At HollyPinafore.org, we like to write articles and stories about women — you know, how to make their lives healthier, happier and more pleasurable. Speaking of pleasure, we’ve got a little treat for you. Today we’re talking about toys. For grown-ups. Grown-up girls, to be exact. Get. Ex. Cited.
Dating can be scary. Period. Despite what we “should” and “shouldn’t” think, some of us sound like desperate damsels when searching for answers to these questions: Do I seem too desperate? Am I boring? Do I talk too much? When should we jump in the sack? Should I be concerned about the ex? Womp, womp, womp.
So, thank Buddha for Dave and Ethan, two intelligent, warmhearted sketch comedians who make dating approachable.
In case you didn’t know, Dave Ahdoot and Ethan Fixell are the founders of the website www.daveandethan.com. They’re very much like The Odd Couple. If you’re lucky enough to catch this syndicated sitcom on late-night TV Land, you’ll see that Dave channels the quirky, lovable and carefree Oscar Madison, whom you’ll find snoring in a bed littered with candy wrappers and cracker crumbs. Ethan, who actually admitted to folding laundry at the time of our phone interview, is a young version of Felix Ungar, the type-A, neurotic but adorable clean freak, who constantly yells at Oscar for his scattered, dysfunctional lifestyle. Apparently, though, a Full House comparison just might be more appropriate. “I’m this generation’s Danny Tanner,” says Ethan. “Dave is more like Uncle Jesse.”
Despite being polar opposites, Dave and Ethan have one thing in common: they know how to make a lady swoon (and I’m assuming they can expertly spoon). They appeal to people’s intellect in a very simple, hilarious manner. That’s why we love them.
Friends since middle school, the easygoing, good-lookin’ duo performed in improv scenes together in high school and now post hilarious sketch comedy videos to their YouTube page. They visit colleges around the country, where they host funny, interactive workshops about dating, such as “How to Kiss and Other Secrets.”
When we start chatting about first first kisses, Ethan laughs and says, “My first was Dave’s first.” The two are so close that they even experienced a first kiss with the same girl. But the idea of kissing was a lot more anxiety-provoking for Ethan.
“My first kiss was during a childhood performance in 42nd Street. I literally pooped my pants when I had to kiss the girl onstage,” he jokes.
Ethan admits that Dave, who’s cool and calm, always picked up more ladies than Ethan did because he wasn’t afraid to approach girls. “Dave was just like a seven year old molester,” says Ethan with a laugh.
Different as they are, Ethan explains that the two balance each other out: “I’ve gained confidence from Dave, and Dave’s gained sanity from me. Dave teaches me to chill the f–k out, and I tell Dave to hurry the f–k up.” These dudes teach us that everything in this world requires balance, and that relationships really are, as the cliché goes, all about give and take. Their time-tested bromance is the perfect proof that this is indeed true. And now it seems they’re fusing their lessons from friendship into advice they provide for the, er, romantically challenged.
But before I go any further, allow me to point out that these gentlemen are not just frat boys giving tips for tips. They’re intelligent and creative college-educated individuals who’ve accomplished much in a short period. Dave has received quite a few awards for acting, and Ethan is an accomplished writer who started his own comedic site, actualconversation.com. And as you can see in the video below, these guys know just how to crack you up, stroke your…funny bone…and melt your heart like fondue cheese.
So, without further Ahdoot…I mean ado…here are the questions I asked them, along with the wise, wise answers they provided:
Do you have other areas of expertise? If so, what are they?
Dave: “I ride my bicycle really well. I can do it with no hands. I’m also good at writing comedy and acting.”
What is the weirdest experience you’ve ever had on one of your double dates? Ethan: “Where girls lied and said they were much older than they actually were – they were 17 and used their work IDs to get into a bar (guess it worked?).”
Where did you meet your former and current girlfriends? Dave and Ethan (in unison): “Everywhere but the Internet.”
What are the top things that women do on a first date but ought not to do?
Ethan: “I actually agree with Patti Stanger of The Millionaire Matchmaker. She says a lot of things i believe: avoid heavy topics such as religion, politics, exes, etc. And no explicit details about sex. Keep it super light.”
