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12 Things I Learned from Casual Romantic Relationships

12 Things I Learned from Casual Romantic Relationships

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Casual relationships. Casually dating. Casual sex. Friends with benefits. A fling. Whatever you want to call it; we all know what it is. As Wikipedia – the non-credible-yet-overused source – describes it: "casual sexual relationship, casual relationship, or casual dating, is a physical and emotional relationship between two people who may have casual sex or a near-sexual relationship without necessarily demanding or expecting the extra commitments of a more formal romantic relationship."

While the term is not always used consistently, it’s basically hooking up without the romantic relationship or the plan for something long term part. Usually these relationships expire when one person calls the other person out on the casualness of the relationship because they want more. But that doesn't mean that the experience was all in vain.

This recently happened to a friend of mine, and she wanted me to use her as an example. She was casually dating this guy for two months when she realized he didn't want a relationship with her, but they had really good chemistry and he gave her a lot of attention. This guy texted her dozens of times a day even. The red flag that finally made her realize the casualness of their relationship was that he didn't make plans in advance to hang out with her and that he wasn't always around on the weekends even though he had no problem casually dating her during the week. Did he want a committed relationship with her? No, you know that and I know that. My friend didn't understand how, even when you have a strong emotional and sexual connection with someone, you can still be casual. After all. it looks a lot like love sometimes, doesn't it?

The truth is that you can feel strongly connected to someone you're having a casual relationship with, but it doesn't mean that the person will want committed romantic love or a long-term relationship. Most of us have experienced the bad side of casual relationships where someone gets hurt. The thing with casual relationships is that they don’t have to be bad or a waste of time. As I told my friend, you can take the opportunity to learn something from each one of these situations. Here are 12 things I learned from casual relationships to keep in mind:

  1. You have to be with a lot of “fish” to know when you find the “right” one for you.
  2. Casual dating means you can always be on the look-out for someone new to date. Duh!!!!!!!!!
  3. Monogamy is not expected. Hello,that’s why it’s "casual."
  4. Sometimes these arrangements are necessary because neither of you are ready to commit. Timing for both people involved is everything.
  5. You got to socialize and meet people from the opposite sex. Socialization is important; embrace the life experience!
  6. If the casual relationship didn't turn into a long-term relationship…it's usually for good reason!
  7. There is no such thing as “no strings attached.” Whoever made up that phrase should be shot. Someone always gets attached, and it’s not always the girl!
  8. The sex! Oh, the sex. Well hey, at least you acquired more sexual experience to recycle for when the right person comes along. Your next long-term partner will be thankful you got to experiment.
  9. Don’t drag out a casual relationship into something long term if you didn't want that person for a serious relationship to begin with. Think about your intentions and what you really want out of a serious romantic relationship before you turn something casual into more than what it really is.
  10. Every casual relationship has an expiration date. Why make it a bigger deal than what it really is. On to the next…
  11. Sometimes when casual relationships end they feel like real breakups and that’s okay.
  12. Let’s not blame casual sex on a problem with the so called “hookup culture,” it’s just not the person that wants to be with you. It is what it is.

Hopefully this helps illustrate some of the positives in causal relationships. Don't be afraid of them!

A  Man's Letter to the One Who Got Away

A Man's Letter to the One Who Got Away

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As a dating and relationship coach I get to hear a lot of stories! I wanted to share the love letter a young man wrote about his ex-girlfriend that he wanted to share in hopes that she might read this one day.  "A Man’s Heart wrenching Final Letter to the Woman he loves!"

I’m not a writer! I was never a good writer; I was the guy that got a C in ENC1101. I don’t work for a literary site that dishes out daily articles to provide an escape from the monotony of our daily lives. I am just an ordinary guy who lost the most important thing in his life.

But you know what!? Maybe, I can swallow that pill if I can make a difference. So I guess I’m a messenger of some sorts; like Kanye to be the Voice of a Generation, A Pusher! (Mean Girls style).

