July 31, 2007

Xing the Ex...completely

Much like there is no universal rule for getting over an ex, there is no standard guideline for whether or not you should continue to be friends with an ex...

...or is there?

Is it, regardless of your relationship, a bad idea to stay friends?

My girlfriends have done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all come to the same conclusion.


Although I defied their advice when I broke up with my boyfriend and decided to stay close friends with him, I have found out the hard way that it may not have been the healthiest of choices.

I decided to dissect the situation by first considering WHY we want to remain close to our exes.
As “best friends,” we can continue to rely on them for emotional support. We can keep calling them to share the every day goings on in our lives. Sometimes we can even continue to give and receive benefits, further delaying the fact that they’re no longer ours. All of this ultimately means one thing: We don’t have to deal with the loss of our relationships.

Staying friends is really a dressed up form of denial about your break-up, and it can sabotage your future happiness.

That’s because, in the end, you will end up breaking up TWICE. Once when one of you delivers the news, and again when one of you finds someone new.

Eventually, one of you will move on. He will stop calling every day. He won’t have time to hear those little things you used to share. His affections will be for another, and you will have to sit back and watch as you become second place in his world.

Bottom line: You will become a helpless bystander to your own pain, and he’ll have all the control.

HE will not care about your heartache - he will be out having fun with his new girl.
HE will not offer you support when you are crying your eyes out - it isn’t his problem.

You have basically set yourself up for an emotional crisis, which will probably lead to you cutting off communication so that you can hibernate and begin to heal apart from him.
But you can off-set this suffering by cutting off communication from the beginning, at least until the two of you have sufficiently healed by yourselves.

Below, I offer some advice from friends, each of which have made the mistake of staying friends with exes in the past. It remains difficult advice to swallow, but I am beginning to see their point.

Friend One
"Whatever happens, you cannot talk to him about her. Better yet, you shouldn't talk to him at all. Are you still calling him? If so, you've got to stop. Also, do not Facebook him. You can't see anymore pictures of him with this new chick or read any of the sappy stuff they write to each other.”

Friend Two
“You won't always need to be #1 in his life, which is just as scary a thought as it is comforting. The thought that you will not need him one day will kick your ass for a while as you try to push it out of your head, but you will wake up one day realizing you've accepted the idea."

Friend Three
"You can't wait on him to really move on. You're trying to hold on mostly because you're trying to protect him at the cost of your own feelings. Ah, the sacrificial nature of a woman. We go to great lengths for the men we love, and we're always self-destructive.
Don't do it.
You're actually more ready than he is right now, he's just found someone to help him get there. A someone that YOU DON’T NEED. Stop protecting him. It's okay for him to hurt!”

Friend Four
“You don't need a man to understand you. And when you realize that, good for you! How wonderful it will feel!”

July 30, 2007

The eX factor

It's my opinion that the most worthless type of advice in the world is a standard set of steps for getting over an ex.

Sure, it’s easy to advise someone if her boyfriend cheated on her, or beat her, or stole her stuff for drug money.
But what about the great relationship that ended because it just plain didn’t work out?

You loved him, and you still do. Now it’s been months, he’s dating someone new, and suddenly you feel sick.

First you’re angry. Jealous. Bitter. Then you have second thoughts.
Did you really make the right decision when you ended it? What if he IS the guy for you?

It is precisely this type of predicament for which no valuable advice can be offered. No one will be able to tell you what you should do or feel. It’s actually this realization that makes the situation so damn unbearable.

My own misery led me to the Web today, where I read a lot of articles with titles like, “Before You Get Back With Your Ex” and “The One That Got Away.” It may have been useless advice, but the information helped refocus my perspective and start to find some answers.

So keeping in mind the fact that everyone’s relationships, break-ups and experiences are unique, I have come up with some advice that might actually do some good.

1. Assess your present situation.
Are you in a new place, apart from your close friends and family? Have you lost track of hobbies or find yourself browsing the Craigslist personal ads for amusement?
If you’re bored or lonely, that can make you start to miss your ex. If you don’t have enough friends around you at the time, you’ll begin to long for the time when you were of the utmost importance to him, and it will rip you apart trying to deal with the fact that you aren’t anymore. Also, is he dating someone new? The “I don’t want him, but no one else can have him” mentality is a very real creature.

When you start to miss him, step back and ask yourself how much of your emotional turmoil is fueled by jealousy, loneliness or boredom.

2. What are you really missing?
When you find yourself missing him, you WILL think of all the things you loved about him. You’ll remember the way he kissed your forehead, or always gave you the best cuts of steak off his plate, or surprised you that time on your birthday. Oh why did you break up with such a wonderful, caring boyfriend?