Dave: “Being sexually suggestive on the first date is not a good idea unless sex is all you want. The longer you withhold and stay mysterious, the better chance you’ll have of creating an actual relationship.”
What are some men screw-ups that women might want to consider forgiving?
Dave: “I don’t know…farting on a date?”
Ethan: “Past relationships.”
How long should the average person wait to have sex on a date? What’s your take on jumping in the sack early on? Good or bad for a potential relationship?
Dave: “I think if you want a relationship with someone, you shouldn’t [have sex] right away. If a guy doesn’t continue to date you if you won’t have sex on the first three dates, then it’s probably not going to turn into a real relationship anyway.”
What’s your opinion on guys and commitment? Do you think women push the marriage issue / the idea of “settling down” too much and too quickly? If so, what’s a good solution to avoid arguments when these topics come up in a conversation? How do you tackle the topic of commitment with your partner?
Dave: “Dating is not that a big of a deal as many people fear it to be, so don’t take it so seriously. People have such approach anxiety. What we’ve learned is that there’s no reason to fear approaching people. The worst case scenario is that you get rejected. It’s not a big deal.”
Ethan: “There’s no reason to fear rejection. The more you put yourself out there the easier it becomes.”
This Q&A doesn’t even begin to do Dave and Ethan justice. To learn more about them, you’ll have to check ‘em out all over the Web:
Dear Dr. G,
I’ve been dating a guy for six weeks, and I pressured myself into being sexually intimate too soon — the fifth date, in the third week. I like him well enough, but I want to be super turned on by him, and I’m not. Also, a pattern is emerging — we go out to dinner and then go home and have sex. Why in the world would I do this to myself? And how can I gracefully extract myself from this situation?
Stuck So Soon, 28
It sounds to me as if you didn’t give yourself a chance to get to know this guy and you already feel like you are in a rut with him. Why did you do this to yourself? Perhaps, you thought that you would get closer to him by becoming sexually intimate. There is no reason to berate yourself about this. Please have a little self-compassion. Nonetheless, if you are truly interested in getting to know this guy you must talk with him about how you’d like to have more varied experiences with him and let him know kindly and authentically that the current pattern is not satisfying. If he agrees with you then perhaps you’d like to invest a little more time in the relationship. if, on the other hand, he wants to simply eat and have sex with you then move on quickly!
Dear Sister Bro,
At any given time, people are always talking to someone. Whether that’s through texting, late-night phone calls, Facebook chat, or random calls for a last-minute dinner, many of us girls (and guys, if you’re reading this) always seem to have someone. Although this may seem to fill our lonely void, we’re really just working against ourselves.
What I mean by this is that the more we mask the feelings of our loneliness, the lonelier we get. Okay, okay, this is confusing. Let me explain.
Here it is, we begin to put off hanging out with other friends, which in turn limits the possibilities of actually meeting someone. If we try to fill a relationship void by hanging with the so-so “decent” guy who may like us (but that we have zero feelings for), people around us will start to think we’re taken. When we do this, we limit ourselves just so we can avoid the feeling of loneliness…But guess what? It’s okay to feel lonely, it’s a part of life. When we do feel lonely we should then do something proactive about it, rather than passively hanging out with a mediocre place filler. But what do many of us do??We hang out with the mediocre place filler!—the person that we’ll go out with because we think there’s no one else around.
You may think this is mean and rather snotty to call these people “mediocre place fillers,” because, after all, they may be very nice. But really, which ever way you turn them, they’re just not your type…and you know it. So, stop keeping them around at your own leisure, it’s selfish and in actuality, you’re limiting them as well. While it’s true that we (ladies especially) love to be treated for dinner every now and again, wouldn’t you rather go out for a fun evening with your friends than talk nonsense with a guy you know you don’t want to take home?
This leads me to my next question: how do we distinguish what’s real from what’s not? How do we know who is relationship material and who isn’t? After a recent break-up with a guy I fell quite hard for, I can’t seem to shake that natural intuitive feeling that I felt when I was with him. This isn’t to say that I can’t feel the same way with anyone else, but in the words of Michael Bublé, “I just haven’t met you yet.” Dinner after dinner, drink after drink, I still have not yet found anyone to evoke that certain spark that, well, came so organically with my last boyfriend.