Hi my name is Danny and I love women

I wasn’t always good with women, I was the guy who bought girls flowers even before we kissed; Naturally, I got hurt …a lot back in high school. The first crush I ever had Myspace messaged my brother and said she wanted him...MY BROTHER!? I learnt real quick what attracted women. In college, I grew my wings and I dated a lot. By the start of senior year, I was texting 5 girls at the same time and going on multiple dates a week. But I never opened up to any girl. I don’t know why, maybe I figured it was easier to just care less; nobody got hurt that way. There was always a type of girl I was looking for but I hadn’t found her yet. My longest relationship up until then had been a month and that was in high school. They were uncharted territory

Little did I know, my life was about to change forever.

You see, the first day I met “Ariel” my life undeniably and irrevocably changed. There I was, 21 years old in my last year of college at the University gym getting my usual daily pump on. Thus far, it had been a great week, I had already gone on at least two dates and my overconfident ass was reeking of “swag”. Then I see her for the first time, her long blonde hair caught my eye; she was wearing a tight pink shirt that showed off her feminine curves and the cutest freckles that complimented those gorgeous green eyes. She wore tight spanks that showed off that ass that told you; you know she squats, with muscular legs, and a sort of natural beauty that you couldn’t help but notice. She wasn’t your stereotypical idea of sexy but she was the most beautiful girl I had ever laid my eyes on.

Turns out she was a cheerleader… Hell Yeah!!

She was over in the free weight section (the pump iron playground) by the squat racks, but she wasn’t squatting; No! Today, deadlifts were her game. I had to talk to her. I approached and in a confident spew of narcissistic jargon, I get her attention. I leave her with my number; because at the time, it didn’t matter if she texted or not. I had options….but am I so happy that she did.

A couple days go by since the gym, and I’m on a business trip completely wasted at a sports bar in Tampa, Florida when the first text comes in, “hey what’s up” from a random number. I drunkenly ask who it is. Moments later she replies kindly, “it’s Ariel”.  Now there was a girl that I knew before with the same name so for the first few text exchanges I assumed it was the other girl who I had not spoken to in a while. Then it hit me like a bitch slap to the face!

IT WAS HER!!

When I realized, I felt something I had never felt before; some inexplicable energy shot through my spine like a bullet.

What was that feeling?! I had to explore it!

We met the next day for a simple Froyo date, she loved Oreos on top. We had so much in common: our religion, interests, and most importantly we had an indescribable and unexplainable sexual vibe; attraction was there. She was that old homegrown country girl who rode horses and liked line dancing (came from a simple life) and I was that guy who was raised with housekeepers and maids (grandma with the British accent and all) but none of that mattered in that moment; we just sat on that metal bench outside a 16 handles and talked. Our first kiss that night was back at my place and it felt...Electric. She spent the night at my place but we didn’t have sex, and I was fine with that. This girl had class.

Fast Forward 8 months, I found myself a college graduate, in a relationship with the most amazing girl I have ever met, and awaiting my dream career in the military.

Yet something was wrong.

Now let me say, this girl was truly amazing. Ariel was the epitome of what you would classify a “keeper” and she had won me over. The guy who swore he would never fall in love, the icy pimp motherfucker… was head over heels for this girl; though I would never admit it.

Here’s the problem! we were long out of our honeymoon phase and even though I had felt this way about her, I never knew I had to show it or tell her (remember my longest relationship before was 1 LOUSY month). This was completely new to me. I was like a baby learning to walk but trying to run; thrown in the deep end without floaties while dad drinks a beer.  At this point in our relationship, I hadn’t told her that I loved her, told her how much she meant to me but we were exclusive to each other. She knew I was her man and she was my lady.

I still tried to be that cool guy I was before but I had changed…and there was no going back.

