Saturday, 31 March 2012

relationship governance

Over on my other blog today I have been talking about having people to be accountable to.  Who help with highlighting issues, setting direction and keeping me on track to reach goals.

I think this could be particularly helpful in the area of relationships.  Yes there's relationship coaches, there's friends who act as temperature gauges, date assessors and hanky-holders in the aftermath.  but I'm talking about perhaps having one or two people that I can rely on to give me really tough questions, and keep me honest to the values and goals I have said are my deal breakers.

How does that sit with you?  Would you be brave enough?  Would you pay attention even when your heart was saying NO!!?

Friday, 30 March 2012

friends and lovers

My wise friend, whom I often quote on this blog, once told me that in his search for his ideal partner, he was looking for a friend and a lover.  At the time it made no sense to me.  I mean, what about a real relationship?  Wasn't that the ideal, the thing we all should be looking for?

At the time I was looking at this from the romantic feminised version of ''falling in love''.  The quickened heartbeat would be first, I'd be charmed, he'd be charmed.  We'd discover in time that there were things we both enjoyed and shared.  We'd agree to being exclusive.  Over time we might become each others closest friend.  There's be a spiritual depth.   There'd be sparks, and later, fireworks.  The idea that one could genuinely like someone as a friend, AND want them as a lover was a foreign concept to me.

How times have changed.  Some years down the track I get (still in a romantic feminised sense) what he meant.  Where once I might have said that a friendship can have the potential to grow into more (yeah for women maybe but highly unlikely for a man), and that it was impossible to have a physical relationship with someone I wasn't in love with, I now find myself agreeing with him.

Now the ideal for me would be to be with someone whom I truly admire as a person, who's company I delight in, who shares some interests and matches my energy levels - that's the friend bit.  But whom I also fancy to bits, and he, I.  Who as well as enjoying my company fully dressed and in the garden, wants the secrets and intimacies only lovers share.  I'm also thinking its probably going to take a whole lot longer - and a whole lot more discernment - to find that, compared to having a crush, falling in love, and hoping the rest will fall in to place. 

What would you think if I told you I've always wanted to hold you?
I don't know what we're afraid of Nothing would change if we made love

So I'll be your friend And I'll be your lover Cause, I know in our hearts we agree
We don't have to be one or the other, Oh no We could be both to each other

Yes, it's a chance that we're taking And some body's heart may be breaking
But we can't stop what's inside us Our love for each other will guide us

I've been through you And you've been through me Sometimes a friend is the hardest to see
We always know when it's laid on the line Nobody else is as easy to find

So I'll be your friend And I'll be your lover Cause, I know in our hearts we agree
We don't have to be one or the other Oh no, we could be both to each other

Yes it's a terribly cheesy song from an American soap - I get that.  But is it true and is it possible?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

sad sacks

Like all - well, most - of the single people I know, there are days when I just feel like stamping my foot and saying ITS NOT FAIR!

Not because I feel like I'm missing out on a vital part of life (although some bits are turning out to be more vital that others...), not because I'm feeling like the odd one out (single in a coupled world) but simply because sometimes, well...sometimes I just want to be part of a unit.  The romantic me wants to know that there's someone out there thinking about me, and planning the next time they will see me/phone me/message me.  To feel like I am significant to another in a way that only belongs in a real grown up coupled-up relationship.  To feel like I am on the cusp of something exciting, even if it might turn out to be a false alarm.

I have days when I am just completely over the gentle rebuffs, the being let down gently, the desert that is the single life.  I feel grumpy that this is not the life I signed up for, it's not how I wanted it to turn out, and I am, frankly, simply too old for all this Sh#*.  I'm done with complications, reservations, bad timing, personality mismatches, temperament clashes, geographical challenges and lifestyle incompatibilities.   Different goals, different expectations, unsatisfactory outcomes.

And that feeling gets amplified when there's a glimmer on the horizon that seems to be a fast receding  riderless horse not a knight galloping toward me, joust in hand.  If life really is a chicken ladder (short and shitty) as was described to me recently, then I don't want to be a chicken any more!

 Most of the time I'm pretty okay with my currently uncoupled state.   Relationship status is really only a very small part of who I am and I don't need to be part of a couple to prove my identity.   Even though I am (to use the words of a friend) ''good to go'' my life is busy and satisfying and I don't need a significant other to make it complete.  I go through life feeling satisfied, content, occasionally on the brink of excitement, and generally very happy with my lot.

Just happens, today is not one of those days.

one date at a time

One of the biggest challenges the back-into-dating set has is how to set the pace.

I reckon it's easy to get a bit smug and decide a YES a little too early (or a NO for that matter...although the NO's are in an entirely different post...)

Or course we all go out on a date with anticipation and positive thought.  Of course we hope that THIS time it's going to be awesome/perfect/just what we hoped for.  And when there's a second, or third date, it's easier still to get a bit carried away with the awesomeness of it and start projecting way WAY further into the future (even though we know it's crazy to do so).