Initially when we meet someone, a potential candidate to be our significant other, we want to feel excited. Why should you have to have a pep talk with yourself before heading to grab some grub with your new beau? You all know what I am talking about, because we are all guilty of this. These are not feelings of nervousness; these are feelings of anxiety. There is a big difference between the two. Nervousness emerges when you’re getting ready for a date with someone you’re genuinely attracted to, but you know when you get the thought, “maybe I’ll stay home instead” or “I feel bad not going out with this guy, because I don’t want to hurt his feelings,” but honestly, if you’d rather stay home alone than hang out with this person, well, Houston, we have a problem.
You know that feeling that you got when you started to hang out with your first real boyfriend?…Those days and nights when you spent every waking moment with them, only to do it again the next day? Yeah, those are real feelings. I’m so tired of playing the game. I want my feelings to be real; to mean something. I know I can feel that again, and quite frankly I have. So don’t let anyone try to tell you that you’re too picky. Besides, knowing what you want is sexy, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
This brings me to my next point: never settle. Last night, as I sat and talked relationships with a friend over a candlelit dinner, the couple next to us was absolutely miserable. The saddest part of all was that these people couldn’t be a day older than 25. Is this what they thought was real? A silent dinner? Sad, but more often than not, people feel that this is how it is—that this is how it should be, but don’t let them fool you.
In a world where we cannot describe the norm, there is no reason to rush, to settle—to be in an unhappy and unhealthy relationship. No, not at all. Relationships aren’t easy. They take effort and dedication. But this must come from both people in the relationship, because, well, to use the cliché, it takes two to tango.
So ladies and gents, stay true to yourself and stop settling for people that you don’t see yourself with. And don’t date out of guilt or out of the thought that you might hurt the other person’s feelings if you say “no thanks.” Instead, have fun, be yourself, and everything else will surely follow.
Photo credit: “3 Girls and a Mic”
Anyone who knows us cartoon character gals knows we are really much more than ink on paper. We jump off that paper, full of life, intellect, and emotion. And so does Stacey Tucker, a.k.a. the adorable blonde, curly-haired caricature StaceyLu. Behind the irresistibly cute cartoon, though, the 38-year-old is a real woman–a hard-working author with flair and hip mother of one who’s gorgeous enough to make practically anyone go gaga. Her latest book, “Eat, Drink and ReMarry: StaceyLu’s Guide to Planning the Second Time Around” is a candid, funny, advice-filled manual to help take the stress out of getting hitched again. Because let’s face it, whether you’re in your late 20s, 30s, 40s or older, getting married a second time can be just as time-consuming and stressful as the first. StaceyLu’s book is packed with information on how to deal with everything from the guilt of wearing a white wedding dress to the gilt in the ceremony. In her matter-of-fact, witty tone, StaceyLu provides answers to popular questions about re-marriage after a nasty divorce and other questions such as how to hire a planner, pick the location, who to invite, and how to deal with the hullabaloo all over again without feeling too overwhelmed.
We all know someone who’s been through a divorce. StaceyLu is here to make weddings and marriages a whole ‘lot easier the second time around.
Here’s the 411 on StaceyLu:
Real Name: Stacey Tucker
Occupation: Headmistress of upstate NY boarding school for girls…no, wait a minute, that’s not right, I am confusing myself with Edna Garrett.
Hobbies: Yoga, dancing, determined to become a better cook.
Special skills: I can wield a mean pastry bag
Education: Taught by monks in Poughkeepsie, NY. This one is true, my friends, aka the Marist Brothers at Marist College
Favorite Drink: Never met a cocktail I didn’t like
Why you’re an IT-Girl: Not to sound too Whitney Houston, better to sound too Chaka Khan, I am every woman. Being an It Girl means I can relate to you, and you, and you. I am the shy girl who didn’t have the dates in high school, so I sought out all the wrong male attention I could find. I am the girl who got married way too young and divorced a few years later only to be wrought with guilt and shame, judging myself for bad choices. I am the girl who found her dream man and has the dream life but knows there is something inside waiting to spill out and I can not rest until it does. I am the girl who takes care of everyone else first and says “it’s ok” when time runs out for the things I want to do. I am the wife, mother, daughter, friend, singer, dancer, writer, aerialist and goddess divine that every women standing and those currently on their knees praying is right now. We are all It Girls; we just need to know it.