Now before you go writing me off, I am not the social media type people, I barely use Facebook at that, so we never became FB official because it was never important to me. My downfall was I never asked what she wanted. I know! I was a naïve idiot. I never said “I love you” because I was scared, I had never been in love before. What was love? Was I in it? How the hell do you know?? Where would this go?? What if it worked out? Would we get married? We were too young to get married…Right!?  At this point, we spent almost every day together, my friends and family loved her and thought we were great together, and the sex changed from just a familiar, pleasurable experience to something indescribable. Boy was the sex amazing!

Needless to say, she broke up with me and we went through the whole text book breakup with her torn with emotion and me asking her to take me back. We decided to take a “break” but we both knew what it meant. That look that she gave me as she was leaving my bedroom that one spring morning told me all I needed to know. It was over. It was a look of absolute disappointment and hurt and it is forever tattooed in my mind. Why didn’t I chase her down and tell her I loved her and it would be alright?

My heart was finally broken. I was broken as can be. Listening to The Script and John Mayer broken.

Three weeks later I get a text from Ariel. We meet for Fourth of July and have the most romantic night on the beach. It was the most beautiful night, fireworks lit the night sky as we sat and grew closer in the most emotional way imaginable. Man I still remember that red dress, those ruby red lips and white converse that she loved wearing. We met a couple times after and things were going great, until the night I saw her out at a nightclub with a guy who she claimed was a friend from work. I tried to play it as cool as possible but considering I had just taken 10 shots of fireball, it wasn’t so simple or clear. But what was she doing there? She never went out to places like that.  After that night, we grew apart again and she started dating said “friend from work”.  Admittedly, in a way I feel like I served the love of my life to said friend on a silver platter.

So here I am today, 3 months later, I leave in 30 days to start my dream career as a fighter pilot. Yet I feel like there’s something missing, like there’s something still left for me to do.  I’ve made every move in the book to try to show this girl how much I care. I’ve written letters, gave her space, played it cool and I’m not exactly sure where it has gotten me. Here is the guy that a couple months ago didn’t care if he got that text, is here unable to let go. How do you let go of someone you’ve thought about every day from your first date to present? I have been out on dates since the breakup with some very attractive women who were great in their own right, but it’s not the same anymore. The hardest part is being so close and having so much to say but knowing it won’t change anything or even push her further away when all you want is to hold her in your arms, look her in those dreamy eyes, say “I love you” as we kiss the night goodbye.

But I am out of time.

       Ariel, If you ever get a chance to read this, I hope you understand why I acted the way I did. It was my first real relationship and I was scared of where it would go. You were the one I was always searching for. I love you like I have never loved anything before and I wouldn’t change anything that we did together even if I wanted to (though I would have opened my heart more). Every second we spent cuddled on my bed watching Footloose and Grease, you sleeping in my arms and even playing Rummikub, I wouldn’t trade for anything, even going Mach 2 with my tail on fire (Top Gun Reference). Know that if the day comes that you give your heart to me again, there won’t be a day that goes by that you feel unappreciated or unloved. I’ll make you the happiest girl in the world. It was never my intention to hurt you; but I did, and I can’t apologize enough. I’ll spend a lifetime trying to make this right; but if you read this and you decide that we will never be together again, I understand. Just know that you have impacted my life and there will always be a piece of my heart still in love with you and I miss you babe. Read this whenever you’re feeling down or lonely and know that there is always someone thinking about you. I hope it makes you smile that smile that I’ll never forget.

Nothing has challenged me and changed my way of thinking as much as that little blonde, small town country girl and I love her for it. What’s heartbreaking is that sometimes you meet the perfect person at the wrong time, and when the time is right, it may be too late. I hope it’s not too late.

I guess the message here is; If you’re reading this and you have a loved one in your life that you know deep down is special; never let that person slip away, treat them the way they should be treated because that doesn’t come around very often. Too many times we take our partners for granted so: Say how you feel! Cause once they’ve decide to leave, no matter how much you yell, “I love you”, they won’t hear you. If they’ve already left, never stop fighting for them or let your love go even if that means walking away for now.  I really hope that people will share this enough so that we can learn to appreciate what we have and maybe Ariel will see this someday and we can start over. A great quote I read on one of the now incessant Facebook memes said, “Love them like they’re leaving and they’ll never leave”...Ain’t that the damn truth!?

