-Don’t hit on your friend’s boyfriends or husbands (duh!)
-Don’t call your friend’s boyfriend/husband without asking her first
-If your best male friend is dating, don’t see him alone or have long conversations about his relationship. See him with his new girlfriend and try to befriend her too. No dinners behind her back.
-Just because he is your male friend, don’t defend him if he treats his girlfriend poorly or lies and cheats on her. Remember it can happen to you too..
-If your girlfriend complains about her boyfriend, listen but don’t butt in. If they stay together you will pay the price if you tell her to leave him.
-Never be a married man’s confidante. Tell him to find a therapist.
-Avoid emotional cheating by being civil but not too close to married men at work.
-If you hear that your girlfriend’s boyfriend or husband is cheating, or if he hits on you, tell her. You may lose her friendship but you will help her get rid of an asshole.
-Don’t tell your girlfriend’s boyfriend or husband her secrets or anything that can make her uncomfortable.
The same can be applied to men.
A lot of first marriages break when people reach 40, unfortunately. In your late 30’s and early 40’s most people who were married in their 20’s and early to mid-30’s have children. There are many family obligations when your cuhildren are dependent on you. You still interact with your ex, and sometimes that is a source of conflict for the new boyfriend or girlfriend.
Merging familes is not a piece of cake. It is much easier when one of you do not have children and are willing to become a step-parent figure; as long as you don’t demand exclusive attention from your partner. If both have children, it is easier to understand the demands that parenthood entails. It is easier to arrange your routine around the children. However, it can also create a whole slew of problems, namely because you are trying to integrate two families with different values and habits into one. There is also interference from the other parent. No easy task, and I don’t envy couples in that situation.
When you become single in your 50’s though, a lot of the complications with children are generally gone. They may still be in College, but they are not dependent on their parents on a daily basis anymore. That is a great phase for dating again: you both have time, freedom to travel when you wish and lot’s of energy-you are still young. I see the greatest harmony in couples that age.
Finally, the maturity they have achieved make the petty stuff not so important; jealousy is not so much an element any longer, a sense of calm and understanding prevails, a sense of “we don’t have that many decades ahead so let’s make the best of life”, a sense of accomplishment, may it be professional or having successfully raised your children, an interest in causes and other bigger things than worries about money and kids, less need to impress, more personal confidence, less attachment to material things and less sexual addiction-relationships are more based in common interests and companionship than lust. Hopefully, 50 plus folks get to find someone who they want to spend their old age with, since being single and isolated in your later years is one of the biggest causes of early death.
What are dinks? That is how you call couples who have double incomes, no kids. Obviously childless couples that make a choice not to have children fit into that category, but I want to discuss the ones who are now empty nesters and middle aged. If you happen to have a good marriage and your kids are grown, living on their own and financially independent, you can have the best of lives.
When does middle age start and end? Somewhere from 45 to 65. Some say middle age starts at 40, some say at 50. Anyhow, since we are all living longer and looking a lot better at 50, I think that age group has been pushed forward.
This phase of your life can be the best in many ways. Your health should be good, provided you take care of it. Your finances are usually more secure, provided you have not been a victim of the job loss and economic upheaval of the 2008 recession former President Bush left us with. Having two incomes, sharing a house and not having any financial or time obligations with your kids does allow you to travel more, invest more, remodel more, enjoy hobbies, eat better, exercise more…the list of benefits is long. Not everyone though is lucky to have a companion at this phase of their lives, especially with the high divorce rate. And some people do very well on their own, financially and emotionally. For people like myself though, for whom having a loving relationship rates as a priority, being part of a DINK is just the ideal situation to be.
Disclaimer: if you are a man or a woman who wants to be in a casual, no strings attached relationship, this post is not for you. But if you want to be in a committed, exclusive, genuine, safe and sound relationship, read on.
People need to learn to read the signs whether their love interest is interested in them in a serious way or just interested to have some temporary fun while they look for the “bigger better deal”. Usually, it is women who are more interested in making their relationship committed, while men notoriously have more problems with commitment. Blame it on biology or cultural upbringing, but it is a fact. However, there are some cases where a man is looking for a stable relationship while the woman just wants the party lifestyle.
