some.  I am not precious about my diet, but I do endeavour to eat well most of the time.  People notice that too.

And if there's one thing I learned through this, it's how important it is to take care of yourself.  It's often said that women (in particular) 'let themselves go'' when they are in a relationship.  And it's only when they become uncoupled that they realise they need to up their game.  This is of course deeper than weight and appearance, but I think that when you're feeling crappy on the inside it can be good to put some work into how you look on the outside.  Similarly, if you feel you look like a bag lady, maybe it's time to do some work on what's going on inside too.

We women get all defensive when we hear men criticise women for being too fat, or too dowdy.  We do the same thing (sheesh look at the gut!, hhhmmm bad haircut!) but would be hard pressed to admit that we care because women are supposed to be 'deeper than that'.

But maybe the men have got a point.  How we appear to the outside world I think probably is a pretty good reflection of how we feel on the inside.

It's really important to take care of yourself.  It's important whether you're coupled or not. But I think that it's vital to hold yourself accountable, to yourself! - no one else is going to do this for you.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

a deep emotional...i mean ...wireless...connection

Back in Victorian, when a couple got to know each other, it was via formal invitations and planned visits.  It was supervised, it was in public places and there wasn't a whole lot of physical contact.  They wrote letters - with a pen and paper!  It wasn't unheard of to not see or hear from each other for a week or more at a time.

When my parents met it wasn't that much different.  People met at dances.  They spent time in a big circle of friends.  They may have phoned each other occasionally but largely their time together was planned in advance, intentionally and there was a sense of anticipation between meetings, which usually only lasted a few hours.

When I met my husband we spent most of the first two years we were together living in different countries.  We wrote letters, we had long phone calls.  We carefully planned time together.  When we were together it was for chunks of time - a long weekend, a week.  In the meantime we got on with our lives - jobs, friends, hobbies.

Now technology  has become almost a  third person in a relationship.  The Internet and cellphones came along.  Then instant messaging and video calls on skype.  Facebook.  Hands-free car kits.  Wireless broadband.

I'm not entirely convinced it's a good thing.

Yes, it's lovely to receive a random ''i'm thinking of you'' text or message.  There's excitement in being able to chat long into the night by phone, or pseudo face to face on skype.  It sure makes it easy to be spontaneous - I'm in town! let's meet in 10 minutes!

Add in the 'weekend date''- it's not uncommon for a new couple to spend Friday to Sunday together, where once it would have just been a Saturday night dinner.  Obviously the old taboos/restrictions of no sex are rather less in force these days so this is far more acceptable and realistic but it's changed the way we do relationships.  I recently read that one can reasonably expect to get lucky on the third date.  

And now, if a day goes by without contact it feels like an eternity.  Where once upon a time a week would have been considered a reasonable stretch between conversations, now there's an expectation of a daily text, or email, or message.  There's no peace from it - there's no opportunity to build expectation and anticipation.

And the other downside is that all this contact can create a false sense of knowledge and security.  Of course we know each other - we skyped for four hours last night!    We had a WONDERFUL weekend at the beach - it's like having 3 months worth of dates in two days!

But my argument is this - whether it's a whole weekend, a hundred texts a day, or an all night phone call - to begin with, we are all showing our best sides.  It takes a long time to get to really know someone and whilst frequent and intense time can accelerate this, I don't think it is possible to truly know that person any faster.

Adding in sex, for all the marvellous pleasure it affords, too early, also can just give a false sense of knowing.  There's a reason it's called the cuddle hormone! I'm not saying to go there, or not go there, is right or wrong, just that it has the potential to change our perspective of someone.

It just feels like it's all going too fast to me.

I heard it described like this: You need to give me time to realise I miss you.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

It's a conundrum alright!

I had a really interesting conversation this week with another uncoupled friend.   He too is thinking about the ups and downs of the single life, like how to muster the effort required to meet new people versus the apparent ease of just accepting singleness.