What you love most about yourself: Recognizing that the story is always in the details of the scene.
What you love most about your career: It is mine to design, for good or bad. If it succeeds, it is because of me. If it fails, it is because of me.
Your favorite way to motivate people, particularly other women: To let them see my faults, my mistakes, my vulnerabilities. We are all so afraid to look foolish in front of others, especially other women. We think everyone else is perfect so we pretend we are, too. Once they see all my mistakes and see I can laugh about it all, they feel better about their lives as well, and can find the humor in the ugly stuff.
How you make a difference in your community: I am a member of the Weston Women’s League. We do a lot for the community in Weston, Connecticut. One of my favorites is Senior Lunch, which I have run for two years but recently passed the torch but still go and serve. We serve hot food to the seniors a few times a year. I get to wear an apron and get a steam facial from the crazy cafeteria dishwasher and smile at the seniors who don’t see enough smiles during their day. This year I am VP of membership, but that’s just a title.
Specific turning points in your life: Every time I snap out of my pseudo-depression because I feel I am not moving fast enough in my career. When I can acknowledge just how far I have come, that’s a turning point.
Something about you that most people don’t know: I love Kirtan music. Chanting, mantras…it really is transformative. Those that love me would say I have a big heart. Also, I published the essay “I Got A Boy” in Chicken Soup for the Soul New Moms edition in March of 2011.
Ah, StaceyLu. Thank you for chatting with us at Holly Pinafore! We love the work you’re doing for women and can’t wait to see more.
Miss Stacey Tucker, a.k.a. StaceyLu, can be reached via Stacey@StaceyLu.com and via her website, www.staceylu.com.
All featured photos in this article © Stacey Tucker, 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Dear Dr. G,
I am so fed up with dating and relationships. One of the reasons is because it seems the second I start dating and getting close to a guy, envious females sneak their way in and flirt persistently with my man. The guys I date are nice, so they proceed to talk to these girls and respond to their Facebook wall posts. They’ll even return their texts “just to be nice.” I get so jealous. Maybe it’s because I have low self esteem. Or is it just because I’m human? Honestly, who knows what else goes on? I feel like I’m always out of the loop, and I hate bringing up the subject with the guy, because he’s going to think I don’t trust him. It’s not him I don’t trust; it’s the ladies. Some women think they can get what they want and will do anything / everything in their power to do it. It’s so exhausting to compete with them. I can’t do it anymore. Should I just give up on dating for a while? It’s such emotional stress for me.
First, I want to reassure you that you are in the good and plentiful company of many other women. Several things seem to be going on in your particular situation.
Let me explain:
First, one of the reasons that relationships are so complicated is because when we really like someone we simultaneously fear losing them. This is natural but the amount of abandonment fear that you have is likely related to both your self-esteem and the quality and history of your past relationships. Second, women do tend to get competitive with one another. Somehow and sadly, we tend to be socialized this way. So, when you find a man that you find desirable two things happen. He becomes more socially desirable to your friends and they want to see if this man will find them desirable. This does not necessarily mean that your friends want your man. It may simply be that they are checking out whether or not “they’ve still got it.” This doesn’t make things easier to tolerate but does help to make sense of the dynamic that you are struggling with. Third, the guys are flattered by the attention so they return your friends’ attention. They may simply want your friends to like them or—who knows—maybe they are interested in one of your friends.
This is how I would look at things, my dear. There is no reason for you to take a break from dating. Focus instead on whether or not the guy is a good match for you and whether or not the two of you bring out the best in each other. Try not to focus on the flirting and other related issues. Listen, if your guy and one of your friends are well-suited then move on. This may be painful but a guy who is right for you is not going to be “stolen” so quickly.