One of things that is happening nowadays in our digital love era is that everybody thinks they can do better. No one is happy with what they have. People have become one more material possession. If you think you can do better than the one you are dating or seeing, you will NEVER commit to them. No matter how wonderful they are.
When you are in love and the hormones of attachment (oxytocin) are in play, it is very hard to detach from someone who is not giving you the respect you want. Not only there is the physical bonding, which is very addictive, but there is the emotional dependency. When being with someone feels good, you want more of that. When being with someone makes you smile or laugh, you get hooked. However, with time you may develop anxiety if you feel the other person is not on the page as you. The other person may not want to be with you much, has other priorities or makes others more important. The other person likes you but is not invested in you. The other person will not be there for you when the chips are down. The other person may box you into a certain day or time when they can see you, but exclude you from more important events. The other person may not contact you for long periods, completely disinterested in what is going on in your life.
“Out of sight, out of mind” is their motto.
Oftentimes, the person who is more in love misses the red flags. You don’t want to see the bad because the good feels so good. Like religion, you only care for the biblical messages that suit you and forget the vile things the bible stories condone.
One day you realize that the person you love is not giving you the signs you need to feel safe and comfortable. You see other couples and you compare. You see your friends adding proudly “in a relationship with…” on their Facebook status while your love interest hides you from their friends. You see other couples making long term plans, like travel or living together, marriage. You find out the other person has been actively been trying to find other relationships, whether online or offline. You realize that when you need their help, they find excuses. You realize that you are always wrong while others are always right. You just know that the moment the person you love finds someone more appropriate (in their eyes), they will drop you like a hot potato, with no remorse.
Many times the “friends with benefits” becomes a downright “booty call” system, where your love interest just calls you from time to time late at night when they have no better plans. There are no invitations done in advance, nothing planned ahead of time, nothing that includes his or hers friends and family.
You know something is not right and you start feeling bad about it.
So what do you do? You stay, because you have hope. Women in particular, are extremely hopeful creatures. They think their partner somehow has feelings for them and they will “see the light”. But they never do. There are rare cases where people decide to become a more committed partner, but it is not the norm.
If more women stop allowing this behavior what are players going to do? If men or women who are not being taken seriously STOP ENABLING people who are not treating them as a priority what will happen? Two things will happen:
1) Their self esteem will increase and they will be in control of their lives, opening up to better relationships.
2) By not playing the player’s game, players will have to step up their game, because they will not find any more willing participants. Either they will have to be alone or they will have to change and try to be more committed.
A BIG sign you were just a booty call is when you end things with your flaky better half, he or she will not attempt to contact you or repair the relationship. He or she will not try to convince you to stay or fight for the relationship. Because in his or her mind, you were just convenient for a time period. Basically, your flaky romantic partner was not in love with you. They will actually feel completely indifferent that you are gone.
So women, if you continue enabling non committal men, they will continue to create havoc in your life and feelings, as well as the next person after you. If you don’t want to be friends with benefits, if you don’t like to be hidden, don’t stay. Run. Respect yourself. Say “F*** that!”
Just say no to “friends with benefits” and watch the players die out just like the dinossaurs after the asteroid killed all their food sources…
Disclaimer: as with all my posts, there are always exceptions to the rule and this is only MY OWN observation. Others may have a completely different view:
There are many circumstances why people don’t have children. Some people never wanted children, and that is a personal preference that needs to be respected. Others never had the opportunity nor was it a goal in their lives. Others threw themselves into their demanding careers and never thought about having children (sometimes regretting it later). Others wanted to have a free and hard partying lifestyle, and settling down with one person and being unable to enjoy life for maybe 2 decades seemed like hell on earth.
Whether it was a personal decision or just life circumstances, adults who never had children differ a bit from others from my observation:
First, having not gone through the stages of parenthood and all the sacrifice it entails, people over 40 who never had children seem to have a more selfish lifestyle. They are not used to care for others, only for themselves. They don’t have to think what someone else wants to eat, take them here and there, take care of them when they are sick, change diapers and stay home while their friends are partying. They party well into their 50’s and 60’s as if they were still 25. They relate better with younger people who have no family obligations. Their lives have no structure: they don’t have regular meal times and tend to go to bed very late and sleep in. They are used to living alone and resent sharing their space or personal belongings. When in a relationship, they usually make decisions that don’t involve the other person, since they don’t have the habit of considering others’ needs.
