NOTES

On relationships (Part Two)

And what (you think) you're looking for.

Just as for friendships, I think what we’re looking for in a mate evolves with the person we want to become.

Yet, we have to make sure we know the road we want to take, and be honest with our expectations before engaging with anyone, because we - women - tend too often to lie to ourselves regarding our expectations, shutting them down, pretending to be okay with a situation we’re actually not : he’s hiding you (girl…) / he doesn’t want to settle (and you think you can make him change his mind)/ he’s careless (but gets sweet when he wants something) / he’s not really okay with you being what you are and doing what you do (which means you should be flying by now…) and so many other reasons to distance ourselves from that person before it’s too late, that we just decide to suppress because…we think we’re in love.

Well, sometimes, what we want with this very person right now, is not always what’s good or what’s meant for us. And it’s only way past that experience that we get to understand why it actually didn’t work.

Talking with my sisters, watching them, and processing my own past experiences I have came to wonder if we - women - are expecting too much? Are we really asking for the moon or is it just that men decided to stop being men / forgot to grow up? More accurate : Are we choosing the wrong ones? And if so, where are those we’re looking for?

‘Cause I find it very surprising - if surprising is even enough of a word - the number of nice, charming, educated, smart, (and with a job!) girls/women around me that just can’t seem to find a descent (just descent) guy to spend some time with.

I give it to metrics, there’s now apparently 6 women for 1 man in the world (…) which minus gay, transexual, asexual, incarcerated, and interned men, doesn’t leave us much of a choice.

But still. It’s been a very long time that I heard a prince charming-like story. Most of the time it goes « We started dating, it was amazing, and then… (drama) We had sex and he totally changed, he turned into another person. I found out he had a girlfriend. He said he was okay being single. He’s seeing other girls. I don’t understand why he doesn’t want to get with me. (…) And the list goes on.

Not that dating douche bags are my forté, but I have recently activated my flair to sense when a guy is just not for me. And to know that, I had to start from scratch, meaning : knowing who I am, what is (really) good for me, and what I am exactly looking for.

I think we should know our criterias (be honest if you have some) and stick to them no matter what.

People who once told you to belittle your expectations because they find them way too high, did because they desperately settled themselves for not knowing where to tap.

This said, let’s keep it real. Prince Charming doesn’t exist (I am sorry). There are more or less closer versions to the stereotypes we’ve all been conditioned to believe we deserve, but everyone (including you) comes with a luggage, and a bunch of flaws and qualities. So you cannot expect he/she to be Your « perfect » when you are not. But aim for someone that will definitely check the HCR form - standing for Honesty, Communication, and Respect. It's the minimum you are more than in right to ask for and receive.

Then after knowing what/who you’re looking for, know their function, and the role you want them to play in your life.

Some of us are looking for a boyfriend, in the teenage sense of it, with everything that it implies (…). Some are looking for a companion for the now, with no real visibility on the end of the road. Some are looking for a husband, to fulfill a little girl’s dream/ to admire / to make babies/to become a Mrs and feel like they belong somewhere. Some are looking for a lover, hot dates, hot nights, something safe and light. And some are looking for a partner, which to me, is the best and includes a little bit of all that.

"(…) DATE SOMEONE WHO ACCENTUATES AND BRINGS OUT THE BEST QUALITIES IN YOU, NOT IN THE CHEESY WAY HE/SHE MAKES ME SMILE WHEN I'M DOWN - WHICH IS GOOD - BUT SOMEONE WHO GIVES YOU DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES ON THINGS AND MAKES YOU THINK MORE PRODUCTIVELY AND OUTSIDE THE BOX TO IMPROVE YOUR OVERALL BUSINESS SENSE AND MENTALITY TOWARDS LIFE." - Brendan Fallis.

This, represents absolutely everything I stand and look out for in a relationship at this point of my life. And I do have a very strong point of view.

I rarely jump into the conclusion that when I am dating someone and everything is going well, that he’s irreparably the one. That is a delusion.

Still, I am not a fatalist, there’s always a tiny place for hope, but here is a reality check : Take one friendship you would have bet your life on, that is not part of your life anymore, and you will see why I think we shouldn’t rest on hope when everything is great.