I'm an incurable romantic I know, and so I do believe that for some lucky people they will meet ''the one'' and just know straight away.  And a few more will find that connection after a few conversations and great dates. But I'm also realistic enough to know that it takes a long time - a very long time - to really truly get to know someone.  To get through all the layers of the onion, as it were.

 Emotion says, quick! find out what you can! invest now! Logic says, if it's meant to be there's no hurry.  And if it's not, then there's also no hurry. Take time before you put everything into this.
And so, no matter how fabulous the connection, no matter how much potential I think something might have, I'm trying to learn to pace myself.  Slowly slowly. Enjoy the experience of getting to know another.   One date at a time.

Monday, 26 March 2012

more mental housekeeping

I had another one of those weird, but probably have some signifance, kind of dreams again this week.  And after all the amazing feedback I got last time, I am going to share this one with my readers, in case there's some more gems of enlightenment...

I am in a house.  From the road it is fairly ordinary looking, but I know it is a special place.  The house belongs to a relative who has recently moved away and asked me to look after it for them.  (In the dream I felt like I knew this place but in real life I don't know it at all).  They give me a few instructions on how to work various things and point out some things of interest and leave me to it.  I walk through a door which appears to lead to the back of the house. There is a room filled with amazing things. Collections of all kinds, a piano, a big bag of wool waiting to be spun, books, lots of books.  (In real life i hate clutter like this but in the dream I am amazed and delighted to be in it).    I wander around delighting in discovering things that apparantly have had significance in my life.   My children are also wandering around oohing and aahing but lost in their own world of discovery.

A person I care about, but do not know so well, appears at the house.  I'm told there is more to see.   I protest, no this is all, this is a small place.  The person points out a door I hadn't noticed before.  We go through it and there is another whole wing to the house.  I am told that this is for me, for us, and that it is mine to use whenever I wish.  I can invite others or keep it for us/me.  The children are not there now, still occupied in the other room,  and don't seem interested in coming in, which surprises but does not worry me.  Its spacious and inviting.  There's a deep swimming pool/spa.  There's a feeling of life and happiness there even though it is obvious noone else has used it for a long time.

I move between the room of treasures, the main part of the house, and this private area, freely and happily.

I wake happy and optimistic,  but also as if I am content with all that is important to me.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

good things take time

One of the most common pieces of advice given to the newly single is: don't rush into anything.  Another bit is: When you meet someone you are interested in take your time.  And another is:  Don't write someone off just because it doesn't click right away.

Now I'm the first to say err on the side of caution.  Goodness knows if I had taken that advice a few more times I probably wouldn't be blogging on this particular topic, let alone have the scrapes and abrasions from the times I've leaped before looking!  Some due diligence is important.  Taking a breathe and not being blown away by initial charm, a cute butt or the recommendation of a friend is also probably not a bad idea.

But I've come to realise that once I get in tune with the red flags (oh the red flags) and manage to dodge them, I've also got to take notice of my own instincts a bit more.  I have to trust those and believe in my own judgement.  Which, in brutal honesty can mean that I think we know when someone is not going to be right within a few minutes of meeting them.  I was told once that you might not be able to recognise a ''YES" when you first come across it, but you will certainly know the NO's.    And waiting waiting for a yes when you already no it's a no is probably not a good place to start.

I always wanted to beleive it was possible to change ones mind. That this stuff can grow.

I met a YES recently.  It's converted me.

Do you believe that to be true?  Be relationships really truly evolve from nothing to something to something amazing...or is it more likely that there is a flash of ''yes!!!!"' right at the start?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

torn between two lovers

I am not convinced that is is possible to be in love with two people at once.  Especially if ''in love'' can be defined as having eyes for no other and being satisfied with what you have.  But I do think its possibly to have an attraction to more than one person. Not least because there are different things about different people that might draw you to them.

But what of the person who is seemingly happy and in love with someone, and then meets another and falls head over heels?  Assuming it's gone beyond lust, and is not just an excuse for spicing up a bad patch, then what?

I'd suggest that maybe the first person wasn't so great after all.  Now in the instance of being in a committed relationship, especially like marriage, I want to make it clear that I don't think it is even slightly okay to move from person A to person B based on who rocks your world the most.  But where long term or serious commitment is not necessarily a feature, or where you're in a situation of still finding your way, then I think I have to agree with Johnny:

Monday, 19 March 2012

the devil made me do it

There is a strange phenomenon in the dating world that is all about how to let someone down gently.  We all know the usual lines...

- It's not you it's me
- The timing just isn't right
- My life is just a bit complicated right now
- Seems your life is a bit complicated right now
- I think we want different things
- We're so similar I'm not sure there's anywhere to go with this
- I'm really looking for a serious relationship
- I'm not really looking for a serious relationship
- I think we'd make great friend
- I have a friend I'd really like you to meet
- I'm not ready to fall in love
- I've been hurt before and I'm afraid of it happening again

And now there's another one, that's used by Christians, that really doesn't allow for much of a comeback.

''I don't think you are in God's plan for me"

Say what?