People without children tend to have more pets, often dogs or cats who they treat as their kids. They also tend to spoil their nieces and nephews-people with children don’t often do that with theirs. On the other hand, while people without children may become more selfish over time, they sometimes also feel the need to assist others more-which is a good thing. It may derive from their need to “father” or “mother” someone, to nurture. Finally, people without children seem to invest more time in charities and causes-often a substitute for taking care of children, and sometimes like to work in professions that involve children (think headmistresses, clergy, nuns).
There is no right or wrong way to live one’s life. To have or not to have children is totally an individual choice, but there are some differences in the way people live and act.
Everybody has heard the sentence: “jealousy has reared its ugly head”. Jealousy is seen as a terrible trait to have, so much so that people try to suppress it. Jealous people are called “insecure”. Others say that it is all about trust. Yes, we want to trust people. We all want to trust our romantic partners especially. Sometimes, though, too much trust and trying to be too “cool” can make you a fool. You will be the classic case of “the wife who was the last to know”.
If something seems out of place, if you begin noticing some strange patterns, if you feel uncomfortable about something, it usually means something. Trust your instincts! Relationships should not make you feel uneasy! They are meant to make you feel comfortable and safe. White lies can hide bigger lies. Some liars lie with a lot of charm. They make you feel crazy. They make you feel bad for even asking questions. They are masters of deceit. Sociopaths are the most charming people socially, but horrible in personal relationships. I am not concluding all cheaters and liars are sociopaths, but people who lie easily and without remorse show sociopathic tendencies.
When you feel something is not right, investigate. Don’t hide your head on the sand. Catching a STD or having your heart broken can seriously affect your health and your life. Some people take years to get over a betrayal. It affects their lives, their jobs, their future relationships. There are some cases of people who died of a broken heart. A break up is not only the loss of someone you loved, but also the loss of hope, of a future you envisioned together, the loss of happiness (even if it’s temporarily).
While not many of us can afford a private investigator, we can ask questions. We can confront the person we are not feeling comfortable with. We can analyze their response. Hostility towards you? Guilty as sin. Trying to make you feel bad and labeling you jealous and insecure? Diversion technique.
We all have different discomfort zones. Some people can tolerate emotional cheating (when our partners confide in others and make them more important than us), others can tolerate physical cheating. In my humble opinion (I’m kidding, no one who has a blog has a humble opinion, ha ha), whatever makes YOU uncomfortable does not have to continue. Don’t go paranoid. Don’t make up things or let your imagination go wild. Rely on facts. Accept reasonable explanations. But don’t feel ashamed of finding things out and protecting yourself. Trust your instincts. Protect your heart.
Something happening in the dating world today: the Sunday Girls and Guys.
I have a musical male friend who has been in one of these “Sunday Man” situations and even wrote a song about it. Basically, it is to date someone who always has “plans” on Thursday-Saturday nights, the evenings when people usually go out, only to be invited to see them on Sundays. Why Sundays? Because Friday and Saturday nights are reserved for “fishing and hunting”. The boyfriend who is flaky and not in love with you, the girlfriend who is looking for the bigger better deal, they all want to be free those nights to get lucky with someone else. On Sundays they wake up alone, and remember you exist. They call you, and you are happy they are giving you some crumbles.
It takes several of these weekends to realize you have become the “Sunday Girl” or “Sunday Man”. You try to be the cool one and give them their space. It is so uncool to show jealousy and suspicion right? After several weekend nights left alone, you start realizing they are totally looking for someone else, and you are the just good enough option for a lonely week night or a quiet Sunday. That also happens when the bigger better deal they are after is not giving them the time of the day.
My advice: love yourself. Tell your “boyfriend”, “girlfriend” or date-the one who can only see you on Sundays that you are only available on Friday and Saturday nights-and watch what happens.
