Dating Woes? You DESPERATELY Need to Read This Post

What’s the most vile word in the English language when it comes to matters of the heart?  I’ll give you a hint: Seth Cohen noticed it, Chandler Bing embodied it, and if you’re a millennial in today’s dating scene, you probably smell of it.

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Did you guess? If you did, well done! You’ve correctly identified the number one most avoided noun in the history of verbiage. Desperation in any form is bad enough as it is…no one says they’re jumping for joy desperation or choose to make the desperate choice first, but when it comes to dating this effect is 100 times worse.

Recently I heard an interesting podcast about the dominant hookup culture that rules the day (I swear my life doesn’t fully revolve around dating – just mostly). Sociologist Lisa Wade explained how a woman would rather be called a slut than be called desperate, because a slut may have slept with a bunch of guys but the desperate girl…well….at least when you’re a slut someone wants you.

*PAUSE TO TAKE IN THE FKD UP-NESS OF THAT SITUATION*

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What’s so sad is that I can’t even say that this is something I don’t identify with. I have definitely been in the unfortunate situation (more than once) where I did something with someone that I wasn’t fully comfortable with just to feel wanted, to feel like I fit in, or that I’m just like everyone else. Well, I’m here to tell you that the sad truth is that sleeping around doesn’t make you like everyone else. In fact, feeling desperate and alone probably brings you closer to feeling like the rest of us than getting laid does.

According to this article in NOW Magazine, which went absolutely VIRAL in Toronto, us Millenials are significantly less sexually active than our Gen X predecessors. People claim to be too busy for something meaningful and overwhelmed by all the option, and it’s really no wonder why. We work longer hours, spend more time with friends than family and let’s face it, technology is complicating everything. At the tips of our fingers are option after option making people feel dispensable, so should we really be surprised when they treat us like we are?

It’s unsurprising that if you’re constantly talking about sex but not having it that you’d wind up feeling a little desperado, and there is absolutely no shortage to the sexual imagery that exists in every facet of our culture. Even as I write this I’m surrounded by content hell-bent on turning me into an attention-seeking single. The desperate divas from The Bachelor Women Tell All are whining on TV, I’m listening to James Arthur’s “You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You” and that article I mentioned earlier? The ad at the end was actually promoting a dating event for foodies!! ‘Foody call’…very subtle LOBLAWS.

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Realistically, sex when you’re dating falls into two main categories: a) completely meaningless or b) meaning everything. I swear, now more than ever, the only time you DON’T have sex with someone is when you actually like them. As if the very intimate act in and of itself is proof that you don’t care about the person you’re sleeping with. WHAT KIND OF TWISTED LOGIC IS THAT? Most shocking of all, this mentality is something we women actually STRIVE for. We want to appear aloof, detached and totally okay with it…the less you care the better off you are. HAH. That sounds healthy…

There really is no win for women because men want it both ways: they want a sexually deviant, hot woman who knows what she’s doing in the bedroom until they don’t. For a woman to be deemed acceptable of “wife-ing up” she should still be seen as “wholesome and respectful”, which apparently doesn’t mean being overtly sexual or too comfortable in the bedroom. See the problem? Not only do men have ALL the power in relationships, but they condemn us for embodying the very ideals that they promote. Most of the time we end up feeling cheap and desperate because the only thing harder than getting someone interested in you is keeping that interest for more than 10 seconds.

I had a very illuminating experience last weekend. I approached a guy at the bar and we had a great convo for quite a while. My friend “Julie” ended up cock-blocking me so when he asked me for my number later that night I was stoked. Well, without my knowledge, another friend of mine, “Sara”, berated her for being the world’s worst-wingwoman and told Julie to go fix the situation. Julie claims he asked her where I was but I have my doubts. The result? Me, left wondering if he asked for my number because he liked me or because someone told him to…Worst of all – how PATHETIC I feel for even explaining this to whomever reads this blog. Why? Because this shouldn’t be a big deal at all, but what started out as a nice interaction/little ego-boost ended up rocking my self-esteem.  When I messaged him later that night and got no reply I immediately felt like I was the poor girl who needed her friends to get someone to talk to her, even though I’m not. And that is not a good feeling.

