Lately I’ve started to watch a new show that has both intrigued me while simultaneously horrifying me. Usually I try to watch light hearted tv shows because my empath sense is very strong and I work in a helping field. The show that I’ve been watching is called Handmaids and it’s on Hulu. One thing I will say is that it’s definitely not a comedy but if you want a thought provoking and extreme view of what might be the future then it’s a must see. But that’s not what this post is about. One of the main characters said, “you like because, you love despite.” And honestly that’s the truth. I work with couples who have lost so much of their original passion and excitement for each other because things have become so mundane. They’ve taken each other for granted and it has taken a terrible toll on the relationship. The emotional connection is very strained or sometimes nonexistent. I think many times people think that therapy fixes everything but it doesn’t. The truth is that therapy can give you the tools that you need to be successful in your relationship. It takes a lot of effort and intentionality to change the trajectory of a relationship but it definitely can be done if both people want it and are willing to work on it. One person cannot sustainably carry the whole relationship on their back. It can happen for a while but there are always consequences. One thing I really enjoy doing with the couples I work with is doing exercises that help them remember why they fell in like with each other and what made them love the other person. It’s always eye opening and helps to start the process of reconnecting with each other.
I rarely post pictures, but this is one that caught my attention. While I think it’s wrong to generalize an entire population, I’ve noticed some truth to it in my own personal experiences and interactions with guys.
Today in lieu of being at work (which typically is the case on weekends), I had the chance to watch several episodes of Fix My Life on OWN. I was intrigued by the work that Iyanla does with couples. On a particular episode she addressed a couple who had been married 20 years but weren’t sure if they wanted to stay married. Iyanla brought up the point that wedding vows typically say “until death do us part” but they aren’t specific on what type of death warrants parting ways. Is it a physical death? The death of one’s commitment? Or is it the death of one’s individuality or emotional stability and wellbeing? What exactly does it mean? I think that these questions are up to each couple to define. However, I wonder how many couples actually have this type of conversation? It’s easy to promise something when you’re happy and naive but it’s a different story when you’re in the midst of a relational crisis. This is another reason why I think pre-marital counseling can be so important. It can bring up questions that you hadn’t considered before and help you lay a solid foundation for a successful relationship.
Now that I’m a working adult, it’s rare that I’ll binge watch an entire season of a show in two sittings but that’s what happened with Insecure. My social media accounts have been flooded with reactions from the show so I wanted to watch for myself and see what the hype was all about. Oh my goodness. The show is amazing. Definitely not kid friendly but a great show. The main character “Issa” has a lot going on. She’s balancing a relationship, a best friend, and a job at a local non-profit. As the season progresses, we see Issa try to make sense of her world. Her boyfriend isn’t always emotionally available and she questions the relationship when an old flame reappears in her life. Meanwhile, Issa also has a best friend who is a successful professional but has really bad luck with men. By the time the season ends, Issa’s boyfriend has gotten a new job, she has made a horrible mistake and her friend is still single. One thing that I can appreciate is that the show isn’t super complicated. The season finale wasn’t what I expected but it definitely brought to light the fact that there are consequences for actions although two wrongs don’t make a right. Issa made a mistake and regretted it but discovered that some things aren’t easily fixed with a contrite apology. Her boyfriend was a good guy who got his life together a little too late but was absolutely caught off guard when the truth came out and acted out accordingly. There aren’t hundreds of characters to remember but the nuances are so reflective of real life and the experience of a lot of minority millennials. I’m glad the show has been renewed for a second season.