Talking to some Brazilian friends who are in the dating market, we compared notes about dating in Brazil vs. dating in the US, and came to the conclusion that dating in America is much more confusing. In Brazil, once you start going out with someone, there is an implicit understanding that you are a couple. That means you readily tell your family and friends you have a significant other. You keep in touch daily. You see each other also almost daily. You start sharing your friends and activities. You know where you stand. You don’t question the relationship so much: “are we dating?”, “are we serious”? Brazilians also display much more public affection, like holding hands and kissing. It is an affectionate country.
In America, especially with the multitude of options online dating has created, it seems people have become flakier and that often translates into an on and off relationship. Don’t get me wrong: in Brazil, online dating is also popular, but the essence of what couplehood means remains the same as before. That is, once you start a romance, you don’t look for others. You see each other almost on a daily basis and starting behaving as a couple.
In the US nowadays it seems everyone is looking for the bigger better deal. You go out with someone but you don’t show much commitment. You have “back up” plans. The guy or girl you call on Sundays when you are bored, because your Friday and Saturday nights are reserved for searching for the BBD (bigger better deal). You keep your back up plan happy with a few dates far and between and a few phone calls. You keep your backups a bit hidden since you don’t want your social circles to think you are a couple. God forbid a BBD shows up in a party and you are with the back up!
If it doesn’t work out with your partner in Brazil, you end things properly. In America, many people are acting so passive agressively nowadays that they seem unable to break things up with someone or tell them right in the beginning they are not interested in the other romantically. So relationships drag in that sea of doubt. People forget their manners and disrespect each other by not answering the phone, text or emails. Again, they are so unsure of what they want while they leave you hanging, just in case it doesn’t work with the BBD…
Our society has made us believe that we deserve perfection. Nobody wants to work in a relationship anymore nor put up with normal issues people have. Men want women who look perfect like the photoshopped world they grew up seeing. Women dream of Don Draper types without the womanizing. Selfishness and materialism has subverted the family values we once had and that are still strong in countries like Brazil.
Brazil has a lower divorce rate than America. Families stay together for longer (most kids only leave home when they get married), and people tend to live near their families. This family atmosphere also makes couples take their relationship more seriously. Once you both meet each other’s family, the pressure to stay together is stronger.
This lack of commitment and constant search for the perfect companion (or soul mate like many like to call) is one of the strongest reasons for this lack of commitment we are seeing in the American dating scene. Couple that with all the supermarket choices of online dating, the “I want it now” mentality of high speed internet/life that has produced instant gratification, the easy access to porn (which banalizes sex) and the disintegration of the nuclear family and you can understand why so many people are complaining about the dating world nowadays.
Two tools that were inexistent decades ago were social media sites and dating sites. There are many social sciences dissertations studying the impact of these two relatively new phenomena in personal relationships. When we talk about romantic relationships, some observations can be made:
1) Conflicts can be created between couples, for example: friending exes, complimenting the picture of someone of the opposite sex, talking through private messages and venting about your partner can all bring problems.
2) Dating sites have reduced romance to selecting the ripest and most colorful fruit in the street market, only to throw it aside when you find another fruit you like better. Changing partners has become extremely easy at the click of a button. Problems with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Get your profile up. Problems in your marriage? Find someone new quickly online.
3) Why take the time to get to know and court someone you like when you can be going out with many men or women at the same time?
4) If you need sex, you can easily find someone who will sleep with you on the first date, or you can go to a casual encounters website.
5) You choose people based on certain criteria (height, education, looks, etc.) and may overlook people who you could really have a loving relationship with.
6) Because of the sheer number of people who you are in contact with, you treat them not as people with feelings but as numbers. Basic respect is lost.
7) Instant chemistry is expected on a first date, and when that doesn’t happen, one goes on a new date instead of letting the cycle of falling in love happen naturally. Think of the relationships you had in the past: how many were really love at first sight?
8) Facebook and other social media sites produce expectation on each side of the couple. One expects the other to showcase their love and to change their status. When that doesn’t happen, frustration ensues.
9) Seeing your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend on a dating site right after a break up is very devastating.
10) You no longer hold on to your relationship and try to make it work, because there is a world of potential dates out there. That can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances.
Online dating provides a wealth of information into human psyche. There is so much you can learn about people just by reading their profiles and preferences. If you are trying to find love through online dating, here are some interesting observations:
1) People lie. A lot. White lies too. Investigate, use Google, White Pages and online court information for your State. Unfortunately, none of the paid dating websites screen candidates for drug use, alcoholism, domestic violence, sexual harrasment or mental illness.