Is There a “Reacher” and a “Settler” in Every Relationship?

Is There a “Reacher” and a “Settler” in Every Relationship?

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There was an episode of How I Met Your Mother that discussed this theory: every “good relationship” has both a “reacher” and a “settler.” “One person reaches for someone above their league and one person settles below theirs.” But is this theory really valid? I know that for my personal love life it doesn’t really ring true, so I had to explore it. Evolutionary psychology (theory based on survival and reproductive mechanisms’ perspectives) suggests that people end up matched with mates of equal value. For instance, if you and your significant other were to be in a study and you had to be rated on your attractiveness and they rated you as a “7” lets say, then most likely your significant other would be rated around a 6 or 7 also, since the theory suggests that you end up being paired up with others of similar “mate value” in your communities. Across different cultures, evolutionary theory research has found that people want to be with the best they can get. It is suggested that people aren’t only settling for the best they can get, because people are also very much attracted to their mates (of similar attractiveness).

Evolutionary theories can be helpful in understanding mating preferences and dating behaviors, but when it comes to the emotion of love you have to recognize its limitations. Physical attraction is only part of it. How are we to judge the connection between two people? And how are we to judge whom is settling for whom? Yes, we see some couples and we may think “he’s too good for her” or “what does she see in him?” And yes we all know those people who will even admit that they aren’t in love, or they may be cheating, etc. In those cases it’s more evident that someone was “settling” for that relationship (for whatever the reason may be). But in most cases, I would argue the reason most long term relationships work is because no one was settling or reaching. Instead, two people who were attracted to each other, for more than just physical reasons, had a strong connection.

With that being said, if we are going to judge other couples on who is the reacher and the settler, it is important to consider the whole package. Therefore, a model (lets pretend she’s bitchy and mean) married to a short bald guy musician (lets pretend he’s funny and charismatic) may not be settling for him, but instead they could be of equal value taking other points into perspective beyond just attractiveness. This perspective takes getting use to, but keep an open mind on examining the whole package, which includes intellect, humor, creativity, and so much more.

Self-awareness and experience help us know our “mate value.” I have observed in some people who have a difficult time finding a long term partner lack that self-awareness. These people believe they should get that tall, dark and handsome (and rich) guy, or that beautiful, smart, cover girl look alike lady. Yet they don’t offer the same value in return. Our mating preferences get shaped by our experiences, positively or negatively, reinforced. It’s okay to have deal breakers, I’ll admit that I’ve overlooked several guys because they weren’t tall enough or smart enough for me to be attracted to them, but the truth is we do discriminate when we choose our mates. Not saying to not discriminate but to be open minded. If you’re single for a long time and you’re wondering why, it could be that you have unrealistic expectations of who you’re long term significant other should be.

Anyway, so get out there and start dating! Stop thinking that you are too good for him or her and be open to the idea that love sometimes happens with people you wouldn’t (initially) expect. A relationship doesn’t need a “reacher” and a “settler” to make it work, but rather equal partners who are in love (regardless if others “understand” it).

 

 