As women we are often too hard on ourselves. We overthink our interactions with men and then get mad at ourselves for overthinking them – all because we don’t want to appear, you guessed it, DESPERATE. Who knows, maybe with time I’ll stop caring so much about looking some type of way. If a guy doesn’t like me for who I am then that’s on him not me. I’ll forget my fears and feel confident enough to say: “Hey, you’re great and we should hang out”.

Lol, Just kidding…I’m not that desperate.

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How I Broke up with My Best Friend…Twice

I used to think that girls and guys could be just friends. I really did! I’ve had many guy friends in the past and am 100% comfortable bro-ing out. Hell, sometimes I NEED the testosterone in my life to balance out particularly dramatic periods of time. But I have finally accepted that in any very close male-female relationship, it is not possible to always be “just friends”. In fact, to quote my fave relationship guru and fellow DTT6 author Rachel Green, a guy and girl can only actually be friends if they both successfully pass the “Do I like this person” hurdle at least some point in the relationship. Why I bring this up you might ask? Well, for the second time in my life I have had my best and closest guy friend admit to having feelings for me and for the second time in my life I had to give up on a friendship that has been ruined by sex – or in these cases, a lack thereof.

Quick background on me: I lost my virginity to my best friend in Grade 12, told him I liked him only as a friend, lost that friendship, realized I liked him a year later, dated for a year, broke up in what can only be described as world war 3, and hooked up on and off for almost 2 years until that went down in flames. If our breakup was world war 3 then the finality of our relationship was world war Z, and the carnage was epic on both ends. I decimated that friendship and almost 5 years after our initial breakup the wound has not properly healed. Safe to say I’m pretty sensitive when it comes to the treacherous waters where emotion meets friendship.

Despite this, I got very close to one of my male co-workers when starting at my current job. We don’t have much in common in terms of interests but for some reason we just click. Over the last year and a half we have gotten incredibly close, spending time together outside of work constantly and ingratiating each other in our respective lives. He’s facetimed with my family, I’ve gone for dinner with him and his dad and as time went on the lines between us grew increasingly blurry. Nonetheless, it never seemed like a problem worth addressing..I didn’t think of him him that way and didn’t think about how he felt about me.

Cut to – August 2016 when this great friend of mine turned into a compete a-hole. Seemingly overnight my closest male ally had become my enemy, acting distant and insulting at every turn. He pushed me away and I just didn’t understand why.

Never one to shy away from conflict I confronted him, at work mind you, and asked WTF was up. Honestly, I thought he was going to tell me he had feelings for our DTT6 resident Miranda and was absolutely FLABBERGASTED when he instead admitted to having feelings for me. I was shocked, confused, and a tiny bit flattered. His feelings ran quite a bit deeper than a crush, and his hurtful behaviour stemmed from an inability to balance our friendship with how he felt.After a very uncomfortable convo where I had to straight up tell this great guy that I was not into him we left the office in separate directions, me understanding what I did to piss him off (answer: not love him back) and him needing some space from our friendship.

I am not so naive to think this never would have happened. Tons of my friends had previously asked what was up, either believing he was into me or otherwise gay, so I was really the only one surprised by this news.The only explanation that I can provide is it’s a likely combo of  denial and wishful thinking. I never would’ve wanted to hurt him or our friendship, so I pretended the notion of us as being an “us” didn’t exist for as long as I could.

But now everything was out in the open and I totally respected the need for distance. I  went about my days as typically as possible, patiently hoping things would rectify themselves. And like most things do, our relationship eventually did go back to normal. We talked more, hung out, and I just assumed that his feelings had passed. “Maybe he was confusing closeness with intimacy and never even really liked me like that” I told myself this and honestly, I believed it. After a little while I didn’t even think about that 2 hour conversation that left us both without a best friend. The facetimes returned, the dinners too and I thought we’d made it past the hurdle Rachel so eloquently mentioned at the beginning of this post. In fact, we got even CLOSER if that’s possible and spent every waking minute together, at work and outside as well. He became my “emotional boyfriend” and while I definitely saw the danger in that I ignored it. He made me feel happy, secure and cared for without having the pressure to define anything because we already had a definition: Friends. At this point I actually did think about what it’d be like to be with him in a more romantic way, and it just wasn’t there for me.