2) People who say their kids mean the world to them. “I have the most wonderful kids”, “I have two beautiful daughters/kids/sons”. Of course you do, but to you! Every parent thinks the world of their kids. Not only that is obvious, it makes you wonder if they will have any time for dating and if their kids will always come first. Beware of potential problems with moms and dads who are over protective.
3) Remember that most people who you meet you will not have any chemistry with. If your expectations are very low, you won’t be disappointed.
4) Make sure you understand the deal breakers before you sleep with someone. If someone wants to have children and you do not, it’s a waste of your time. If you want a serious and monogamous relationship and she does not, why go on? Sometimes people overlook things like that and end up getting hurt later.
5) Political preference and religion. Make sure you can have an intimate relationship with someone who has such a different worldview than you.
6) Excess action: the generation “I don’t want to be like my mother generation”. Their profiles are a succession of trips around the world and endless adventures like jumping out of planes and climbing Mount Everest that makes you tired just to read them.
7) Bad spelling, bad grammar. Makes you think why would someone post a dating profile without even trying to get their smarter friend to review it or use plain spellcheck..
8) The “I can go from casual to a tuxedo”. When did that become a selling point? Almost any human being can!
9) The coffee date. Guys, most women do not want to have coffee at 7 PM. And they don’t want to meet you at broad daylight first thing in the morning. Don’t be cheap-buy her a drink. It is much more romantic to go to a nice bar or small restaurant or outdoor cafe. If you are not sure she deserves a proper date, don’t waste your time.
10) Don’t string people along. Don’t ignore their text messages and emails or calls after a date. That is insanely rude. Just tell them the truth: you are not interested in them romantically.
11) People who take 10 years off their age hoping no one will notice. Don’t delude yourself.
12) People who talk non-stop about their “evil” ex. That is so off-putting. Go get over them first and then try dating.
13) People who try to be too “hands on” on a first date. See if the other person is also into you. And guys, a second date does not mean a woman will sleep with you.
14) People who put pictures of themselves with other people. Don’t you know how to crop pictures or just upload a picture of yourself? Do these people know they are on a dating site for the world to see? We do not want to see pictures of you, your baby, your grown klds, your pets or sunsets. We do not want to see pictures of your friends and buddies. What if your friend is better looking than you, will you give us their number?
15) Overweight women trying to hide behind their friends or objects…
16) Men saying how they want to find a woman to shower with love, flowers, trips and attention. Guys, you will do that for a couple of months. Than you will become your lazy self…and take us for granted when you notice how much we are into you!
17) There are so many men saying they look and act younger than their age, or that people say they look younger (people are nice…) and when you look at their pictures, or worse, look at them up close, they look EXACTLY their age-or even older! Men don’t have mirrors at home..women are usually more aware of their physical shortcomings.
18) Expectations: when you go out of your way to meet an online date-getting ready, driving sometimes several miles-you expect you will meet the love of your life. Most of the time though, you will just have a standard date which may be pleasant but uneventful. People expect instant attraction, bells going off, an encounter of souls..but it’s just one more person you are not excited about. We want perfection, and perfection doesn’t exist. It is not a natural way of falling in love. It’s forced. It’s artificial. Isn’t it a lot better to meet someone in real life and feel that instant connection? To read the interest in their eyes? That is why I think online dating has a low rate of success. The best romances happen by natural circumstances.
19) Far away photos: what’s the point? Pictures of sunsets, pets and your kids: who cares? Pictures of your trips around the world-too late, you won’t be going there with us. Pictures with loads of friends-we get it, you’re popular. Pictures with your exes-yes, there are some completely clueless people, especially men, who want to show off how pretty the ex was to step up their game, and it so backfires…
20) Widowers. This one is from an actual profile: “I lost the love of my life to cancer last summer. We were married 25 years. Nobody could replace my wife, Kathy”. Well, how many women are willing to live eternally with “Rebecca”?
My readers can provide me with more funnies from online dating…
- Being a mother
- Being a woman
- Dating world
- Difference between cultures
- Social Media
- World Events/News