http://elitedaily.com/dating/reacher-settler-every-relationship/1588564/

12 Signs The Girl You are Dating is Actually Into You

12 Signs The Girl You are Dating is Actually Into You

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So fellas, you’ve recently started dating a girl that you really like and you’ve gone out with her a few times, but she’s either giving you mixed signals or you’re just not sure if she’s really into you. Even though she keeps going out with you, you both haven’t communicated your relationship intentions yet, and you’re afraid to tell her how you feel because it’s too soon. You don’t want to be Mr. Right Now and you want something more than casual. Here are 12 signs that the girl you are dating is actually really into you and you’re not a “filler” until she finds a guy who she really wants as a boyfriend: 1) She doesn’t take hours to text or call you back. 2) She thanks you after you took her out on a date. 3) She commits to plans with you in advance. 4) She enjoys spending time with you even when you’re doing nothing – like staying in for the night ordering takeout and watching TV. 5) She wants you to meet her girlfriends. 6) She grooms herself more when she knows she’s going to see you (e.g., makeup, outfit, hair). 7) When you make plans to do things it isn’t always what she wants to do. She’ll be happy to go watch the game with you and your friends. 8) She connects with you on social media throughout the day (e.g., likes your facebook or Instagram photo). 9) She initiates texts; you aren’t the one that always has to text her first. 10) She talks about her family and other values that are important to her and she asks you about your priorities and values. 11) She really interested in learning more about who you really are (e.g., asks a lot of questions about your past). 12) She gives you attention and affection without you chasing her for it.

A good catch will want to be caught, no need for chasing. If the girl you are dating is showing you these signs, she’ll be open to being more than casual. Take a chance and see what can happen!

3 Reasons Why Men in their Twenties Don’t Want Girlfriends

3 Reasons Why Men in their Twenties Don’t Want Girlfriends

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In recent years the dating stories I have been hearing all sound very similar—after 2 or 3 months of casually dating a girl, the guy started to get the hint that the girl wanted something more serious. The girl wanted it to become a committed boyfriend/girlfriend type of relationship, and the guy cut it off because he said he just wasn’t “ready,” or something to that extent. In some of these cases it could be that the guy just wasn’t that into her for something long term. However, in many of these stories it becomes clear that while the guy genuinely really cared for and liked the girl (e.g., introduced her to his friends and talked every day), other preoccupations got in his way. That’s the thing with your twenties: you’re still figuring things out. There’s a lot of pressure in society (and in human nature) for men to be established, successful, and have been with a lot of women by the time they “settle down.” Here are the three reasons that twentysomething year old men – er, shall we say “boys” – don’t want to have girlfriends, apart from the golden rule of “he’s just not that into you.”

1. Friends, Career and other priorities Men in their twenties put a lot of attention and value into their “boys time.” That need they have to spend time with the guys goes away as they get older and start prioritizing their romantic relationship. This is also the age that you get out of college and start your career. They feel the pressure because they are at the bottom of the ladder trying to work their way up. They are trying to find their place in the world in the career or job of their choice. Friends and Career are often a reason men this age do not want long term relationships so they can focus on other priorities and not on love.

2. Emotionally unavailable/immature—seeking experiences for what they look for in a long term girlfriend Men at this age are very immature emotionally (usually). They also have a tendency to not be available emotionally because it is such an evolving period of their lives. They could be getting out of another relationship, transitioning to a new job, moving to a new city etc. All of these stressors can interfere with them feeling emotionally ready for a girlfriend. They also don’t know what they want and are looking for what they want in a long term girlfriend by being single and dating around, even if they are doing it without conscious awareness.

3. Sexual commitment/Time—seeking sexual experiences. Men at this age are in their sexual prime, and are therefore constantly in pursuit of novel sexual experience. They also don’t have a ticking biological clock, so they know they have time to settle down and to be sexually monogamous with a girl in the future. They also don’t have the pressure to be committed because, let’s face it, many women in New York have no problem with casual sex and so men don’t feel the need to have a girlfriend to have sex regularly.

The average twentysomething year old guy could not want a girlfriend for one of these reasons or maybe even all three. These reasons were inspired by my own past dating experiences and by most of my current single girlfriends experiencing these issues in NYC today. However, these reasons go beyond NYC dating and can be extended to universal Western modern dating cultures. So what happens now if you are dating a guy in his twenties who is very focused on his career to the point he doesn’t have time for you, or maybe he rather spend time with his friends in his free time, and/or maybe he sleeps around with other girls? Well the message I am sending is this—respect yourself enough to walk away from someone that isn’t making you happy because he’s not there for you the way you’d like. You are his “part-time,” “downtime,” or “sometime” and you want a committed boyfriend. If the guy isn’t giving that to you move on to the next because they aren’t even worth your time! One day, you will find that guy who doesn’t have one or all of these three reasons for not wanting a girlfriend. One day.