Then came the holidays, a hard time for all single people. After a very boozy holiday party we ended up back at my place with two other friends. While they chilled in the main room we went to my bedroom to roll a joint. We were standing by my dresser chopping the weed when he looked over and leaned in #StonerRelationshipGoals. Honestly, this couldn’t have been more perfectly choreographed if it was intended for television but as he leaned in I leaned out, narrowly missing his kiss.

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(I am soooo not proud of my next few moments but they happened so I may as well be honest). Though I rejected him pretty blatantly, I was very flirty the rest of the night, even telling him “You don’t need to regret it” when he said he didn’t feel badly about making a move because the moment felt right. Ya, I was being a huge tease and an even huge-r asshole, but I wasn’t really thinking and maybe enjoying the attention a little too much.

The next day I invited him to brunch with my roommate and acted like nothing happened. 3 days later I went to South Africa for a 2-week trip. We spoke often while I was away so I just assumed we’d had a weird moment but had gotten past it.  But when I went back to work nothing was the same. Fun and comfortable had been replaced by tense and forced and I was so confused. I didn’t even think about the almost-kiss as being the cause, the incident living deep in my long-term memory and clouded by 2 weeks of sun. Things became progressively more tense and I progressively more upset. How were we at this place again? I didn’t think he could possibly like me because he was always talking about other girls, or maybe this is just what I was telling myself.

We reached a boiling point at my roommate’s birthday, where even his best GUY friend admitted that the tension was palpable. I texted him the next morning saying things had felt off for a while and we couldn’t put off a conversation any longer. Apparently my timing was less than impeccable as he was heading to Florida for a week, so we promised to talk when he came back. A week goes by and he comes back to work on what turned out to be a horrible, HORRIBLE day for me. Separate from our issues, I had some pretty serious personal stuff going on, and he ended up passing me dashing out of the office mid-panic attack. Without me even explaining anything more than “I can’t deal right now, this is too much”, we went for a walk and he let me utter panicky nonsense on repeat for 20 minutes. Knowing we still had to talk he said he’d wait till things calmed down and made sure to check in days later to see how I was doing.

We finally had our talk. He told me that he isn’t over me and had been thinking about making a move long before the night he leaned in for the almost-kiss. I guess I hadn’t realized how far back our issues extended because I was away (or ignoring the signs). What really gets me is he admitted to intentionally waiting and acting cool while I was away because he wanted me to enjoy my trip…he was always putting me and my feelings first. Since I’ve been back it’s become too hard to be just friends and he doesn’t know if I can be in his life the way I want to be right now. Again, I totally understand, but this time it’s much harder. Maybe it was a result of all the other things I’m dealing with at the moment, maybe it’s because I wish we’d work out because who doesn’t want to fall in love with their best friend. I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that all the weirdness fell away when he saw how upset I was at work and was still there for me in spite of how hard it was for him, and this realization broke my heart a little. He truly put me first, even before himself, and when I thanked him for his support I broke down into tears, something I’ve never done in front of him. You know what his response was? “You being real and vulnerable right now only makes me like you more”…needless to say if my heart wasn’t broken before, it was after that.

After this we sat around not saying much. Neither of us wanted to leave because we knew this was the last time we’d be just the two of us for a long while. It’s not fair to him to stay so close to me and it sucks for me to have to let him go, but what can I do? I let this happen by getting into a pseudo-relationship and now I need to deal with that. When he hugged me goodbye I felt him hold me in a way that was tragically final and way too reminiscent of an actual breakup, and it was painful.

So now we’re not friends.

We’re not in a relationship.

We’re taking space and I had to tell this guy not once, but twice, “I’m sorry, I don’t feel the same way” (But I kinda wish I did).

Celebrating My 3 Year Anniversary with Me, Myself and I

It was just another day as I stood in front of my pre-kindergarten class going through our morning routine: attendance, weather, counting, calendar. Nothing out of the ordinary, but today’s date made me stop a little dead in my tracks. I had forgotten about it, and especially about Mr.. High School Crush, but today it all came back in my mind because it would have been our three-year anniversary. Hold up. I can safely say that I haven’t thought about this guy in a long time and suddenly one date with a pretty big memory came and knocked me down like a sack of potatoes.