I was once told that I appeared to be someone who wanted a boyfriend not a partner.  I think what that person meant was that I wasn't prepared to commit EVERYTHING to a relationship.  At that time it probably had more to do with that particular relationship than my state of intention, but in reflection I can see some truth in that.

And whilst I'm not in favour of the FWB idea, let alone the FB one (look it up...), I can see an appeal in the part time relationship  - does that means girlfriend/boyfriend? -too.  I suspect that the longer one remains single the harder it becomes to want to compromise that independence.  And also the harder it becomes to blend two lives - especially if there are children, or different locations, or no major overlap of friends and interests.  

I really can't decide which option has the most - or least - appeal.  To be coupled, to have a special person to share life with or to be single and get to enjoy the privilege (and I want to frame it like that) of being wholly responsible and accountable to just myself.  To know that I might not have to have another ''sunday bloody sunday'' versus having each child free weekend stretching deliciously empty and full of promise ahead of me.

Maybe if i met the "right"person none of this would matter?  Possibly not.  But I am also realistic enough to know that I should not have to compromise the things that I don't want to compromise, any more than any potential partner should have to.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

lemon juice and paper cuts part 1

I love how the recently-coupled so often want everyone to enjoy their joy bubble.

I am always delighted to hear of someone finding another - especially if it is marked with promise and hope and happiness.  I get a real buzz out of hearing the how we met stories, the barely contained excitement of a  full-of-promise chance meeting, the run down of how amazing the first date, week, month has gone.  It reminds me that for each of us there is the possibility of a perfect fit.

But I think I speak for most singles when I say we are NOT always delighted with the offer of other potentials being thrust upon us - ''oh he wasn't my type but I'm sure you'll like him'';, óh she's looking great...for her age''; 'he's a great catch you know...for someone else'', "he's been single for AGES, you should ask him out!!!''.

Yes thanks for that.  The not-quite-perfect guy for the sadly single girl. The fabulous-for-someone-else woman just right for the tragically alone man.

I love matchmaking and as I've said before I have a fairly good track record with it.  But I'm also super careful about how and where and when I do it.

So whilst I get that who is right for one might not be right for another - and probably a friend-introduction is the best way to meet people (at least they come partly pre-vetted!), it doesn't follow that because the single are single, they automatically qualify to be potential mates for other single friends.

Don't know about you, but I'd rather stay home and put lemon juice in my paper cuts than go on a date with someone who my friend has already rejected.

Monday, 5 September 2011

tag and release

Another expression I have happened upon since joining the heady word of the uncoupled, this one is used to describe the (somewhat questionable IMHO) practise of no-strings sex.  And one of the best things ever about owning my blog - I get to have an honest opinion and spout rhetoric from the moral high ground whenever I choose!

I know that this makes me sound frighteningly conservative but I am seriously at a loss to understand why anyone would choose to engage in something as physically intimate and vulnerable as sex, with a stranger.

I once heard it described as offering variety and pleasure without emotional attachment.  What interests me is
a.  how sustainable this is?  Can one go on, and on, continuing to have detached sex with strangers (or with acquaintances and friends for that matter), or is this a time and place kind of thing?  and
b. what's the likelihood of being able to have a continued supply of people who are also happy with it?  Do women and men feel the same about this?  Are the initiators always being completely honest and upfront about their intentions and do neither person really true care?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

a whole new language

I nominated a word I had heard, and have started using, to urban dictionary.  It got published yesterday

Another one to add to the post-coupled vocabulary.


do you trust me?

Forget the F-word and the C-word. If there was ever one that ought to top the list if risky things to say to a new beau, it would have to involve the T-word surely!

Too trusting. How many times have you thought that? How many times have you been that?!

Why do we need to ask someone if they trust us? To me it sounds a bit needy - or even a bit duplicitous. As in, I'll ask you if you trust me because in doing that I'm implying that you have no reason not to.