http://elitedaily.com/dating/3-reasons-men-twenties-dont-want-girlfriends/746708/

Sex Before Monogamy: Here’s why it’s a Yes

Sex Before Monogamy: Here’s why it’s a Yes

Careless choices of sexual partners can lead to unwanted pregnancies, abusive relationships, emotional problems and sexually transmitted infections. Be selective with who you are sexually involved with. But if you have romantic feelings for someone and you want to see where the relationship will go, sex before monogamy is the right direction to head in.

The famous tag line of Millionaire Matchmaker Patty Stanger is “No sex before monogamy!”… But the issue with that concept is that in most cases, you don’t know your compatibility with a romantic partner until you have sexual intercourse.

Here’s why sex before committing to a long term monogamous relationship is a good idea:

  • Sex allows people to evaluate how sexually compatible they are. Through sex, women can observe certain qualities about a man, such as: his sensitivity, his reliability, and his concern with her happiness. Sexual incompatibility is responsible for a large portion of why people cheat, whether it’s a long term dating partner or a married partner. Cheating can be avoided by assessing sexual compatibility before making a long term monogamous commitment. This ultimately can lead to avoiding divorce!
  • Sex allows people to get to know each other in metaphysical ways.  Sex represents a spiritual merging of energy fields, which brings people together in meaningful and unexpected ways. Some researchers have found that women hold on to the DNA of their sex partners even when they do not become pregnant. This means that females can absorb and carry living DNA and cells from every male they have unprotected intercouse with!

I’m not suggesting you go out there and have casual sex per say because you are single and lonely, but I am suggesting you be open to the idea not everyone you have sexual intercourse with has to be for a long term relationship. The goal for all of us should be to end up in a monogamous and loving relationship, because that’s what our brains were wired to do after all. Sex has been and will always be a vital part of every romantic relationship.

Opposite Sex Friendships: Three steps to Yay or Nay

Opposite Sex Friendships: Three steps to Yay or Nay

Having close friends of the opposite sex while in a committed romantic relationship is something many couples fight over. I know that for me,  it’s something that has caused disagreements in my past romantic relationships. To avoid any miscommunication, couples need to define and agree upon boundaries for these types of friendships. Opposite sex friends don’t need to pose a threat to your relationship, if you keep in mind these three  general checkpoints: It’s acceptable to have opposite sex friends when:

  1. You don’t have romantic, “wish you were mine” feelings for your opposite sex friend. If the friendship is currently platonic but you wish it were more, it’s not fair to your partner. It’s kind of a big deal if you’re in love with your opposite sex friend.
  2. You are comfortable bringing your significant other around that friend. It sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people feel they can’t have a comfortable social interaction with their significant other and opposite sex friend. Can the three of you hang together without it being awkward? If not, does your significant other need more time to get comfortable with your opposite sex friend, or is it just never going to happen?   Be sure to ask that question and make your significant other comfortable providing an honest answer.
  3. You don’t first go to your opposite sex friend when you have a personal problem and/or are looking for emotional support. Your significant other should be the one who you go to first, he/she is your partner in crime, your rock, your other half If you would rather discuss theses matters with your opposite sex friend, then that friendship may be inhibiting you from forming a deeper relationship with your significant other. If this is the case, he/she would have every right to feel threatened by your opposite sex friendship.

Remember to establish opposite sex friend boundaries together with your significant other, and, most importantly, be respectful of them. For some couples, boundaries with opposite sex friends could mean no hanging out alone (especially if alcohol is involved), or it could simply mean limiting the amount of phone calls and texts. Everyone’s opposite sex friend thresholds are different, the key is to communicate and define your limits.  By doing so, you and your significant other can  make the decision together if it’s a “Yay” or “Nay” to that opposite sex friend.