I hope that helps a bit.
Photo credit: Examiner.com
In case you haven’t heard about Patti Stanger, allow me to fill you in. Patti (and yes, I’ll call her by her first name), the founder of Millionaire’s Club International, is a third-generation matchmaker, media mogul, and executive producer of her reality TV show “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” featured on Bravo. She’s also the author of a bestselling non-fiction book, “Become Your Own Matchmaker: 8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate.”
And why do I adore her? Well, when it comes to relationships, the witty, gorgeous and extremely practical Patti Stanger isn’t afraid to tell it like it is:1. Having 5 Non-Negotiables. Patti advises you to have 5 non-negotiables: things in a relationship that you will absolutely never comprise. Yes, relationships are about finding middle ground, but there are some things that you want in your life that you shouldn’t live without. Patti emphasizes that these 5 non-negotiables should be what’s most important to you. I find this vital to not only an individual’s independence in a relationship, but also that one won’t settle for less than they deserve.
2. Two-Drink Maximum. Patti doesn’t allow any potential date to have more than 2 drinks. This drink allowance enables a shy individual to maybe loosen up, but not get sloppy drunk. Patti stresses keeping the class during courting. I love her focus on a traditional approach to dating.
3. No sex before monogamy. One of Patti’s rules is no sex before monogamy. I LOVE THIS RULE! I think it keeps daters from rushing into anything. In addition, this rule reminds individuals trying to find love that lasts that if someone wants to be with you long-term, they will wait for sex (your company and the time he spends with you is more important).
4. Patti brings COURTING back to the dating world. In a world where dating, marriage, divorce, love and sex has become more casual than sacred, temporary than permanent, Patti makes it a rule to court in her Millionaire’s Club. The millionaire (when it’s a man) is in charge of everything on the date, from the planning to the execution. Patti believes the man should take the lead and show the woman he wants to date the best of the best, the most romantic and that he’s really in it to find love and not just a good time. If the date requires an overnight stay, Patti requires the millionaire to book two separate rooms (to help support her no sex until monogamy rule as well).
5. Patti loves love. Patti is really a lover of love. She knows that everyone is searching for love, but not everyone finds it. Patti tries to help the matchmaker’s change the behaviors they’ve repeated that has resulted in failed relationships and dating streaks. I love watching her look what the millionaire’s really need in an individual who has the potential to be their very last first date. Her blunt honesty, in-your-face, take-no-BS approach is something that has me watching every episode…on repeat. She tells it like it is whether you want to hear it or not. She doesn’t tolerate disrespect and she demands you to follow her rules or your membership to the club will be revoked. Her matchmaking services may be expensive, but she’s worth every penny.Photo credit: realitytv.sheknows.com
Did you ever listen to that old Herman’s Hermits song Love Potion No. 9 and secretly wish you had a little bottle yourself? Yeah, me too. It would be so convenient to have some on hand for that cute guy who smiled at you in the subway or to finally woo your best friend, whom you’ve been in love with for years. It would simply cut the waiting time. We could skip right past all of the games and jump, rather than fall, in love.
Unfortunately for us, such things don’t exist outside of movies and Santeria churches. Don’t fret though, because there are a few tricks you can turn in the kitchen to help win over your guy. Everyone knows that food is a way to a man’s heart; so a little aphrodisiac wouldn’t hurt one bit.
Originally, aphrodisiacs were sought out to increase libido because malnutrition was rampant, which leads to decreased sexual desire as well as lower fertility rates. Foods that represented seeds, including eggs, snails, and bulbs, were thought to contain special sexual powers by the ancient Greeks. Later, those who sought love were more interested in foods that rounded out the diets of the loveless.
In addition to the more, shall we say, ‘scientific’ choices, the Greeks believed certain foods would increase desire based off of their mythology. Because Aphrodite considered sparrows to be of an “amorous nature,” the likes of Pliny and Dioscordes encouraged the Greeks to whip them up into love stews.