I am deeply uncomfortable with the concept of Do you trust me

- do you trust me when I say I'm going out with the girls and we're going dancing
- do you trust me when I am off on a rugby weekend
- do you trust me when I say that there is no-one but you
- do you trust me when I share my past with you and it sounds a bit improbably

Do you trust me? Seriously why would someone even need to ask that? Surely if there's been a DTR* conversation it's a given that there''s got to be some trust?

I find this trust thing a bit weird. Shouldn't you be able to '"do trust"" without saying it? or without asking? And yes we all feel the need to define it, and be reassured.

Or does the very fact that I am even having to discuss this mean that I have trust issues?

DTR- Define the Relationship - the conversation that we all know we need to have sooner rather than later, but when it's feeling tricky, usually do it later often by which time there's actually no relationship to define

Thursday, 1 September 2011

I'm just not ready for a relationship

scenario 1:
A lovely friend of mine in his early 50's has recently become uncoupled.  It was a newish, but seemingly solid relationship of a few months.  They seems well suited, it appeared to be going well. Right up until the day she TEXTED him, post date, to say she just needed 'some time'.  She wasn't sure.  She had some things to figure out.  She wasn't convinced she was actually wanting to commit to a relationship.

Being a good guy, he  graciously gave her some time.  She came back to him.  She TEXTED again.  No, it was over.  Seriously?  She texted a breakup? At 50, don't you think a bit more class might have been in order?

Scenario 2
Gay male friend this time.  Meets a nice man.  They become friends.  It starts to feel like it might go somewhere.  He can't decide.  He hasn't been single that long from last demise.  After some weeks he tells him (in much classier way - email this time...) that no, he is just not able to proceed.  He's just not ready for a relationship.

He understands.  It was early days.  He was still in recovery mode.

Within 5 days he announces he is in a "committed relationship" and is quietly confident of it progressing.

Scenario 3
A woman.  Sweet. She meets a sweet, fairly unworldy guy. Both late 30's, not wide-eyed teens.  A friendship develops.  It half progresses to relationship. and back. and forward.  He can't decide.  He's just not ready.  At last he is.  He tells her she's the one for him.  6 weeks later he mentions (via email...sheesh there's a theme here...) that he is going on a date that night.  Just thought she should know.

I have run out of fingers, and toes, to count the number of people I know who have been given the i'm so sorry but i'm just not ready for a relationship line.

Come on people.  Get honest.  Sure the truth hurts.  So does rejection.  But retain a shred of dignity for you and the person you are lying to.  and it is a lie.  Because you know what you REALLY mean is:

Sorry but I'm not interested in a relationship with YOU.

And for goodness sake, do it in person will you?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

fighting fires that aren't even sparks

I learnt yesterday that I had upset someone. A male someone. It was completely unintentional and in fact I didn't even know that the thing that upset him would have even registered with him.

My first reaction was to fight the fire.  I hardly know this guy but I immediately began thinking of how I might be able to contact him and maybe assuage the hurt a little.

I'm good at that.  Trying to make amends.  Soothing furrowed brows.  Pouring oil on troubled waters.  Fighting fires.

The rational side of my brain kicked in - excuse me, miss unity addict! I think it's called overcompensating, and being a rescuer.

Women seem to be particularly good at this stuff. We over analyse.  We put in too much emotion. We don't want to UPSET anyone.  We don't want to cause any HURT.   We want to save the world and protect other people from pain, no matter how small, no matter how ill-perceived.

And so I rationalised a little more.  I didn't know I had upset anyone.  I hadn't done it deliberately.  It was an action not a word so there wasn't even any interaction with this person.  Ergo, they were assuming that the way I behaved was for their benefit or not.  Honestly, what was I thinking that I felt the need to even get into it!

I let it go.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

the science of single

the science of single

Sunday bloody Sunday

Shouldn't Sunday mornings be one of the most delicious times of the week?  A chance to kick back, enjoy some peace and quiet, do some contemplating - all that jazz?

