Your best girlfriends are there for a reason. They’re there to do all the wonderful things that the men in your life too often fail at. They will always get excited to see you, to shop with you, to notice when you’ve dressed up or change your hair. They will commiserate with you and make you feel better about the situation:
“And then he ignored me the whole time…”
“Oh don’t worry. He’s just in love with you.”
“And then he said he didn’t want to ever speak to me again…”
“Ugh, he’s SO in love with you!”
“And then he called me a stalker and threatened to call the police..”
“OMG, why is he like, so obsessed with you?!?”
“And then I got a flat tire from hitting a pothole…”
“That’s cause pot holes LOVE you.”
And I would like to agree. It sounds like a lovely solution. So many bad things happen to me and so many people hate me because they just love me too darn much and don’t know how to deal with harboring these deep seated passions for me. I would love to say, “Okay! That sounds logical!” and then just go about my day comforted by the fact that everyone is secretly obsessed with me.
But I have this sneaking suspicion that maybe I didn’t get a C on the midterm because my 75 year old economics professor is secretly threatened by my beauty and intelligence.
Throughout life relationships become recycled. First we have our relationship with our parents who raise us, give us unconditional love (or are supposed to.) They are our source of love and esteem. Then we leave home and don’t get that as much and so replace that with a romantic relationship with a significant other. In fact sometimes it’s a little creepy how much I’ve felt like a mother to my boyfriends.
Anyway, so after marriage you have kids, and the love is renewed all over again. You get to know your kids and their different qualities, and grow to fall in love with them just as you did your husband or wife. It’s these different relationships in our lives that give us meaning and fulfillment and happiness.
It seems that oddly enough, the way to make yourself happy, to give yourself a happy life…Is to focus more on someone else’s. Are relationships just an escape from making your own life happy, worrying about yourself? Are they an easy way out? Or is that just the meaning of it all, what we’re supposed to be doing, what would actually make us happy. Is the secret to really liking your life just not caring about it? Caring about someone else’s life more? Because if you think about it, without these relationships in the equation, no amount of success would ever actually make us feel fulfilled.
But does one prevent us from having the motivation to do the other? If a relationship is already making us feel happy and meaningful and fulfilled, why bother chasing our dreams? When you’re already perfectly happy, where does your motivation to do more come from?
Maybe life isn’t just about making one or a few people happy. You have to be motivated to make a lot of people happy. You have to care about everyone which is a scary thing to try to do because the more people you reach out to, the more people that can hurt you, the more people you’re depending on for your own self-worth, and esteem.
That’s why being single is hard. Because you’re not always getting that positive reassurance, that unconditional love to affirm that you are, in fact, a good person. And everyone needs to believe they are a good person.
I find being single to be empowering because it forces me to do that for myself, see the good in myself, really learn to love and embrace myself. I don’t think that’s egotistical, I think that’s confidence. I believe in loving yourself, and being proud of yourself. But I don’t think that means you have to think you’re better than anyone else. That’s the modest behavior I believe in. Know that you are great for so many reasons, but that other people are also great for other reasons too.
People are always saying that relationships are very hard work, and lots of effort, and working things out blah-blah-blah.
And that’s probably true, but sometimes I read too much into that. Sometimes I work too hard, and try to be committed to someone who, as it turns out, I just plain don’t have feelings for anymore. I end up dragging out the relationship to the bitter end, and everybody leaves sad and exhausted with the weight of much too much emotional baggage on their back.
Is falling out of love all my fault? Am I not working hard enough? Or am I just not with the right person in the first place? After all, initial infatuation is pretty strong. You could end up seriously dating someone well before it wears off and you realize they’re completely not your type. And then what? You’re supposed to fall in love with them? You can’t just make yourself fall in love with anybody.
At what point do you know whether you need to keep working on something or whether you need to end it?
Tu B’Av was on Monday. Tu B’Av is the day in the Hebrew calendar when you’re supposed to find your soulmate.
I did not find my soulmate
But I did find some alcohol and a gentleman who was quite fond of my behind. He would like to take it to the movies. I’m not sure if I’m invited.
I was reading this article from Scientific American Mind about online dating.
There was a line in it that said, “We already have a commitment problem in America, one of several reasons why roughly half of first marriages and about two thirds of second marriages here end in divorce.”
We have a commitment problem. That’s it? Not a compatibility problem, not a staying in love problem, not a finding-the-perfect-one-for-you problem. A commitment problem. So, the hard part isn’t falling head-over-heels in love with someone…We can do that pretty easily. The hard part is hanging out with them all the time afterward. We can make the promise, we can get to the point of marriage, somehow all of that happens easily…We can say the vows…We just can’t stick to them.
Is that it? Have we been evaluating this all wrong, hoping that love and butterflies will be the everlasting glue keeping us together? It’s just a commitment issue?
This must be why in studies they say that arranged marriages result in greater instances of long-term happiness. They don’t have that initial flash of love, they don’t go by the adrenaline rushes or butterflies or meet-me-on-top-of-the-empire-state-building feeling we call love. They’re not as good at grand acts of romance, or initual sparks. But they sure can do commitment. They don’t start out in love, they grow into it. They build love through a mutual respect for one another.