Many of the foods listed as aphrodisiacs are actually things we eat every day, like almonds, bananas, and coffee. Some of them, like oysters and truffles, are extra special and quite delicious. And some are not likely to be found in your pantry any time soon…unless you have asafetida, an Indian herb with a garlicky flavor, in your cupboards. Here are a couple simple recipes that are sure to please, and hopefully ignite the desire of, your crush this summer.
Chocolate Almond Nut Jobs
Adapted from “Room for Dessert”
- ¾ cup almonds (a symbol of fertility, whose scent induces passion)
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (the Aztec’s “nourishment of the Gods” that contains endorphins, or chemicals that positively affect neurotransmitters in the brain)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (whose scent and flavor increases lust)
- 2 tablespoons honey (thought to cure impotence and sterility)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roughly chop the almonds. Spread on an un-greased baking sheet and toast until golden brown and fragrant. While the almonds are toasting. Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over simmering water. Stir in the vanilla and honey. Fold in the chopped nuts. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop out tablespoons of the chocolate-nut mixture. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
Arugula Basil Pesto
- 2 cups arugula (documented as an aphrodisiac since the first century)
- 2 cups basil (said to stimulate sex drive and create a sense of well-being)
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (rich in zinc, which maintains male potency)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place first five ingredients in a food processor. Pulse 7 or 8 times or until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Add cheese, salt, and pepper and pulse until combined. Serve over al-dente pasta or spread on a panino.
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons User Brenda Clarke
I have recently come to a pivotal point in my relationship with my boyfriend – the point where I must decide whether or not I’m ready to move in with him. For me, before I decided I was ready or not, I knew I needed to make sure a few things were in place. Deciding to move in with someone is a big decision. You are combining not only your things, but your lives. My biggest fear is not having the ability to just leave when arguments arise. Instead, we’ll be stuck under the same roof. The thought is kind of horrifying. I like my space, especially when I’m mad! Yet I feel I’ve come up with good options to help address these issues. Moving in doesn’t have to be scary. There are also a ton of benefits like being around the person you love more, and saving on rent – you just have to make sure you are ready.
For starters, let me make clear that I am not planning on getting married. I’ve been there, and done that and it’s just not for me – at least not anytime soon. So, for the girl who is waiting for marriage before you move in with your husband-to-be, obviously the right time to move in is— after you get married. (When the right time to get married is is a WHOLE other ball game). Now, if you’re wondering whether or not you should live together before you get married, that is on you two. I personally think living together first will give you a better idea of what your married life will be like after the fact – A test run, if you will. The thought of signing paperwork that is binding you to another person for the rest of your life before even knowing if you can cohabitate, is terrifying. However, people have done it for centuries and it has worked out fine. In this case, do what you feel comfortable with.
Here’s a few questions for the girls like me who probably aren’t ready for marriage yet, but who’ve been in a relationship for a while: when do you know it’s the right time to move in together? Should you just live apart? Will living together put an unnecessary strain on your relationship? Is it worth the risk?
Well, it depends on the couple. First of all, take your time. There is NEVER a rush. The more time you take, the better the decision is going to be. Ask yourself: what are my reasons for wanting to move in? If it’s strictly financial, I personally think you need to wait. You do not want to end up in a situation you can’t get out of. To me, that’s a recipe for disaster. Do not move in unless you are financially capable of getting out and living on your own again if need be. Instead of thinking of this as a pessimist’s approach, I like to think of it as a realist’s approach. Don’t put yourself in a position where you are dependent on someone. It’s never good. If your reasons are because you love them and are ready to take the next step, and just the idea of living together sounds fun and exciting, then there ya go! Financially, it will be a help. Just don’t let that be the only reason.
Now, even if your intentions are all great, let’s make sure you are ready. We’ve already established that you need to be financially capable of taking care of yourself – just to be safe. We’ve also established that you need to WANT to live with them – hopefully that is obvious.
You need to consider the details.
1. Are you ready to make some compromises? You are going to have to give up a little, and so is your significant other. Try to solve some of the problems before they even come up. Let him know some of your quirks and ask him to be honest about some of his. Ask about his pet peeves if you’re not sure of them all. Yes, you will still encounter things you didn’t think of, but always remember that you are not the only one living there. Try to be flexible. Your man should be doing the same!