Well, I am growing to loathe them.  I quite enjoy my own company - I certainly like not being accountable to someone else, and there's a lot to be said for the harmony that exists in my house when it is just me.  But the novelty is starting to wear thin.

The day is stretching ahead of me with nothing planned.  Yes, there's a lot of things I could be doing and a few I should be doing.  There's always a friend to visit, some housework to do, a bit of office work to complete.  But eeww, that is NOT how I want to be spending every child-free Sunday.

As my single friends continue to couple-up (three more became partnered this week for goodness sake!), the pool of people also with yawning Sunday gaps is shrinking.

As for all that well meaning stuff from the smug-couples about how lucky I am to get all that free time?


Friday, 26 August 2011

the L word

One of my good friends has fallen in like.  I can't say in love because I don't want to speak for her, and it's a fairly new relationship.

I like the expression 'falling in like''.  To me it sounds like a good combination of pretty romantic, just a little wreckless and a fair dose of sensible.  It implies being generous with emotions but without total abandon.  A kind of 'we might get there but it's going to be a good journey' kind of feeling.

When I was a teenager we all talked about 'liking' and everyone knew that this went beyond the i-like-you-because-you-are-my-friend kind of like.  It said, I'm interested in you.

As sensible relationship-savvy adults I think we know the difference between friend-like and potential-partner like.  But even that can be a scary place to start.  What if they don't like me back in that way?  What if it turns out I'm not really attracted to them after all?  What if I fall in love!?

The modern version of like - being into someone - well it all sounds a bit base to me.  A bit shallow. A bit transient perhaps.    Yes it's just a word, a modern expression, but surely we could come up with something a bit classier?

And in an age where relationships often start with the physical and then progress to the emotional, the old fashioned concept of getting to know someone and actually getting to like them (dare I say, as a friend...) is starting to hold appeal for me.

I read somewhere that you can't fall in to something unless you stretch out and look over into it.  To me, like seems like a pretty good place to start looking.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

friends...but without the benefits

I have had cause recently to have a number of discussions about the merits (or lack thereof) of this FWB phenomena that seems to be sweeping singledom at the moment.

Now I am not able to speak from experience about this but I have to say that I have my doubts about how it can really truly work.

I figure that if someone is your friend, that means you like them and want to spend time with them.  If you are interested in a sexual relationship with someone I am assuming that you have to be physically attracted to them.  So the combination, surely, is that you have found someone you like, that you want to spend time with, and you are attracted to.

So my question is this...why would someone choose FWB over a real, committed relationship?

I understand that it might have something to do with age and stage in life.  Maybe personal circumstances. But surely even in a friendship one makes allowances or compensation for that?  Maybe one, or both, is reluctant to commit to something 'serious'' - but surely we should be treating even a friendship with respect and seriousness?

And doesn't the fact that it may now include a sexual connection give it an element of seriousness (or is that just old fashioned me?).  Doesn't that kind of skew things and start to involve feelings and emotions outside the bounds of friendship?  What happens when the rules change - say one person starts to feel 'more'' that the other? What if the rules weren't defined properly at the start?  What exactly are the rules? Where are the benefits!?!

I'm fascinated by this.  Are there really truly people out there who have done this and it has worked?  Anonymous- or not -  responses welcomed!!!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

choosing the sensible option

When you've done a bit of dating, made a few 'bad decisions', got a few heart bruises and started to be come a bit wary of the whole scene, it can be really tempting to get all conservative about it.

The one you are hopelessly attracted to is completely wrong - wrong age, wrong career, wrong life stage, wrong  values.  The one who likes you ticks all the boxes - right age, right life stage, sensible job, common values and interests.

What's a girl to do?!  You know that the first option is going to end in tears.  You're a grown up right? A sensible, logical woman who prides herself on having learned from her mistakes.  You know that Mr ABC is a far better option, a safer bet, a mature choice.