Obviously I made it through the day without giving it another real thought, but the car ride home from school and the rest of the night was a different story where my mind began obsessing over Mr. High School Crush: did he ever think about me? Does he remember that it is our anniversary? Has he moved on? Should I message him? Needless to say the questions and wonders were plentiful, and they led me to a thorough Facebook stalking (guilty) and a re-read of all of his past cards and letters that I thought were safely stowed away in the very back of my closet.

It was one of those nights that could have been well paired with a tub of ice-cream and some chick flicks, but I knew I was way over that and opted for a blog post and some girl-chat instead to come up with a few of my own “hard but important” truths following a break up:

Your ex is going to get over you whether you like it or not

I didn’t like this one at all. One of the comforts of my break-up was that I had the upper hand. It was on my terms, when I was ready and even though he hadn’t tried to talk me out of the break up, I knew that he still wanted to date me, even leaving me with the “one day I hope to end up with you”. Following the break up, he was quick to answer my texts, liked my instas, even left me a going away present and super cute card, and kept up with my life. It was comforting, and as betchy as it sounds, I liked the fact that I still had him wrapped around my finger. However, eventually, the communication stopped to the point where he would take weeks to answer me until our conversations have fizzled out to the point of non-existence. It hit me hard, but Mr. High School Crush did – what I thought – was impossible and he went on his life without me, and let me go on my life without him.

It’s okay to remember what it was like to be in love

One of my most guilty moments on “our” three year anniversary was the fact that I re-read all of those cards and notes from Mr. High School Crush, and even more guilty was how happy it all made me. At first I thought it was pathetic, and after some pep talking from the other DTT6 blogger Carrie, I felt a lot better about it. When I re-read those cards I couldn’t help but smile and felt the need to want to bury the hatchet and forget about all the fighting and crying there was at the end of the relationship. I know that I can look back on those 2.5 years and confidently say that the majority of it was happy and loving – making me feel a lot better and less concerned that I “wasted my time”. Reading those cards weirdly made me feel confident too: it was exciting to know and remember that someone can love you so much and think so highly of you (and was a great feeling to read it over and over, card after card). It was a sort of bitter sweet moment but was definitely an important step to not just getting over things, but getting over things in a positive and happy way!

Keep your friends close

Becoming the girl that I never wanted to become,  when I was in a relationship I was the girl that was obsessed with her boyfriend which unfortunately was at the expense of my friends. Towards the end of my relationship I realized how much neglecting I had done, and also how closed off I was to reconnecting with old friends and making new friends. Luckily for me, I realized how important friendships were when I was still in a relationship and I made an effort and continued to make an effort when I was single. I can safely say that my friends were the reason that I was super happy being single – from Galentines day to Disney World, my last 8 months of amazing experiences can all be attributed to some great friends.

“I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do”

Like every basic betch in the 6, once Views came out – I had it on repeat and this lyric really stuck with me. Being in a relationship made me feel trapped in a way, and the fact that it was so easy made me feel okay with complacency, and let me tell you I’ve never been okay with complacency. One of the reasons I waited to break up with Mr. High School Crush was because I was scared of what life would be like without, and I craved the comfort and security that came along with the relationship. The analogy that I used to describe the “fine” that was our relationship was like a boat: it wasn’t moving, but it wasn’t sinking and it was just stand still. Well let me tell you that stand still gets boring, and challenge and excitement is way more fulfilling. Once I mustered up all of my courage and broke up with him, my life became way more fun and exciting. I worked at the most magical place on earth (travelling around a lot too), scored a great job when I got home and balanced school. Now I’m planning more trips (with some of the other bloggers), have so much time for friends and adventure, and am even training to run a 5k! None of this would have even crossed my mind had I stayed in the relationship, and my “me” time has been put to good use!

Though it sucked remembering and thinking about how we would have celebrated our three year anniversary, I am happy that I had the day to think and reflect and celebrate for myself by myself. I have definitely seen the value of being a single pringle and have had some of the best and most fun experiences riding solo.

