(Dis)engaged.

I’ve gotten to that age, where everyone around me is in a (seemingly) happy relationship. I have spent the whole day re-watching earlier seasons on Hell’s Kitchen. Priorities.

Don’t get me wrong, I would like to be in a relationship. Sure, who doesn’t want that validation that their lovable? And normally, I’m okay with being single: I do what I want, I go where I please and when I cook, there’s more food for me.

But every now and again, theres this feeling that creeps in. One of loneliness and worry. Am I unloveable? Usually I just prefer not to open that door and find something productive to do – to get my mind off that. However, this is not one of those times – hence the 2 am post on a Friday night.

My friend just got engaged. Yes, I’m happy, why wouldn’t I be? They are a loving couple and I’ve known them since the beginning. Besides, it’s not about me, it’s about them. Only, this is the 3rd engagement this year from my friends.

My first friend, was engaged this Summer. She knew it was happening and when it did, I was happy for her. Then a month later, another friend got engaged. She’s an awesome person, I’m definitely happy for her. Now this friend. Again, still happy, just…hmmm…what about me?!?!

Now granted, I don’t want to be engaged. I don’t know if I ever want to get married. But I want to be on the path heading somewhere along those lines. Hell, I’ll settle for a callback for a second date. I digress.

The fall season, the holidays…all times where people are snuggled up with their significant other doesn’t help either. I’ll resign to the fact that at least I know what a Beef Wellington is and there’s always alcohol this time of year – readily available.

Advertisements

Gated In.

As I watched the construction people put up bars for my bedroom window (we’re doing renovations), I can’t help but to wonder if it is an analogy to how I am. Gated in.

Sure, we’re all a bit private at times and as of recent, it has become trendy to self identify as an introvert, but seriously, these “walls” that we’re so proud to build up, is it useful?

Yes, it prevents us from being hurt, a form of self-protection, but when we’re closed off from the world, who can help us? Support us?

I may not know all the answers, but I’ll leave you with this quote: “Don’t build up these walls where no one can see in and you can’t see out.”

Tools for a successful relationship.

We live in a generation that idealizes love but we don’t know how to get it. Sure, we have Tinder, OK Cupid and a plethora of other online dating sites. We have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. And of course, the age old meet cute, Starbucks, supermarkets, bar, and the list goes on and on. But how do we achieve one of those relationship things the internet, our friends, society tells us about?

All over the internet, they are thousands, if not more, of articles telling how us how to get the guy/girl of our dreams. What men/women hate, how to be in a fulfilling relationships. There are Youtube advice videos, vlogs, ad nauseam. But there aren’t many on how to maintain and grow in relationships.

Sure you get the “how to keep the spark alive” and “how not to be boring with your spouse” but they talk about things that are superficial and well, a repetitive. Be honest, listen, communicate, don’t lie, be spontaneous, keeping things “spicy”. But how do these techniques really work out in the long run?

If I am “spicy”? Will that help me and my spouse have a conversation about shared finances?

If I am honest, how can that prepare me when meeting my partner’s parents for the first time?

These tools primarily focus on how to get a relationship and make it last until we both think “eh, I’m comfortable where I am.” It isn’t the necessary tools needed for let’s say, a life partner.

There should be more articles on having a conversation about marriages, whether or not children play a role, relocating, moving in, meeting the parents, career and relationships and the list goes on. In a long term relationship, many topics will arise with many conversations to be had. How can we master them to a successful relationship?

You got the relationship you’ve always wanted. Now what?

Why are you single?

As of recent, I’ve been getting this question a lot. As mentioned before, I got out of a 8 year relationship about 2 years ago. I should’ve moved on – and in some ways I did: I focused on my career, my friends, my family, my cats. I didn’t feel ready to date – I needed time to digest what happened.

Now I know I have no excuse for this: I initiated the break up and told everyone who asked, I was okay. But some days I struggled and some days I feel fine. I wanted to be completely sure I was over it before even thinking about dating.

My friends have been amazing: supportive, kind, funny, caring, etc. I can’t complain. but I feel that anything you go through, only you know how you feel. Often times I felt like their intentions were good, but I preferred to be left alone.

After a while, I was back to being myself. Better even. I gain new appreciation as to who I was, my strengths, my weaknesses and concentrated on positivity.

But ever so often, I get the dreaded question: why are you single? And I’m baffled. I get thrown off. I’m a bumbling rambling idiot. “Uh, I…um..I don’t know”. Maybe I’m not thinking clearly: if I knew why I was single, wouldn’t I work towards coupledom? I don’t know why I’m not in a relationship. Ask them.

I know they have good intent and they usually couple it with, “you’re an amazing guy”. I know that too.

In the beginning, my response was “I just got out of a relationship.” Perfect. They nodded in understanding and we went back to our mindless conversations. Now, 2 years later, I have no idea. I’d like to say I am actively looking and dating but I haven’t. I don’t know how to start that – that seems like a lot of work: can’t I just be awesome and someone recognize that? Nope, doesn’t work that way.