And so you embark on a new relationship.  You can't call it an adventure, you can't really even call it a passionate journey - because after all, this is about being grown up and logical.  Blind passion is for the young and misguided.  You are beyond that - you believe in stability and sense, the old fashioned view of started with common ground and building the rest.

It doesn't take long and things are not so solid after all.  Yes, he's safe, and reliable, and meets the criteria you thought you needed to check off.  But, it's wrong, oh so wrong.  You knew that, you did, but you were trying to be so SENSIBLE.  You really wanted to have learned from those previous misadventures!

What's a girl to do?

There was a time, not so long ago, when I would have been the one to advocate sticking it out.  But now I'm not so sure.  I think I may have passed over to the dark side.

Now, if I was asked, I'd be more likely to say...

Stuff it, throw caution to the wind.  go with your instincts.  Sensible can wait.

Monday, 22 August 2011

the human touch

I love to dance. OH, how I love to dance!

The music, the pretty dress, the sparkly lights - it's all part of the experience of feeling good.

And the truth is, that one of the other things I really like about it, is that (in the case of the kind of dancing I do), it  includes human contact.  Partner dancing means that for even just three or four minutes at a time, you get undivided attention and the joy of being swept up, spun around and manfully embraced.

Human beings need other human beings.  One of the downsides of the technological age we live in is that lots of us spend more and more time touching not much more than a keyboard each day.

Hugs are great.  Cuddles are better.  Beyond that nicer still, if the person, the timing, and the expectations are right.

The utter deliciousness of touch is in my view, one of the necessities of life.  And in the absence of a significant other, I choose to dance.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

matchmaking and other pursuits

I'm feeling a bit smug today.
I caught up with a friend I haven't seen in a while.
She's happy - studying hard, enjoying the spring, and now into a relationship with a great guy.
He's perfect for her - they have lots in common, they are at similar places in terms of life story, and goals.
She speaks tentatively of a future with him in it, but without angst or fear that it might not happen.
They're in no hurry to change how things are, but it's good, and they are settled into coupledom, comfortably and  securely.

i am absolutely STOKED!  Not least because she's an awesome woman who deserves a great relationship.  And he's a great guy too, who also deserves an awesome woman.

But the main reason I'm especially delighted?

Two years ago, I introduced them.:)

love tanks and energy suckers

I really like the concept of the Love tank ( and /

The idea is that we need to keep replenishing ourselves with love as much as we give it out.  And that if we don't do this, and our tank 'runs dry', we are not really in a position to sustain healthy relationships.
There's no doubt about it.  Relationships take energy, and plenty of it.  And those of the romantic kind somehow seem to take more than most.

I wonder is it because, especially to start with, we are wanting our beloved to see our very best side?  Which takes a fair amount of energy over and above the usual day to day.

As things become established I think relationships start to get emotional momentum.  We find we are able to both get, and give energy to the other.  It's a kind of mutual nourishment.  It's fun and exciting getting to know another person.  We find synergies and similarities.  We spark off each other.  We genuinely have the other person's best interests at heart.  In fact there's little issue with giving out -we enjoy putting all care, attention, energy, into this exciting new thing.  In an ideal world this is invigorating and energising - maybe not all the time, but the overall feeling is one of positivity.

But as the people reading this will know, sometimes the relationship matures, and the cracks begin to show.  That's when putting emotional energy in can become less enjoyable and it can feel like the 'love tank'' is not being replenished.  I accept that all relationships go through the ebbs and flows of give/take/share.    The healthy relationships survive it and come out the stronger for it.  The rest falter, founder or end.

Sometimes it can feel a bit one sided.  The fact is that some people are simply energy suckers.  No matter how well meaning they are, they simply require more energy to fill their tank than they have to give back.  Sometimes they want to, sometimes they don't, sometimes they don't even know what is going on!