Once you finish wallowing in the misery of what you’ve lost, snap back to reality and force yourself to think of the things you DIDN’T like about him. The things that drove you bonkers, and the reasons you ended the relationship. You did have reasons, it’s just easier to stash them away and pretend they don’t exist. If you have to, make a list with two sides – things you love about him and things you can’t stand. If the latter side is empty, you aren’t being honest with yourself.

Likely, after you’ve reviewed the reasons he isn’t Mr. Perfect, you’ll stop regretting your decision to break up with him.

3. Take your time.
Don’t feel like you have to start dating again right away. You probably won’t be ready, if you haven’t fully recovered from the loss of your ex. Dating other people isn’t going to speed the process, either. It’s something you will have to come to terms with on your own eventually. And remember, you don’t NEED to date anyone right now. You are strong enough to get through this.

You were alone once, before you met him, and you can be alone again.

4. Love yourself.
I know it seems impossible, but stop thinking about him for a minute and really examine yourself. Think about all the things that make you a confident, sexy, special and deserving woman. He may be a great guy, but the truth is that he couldn’t make you happy. If he had, you wouldn’t have broken up with him.

You deserve to be happy. Keep in mind all of the things you love about YOU as you move forward, instead of what you love about HIM.

These are the steps that helped me come to terms with my shattered heart after breaking up with my amazing, caring boyfriend in March. There will still be bumps in the road, and more pain to come, but I’m on the road to recovery.
When I can see a picture on Facebook of him with the new girl he’s dating and not hope she'll fall off the face of the earth, I’ll know I’m fully healed.

July 29, 2007

Make him quit texting you

I received a text message last night around 10 p.m.

“What’s up?”

It was from the guy I met for pizza Thursday night. I guess you could call it a date if you wanted. I met him online.

This was the first I’d heard from him since our initial meeting, and of course I wasn’t surprised that he’d resorted to typing rather than talking.

I answered his message. He replied. It went on and on.

Had he simply called to chat, it might have counted for something, but he chose to keep it meaningless. Text messaging makes things impersonal.

It seems more and more men are using their thumbs to avoid really talking to a girl for the first time after a meeting. But text messaging is a cop-out, and we shouldn’t let them do it to us, ladies.
Aren’t you important enough to talk to?
Don’t you deserve someone who has the balls to shrug the jitters and just call you?

Blane Bachelor, a writer for the Sunday Paper thought she did.

She couldn’t understand why, after spending hours at a party talking and laughing with a new guy, he chose to text her a few days later. They’d had a great time, chatting easily, hadn’t they?

When one of her gal pals stopped replying to a guy who chose the text method, she wondered if he would eventually just call her. He didn’t.
“Refusing sex is one way we women tend to withhold power,” Bachelor writes, “but apparently refusing text isn’t quite so effective."

Savvy Miss, an online magazine for women, also tackles the texting question, offering tips to get him to call you.

A couple of my faves:

-Make texting irritating so that he has to call.
“Answer every text with a question until he realizes that if he had called, he’d already be done with the conversation.”

-He texts, you call.
If he texts, you know he must be by the phone. If you call and he doesn’t answer, just forget him. You deserve someone who’ll give you the time of day.

-Don’t respond.
One source, Rachel, 24, said texting “is a sign that he isn’t interested enough to call, invest time or energy in me. So, I don’t respond to the text messages.”

And if he doesn’t call when you don’t respond – delete his number!
He’s not worth your time.

July 28, 2007

Athens = Dates-R-Us

Athens is a college town.

You may not appreciate that fact until it’s too late, but let me tell you how fortunate you are to be spending four years (at minimum) of your life in such a place.

Dating will never again be this easy.

I am currently living in a suburb of New York City, where housing is pricey, along with everything else. That means the people who live here and pay those prices are old, married people and their kids.

There is a village up the street from me, not even 5 minutes away, that is very similar to downtown Athens – bars, restaurants, boutiques. It’s very cute, and thriving, except for one thing. The people who frequent it are those very same old, married people and their kids.
It is overrun by the old and the young, but no one in between.

When you go out on a Thursday night in Athens, you can feel confident that the majority of the people you run into at the bars are others students, likely in their early twenties or maybe shy a few years.

That’s what makes a college town so special.

Out here in the “real world,” you’ve got to weed the potentially 20-sometings out of a sea of 30-somethings, their 17-year-old kids and 59-year-old pervs. And no one says you’re going to find what you’re looking for at the end of the night.

I’ve had the hardest time meeting people here, whereas every girl knows how easy it is to go out in Athens and talk to many people and likely have a cute guy buying your drinks by the end of the night. College guys’ desire for hookups – even if you have no intention of relinquishing that privilege – makes it easy to feel confident and spend a night out free of charge.