So the follow up question is “why aren’t you dating, then?” I don’t know. Then I’d have to dig deep within myself and come up with some answer about how flawed I am to date and how many things are wrong with me – again, good intentions but I feel like roadkill.

I told myself I would date more but that hasn’t happened. I know my friends mean well, but I guess I can’t help this feeling of sadness when they ask it. At times, I just think, well what’s so good about being in a relationship? You have to be considerate of their “feelings” and such? I like my freedom and independence. Besides, jumping from one relationship into another is not a good pattern to get into. But of course they retort with “dating doesn’t necessarily mean relationship” and pause for my reaction as I gaze downward and say “yeah, I guess you’re right.”

I feel like as adults, you’ll be placed in these situations where you will be compared to what milestones you’re supposed to accomplish. Career, relationships, friends, engagements, wedding, baby shower – in no particular order. And you will be interrogated as to why you haven’t achieve these milestones yet. Is their something wrong with you? Tell us, then go to the corner while we stare, point and talk.

Of course that’s in my imagination but I do feel their pitying on me. It’s like a blanket – and I feel smothered.

I know this will be a conversation I will have until, I master this whole relationship thing and I get to be a judge on this crazy reality show of life.

But the one thing I remember is that for the most part, they want you to be happy. As one friend put it: “I want someone to love you the way you love people.” Dammit. That was good.

A Commitment To Non-Commitment.

As a “Millennial”, there are certain assumptions about us. Like the previous generation, we are seen as lazy, spoiled, narcissists who are obsessed with technology and social media. The presence of social media has amplified these characteristics. I’m sure the generation before had the same labels placed upon them; it’s just a misunderstanding between two generations – one older and wiser and one younger and carefree.

I will say our generation, the generation of digital socialization, positivity, and independence; has forgotten how to love. Maybe it’s “the rules”, a 90’s guidebook on how to date and marry the “man of your dreams”. Maybe because our family values has grown accustomed to divorces and single parenthood. Perhaps we ourselves have become numb to cheating, bad relationships or the prospect of marriage seen from the media, culture, our friends and our family.

Case in point

I can’t count the number of memes or pictures of a sad girl or guy with white lettering across the picture saying: “If you don’t text me first, we won’t talk” or something of that nature. Maybe it’s the rebellious side of us. A big “f” you to the rules by our previous generation, but let’s look at this from a different angle: if you don’t text first and they don’t text at all, where does that leave you? Will you ever speak again? The suspense.

You see, we all have these expectations, these notions of what true love is. We think we know what we want and society tells us to be have a certain way to get the “person of our dreams”, but they don’t tell us how. Am I supposed to ask the person out first? Am I to play coy and go along with everything that person is saying? What if that person’s not funny?

So we deal with things the way we think it’s supposed to be. Our generation is independent: women’s equality, men’s equality, LGBTQA equality. Freedom to express our true selves, but don’t let the other person know you’re think of them. Keep a poker face. Don’t let them see you sweat. At the same time, we use hashtags like #RelationshipGoals. We claim to hate mind games but we end up resorting to them.

We’ve stopped calling people on the phone. We text instead. We Facebook message, we’ll Instagram. Instead of striking up a decent conversation, we “follow” them. We “like” their pictures and events. We retweet their posts. We do everything and anything but actually talk to them. In a generation considered more outgoing than most, we’re shy when it comes to those things.

I wished I was at this photoshoot. So avant garde.

The confusion leads us to create these mixed messages; we  settle on keeping relationships casual so we won’t get invested; won’t end up being hurt. Truth is, it creates more confusion and someone will end up hurt. I am a believer that friends with benefits (love the movie), will end up with one person feeling something more and ending up crushed when the other person doesn’t feel the same.

So where do we go from here? Will that person ever text the other person? Will they meet at Starbucks and pour out their love to one another while a guy on his laptop live tweets the events? I don’t know the solution. Hell, I’m guilty of doing some of these things myself!

I don’t proclaim to be a love guru. I have been single for about 2 years now since my first and only serious relationship ended. I’m secretive, a bit introverted at times, I hate the thought of “mingling” and meeting new people and I have trust issues. With all that baggage, I still believe in true love. I believe in soul mates. I love romantic comedies and while I will outwardly say something is “too cheesy”, inside I relish the happiness from seeing a love couple.

Call me old fashioned, but I like for a person who likes me to tell me they like me. I hate the whole cat and mouse game; the tit for tat. It doesn’t matter who texts first. I like a person who is confident and assertive in who they want. A person who takes risks and while it may not work out long term, they have no regrets. I’d like to feel like I matter. Not someone’s safe choice, but someone’s only choice. In return, I promise to stop playing games. Because if they’re invested and believe in us, why shouldn’t I?

A good friend of mine said “you can’t expect things from people that you don’t expect from yourself. So maybe it’s time I stop playing these games. Maybe I text first. Maybe I take that risk. But first, I need to meet this person who will change that for me. for now, I’ll just use another Millennial hashtag: #ForeverAlone.

Story of my life.