Call me a cynic (yeah go on go on!), but I think the first dozen are bad enough.  I mean hang on a minute, if you're actually out there dating surely most of them don't apply anyway?  And if they do, what the heck are you doing going out with other people!?!

All those lines say ''actually I don't really fancy you that much''.  Now the truth hurts, but as well as a cynic I'm also part idealist - not one of those things would matter if you really like the other person and it's mutual.  Surely? 

But the last one....  It's hard to argue with someone if they say it's God's idea. But in my view God gave us a brain, which includes enough discernment, and hopefully enough ability for graciousness to tell someone when we don't want to pursue a relationship with them.  ''God says no""?  Frankly I reckon it's a total cop-out

driving me crazy

I have a new theory.  This is it:

You can tell a lot about a man by the way he drives his car.

The guy that always slows to let others in, that uses indicators, seat belts, and the airconditioning - he's the good guy.  He's the one who always checks the kids are in their booster seats. He's considerate, mindful of others, and values his own life as much as anyone elses.

The bloke with a need for speed - he's probably a bit of a showoff who doesn't hold himself in high regard but pretends he's got it all together.

The one who never slows to let others in, who cusses cyclists, who ignores pedestrians.  He's just plain nasty. Nothing says I don't give a damn about anyone but me like a guy who won't slow down in roadworks.

The guy whose car is full of rubbish - empty cans, mcdonalds bags, apple cores newspapers, spark plugs.  He doesn't care at all about about his environment and he probably won't care about yours either.

The one who, when you say, ""please can you slow down, I'm feeling a bit nervous"" responds with, ''don't be silly, I'm a great driver and I've never had an accident"" - I say get out at the next set of lights and run.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Wife wanted

I am now working full time, and a bit more.  I'm doing some house renovations. I'm parenting alone, albeit with a fairly involved kid-dad.

Each day I race out the door wishing I'd had more time to tidy, do washing, run errands.  Every evening I come home to kids clamouring, answerphone beeping, dinner looming.

Seems the lawns always need mowing, the garden always needs weeding, there's never quite enough fresh fruit and veges in the fridge for my own comfort, and there's always a pile of paper that needs attention.

About 20 years ago I was nannying in London for a single mum.  Funnily enough she was the same age that I am now and her children are similar ages - and with similar interests and personalities.  She ran two jobs like I do and seemed to spent a lot of time in the car or racing between meetings.  My job was to care for the children, the house, and the dogs.  Occasionally I'd prepare food for a dinner party, or oversee workmen at the house, or run errands for her personally.  And she would laugh and say I made the perfect wife for her.  She sure didn't need a husband, but yep, she could have used a wife.

And now, I think maybe that's what I need too.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

not so dateless

Seems if you put something out to the universe it can come back when you least expect it.
Last night I got my wish.  right down to spending an hour deliberating over the dress.

It was awesome.:)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

is there an app for that?

In this crazy dating world we inhabit, there's a general understanding that one should put their best foot forward and create a fabulous first impression.  In fact I'd say for quite a few dates...weeks...months...most of us are on our best behaviour when in the presence of someone we rather like.   It's only when the guard gets let down a bit, that the real person starts to be revealed.  And from one who knows, I can tell you this can be a good experience, but also sometimes a pretty unpleasant one.

I joke (well it's kind of a joke) that I'd like to see a full financial statement, psychological profile, written references and police records of any potential dates that come my way.  I reckon it would save me a whole lot of grief. Especially since I have a special gift for attracting totally unsuitable blokes.  So imagine how great it would it be if there was some invention that could find people for me, or better still, give me a run down on their vital statistics.  Perhaps a QR code type thing, where I could scan them and get a summary?  Or am I the only one that has an invisible ''pick me if you're nuts'' tattoo on my forehead...

I love my i-phone, it's no secret.  And I especially love all those groovy apps that can be downloaded for free in the blink of an eye - calorie counter, song identifier, coffee card, TV guide, I've got them all.  But to go on a date and be able to get some impartial and accurate advise at the push of a button - wow I'd love to be able to say I had an app for that!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

dating 101

A sneaky blog title...becuase this is my 101st post on SME.

Actually I didn't realise I'd even got to 100 until now...and somewhat ironic that the celebration and reflections of the single life was marked with a post about abusive relationships.

But, there it was, and here I am.

I'm now a month down the track from the end of something.  I can't call it more than something as actually, I never really knew what it was.  I had an idea of what I wanted it to be.  I definitely knew what it wasn't.  I've shed a few tears over what didn't happen, and a few over what did.  I've bored friends with the details (well a few friends with fewer details).  I'm sad but resigned to the fact that I made (another) bad decision.

I've spent a fair bit of time navel gazing on this one too - even more than I do in this blog, and more than just boring the same friends with the same questions.  I really want to know how it can be that I can make such spectacularly bad decisions over and over again.  Maybe I should stop defining them as good or bad perhaps.  But you get my drift here.    Either way, I've learned a little more about myself.  Good and bad:)/

There's a theory that says we keep being given life lessons until we learn them.  I'm hoping this time I learned my lesson.