If you go out alone here, regardless of how hot you are, you may very well stay solo throughout the night. These guys have moved past that crucial hook-up mentality, or so it seems.
To compound the problem, drinks are expensive. Beer is rarely less than $5, and a long island iced tea goes for $10 or more. The guys aren’t exactly reaching for their wallets on the hope you might be worth it.

This is the reason I just can’t take Sex and the City seriously any more – how could they have so many dates??

So enjoy it while it lasts, ladies! Take advantage of penny beer nights, scope the masses of young, available and willing young men at your finger tips in this lovely town de college.

It’ll be over before you know it, and soon you’ll be sitting at a bar, alone, trying to avoid that 59-year-old….

July 27, 2007

To be (tall) or not to be (tall) ?

On my birthday, not knowing anyone in New York where I’m interning, I recruited as many fellow interns as possible to celebrate with dinner and drinks.
Most of them were guys, and most of those were shorter than me.
“Don’t you know better than to where heels when you’re going out with a bunch of short guys?” one of them whined.

It had been a long time since a man had complained about my height - I’m 5’10” - and I’m not sure I’ve ever had someone suggest I change my footwear to accomodate his own vertical predicament.

The question: Should tall girls keep their heels in the closet?

It’s not that I don’t take my height into consideration when I’m selecting pumps. If I know I’m going out with a shorter guy I want to impress, I obviously wear the hottest flats I can find.
But heels make your legs look great. They are sexy and fun and sometimes less casual than flats. It’s a bit unjust that shorter girls have all the fun shoes without anyone raising an eyebrow. I, on the other hand, stand over 6 feet when I put on regular, 3 inch heels.

There’s always the model argument. Supermodels are at least 5’9”, according to citimodels.com, and they certainly wear heels fearlessly!
Even though I am generally attracted to guys over 6 feet anyway, it remains in the back of my mind when selecting shoes: will it scare guys off if my heels are too high?

Apparently I’m not only one. This question has come up several times on message boards across the Web, and I have seen a recurring pattern in the responses. Girls tend to say “Go for it!”, including one tiny chica who said “Every time I see a tall girl slouching and wearing flats I want to slap her. ‘You lucky bitch! Do you know how good you've got it?’”
Tall guys echo the ladies’ enthusiasm, and short guys continue to whine. Now we’re starting to reach a conclusion...

So let’s do the math. The average height of a female in the United States is 5’3”. The average height for a male is 5’9”, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
That means there are plenty of short girls out there for the guys who are so self-conscience about their height that they think it’s ok to make girls feel self-conscience about thiers.

Which brings us to our answer: Spin around in your highest heels and wait for a guy who can appreciate you, even at your tallest.

July 26, 2007

Flying Solo

Bars can be a rough social scene for a single female.
It’s sink or swim out there, and the sharks aren’t the scary bit -- it’s voluntarily putting yourself in a position where you feel like an outsider to everyone in your vicinity.

So how can a single chica navigate the bar scene on her own?
First, look at the bright side -- being on your own makes you more approachable for guys, and more noticeable if you play your cards right. It also means you can move easily from group to group without worrying about a gal pal.

Here are some tips to keep you from drowning in the social undercurrent:

-Locate the right kind of bar.
You’re out to meet people, so pick a place where the music isn’t too loud. Also steer clear of places where people tend to sit in private booths (like Copper Creek), where you won’t be able to approach them.
I suggest AllGood, Barcode and the Arches, where people often stand and there’s plenty of open space to move about.

-Pick the perfect perch.
You need people to notice you, so don’t sit at the end of the bar or in a tucked-away corner booth. You’ll look like you don’t want to be bothered. Pick a stool near the entrance or stand in an open area between the bar and the door. If you sit at the bar, sit sideways or turned facing opposite the bar -- facing the bar shuts others out and sends the wrong message.
It’s also important to make it obvious you are alone. Don’t put your purse on the neighboring bar stool or keep watching the door. If it looks like you’re waiting on a date, guys will be scared to approach you. If they can see you’re solo, they’ll be intrigued -- why is such a good-looking lady without company, anyway?

-Don’t rely on liquid courage.
You’re buying your own drinks, so hopefully you’ll sip them slowly! It’s tempting to rely on alcohol for the guts to start talking, but if you get sloppy you’ll drive people away from you, not to you. Also, if you always have a drink in front of you, you close the door on an easy entrance for interested guys -- offering to buy you another.

-Most importantly, don’t be afraid to meet people.
Yeah, it’s hard to approach strangers, but look for a group of two or three people who are conversing openly. Avoid couples or those huddled in intense conversation. You may want to ask what they’re drinking to get the ball rolling, but steer clear of creepy cliches, like “Do you come here often?” You’ll find that the more people you approach, even if you only talk to them briefly, the easier it will become. And remember, what’s the worst that can happen if they aren’t interested in talking to you?
They missed out on your sexy self!