2. How clean is he compared to yourself in terms of your current living space? Make sure you are both on the same page. Discuss what you expect from him and get him to do the same. This can be a huge issue. If one person is a slob and the other is super clean, there will be fights. If you think it is going to be a problem, maybe come up with a cleaning calendar where you each have chores every day. Make sure you both agree on it.
3. How are you going to split the bills? Make sure you know exactly how this is going to be done. This should be very clear to both of you. There is nothing worse than money fights. It can be extremely uncomfortable.
4. Does he have a steady job? To me this is pretty important. You don’t want to be left with a place you can’t afford. Again, money fights are no fun.
5. Does he like having visitors over? Do you? How often? He may like having the guys over all the time, while you like your space to yourself. Maybe come up with a schedule – these days people can come over all they want, these days are quiet days!
6. Where will you go if you fight? This, I’m sure, will be different for each couple. What we decided to do is make sure we at least have two bedrooms. We will sleep in the same one, but we will each have our own room, with our own stuff to go to when we need space. If we do fight, we will just go to our separate spaces to cool off.
7. Is your relationship pretty steady? If you guys are fighting all the time, don’t torture yourselves by moving in together. It’s not going to make things better. In fact, it might make them worse.
8. Have you been in the relationship long enough? Again, this depends on the couple. Just make sure you trust them very much and are very comfortable with them. Remember, you will be sharing bathrooms, seeing each other’s laundry, etc. Not much can be hidden anymore! If you are afraid for him to smell what you just did in the bathroom, ‘ya may want to rethink this.
9. Talk to family and friends about it. Yes, in the end it’s your life and your decision. However, sometimes it’s a good thing to confide in someone you trust to get a different point of view. If they think this is going to be a train wreck, they will let you know. And sometimes that’s exactly what we need to hear.
These are just a few things. Every couple is different and will have unique issues. More than anything, just be smart about the decision to move in together. If you just pre-plan a little and make sure you are both communicating, it will be wonderful. There really is nothing better than waking up to the person you love every morning. Good luck!
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons User Richard-G
April Fool’s Day has come and gone. Are you still a fool for love? Or about love? I know how you feel, believe me. After my first (and only, let’s hope) divorce, I realized the biggest problem in that marriage was that I’d chosen – no, I had settled for –the wrong man for me in the first place. I‘d been a victim of my own inexperience with myself.
In a nutshell, back then I asked myself many of the wrong questions when sizing up a guy. Like – how much money does he earn? Is he cute? What will my friends think of him? Does he dress well? And – of course – is he always on my mind? Do I count the hours since we last spoke, do I relive every single thing he said the last time we were
Hmmm. That was the biggest clue. I thought that obsession was love. I thought that my heart – and other body parts – would provide the best clues to the right man. But no. It wasn’t long after my bridal gown went into storage that I realized I had not married my best friend. Two kids and seven years later, I finally realized we were better off apart. And that I’d better pay attention to what really mattered the next time I went out into the dating world.
And I did venture out, and tried lots of combinations of me plus someone else. I now call that period “relationship high school.” With each experience – from a fantasy thought to a full-blown relationship and all sorts of stuff in between – I made it my goal to learn from every frog (kissed or unkissed) so I could truly recognize the prince when he showed up. And it worked.
Here’s what happened: Happily – and Realistically – Ever After. Yes, I am remarried- to my best friend. We laugh a lot together, we have fun, we respect each other, and we can weather the storms as a team. He makes me a cup of tea every night – without complaining.. He thinks I’m cute in my flannel bathrobe. And for that, I thank every single frog who came along before my husband showed up. Each one, a learning experience.
Here, then, are the Ten Lessons from “Relationship High School”:
1. Your crushes are a clue to your desires. Got a crush on someone who belongs to someone else? Do not plan to “steal him away.” Hands off! Falling for unavailable guys may mean that true intimacy scares you – it’s easier to fall for the married – or, let’s face it, the gay – guy. But do figure out what qualities he has that attract you so much, and look for that in someone who is available.