Perhaps one of the upsides of new found singleness is that there is not another person to take into consideration all the time.  Sounds selfish perhaps, but  more than one person has said to me that it is only when a relationship is over that they have realised just how much emotional energy had been expended.
As things start to fall into decline, no matter how hard both people might be working toward keeping the relationship strong (or even just together!), things just somehow get harder.  It takes more work.  We feeling like our emotional tanks aren't being refilled.

And so, the post-coupled person is in the often enviable position of being able to put that energy into other things - work, family, interests, sport, well being.  With some time and distance from the now-ended relationship they can identify what went wrong - where the energy was being expended.  Hopefully, we learn from this.  And next time, if there is one, we will seek a relationship that is emotionally rewarding, sustaining and complimentary to our own giving and receiving.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

but can we still be friends?

Oh I want to say yes!  I want to believe that ex-es and potentials can remain friends for ever. One big happy family of people who have had major, minor or catastrophic emotional encounters.

But in reality?  I would suggest that usually the answer is no.  Sure most of us don't want to have ongoing tension, and that includes a bitter parting of ways with someone we may have held great promise with.  We don't really want to believe that another person can think so badly of us that they don't want to even be our friend!

My question is this...why would you?  Seriously.  Why would you want to remain friends (as opposed to friendly - a whole different thing).  When you've invested time and emotional energy into a relationship that's not heading in the direction you want it to - or when you actually don't want to invest any more time or energy into something - why would you?

Maybe because it makes you feel better that you have finished on good terms'?  Because there is so much good stuff that it would be a shame to let all that go, just because the relationship couldn't continue -what ever the reason?  Because you secretly pride yourself on being able to keep positive relationships going with people no matter what history you may share?

There's  reasons relationships don't work out.  It's because one, or the other, or both people don't want it to.  Maybe there's bigger issues that are unresolved.  Maybe you don't actually like , or love each other enough to want to make it work.  Maybe just one person doesn't.

Sure, be friendly.  Especially if you are going to have to cross paths regularly.  Maybe shared kids, or a common interest that, for the meantime anyway, means you have to see each other.  but seriously, you either want to be around that person or you don't.

Can exes be friends?  Should they?   I want to say yes, I want to believe it's possible.  But in reality?  I don't think so.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The ''you'' shaped vacuum

St Augustine is credited with proclaiming that every person has a God-shaped vacuum within them.  That no matter how much we try to fill it with stuff, experiences, emotions, thoughts - the vacuum is only truly satsified when it has God in it.

Well, because I believe that human beings are not designed to be alone (andyes I know there are always exceptions to every rule), I want to beleive that out there somewhere is a person with a ''me'' shaped vacuum.

I imagine that this person may well have a completely fulfilling life.  He probably has enough friends, enough interests, enough challenge in his work, enough spiritual curiousity to consider his life is pretty complete.  He doesn't actually need  a me. Might think he doesn't want  a me.    He might not want to acknowledge - or even be aware - that he even has a space for a me!

The timing might not be right yet.  He might not even know me.  He might know me well but never considered that I am the right fit for that space.

There's a good chance though that he shares the same views as me - that's it's not a question of finding the Jerry Maguire - you complete me - type of relationship to make him feel like a whole person - more that there's a vague sense of knowing that there is something more to be experienced in life - that life just could be that little bit more content, or more exciting, or more sparklier.   

That there's room in his heart for one more person, or that there is still capacity for that heart to expand and make room for me.

Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic - maybe I'm just plain unrealistic.  But whilst I can happily accept that there can be more than one "one"' for us all, I still believe that it is possible to find that ''one'' who, whilst not perfect, is the perfect fit for me.