I often wonder if you can just stick any two people in a room together and see if they’ll fall in love eventually. One of two things will happen: They will either grow to love each other or hate each other. But perhaps those emotions aren’t as far off from one another as we thought. They both involve caring a lot about someone.
I think the most offensive thing you can feel towards someone is apathy. To just not care completely. That hurts worse than hate. This, I think, is why so many people are mean. Nobody paid any attention to them otherwise.
Long distance relationships suck. There’s just no getting around it.
Always missing someone, craving someone, having an inappropriately close relationship with your phone. And everywhere you go you want to tell them about it, and every conversation you have you wish was with them and it takes over your life. Even moreso than a short distance relationship would, because when you’re with them time is always scarce and fleeting so you never want to hang out with anyone else, and when you’re NOT with them all you’re doing is trying to think of ways to be with them.
You’re not “in-the-moment,” you’re not living your life, you’re just wondering what Significant-Other is up to and when they’ll text. You make sure you clear a large portion of your day so you can stare at your computer and Skype for 8 hours. You start to suck at keeping in touch with anyone else, you’re just consumed by this suddenly all-encompassing relationship.
People say that starting a long-distance relationship in the beginning isn’t wise because you grow apart, but that’s not true. I think it works in the opposite way. You grow closer, because you’re forced to communicate more, express how you feel, spend more money, give up more sooner in the relationship.
In a local relationship you can just casually say, “Oh yea, I’ll come over later,” walk a few blocks, and that doesn’t say a lot.
But when you say, “Oh yea, I’ll come over later,” spend $200 bucks, and then hop a plane cross country….Well, that’s saying something. You commit pretty fast when you’re in a long distance relationship.
Having said that, I feel bad for Nuns. Nuns are in a perpetual long distance relationship. They are in LOVE with this guy, this Jesus fellow, and they married him and devoted their life to him, and hang pictures of him on their walls. They just wanna be good and be with him and chill in the eternal heavens, but instead of worrying about flight times and prices, they’re worrying about sins and blessings and “Did-I-wear-my-habit-today,” or “Will-he-still-love-me-if-I-forgot-to-pray-on-Monday.”
Jews also have a long distance relationship with God, but it’s an open relationship. We still see other people, ya know, earthly beings and stuff. We have an understanding that that’s okay. That He comes first but it’s okay to get a little something on the side. Our bashert. That chick/dude he set us up with on top of Sinai. We got like a group relationship going on.
I called him and we talked on the phone for like an hour.
It was our first phone conversation. Well, second technically. The first conversation he called me. It was epic.
I hate talking on the phone, but I wanted to talk to him on the phone. It was weird. I had nothing to say. It was like we just wanted to prove we were at a point in the relationship where we could do that.
We talked about absolutely nothing. We talked about how he was bored and there was a bug in my kitchen. We talked about how he thought someone was watching him, and how his friend’s dog is cute. We talked about how strip clubs suck. I said they suck because they’re ridiculous and degrading and it’s weird to want to get really turned on with all your guy buddies. He said they suck because the strippers are usually unattractive and it’s a tease.
I don’t trust him yet.
It goes in waves. I trust him for a little, but then the psychotic part of my brain sees that a girl wrote a smiley face on his Facebook wall and thinks, “Well, what if I’m just a pawn in this huge ploy to hurt my feelings? What if I only THINK he really likes me, but in actuality he’s been texting all these other girls too and that’s why they’re going around writing smiley faces on his wall? What kind of thing is a smiley face to put on someones wall anyway? That’s not even a statement. SAY SOMETHING, HUSSY.”
And then the rational part of my brain is like “I dunno Shoshana, that’s a lot to go through just to hurt your feelings. People usually only expend that kind of energy to use people for something, which he clearly isn’t doing, because you’re very far away and you have no money. Also, he texts you like all the time. How would he even have time to be flirting with other girls? He’d have to be some kind of texting fiend. Not to mention you hung out with him every night before he left. He’d needed to have cloned himself to be seeing other people, and he’s been out of town ever since. Smiley face girl is probably just some meshugana hussy who does that to everyone’s wall.
Why thank you Rational Shoshana. That was necessary.
…But I didn’t trust it so I called John, a good friend of mine and mutual friend between me and smiley face girl on Facebook.
“Okay John so what’s her story?”
…That’s what I thought.
“Flirts with everyone.”
“Had to transfer cause she got such a bad reputation.”
Far away. Non-threatening. But maybe they were keeping in touch? After all, I’m far away and he’s keeping in touch with me.
The beginning of relationships are fun and exciting, but also terrifying because you’re not that secure with the situation yet. You’re not comfortable enough around each other to really talk about your feelings, or what the relationship is, or where it’s going. It’s like walking on eggshells. Don’t let them know how much you really care, otherwise one might crack and suddenly they won’t like you anymore. Don’t be too needy or they’ll get annoyed. Don’t be too unavailable or they’ll give up. Find a happy medium.
So my plan is, don’t call him. But when he calls me, act really excited about it. But not like, too excited. Not like you were waiting for him to call or anything. Cause you weren’t. You were out. You are busy and important and NOT checking your phone every two minutes and then complaining to your friends about how oh-well-you-never-liked-him-anyway, or you’re-too-good-for-him, or he’s-probably-gay.
Hmph. Boys suck.