2. Embrace your own quirks. If you truly love someone, don’t you find it adorable – at least at first – that he still wears his favorite shirt from college? Yet – do you try to be Little Miss Perfect for fear of being rejected? If you find your own little quirks acceptable – or, better yet, adorable – then someone else will too. I, for instance, absolutely hate black olives. Even one speck on a salad. My husband will proudly announce that to the waiter as if he is the keeper of my best secrets. Now that’s cute.
3. Notice your own victim thinking. If you find yourself thinking, “This is the best I can do,” or “There are no good men left,” or “Things never work out for me in relationships,” then go to the nearest article on positive thinking and change those thoughts! When I stopped saying “Poor me, single again!” and started saying “I always meet new men,” everything changed.
4. Notice your own comfort level. Your best guy will love you in sweat pants, with a cold, on a bad hair day. Yes. Do you feel like you can’t do anything right around this guy? Run! (If you never feel secure with anyone, you might want to run to your therapist.) Most of us have people with whom we can be completely ourselves. That’s the feeling you want.
5. What do you really want? Make a list. I swear, it works. What are the deal- breakers, and the must-haves? And be specific. For me, one key was: “If he were a co-worker, would I be stopping by his desk every day to see how he is? Would he be stopping by mine?” In other words, are we truly interested in each other? Yes, each other. Love is not a one-way street. Never. If he does not love you back, he is not the right one.
6. Trust your gut -sometimes. Here’s where the secret signals come in. If he’s a really nice guy but you cringe if his fingers touch yours over the wine glass, then it’s a no-go. Guys can learn to kiss, but if their touch repels you then bye-bye. Your body is telling you something your brain doesn’t want to hear.
7. Be aware of old messages from your past. Like it or not, we are shaped by the men in our lives, from your father (or lack of one) to the boy you loved in third grade. Look at these relationships. Dad? Brothers? Other relatives? What messages did these relationships give you? And do you choose to accept them now? Still there? Still valid? A favorite (not really) from my childhood: You are not good enough. Took me a long time to re-examine and actively replace that message. Yes, it can be done, but it must begin with awareness.
8. Take a good look at love in the media, too. OK, start counting. How many movies, from Disney cartoons to Pretty Woman, contain the message that the good girl (yes, even a hooker) can transform the bad boy? And how many times have you fallen for the bad boy, with just this fantasy in mind? When you see a rom com, be aware that these are often just fairy tales for grownups. Enjoy, but don’t expect it to be that way in real life all the time. And let’s not leave out commercials. Yeah, that list goes on forever: Jewelry equals true love. He will notice you if your eyelashes are longer. Perfume will attract him forever. You must have a perfect body or you are not loveable. STOP! Do you really want a man who will dump you if you gain five pounds?
9. Create some new fantasies that really count. Can you imagine this guy in those? I used to dream of a dozen roses and a carriage ride through Central Park (oops, those movies again). Then I got them on a first date – ooh how my girlfriends drooled! -but the guy turned out to be judgmental and really full of himself by the third. Yuck. Sure, I love flowers, too – but they don’t equal a relationship. When I changed the scenarios of my fantasies, I started recognizing true love much more easily. Can you imagine this guy rubbing your feet at the end of a tough day- and enjoying it just because it makes you happy? Would you have fun spending a weekend away with this person, even if – no, especially if -the car breaks down or the waiter spills a drink? How do you feel about yourself when you are with him? Secure and loved, or in danger of doing the wrong thing? Drama does not equal love. If this is the right guy for you, someday he’s gonna have to think you are beautiful with wrinkles and stretch marks. Can you see that?
10. Between relationships? That, too, is happiness. Use the time to enjoy your own company, and hang with your friends – doing more than just looking for the next guy. Volunteer. See the chick movies guys usually hate. Clean out your closet. Clean out your mind. Remind yourself that life is good – with a boyfriend or without. In fact, each phase complements the other. Sometimes I sit at breakfast with my hubby, who wakes up talking, and part of me longs for the days of morning quiet time when I was single. I was happy then -and I’m happy now. That’s the biggest secret of all. Love yourself, love your life, be open to the changes that love brings, but not dependent upon it.
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons User Ben Sutherland