I usually wait about a year or so before disclosing a bad date story, but I’m 100% sure this guy will never talk to me again so I’ll make an exception. Back in my days of online dating (I’m off all internet dating sites and apps indefinitely–or at least for the time being), there was an app I used that was geared toward professional millennials. I had some marginal success with it so when an anticipated relationship fell through, back to the app I went. I “met” someone relatively soon and we started chatting through the app then texting. I’ll be honest, he wasn’t super interesting. He had just finished a professional degree in the health field and had gotten a job with the government. However, he didn’t have a start date yet so he was just hanging out at home until it happened. He lived about 12 hours away on the East coast but mentioned that he would be in my area in a month. We tentatively agreed to meet up when he was in town. However, in the month or so leading up to him coming into town we didn’t talk at all. No phone calls, no texts, nothing. I forgot all about him until he texted saying that he was in the area. It wasn’t really the most convenient time because I was packing to go on a trip and trying to run some last minute errands. However, I thought it might be nice to add a face to a name. He wanted to meet up for coffee but didn’t have a car because he flew in (figures). So because I’m a nice person and because I had sorta given him my word I agreed to drive the 25 miles (one way) to meet him. I got to the hotel and saw him in person for the first time. He fit the description of the word “petite.” Nicely proportioned but I could see directly over his head and I wasn’t wearing heels. I don’t know a man who would be happy being characterized as petite, but it’s the truth. He wanted to get in my car and drive to a coffee place. I quickly vetoed that because he was only allotting me an hour of his time and it was way too much hassle. So we went to get a coffee in a little shop in the hotel lobby. I ordered my coffee first and then waited a few seconds to see if he would offer to pay. Negative. So I bought my drink and moved out the way to him to get his. Side note, in his defense he was unemployed and was probably counting pennies. But then again my drink was 3 bucks and he had invited me and I had driven 30 minutes. But whatever. Secondly, he took a long time to order. He requested 4 different samples before he finally made up his mind. The process took about ten minutes with him sipping and declaring it wasn’t what he wanted and asking for something different. The conversation we had afterwards was nothing short of boring. I tried to get him to talk a little about himself but it wasn’t really interesting (real talk). It was a conversation that required effort instead of flowing seamlessly. So as we approached the end of the allotted time I decided it was time for me to go. He proceeded to walk me to my car, give me the most awkward hug in life and then walk away. Right out of my life…. not surprised though.
I have a small rant tonight. Like many people, I tend to become annoyed when there is something that I don’t fully understand. I had something happen a few months back that annoyed but also puzzled me. Guess I should start from the beginning. So about 4 years ago when I decided to give online dating a real chance, I met this guy. I was using one of the more popular sites and his profile popped up. He messaged and we talked for bit. Nothing serious. He lived across the country and we chatted about our world views. We skyped once for a few minutes because I wanted to verify who he was. We had some very marked differences in perspectives but got along fairly well. For the next few years we messaged each other occasionally. He always started the conversations and we would chat about different things. Again, nothing serious. He was pretty much cemented into the friendzone and seemed ok. Earlier this year he started messaging me more. Again, non-serious conversations. Surface stuff about his current job and how he’s trying to finish up his last few classes in college. He mentioned driving over and hanging out for the weekend. We compared schedules and picked a weekend. Living the life that I live, I had a very strong hunch that he wasn’t really serious. So the weekend came and he cancelled last minute saying “something came up.” I wasn’t upset because I already had stuff planned based on the assumption that he would flake. Crisis averted. So he kept messaging me with small talk. Then out the blue the guy asked me when we would actually meet in person. I have to admit that it caught me a little off guard since the last attempt had been a bust. But I asked specifically why we needed to meet in person. He replied that we would find out if we had chemistry. At this point, I knew I had to be pretty clear. I pointed out the fact that we had been in contact for the past 3 years and he had never actually had a phone conversation with me. We skyped for a few minutes but for the most part our interactions were all online. At that point it seemed clear to me that we didn’t have any chemistry. I’m just not a fan of wasting my time—especially when it involves 3 hours of driving and gas. But I guess it was a blow he could not recover from and he immediately blocked and deleted me on social media. I thought it was a childlike action but we all deal with disappointment in different ways. Maybe he had been trying to get up the courage to make a move for a while and then I just shut him down. But the truth is that it is better to be honest initially than to go back and explain that you did something because you didn’t want his feelings to get hurt. I hate crushing hopes and dreams but you need to make an actual move in a time period of 3 years. What ever happened to men actually putting some effort into something instead of just assuming that you wanted to spend time with them? Oh well.. another one bites the dust.
Recently I got checked by someone for being too pro-marriage. I have to admit that the hopeless romantic in me loves the idea of forever commitment and love. Today millennials are getting married at older ages and are waiting longer to start families. There are a lot of people out there who don’t understand the idea of commitment. Starter marriages abound and are typically thought of as a stepping stone to finding “the one.” Other than the vows and a few tax breaks, one’s state of mind is really the deciding factor for marriage. There are couples without a “title” who are more committed than others who vowed before hundreds of their friends that they would protect and love each other forever. As much as I like the idea of legally being bound to someone, I think that so much depends on the choice of both individuals to choose to be in a relationship every day. Commitment is great but it doesn’t always require a marriage. There are people who are perfectly content and happy without getting married and it works for them.