How do I know this?  Because I already know that I have a vacuum of my own.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

when things end well

Some years ago I made a friend.  We were both single.  He for a little longer than me.  We met, we clicked.  There were not great sparks but there was definitely potential for...something.
It became a bit on and off.  The friendship strengthened.  But any extra dimension was driven by him and seemed to change by the day.  He couldn't decide.  He wasn't ready.  It wasn't me.
He prided himself on having remained friends with every girl he'd ever known.

A year later, my patience had finally worn thin.  I got tired of hearing how there were 'no suitable girls''.  He only called me if he didn't have a date.  I learned he had said some less than flattering things about me.   I decided I was worth more and I ended the friendship.  It was ugly and it hurt and I think it was probably the first time anyone had ever done it to him.

Around the same time I read an article about men who were supposedly unable to maintain healthy relationships.  The writer maintained that part of the problem for these guys was that they were unable to end things well.  The point he was making was that these guys want everyone to like them. They like having female friends and they don't want animosity in any form.   But their avoidance of confrontation, their inability to make a strong decision, was holding them back from actually getting into a relationship at all.

I wonder, could there be some truth in this?  Does the same apply to women?

Personally I think it's great to be able to remain friendly with people I have been emotionally involved with.  But actually friends?  I'm not so sure.  Why would I want to?  Is it because I want to leave a door open...just in case?  What's going to happen when one of us meets another 'friend''who is less enlightened on the value of ongoing friendship with exes?  How many exes - in fact how many friends - can one person have or need?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

just forget about it!

Got to love that particular bit of advice.

It's usually directed at the poor girl (or guy) who has learned that the object of her affection is not reciprocating feelings.  It might have been a secret crush, or it might have been a happening thing.

The bruised-hearted laments to a friend, hoping for sympathy.  The friend, often a smug-coupled, offers one of these pearls of wisdom:

oh, you just need to forget about him!
you are so much better than her!
clearly he doesn't know what he's missing out on!
there's plenty more fish in the sea!

or even...
him? really?  oh have I told you about my friend....SO much more suited to you...

Alas, part of the process of discovering who we are, learning to enjoy the excitement of meeting new people no matter where it goes, and continuing to embrace life, regardless of our single/coupled state, means a few false starts along the way.

If only it were that easy - I would love to be able to (at times) turn my feelings on and off at will.  How much simpler life would be.  No more wondering and waiting, no more broken hearts and hurt feelings.    Certainly no more having to bemoan another false starter.

Sympathy can be a good thing, sometimes.  It's nice to hear that it was simply a misguided, nay erroneous decision that led to our fabulousness being overlooked by said potential beau.  It awesome that our friends are there, as we are for them, to listen to our tales of woe, and give good strokes and encouragement.

But sometimes, all I need to hear is...'gee that really sucks...and one day it won't''

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

sex and the single girl

Do men and women have a different approach to sexuality?

Why is it that traditionally (cougars notwithstanding) it has been men who have been allowed to acknowledge and seek to satisfy their sexual thoughts?  Whereas the girls (except for the ones who are clearly "gagging for it") are expected to not even discuss such things, unless in the company of other single and similarly unsatisfied women.

Maybe it has something to do with the way that women process this stuff.  We are, according to the experts, the emotional ones - the ones who mostly can't or won't have sex, outside the confines of a relationship.  Which is an conundrum to me.  Because clearly these men (assuming they are actually doing it) are having sex with someone - which we can safely assume is the same someone who is having sex with them, outside of the confines of a relationship!

Or is it that this is just another thing that 'nice girls' aren't supposed to talk about?

Now I'm the first to admit that I have no interest in casual sex.  In fact the very term strikes me as a bit of  an oxymoron.  Can something that intimate actually really be casual?  Or at a deeper level, SHOULD it be casual?

But that doesn't mean that we supposedly buttoned-up types don't get tempted.

So maybe the answer is that the men are by and large happier to get on with it, and talk about it.  Whereas the women - well most of them - take a more calculated approach.

It makes me wonder about communication though - assuming everyone's getting lucky, what are we actually telling each other?