Once you know what you want, what you expect, and the role you want this person to play in your life at this very moment, make sure to dress a list of things you absolutely do not want. And this might be the most important one : you can always be flexible with the things that are okay/close to what you had in mind, but a No in the first place should always remain a No when it comes to giving yourself to someone else.

Nothing is easy and tears are okay when they’re not recurrent, but no women should ever let herself hurt, suffer, being miserably treated, or let go of her body under pain, in the name of Love.

I think we can actually know in advance when it is not going to work - from the first Talk : it’s that very first deep conversation you have about yourself, your life, your past and your aspirations.

I met this one guy once, nice, smart, self-made, older (from what I was somehow expecting having a more mature interaction with), but lost. Lost in the sense where he hadn't completely, entirely found himself. From the Talk we had, I knew that engaging in seeing him more than once was like falling of a cliff, because very few are the guys with daddy issues who turn into reliable and emotionally available men. Murphy’s law. And as a matter of fact, sometimes they even get worse. The only solution for someone in that position to break the cycle of failing relationships, is to recognize, face the problem and acquire the skills to effectively deal with it. Otherwise, it’s another generation of single parent kids we’re creating, leading to another generation…etc.

Sadly enough, the truth is, we - women - are the one who (un)consciously run towards that type of men. Or not. Depending on the relationship we had with our father, and what we’re looking for in a man : to take care of you, or to cater to you?

I have read somewhere that the very first relationship a girl has with someone from the opposite sex therefore teaches her how a woman should be treated ; if Daddy is not here to initiate this very first relationship model, there’s a lack that she will seek to fill, and not always the right way. This is how we end up setting our own standards, that are unfortunately not always the right ones. And I know best because I had/have daddy issues, and being able to talk, and write about this today is a relief ; it is part of a much welcomed healing process, and a better way to chose better.

Depending on our emotional strength, it can be very hard to get over someone. But the wrong thing to do is to stop taking chances to get to know someone else, in the fear of getting hurt again. Some women know their first break up past 50, after 30 years of marriage to their first love, who wakes up a morning and decide he just doesn’t love them anymore (ungrateful moffo!), yet they mourn, they get back up (because this is what we - women - do) and they get out there, back in the jungle, on the field of dating. Because there IS a life past 50. And if they can do it, there is no reason for us young ladies to be depressed. I hear a lot of girls complaining about not finding anyone, but the questions is : are they really looking?

How decided or committed are you about finding someone? If no one knows you’re really looking, no one can help you. Talk to your friends, asked to be introduced, be open, and open up. If you don’t market yourself, no one is going to see what you have to offer.

"DATING DOESN'T HAVE TO BE HARD, IT'S JUST THAT PEOPLE ARE SO SCARED TO OPEN UP AND BE JUDGED FOR WHAT THEY REALLY ARE TOWARDS NAKED FEELINGS. AND THE TRUTH IS WE ALL NEED AND LONG FOR THAT CONNECTION, THAT OPPORTUNITY TO BE WITH SOMEBODY THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO HIDE FROM. WHEN THE WORLD IS COMING AT YOU FROM ALL KINDS OF ANGLES, IT'S NICE TO HAVE A REFUGE, THERE IS NO PERFECT TIMING (...) AND YOU SHOULDN'T RUIN A POTENTIALLY GOOD THING BEING STUCK ON THE BAD ONES FROM YOUR PAST. SHOW SOME EFFORT AND ACT LIKE YOU REALLY WANT TO BE HAPPY. STEP OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND REMEMBER THAT A CHANCE IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE." - Rob Hills.

I surprise myself every time, but it’s a fact ; I am never more productive/creative/powered up than after a breakup. I don’t know if it’s the failure of the relationship, the fear of ending up losing my time crying over a guy for days (‘cause life goes on girls, I swear - if you were okay before, you’ll be okay after) or simply this rage in my heart (probably a tougher form of crying) that makes me move mountains whenever an once-loved one picks the exit door. I dive into things hanging on my to-do for months, dream projects and other fab things I see for myself, and in a snap, here they are.

I am not always proud of the way I left things with some people in the past, but all those mistakes have taught me so much about myself. And the best thing I could do from walking out was turning all the negativity and sadness into something that can make me smile again. Believe it or not, this is how most of my projects came to life. And if all that was coming from after the wrong ones… ;)

Photo : Malick Sidibé