I wish all the best to Mr. High School Crush, as we should do to our exes (unless they’re actually evil, then no doubt we do not wish them the best), and I hope he lives happily ever after, as far away from me as possible.

 

Mr. Puppy Love

Carrie – I used to be in love with all things love. You could say I am more like a Charlotte in that sense – a big romantic at heart – but I grew out of naivety out of necessity. I say necessity because there are a lot of humans out here in the city and humans are filled with fickle, fleeting, and often self-interested emotions (myself included). You might say I’m guarded, but with reason to be.

Before I regale you with stories of my tales dating in the 6ix, let me preface and try to give Carrie some character. This is my disclaimer that this post will be a bit different in tone. I used to want to be a writer. I would read so-called “chick lit” including Sarah Dessen, Nicholas Sparks, and Sophia Kinsella and live vicariously through the female protagonists. One of my greatest hopes at 14 was that one day, one day very soon, I would be swept off my feet by a perfect guy. I was disillusioned because in many ways, this did happen for me. My first love, my first boyfriend, my first everything-below-the-belt and I dated from high school through to my last year of university. Puppy love extended four and a half years until it eventually fizzled out to complacency on both of our parts, justified by “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.” After a long summer month of us growing apart to the point where he was just ignoring me, I decided to confront the fact that we were no longer in love, not the same type at least, and we went our separate ways by August.

That first night officially single, I alternated between crying hysterically and silently, sleeplessly staring at the ceiling. I vowed to never let myself be this way again. The pain of feeling your heart break, rehashing every one of those last moments you didn’t realize would be lasts, did not feel worth it at the time. It felt pathetic that the only person I wanted to turn to was the one I had let cause that hurt. But how do you behave when the only way you knew how has been ripped away from you? My heart was broken but even worse, my head was too because I felt like I had lost all that I ever known.

As we didn’t get into a big, deal-breaking fight and neither one of us cheated, it was hard to identify what spurred this breakup on. He had gone from “0 to 100, real quick,” searching up hypo-allergenic dogs that we would raise together (because I am sadly allergic) to telling me he didn’t want to put effort into a relationship anymore. That night, out of all the moments of our long relationship, I kept searching for signs that I should have known this was coming. All I could think about was licorice. To elaborate, my father is a Costco snack addict and his pick of the summer was a kilogram box of cherry licorice sticks. At first, Mr. Puppy Love would grab handfuls at a time and I would have to hide the box to get him to stop eating them. But as we began our normal routine of Netflix-bingeing and straight-up-bingeing that summer, I noticed Mr. Puppy Love eventually stopped going for the licorice. As he got used to it being there, the novelty wore off, and that was the best metaphor I could think of to parallel the end of our relationship.

Luckily I had not been one of those girls who ditched her girlfriends to be with her man. I have seen many girls scramble, trying to salvage burnt bridges post-relationship, and I was fortunate not to be one of those. My support network encouraged me to take my time, to cry, to mourn, and to move on. My challenge was moving on romantically when my whole sexual identity up until that point had been symbiotic to his. I was caught up in this ideal of “the one.” The pressure to maintain the fact that he was my one and only and I was his one and only so this was meant to be. Any number more than one just seemed like a ruined fairytale.

Well this is a tale of woes, not unrealistic expectations of fairytales. And let me tell you, I have had plenty of tales this year and a half of singledom, especially since moving to the heart of the 6ix in a sweet condo with my former party-girl older sister. To wrap up this one, Mr. Puppy Love moved on with a girl I disliked two months after we broke up and that fizzled out shortly thereafter.

Finding out he had moved on first, I felt like the pressure of “the one” had been lifted, and I began accumulating many stories: some chapters, some novels, but mostly a lot of guest star/B storylines. I have learned to be wary, never naming the puppy before I take it ‘home’. However, I remain hopeful and forward-looking that I’ll find my Mr. Big, that Big love of my life. Even Carrie Bradshaw knows that “sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens.” We have to learn when to stop learning and just live in the moment.

At the end, all of these Mr. _______’s provide us with lessons, life experiences, and hilarious stories to blog about. So welcome to my bumpy ride of dating through the 6ix.